I read an interesting article this morning that I would like to share with my readers. The article was written by Joe Herring and in it he speaks about the first Soviet dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago. He also expounds on the definition of, and manner to become, a dissident in our current times.
Some of Mr. Herring’s statements in his article actually mirror some of the observations, questions and extrapolations I made in Conviction of a Time Traveler. In COATT, I surmised that there might be a split within the military when they are called upon to respond to the civil disturbances/civil war within the United States. This split would likely comprise those willing to uphold their oaths to the Constitutionand those who simply want to keep their head down, not make waves and do what they are told. According to this likely majority of military members in the American Armed Forces of the present time, they will probably simply follow their orders, “maintain order” and “keep citizens safe” never realizing they are violating their oaths; never realizing that the orders they are following are lies and anathema to the very purpose of the military itself.
I expected and commented on this possible split in Conviction of a Time Traveler because, as many of you know, I spent a good amount of my career in the Defense Sector (over 20 years). If I had been a service member during the civil disturbances within the United States and I had been asked to violate my oath and erect a checkpoint or search a citizen’s home, how would I have reacted? Would I have had the fortitude to say “No?”
I know well the very people who will be called upon to subjugate their fellow Americans. And I can say, with all authority, that the vast majority of those military members will do exactly as they are told. They will set up checkpoints on civil roads, they will go house to house knocking on doors and they will take part in the deployment of military forces within the borders of the United States. Why? Because they will assume that if the orders to do such a thing originated above them, those orders must be legal and just as important, there will be no repercussions or accountability against those military members for “following orders” when those orders are later found to be illegal.
Bringing this into the Time Travel and John Titor context, John made several statements in this regard. When asked if we would be able to readily identify the enemy, John replied:
They will be the ones arresting and holding people without due process.
-John Titor, February 21, 2001
By implication, we can expect (and are seeing now) the actual loss of due process altogether. Arguably, I could say that this has been going on for a very long time, but only now is the current generation starting to take notice. They/we are taking notice now because those infringements are impinging on us personally now whereas before, any example was in a far away city and whose story was quickly lost to time (another strength of the internet).
As a close parallel to what we can expect when no accountability is provided to our overseers can be found when we look to the current time’s militarized police departments outfitted with cast off and “donated” equipment from the DHS. Police departments and cities will tell their subjects that the police are accountable and that there is no need for concern. There are internal and private “investigations” that can be trusted. This is merely an example of setting up the system to reinforce its will by having the fox guard the henhouse.
We are seeing these results of zero accountability within our militarized police departments through the slow aggregation of, what John Titor termed, “Waco-type events.” Specifically, many citizens are reading more and more stories of police departments and officers shooting first and asking questions later. And once the inevitable internal “investigation” is closed, it is concluded that the officer(s) “acted appropriately” and that that child, that dog or that mother deserved to die (without due process). I’m curious, does a private citizen have the right to defend himself against the police in an unlawful detention or attack?
When describing the buildup to the civil disturbance/civil war, Titor described that build up as:
I would describe it as having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse.
-John Titor, January 31, 2001
Later, John posed a question to the forum members calling into question the official narrative for the federal assault on the Branch Davidian homes which was still in recent memory at the time. He said:
Have you see the documentary on Waco? Just for argument’s sake, what do you think would happen if information were discovered that confirmed the worst accusations made against the law enforcement officers there?
-John Titor, February 21, 2001
Following up, he stated:
A large point of contention seems to be the “flashes” of light that appear to be gunfire that were recorded from the aircraft flying over the compound. The FBI has stated that these flashes were sunlight reflections. I find that rather interesting since the camera was not a visible light camera, it was a thermal camera. If the federal forces learned anything from WACO it was to install more reliable suppressors on their automatic weapons and don’t use flash grenades that leave shell casings after the fire.
-John Titor, March 13, 2001
I can’t help but be reminded of the recent murder by LA police forces of their own dissident earlier this year and their use of “incendiary” tear gas to burn him alive in an isolated cabin in the mountains. What purpose did his death serve? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Dorner)
But, back to the point:
Another reason the individual military person will subjugate his fellow American is because each and every one of those military members all have personal obligations; rent to pay, children to feed and car payments to make. Taking a stand on principal is hard and comes with uncertain outcomes. The general thinking will be “Illegal orders wouldn’t be given, right?”
Yes, there are populations of military members who recognize and will attempt to uphold their oaths. But sadly and admittedly pessimistically, they are in a very distinct minority of individual thinkers. Furthermore, there is a population within the military that, in times of ease, they are the heroes of Liberty. But when the order comes down and the balloon goes up they will quietly comply with the order to establish a checkpoint on a civilian road or search a citizen’s home for “contraband” never recognizing the hypocrisy and cowardice they demonstrate. Their justification will inevitably be in line with the mythology they already believe: They are keeping citizens “safe.”
