A while back I had a brief exchange with Jacobus Paine* on my post about armed revolts. Since then I’ve been thinking over the topic and felt the need to elaborate further on it.
I am of the opinion that revolutions aren’t good ideas due to practicality. To use an analogy, the climber always seems to have to shed vital gear in the hopes of summiting the mountain, only to turn away before reaching it due to a lack of that equipment.
But this isn’t where the conversation should end, because while I am opposed to the idea of an organized revolution, I believe at some point violence or the threat thereof has to be on the table.
I have repeatedly stated that people should not have children if they aren’t willing to protect them against state violence.
If a government official came to take away my children or break apart my family, for example, or tried to get me to sign a piece of paper agreeing to raise them according to the state’s rules, I’d refuse and be prepared to shoot it out or flee.
This is what one might call a micro-revolution, a one-man rebellion, and it is here that I think people have the best hope of effecting change, if the need should arise. The violence itself isn’t what will effect change, but the viable threat of it.
The crux of this, however, is that more than one person does it, or is willing to do it.
People choose to submit chiefly because they know they would lose; the state versus the individual are bad odds. But if many were willing? What if it was the state versus legion of individuals, acting on their own initiative? No armies. No mass coordination. No collective insurgency to infiltrate and undermine.
No matter how many state agents there are, at the end of the day they require a great deal of compliance on the part of citizens. Mass resistance would turn the tables very quickly. I don’t think people fully realize how much power the masses have, if only they possess the fortitude to act on principle.
As one film character remarked, “What we’re doing here is just a pinprick, but a thousand pinpricks put together can bring change.”
This is similar to the proposition made by Christopher Cantwell. The solution is that there needs to be enough people willing to use violence to resist blatant state aggression that state agents refuse to enforce those laws. Like me, Cantwell doesn’t see the revolution as a means of replacing the state with another one, but simply removing state control.
If nothing else, it would force the state to reconsider which laws they would enforce and, theoretically, reduce itself over time into an actual limited government. From there, more peaceful solutions could be used to make further progress.
However, this does not seem to be the mentality of a lot of Americans. If any shooting starts, it will be the beginning of a Second American Revolution, or possibly a real Civil War, but the intent either way will be to “restore the Republic” – a centralized government based in D.C.
If that be the actual case, count me out.
Generally speaking, history indicates that large-scale revolts seeking to take control of a centralized government gravitate back towards the same system they fought to abolish. For whatever reason, that’s human nature. Unfortunately, we saw that even with our own war for independence. The U.S. Constitution gave Americans a much more centralized government than hoped, and while it was at least an improvement over British rule, the groundwork was laid for what we have today.
That is the beauty of micro-revolutions. Your aim is limited to simply being left alone. While the lack of an organized force might leave some skeptical, it is precisely the lack of a centralized structure that makes the idea tenable.
Preventing this is the lack of a line in the sand, a point where Americans are willing to fight. Some might say the standoff at Bunkersville was it, but I don’t believe so. It would have sparked outrage, but not a revolution.
What worries me more than a delay in that line being drawn is that line will be pushed back again and again.
My own line is already drawn.
You can read Jacobus Paine’s writings here.