In Defense of Insurrectionism

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Webster defines "Insurrection" as, "An act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an

established government."  "Insurrectionism," therefore, would be the acceptance of insurrection

as a means of altering or abolishing said civil authority or established government.  Insurrection

has no place in a civilized society.

"Civilized society" is a term with no universally agreed-upon definition in America.  When

somebody uses the phrase, you may substitute "Society organized the way I want it" without loss

of meaning.  My definition of the phrase is the voluntaryist, minarchist ideal: free men and women

acting as individuals or joining in voluntary cooperation, giving value for value recieved, settling

their differences rationally, resorting to outside arbitration if needed.  Citizens elect servants to

represent them in the legislature.  The rights of all to life, liberty and property and the sanctity of

contract are respected and protected by the government, which has no other function.  No one

rules, and no one is ruled.  Insurrection, in this context, is an initiation of force.

Is the United States a civilized society?  By my definition, not very.  It never was truly civilized,

although the barriers to living in a civilized manner were once much lower than today.  In our

modern day, our lives may be taken by agents of the State with little or no risk of punishment on

their part.  Our liberty suffers more constraint with each new law or regulation.  Our property,

including the fruit of our labor, has long been considered the property of the State, on temporary

loan to us, to be taken back at will.  We are no longer a free people.  

Is the United States a tyranny?  Not yet, but we're headed that way.

What would tyranny in the United States look like?  We've already seen some of its

characteristics:  the increase in violent paramilitary policing, elections that offer no real choice

outside of party-approved options, and the spread of government control into almost all facets of

American life.  Tyranny does not necessarily arrive in the form of a dictatorship.  Alexis de

Toqueville put forward the idea of "soft tyranny", in which authority is exercised without violent

repression, by means of control over the choices available to the people, raising the level of

difficulty involved in unapproved action, and making compliance the path of least resistance.  

America seems pointed toward a hybrid solution:  the soft-tyranny nanny state backed by the iron

fist of federal law enforcement for those citizens too cantankerous to get with the program.  

The tyrant in America doesn't have to be one man.  A democratic majority is as totalitarian a

beast as any dictator.  Look around you.  The face of the tyrant is everywhere.  Every person who

advances a claim on your life, liberty, or property without your permission wears that face.  So

does every philosopher who champions the greatest good for the greatest number, or the

collective over the individual.  So does every politician who tells you that the majority rules, and

that the Constitution's limits on the power of the majority are merely guidelines, to be redefined to

suit the whims of that majority.  When we finally lose the power to tell these people to go to hell

and make it stick, then we will be in a fully-realized tyranny.

Must the United States inevitably become a tyranny?  No, but tyranny is the default ground

state in governance.  The overwhelming majority of humans throughout history have been ruled by

tyrants of one sort or another.  Absent active and sometimes militant civic participation, societies

experience a sort of political entropy.  We slide into tyranny as water flows downhill, unless the

people bestir themselves to man the pumps.  Power corrupts and attracts the corrupt, and human

societies tend to fall into bully hierarchies, unless the people actively resist the trend and take

responsibility for themselves and their welfare.  To place your well-being in the hands of another

is to become their property.

In the 20th century, according to Dr. Rummel of the University of Hawaii, governments around the

world killed 262,000,000 people, not including war dead, and most of them were their own

subjects.  Democide is not a factor in modern America, but it is important to remember that there

is no magic spell protecting the citizens of the United States.  Human nature is the same all over

the world, and those who seek power for its own sake are as brutal at the core here as anywhere.

 Our national traditions of stubborn independence and hostility to authority make such a thing

unlikely here, but those traditions are no longer as strong as they once were, nor as widespread.

What is the place of insurrection in American society?  It depends.  That's not a cop-out, but

the answer is complex.

In order to understand the answer, you have to understand what I see as at stake here.  Humans

possess rights.  The "Big Three" are the rights to life, in other words, the right not to be

murdered; the right to liberty, which is the right to act as you will so long as you respect the equal

rights of others; and the right to property, which basically means that what's yours is yours, and

can't be taken from you against your will.   These rights are not granted by government, and are

inherent in us whether we exercise them or not, or whether other people agree or not.  I, as a

sovereign individual, may exercise my rights at any time or in any way I please, without regard to

any agreement or contract to which I was not a party.  In other words, you may have decided that

certain infringements on your liberty or property are OK, but that doesn't bind me.

