If I were motivated to take such an interesting journey, I could step out my back door and hike 55 miles through the Maine woods to the border with Canada without crossing a paved road. (I’d reach U.S. 1 just before the border, to be precise.) Since I’m a wildlife biologist and Registered Maine Guide, this particular hike does not entice me. My feet have trod plenty of forestland and I can think of more interesting places to explore.
Imagine, nonetheless: I hoist my backpack and set out east by northeast. I submit to you that I could walk the distance in an almost-straight line, weaving a little in order to side-step a tree or skirt a pond.
I submit to you, as well, that if you would stand me on a low platform and then strike me with a blast of 250-mph wind, I surely would be bulleted into the forest as a molecule propelled by a sneeze, but I wouldn’t travel 55 yards, not to mention 55 miles, before I would be smeared against a tree trunk, never to take a step farther.
It is February, 2022, and we are two years into this covid pandemic. We now know that, before there was news of human infection with SARS-CoV-2, our oracle, Anthony Fauci, MD, was transferring money to a lab in Wuhan, China, to fund gain-of-function research into the genome of that virus — that is, to fund whatever China wanted to do with U.S. taxpayer money, since accountability for that country’s actions is non-existent.
That is not what surprises and appalls me. I marvel, instead, at the passionate response to the facts manifested in two factions of Americans. In the nearly three quarters of a century that I have observed human folly, it should not astonish me that freedom-loving rebels — the people who could most effectively return this nation to a constitutional republic — have chosen to rise up as a cohesive force against… against masks and vaccines.
I have been sounding the alarm for decades as the IRS has grown to resemble Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors.” I have been demanding explanations as the banking industry has secured permission to charge me a fee to store my money in its “vaults” and charge me three percent for the privilege of spending it instead of paying me interest of at least three percent. Where were those rebels as these boots were being driven into their necks? All of a sudden they have risen up as one against… against masks and vaccines.
What person among them has not taken a needle to prevent annual influenza strains? What person among them has not worn a protective covering somewhere? What person among them has not buckled a seatbelt? Stepped through a metal detector? Paid for a license to perform a basic human function? I do not wear a mask outside my home because the government tells me I must. I don’t give a damn what the government tells me to do. I wear it because it protects me and it protects those whom I encounter.
The absurdity of the anti-masker, anti-vaxer movement is compounded by Republicans in Congress who have suddenly detected a threat to freedom. Where were they, all through my lifetime, as our property was being handed to the banks and our freedom was being handed to the regulators? I want to blame those abuses on the Democrats, but the two parties now resemble each other so closely that both are equally responsible for our loss of future.
I am closely and warmly acquainted with a woman, a medical doctor in fact, who protests masks and needles based on her Christian faith. I propounded to her that the God I worship is interested in the substance of my soul, not the agent in my arteries or the strew in my stomach. “God created us to be his image on Earth,” she countered. “And the virus is 200 times smaller than the spaces within a mask.”
Regarding her first point, I argued that, in my vulgar condition, I more closely resemble the virus itself than God, although I do understand that, as one Christian apologist has said, “You may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.” So, yes, I try in all encounters to behave as Jesus would.
To her second point, I compare the virus going through a mask to my initial example of hiking through the forest. If the virus has the leisure time to meander through a manmade filter with holes 200 times its width, it may indeed “hike” right through a mask. But propelled at the rate of a sneeze or a lungful of exhaled or inhaled air, I suspect that the mask will act as would the forest against my randomly-catapulted body. Is it a perfect barrier? No. But it is better than most alternatives including the alternative of no barrier at all.
I live with someone who has a serious auto-immune disease. I live with someone else who was born in the 1920s. I myself am a fourteen-year survivor of a heart attack. We are all three highly vulnerable to the severe immediate effects of “covid” and to its long-term effects as well. None of us has yet become infected with it. We have taken advantage of the protection in vaccines. We wear masks in public. We appreciate the courtesy others show by wearing their masks.
To those who have suddenly come to the defense of my freedom not to wear a mask, how about joining me by the millions to defend my freedom not to fund a corrupt government? How about throwing the bums out and electing 435 new members to the House of Representatives this fall, not to mention 33 or 34 new senators? Then I will believe in your commitment to freedom.
The states of America which became united in one federation still exist in name and with regional eccentricities that each takes pride in. People in every state still entertain the delusion that they are separately-governed entities, voluntarily united into one country.
Most of us have accepted the reality that the states are, in fact, cemented like stones in a chimney. A geologist might think of a kind of rock called conglomerate, or another called porphyry.
