16 Apr Against Humdrum Activism: A Critique of the Conventional Reaction by John Myers
“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. 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 into pieces.”
– Etienne de la Boetie
“Cognitive dissonance is only dissonant if you recognize it”
– John Mosby Mountain Guerrilla
The evidence on the effectiveness of conventional forms of activism in curtailing Leviathan’s march has been in for a long time. The sad reality is that protests, political machinations, and electoral politics have largely been completely ineffective except in isolated historically ripe circumstances. 20 steps in favor of the state eclipse every step made toward liberty. This is what the activist calls “victory.”
Antiwar rallies have been running for the duration of the GWOT (Global War on Terror) yet the war has yet to be ended. States with Assault Weapons bans and similar laws all experienced massive protests during those legislative processes, yet the bans went into effect. You mean those letters to congressional offices and online petitions to the White House didn’t work?
John Mosby of the Mountain Guerrilla blog detailed part of a conversation we had riffing on some of the above. Be sure to see his post for his full take. Kit Perez discusses the issue here, which led to the conversation.
The garden variety Tea Party type response to things such as gun control is entirely predictable and the system already knows what it will be. There will be threats of voting the bums out, lots of letters to the editor and perhaps a rally with the same old speakers saying the same old thing. “Molon Labe!” and “from our cold dead heads!” It’s the same tired and empty response right out of the playbook that your oppressors handed you.
Yet the march toward gun control continues. The system doesn’t care what you think. It only cares about its interests. In fact the system hates you with a passion. The system is not threatened in any way by a message of voter turn out and sign waiving down on the corner on a Saturday afternoon. This philosophical war has to be fought on a completely different level. How many more hundreds of years will a belief in the Most Dangerous Superstition persist and keep people entrapped in their own cognitive dissonance?
The fact of the matter is, as pointed out in the opening quote by Mr. Mosby, is that people just don’t know what they don’t know. They do not see that their work is ineffective because the system has indoctrinated them their entire lives that they are only allowed to pursue activities on what amounts to a 3×5” card of allowable opinion. Seeking alternative methods goes against everything they believe in. Abstract concepts such as constitutional republican virtue, democratic values, the Rule of Law and the Benevolent Hegemonic Empire are all a lie. They are insignificant relics that largely never existed in the first place. They are fictions and illusions much like the Social Contract. They are a mythology of Power used by the overlords to justify their rule and the masses love it that way.
In an attempt to grok Mosby’s statement, (“cognitive dissonance is only dissonant if you recognize it…”) I can see the very notion of being the proverbial bitter clinger ready to throw off the shackles of his tyrannical government (over the next gun control law) is at odds with their flag worship and legal positivism. You cannot build revolution into the legal code. You see meme’s on social media by these people who say every single action taken by law enforcers across the country are always justified; yet in their comments threads they say things like… “I’m keeping muh armor-piercing stuff for when the FBI kicks in the door…”
Men threatening insurgency, armed struggle and violent noncompliance are going to have a hard go of it if they don’t stop getting butt-hurt at the guy refusing to stand for the National Anthem at the ball game. It did occur to them that taking up arms against their governments Praetorians and advocating break up of the nation isn’t exactly the same nationalistic patriotism they advocate, right?
The ultimate irony is that their Dear Leader in the White House is pushing the gun control agenda from the Bully pulpit. The vitriol one can be on the receiving end of if you mention that Trump is responsible for more gun control in his one Bump Stock regulation change than 8 years of the tyrant Obama is Stockholm Syndrome writ large. They don’t even see it and it’s not allowed in their paradigm.
Trump is seen as a sort of caricature of Based Stickman in the White House by his constituency out bashing in commies heads all day long. When in fact, he is just a typical New York City liberal who made a bunch of money and got elected by promising a government wall boondoggle. Centrist statism of the worst sort rules his actions. Even though he has signed the biggest budget in history, threatens to take America into the next world war with Syrian intervention, and ironically enough, wants at least 5 or 6 gun control measures added to the federal registry of an already over whelming 76,000+ pages, the Molon Labers still view him as the iconic symbol of liberty and the bulwark against the Left, the “real enemy.”
“Cognitive dissonance is only dissonant if you recognize it.” Indeed.
The ironic hilarity to some of these gun rights rally’s is that they take place in Washington DC or at other places where guns are banned. Am I the only one that sees the problem here? “Lets get the Patriots down to the rally to protest and tell them not one more inch!” While they leave their guns locked up in the safe and are already complying with a myriad of existing bans and controls already in effect.
Further, it always struck me as odd as having to go out in public to make a public display of something you never normally would do in the first place. I’ve been either involved with or have followed liberty oriented movements for essentially all of the 21st century. It struck me back during the Ron Paul 2007 days when Free State Project pot-heads would go out each week to the public park and smoke drugs in front of cops and post it on YouTube. They’d often get arrested. Sometimes they would open carry and do it. Sometimes the cops would leave them alone. But I never understood why they felt the need to go do that in public at the park, when what they really wanted is to just do that in their living rooms, which they undoubtedly did anyway. To apply it to things more applicable to this readership, why go to the open carry march with an AK on your back with a chamber flag, when you could just go to the range or take a class that day? The guy who refused to get his carry permit and just carries everyday anyway always seemed to be sticking it to the man harder than that activist with the chamber flag, but maybe I’m weird.
The overweight militia colonel marching on the town green will do nothing to change anyone’s views on guns nor will holding signs. All you are going to get out of that equation is the media getting an interview with the biggest kook in the crowd and further demonizing the cause. Fence sitters opinions will not be change.
