First, The Talk.
Last week one of TZP’s blog posts drew this response via Twitter: We ARE a nation of cowards. Proof: Holder is still breathing.”
The comment came from a long-time, much-respected freedomista. What follows is not in any way a knock on him. Anybody who’s been around the freedom movement, watching for decades as high-level rights-robbing criminals go unpunished, knows the frustration that drives statements like that.
But I’ve been dispatched by the rest of the TZP crew to say a few words about future comments that may go over the line, over the top, or around the bend.
We let that particular tweet remain in our feed because it stayed on this side of the dangerous line: no threats were made or implied. But the line is there. Any comment on our blog or our social media feeds that crosses that line — that advocates aggressive violence or threatens anybody — may be deleted posthaste or mocked mercilessly and Made An Example Of. The person making it may be blocked, banned, restricted, barred, disbarred, forbidden, kicked out, ejected, evicted, removed from under their troll bridge, defenestrated, given the boot, or given a pair of boots and be told the hit the road. We also generally follow the comment policy outlined by TZPer Nicki Kenyon on her personal blog.
Now, this position will inevitably lead some readers (see “around the bend,” above) to scream “Censorship!” and “You’re violating my First Amendment rights!” Some may call us collaborators and sellouts for refusing to give our online space to the cause of fomenting their revolution or assassinating their least-favorite politician. So be it. To those folks we say: Get your own webspace. It’s cheap (if not free) these days. Then you can have the joy of dealing with the FBI, ATF, DHS, or IRS when your posts come to their attention. We’d prefer to avoid such bad company, thank you.
While you’re explaining yourself in an interrogation cell, we’ll go right on following Aaron Zelman’s original mission of educating, inspiring, and providing a safe place for a lawful conspiracy to restore freedom and gun rights.
You have been warned. Not that most of you need it. But there it is, on behalf of the entire might of TZP officialdom.
Second, The Action. Even when the best action may look like inaction.
Now to the more interesting part.
I suspect there’s not one of us who, in some dark moment, hasn’t wished death (or at least a severe case of genital fungus) upon some haughty villain whose badge or title or office or rank (not to mention the presence of heavily armed bodyguards, iron gates, security systems and suchlike) makes him (or her) untouchable by We the Peasants.
We watch as bureaucrats, elected officials, or puffed-up billionaire cronies rampage over our freedoms. We stand here shouting and waving our arms as our country oozes downhill — and we feel as if we’re doing nothing. Or at least nothing useful.
I grok the feeling.
We fantasize about uprisings. We read novels or watch movies about rebellion. We gaze backward to the days before the American Revolution, looking for similarities, for trigger events, for courage. We cheer for some other mouse to “bell the cat.” Then (oddly enough) when the occasional would-be leader actually does step forward to propose gathering an army to march on Washington, DC, we suddenly find we have something better to do.
But that’s not cowardice on our part. It’s good sense. Because the wanna-be generals are usually either damnfools or agents provocateurs.
The fact is: violence (even in the name of freedom) isn’t the sure sign of courage or principles, and non-violence in the face of oppression isn’t the sure sign of cowardice.
Violence is often just the sign of dangerous idiocy or desperation born of a failure to think creatively. Non-violence (not inaction, mind you, but non-violence) may be not only a sign of wisdom and prudence; it may in the long run be the surest course toward restoring freedom.
Sixteenth-century proto-freedomista Étienne de La Boétie put it well in his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548): “I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.”
The poet Shelley had a thoughtful take on tyrants, too. He and La Boétie could have had a great conversation over a bottle of wine.
TZP’s own Oleg Volk made an apt comment on the understandable desire to see any specific official “terminated with extreme prejudice”: “While assassinations are cathartic, they are generally counter-productive in a democratic society because the evil is usually a feature of the position held as much as a feature of the specific personality. If Holder dies, his handlers will appoint another of similar moral qualities.”
And ain’t that the truth? Not only will some similar lump of excremental corruption replace anyone who’s assassinated; but we’ll get entire new agencies, directorates, bureaucracies, departments, and dictatorship, all dedicated to combatting the threat to fedgovian power. Government is worse than a Lernaean Hydra when it’s directly attacked.
There may come a time when defensive violence in the cause of American liberty is necessary once again. But that time is not now — and if we commit ourselves to promoting and preparing for freedom in the present, that time may never come. We should hope for that. We should hope — and we have reason to hope — that big, overreaching government will bloat and die from within. We should hope — and we have reason to hope — that dedicated freedomistas, including gun owners, will hasten that death by refusing to yield, refusing to obey, refusing to grant any respect to those who sieze our rights.
Revolutions and assassinations look good in the movies, but in real life they mostly bring crackdowns and other catastrophes. Frustration makes them seem appealing, but the reality is otherwise. If you want a revolution or you want to see some politician dead, you’re entitled to your point of view. But if that’s what you want, you’d better not let your frustration do your thinking and planning for you. And if that’s what you want, don’t bring it here.