Elsewhere, the discussion came up again about the political landscape. Some people, frustrated by Republican lack of anything resembling a spine and repeatedly rolling over for the current administration are talking about "alternatives" including going third party, "letting it burn" (and thus having society and rule of law collapse), or worst of all "revolution."
First, let's be clear on one thing: If we lose liberty here, it's over. Unlike past generations, people elsewhere in the world living under tyranny, we have no place to go. If the US stops being a Constitutional Republic of limited powers where ultimate sovereignty comes from the people and individual liberty is the primary watchword, then there's no place else to go.
This is not a new idea:
Some people look at the American Revolution and say “we need to do
that again.” What they miss is that the situation here in the US at the
time of the Revolution were unique in history, they haven’t been
recreated since, and don’t hold now. By the time of the US break with
Britain, we had a nation of immigrants “self selected” to a large extent
for desiring freedom. Oh, it may have been the freedom to create their
own highly insular and regulated communities but the key words there
are “their own”. Even the “loyalists” were more “we can work something
out to keep our freedoms” than “we should just kowtow to being ruled”
(at least that’s my impression from my readings over the years).
The American revolution is, therefore, unique. Looking at other
revolutions in other times and places does not lead to happy making
feelings “Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite” and The Terror. That’s a more
common model, especially “The Terror.”
If it does come to actual revolution, I expect that to be the
most likely outcome, not “a new birth of freedom, kumbaya”. The odds
are so very long against getting anything like a free society out of an
armed insurrection that, well, things have to be pretty far gone indeed
for that forlorn hope to look like the better option.
As for the actual conduct of such a revolution itself, that will get
ugly. Incredibly ugly. I’ve discussed that a bit elsewhere:
Second American Revolution--I Hope Not
In 2008 a movie was made about Jewish resistance fighters in Nazi
occupied Bellarus. One of the things I noted was the partisans
execution of an informer. That’s exactly how things will have to be.
Doesn’t matter how intimidated you are, doesn’t matter if they beat it
out of you or threatened your family, or what. You inform; you die.
And if (more like when) that doesn’t succeed in stopping informers (or
keeping the level low enough that the insurrection can proceed) the next
step is to escalate: you inform; your entire family dies.
Immoral? Downright evil? Yep. But that’s where it will be. That’s
what it will be. That’s what an armed “Second* American Revolution”
will come to.
Better be damned sure it’s justified before pulling that trigger.
Some other thoughts to ponder about a Revolution. Back in the days of the American Revolution, what most Americans wanted was to be left alone. They liked
the idea of liberty. They might disagree on whether negotiating with
the King or declaring independence is the best way to get that but they
pretty much agreed (oh, there were exceptions–there always are–but by
and large). The problem was outside, the King and Parliament.
We have almost the exact opposite situation here. Now, in America,
entirely too many people are infected with “there ought to be a law” or a
lust for “goodies that other people pay for.”
So, you have your revolution. You win it. It isn’t hijacked by
people wanting to use it for their own ends rather than the cause of
“Freedom”. (Three miracles in a row of which the last is the greatest,
but let’s go with that.) Now what? The people are the same people. You
have your new Constitutional Convention? The people who send Pelosi
and Boxer, Schumer and Jackson Lee, to Washington are also going to be
sending delegates to this convention. How do you prevent them from
doing something just as bad?
If you set up a Representative government, you’ve got the same
problem because you’ve got the same voters with the same attitudes.
What are you going to do? Kill or forcibly deport everyone who
disagrees with you? There is a word for that. (Actually several words,
but I’ll just go with “evil”.)
Or maybe you’ll go the other way. A benevolent dictatorship can be
as free as a Constitutional Republic: provided you get a dictator whose
goal is to leave people alone. There’s very little necessary
connection between the form government takes and the freedom of the
people under it. So, that can work for a generation, maybe two. Of
course how benevolent is a dictator who puts himself in power by force
of arms likely to be. (A fourth miracle, greater than the other three
So you get your revolution and you win it. Now what?
I ever start voting third party, it will mean one of two things:
either the third party has somehow managed to get into the double digits
in the vote (hey, I can dream) or I've simply given up. It won't be
because I think voting for someone who can't even get one percent of
the vote is going to make things better in any way.
It will also be about the time I start drinking.