I didn’t sleep at all the night before last so I crashed early yesterday and didn’t get anything posted. Sorry.
Some people, on both the “Left” and “Right” have been talking about revolution. Whether it’s “We need to get rid of those fascist right-winging KKK Nazis” or “we need to get rid of those liberal commie pinko hippies” or whatever, the idea of using widespread violence to overthrow the existing order and impose ones own has been gaining steam.
I have discussed why this would be a bad thing elsewhere.
But, let’s presume that people don’t listen (and given just how much influence I don’t have–thank all the gods I’m not the only voice crying out about that–I would not be surprised). Suppose we get the violent insurrection that grew into civil war. And suppose one side finally won.
If it’s the side that wants more and more expansive government power, more control over people’s lives, and a more intrusive bureaucracy, no problem. You’ve won. And a government imposed by force of arms generally has no problem using force to expand its power.
But what if it’s the side that wants less government intrusion into people’s lives, less control, and less bureaucracy, you have a real problem. How do you set that up so it sticks past even one election cycle (presuming you have elections in whatever you set up)?
So, are you going to have a Constitution? How will you establish that Constitution? Will you just write it and impose it on the population or will you use some mechanism, any mechanism, to give the people some voice in the Constitution you establish? If you don’t have a Constitution, how are you going to limit the government, not just now but in the future?
High level decision: are you going to let the people have a say in their own government or are you just going to force on them the government (strong or weak) which you want them to have? If the latter, how are you any better than the people who wanted to impose their government on the people? (And if you say “no government” then how do you prevent someone else from coming along and establishing their own choice of government on you?)
And if, instead, you allow the people to choose, the same people that voted in the government you just overthrew, what is to stop them from just voting back the same thing once more, rendering that whole insurrection and civil war an exercise in futility with the blood being shed for nothing.
I have had people, when this issue is pointed out to them, refer back to the American War of Independence. The argument is along the line of “They did it, so we can do it.” But you need to consider what they actually did.
When Europeans settled in the land that would become the United States, one of the first things they did was set up local governments. These governments derived their authority from the various European governments behind them. Over time, the local governments grew, often with a governor appointed by the Crown. And the far-away European Government (English for the thirteen colonies that would become the thirteen original States) exerted greater or lesser control to supersede that of the local governments. But the local government was there, with continuity going back to their European forebears.
During the lead-up to the American Revolution First Continental Congress and then the Second Continental Congress were formed. Each of these contained representatives from the Thirteen Colonies that would become the United States. (Note: The “Stamp Act Congress” was formed before the First Continental Congress but not all of the colonies that would become the United States were represented.) These representatives were sent by their Colonial governments to represent the people of their respective colonies in the Congress. Since these Congresses were represented by people chosen by their respective colonies, via their Colonial governments, again we had continuity of authority stretching back to their European forebears.
The Second Continental Congress served as the national government during the first part of the American War of Independence. It passed the Declaration of Independence eschewing outside authority over the thirteen colonies. Note, however, that it did not renounce the internal Colonial governments already in existence. It retained continuity of authority from the past. It passed the Articles of Confederation, the first charter for a national government structure for the nascent United States. And once again, it did so under authority it already had ceded to it from the existing Colonial governments. Again, continuity of authority.
The Second Continental Congress gave way to the Congress of the Confederation (Not to be confused with the Congress of the Confederated States of America) under the Articles of Confederation passed by the Second Continental Congress. This lasted until a new Constitutional Convention was convened, again with representatives chosen by their respective State governments, the Constitution was written, and was ratified by the States.
Note one thing that did not happen: The Continental Army did not at any point turn and say “you will accept this government that we impose on you.” The people, through their elected representatives, chose their own government. There was continuity of authority leading back to the very founding of the various colonies. The military province, the province of the war, was to reject outside control over first the colonies and later the states. The authority and the government, was established in each step by the actions of the existing government.
Once the new government was established, military force was certainly used to enforce its authority (Whiskey Rebellion et al) but it was not used to establish it in the first place. Nobody pointed guns at Americans and said “you will be a free nation whether you like it or not.”
This, I think, is where too many would-be “revolutionaries of freedom” break down. They have no real plan for how to establish freedom after the shooting is done. Do they have a Constitutional Convention? If so, how do they keep States from sending exactly the same kind of representatives to the Convention that they are already sending to Congress? Do they pick and choose their own representatives from each State? If so, then in what possible way are they “Representative”? Do they go on a massive killing spree, kill enough people who disagree with them until they have a solid majority on “their side”? Can anybody here not see the problem with that? Or perhaps they let people “vote” but only for candidates approved for ideological purity. The “election” system in the old Soviet Union provides a good model for that.
None of those are exactly a good start for a “free” society.
That’s the problem. If you want to create a free nation, you have to change the people first. You have to convince the people that they want a free nation, that freedom, for all of it’s dangers and problems, is superior to tyranny. But if you can do that, why not do it before the revolution? After all, if you can do that, get the people solidly behind the ideal of freedom, the politicians will either fall in line or lose their place.
Once the people are solidly behind the idea of freedom, the only way for would-be tyrants to remain in power is force or such rampant fraud that nobody can deny it. And while fraud has become increasingly apparent in recent years, particularly this last election, I do not believe we have reached that point. Too many people are still willing to turn a blind eye to it and pretend it doesn’t happen or isn’t “significant.”
