Where Is the Line for Revolution?

The subject of revolution is a touchy one. It’s not a word that should be thrown around lightly, and when it is uttered at all, it elicits a chaotic jumble of opinions and debates from know-it-alls the world over. The “R” word has been persona non grata for quite some time in America, and until recently, was met with jeers and knee-jerk belligerence.

However, let’s face it; today, the idea is not so far fetched. We have a global banking system that is feeding like a tapeworm in the stagnant guts of our economy. We suffer an election system so fraudulent BOTH sides of the political spectrum now represent a hyper-rich minority while the rest of us are simply expected to play along and enjoy the illusion of choice. We have a judicial body that has gone out of its way to whittle down our civil liberties and to marginalize our Constitution as some kind of “outdated relic”.

We have an executive branch that issues special orders like monarchical edicts every month, each new order even more invasive and oppressive than the last. And, we have an establishment system that now believes it has the right to surveil the citizenry en masse and on the slightest whim without any consideration for 4th Amendment protections.

There are plenty of pessimists out there who would assert that Americans are totally oblivious to these developments. I have not found that to be true at all. Millions of people are awake to such issues, and millions more are, at the very least, angry at the state of things, though they may not fully understand the source of their distress.

Only a fool would deny that a fight is in the air…

Though the atmosphere of conflict is present, we are indeed experiencing a pause, a breath, a quiet moment before the breach, and this is a confusing time for many.

We human beings have a very odd tendency to view our own species as inherently and irrevocably violent, or at the very least terribly flawed. However, for all the negative press mankind gets for being “warlike”, if we look back at history it is much more customary to find people desperately trying to avoid conflict, not provoke it, especially if there is an element of tangible risk. Wars are usually not fought by the general citizenry, or the men who promote the pursuit of hostilities. They pay other people to fight for them. If they were ever expected to actually participate in the same battles they lust after, they would probably change their minds about the whole idea rather quickly.

Most often the only instances in which common people take up arms and charge towards combat based on principle have been revolutions. Some revolutions are based on lies, and some are based on inspiration, but all of them require men to conquer their own apathy and fear of confrontation. This is no easy task, and it sometimes takes years or decades of social adaptation and organization.

The elements of a revolution are synchronous. They are like the ingredients of a boiling tropical storm. Each vital aspect of the event must be in place, or there can be no energy or direction. That said, if an environment is left sweltering and volatile, and this electric stew is maintained long enough, eventually, a tempest will rise.

The real question is; where is the tipping point? What causes a population to tolerate or ignore certain crimes by governments, but not others? Where is the line in the sand that if crossed, turns an apprehensively meek citizen into an “enemy of the state” ready to lay down his life against the very system he was born into? The answer is an intuitive and psychological one, rather than mathematical.

Colonial Americans suffered through numerous and mounting indignities over the course of many years before taking up arms. They attempted nearly every method imaginable to counter or reason with British oppression without turning to violent means. They exhausted every avenue, legal, political, and social. They held rousing protests. They decentralized economically and countered British trade controls. They constructed brilliant legal arguments appealing to the monarchy to embrace logic. They attempted diplomatic redress after redress. It was abundantly clear that they did not want a war. When average Americans consider the revolution that gave birth to our free republic, they tend to forget the long struggle that was necessary to rally support for a declaration of liberties. No society, no matter how right in their position, and no matter how heinous the tyranny, jumps directly behind the muzzle of a gun to solve the problem. Revolution takes time…

As difficult as it is to rationally gauge the exact moment or circumstance that triggers revolt, the intensity or build up to conflict can certainly be felt. That pressure is tactile in America today, and is becoming difficult to ignore. The reasons are obvious. In the past 10 years alone elements of our government have cemented into place the “legal” framework to:

1) Detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without trial under the guise of enemy combatant status.

2) Assassinate U.S. citizens without trial and without due process under the law, including the very clear requirements of the treason clause.

3) Confiscate resources, including your private property, in the name of national security and preparedness.

4) Take control of or eliminate all communications networks including phone, radio, television, cell, internet, etc. in the name of national security.

5) Unleash a swarm of unmanned Predator Drones over our homes and towns to make mass surveillance of the public easier. All without probable cause or the protections of the 4th Amendment.

