Would You Like Some Freedom With That Revolution Of Yours?

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.

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2 Responses to Would You Like Some Freedom With That Revolution Of Yours?

  1. Thanks for writing

    However, I would like to add some thoughts:

    1. you mention that “history teaches us that revolutions will simply exchange one form of government with another.” This is true in most cases. However, revolutions do make fundamental changes in society, and oftentimes positive. The government of the Constitution was more centralized than hoped for in the decentralist spirit of the American Revolution. However, the Revolution so changed society that even the centralizing constitution led to a far more libertarian regime than the British government overthrown. Likewise in the French Revolution. Despite the Terror and the protototalitarian atrocities under it, the Revolutionary government (both the constitutional monarchy and the early pre-Terror republic) was considerably quite liberal (laissez-faire) and was friendly to economic liberty, personal freedom, and private property (even the Jacobins favored private property and in their early days were quite the laissez-faire liberals) , and the French Revolution’s fundamental effects in the 19th century were for a more capitalistic and libertarian society.

    2. Suppose that a Second American Revolution does happen, and its leaders aren’t intent on creating the anarchocapitalist society but are rather for “restoring the Republic,” I can personally get behind that. Because such a Revolution would likely cut down the government drastically, and it can be taken to such an extent that anarchy would be a given as a result. We could render a territorial area un-governable, and spontaneous order will result.

    3. We ought to recognize that most people will simply not become libertarians, and as Cantwell demonstrates, we have to forcibly take options (welfare, theft, etc.) away from them. However, we can recruit the masses in a libertarian Revolution or overthrow of the ruling class.

    4. What if libertarians ever got their hands on the reins of power in a hypothetical coup or overthrow? What should we do? We could use them to cut off many programs and departments that the State has. We can institute trials for former members of the ruling class to prevent counterrevolution and to exercise retributive justice.

    5. The concept of the “micro-Revolution” is wonderful. But it is not enough by itself. It must lead to a full-scale revolution in the end, where each act is connected together by the intangible and universal link of a people united in spirit and ready to overthrow the ruling class. Micro-revolution is merely the first step. Revolution must come after

    Like

    • The Question says:

      Excellent observations!

      Here are some of the concerns I see with a Second American Revolution:

      – Americans as a whole don’t believe in the principles of 1776 anymore. They will eagerly surrender liberty for security. They’ve traded George Washington for Obama.
      – The feds will recruit local law enforcement to fight. Some will do so, others will not. But most Americans, educated in state-run schools, will cooperate against any Revolution out of fear. We don’t need them to be libertarians, but we do need them to look the other way.
      – Americans are easily divided. The feds could easily undermine a Revolution simply by infiltrating it with agents that introduce dissent or bring controversies. Or they will bring about massive misinformation and propaganda campaigns that will confuse supporters. We can hardly get libertarians to unite in the political realm without unnecessary divisions.
      – It would be very hard for libertarians who take control to not easily succumb to the power they obtain through office, unless it was to oversee the reduction of the state. This leaves the question of the massive debts and unfunded liabilities in the trillions.

      I suppose I would have to see what the genuine article actually looks like when it (if) happens to know what I would do. But based off of the talk I hear from people who speak of “taking back our country” I am highly skeptical such a movement could get off the ground without some sort of national crisis of some kind.

      Liked by 1 person

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