OPINION


05-14-2010 

Larken Rose
Website: Larken Rose
A Duty to be Oppressed?  
 
Do good, upstanding citizens have a moral obligation to allow themselves to be oppressed, harassed, terrorized, assaulted, and wrongfully detained or imprisoned? Most people would say "no." But would most people actually mean it?

There are many examples of "law enforcers" treating innocent people like dirt. Random stops at "sobriety checkpoints" is a favorite of mine, since the local jackboots do that in front of my house on occasion. (In fact, they're doing it right now, as I write this.) The border Gestapo is even worse. And a YouTube search for "police abuse" will provide you with hours of infuriating examples of fascist pigs in action.

So, do we have an obligation to put up with being treated like that? Think carefully before you answer. Because an answer of "no, we don't," implies that we have a right to resist it, to not cooperate. And, of course, the control freaks and megalomaniacs with the badges aren't going to react kindly to anyone disobeying their gang. They will always escalate things to violence until they get their way.

If, for example, you believe that you have a right to not be searched
without cause, a right not to be interrogated for no reason, and a right not to be detained for no reason, then logically you must also believe that you have the right to drive right through a "sobriety checkpoint" without stopping. And what if they try to forcibly stop you--as they certainly would--for exercising your rights? Do you then have an obligation to be oppressed? Or do you have the right to respond with force against force, in whatever degree it takes to overcome their attempts to detain you without just cause?

This is the horrible choice tyrants force everyone to make, on a regular basis: you either submit to their will, or you react with violence. And, unlike the badge-wearing crooks who call themselves "law enforcers," the good people don't like to use violence. So they almost always allow themselves to be oppressed. And that tells the tyrants that they can increase the injustice even more. The end result is ... well, Frederick Douglass summed it up quite well:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."

Let me put the point even more bluntly: Every time oppression increases, the people have only two choices: unconditionally submit, or kill the oppressors. These are the only choices, because the oppressors themselves don't allow for any option in between. (There is sometimes a temporary third choice: running away and hiding. But not only is living on the run a form of oppression in itself, but sooner or later, when the control freaks find you, you will have to either submit or resist.)

Even if you "passively resist," or "resist" with mere words, you are submitting to the tyranny, by letting them lock you up and punish you for your disobedience. (To say that the moral thing to do is to allow yourself to be oppressed, and then complain afterwards, still implies that you have an obligation to be oppressed.) On the other hand, the moment you actually resist--the moment you refuse to allow them to oppress you--you will plainly see the violence inherent in all "government" action.

And, of course, when oppression is "legal"--as it usually is--if you resist it, you become (by definition) a "criminal," and probably a "terrorist" as well. Of course, the violence, harassment, intimidation, threats, assault and outright murder committed in the name of "government" aren't usually called "terrorism" (though that's exactly what they are) but resisting such oppression is.

In short, "government" makes terrorists. Whether you're talking about international thuggery or domestic oppression, it is nearly always authoritarian violence which drives people to resort to the violent reactions which are dubbed "terrorism." Of course, that doesn't mean such reactions are always justified (and they are never justified when they target innocents), but it does mean that, in almost every case, "terrorism" is a product of "government." An authoritarian regime traps people, controls them, and backs them into a corner, where they see violence as their only option. Whether their cause is righteous or not, or their means justified or not--whether you're talking about the American Revolution, or some suicide bomber in the Middle East--the pattern is the same. People are driven to the point where a perceived injustice is so great that they feel they must resort to violence.

With that in mind, ask yourself, what would your local "law enforcers" have to do before you would resist by force (thereby making yourself a "criminal" and/or a "terrorist")? Try to take your guns away? Try to take your children? Try to arrest you for criticizing "government"? In other words, what level of oppression will you actually not tolerate. Because so far, you've tolerated pretty damn much. Yes, lots of people whine, complain, and criticize, but until you actually resist, you are, by definition, tolerating the injustice, by allowing it to happen (to you and others).

Of course, I "tolerate" it, too, as demonstrated by the fact that I'm not dead, and not a fugitive. I'm not advocating martyrdom here. But it's about time for Americans to start thinking about things they've been trained to not think about. The bogus tripe about "land of the free and home of the brave" is sounding pretty lame these days, when you look at what Americans quietly submit to on a regular basis. Of course, it's not up to me to tell you at what point you should resist. But you ought to start thinking about it. Because somewhere between where we are now, and complete totalitarianism--and that gap is shrinking all the time--you will have to decide between being a slave, and being a "terrorist."