The very existence of a “freedom movement” (or, more appropriately, a libertarian culture), as a distinct yet marginalized segment of the domestic body politic, testifies to the fact that America is no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave. Contemporary American dissidents are fundamentally opposed to the ruling Establishment, and more of these friendly factions are beginning to realize that the cause for their grievances lie in the fact that “the rules are all completely jacked.” In other words, the federal and state governments, as they are today, are throughly un-American.
It’s been a year to this very day that I’ve written Whither the Revolution?, and I can’t help but wonder if the cause for Liberty has accomplished anything realistic thus far. Despite all the incessant rambling, virtually nothing seems to have occurred that would suggest so much as a deceleration of rampant tyranny. If anything, the evidence before my eyes indicates that most dissidents have acquiesced to the Establishment taking the initiative against us, lest our side be somehow perceived as being composed of so-called “violent radicals.”
Where on God’s green Earth did this ridiculous fear come from, anyway? I hear it from the Patriot Rockstars all the damn time, as if they were reading it from a script, gauging by the way they sound nearly uniform in their verbiage and style of delivery. Last time I checked, revolutions by their very nature are inherently violent; the only contention at that point is whether they satisfy jus ad bellum or not. Methinks the sycophantic audiences of these alternative media “personalities” are using every excuse in the book to not do something, especially something as simple as getting your own household in order, as demonstrated by their avoidance of such topics like becoming a state citizen or unregistering from the voter rolls.
Have dissidents been forming their own security teams? Which of the friendly factions have been successful in moving substantial numbers of their own adherents to the right side of the other (not so) thin line towards a state of nature? How many local Committees of Safety have been established? Has anyone even closed their bank accounts?
To my knowledge, the answer to each of these questions lies in the negative, but why? Are American dissidents so caught up in the Carousel of Carnivores that they literally can’t think anymore? Or worse, were the vast majority insincere in the first place, perhaps even lying to themselves? It is questions like these that keep me up at night, for it bothers me to no end, for why would individuals who take the time and effort to rant to their heart’s content (and thereby risk getting profiled right onto a government watch list) engage in every possible action that demonstratively fails to achieve even an incremental step towards their professed goals?
More importantly, why is there such a deep and pervasive fear of hurting someone else’s feelings, even inadvertently? I’m no fan of internal balkanization by any means, but come on, you don’t prevent infighting by shutting up and letting the demagogues rule the roost. What you do is vet them and then ostracize the buggers from your own social circles, as necessary. It’s really just that simple. Other people may choose to fall off the bridge, but at least you did everything you could to illustrate the errors, which are worth pointing out, since I assume there is such a thing as objective truth that we are all attempting to subjectively perceive.
Authenticity and consistency are the two chief values to judge dissidents by, for if they cannot maintain their visions of a better tomorrow in their own lives, then why should anybody else bother to give them the time of day? Too often have I observed individuals grab the loudest microphone (or camera) they can, and spew vitriolic rhetoric about whatever it is they oppose, all the while completely failing to explain in any real depth whatever it is they believe in and want to manifest. And to what end? What did they seriously expect to accomplish by annoying the living fuck out of everyone? Wealth? Fame? A cheap excuse to use as a pickup line down at the local watering hole?
Virtually none of these people are effective tacticians, much less strategists. They have no concept of matching ends with means, or even of self-reflection in most cases. Whenever they have offered “a plan” to secure our Liberties, what is truly proposed is nothing more than a whimsical notion often devoid of any serious thought. So, we are left waiting…..waiting…. and waiting, with nothing to show for it.
I have absolutely no idea what to say about the positive utility of such wannabe celebrities, other than they literally have none. The most charitable thing that could be said about the best of them, without lying too much, would be that they do manage to get some people to enter into the left side of the other (not so) thin line; the problem at that point is that they then leave them there in the Carousel, spinning and spinning their wheels, for years and years on end, with no foreseeable way off, just the same ol’ round and round. If these Rockstars were able to move people effectively towards the right side of the line, they would have to eventually admit that any of these reformist techniques (that is, working within the system) simply do not work; but of course any such admission would make their Reactive Ralphie routine seem absurdly comical (if it weren’t also so sad and counter-productive), thus reducing their own level of self-perceived fame and Internet stardom.
