Understanding the fear of self-defense and revolution
by Brandon Smith
Our era is a strange one when considering how social attitudes have developed in such a contrary fashion to the rest of history. I think that our forefathers would look upon our current culture with bewilderment when confronted with the fact that our generation has all but abandoned the option of physical rebellion as a tool for social change. Even among the most enslaved of nations and peoples, the idea of revolution has been held in regard as an entirely moral and principled affair involving every individual, no matter their age or economic station. Today, however, that which we call “revolution” has been delegated mostly to college-age intellectuals and has been so watered down and whitewashed with politically correct restrictions that the concept is hardly recognizable.
I believe the civil rights movements in America and in India in the 20th century have in many ways warped the public view of how opposition to totalitarianism is actually accomplished. I find it interesting that movements led by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. enjoy so much adoration in mainstream media and in public schooling, while the American Revolution is often either misrepresented or not discussed at all. Gandhi’s movement was, in concrete terms, a failure until Indians had actually began organizing to physically fight the British, causing the Crown to attempt to defuse the movement by suddenly offering up a reformation of Indian governance (one that would continue to benefit them). When one examines the facts surrounding Cointelpro operations by the FBI and CIA during the civil rights movement in America, one realizes that half the efforts and actions were legitimate and the other half entirely manipulated.
Over the course of half a century, the philosophy of “anti-violence” has come to include a distinct distaste for self-defense. Self-defense is now consistently equated to “violence” (and is, thus, immoral), regardless of environmental circumstances.
Even in the liberty movement, there are people who disregard physical defense as either barbaric or “futile” and have adopted rather less-effective pacifist ideologies of more socialist activism. The problem with certain factions of libertarianism is that they tend to live within their own heads, reveling in a world of Ayn Randian and Rothbardian political and social theory, while abandoning the other side of concrete resistance. Some in the survival community call these people “egghead libertarians,” and I think the label fits.
They rejoice only in the intellectual; thus, they tend to see themselves only as “intellectual warriors.” For them, the war against tyranny by extension must be fought on an intellectual battlefield. Otherwise, as individuals, they have little to offer the resistance. They believe that if they merely present a better and more logical philosophy, they will win over the masses to their side or even change the souls of the rather soulless psychopaths creating tyranny in the first place. Like magic, they will have won the fight without ever truly fighting. It sounds like a strategy right out of the “Art Of War,” but really it is an intricate excuse designed to avoid risk.
They have almost no experience with and, therefore, no respect for the concept of self-defense and revolution. And they have no capacity to fathom what such an endeavor would entail. This unknown scenario inspires fear in them — a fear of struggle, a fear of failure and a fear of death.
While taking action from a position of love for one’s fellow man is indeed noble, it is sometimes not enough in the face of pure evil — the kind of evil inherent in the ranks of elitism and the globalist ideology. It is important to keep at least one foot on the ground when building a movement of dissent and realize that while maintaining the moral high ground is paramount, there are limitations to what peaceful resistance can accomplish, depending on the opponent. If you are not prepared to use both peaceful means and physical defense if necessary, your movement will ultimately fail against an enemy without conscience.
Never before in history have humans been so dismissive of the self-defense concept, and I attribute this to clever conditioning and to an ingrained and powerful fear. Here are some of the most commonly heard arguments against physical revolution and why they are either ill-conceived or outright disingenuous.
Revolution is morally wrong?
I find the attitude of moral superiority of the nonviolence crowd rather disconcerting at times and, in many ways, dishonest. It is very common to run into nonviolence proponents who are not satisfied with their own personal choice of pacifism alone. In many cases, they will attack or undermine other parts of the movement preparing for self-defense on the basis that even mere preparation is somehow akin to physical aggression. These people are never satisfied until everyone in the movement meets their “high standards” of activist purity.
In the end, I think their position is less about a regard for peace than it is about a regard for their own egos. People in general tend to support the formation of taboos (as opposed to honest principles) in order to gain what they see as the moral upper hand over others. They invent a condition of arbitrary piety around themselves in an act of self-elevation that does not constitute true morality.
Anyone who makes self-defense a taboo is not only living in a fantasy land outside the inherent structures of natural law, he is also likely doing so because he enjoys the sense of social superiority such a position affords. In this way many of the more irrational nonviolence activists are, in fact, no better that the raving acolytes of the cult of political correctness.
Physical self-defense against tyranny is not only necessary, but entirely honorable. When the violence of an individual is thwarted by defense, when a potential thief robs the wrong house, when a rape is prevented by an armed and prepared woman or when a potential murderer is shot dead by a citizen who refused to be a victim, our society cheers. But when someone suggests that the same measures be taken against a violent and corrupt government, people suddenly claim moral hazard.
There is no difference between the act of defending oneself against a common criminal and defending oneself against a criminal government. I would venture to say that self-defense is a moral imperative more vital to the survival of peace and freedom than any other.
Revolution is futile and the enemy is too strong?
When anti-defense initiates cannot effectively argue against the moral principles of physical revolution, they invariably change tactics, asserting instead that revolution is a useless endeavor that will end only in tragedy for the participants. I see this argument as a product of brainless nihilism rather than rationalism, and such a defeatist mindset invariably stems from cowardice rather than logic.
Nihilism is a powerful psychological force that destroys all hope and all positive pursuits. It is essentially the act of denying success before an endeavor is ever undertaken. Nihilists ensure their own failure because for them every scenario is a no-win scenario.
