They Remain Unreconstructed: Defiance Still Alive in Mountain South by John Meyers

Moonshine trial ends with split verdict,” the headline read.

It caught my attention as I seldom peruse the various political rags and news sites. I consider them complete wastes of time filled with Stalinist (or fascist depending on the source) political drivel, progressive mentality and centrist statism of the worst order. The article was no surprise to me in the mountain South however. Certain traditions won’t die.

I read of the recent case in my home county with a shit-eating grin. The woman defendant in the case was charged with a sundry of drug and alcohol charges after calling 911 to seek help for her husband (who suffers from PTSD) who was threatening to kill himself. Upon arrival on the scene, it was calm, and officers directed their attention to marijuana paraphernalia and what appeared to be illicit, untaxed whiskey.

After the state’s instrument of prosecution built an elaborate narrative of ruthless drug dealers and rumrunners, with logs of customers and sales, and these people being a grave threat to society, their case collapsed. All charges came back not guilty, save one, which we’ll get to momentarily. It appears the drugs on site were used to treat PTSD and traumatic head injuries. (I would be remiss to also point out they found other drugs, including morphine, but these were ‘legal’ with a state granted prescription) The ‘customer log’ was merely a log of money she owed to a couple people who they borrowed from when they were on hard times.

It was a classic case of Jury Nullification. Many of the juror’s and would be juror’s were asked if they thought marijuana should be legal and if they did, could they judge the case based on the current law. So much for that, eh?

One other charge came back with a hung jury. This was the charge related to the possession of what they claim is approximately 20 gallons of illegal alcohol.

The ironic twist to this part of the case was that the defendant claims it was her inheritance from the late Popcorn Sutton, the infamous Smoky Mountain moonshiner. The defendant claimed that the liquor in her possession was legal and the taxes had been paid on it. Let me remind you that the alcohol tax amounts to approximately 40$ per gallon. For comparison, a gallon of gasoline nets the feds approximately 20 cents.

How could this be? Taxes paid on moonshine whiskey? The defendant stated that the local sheriff’s department knew she was in possession of this whiskey since 2008 and has never bothered her about it.  She produced receipts that the taxes were paid in court.

To step back a little bit, Popcorn Sutton was arrested in 2008 and allegedly had in storage units, approximately 800 gallons of whiskey. When you are convicted with this type of thing, part of your sentence nearly always includes a fine, which is for the back taxes “owed” to the ATF/Treasury Department. My guess is that the defense is making the argument that the fine had been paid therefore the taxes are paid. Should said liquor not be legal to possess?

On a side note, I’ll allow the readers to draw their own conclusions about the efficacy and intelligence of involving the local constabulary in the initial call out to begin with.  Lessons appear to have been learned.

While all this is a rather interesting like something out of a television show, it is indicative of something much deeper. The traditional legacy of resistance is still alive in the region.

Throughout its history, the federal government and its local apparatchiks in the Statehouses and county courthouses have waged varying degrees of warfare against alcohol. Ranging from the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790’s, to various iterations of excise taxes on distilled spirits, to the dry laws and prohibitions, locally and nationally. Yet the whiskey rebels have always won out. They remained ungovernable.

Nearly every section in the Appalachian region has a tale or 10 about local bootleggers shooting Revenue Agents, overturning convictions in the jury box, or openly flaunting of revenue laws. This is not to count the millions of gallons of clandestinely made liquor made over the last two and a half centuries.

And these tales do not always center on whiskey per se. “Dog” Underwood of Haywood County, NC was known for being a huge sugar smuggler during WWII when sugar was rationed, to supply illegal liquor operations. Many folk’s who couldn’t get sugar during the time, took to using sorghum molasses in place of sugar in production of whiskey and especially Apple Brandy. If you didn’t have a sugar connection, that is.  This operation was not unlike John Hancock’s when you think about, except perhaps the difference in scale. Dog Underwood’s funeral was said to have been one of the most attended funerals in the history of Haywood County. You do the math on that.

Historically many remote areas of the mountains were literally denied terrain to the various revenue agents, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcers as I have written about extensively here, here and here.

People who remain stuck in the left / right paradigm and who can only grasp political methods to attempt to solve current problems are doing themselves a grave disservice by not seeing at least a shimmer of hope in these unconventional methods of trying to attain a smidgeon of their humanity back. I’ll ask which is more effective; voting for the same politicians, that have given us the biggest and most powerful state in the history of the world for the last couple hundred years or the beauty of the setting someone free by nullifying the judges instructions and the unjust law on a jury?

The District Attorney’s questioning in the jury selection demonstrates almost a knowing fear that the tax cattle in the jury box might not convict based on the states law, but will also take into account the morality of the law its self.