6) Capture, collate, and monitor the communications of millions of citizens without probable cause or a warrant under the FISA domestic spy bill.

7) Declare martial law without congressional oversight and embed active serving military amongst the populace in a law enforcement capacity. This includes the institution of Northcom, which is a standing military presence in the U.S. whose primary mission is to quell domestic dissent.

Most of the laws and executive orders that qualify this behavior from our government have been tested, at least in a limited capacity. These abuses of power have already galvanized a groundswell of activists across the country, and I believe that if implemented in a broader manner, will instigate revolution. Where is the line? I believe the line will be drawn with these trespasses:

1) Any action that involves the standardization of indefinite detainment or rendition against American citizens will result in rebellion. The second due process is thrown out the window and the right to a trial by jury is revoked, there is not much left for a population to do but fight back. This includes pre-emptive assassination as well. The more often enemy combatant status is applied to get around Constitutional protections, the more exponential public anger and fury will be. Black bagging people will lead to war.

2) Economic mismanagement or deliberate derailment by banks has been accomplished with the aid and collusion of government. This has been made abundantly clear by numerous instances of exposed fraud, including the Libor Scandal, in which the private Federal Reserve and agencies within our own system have openly admitted to hiding the precarious nature of our financial situation. Any further implosion of the overall economy will be blamed on this fraud by a considerable portion of the public. When people’s wallets and bellies become empty, it’s amazing how quickly they will get off their couches to solve a crisis. If they can’t find justice within the system, history has shown that they will look for justice outside of it.

3) The institution of checkpoints, invasive technology like naked body scanners, and exaggerated law enforcement presence on a wide scale, will invariably lead to revolt. Dealing with TSA thugs in an airport is one thing; people fly voluntarily, and when they do it often involves a particular level of fear and anxiety, which can be used as rationalization for extreme security measures. Dealing with blue-shirts on the streets near your home, at the bus stop, or on the highway, on the other hand, is not going to go over too well. These tactics have already been experimented with on a small scale. I don’t care how sheepish the American people appear to be in this era; start invading their personal space on a regular basis and many will eventually respond with fists instead of shrugged shoulders.

4) Predator drone fleets hovering over every square mile of the U.S. is not only completely unacceptable, it is going to escalate dissent into the realm of revolution. Any society that harbors even the slightest morsel of individualism is going to think “expedient regime change” when flying surveillance cameras are buzzing over their shoulders 24 hours a day. Set aside the fact that many of these drones will be launched weapons capable. No government has the right to categorize the whole of a citizenry as potential criminals. “When innocent until proven guilty” becomes “guilty until proven innocent”, revolutions become inevitable.

5) Martial Law is an impractical solution to any national crisis. The Founding Fathers understood this well, which is why they specifically opposed the use of standing armies, especially in peace time. Under the Constitution, the private citizenry was supposed to be the disaster reaction force, not government paid centurions. There were multiple reasons behind this position. First, military troops are not trained for and do not have the capacity to police a domestic population (especially their own) in a practical manner. They are trained to do one thing; dominate an enemy. Second, the citizens within a particular state or county would have a much better understanding of that region’s needs and complexities. A military composed of mostly unfamiliar outsiders would not know or care about how a local system operates, and would instead try to impose its own one-size-fits-all methodology. Finally, as apathetic as many people seem, they still do not like to feel bullied or subjugated. Being surrounded by armed troops at every turn with the executive granted legal authority to detain or kill without verifiable cause would make any man a little perturbed. I do not believe many in the U.S. will quietly accept a martial law scenario, regardless of the excuse given by government (terrorism, economic disaster, foreign war, etc.). A move towards military administration of domestic affairs will lead to revolution.

The internal strife of a nation is not predicated on the transitory moods of its people but the attitude of its government. Revolutions are not waged by happy men in an honorable land. True revolutions are a product of generations of discontent stemming from dishonest and vicious bureaucracy. An establishment government facing a wave of discord from the masses has, in most cases, done something to deserve it. I, like many, do not relish the idea of a new American revolt, but if I am to be honest in the face of the facts, I have to acknowledge that the potential for one within my lifetime is significant. I also can’t say that it is not necessary. Unless tomorrow brings a miraculous shift in current totalitarian trends, revolution may be all we have left…


Brandon Smith

The Daily Reckoning