With respect to “If this be cowardice, be glad we’re cowards” by our own Claire Wolfe: Anything that denies that the oppressed have a right to mete justice to the oppressor is bound to crackle with unease, if not contradiction. Being a careful thinker, Claire escapes this predicament, of course, advocating for peaceful change. However, given the size and power of the American State; given that a vast number of people and interests have bought into state propaganda and are vested in it—meaningful change is unlikely and improbable. The idea of change through the ballot box, moreover, is a fantasy.
While it seems obvious that the minority in a democracy is openly thwarted, the question is, do the elected representatives at least carry out the will of the majority?
The answer is no. The People’s representatives have carte blanche to do exactly as they please. As Benjamin Barber has written:
It is hard to find in all the daily activities of bureaucratic administration, judicial legislation, executive leadership, and paltry policy-making anything that resembles citizen engagement in the creation of civic communities and in the forging of public ends. Politics has become what politicians do; what citizens do (when they do anything) is to vote for politicians.
In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy E. Barnett further homes in on why the informed voter has little incentive to exercise his “democratic right”:
If we vote for a candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for, but we have also consented to the laws she has voted against.
If we vote against the candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for or against.
And if we do not vote at all, we have consented to the outcome of the process whatever it may be.
This “rigged contest” Barnett describes as, “‘Heads’ you consent, ‘tails’ you consent, ‘didn’t flip the coin,’ guess what? You consent as well.'”
Democracy is a despotic affair.
Should they occur, and however peaceful—secessionist movements across the country the federal government will greet with brute force. It’ll be 1861 all over again.
Thus the objection I see to the sentiment that prompted Claire’s post—“We ARE a nation of cowards. Proof: Holder is still breathing”—is more utilitarian than principled. In other words, one will not win against the Federales, but only come to grief. Therefore, one should tread with great trepidation. Is prudence tantamount to courage? No. Neither is it cowardice.
Fear is simply a facet of tyranny.
The “long-time, much-respected freedomista” who made the quip about Holder was probably using a bit of hyperbole. Thomas Jefferson, however, was perfectly serious when he said:
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”