The DA is quoted in the news story: “I asked you if you think marijuana should be legalized, I asked you if moonshine should be legal to possess, and I asked you to question these for a reason,” [she said] “I really didn’t care about these answers. There’s several of you on the jury that gave the answer yes. The follow-up question was the important one. It was can you set these beliefs aside and follow the rule of law as the judge gives it to you?”

No, Ms. Prosecutor, some cannot set aside morality and the written law. This is not Hitlerian Germany where “Befehl ist Befehl.”

A recurring theme is a critique of a common theme in my essays, that there is no final liberty solution. I stand by this. Trumpite neoliberalism, fetishism of Pinochet style Death Flights, nor rallying behind the career NY liberal businessman in the White House (who suddenly discovered populism) will save America. It’s a sinking ship and its time to get off. I focus on a post-freedom exodus strategy.

The Final Liberty Solution will never be attained because everyone has a different, subjective concept of what that is. We cannot get 5 threepers, libertarians or constitutionalists to agree on enough to have a meaningful coalition, how can you obtain a free country that will suit all 310+ million people on the land mass that the US state occupies? History has shown that things constantly revolve. It is largely the documentation of the struggle against Power. I do not see this paradigm changing anytime soon, if ever. Do not take this to say that I do not believe in self-defense, even of the collective sort.

Appalachian Anti-Statism exists, yet the allergy to authority has waned. Districts from GA to PA continually vote for local corrupt incumbent politicians because these politicians shake their hands once every 2 years at the community store.  The Whiskey Rebels remain, but they stay underground. Cultural forces have essentially nullified many drug laws. Property taxes are paid to the county that are continually raised by the corrupt politicians they vote for, but folks work off the books and family farmers take every Ag deferment they can get.

These people are probably not ideologically pure and infallible. I doubt the folks on the jury in the story at the start of this essay have all studied David Friedman on the consequentialist case for the unhindered market nor read a paper from a think tank about the harmful affects of the war on drugs. They just knew that the state has no right to decide what people should put in their bodies.

Nor were our often-lionized historical heroes ideologically pure. Thomas Jefferson talked liberty but believed in the death penalty for polygamists. George Washington fought a war to have a Free America, yet he marched his army against his own people who rebelled in the 1790’s Whiskey Rebellion for the same reasons they rebelled in the 1770’s and 80’s against Britain. Need I mention he also wore false teeth made from the teeth of his slaves?

Early American fighters even held (dare I say it) some ideas that would be commonly found on the modern left today. The egalitarian notions of some of the frontier rebels were not that far removed from some of the ideas that cornerstone leftist politics. Many even fought in the Whiskey Rebellion while peering through the looking glass of class conflict and wanted to make the rich pay their “fair share.”

Herman Husband, the pacifist veteran of the Regulator Rebellion in North Carolina and who was instrumental in raising the Liberty Pole at Brunerstown during the Whiskey Rebellion, advocated for progressive taxation on the rich and fiat money. All while “Liberty and No Excise!” flew on his Liberty Pole. Tom the Tinker was known to target not only enforcement agents, but also the property of those who registered their stills with the government during the Whiskey Rebellion. They were seen as collaborators. He would be just as quick to bust up a registered operation as a revenue agent would bust up an illegal operation.

One of the main contentions among the Whiskey Rebels in the Forks area of Western Pennsylvania was the fact that the Chief Revenue Inspector at the time, General John Neville, also happened to be the biggest distiller and peddler of alcohol in the entire region. In classic Military Industrial style, he also ran a defense firm to supply western military garrisons. One of his chief products was of course whiskey. He initially opposed Hamilton’s excise tax on distilled spirits, but soon realized the tax would be able to squash the competition and allow him to keep the monopoly he held through the military contract. He received a 450$ per year as Revenue Inspector as well as 1% on whatever his deputies collected in tax revenue from his neighbors. This in the classic libertarian mantra funneled money from the poor to the rich bondholders and from the military into mercantilist cartels. All of these concepts relating to ‘privilege’ in this context were a major focus later for classical anarchists, traditional leftists and left libertarian types.

Michael Collins can be looked at as a mastermind in the art of the Guerrilla, but he was essentially a socialist and the Ireland he freed, turned into a socialist republic, albeit one free from the British.  Confederate and Union Guerrilla’s can teach many lessons but don’t over look the targeting of civilians they nearly all engaged in.

