Friday, December 10, 2010

On revolution

The Ohio Republic has repeatedly written on the possibility of revolution. I have thought for some time that a revolution is in the air in this country; even though I think Glenn Beck’s assertion that it has already begun is premature. However, given the rate at which the degradation of our liberties is taking place, as evidenced by the TSA scanners, the Food Safety Act, and (possibly) the proposed rules on “Net neutrality,” I can see the revolution beginning in 2011, instead of 2012 as I had originally thought.

Every revolution is unique, and each affects its society in a unique way. Each is the explosion that follows when pressure builds up beyond the ability of a society’s institutions to contain it. Since the pressure builds up gradually, it is impossible to predict when the explosion will take place – but those who are watching can see the pressure building, and know that one is imminent.

How a revolution ends depends on whether the instigators prevail, as they did in Russia in 1917; and how prepared they are to govern, as the French were not in 1792. It also depends on how the people react to the revolution. Do we surrender to what appears to be an unstoppable force, or do we try to stop the revolution, as the French did in 1968? History shows that revolutions hardly ever end in exactly the way the instigators expect. Hegel’s dialectic is true, albeit not in the way Karl Marx anticipated: the thesis (revolution) is always met by an antithesis (reaction), resulting in a synthesis (society following the revolution). If revolutions do not always end as expected, its ideas (or its scars) will nevertheless continue to influence the society.

Glenn Beck is correct on this point: revolutions begin by creating chaos. No one (including Mr. Beck, if he is honest with himself) can know right now whether his particular recipe is accurate. His theory is that the revolution will involve a bottom-up approach (by union thugs and “progressive” activists on the street), coupled with a top-down one (by officials in the Obama Administration and rich and influential people like George Soros). There certainly is evidence that the radical left will try to pin the chaos on tea party activists and “right-wing extremists.”

We may not be able to avert a revolution, but we can prevent the left from imposing its dictatorship of the proletariat on our country. The left has an Achilles heel: its intellectual arrogance. Every statement they publish, every plan they make, reeks of contempt for the intelligence of the American people and their willingness to act. They think that we will fall for every trap they lay, that we will immerse ourselves in football and Desperate Housewives on the tube until it is too late. They think that those of us who do resist, will do so violently. After all, what other reason can there be for asserting our right to bear arms? The rest of us, they think, will engage in a feckless quest to use our corrupted institutions to reverse decades of policies that they have developed in preparation for this day. The key to stopping the left, then, is to act in ways they do not anticipate.

However, to act in ways they do not anticipate, we need to develop some new ways of thinking. Once the revolution begins, the United States of America-as-we-know-it will cease to exist. Not may, will. All of us who treasure our history and our institutions will experience the stages of grief: denial, anger, loss and, acceptance.

In the war of ideas, the Eastern Establishment must be countered by a libertarian intelligentsia; which, fortunately we do have. We have the Mises and Cato Institutes, Walter Williams, and Chuck Baldwin. In Ohio, we have the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. Ohio has another asset, not evident in very many other states: a cohesive liberty movement. That movement made a mistake in this election by trusting too much in the Republican Party; but it will soon realize that it was a mistake. In our state history, we have protected civil liberties much more effectively than most other states. The reason for this has been the fidelity of our courts to the Bill of Rights in our 159-year-old Ohio Constitution. Obviously, we’re not perfect (as Manna Storehouse and the Constitution Day kerfuffle in Andover attest), but we can be proud of our overall record.

With one exception, we have everything we need to protect our freedom. We have the brains, the movement, and the laws behind us. What we need, and this does not come naturally to Ohioans, is the willingness to use them in creative ways.

In revolutionary times, we must think of ourselves as Ohioans first and Americans second. While the nation remains in some semblance of domestic peace, we must continue to use our existing institutions to resist tyranny; for example, by using our new Republican General Assembly and Governor to nullify unconstitutional federal laws in Ohio. We must uphold the rule of law as long as we can.

But when that peace ends, the rule of law at the federal level will go with it. In preparation for that day, we have three very high priorities: we need to strengthen our organized state militia to augment the National Guard to protect us from externally-generated violence; we need to establish a mechanism for using silver in everyday transactions (honest money); and we need for all of us to start thinking, buying, and as practicable, manufacturing locally. And we need to start on all three priorities now. As I wrote earlier, we cannot predict the day the revolution will begin, but we can sense that it will begin very soon. It could be today – it could be a year from now; but we need to prepare now.

In so doing, we will do one of two things, both protecting our liberties. If the rest of the United States proves to be of the same mind as we are, we will all defeat the “progressives” and save the union. Otherwise, we will be prepared to declare and sustain our independence.


dragoon232 said...

Mr. Thomas, who or what organization should Ohioans rally around? Leaderless resistance will not work as some think.


Harold Thomas said...

I recommend the Ohio Liberty Council. While the Ohio Liberty Council is actually a federation of local groups (see right panel of their home page), it has a coordinating council. I know several of the members.