It is only after you have overwhelming support for the ideal of Freedom among the people–actual Freedom, not the so-called “Freedom” of various guarantees and security that some try to use to co-opt the word–can a revolution hope to bring about a free society in its wake. And once you have that you may find that you don’t need the revolution after all, the ballot box being all the revolution you need.
64 thoughts on “And Then What?”
A revolution is far more likely to end up like the French Revolution than the American Revolution. Probably not the road most people want to go down if they actually have the historical background and intelligence to think it through. You can see the obvious problem there.
I would not support a revolution but I would oppose one that sought to take away my freedoms. Violently. What, however, can we do to prevent the loss of freedom? An intellectual revolution. For sixty years the left has taught their version as dogma in every institution. The average person needs to step up and teach the freedom version of history and philosophy. It is not going to be a speedy process. I see around me people who want immediate results in everything they do. “I came in for extra math help yesterday, why am I still failing today”, “I told my friends the truth yesterday, why do they still think socialism works today”, “The Writer in Black put up this great post about how to fix anything, how come Antifa is still rioting in the streets?”. Our society has been deliberately (imo) educated to be a shallow, ignorant, left leaning body politic.
The way to bring them back is not through violent revolution (although it might feel good for a while) but through steady and slow changes to our system. It must include education (an area where conservatives tend to struggle because our philosophical ideas don’t lend themselves well to bumper sticker slogans), and it must include publication of positive results. The R Congress fell down on the job for two years concerning the ACA (Obamacare) as the D party falsely hyped the evils of not-Obamacare and the R party never mentioned the problems with Obamacare, while simultaneously not putting forward a coherent alternative. This is one small example of why we are losing our country and our culture, and why some feel that violent revolution is the only answer.
Meanwhile, “and then what” is the perfect response to almost any question regarding policy and politics. Free college (and then what?). Abolish ICE (and then what?). Kill all the lawyers (and then what?). That is now my standard response to any political discussion. Make your opponent do the hard thinking since they are just going to tune out your counter-arguments anyway.
You are underselling the effectiveness of political violence. How many different monarchical families have ruled England? How many different dynasties have rulled China? What usually ended one and started another?
Firstly, if a revolution ever comes, it’s not going to be a libertarian one about less government or some such twaddle. At best, we’re talking about a Braveheart-type deal where a chunk of the country wants the freedom to chart its own course and is willing to kill for it. At worst, we’re likely talking about naked fascism sparked by economic collapse. Either way, small government is not in the cards.
I’m not addressing those who want a more tyrannical government, but those who want less. If we get to the point of open, violent revolution we small-government types are screwed, period.
While I don’t disagree with that statement, I think part of the problem with the more-government types is that the vast majority have never lived under a truly tyrannical regime. Sure, the bitch and moan about “Trump taking their freedoms” but they don’t have to worry about a secret police coming making people disappear in the night or having to watch their words because their neighbors will report them for bad-think. The overbearing power of the British Crown fomented the American Revolution, and I think it would take similar conditions again to prompt revolution to a more libertarian government. I don’t think we’re anywhere near that point yet.
The fact that they can make comparisons between Trump and Hitler and not end up in a camp puts the lie to their claim. Indeed, if Trump were “a new Hitler”, a year ago we’d have had at least eight concentration camps (probably more like 40 if we went with relative population compared to Nazi Germany). So far we have precisely…none.
Worst. Hitler. Ever.
He’s not even as good a Hitler as FDR.
And then what? Two major changes to how the US does business today. First, universal sufferage must go! Originally in most American colonies you had to be a property owner to vote. The property tax roll was the voter roll. Or, perhaps a Heinleinian solution, where only honorably discharged veterans vote, but something must change in order to stop the parasites from voting productive citizens wages into their own grubby hands. Second, the judiciary acting as legislators must end! Revert to a slightly updated common law. With zero respect for “precedent”.
And originally, anyone who had the gumption could go out an carve a piece of wilderness for himself. Anyone could become a property owner and no one could stop him (well, except for some natives who might be a little unhappy about his occupying that piece of wilderness). Today that’s no longer the case. Limiting the franchise to landowners would simply be to establish landed aristocracy. And we would expect wealthy landowners to buy up more land, shutting out smaller landholders. There are historical precedents.
Starship Troopers made for a good story, but I am uncertain that it would play out that way in reality. For one thing, Heinlein glossed over the cost of maintaining a federal service (called “military” in the novel because even what we would see as “federal civil service jobs” today were under military discipline) the size of that implied by the twin factors of it being open to literally anyone and it’s being the sole route to full citizenship and the franchise. It’s not going to be cheap. Currently, military veterans number about 6.6% of the population. Limiting the franchise to such a small fraction has its own problems, particularly if it leads to a largely dissatisfied underclass. The Federal Service would have to be much larger than our current military, and thus much more costly, which means posing very large taxes.
The judiciary issue is a bit more complicated than the blatant “zero respect for ‘precedent’.” How do you enforce on the Judiciary what amounts to telling them “this case is very similar to one that’s already been argued and decided but you can’t apply that decision to this case. No, you have to hash it all out again and pretend you don’t know the way the other one was decided.”
But all of this misses the deeper issue. I’m going to presume that you aren’t expecting that you will be the supreme leader of the revolution imposing your particular wishes on the nation going forward. The question really is, who decides what the government going forward will be and what that decision might be. In the event of a successful insurgency/revolution some folk will have to decide what changes will be made to government at the end. Those people are very unlikely to be you or me. Will it simply be the leaders of the revolution imposing their will by force of arms (which has a very bad track record historically when it comes to anything resembling “free society”) or will it be through some form of representative system (which the political side of the American War for Independence was)? In the latter case, you have the same problems that led to the need for revolution in the first place.
