On the Other Hand...
by Jim Davies
An Armed Revolution?
As the new Century dawns, that question must cross the mind of any thinking American who knows roughly which way is up - meaning, one who understands that government, if any, was intended here to serve the interests of the individual, and not the other way around.
This year alone, we have had continuing, graphic evidence of the monstrous, ugly nature of what the Founders knew from the very beginning: that government "is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; and like fire, force is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
Who can forget this photo of young Elian Gonzales and his guardian being menaced by a thug with a government gun - who entered the house with a warrant permitting search, but not seizure? That was a high-profile example, which made even some of the puppets sitting in the Networks' anchor chairs momentarily blanche. I even saw that arch-Establishmentarian Jim Lehrer of the tax-supported PBS channel question Janet Reno about the ferocity her agents used, in a manner suggesting he really wanted to know. But there are others that do not hit the headlines at all.
Consider Mr Zidar, for example. I do not "follow" him, but I once heard part of one of his broadcasts - enough to recognize that he is teaching a large number of people some home truths about government conspiracies that the government would surely pefer they didn't hear. So in early May the government's SEC fancied they heard him recommending an investment on which they had not sprinkled any holy water, and sent round a squad of thugs to break into his offices, ransack his files and take away dozens of boxes of papers; for all the world as if Amendment Four had never been written.
Those are just two recent examples. But ever since Waco in 1993, if not sooner, anyone with eyes to see has known that America's government is out of control; that we are, today, already, living in a police state. Is it absolute? No, nor is it as fully-developed as Stalin's or Hitler's. Not yet. But we'd have to be wilfully blind to suppose that it has any other direction but worse. Must I remind the reader of the outrageous intrusiveness of the recent Census interrogation? - or that, despite massive non-compliance, the modern equivalent of Goebbels' Volkischer Beobachtung simply failed to "see" the problem?
Fascism is a word for authoritarianism, not primarily for racism as the government propagandists like to teach. Mussolini's Italy was Fascist to the core, but only quite reluctantly did they persecute Jews, at Hitler's bidding. Fascism is a system in which a nation's productive commerce is controlled by government but seldom owned by government, as it is in Communist societies. They are just one degree smarter than the Reds; they know that in order to milk the capitalist cow, they must allow her to produce. I'd say that's pretty well exactly the condition to which, very sadly, America has now come. They too are of course Socialists ("Nazi" is short for "National Socialist German Workers' Party") and share the Reds' arrogant presumption that the State has some right over the lives of individuals, but they rarely take title to enterprises - they just regulate them with puppet strings.
And, of course, thereby extinguish human liberty and - sometimes in vast numbers, like the Communists - human lives.
All these Socialist manipulators always begin by disarming the public, so that their agenda can be pursued with little opposition. Registration and then confiscation of Germans' guns was one of Hitler's first acts in power. Today in America, the anti-gun propaganda is intense, now becoming hysterically shrill, with the media rejoicing in every new outbreak of gun violence in schools - as kids, driven to despair by the government's mind-numbing indoctrination, lose their sanity and hit back wildly with the most effective weapon they can find.
The question therefore faces us now: shall we surrender our weapons, as the compliant German population did, at appalling cost to its Jewish members? - or shall we start instead to use them? A recently-circulated poster puts the question eloquently.
It's an ugly question. There is little "need", right now, to start shooting. Claire Wolfe's most recent book title is "Don't Shoot the Bastards - Yet." But if we allow the repression of guns to continue, with their silly trigger locks to hinder access when most urgently needed, and the mounting difficulty of making a purchase, will there not come a point when it's too late; when we do need to "shoot the bastards" but no longer have the means to do so?
Of course there will. That's the whole point of progressive gun control. The really difficult part is judging when, exactly, the process has gone too far. If liberty-lovers shoot too soon, we would betray our own beliefs in peace and non-agression; if we time the moment too late, it will be, well, too late.