These rights are not negotiable.  We already possess them, so cannot be granted the privelege

of exercising them in some ways in exchange for accepting other limitations on them.  Any

legislative, judicial, or regulatory outcome which infringes our rights without our express approval

is unacceptable.

Those who choose to view America as a democracy make the claim that the majority, in our

case the faction that controls enough power to set government policy, has the authority to

exercise any power they please, by virtue of that majority.  To an extent, they are correct, within

the limits set forth in the Constitution.  What they do not and have never had the authority to do is

to set our sovereign rights aside and act against us as they will, and that is precisely what they

are doing now.  They've been doing it to us for almost the entire history of the United States, and

in recent decades the problem has advanced with express-train speed.  Both political parties are

responsible for this, and there is no indication that this pattern will alter in the future.  

Americans, taken as a whole, do not exercise enough control over their hired administrators to

stave off tyranny and protect their rights.  We have voted our way into the fix we're in.  It is not

likely that we will vote our way out, but we must solve this problem by some means.  There is no

other alternative if we wish to keep what is ours.

Here is the wide part of the divide between the insurrectionist and his detractor.  The detractor

has no backup plan.  He raises the vote as the only acceptable means by which change in

America can be effected, but has no answer to the question, "What happens if that doesn't

work?"  Remember, we sovereign individuals are happy to accept being on the democratic

losing end of any question that does not involve our inalienable rights.  Those are off-limits, and

you don't get a say.  Vote away something we are unwilling to give up, and you have a problem,

because we have a backup plan.

Insurrection doesn't have to be violent, and the variety that is spreading through America as we

speak is not.  In its simplest form, it is civil disobedience.  We withdraw our consent from

government and live by our own rules to the extent we can.  We produce without permission, we

trade without permission, we live, love, eat, sleep, and thrive without permission.  We are aware

of and understand the barriers the State has erected to block such activity and evade them until

such a time as, in the judgement of the individual involved, those barriers have become too

onerous.  At that point, the individual may choose to move farther off the grid to escape the State,

or he might stand his ground and take insurrection to the next level.

Disruptive activity aimed at the infrastructure of tyranny is that next level.  Make it difficult, costly,

or impossible for the State to exercise its power over you.  Communication, power, and

transportation networks are the sort of target one would choose.  This still does not necessarily

mean gunfire and blood in the streets, but it might.  The pressure being exerted on what

Codevilla terms the "Country Class" is already pushing those closest to the edge into violent

action, so far in a wild, impulsive and uncoordinated fashion.  Joe Stack and his airplane are an

example of this.

Disruption of government services would also have the effect of stressing that part of the

population dependent on those services, which would add to the State's workload and reduce

the time and attention they have to spare for the liberty-seekers.

As a last resort, to fend off a State that has cast aside the last remnants of its constitutional

bonds and turned its instruments of violence against its people, you have true violent insurrection,

a civil war, and that is why the Second Amendment exists.  Judge Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit

Court of Appeals called it a "Doomsday provision", the redress to which we may turn when

everything else has failed, when our alternatives are to fight or to die or be enslaved.  We, the

insurrectionists, do not want this.  We know that we can win such a fight, but we also know that

we would lose as much as we gained, the victory would be Pyrrhic, and would ruin America as

we have known her, perhaps for all time.

It is important, however, that all parties understand that we will follow this road if we are forced to

it.  Our rights are not negotiable.  Our lives are not negotiable.  We will not be slaves, no matter

how luxurious the bondage or how noble the justifications offered by the slavemaster.  We will

continue to try and make you understand this stark truth, right up to the point where you either

back down or force us to defend ourselves.  We speak to you, we march in the streets, we gather

openly armed, we break windows and deface signs as a warning, but everyone has a breaking

point, and that point is different for each person.  You will not know you have pushed too far until

the bullet strikes.

So, there we have the options.  We can go about our affairs and elect our agents to represent us,

so long as our rights are respected.  If that fails, we can do as the collectivists would have us do,

and simply submit and place our lives in the hands of the state and hope for the best, or, we can

be insurrectionists.  If you have a solution to tyranny that does not involve surrender or violence,

speak up.  We don't want to fight and we won't be slaves, and we'd love to hear an idea that

makes all that unnecessary.  Talk to us.  You just might be saving America.