What makes a country?
The original Constitution, pre-17th Amendment, said that it’s a bunch of people and a bunch of states coming together to find mutual interests. That’s why the Legislative Branch is Article I, and the Senate was states while the House was people. Now, of course, with direct election of Senators, there’s a whole ‘nother reason to worry.
What if that wasn’t the right division in the first place? What if the Legislature had been allocated into two houses — one, the House, based on people — one vote each. The other, a quasi-Senate, a “Taxate”, elected by one vote per dollar of taxes you paid. If your tax liability on a 1040 was $10,000, you got 10,000 votes toward the Taxate candidate of your choice. Today, all revenue (tax) bills must originate in the House — wouldn’t it make sense that all spending bills must originate in the Taxate? If there is a corporate income tax, wouldn’t it make sense that there would be corporate votes for Taxate candidates? What about tariffs? If foreign entities are paying significant sums, shouldn’t they also have a voice in the Taxate?
This is interesting, certainly, but kind of missing the point which is less about what to establish than about how it is to be established. If whatever setup is to be simply imposed by force of arms (as the Government of the nascent United States was not–as noted above) then one will need force of arms to maintain it and therefore is a military dictatorship no matter what name you apply to it. If it is established by some form of representative mechanism then you have the problem of the same folk sending representatives to Washington will also be sending representatives to establish the new government (and why the idea of a “Convention of States” that some people advocate strikes me as a singularly bad idea).
And since literally all the tools that can actually change people’s minds are in the hands of the left, there’s really no way to change the people. “Here, listen to why freedom is actually better despite requiring hard work and commitment” is going to be less Welcome than “Here, free stuff forever and ever”. I think the only way through is to try and pick up pieces after the fall of the next communist state. Assuming it ever does fall without any opposition from outside. I am seriously coming to the conclusion that freedom is a one-time fluke in human history. We really are not smart enough to maintain it.
Fortunately, it’s not quite as bleak as you present. Just consider the term “Committees of Correspondence” and their role in the lead up to the American War of Independence. Add in that despite having almost complete control of the Education-Entertainment Industrial complex, the Left has been having to pull out all the stops, to the point that it can’t be hidden any more, in election fraud in order to “win.” There are a lot more people who would rather have jobs than handouts than you might think.
Every revolutionary ends by becoming either an oppressor or a heretic. – Albert Camus
Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder. – George Bernard Shaw
Revolutions, as long and bitter experience reveals, are apt to take their color from the regime they overthrow. – Richard Tawney
Those who have seized power, even for the noblest of motives soon persuade themselves that there are good reasons for not relinquishing it. This is particularly likely to happen if they believe themselves to represent some immensely important cause. They will feel that their opponents are ignorant and perverse; before long they will come to hate them…The important thing is to keep their power, not to use it as a means to an eventual paradise. And so what were means become ends, and the original ends are forgotten except on Sundays. – Bertrand Russell
(That should be enough warnings for a Friday — FWP)
Should it come to an actual civil war there will be no winners here. There are too many enemies, internal and external, to allow any conflict to be left to us. The result would be a devastated nation carved up into pieces controlled by the various nations that came in to take what they could.
A friend is fond of saying that there’s nothing wrong wth Washington that large strategic nuclear weapons could not cure; I always point out that such a device has existed for over 240 years: it’s called the ballot box.
Many seem to believe that the Wrong People are allowed to use ballot boxes; the rules on ballot box use are well defined and of long standing, though admittedly, randomly but increasingly observed only in the breach, which is more than a bit worrisome.
And, while I posit that there can legitimately be a time and place for gunfire and rope, I concur that sincere attempts at rectifying structural, procedural and operational anomalies deserve to be pursued well prior to such activity, and such rectification stands a more than reasonable chance of obviating any need for more drastic measures.
The place for the ammo box is when you have a small (preferably foreign but it doesn’t have to be) group maintaining power through illegitimate means. Main force is the most common “illegitimate means” but fraud and deception also applies. The rampant fraud in the just past election suggests we may be heading into that and gives me more hope than I’ve had in years. That they needed to push fraud to the point that they couldn’t hide it any more suggests there may be more support for smaller, less intrusive government than I had thought there was.
I doubt the right wing will initiate a revolution to trim the size of the government, but the left wing might start one to eliminate “facists” and achieve socialism. The most relevant example would be the Russian revolution. Once started, the left and right wing armies would duke it out to see which ideology wins.
As I note, either side could start it. And if forces that want “more government” win, it’s pretty straightforward that they just impose it. Rather, this post was addressed to folk who want less government in the unlikely event (sorry, history suggests that it is extremely unlikely) they win. I don’t think sufficient thought has been given to “what then?” in that case–particularly since the “what then” that would really be needed is needed just as much, if not more, now and can serve to prevent the need of such revolution.
If communists (and they are, regardless of what they call themselves–the key defining point of communism over socialism is the violent overthrow of existing order) start a revolution and lose, well and good. Things continue pretty much as they have been and the “convince people that freedom is a good thing” remains our major tool.
So there are lots of “could happens” that I didn’t address in the post because I was writing a blog post, not a doctoral dissertation. 😉
“Note one thing that did not happen: The Continental Army did not at any point turn and say “you will accept this government that we impose on you.””
