Cannibalism, Justified Resistance, and What Happens After 'Fort Sumter'
21 months ago, I posted this link from The Everlasting Phelps, along with this excerpt from Phelps' piece:
I am almost physically ill with the dread I am feeling right now. I’ve said before that I have thought about armed revolution before. It is something that I think everyone who considers himself a patriot has to think about ahead of time. You might think about it and say “never”, but you need to think about it.
I am reminded of the cannibal paradox. The paradox is that there are a lot of people in starvation scenarios who turn to cannibalism and starve anyways. They starve because the cannibalism taboo is so strong that they wait too long and are past the point of no return before they do what they need to survive. There is [also] a point of no return when it comes to revolution.
Since that post, the statist Democrats have been able to hold and grow their control of both Federal legislative houses, while simultaneously electing the nation's first Socialist President. That President is in the process of completing his executive branch appointments, all of whom are cut from his own elitist, power-aggrandizing cloth. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has released two "intelligence reports" labeling Constitutionalists and veterans as potential "extremists", while her domestic security mechanism grows like Topsy:
As part of the new ever-more-centralized-and-powerful Federal government, the President plans to name one of his old friends, Professor Cass Sunstein, to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. A noted academic, Professor Sunstein believes that the Internet
- is creating political ignorance through its abundance of content choices,
- requires an updated "Fairness Doctrine" to counter partisan blogging, and
- should have a "cooling-off period" imposed on its users to encourage "civility".
Don't believe me -- go and read this article.
And, lest we forget, there are the President's actions in the economic arena that, if attempted by anyone other than the country's first black President, would have led to Congressional investigations, if not actual impeachment.
Here's the fundamental problem. Section 2 of Article II of the US Constitution lists the only powers held by the President:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Section 8 of Article I similarly lists the only powers held by Congress:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Having read the complete lists of authorized acts for both the President and the Congress, is there anyone in the audience who wants to argue that we still live under the government envisioned by the Founders and the ratifying generation?
Hearing nothing, let me ask you this: what are the obligations of a citizen, who has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, when confronted with the question and answer above?
What does it mean to "protect and defend" something that successive generations of Presidents, executive branch appointees, Congresscritters, and Federal judges have robbed, beaten, raped, and finally dumped, bleeding from every orifice, into a roadside ditch to die?
Is there not a duty to first say, "Enough - no more!"?
But what then?
What is the duty of that hypothetical oath-bound citizen when Leviathan merely laughs, while looking for its next target to savage?
Most freedom-loving Americans are somewhere thrashing through the personal thinking-and-action-path that will be created if Leviathan starts to actively squash dissent, seize arms and ammunition, and similar trigger points.
But what happens if Leviathan is too smart to fall into the Waco II trap?
What if Leviathan and its minions simply say, "We won, and you voted for me"?
What if Leviathan simply imposes confiscatory taxes, bankrupts the nation's finances, seizes private property to "help deal with the economic crisis", increases domestic intelligence gathering and surveillance, and doubles-down on the bet that Jeff Snyder called it right in "Walter Mitty's Second Amendment"?
Read this passage from Snyder, and honestly ask yourself whether American society has become more freedom-oriented or more slavery-oriented since Snyder's essay was first published in 1997:
...The people could have their guns. What did the rulers care? They already possessed the complete obedience that they required.
In fact, in their more Machiavellian moments, the rulers could be heard to admit that permitting the people the right to keep and bear arms was a marvelous tool of social control, for it provided the people with the illusion of freedom.
The people, among the most highly regulated on earth, told themselves that they were free because they retained the means of revolt. Just in case things ever got really bad. No one, however, seemed to have too clear an idea what "really bad" really meant. The people accepted the fact that their government no longer even remotely resembled the plan set forth in their original constitution. And the people's values no longer remotely resembled those of their Founding Forebears. The people, in their naiveté, really believed that the means of revolt were to be found in a piece of inanimate metal! Really it was laughable. And pathetic.
No, the rulers knew that the people could safely be trusted with arms. The government educated their children, provided for their retirement in old age, bequeathed assistance if they lost their jobs, mandated that they receive health care, and even doled out food and shelter if they were poor.
The government was the very air the people breathed from childhood to the grave. Few could imagine, let alone desire, any other kind of world.
To the extent that the people paid any attention to their system of government, the great mass spent their days simply clamoring for more or better "programs", more "rational" regulations, in short, more of the same. The only thing that really upset them was waste, fraud, or abuse of the existing programs. Such shenanigans brought forth vehement protests demanding that the government provide their services more efficiently, dammit! The nation's stirring national anthem, adopted long ago by men who fought for their liberty, ended by posng a question, in hopes of keeping the spirit of liberty alive.
Did the flag still fly, it asked, over the land of the free?
Vanderboegh is right when he urges that American freedom fighters should avoid giving the Obamites the "Fort Sumter" provocation that will be used to imposed draconian measures such as martial law, random "gun safety" roadblocks, weapons confiscations, and other outrages.
But just like the taboo against cannibalism, each individual needs to weigh the benefits of avoiding anti-government provocations against the risk of being too weak (both psychologically and militarily) for any post-taboo actions to succeed. Moreover, if the oath to protect and defend the Constitution is to be meaningful, each citizen bound by that oath must both acknowledge and discharge the duty of action (remember, "protect" and "defend" are both action verbs, as we used to learn in grammar school) created when the Constitutional form of government is violated.
For in the end, there is no chain of command for American freedom fighters. The lack of centralized command-and-control mechanisms that insulate leaderless insurrections from many conventional military tactics also leaves the "launch order" as a matter of individual (or small group) discretion.
And remember, if a provocation is needed by Leviathan to advance its objectives, and judicious American gun owners refuse to supply one, one will be provided, courtesy of your tax dollars.
And thus we will plunged, even after acting with reason and prudence, into the post-Sumter world.