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
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.