No, the Continental ARMY didn’t. Non-Governmental Organizations like the Sons of Liberty and their equivalents in every one of the colonies were not NEARLY so restrained, before, during or after the actual fighting.
Go back and read the actual diaries and letters. What you will find is that all the Tories / Loyalists were given at best three choices:
1. Leave. Whether it was back to England, north to Canada, South to the Caribbean colonies and beyond, or west into the frontier outside American jurisdiction, pack up whatever you can and go. You’ll probably be a good bit broker, but at least you’ll still be an Englishman…. and still alive.
2. Stay and STFU. If you hadn’t been an asshole about it, were sufficiently convincing about your willingness to cooperate, and didn’t raise too much of a stink about losing various offices and a certain amount of wealth, your neighbors would let you stay and live your life… but you probably weren’t on the delegation your state sent to Congresses and conventions to draft the new government.
3. DIE. Particularly in the Carolinas and Georgia, where there were enough Loyalists to raise whole regiments and the fighting was particularly vicious, the Tarleton types and their families tended to find a rope and a tree waiting for them, assuming they weren’t burned alive in their houses.
The Founding Fathers and their legions of followers were fighting a Revolution, not organizing a church social, and I’m always amazed at how eager various people are to claim that they were somehow more than mortal.
And anyone who still believes that the Left is going to stop trying to make us their serfs if we’re nice enough is as hopelessly naive as the German Jews who thought Herr Hitler wasn’t serious.
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And the fact still remains that the existing Colonial/State governments sent representatives to the Continental Congresses which created the Articles of Confederation. And when that turned out not to work very well, those State Governments again sent representatives to the Constitutional Convention to amend the Articles. When that convention instead produced a new Constitution to replace the Articles, the existing State governments ratified them. Through it all there was continuity of government from existing authority, not imposition by force. Even where there was internal strife, the State governments persisted and it was under their authority that the eventual federal government was created.
One correction that is important: The Constitution was ratified not by the existing state governments, but by conventions within each state called for the purpose of considering the Constitution. And it only took 9 of the 13 to make it binding on all 13. And even at that, several wouldn’t ratify it without the Bill of Rights, which was taken up by the newly-seated Congress and referred back to the states as amendments. So there wasn’t quite the same kind of continuity as portrayed.
Your focus on “continuity of authority” neglects that those authorities did not have a continuity of the philosophy of the role of government with the British rulers. This is what undergirded the fact that we had a true revolution, not just a change in regime. The colonial governments fundamentally changed in the run-up to the Revolution, or in some cases during the Revolution. Because of this change in the authority’s understanding of the role and nature of government, those colonial governments could send representatives to the Congress that would intentionally limit the powers of the Government.
Even under this, though, was a change in the understanding of government by the citizens. At the beginning of the Revolution, there was not a dominant majority in favor of severing ties from the Crown. This changed during the Revolution. Even then, it did not change completely – even during the Constitutional Convention, there was a lot of support for creating a new American monarchy. What made the difference was that enough citizens were persuadable to the new, republican form of government being proposed to make the change.
Do also recall that large numbers of people who did not support the Revolution left the territory of the US for other Colonies that remained loyal, or emigrated back to Britain. In any Revolution or Civil War, the revanchists have to be dealt with. The French killed as many as they could after their Revolution, which is why they wound up with Napoleon.
(FWIW, I think the English Civil War will be a more operative model for our upcoming one, instead of the American Revolution or the US Civil War.)
<blockquoteYour focus on “continuity of authority” neglects that those authorities did not have a continuity of the philosophy of the role of government with the British rulers.
No, but what was different was a change in the people, not the “government.” The Constitution wasn’t imposed by force of arms but was chosen by the American People through their existing government forms.
And others didn’t dispute the idea that America should be a “free society”, but rather thought that we could come to an accommodation with Britain to allow the colonies to remain free while still remaining British. They didn’t so much disagree on goals (“free society”) as on methods (“Independence” vs. “accommodation”).
I think you overestimate the difficulty of “separating the concerns” of the powers of the government and the mechanism by which officials of that government are selected and replaced.
“Democracy” is a method of selecting government personnel. That’s it. It bears no direct connection or relationship to the powers granted the government, unless we let it bear such a relationship. It’s also not the only method of selecting government personnel – it was used in our system because it was explicitly believed that, as a method, it would avoid the concentration of power and the erosion of liberty. If it doesn’t actually do that, then the assumptions underlying its choice as a method were wrong, and it’s back to the old drawing board.
A federal government reduced to the powers it possessed in the 1790’s would be such a trivial affair, relative to the experience of “being governed” of everyone now living – that the method used for selecting government personnel would almost be an irrelevant afterthought. There would be almost nothing (by our standards) for the legislative branch to do; practically nothing for the executive branch to execute, and practically all theoretical judicial matters would have been definitively decided by the revolution itself. If we successfully reduce the government to that scale, let the revolutionary faction hold all the offices for as long as it likes, for all I care – sure, that faction will corrupt over time, and become a threat to our liberties, but democracy became a threat to our liberties over time also so it’s a wash.
Like what? And who’s going to bell the cat? The question is, who’s going to decide what the new government will be?
Like I said uptopic, I don’t think you or I are going to be in charge at the end of any hypothetical revolution so how is the decision who is to have power what power they will have, and what will keep them from extending those powers as they chose to be made?
If history is any clue, “over time” basically means less time than it takes the echos of the gunfire to fade away.