There's another, major difficulty. Government people have already recognized that Americans are far too well-armed to suppress in a simple shootout; even if the entire military establishment could be mobilized (happily, that's a very big "if" indeed, for many military people deeply distrust the direction modern America is taking) government would simply be no match for 80 million guns. Even at Waco, the invaders were beaten back in the first engagement and had to resort to tanks, machine guns, flammable poison gas and fire, to prevail. So they have already learned to use "SWAT" tactics: to make surprise attacks with massive concentrated force, overwhelming defenders before they can even reach for their weapons - as with Elian, and as with Mr Zidar. So how can individuals defend themselves against a sudden concentrated attack?
I know of no way. And that tells us to go back to the tactical drawing board.
I've noticed two interesting proposals in the past few years, of tactics that might overcome those formidable obstacles. Both use a classic approach in conflict: to attack where the enemy is weakest, not strongest.
One uses violence, and so leaves me much less than comfortable. It proposes a way to assassinate the worst villains, one by one, pour encourager les autres. The idea is detailed here and reasons that if a particularly vicious and prominent politician were "offed", the others would get the message very rapidly indeed. The method could not eliminate government, but it would for sure tame it - cause it to conform quite closely to the Constitutional boundaries set. It has the merit of spilling very little blood, unlike all other revolutions incuding the first American one, but arguably it does mean breaching the vital principle of the "non-initiation of force" and so is very hard indeed for a libertarian to contemplate.
The other creative method does not use violence, and so it's the one I currently favor. If enough people use it in time, it will suffice and all thought of violence can be set aside. It is, to withdraw consent to be governed.
In a recent article Lew Rockwell reminded his readers of the fact that a State can simply collapse when its people stop supporting the government - instancing the latest example in South Lebanon as well as the Communist states in the Russian Empire a decade ago. In all those there was very little bloodshed; the population simply stopped serving the regime, and the regime dissolved, walked away, gave up. Rockwell quotes Etienne de la Boëtie: "in order to have liberty nothing more is needed than to long for it."
"Nothing"? well, that may go a bit far. A lot of us have been longing for it for a long time, and seeing it only get further away. But yes, not much more than longing; just a refusal to co-operate. Just Say No!
It's crucially important, though, to understand what this means, this "saying No to government." Nearly three decades of noble political activity by the Libertarian Party, with vote-totals smaller now than in 1980, suggest strongly to me that it does NOT mean using collectivist methods to beat collectivism! I mean no disrespect to my Party friends, but in retrospect, it was perhaps a basic error to suppose that trying to build a voting plurality could ever work. To get a vote, one has to offer voters a goodie; and faithful libertarians have no goodies to offer except "jam tomorrow". Yes, once the LP takes power, the trappings of power and oppression will be dismantled; but that happy day will (at least in the voters' eyes) come "sometime, never." In the meantime, zippo; just blood, sweat and tears.
"Saying No" means, rather, just declining to give it support. I have been astonished, since finding how easy it is to keep government's hands off that part of my property it likes to call "income tax", at the vehemence with which most Party members denounce such direct action. Yet think of the math: if 1% of the population votes against government, the effect is absolutely nothing. Yet if 1% of the population refuses to pay it money (as we all certainly can) then the government has 1% less money with which to wreak its havoc.
Now, 1% is only a start - but that much i-tax with-held is still about ten billion dollars every year and - here's the key - every single one who "says no" on April 15th incrementally reduces the resource available to the tyrant. Even a 20% Libertarian vote share would have zero direct effect on the power of government; but a 20% reduction in their revenues would immediately slash it by 20%! That seems to me a great deal more like the "withdrawal of consent." So what are we waiting for??
In my experience most people are waiting for the fear to disperse, and that is a shocking comment on how timid are modern American freedom "fighters". Somehow, I don't see Patrick Henry worrying too much about the possibility of a scary letter from King George's revenue agents, especially not if he had the rich range of safe and legal ways that we enjoy, to avoid His Majesty's taxes.
There are other ways we can withdraw consent, and Say No, than just by not contributing to the government's biggest revenue source; we can arrange our affairs so as to take advantage of offshore financial strategies in order both to prevent even more tax losses and to make positive gains, so transferring wealth from the parasitic sector to the productive sector. The action needed here is to get educated first, to become aware of what is possible, and then take resolute action to deny government the use of a large portion of the fruits of our labor.
Nothing less, I suggest, fairly comprises "longing for liberty."
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