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Are You Patriotic Enough?

I suppose we all have to ask ourselves, when are we going to finally call this what it is? 

Tyranny is subtle, even excusable if we’re trying hard enough to sympathize with it. The American Revolution was a rebellion waged against tyrants in red coats; the Crown, lacking in the kind of sophistication of the modern despotism, didn’t have local police departments as we do now. 

Indeed, if they were more intelligent in their designs in the eighteenth century, they would have outfitted their soldiers with Boston Police Department uniforms after first inventing the institution. Had they fooled the colonists into believing that the troops actually represent them, they may well have averted the rebellion. 

Today’s war for independence is, and will be, waged against a well-armed soldiery at the local level, adorned in uniforms bearing the state’s, county’s or city’s name. This veritable war for liberty won’t quite resemble America’s previous bouts for independence, because tyranny has been perniciously equipped at a far more local level, where the layman would never suspect it. 

For years, I have lamented this lurking threat, and it’s now rearing its ugly head. I hope that Patriots and ordinary folk alike will continue to awaken to this threat posed by local and state police, as there is no greater threat to liberty in America today. 

And let us remember, as we encounter fellow Americans critical of their neighbors who earnestly believe in liberty and the Constitution of the United States: Liberty is seldom popular, for it is antithetical to order, which is more often than not the preferable state of being for those unaware of the attending risks. 

And be forewarned, as twentieth-century journalist H. L. Mencken promulgated, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.” 

He who awakens to the day without principle, lacking in initiative or in the power of independent thought to stand, represent and fight for something, is a plastic bag in a hurry to move wherever the wind blows. 

As political theorist John Stuart Mill famously wrote, “A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” 

Wherever one finds excuses justifying the suspension of rights and the minimization of liberty, however well-intentioned, one finds a charlatan ignorant of the ramifications or a politician who knows exactly what he’s doing. 

Make no mistake, excusable usurpations of power have always sown the seeds of social destruction, the most heinous of atrocities through the most virulent of tyrannies. Always contemporary in their methods, leveraging the most fashionable language and relevant context of the times, the currents beat ceaselessly against liberty as the unthinking masses fail to recognize the parallels. Instead, they term their measures progressive or responsible, as if their historical counterparts were any less convicted or compelling about theirs. 

In the present case of the coronavirus pandemic, claims abound that these political measures are justified as temporary means to contain the virus. Meanwhile, it’s clear that, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the threat of the pandemic is limited to those exhibiting comorbidity, politicians and the bureaucracy are intent on pulling out all the stops to inundate the public with its health-conscious messaging, to finally succeed in trivializing liberty and marginalizing anyone who might dare to speak favorably on its behalf. 

As Nobel laureate Milton Friedman proclaimed, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” For shining examples, reference the Social Security Act of 1935, the Revenue Act of 1942, and the end of Bretton Woods in 1971. For another such example outside the United States, one can evaluate the case of the Third Reich. 

Henry Grady Weaver observed the same theme in his 1947 treatise: "In line with the teachings of Marx, the proponents admit the necessity but argue that it is merely a temporary measure — that the dictatorship will automatically ‘wither away’ just as soon as things get going. They contend that history decrees this withering away, but the facts do not bear out this theory. In all history, there is no evidence of any dictatorship ever withering away. Dictatorship always feeds on itself. The ruthless tactics necessary to get it started becoming increasingly ruthless in the efforts to conceal the errors and defects of a scheme that can’t be made to work."

Some people wonder how the Holocaust was even possible, given its enormous scale. Well, in the aftermath of World War I, the Allies required that German citizens be disarmed, prompting a revision of German law in order to accomplish this task. 

When the party rose to power, one of the first agenda items of the Nazi regime was to peruse gun registration lists in order to identify their political opponents and disarm them. In accordance with existing German law requiring citizens to demonstrate competency and need in order to qualify for gun ownership, the Nazis needed only to claim that their opponents, among them the Jewish population, were simply too incompetent to handle firearms, or that they simply had no real need for them. 

