L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 186, August 12, 2002
DOING THE RIGHT THING?
Come the Revolution? What Revolution?
Exclusive to TLE
It is said that the institution of slavery has one person who is indispensable to its operation, the slave himself. Look around you, none of us is truly responsible for our lives and actions, instead the government removes our responsibilities from us and acts in the manner it thinks best. How then do you assert your freedom? Mostly, you don't. How many of you pay taxes? How many of you younger men have registered for the draft? How many of you pay social security? Comply with laws which you oppose? Send your kids to government schools? Petition for school subsidies (i.e., vouchers)? Conform to zoning ordinances, environmental laws and land-use regulations? Is there any Federal, State, County, or Municipal, Law, Act, Ordinance, Regulation or Tax with which you comply? Then to that extent you are a slave.
Well, why do you do it? Come on you Anarchists, why haven't you put up a sign on your property and publicly declared that no person, government or agent there of has any authority there and that you will shoot dead any unauthorized person who enters? Why have you not walked into your local town hall or city council meeting and declared your personal sovereignty and encouraged your neighbors to do the same? Have you written the IRS and the SSA to tell them that you no longer recognize their authority and that you will resist, with lethal force, any attempt to impose their illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of your rights and property? No? Why not? Do you not have the strength of your convictions?
The answer is obvious. You (like most of the rest of us) have no wish to die! You value your life more than your freedom. Many people will deny that, as asinine as it is to do so, and say that they would surrender their lives to defend their freedom, but the truth is something else. In truth we all understand that as long as we have life we can have hope, why else would we struggle? Why do people like myself and Mr. Smith and Mr. Taylor expend so much of our time and effort (not that I equate my efforts with theirs) in what often seems to be a forlorn hope that we may, by our words, effect a change in the course of human social evolution? We know that the odds of any meaningful change occurring are vanishingly small, and yet here we stand, voices crying out in the wilderness. We, like you, submit every day to the theft of our property by government minions, because, like you, we have no wish to die.
Look around you, look at all the people crying out to be saved from the crushing weight of our government, and yet still toiling to feed the beast. Look at all the people languishing in prison for crimes simply written into existence by our government, and their loved ones still begging our rulers to free them. Look at eighty million gun- owners, slowly being stripped of their rights, and still quietly complying with every new outrage. When will they awaken to the truth? When will they finally have enough and spit on their masters? When will they rise up with one voice and say NO!? The answer my friends, is never.
When I used to hang around with the militia types, there was this tactic assumption, that when the New World Order reared its ugly head, and the people found out what was truly being done, they would, as one, rise up in their righteous anger and smite the evil doers with a mighty hand. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that few people are willing to gamble, fewer still when the stakes are their lives. Most people will suffer immense hardships rather than risk what little they have, especially for something as abstract as freedom.
Look at history, countless times nations have been invaded and conquered, do the citizens rise up and die rather than submit to their new masters? Sure, some of them do, but the vast majority simply comply. Look at the Russian revolution, the Bolsheviks were a minority party who subverted the democratic system, illegally assumed power, and proceeded to initiate a wave of terrorism and murder seldom equaled in recorded history. The Russian people saw this with there own eyes, did they rise up? No, the majority simply carried on with their lives, hoping that they would be spared by the Red Terror sweeping the nation. What about the Nazi occupation of France? Did the majority of Frenchmen (and women) join the resistance? Sure they did, right after the allies booted the Nazi's out. The majority of the French resistance before that time was made up of communists who acted under orders from Moscow. Throughout the Second World War we see examples of the same pattern, resistance by a small minority of individuals, with little popular support, until events demonstrated that action carried little risk. Even the American Revolution was carried out by a small group of individuals, not by the bulk of the colonists. So, what makes anyone think that tomorrow will be any different?
I have heard many people in the Libertarian movement make the argument, as John Lopez did in TLE 185, that simply bombarding enemy nations with Libertarian propaganda (and it is propaganda, no matter that it happens to be true) and cheap guns will produce a Libertarian revolution and thus remove the necessity for offensive action against those nations. Well what evidence is there to support this idea? Why would anyone believe that showering, say North Korea, with the Federalist papers and Rand's "Capitalism; the unknown ideal" or "Atlas Shrugged," along with $2.00 single-shot Liberator pistols (or better yet a version of the all stamped semiautomatic that Walther developed in WWII) will provide those people with the backbone and intelligence to successfully overthrow that murderous regime? Hell, look at our own country. America has a history of political action among the populace, of free speech and the possession of arms, and yet here we are living in a police state, anticipating the crash of the battering-ram and our death or incarceration at the hands of our fellow citizens. If Americans, children of one of, if not the, freest nations in history, find ourselves in such a position, what in heavens name makes us think that people who have known only repression and fear for generations, will act differently.
The truth is that the only weapon governments possess is the only one the human race almost universally responds to, fear. Governments almost never have the capacity to prevail by main force. If a robber goes into a bank with twenty people in it, with a six-shot revolver, logic says that he can be overwhelmed, but each of those people fear that they may be one of the six who get shot. Government too is out numbered, the force it possesses is miniscule compared to the number of people it controls, but nobody wants to risk being one of the people killed, no matter how few may end up that way. Look at Tiennamen Square Massacre, the Chinese government feared that the people would rise up, reports in the western media suggested that units of the PLA were in or near a state of revolt over orders to reoccupy the square and crush the protesters. Politically reliable units had to be rushed to Beijing, and even then, the famous pictures of the man standing in front of the tank showed that the soldiers of the PLA were reluctant to act. If the people of Beijing had rushed to support the protesters, would the massacre have happened? If the Chinese people had risen up, would the PLA have put them down? We will never know, because the man-in-the-street refused to stand up, the bulk of the people were too afraid to face the possible consequences, and therefore remain in their servitude today.
Having the means to defend oneself and one's beliefs is immaterial. One must possess the will to use them. In fact, when the majority of people possess the will to action, weapons become superfluous. The Nazi's herded countless thousands to their deaths with unloaded weapons, because their victims lacked the will to resist, generations of acquiescence had ingrained in the victims an unthinking compulsion to obey. In our own country, we watch our rights stripped from us with helpless outrage and despair, when all that is required to stop it is the willingness to resist in spite of the potential consequences, and we in America are less likely to suffer the greatest penalties for such actions than the peasant in Korea, or the shopkeeper in China. We might supply the means to resist, but how will we provide to will, when we ourselves don't have it?
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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