(As an aside, I recommend any military member reading this now to investigate and understand Conscientious Objector status provided for within the UCMJ. CO is not just for long-haired hippies fleeing to Canada. There isa third option.)
As an example of this self-justification, Mr. Herring mentions the actions of the National Park Service in the recent budgetary dust up amongst our rulers as an example of this internal and personal justification. The heavy-handed, obedient and illegal actions the NPS took, and their subsequent justifications for those actions (“I was just doing what I was told”) should serve as a bellwether for things to come.
Do not expect the military members manning that checkpoint in your neighborhood to understand that they are infringing on your natural rights as a human to freely travel in their/our own country. Do not expect them to realize that by removing the firearms from your home is a crime in and of itself. They will be secure and righteous in their “knowledge” that they are “serving their country” and “keeping citizens safe” (from themselves). Because this certainty will be so deeply instilled in their thinking through training and reinforced by the authority figures above them, they will not cede an inch to human or individual rights. They will think they are serving you by controlling you. You cannot argue with this fanatical belief.
I will not whitewash my statements here with the obligatory “I love the military” mantra so as to immunize myself or deflect any criticism that I am “anti – American” or some other simple minded mantra. I speak from long experience with the military. While there may be some in places of authority within the military that recognize what is happening, because of its inherent top-down, pyramidal structure, all that need be done is remove those self-thinking individuals and replace them with more pliable “leaders” and the soldiers below them will follow suit.
But how did we get here?
Our current state of affairs in this country has plenty of blame to spread around amongst people of every political stripe and income level. Adding a temporal twist to this blame game, we can also blame many of those who came before us who did not brook any and every attempt at usurpations of individual liberty going back easily 100 years.
Solzhenitsyn described a similar incremental slide into tyranny in his book The Gulag Archipelago. Paraphrasing Solzhenitsyn, he asked the question, “When should we resist?” At the first infringement? The second? The third? I might argue that this generation is learning that lesson now.
Inherently, people do not recognize that their country is sliding toward tyranny because they do not have the gift of “remembering the future.” They (we) do not see that a “stop and frisk” policy, the requirement to carry your means of self-defense hidden from view, or the requirement to get permission from the state to do business or travel as infringements on our rights as Humans.
Why is this? It is because the steps are so incremental, so small and so easily explained as being “necessary for the greater perfection of society,” that we accept these individual infringements and feel we are doing our part for a civilized society. All the while never realizing that these individual and seemingly unrelated infringements comprise a larger whole that serves only those in power, our rulers. It is an orchestrated and coordinated system of instilling control over the Human individual and we are only now seeing the fruits of our multi-generational apathy and failure to both our progenitors and progeny.
But all is not doom and gloom. I take solace in the fact that this situation is, and can only be, temporary. I am very secure in the knowledge that our generation is learning from our mistakes, and the mistakes imposed on us by previous generations. This generation is now paying attention! It now recognizes the attempts to remove it from its rightful place as masters of their own destiny.
I have made the statement before, but it bears repeating: The John Titor posts were not, at their core, posts of doom and gloom speaking of nuclear apocalypse and civil war. Those were merely the garnish of a more substantial meal/idea. They were, at their core, hopeful! People often overlook the world that John described after the event and civil disturbances in favor of the more dramatic nuclear strikes or Civil War.
Attention should be paid at the lessons we (will/did) learn as a result of those events! John’s posts represent a vague, hazy glimpse at the fruits of this generation’s awakening. Be grateful for that perspective and remember it when you hear the latest insult to humanity from our rulers. Things do get better.
November 6, 2013
I Am Now a Dissident (and You Should Be, Too!)
By Joe Herring
dissident n. a person who opposes official policy, esp. that of an authoritarian state.
We live in a nation where the constitutionally respectful are becoming increasingly outnumbered by those who neither understand the underpinnings of our founding nor recognize the benefits that flow from those foundational values.
In place of legitimate constitutional scholarship in our educational system, we see a systematic and unrelenting effort to overturn the original concepts of our Constitution in favor of some “living” replacement — an “updated” document made for a diverse and evolving population, or so we are told.
Those who hold offices created by the Constitution itself are the very people using the power of those offices to usurp constitutional authority and undermine its place in American law.
After Obama utilized his entire first term to levy insult after insult against the rule of law in our nation, we conservatives appealed to our fellow citizens to vote with us to halt his lawlessness. We discovered to our eternal dismay that we — not they — are the minority.
Abraham Lincoln said:
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
This role has fallen to us now. We are both more and less than the citizens we were before 2012. We have become dissidents. In our own land. We are, however, in good company. After all, Jesus was a dissident.