Finally, in 1935 the Third Reich passed a law specifically banning Jews from acquiring gun permits, but this merely formalized the practice that had already been underway. Three years later, in 1938, the Nazi regime officially denied select groups the right to carry firearms, only to grant the privilege to Nazi sympathizers, who were allowed to carry firearms without a permit. 

Another such example comes from the Soviet Union.

On December 12, 1924, the Soviet Union limited civilian gun ownership to smoothbore shotguns, restricting all remaining categories of firearms to use exclusively by those employed by the Soviet state, whereupon all violators were subject to severe punishment: up to five years in prison. 

On February 25, 1927, the state in Russia outlawed all attempts at "overthrowing, undermining or weakening of the power of workers' and peasants' Soviets." All suspected violators were subject to the death penalty. 

Between 1932 and 1933, Stalin's "Terror-Famine" would result in upwards of 10 million deaths. Between 1934 and 1939, Stalin would imprison over 1 million "enemies of the working class" and execute more than 700,000 such "enemies" during the "Great Purge," before amassing 23.9 million civilian deaths during WWII, which the Soviet state termed the "Great Patriotic War" in order to swindle the citizenry into joining the fight and obeying orders to relinquish their firearms to the state. 

Wherever the state is found to employ the term "patriotic," you can be sure that it is merely a disguise for control. 

As American journalist H. L. Mencken once proclaimed, "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts."

Ultimately, history's most terrifying feats are attributable not to solitary overnight reforms, but to incremental shifts that allow the camel to get its nose under the tent. Once his nose is there, there is little to stop him from gaining total entry and wreaking unimaginable havoc. 

Make no mistake, every government initiative serves to test your tolerance for tyranny. With your support or in your silence, your acquiescence to the unlawful commands of government confirms that the despots are completely in control of your rights; rights that were once deemed natural, with which we were endowed by our Creator, are gradually redefined as privileges administered by that government formerly entrusted to defend those rights.

Ultimately, tyranny descends not under clear skies, but discreetly through the fog of uncertainty and the dark of the night. It appears invited, tacitly or directly, until rebuked incredulously by those much too late in revoking their invitation. 

Tyranny creeps into our lives under the auspices of patience and silence, where decent men concern themselves with their families and conmen concern themselves with politics. It is not with a mere academic enthusiasm that politics and history are worth studying; it is for their cautionary tales and worthwhile wisdom, and it is to understand the cost of freedom and that of inaction. 

Much to the chagrin of liberty, respectable Americans have long rejected the discussion of politics at the table; to the advantage of tyranny, this regrettably remains the case. This leaves the battle to be fought primarily between the men of politics and those charged with protecting the public, whose interests have all too often become indistinguishable. 

While the politicians, along with the media, do the talking and issue the orders, the police are everywhere responsible for determining whether they will ultimately execute them. Those officers principled enough to resist will do so at the risk of their jobs and their pensions; for this reason, many will take the easier route, which obviates the necessity to think independently and confront their anxiety, in order to protect their incomes, pensions and reputations among their peers by following orders and honoring the dictates of the bureaucracy. 

It takes knowledge and courage together to reject unlawful and immoral commands, but unfortunately there are simply too few police officers with the initiative, the means, the knowledge and the willpower to do so. For this reason, ordinary people must stand up and do their part to unapologetically declare their positions on freedom. 

I hope that fellow oath-takers, civil servicemen and even police officers, both retired and active, will make their voices heard, not merely among each other, but to the police departments and the bureaucrats across the land. Our freedom depends on it. 

We can all pretend we’ve got better things to do — that it’s only temporary, that everybody just needs to calm down — or we can declare our position unequivocally in support of the indispensable safeguards of liberty. After all, those historically enslaved or massacred by despotism seldom lacked in excuses for yielding to the power that eventually consumed them. 

In the end, you'll eventually have to answer the question: "Are you patriotic enough?"


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