One of the key points of the American War for Independence is that the “set up a government” and the “fight the oppressors” issues were largely separate. Washington et all were fighting the British over here and Adams, Franklin, et al were working out the problems of government over there. This is a why the American Government was not imposed on the nascent US at gunpoint, but rather one of our own choosing. Unfortunately, the totality of circumstances which made that happen don’t hold any more.
And, frankly, people who look at a “New American Revolution” to “restore Freedom” really do not think much, if at all, about just how to do that. They rarely think beyond the fighting and winning the fight to “what next?”
1) The growing debt problem ensures economic collapse. This will now occur with near 100% probability , as fiat currency in the history of man has collapsed after reaching this level of debt . This collapse will of necessity greatly diminish federal power – and will probably be the event that leads to regional successions. These may or may not spark a war. Likewise, as the entitlement state collapses, what law enforcement remains will be very busy dealing with riots and increased crime in the cities.
2) Instituting a new small government after a civil war the same way the founders did is certainly possible but it depends on a lot of unpredictable specifics. Only 10% of the population actively supported the first American revolution and still have other existing governments at the State and county level that could be used to form new alliances, in the same way the colonial governments did. There is also no reason to assume that the entire nation would be put back together as a whole, or that City States won’t be carved out and given over to the Big-Government side to rule in a peace settlement … . The very franchise of voting could initially be restricted, Heinlein Style or by property ( as mentioned in another comment) or simply to anyone who isn’t on public assistance or needing charity ( if you can’t make good enough decisions that you can care for yourself, you shouldn’t be making decisions for others) . . and so forth. Emigration or a population exchange could also be encouraged or mandated – 1:1 trades for people who want to come to New America. After a civil war, with dead on both sides, the voting demographics will implicitly be different. The war itself and hard ships experienced will themselves change people. What would get approved or not is really not predictable until the dust settled.
3) This is looking very much to become a rural vs. urban conflict. How long can most American Cities withstand a siege where bridges , railroads, pipelines, and facilities are cut by rebel forces? What would happen to law and order within a city where even 25% of its goods and materials pipelines were cut. What would people in those cities learn about self-reliance and self-protection?
4) if the big- government types gain control via corrupt means at the ballot box — isn’t the government illegitimate anyway? If consent is what makes a government legitimate, then we no longer have a legitimate government to make any decisions, period. Further, since the 2 factions cannot agree on what the rules of the game are, we already essentially have two governments anyway – based on who is elected.
5) Is is not a question of if this conflict will happen. At some point, the big-government types decide to try and to confiscate weapons,and a civil war conflict is then 100% assured to happen. If even 3% of the population resists, they form an Army the size of all current military and LE personal combined… assuming that 100% of those people do not join the resistance. At that point, it becomes a war of attrition.
6) The people fighting for freedom are fighting for something they believe in. The Big Government types don’t really believe in anything but getting what they want at the moment , and they largely expect others to provide it ( via government coercion) How many of these people will put their own lives on the line to impose their vision and access to the produce of others? In talking to them, I suspect that number is going to be quite low. Like any other bully, it only seems like a good idea to them until there is actual resistance that affects them directly.
7) Revolutions are always very risky things. Yes, people who obtain power are very likely to try to keep it. A Civil War may very well follow an undesirable path such as the French Revolution. However the alternative to taking that risk is every growing and unrelenting despotism at the hands of “big government” types you persecute people with the approval of their own conscience. In this case, small-government types are also “screwed”, and with 100% certainty. So wouldn’t screwing the other side as much as one can before being taken out the logical course of action?
The new constitution can fix some of the problems identified in the old one, e.g. lack of a balanced budget clause, clarifying the commerce clause, restricting the ability of the people to vote themselves a largess from the public treasury, etc.
The fact is that in a civil war a lot of Democrat (note: I’m just using the current party labels as a shorthand, I don’t actually expect our current party system to survive a civil war) voters are going to die. Either directly in combat or through the secondary effects of the war. Democrat voters are far more susceptible to the latter and since we’re assuming the Republicans win they’ll likely suffer fewer combat deaths than the losers. That’s going to change the post-war voting patterns pretty substantially.
Then there’s ethnic cleansing. It gets a bad rap because the easiest way to do it is just shoot the people on the wrong side of the border, but putting them on a plane to the right side of the border is far less evil. That’s what happened in the aftermath of WWII, and it’s been one factor in Europe’s stability since then. No matter how far Left someone is today, there’s a country out there that already runs the way they think America should run. The Right doesn’t have that luxury. If the new government, with stronger controls on implementing the Left’s agenda, were to offer or require former Democrats to move at no cost to them, I think a sizable number would take advantage of it.
That education part? I’ve got a domain, that has a Moodle set up (allows anyone to set up a course). If you’d like to suggest a course, or – preferably – would like to run one, email me at yahoo – lfox368806 – and we can talk about what you’d like to do, and how I can help.
We really can’t wait until the academia is reformed – we need to step outside of it, and run our own education system – unaccredited, Non-PC, and leading people to greater knowledge of our principles.
Part of what my friend Sarah Hoyt calls “build over, build under, build around.” Back when my daughter brought back a report from school “The purpose of government is to provide services that individuals can’t pay for.” Well, that led to me giving her “mini-civics” lessons when we were in the car together (taking her to school and what not) where we covered things like the Declaration of Independence (one of the best descriptions of the limited, legitimate roll of government ever put to paper IMO) and moving on to the branches of government and the Bill of Rights. It stuck apparently since she’s very much libertarian leaning now in High School.