But let’s look at a more approachable example for our time: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Born 95 years ago, Solzhenitsyn became one of his country’s most famous citizens, and, in the view of many of his countrymen, its most notorious traitor. By chronicling the forced labor abuses of the Soviet Union’s political prison system, he revealed the inherent nature of communism to the world.
Solzhenitsyn was born a year after the Soviet revolution of 1917. Soviet statism was his world. He drew the ire of Stalin’s regime by simply discussing how far the reality of communism was from the promise of communism. He saw through statist ideology from the beginning and dedicated his life to warning others of its inevitable outcome.
His first published novel, One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, was a tightly focused exposé on the lives of those in the labor camps. It revealed much, exposing the abusive excesses commonplace in the camps, but did not take the final step of offering judgment on the system that oversaw those camps. That would come later, in his seminal work, The Gulag Archipelago.
In Gulag, Solzhenitsyn deconstructed the moral case for communism. In more than two thousand pages over three volumes, he contrasted communist ideology with the natural free state of man, daring to illuminate for shuttered Soviets that place in the pantheon of existence that man holds between God and the angels — his relationship to good and evil — and the illegitimacy of the state’s intrusion into the equation.
Almost singlehandedly, his work removed communism from among the legitimate forms of government recognized on Earth.
He didn’t stop there. He cast a critical eye on Western societies as well, faulting them for replacing God with the pursuit of wealth, just as Communism had replaced God with the State.
He particularly disliked the West’s conflation of legality with morality, abhorring the idea that because it is legal, it is also right. He decried the application of this distorted concept to the practice of abortion, declaring that the imprimatur of legality granted by the State will not be enough to pass muster with God.
As he grew older, his faith became increasingly important to him. He spent his declining years urging his fellow citizens in Russia to rediscover their connection to God as partial recompense for having allowed the State to usurp God’s throne.
He died in 2008, still writing, still agitating, still wearing his greatest title, that of dissident.
So, what can we learn from Solzhenitsyn?
Stories teach better than arguments. People may not understand the “takings clause” of the Constitution, but they will become incensed about a story of government forcing people from their homes.
Teach with stories, not just with information. Stories internalize truths we recognize, but don’t fully understand. A story is accessible to anyone, regardless of education or political inclination. After all, Hollywood was built on exactly that, and we know the extent of their cultural power.
1) Never underestimate the power of mockery.
It is irrational and, as such, irrefutable. It allows for the bludgeon of humor to strike your opponent without drawing blood. Mockery does all its damage on the inside, unnerving your opponent and derailing his arguments.
2) Learn from Solzhenitsyn’s methods.
Focus on the result of a policy or initiative, and force those responsible to explain and defend it. Solzhenitsyn didn’t simply decry Communism. He illustrated the brutality, and forced Communists to explain why it must be that way.
3) Know your stuff.
No one can be knowledgeable about everything, so pick your battles, do your homework, and know more than your opponent. This is how you poke the bear without getting mauled. Embarrass your opponent into either admitting he knows less than he should or lying to cover up his deficiency. Either way, you have the upper hand, and he will forever be on the defensive with you.
4) Always remember: volume is not a substitute for facts.
A whisper will drown out the sounds of armies, if that whisper is the truth. Make them squirm as they try to defend the indefensible. Remember always: the tyrant’s greatest weakness is his belief that he has no weaknesses. Exploit that.
Those who will oppress their fellow citizens are not imported from another land for the purpose. They are your neighbors already. They are your friends and family, and in some cases, they might even be you.
These government employees will rationalize their assistance in the confiscation of liberty as “simply doing their jobs,” as did the members of the National Park Service when they followed the petulant orders of the president to close open-air memorials during the recent government shutdown.
Even the most complicit bureaucrat often believes to the end that he is serving the people, even if that “service” results in the abrogation of liberty, or ultimately, life.
While the bureaucrat may feel a vague sense of molestation as he follows orders he knows to be wrong, he will in the end side with his pension and benefits time and again, until, as Solzhenitsyn describes it, “the arrest is made.”
Solzhenitsyn writes in Gulag:
At what point, then, should one resist? When one’s belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When the policeman illegally crosses the threshold of one’s home? The arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that alone do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually…and yet all these incidental irrelevancies, taken together implacably constitute an arrest.
Our arrest is in ObamaCare. Our arrest is in an abusive and rogue IRS, and a myriad of other government scandals ignored and unpunished. Our arrest is found in every mewling surrender our “representatives” negotiate with the lawlessness of anti-constitutional governance.
Our belts have been taken. We are facing the corner, and the state is approaching the door. Civil disobedience is the right of every free citizen when faced with injustice. Embrace that right, and make the most of your new status. Be a dissident.
The author writes from Omaha, Nebraska and welcomes visitors to his website at http://www.readmorejoe.com.