In order to gauge where we are going, we must be willing to take a good hard look at where we’ve been, no matter what the costs. Unfortunately, in my experience, most dissidents don’t want to do that, for many of them already know the pitiful answer; a good chunk of them just want to have enough mental and emotional distance (no matter how phony) so they don’t have to explicitly acknowledge just how foolish they’ve actually been. Instead, they’d prefer to continue to indulge in their self-delusional fantasies of being “activists,” “freedom fighters,” or, God forbid, “revolutionaries,” terms that should be exclusively reserved for genuinely courageous men and women.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some fantastic developments and small victories along the way. It is true that there are more potential recruits amenable to the principles of Liberty than there were a decade or two ago. Counter-Establishment propaganda has gone through the roof, even going so far as to rival the special effects departments of some major corporate “entertainment” companies. The Internet has expanded the capabilities of dissidents more so than any other technological innovation since the advent of television. Yet, as valuable as these improvements have been, they still lack that nearly indescribable common bond of trust that is essential to any type of positive human relationship, which no amount of technology can ever replace or redefine into oblivion.
Other than these relatively few evolving phenomenon, I don’t think that on the whole, our overall situation has improved at all, or even slowed down. Provided that my assertion here is accurate, then what that would suggest is that most American dissidents still don’t take even their own single-issue item “causes” seriously enough to actually evaluate the results of their own actions. Again, sincerity and consistency are virtues seldom seen in the sphere of politics, whether by the Establishment or even by the majority of their alleged opponents.
I was once asked on an email discussion list that, because of my opposition to street demonstrations (what are incorrectly, yet commonly, referred to as “protesting”), what I would recommend that dissidents do instead; I was further asked to refrain from suggesting things that do entailed civil disobedience, monkey-wrenching, or any kind of geographically dependent “separatist” enclaves. The following is a brief summation of my recommendations:
1. Move potential recruits along to the right side of the other (not so) thin line
2. Myth-bust the Carousel of Carnivores
3. Close your bank account
4. Alter the nature of your legal relationship with the State (such as unregistering from the voter rolls and/or becoming a state citizen)
5. Form your own security team
6. Organize a local Committee of Safety
These six techniques are simply beautiful given the fact that they aren’t reformist in nature and have also worked either now, or in the distant past. Not one of them involves a Patriotard diva hogging the limelight of the video camera, or anyone uselessly infighting about stupid inconsequential bullcrap that only serves to further balkanize the very people who should be working together. Best of all, they are all legal, so there is virtually no danger of violating mala prohibita (although it would be good INFOSEC practice to keep the existence and membership of your security team out of the public arena).
There are simply no excuses anymore (as if they were in the first place, but I digress), so why are “liberty activists” still placing their best efforts into ineffective reformist techniques? Obviously, what I suggested are only tactics; quite frankly, the only thing going on for us right now in terms of strategy that I can see, is The Plan for the Restoration of Constitutional Government. All other “plans” either didn’t work or were half-heartedly drafted (usually by overly relying on the mistaken application of the theory of critical mass).
Given that there are tools that can work for us, how have they been implemented thus far? Well, first, let’s begin by ruling out what cannot be measured. I think it is literally impossible to count the number of security teams and agorists, due to the very simple fact that the former are assembled and maintained in secret; and the latter, as practitioners of discrete civil disobedience, don’t dare risk popping their heads up, lest they risk providing the enemy rebel government a convenient target to take potshots at. While their respective functions are integral to the overall resistance effort, they must conduct their activities in the highest possible secrecy; thus, due to their (hopefully) excellent INFOSEC practices, there may be as many as 50,000 or as few as a handful of each kind; either way, we will never know, and we are never supposed to know.
What about measuring the growth of dissidents becoming state citizens, or simply more people moving towards that state of nature on the other (not so) thin line? Well, here again, we run into some pretty difficult territory, although noticeably more nuanced than the problems associated with the agorists and security teams. There is no centralized database of figures that can easily be punched up, and neither the corporate whore media nor the Carousel keep tabs on the numbers of state citizens, much less the numbers of people who are investing their psyches in the principles of Liberty. The closest tabulations on the latter class are a combination of website hits, podcast downloads, and video views, but this is not only insufficient but also misleading, since those numbers only reveal the consumption of said content, not the adherence to the ideas presented within it.