Build over, build under, and build around. Make our own modern-day Committees of Correspondence. We can’t match the height of the education-entertainment complex. What we can do is counter with massively parallel action. If every liberty loving individual could just convince two others…
I don’t see revolution, or even an attempt at one as happened in the American Civil War.
I do see something more akin to the way the American South used to work, where one side of the racial divide owned the government and inflicted pretty much any injustice it wanted to.
Worse, the “in and out” justice system is clearly designed to keep the honest citizen in fear and therefore dependent on the dubious and grudgingly given “protection” of the state.
So, don’t look for the future being something like the formal lining up of opponents in the American Civil War. Geography makes that virtually impossible.
Much more likely is something between the Troubles in Ireland, and the Genocide in Rwanda.
Yes. I go into that in the post linked in the OP about why a modern revolution would be a bad thing: https://thewriterinblack.com/2017/10/03/second-american-revolution-i-hope-not-an-updated-blast-from-the-past/
I’ve been saying for a while now that our current situation is closer to the Civil Rights Movement than the Civil War. The fact is that the partisans screaming at one another, on both sides, add up to a minority of the country. Our political future rests on which side can sway the silent majority to them, which is why fighting back against the Antefa crowd is a bad idea.
That argument has been played out in history before. Sometimes it has worked out (sort of). Other times it has just given the opposition the opportunity for massacres. And when it has worked out it has usually been more complicated than that. Gandhi wasn’t the only one resisting British rule in India and some of those others were far from non-violent. How much the violent factions vs. Gandhi’s non-violence factored into the eventual British withdrawal nobody can really say (although I’m sure many have strong opinions). What Gandhi did was provide a face saving front–the British could say “we didn’t surrender to violence, we recognized the unjustness of our rule thanks to Gandhi’s efforts” and they may even have believed it). Similarly in the American Civil Rights movement, Malcolm X had considerable justice on his side when he said “the reason they’re willing to talk to Martin is that otherwise they’d have to talk to me.”
I don’t think that Malcolm X or the violent Indian separatists were necessary or even useful to their respective movements. What King and Gandhi did was expose the lies behind the repressive regimes. Blacks (and Indians) were not near-animals or superannuated children that needed white men to protect them from themselves, they were full fledged human beings with a fully-developed philosophy and a desire for true freedom. The violent extremists like X were actually counterproductive since King’s target audience would be susceptible to the argument that violent suppression of blacks was necessary to prevent a violent backlash by the likes of the Nation of Islam and Black Panthers.
That’s nice. That you “don’t think that” doesn’t mean that it wasn’t. You’re making some assertions here, and those assertions may be “conventional wisdom” but assertions are a long way from proof. The fact remains that neither of the classic examples of “non-violent resistance”–the 60’s Civil Rights movement and the Indian resistance to British rule were, in fact, entirely non-violent. And thus they do not show non-violence by itself winning freedom. Claims that they would have “gone better” without the violent components are speculating in advance of evidence.
We also have, for instance, the “gay rights” movement. For a long time activists advocated staying quiet, not raising a fuss, “go along to get along” and no progress was made on that front at all. The Stonewall riots marked a turning point drawing a “we will only be pushed so far” line in the sand as it were.
The track record of non-violence by itself winning freedom against those willing to use violence in opposition is quite lacking.
It’s a tightrope walk. The violence in the Civil Rights movement and the Indian separation movement did not rise to the level of open warfare which would evoke a far greater violent response from the “oppressors”. The threat of more extensive action often serves better than the actuality.
Consider also that there’s a great deal of difference between the paternalism of British rule in India or the Jim Crow laws of the South and the depiction of the “opposition” as Nazis, Fascists, outright evil. It’s much, much harder to convince the latter that what they’re doing is wrong by letting them beat on you. If people can’t see the difference between defending oneself, even violently, against the latter, if you can’t see the difference, then we’ve already lost the “non-violent” approach.
Well, you could look at how liberation movements played out in Malaysia, Rhodesia, and South Africa, where violent anti-colonial forces provided the regime an excuse for crackdowns. It’s also disingenuous to talk about the failures of the gay rights movement before Stonewall, since Stonewall was the beginning of organized opposition to anti-gay discrimination.
On the other hand, you’ve got the self-serving assertion of Malcolm X.
Your last paragraph reveals that you don’t understand the point of King and Gandhi’s strategy (to be fair, Gandhi didn’t understand the point of his strategy, hence his comments regarding the Holocaust). The point isn’t to let the oppressors beat you until they get tired of it, it’s to demand your dignity and force the oppressors to violate their stated morals to denigrate you. It only works when the oppressors rely on tacit political support of a population that values morality over oppressing the victim group. In the cases of India and Jim Crow that would be the general British and American populations.
Now find me some examples of a purely non-violent resistance, lacking in any violent component.
That you are unaware of any such movements does not mean they did not exist.
The presumption, fatuous in the extreme in this case, is that they will get tired of it and have any problem with any potential “violation of their stated morals.” Antifa and such groups are no more likely to be deterred by that than were there sturmabteilung.
And when the victim group is actually portrayed to that population as a victim group. When the victim group is portrayed as the enemy and the source of all the troubles that population experiences it’s a little (we need an “understatement” font) less effective.
You’re assuming conditions that don’t exist based on historical parallels that weren’t parallel and coming to conclusions that, well, if you’re going to wish for that, I can wish for a pony with about as much reason.
