"Second American Revolution?" I hope not.

Well, I’ve run into the claim that the “Right”, particularly the “tea party” wants a “second American Revolution.”   As usual, they’re interpreting “warnings” (of the “if this goes on” kind) with “endorsements.”

There’s a problem with a “Second American Revolution”.

You know, people always point at the American Civil War as this paragon of “proof” that civil wars cannot unseat the established US government.  However there have been a lot of civil wars in history.  Sometimes the existing government wins.  Sometimes the rebels win.  Sometimes the results are confusing at best.

This worship of the American government as some kind of unstoppable monolith would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic (because it’s leading toward exactly the same kind of disaster I’m warning against).

They aren’t.  Consider, the US military numbers under one and a half million people on active duty.  There are over twenty million military veterans in the civilian population.  There are over 100 million gun owners, with more than 300 million guns between them.  The term for that, even considering the “heavy weapons” of the military (which are of limited use in a civil insurrection–you think a government that ordered the carpet bombing of Des Moines would still be in power by the time the smoke cleared?) and even ignoring that a lot of the military would say “no way in hell”. is “adverse correlation of forces”.

So what are you going to do with that many people?  You’re either going to need a lot of new prisons or a lot of new mass graves.  Either way, the rest of the population is going to notice.  This isn’t China or Russia, which have pretty much always lived under totalitarian regimes and accept it as the status quo.  If strong military action in the Middle East, would, as is often claimed, “create more terrorists”, what makes you think it won’t have exactly the same effect if applied internally in the US?

And then you need to consider that the whole idea of open field battles or even “hiding in the woods” is not how an insurgency would work.  It won’t be some guys hiding in the woods.  It will be some folk going about their daily business then, from time to time, pulling out one of those 300 million firearms (or one of the hundreds of millions of “improvised weapons” that would come up after the fact–guns are easy to make once you know how, as are explosives by the way) setting up somewhere and killing one or two politicians, or soldiers serving the “regime”, or influential backers of the regime, or people working for them.  Some will be caught.  Some won’t.

There’s a book “Fry the Brain” about just that kind of “urban sniping”.  It’s one of the things that was not uncommon in Northern Ireland and a practically daily occurrence in Beirut during the worst of it.  It would be ugly.

Catching the insurgents?  They would not be using electronic media to communicate.  The cat’s out of that bag so the smart ones will know better (and the non-smart ones will either soon learn better or be culled).  Or if they do use electronic communication it will either be one-time pads (unbreakable if they’re truly “one time”) or mixed in with so many false messages that the authorities have to burn up so many resources chasing down all the false leads that they do the insurgents’ jobs for them.

Well, they’d have informants.  But I guarantee that very soon indeed policy among insurgents would soon become “you inform; you die.” Doesn’t matter if they dangled a million dollars in front of you.  Doesn’t matter if you honestly believed the regime was the “good guys”.  Doesn’t matter if they “beat it out of you”.  Doesn’t matter if they threatened your family.  You inform; you die.  And if that doesn’t work to keep the rate of informing down, it will become, “you inform, your family dies.”

It is not moral.  It is not ethical.  But history has shown that in existential wars morals and ethics are among the first casualties.

I am not endorsing this.  Exactly the opposite.  I am pointing these things out because I recognize how truly horrible a general insurgency in the US would be.  I am pointing them out in the hopes that the people pushing us in that direction, people creating the situations such that a very large number of Americans who believe in the Constitution as written and as properly amended (which itself is according to the Constitution), who believe in individual liberty and self determination, will stop pushing things so that that large number of people start believing that the choice is between finally giving up on liberty and this kind of horror.

I desperately want to avoid anything like that because if it gets to that point, then whoever “wins”, the end result will almost certainly bear no resemblance to “liberty.”

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