State citizens receive even worse treatment, given that not only are they conflated with the somewhat similar sounding yet distinctly different Freemen-on-the-Land and so-called “sovereign citizens” (both latter descriptors entail a phony belief in the “corporate UNITED STATES” myth), but they are no publicly available gauges to easily measure their numbers. There are no grand coalitions to join, and similar to people moving along to the right side of the other (not so) thin line, there is no centralized database. At this juncture, I think the only reliable way to even begin trying to measure both the number of state citizens and the bubbles of people moving along the thin line, is on a qualitative, case-by-case basis; in other words, you’d have to personally contact each and every single one of them and ask them brief questions about whether they consider themselves in a state of nature and/or if they are state citizens.
Fortunately, there are some things that can be measured. For instance, the number of registered voters who fail to turnout ballots could provide some initial clues as to the confidence the people in their own local areas place in the Establishment. I know for a fact that in both Travis and Williamson Counties right here in Texas, 243,592 and 89,582 voters in 2012 (respectively) were interested enough in politics to register to vote, yet for whatever reasons ultimately choose not to. While it is fair to say there may very well be innocuous factors at play (such as hectic work schedules, family demands, or just plain apathy), I would be willing to bet there are substantial pools of those people who are still concerned about various political problems, but they realized at some point that elections are not a reliable method for resolving them. These folks, I believe, would be more amenable, in all probability, to the message of Liberty than just some random bloke who never even bothered to register to vote (much as I abhor the practice now).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) conducted two surveys on the “unbanked” and “underbanked” in 2009 and 2011. Underbanked households are defined as those who still had a checking and/or savings account, but who relied on alternative financial services, such as money orders, check-cashing services, and payday loans from private companies outside of the banking industry; the unbanked are simply considered those households who have neither a checking nor savings account at any bank. What these two government surveys reveal is that the percentage of those who were “fully banked” dropped by 2%, whereas those who were underbanked and unbanked rose by 2% and 0.5%, respectively. This suggests a minor move of more people towards closing their bank accounts, or at least, using their Federal Reserve Notes without going through the middlemen of the Big Banks.
Finally, we can count the number of Committees of Safety (CoS) that have been established. The only lists complied of those known to exist are located on a tabulated page on the Committee.org website, as well as on the membership roster for the Coalition of American Patriots (CAP). Unfortunately, there have only been a handful known to currently exist, and one of them has already completely fallen apart.
If the end goal is to secure our Liberty, might it behoove us to first take a long, hard look at what has been achieved thus far on our end? It would seem to be the case that, at this juncture, political activists have been moderately successful in increasing the consumption of their propaganda largely due to aesthetically pleasing special effects and sensationalistic rhetoric, despite being noticeably less successful in gaining adherence to it. They have also been moderately successful in creating original articles, podcasts, and videos (while also repeatedly spreading other peoples’ articles, podcasts, and videos), primarily thanks to the Internet.
It is unknown how many agorists and security teams there are, and it is quite difficult to acquire rough estimates as to how many individuals are state citizens and/or consider themselves in a state of nature (lacking qualitative, self-reported case studies), at this time. There are quite a bit of registered voters in two Texas counties who failed to fill out ballots, but this avenue of inquiry requires more information in order to compile a time-series data set, or alternatively, from a greater swath of counties within one electoral cycle so as to compile a spatially centric data set; possibly combining both could better gauge whether Texans over time are losing confidence in popular electoral voting as a method for securing their Liberties. While there does seem to be a possible trend towards being underbanked and unbanked, such a trend would need to gain steam in order to demonstrate any collective effects that could be logically inferred. Although the CoS concept is experiencing a revival, there seems to be a reluctance or inability to establish more local CoS-es; it is quite possible that this could be nothing more convoluted than simple inertia.
My intention here, is to reduce the opportunity costs for American dissidents. I think it is well worth the effort to objectively evaluate the current status of such a libertarian culture and its influence on contemporary American life. It is my intention to reevaluate its activities, and possibly include new ones, on a continuing annual basis every Fourth of July, as a reminder to everyone that if you going to take freedom seriously, then you need to sit down every once and awhile and contemplate your effectiveness at achieving it. Otherwise, what use is there for yearly fireworks if what they are supposed to symbolize becomes meaningless and hollow?