The printable gun remains probably the most revolutionary act of symbolic and emancipatory politics in the 21st century. Surely the Liberator is not a Cajunized CZ Shadow II, but the fact remains the irrelevance of the gun control debate has been illuminated.  They cannot be controlled. This idea was originally conceptualized and tossed into the digital libertarian space by a guy who studied nothing but post-left anarchists, French social theorists, Critical Theory, Marxist intellectuals and left libertarian types to arrive at the idea to print a gun in the first place.  He argued on a European news broadcast that the printable gun and the idea of distributing the means of production to the masses are as anti-capitalist as they are libertarian.

During the Vice printable gun documentary, one can see a copy of Kevin Carson’s “Studies in Mutualist Political Economy” on the counter. It has always struck me as unique that the idea to print a gun to subvert an entire regulatory infrastructure didn’t come from someone in the “Patriot” movement. They are focused on electing a Republican president that will take their guns I guess. The irony that a man who was the product of the intellectual left created their ultimate fear in real life is about a satisfactory feeling as one can have.

I mention all this merely to demonstrate that one can learn lessons from various people or groups and adjust as needed in the tactical application of their own Liberty craft. If one finds irregular warfare of interest for academic study, you cannot engage in that study without most of the focus on leftist insurgencies. After all they are the revolutionaries.

Despite being a conquered and occupied people in these united States, often rays of hope shine through like this Moonshine Trial. We need to latch onto this natural allergy to authority and nurture it back into its once former glory. We need to remember that Middle American Radicalism is embodied in many ways and from often very diametrically opposed groups of people.

Historian James C Scott writes extensively on retreating from the state’s grasp as a proven method of remaining free. You can extrapolate those theories into a modern context and you’d be amazed at what you can throw together. The notion of Tribal Stoicism may appeal to some. Going back to the land in classic Whole Earth Catalog fashion may appeal to others. Expatriating appeals to other classes of people. Sea steading might appeal to others. Using Bitcoin and the dark web may be a tactic that gives folks a solution set to a specific problem. The Republic of Rojava in Turkish Kurdistan may appeal to some of a more leftist bent and is a current case study in anarchical ‘state-craft’ and defensive strategy.  It may be something to look at for those wanting to create a Libertopia, and to study how they may be able to “keep it,” to hearken back to Ben Franklin at the Constitutional Convention.

Instead of funneling ever more money into the coffers of this or that candidate or political party, focus on things you can actually change. Invest those dollars in your own infrastructure. Put all that time you spend at GOP events into honing your own skills. Control what you can control.

Just because there is no final liberty solution, doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t be prepared for any sporty events that are all the more likely to come as the days go by. Trump’s true colors are showing. The budget he supports is 300% higher than the last one Obama supported. Much like team sports, the usual suspects will remain and cling to their faction, but the truth is quite clear to the intelligent observer.  Peter Schiff who accurately predicted the 2008 housing collapse is presenting a case for a perfect storm in the next several years with the stock market bubble, Bitcoin bubble, bond bubble and ever more debt. These are just more events on the timeline of the slow collapse.

If you claim to be a steward of your own self-protection but you do not carry every day and do not have an appropriate skillset to support that, you are wrong. If you claim self-reliance but are not making a concerted effort in a personal secession mission away the systems that bind and oppress, you are living a lie. If you claim to be a man of the new resistance ready anything from a guerrilla conflict to an EMP, but you cannot ruck 1 mile, you are a joke. But you don’t need to be. Get to work. Its simple but it ain’t easy. No one is coming to save you. Be unconquered.

Orange Cheeto Benito-in-Chief is calling for a myriad of gun control laws and bans. “Heil Trump, heil our people, heil victory!” is what Alt Right-tard Richard Spencer said when Trump was ascending to be the Savior of White Identity and liberty. Heil Trump indeed. Oh the irony. The patriots are still rallied behind their guy using slogans such as ‘well its better than Killary…” Keep telling yourself that. The gloves are off folks. Will you remain unreconstructed?

Montani Semper Liberi.

About the author: John Meyers traces his Appalachian ancestry back nine generations to the 1750’s. He lives with his family on the high ridges of the Smoky Mountains. 

24 thoughts on “They Remain Unreconstructed: Defiance Still Alive in Mountain South by John Meyers”

  1. Pingback: “They Remain UnReconstructed” – Southern Nation News

  2. Pingback: They Remain Unreconstructed | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  3. Better than Shrillary is still a viable position, albeit a low bar to fit under.

    But, yes, a plague on all their hourses.

    Thanks for the reminder to get more PT and range time…

    1. I think the overall point is that if Hillary called for a fraction of the gun control, tariffs, and budget that Trump is, the 3 % would be ready to go to war. Yet…crickets.