Political action is nothing but a self-licking ice cream cone. You commence the ‘good fight.’ Then soon enough, keeping the fight going despite not accomplishing one thing, using the same methods that have failed for 250 years, must be kept up to keep the money flowing in. It’s a circular escapade of no end. The upkeep of the organization itself that formed becomes more important than the message or results. And if you tell these types that the methods aren’t working, you are viewed as if you have a 3rd eye growing on your forehead.
Imagine all those activist or small time political groups that are spending thousands per month to rent spaces and pay their bills, put those resources into things that actually garnered results? What if the local gun rights group that is paying 1000$ a month to rent a building, used that money to teach free carbine and pistol classes (taught by reputable instructors not dressed in militia garb) 2 times a month? Which is more of a threat to the power elite, a population that is training with the firearms weekly or a couple guys with safe queens standing down on Main Street with a sign?
And for God’s sake Lucy, stop gun’splaining to Ricky. Stop engaging the anti-gunners in a dialogue that lends credibility to their viewpoint. Just say no. Every time you try to explain till you are blue in the face, the difference between the political construct of “assault weapons” and the AR-15, you lose credibility. When you say “My daddy’s shotgun is more powerful than that pea shooter AR-15 that the mass shooter used, what are you gonna ban that too?” All you are doing is playing into their paradigm. You are giving them ammunition to use against you.
Tribalist author Jack Donovan has a concept that he refers to as “No Apologies, No Arguments, and No Explanations.” Read it and follow it. To do otherwise in defense of your rights and values is slavish.
Ultimately the popular outrage at gun control isn’t really about the gun control its self, it’s that folks know they’ll comply with it. Gun confiscation on a massive scale cannot happen in these united States. It’s not even really a legitimate threat. But ever more increasing restrictions and regulation on ownership is. Yes, its true, they’ll never eradicate guns, but they can surely make it so you can’t get one in a public market or order those Pmags anymore straight to your mailbox.
Statists may be evil but they aren’t all necessarily dumb, especially when it comes to robbing individual liberties. It makes entirely more sense for the gun control agenda to keep turning up the heat on the proverbial frog in boiling water and keep passing more sweeping restrictions that garner compliance. And as is the nature of conservatives, give a policy 10 years, and they will vehemently fight to preserve the last liberal victory. Legal frame works such as ‘extreme risk orders,’ for example, serve as immunity for gun grabbers to just take your guns while you are stopped for a traffic violation, rather than the high officer casualty rates of door-to-door confiscations that would blow the virtual powder keg. Why go door-to-door when they can use the surge of drug legalizations across the country to justify confiscation? And to boot, most patriots would cheer it anyway. It’s a much smarter strategy on their part.
The conundrum of why people comply with tyranny goes back to Etienne de la Boetie in his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude from the 16th century. The greatest phenomenon as he saw it was obedience to rulers. Why is it that we have lords, he opined? The serfs outnumber the lord, but why does he continue to rule? It has to be that people consent to him. But as he theorized, what happens when that consent is withdrawn? If you think about it, its how the Berlin Wall came down.
“Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement: it is not necessary to deprive him of anything but simply to give him nothing… It is therefore the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would put an end to their servitude.”
– Etienne de la Boetie, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude
On an even deeper philosophical level, protesting, or stated differently, petitioning your jailer for better food and conditions, doesn’t address the problem of being in prison in the first place. The rally down on the Court House lawn is basically a huge circle jerk that really only preaches to the choir. It is one gigantic appeal to authority and essentially asking your master for a longer leash. What if you just cut the leash and took yourself for a walk?
Kit Perez put forth the idea that instead of devoting time and energy to meaningless rallies, go mill your own 80% lower. I could not think of a better idea. What is better to subvert the system than doing something for yourself and in a politically unapproved (albeit legal) manner? She suggests spending your gas money and rally t-shirt money on ammo. It’s an outstanding idea.
I’ve written elsewhere briefly on the brilliance of the work of Cody Wilson of printable gun fame and the Ghost Gunner desktop CNC mill. This is fighting the system on a completely unprecedented level. They do not know what to do or how to handle it. Ghost Gunning is legal. He delivered exactly what they feared the most and they really cannot to do anything about it, unless they seek to ban all manners of tools and implements that could possibly be used to build a gun. And if they did, it couldn’t be stopped anyway.
Ernest Hancock always has had a great rant about declaring your independence. Each radio show he is sure to tell you that in order to declare your independence, you just do it. Unlike Sovereign Citizen mythology, there is no form to file with the County Clerk. Imagine if everyone who showed up down at the local rally on gun rights day, just quietly went to the range and practiced instead.
Instead of the constant retreat of the “line in the sand,” why not just set it and just go on with life? The system can handle the protest response. It can handle the political response. Hell, the federal and local thug scrum can usually handle the outliers who actually go to gun and shoot back. Just look at Carl Drega or Waco. But you know what it can’t handle? The peaceful, quiet insurrection. People who live their life how they want on their own hook. It can’t handle the ones who do not ask for permission in the first place. They don’t talk or grovel. They act.
German philosopher Max Stirner explained “Revolution is aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves.”
There is no secret formula or cocktail of laws to bring about your conception of freedom. Imagine if all the time, effort and money put into gun rights protests and political action was put into yourselves, advancing your own infrastructure and skills and declaring your own independence? Imagine if when the empire actually does conclude its slow decline there were systems in place that made it irrelevant. What if you forever seek dissolution of the mechanisms that oppress and carve out your own enclaves rendering the system insignificant in your daily lives? What if we nurture the allergy to authority present in previous generations of Americans back to its full glory?
The Revolution starts between the ears. Any other first steps are putting the cart before the horse.
Nietzsche reminded us that the right way doesn’t exist. It’s a conceptualism and subjective call for each person. I merely suggest that you try something besides the failed conventional approach. Get creative.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him”
– Ezra Pound
Head up, Gun up.
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.