Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The blood of patriots and tyrants

... the people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.

We have had 13 states independant 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion?

& what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them.

what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it's natural manure.

I've thought about Jefferson's words a lot lately, as it dawns on more and more liberty lovers that tyranny is taking hold in the land of Jefferson. It's been developing slowly for more than a decade, this bipartisan cloud of tyranny, and pushback seems inevitable.

But I absolutely believe watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants in these times would not be healthy for freedom. Violent revolution against a brutal regime can only result in more violence and more brutality, and a revolution on those terms would require greater brutishness to be victorious, the ultimate "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

No, the revolution must be grounded in the Zero Aggression Principle and the principles of nonviolence espoused by Gandhi and others. Yes, ZAP does not prohibit the use of force; it prohibits the initiation of the use of force. Sufficient force defend one's self is acceptable under ZAP. But I believe forswearing violence is likely the most effective means of ensuring that whatever replaces this brutal regime is itself nonviolent.

Easy for me to say that in the abstract. It would get much harder as the tyrants begin to spill the blood of patriots in greater quantities, especially if it happens to be my blood. But there has to be a difference between the oppressors and the oppressed. When Gandhi's forces of peace allowed themselves to be beaten by British troops, doing nothing more than keep trying to exercise their freedom, they spoke volumes about who were the soldiers of liberty and who were the uncivilized thugs.

I suspect the time is not far off when living free, as most people conceive of liberty, will be illlegal and dangerous. We will need to make some decisions at that time. My choice is to live free in peace.

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