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The Art of the Invisible Hand

As you glance at the top of the page you can see the heraldic emblem of the Tactical Studies Group. It consists of ten stars circled upon a shield; nine white stars and one of gold, the gold star in the second position counting clockwise from the top. The shield is divided into red and blue fields. Above it the year 1791 is emblazoned and below, the legend "JUSTICE PROPRIETY DIGNITY."

The European style of heraldry indicates the origins in Western and Northern Europe of the science of political economy and of the libertarian philosophic principles which are the foundation of the United States of America. These principles are proclaimed in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and codified in the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights, ratified in the year 1791.

The colors of the emblem are the American colors. The shield signifies individual defense. The Bill of Rights consists in the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which is "the supreme Law of the Land." Each of these is symbolized here by a star. The stars are configured in a circle reminiscent of the original American flag which indicated union and cooperative defense.

The gold star indicates the Second Amendment which protects in law for American citizens the natural right of every individual person to "keep and bear Arms" and by inference, to practice martial art both independently and in voluntary association.

This star is golden because gold fringe on an American flag indicates a battle flag, because gold symbolizes the "golden mean," which is the balance of all things according to natural law; because gold symbolizes private property and value, which are the origin of individual rights; that is, of justice; because gold symbolizes capitalism, which is the economic mechanism of justice; because the proper exercise of the natural right of defense is the essence of justice, because propriety extends justice to all persons and because taken together, justice and propriety yield dignity; that which is of highest value, and this is both the foundation and the pinnacle of the whole edifice of human civilization. Culture can exist without justice; civilization cannot.

The term "justice" derives from the Latin "jus," meaning "right." We believe that the fundamental, universal, perennial individual rights of persons are five: self possession, self direction, self responsibility, defense, and liberty; ie: freedom from aggression by means of force or fraud.

The term "propriety" above indicates respect for the equal rights of all persons.

"Dignity" derives from the Greek "dignitas," meaning that which is of highest value. We believe that the highest value is justice, that recognition of this value is embodied in proper conviction, action and speech, and that who possesses, exercises and respects the rights of persons achieves dignity; the embodiment of highest value. Yet no rights exist which cannot be established and defended by force.


We posit a general definition of martial art as the systematic use of force in governance according to the laws of nature and the principles of philosophy. We hold further that the character and conduct of American martial art consists in the proper defense of justice in limited autonomy by the scientific use of reason and force.

The use of deception and of force in defense of life, liberty and property always involves the risk of loss or destruction of that life liberty and property. Therefore the primary object of defense is that it be accomplished without resort to force; but when this is impossible or unacceptable, it may be necessary to sacrifice that which one wishes to defend.

This seems a contradiction until it becomes clear that the object of defense is in fact not life itself, nor liberty and property, but the rights to life, liberty and property. In short, the object of defense is human dignity. Your best chance of surviving or winning a close engagement is about fifty percent at best. If the issue is not worth your life or your liberty, it is best not to engage. If engagement is necessary you may improve your odds by means of a systemic method.

To live with dignity in justice and propriety and to preserve, protect and defend "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" or to die with dignity in service of those principles is the way of the martial art of the American republic. It is the pursuit of this way which is the object of study, training and practice at Tactical Studies.

The heraldic emblem above signifies that the mission of American martial art is the proper defense of individual rights, that responsibility for this defense falls upon the aggregate of individual citizens, and that this martial art was conceived and mandated in law by the Framers of the Constitution of the United States.

We believe that every proper defense of justice by individuals acting in their own interest; taking no thought for the benefit of others yet limited always by their rights, has the effect of promoting the safety, welfare and dignity of the whole community according to the principle of the "invisible hand" as advanced by the Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Smith said "Every individual… neither intends to promote the public interest nor knows how much he is promoting it…he intends only his own security…he intends only his own gain and he is in this…led by an invisible hand to promote an end" (the public interest) "which was no part of his intention." Thus the martial art of the Tactical Studies Group might be called the Art of the Invisible Hand.

The sole object of the art is the defense of justice against aggression. To defend justice, preserve and protect the rights of all persons by knowing and defending first your own. Thus the policies of the art are reducible to two: Never aggress. Never submit.

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