There has been a lot of discussion over at Snowflakes in Hell (and a little here) about a letter written by Mike Vanderboegh, were, true to form, he is talking about civil wars, killing government agents, and the like. A fair number of commenters at Snowflakes seemed to think that we were close to the point where the only option was to “hit the reset button,” and have a good old fashioned revolution. While there may be a time when that becomes appropriate, I don’t think that now is the time.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say it is. 5 or 10 percent of the population (or even 15 or 20 percent) decide that the time has come to hit the reset button, and furthermore let’s assume that they prevail. Having found themselves on the far side of a successful revolution, the next item of business is to construct or reconstruct a government. Judging from the use of terms like “Constitutional reset button” and other things, one would assume that the revolutionaries first preference would be to go back to the 1788 Constitution, probably adding back some of the later amendments, like those guaranteeing racial equality and women’s rights. So, the next step is to elect/appoint Congress and a President, right? Well, strangely enough, the Hollywood elites are still Hollywood elites, even if Hollywood was burned down. And the liberal green freaks are still liberal green freaks. And all of the people that elected the government we have now are THE SAME PEOPLE. You will have largely the same population that you started with, although likely smaller. The people that gave you the politicians we have now are going to be the same people, and the likelihood that they would give you anything much different is pretty miniscule. So, to keep your freedoms, what are you going to do? Become a dictator? That hardly has a history of success, on either a human and civil rights front, or in terms of maintaining power. In fact, you would be setting the stage for another revolution.
One of the reasons that the American Revolution was so successful was that it really wasn’t a Revolution in the way that is being discussed. It wasn’t an attempt to overthrow a government, it was really a war for independence, a group of people severing the ties with a ruling state. This left a group of similar minded people (although not that similarly minded, the Constitution was only narrowly ratified,) who could form a government that worked. Looking at the revolutions most similar to what is being discussed, we find the Russian and French revolutions. Neither of these came out with a particularly great government, certainly not the one that a person fighting for human rights and freedoms would want formed. Maybe the best option is for Pinson, AL to wage a war for independence.
The other factor in all of these revolutions is that it was not against a representative government. The problem is not so much that the government is out of control, as the government is not being controlled the way some of us want it. The American people have elected the government. If you want anything to really change, the change has to start at the grassroots. We can call the politicians names all we want, but people still send them to Washington, and if we “reset” this Republic, there is nothing to say that the same thing won’t happen all over again. In fact, the more apathetic might be more likely to want to limit people’s rights, so that more of their friends and family don’t get killed in another revolution.
I agree that the government has to be kept within Constitutional bounds, which they are often not observing now. We also have to regain a lot of ground that has been lost. But a revolt without a grassroots change is going to leave us in at best the same situation, more likely a worse one, whereas a grassroots change can accomplish much more, and at a significantly reduced cost.