To them, I might seem like a blind optimist, while they see themselves as realists. In truth, pro-self-defense advocates are far more realistic. There is certainly a fundamental difference in the manner in which we look at the world. When I and those “optimists” like me see a problem, we look for a solution regardless of the scale of the threat; and if we cannot immediately find an obvious solution right away, we keep working until we do. There is no such thing as a no-win scenario for us. There is always a way to overcome an obstacle. The odds of success are not relevant where revolution against oligarchy is concerned.
I would also point out the reality that, at bottom, it does not matter what the odds are in a revolution for freedom. When all is said and done, you will probably be confronted with two choices in the face of tyranny: fight and possibly die; or surrender, become a slave and probably still die. Those who argue against self-defense are in most cases trying to avoid the inevitability of this choice by creating non-options and non-solutions out of thin air. This is the opposite of realism.
Physical revolution requires a methodology of adaptivity and courage. Fear has no place in the mind of a freedom fighter, and nihilism is just as foreign to him. The goal of liberty will be accomplished. Totalitarians will be defeated. The size of the movement is not a factor. We expect that we will be in the minority. There is no other outcome but victory because we will allow no other outcome. Period. If we are proven wrong, then we are proven wrong; but it will not be due to a lack of trying.
In our age, arguments of the technological superiority of the enemy are often brandished as clear evidence of the uselessness of physical resistance. I think one could also make the argument that technological superiority in media manipulation and other fields could make nonviolent resistance useless as well. I’m not really sure why nihilists cling to the notion that technology matters at all, except that it perhaps offers an easy and lazy avenue of debate. The enemy has predator drones; therefore, revolution is futile.
In conjunction with Oath Keepers, I will soon be producing a video that will show the liberty movement how to build their own working thermal-evasion suits. Perhaps this will quell the incessant proclamations that drones and tanks and Apache helicopters mean anything at all in the face of asymmetric warfare. If the enemy can’t see you, they can’t kill you; and for every high-tech enemy, there is a low tech solution. Of course, I doubt this will mean anything to the nihilists, who don’t have the will to fight for anything except their belief that fighting back is useless.
Revolutions are always co-opted?
I have heard it argued by multiple sources within the liberty movement over the years that revolution is a poor option in defeating tyranny because of the cyclical nature of political and social change. They claim that all we have to do is look back at history to see that even when a revolution is successful in removing oligarchy, the resulting republic is invariably co-opted years or decades down the road. I agree, to a point.
The problem is not that the concept of revolution is ineffective. What these skeptics of physical rebellion tend to overlook or deliberately ignore is that no revolution in the history of man has ever gone far enough. Each revolution has targeted the corrupt government of their day, but no revolution has ever actually removed the elitist cabal behind those regimes — the same cabal of elites that has bankrolled nearly every tyranny over the past several centuries.
This is due in part to the fact that knowledge of who these elites are was not widespread. Today, for the first time ever, mankind has full access to information on who the globalists are and what they want. In fact, the elites barely hide who they are or what their intentions are anymore. One can simply look up the roster of organization like Bilderberg, Tavistock, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, etc. At least in the liberty movement, we know who the real enemy is.
Co-option is always a threat if you do not know who the enemy is. A revolution against the Obama administration alone, for example, would be useless because President Obama is nothing but a puppet, a mascot playing a role. Removing middlemen is a half-measure, and anyone who tries to lead you into revolution on the premise that Obama alone is the source of your troubles is probably an elitist leading you toward disaster. If you are not removing the root of the threat, then the threat will persist.
Co-option also occurs when people become obsessed with the idea of popular top-down leadership rather than bottom-up decentralized resistance. If you are out there looking for the next George Washington on a white horse to save you from tyranny, then you will eventually get him; but he may not be at all what he seems. Beware of generals and top brass suddenly in support of revolution. Beware of any notion of military coup. Beware of any revolution that uses political party divisions as a motivator. Beware of any government with a central bank that wishes to bankroll your revolution. Stay decentralized and refuse any push for top-down leadership. This is the only way to avoid co-option.
Revolution solves nothing because mankind is ‘predisposed’ to tyranny?
The great lie being injected into the movement over the past few years is that removal of the elites will solve nothing because the “real problem” is the corrupt nature of humanity in general and that if we remove one set of elites, they will simply be replaced with another set, as if society is fatally predisposed to develop an elitist class. This is the most vapid form of defeatist garbage ever regurgitated by nihilists.
First, we have no idea whatsoever what life would be like without the globalist network because we have never lived in a society in which they have been removed, even for a single generation. I think early America after the revolution is the only example I can find of a society free from most elitist controls, and the prosperity that developed in that environment leads me to believe that removal of the entire elitist framework would result in undeniable positive changes for the world. Why else would the globalists spend the past two centuries attempting to dismantle the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
Second, if mankind is so “predisposed” to become naturally subservient to an elitist class, why do the elites feel so compelled to manipulate the masses with complex forms of propaganda and fear tactics? Why go through all the trouble of engineering economic disparity and war? What is the point if we are all dumb animals just waiting to be ruled? The argument is nonsense. The elites spend billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, in capital and go to such extremes because oligarchy is not a natural state of man. It is so unnatural that the elites are forced to expend constant energy trying to keep us from progressing away from the slave dynamic.
I believe a revolution is indeed necessary, a final revolution to remove the influence of the globalist cult once and for all — not only their puppet governments, puppet political parties and puppet despots, but the globalists themselves. Will bad men still exist in this world? Of course they will. But the kind of advanced and well-organized internationlist machine that exists today will no longer exist. To save a patient poisoned to the extreme, the patient must be purged until his body can recover on its own. The elites are a poison that must be physically removed from the human system.