  4. Roy Elliott Hurley

    Hell, yes. Just got the books by Scott, “Two Cheers for Anarchism” and “Against the Grain”. I also read as much as I can by Ed Abbey. I voted for Trump merely as a stalling tactic. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll remember our heritage of freedom.

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  6. Trump is no friend to the Second Amendment…that is, true.


    Hillary was the enemy of the Second, and of all gun owners.

    The difference may be lost on you, but it is there. I am saying you (apparently) can’t see it.

    1. I actually favored Hillary, as being more likely to kick off the Revolution than Trump would be. Getting a bit long in tooth, so I don’t want to miss it.

      1. Perhaps, but with Hillary came a sanctioned war with Russia. Flip a coin on whether a revolution of ideas could stop that war machine that is still trying so hard to make it happen anyway.

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  8. JM,

    Actually it seems the choice is between a well made cotton rope and and old worn hemp rope.

    The choice between a ride in a new box car or a ride in an old beat up, rust bearing, gang tagged rail car.

    A choice between debt slavery or wage slavery.

    A choice between a pine box or being thrown into a huge trench with thousands of your fellow tax cattle, if you dare to refuse to pay tribute, with your wages, savings, your soul, your property or your children to the Dukes and Earls at the Capital of Panem.

    These are the end times, it seems from out here in flyover country.

    I have taken a vow to train more, and realize my Freedom, and the fight for it rests with me and every other rifle bearing helot on this plantation.

    History has been my guide, and this will be a messy chapter for future generations to peruse, if they are even allowed to have the artifacts called books in the muddled Brave New World of tomorrow.

    Thanks John, and you Bill, you have been my best teachers in five decades on this revolving sphere.

    I have a little Pearl of Wisdom for all, the cost is naught.

    Listen to all, follow none, and walk your own path.

    As always, don’t hit, don’t steal.

    Own yourself, and no other.

    And practice the Golden Rule.



  9. The Walkin' Dude

    Evidently my cell service has this site blocked. Anyway, a guy in Seattle has been disarmed without trial, without a warrant, all because he made some folks “uncomfortable” by looking at them while open carrying. EPRO. We will be plucked like hairs, one by one, until we are bald.
    Archived so as not to feed the ad mobkeys

    1. My site is frequently blocked for obvious reasons by the bots. If this were, I’d probably get state subsidies.

  10. Believe it or not, liberty, anarchy, and local governance solutions are slowly and steadily still spreading. Nullification, secession, and voluntary courts. Divorce and peaceful solutions to all human relations (and they are all only relationships). Competition in trade and ideas. Competition in money. Not only underground ideas anymore, they are becoming mainstream and wider. One can only hope I suppose. The world will look more like the internet, with hopefully no one ever able to take the reins.

  11. Just this week I was in the Maricopa County (AZ) courthouse after being summoned for jury duty. I’d put it off one time but finally attended much to my chagrin. I was assigned to a pool of one hundred potential jurors for what was going to be a six week trial in a civil lawsuit between gaming entities. Fifty people were released right away due to family and employment obligations. The remaining were questioned about all kinds of things including who they worked for and all manner of personal information. I declined to answer those questions. When asked if anyone had a philosophical reason they could not serve on a jury I stood up and announced that I was a staunch believer in jury nullification and thought that 99% of the laws on the books were immoral. The judge asked if I could still serve and “ignore” my beliefs. I looked at her first then over at the dozen or so lawyers for both sides, chuckled and said “Nope”. I didn’t make the cut.

    If the trial would have been for someone who was being railroaded, er, prosecuted for a non violent drug “crime” I may have suppressed my opinion and used it as an opportunity to set a person free.

    Yeah, and by the way, screw Jess Sessions.

    1. It’s pretty crappy that a “jury of your peers” really means a group of people willing to waste their time and challenge their belief in their natural rights, to disregard morality in exchange to judge within the confines of the “law?” Reasonable doubt doesn’t have to be within the law. What a terrible thing. I imagine I would have done nearly the same.

  12. “The follow-up question was the important one. It was can you set these beliefs aside and follow the rule of law as the judge gives it to you?”

    Of course I can. Whether I will or not is an entirely different question.

  13. “The Final Liberty Solution will never be attained because everyone has a different, subjective concept of what that is.”

    Another great piece, but that’s why there IS a “final liberty solution”! Because it can only be one person, in one life. How many people choose it doesn’t make it different, just more people choosing it. And when it becomes obvious what a binary choice it is…those who don’t choose it, won’t be.

    We’re so far gone already that a win is cooked in the books. It’s that, or extinction. Even if/when Full Tyranny is tried–soon, I imagine–it won’t last but a moment either way.

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