“Now find me some examples of a purely non-violent resistance, lacking in any violent component.”
Given human nature that’s an impossible demand, and you should know it.
“The presumption, fatuous in the extreme in this case, is that they will get tired of it…”
That’s not the presumption, in fact I specifically stated that wasn’t the case. At this point I have no choice but to conclude that you’re so wedded to your position that Malcolm X wasn’t talking out of his ass that you’ve thrown your intellectual honesty over the gunwales.
So, you’re speculating in absence of evidence. Does violent resistance always work? Of course not. Hell, historically most resistance hasn’t worked. But the assumption that pure non-violence would work better is just that, an assumption, untested in the real world. And you might consider that there are reasons other than your flippant “given human nature” for that.
And if we accept your “given human nature” is there some reason to expect human nature to change in the future? If not, then perhaps instead of wishing for rainbows and kittens you might instead consider dealing with the actual situation on the ground.
You mean like when you left out the key part of that line “and have any problem with any potential ‘violation of their stated morals'”?
Okay, I got a little confused flipping back and forth between your post and my comments. I retract the “get tired of it.” However, the statement stands even without that bit.
Edit: I rarely edit these things, but this time it serves a point. See, that line up there where I said “You mean like…” In flipping back and forth I copied one part of the statement, but didn’t copy over the part “that you’ve thrown your intellectual honesty over the gunwales” to which that statement is in response. This is a blog, something I toss off rather quickly. After all, it’s not like I’m getting paid for it. And mistakes happen. However you will note that when said mistakes are brought to my attention I own up to them.
We have a perfectly good Constitution, we’re just not using it any more. Be it through ‘penumbras and emanations’ or just ignoring the clear text through desire alone and slowly boiling the frog with little ‘changes’ that can’t be challenged. To say nothing of the current joke, ‘the Hawaiian judge.’
If and when the violence comes, just be sure to put a note on each political assassination detailing what portions of the Constitution they failed to uphold. It might not hit the news, but the important people will get the message.
Amendment 28. Simply repeat the text of the Constitution and Bill of rights and add the line. “And this time we mean it.”
Excellent critical thinking. Altho, you won’t get the “people” to back the “revolution” (going back to what the country really stood for). Because, each human is a selfish, ego centric, putz. The people have had too much of the largesse from the ruling class…..and the people don’t want to lose that. Taking care of themselves is too hard!
The dillema is that if you don’t change that, a revolution aimed at “restoring freedom” is doomed to fail. If you do change that such a revolution is unnecessary. We have the mechanisms in place to “restore freedom”. What we lack is a population with the will to do so.
As the late Chicago School economist Milton Friedman was fond of saying. “You don’t change things by electing the right people. It’s nice to elect the right people, but that’s not the way you change things. No, the way you change things is by creating a climate of opinion where it’s politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.”
We need to change that “climate of opinion.”
I feel one thing is missing from your analysis: those advocating for a new constitution (or revolution) aren’t wanting to keep the same country with a new set of governing documents. They’re wanting a wholesale redistribution of borders. So Washington and Oregon would split with the eastern half of each joining Idaho. California would split. We see a great split between rural and urban areas.
No idea how it would happen practically but those are the conversations I’m hearing.
The post wasn’t about the details of what the end result will be, but rather in thinking about how how to bring about that final result without setting some really bad precedents. I am wont to say “anything government can do for you, it can do to you.” Same thing applies to revolution: anything you do to others after your revolution, can be done to you.
So accept your subjugation. You’ve managed an excellent argument for the status quo, where the electoral fraud we are seeing everywhere ensures it.
“He who will not risk, cannot win.”
“You’ve managed an excellent argument for the status quo”
You’ve managed an excellent case of completely missing the point.
So, what you’re saying is, “let’s you and him fight.”
You keep always telling other people “we” need to revolt.
While you are mostly correct, you miss an important point: a revolution here would not likely retain the country as it is. There would be a division, leaving some areas divorced from the rest of the country. In which case, there would be continuity of gov’t.
Yes, many espousing ‘revolution’ aren’t even thinking of that.
And, yes, any American revolution would require changing the attitudes of the people, first and foremost.
There are additional problems with that which go beyond the scope of this blog post. Two points to consider though:
One major cause of war historically has been control of trade routes–the Crusades are generally billed as “religious wars” but control over the trade routs to the Orient were also a very large part of them.
The divide isn’t so much State vs. State, but largely urban vs. rural. “Red or blue” as States go is largely driven by how urbanizes the population of the State is. Unless we learn to manage that the problem will soon crop up again whenever the “mostly rural” (and thus generally “red”) successor nation urbanizes to foster economic growth.
If you wish to establish a majority in favor of freedom, it would suffice simply to deprive women of the franchise, as was the case when the Constitution was written.
Thank you for your thoughts.
You fail to grasp the nature of revolution. Revolutions don’t build, they DESTROY. Like a wild fire, they clear the ground to allow something new to be built, but no wildfire ever planted a tree. Nor is there ever any guarantee that what comes next will be better, revolutions are a gamble. But there comes a point where things as they are is no longer tolerable, and all peaceful means of change are futile. When the pressure builds to a sufficient level, societies go boom. No one is really in charge of starting a revolution, they self-ignite. And they’re never won. They’re survived.
Amazing the number of people who don’t grasp that they things they say I don’t grasp are. actually. the. point.
The whole point of the post was that the revolution itself doesn’t give you the society you want (for any given “you”). Whoever sets it off, whoever wins, you then have to try to build the society you want. And so the question is “And then what?”
Of course not. But you also don’t build something without clearing the site FIRST.
“Without clearing the site FIRST.”
“clearing the site” without having the plan, tools, and materials in place for rebuilding is just to leave the site fallow. In this case “fallow” is “failed state”. And the plans, tools, and materials necessary for that rebuilding are exactly what would be necessary to remodel the existing structure. If you can’t do the latter, you can’t do the former, not if your goal is “free state” rather than “my preferred tyranny.”
This is indeed a thorny question. That’s one reason why I don’t trust people who are too eager to begin a shooting war: they’ve forgotten how messy such things tend to get, both during the war and thereafter. Also, conditions today ensure that such a war will be far messier than our last Civil War, which was bloody and ragged enough; Lincoln and Davis didn’t have nuclear weapons, and though states on either side had a fair number of dissenters and rogue counties (most prominently demonstrated by West Virginia’s secession from Virginia in 1863), the battle lines between North and South were much clearer than the lines we would inevitably have to draw between Blue and Red today. To be sure, as the “islands of Blue in a sea of Red” electoral maps have repeatedly demonstrated, the fight would mainly be between rural and urban areas; yet consider how ragged that distinction becomes in suburban areas (where the vast majority of any skirmishes on the ground are likely to be fought), and how many people potentially on the Red side are regular commuters to the city and how many potentially on the Blue side are “green” types living in cult communes and compounds in the countryside. In today’s wars, as in every war since we took the battle to the skies in World War I, the battlefield is everywhere.
Then, as you point out, there’s some question of what happens after a nigh-inevitable Red victory; I say “nigh-inevitable” because should such a war go nuclear (and what’s to stop it from doing so?), those “islands of Blue” will all be annihilated within hours. That such a nuclear war would be short would not, however, make it any cleaner: as mentioned, millions of Red commuters will likely be killed along with those tens of millions of urban-dwelling Blues, and Red ground forces will still have to mop up a lot of Blue suburban insurrectionists and “green” Blues in the countryside. Then the war’s (mostly Red) survivors have to deal with a substantial percentage of America’s industrial infrastructure having been reduced to collateral damage; while the internet would likely survive the nuking of the cities (as it was originally designed to do), where are we to manufacture our vehicles and farm equipment and other products essential to rural living in our time?
Beyond that, there’s the question of continuity of government, as you point out: one of the dirty little open secrets of the first Civil War is that for all of their radical secessionist talk, the Confederates weren’t that eager to alter the basic structure of government; try reading the Confederate Constitution sometime, and you’ll see it’s basically just the original United States Constitution with a few parts altered to ensure the permanent establishment of negro slavery therein (which ought to lay to rest the “Lost Cause” mythologists’ fraudulent claims that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery; from the South’s perspective, at least, it was entirely about slavery). In all likelihood, the best outcome we could hope to achieve from Civil War II would be the restoration of our original Constitutional rule of laws and the enforcement thereof, but I doubt victorious Red factions would be entirely able to resist the temptation to rewrite massive sections of it to suit their own short-term objectives, or that such factions would be entirely able to reconcile their Constitution 2.0 “beta” versions into one unified document. At worst, their petty bickering might bring about a Civil War III as has happened numerous times in neighboring Mexico; and to prevent that, people might instead be willing to allow a “benevolent” dictator to take power the way Franco did in Spain after overthrowing the Communists in the Spanish Civil War.
If Civil War II is as inevitable as some people are making it out to be, our best bet would obviously be to hold another Constitutional Convention immediately after the Blues are overthrown. However, I’m not too convinced so very many of the armchair revolutionaries spoiling for a fight are thinking that far ahead, or are at all prepared for what may be the very grim and gory aftermath of a far messier war than they’re anticipating. That’s why I don’t trust anyone who’s spoiling for the fight.
“Recognizing the inevitable and acting on it before you’ve been whittled away by attrition” != “That’s why I don’t trust anyone who’s spoiling for the fight.”
Again, the choice is clear. Lose inevitably under the thoroughly corrupt status quo, or try something that offers a possibility of success. Your choice.
“Again, the choice is clear.”
You keep saying that. You keep saying the only answer is armed revolt. Yet I don’t see a rifle in your hand.
So I’m not sure which is the “benefit of the doubt” as to why you aren’t actually acting on what you say: that you don’t believe what you’re saying, or that you do and there are other reasons.
You don’t see quite a bit.
Including a decided lack of practicing what you claim to be preaching, just a lot of “let’s you and him fight.”
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
Nice. I’d be willing to bet that this is true of virtually all seizures of power. The average person thinks it won’t be that bad and so does nothing, or thinks that they are in the minority of thought and so does nothing, or that the targets really are a threat and so do nothing. End result, nothing is done and no one is resisted. Of course this is the argument that Antifa is making for assaulting conservatives, so maybe the do nothings had a point.
“Your focus on “continuity of authority” neglects that those authorities did not have a continuity of the philosophy of the role of government with the British rulers.”
More importantly they did have a continuity of philosophy with the British people. All the way back to Magna Carta, English political philosophy was focused on the rights of the individual and the limits on government. The fact that the British rulers had gradually eroded those rights doesn’t mean that the philosophy wasn’t there. Burke, Mill, Locke, et al were all, not necessarily coincidentally, from Britain. Nowhere else developed the tradition of freedom that England did and from where it spread.