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”
A rational person supports the Union of these states, as indeed I do. There are several things that half or more of us throughout the country have not accepted, however, even though we are individually powerless to resist:
that the three constitutional branches of the federal government and the fourth unconstitutional (unelected regulatory/bureaucratic) branch have, since at least 1912, conspired together to created a massive federal monster
that real money has been replaced, fifty years ago by promises to pay (federal reserve notes) and lately by digital “currency,” all of this to serve the banking “industry” and its shadowy controllers (not meaning comptrollers) as well as to serve the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of virtually all transactions and savings
that insulting the political elite — “calling a spade a spade” or naming the white elephant in the room — results in public shaming, on-line surveillance, and punishment by the IRS
that it has become “subversive” to say or publish anything calling into question the motives of those who love and control our colossal, smothering, unsustainable federal government
that freedom, last experienced in this country in the 1960s, has become but a memory for those of us who experienced it and a dream for those who can only imagine it
that almost all electronic and “broadcast” media are political organs of the now-dominant political party, making them no more objective than Izvestia and Pravda in the old U.S.S.R.
that we who believe in and support the ideals that this country originally stood for are now branded as racists, extremists, and radicals by those who are the true racists, extremists, and radicals
I REMEMBER FREEDOM. I WAS AN ADULT IN THE 1960s.
There are those within the population, younger than I, who have been schooled in liberty as I was and who understand it more as an ideal than an experience. And there are many, both younger and older than I, who have given it little thought until recently, when the loss of freedom in one form or another has come around to affect them personally, and that more or less unexpectedly.
The mounting threats to personal possession of “weapons of war” is an example of that. By contrast with today’s hysteria over guns, my first firearm was a Marlin .22-caliber single shot rifle which I earned when I was ten years old by selling Christmas cards in Gomer, Ohio. I told my customers what I was working toward, and they supported my objective. I still have the Boys Life magazine with the ad for Junior Sales Club of America, which provided the Christmas cards and the gun. It was shipped to a local hardware store in my name, and my father had to go with me and sign for it to pick it up. I haven’t shot anyone with it yet.
The growth of government is in direct proportion to the erosion of our liberties.
State governments have necessarily become monsters in step with the fattening of the federal government.
Few Americans younger than I have a perspective on the growth of the federal behemoth or have any idea of the origins of each component of its growth. They don’t know the politics behind each growth spurt.
I remember the debates about “revenue sharing” during President Nixon’s first term. The federal government identified a problem that we didn’t know we had and enacted a fix that we didn’t need. Some states, poorly managed for many years and dominated by vocal, indignant politicians, complained that other states had more money per capita to spend — for whatever reason — perhaps, even, because they were better managed.
Someone put before Nixon (who was a student of Keynes, remember?) what he and Congress deemed was a great idea: Force all states to contribute to a special federal fund more or less in proportion to population, and the federal government would then return that revenue — all of it, they promised — by sharing it with those states where it was most needed for specific purposes.
Most states bought into the plan, because it was tailored to assure that those jurisdictions in need of seaport development, for instance, would receive special grants for that purpose while other states needing irrigation for agriculture would make out better than they would without federal “sharing.” From this came the common theme today that, whenever a bond issue is floated it describes the federal matching funds which — Hey, listen up! — is money we can’t turn down!
That is how state governments have been forced, financially, to mimic the growth of the federal monster and is but one example from my adult lifetime. As with the Social Security program and everything else, the promises made to get it past suspicious voters or suspicious representatives in Congress were honored for about the duration of one president’s administration and then abandoned as the program sank into the muck of government control.
With each such program, of course, come requirements unrelated to the purpose for which the money is distributed. Highway funds include mandates that apply to public schools, agricultural grants include mandates affecting medical care for the elderly, and so on.
Resistance is Futile.
For those who want to participate in a revolution against the burgeoning totalitarian regime, it would be wrong for the “foot soldiers” of the revolution to confront the government’s grunts — the local police, the National Guard, the professional military. For the most part, the police, the Guard, the standing army are us — our neighbors, our cousins, our children, our personal friends. Any rabble in arms, in a confrontation with such professional force, doesn’t stand a chance.
I think it has been folly for foot soldiers in any army in any country in any epoch to participate in a clash of front-line troops. The people at the top are your enemy. They will fight a war of attrition using the soldiers at their command. An army with any sense would try to storm the residences of the powerful, not the front lines of their protectors.
Don’t fight in the streets. The real enemy is at the top. But Washington, D.C., is off limits. Any attack there is too costly. Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, said that deception and trickery are the highest and most effective strategies against an opponent. Guess what; those tactics have already been employed against the United States from within. They have already won.
For the next generation or two, half the people across the 50 states will blame the country’s rot on all that came before 2021. The other half will blame it on all that happened since.
It’s My Fault.
I blame it on us. Since the 1970s we’ve accepted the lust for egalitarian results over the uncertainties attending equal opportunity. We’ve opted for indoctrination in the dream of fairness over education in reality. We haven’t understood what we have been voting for, what — not who — we have chosen in our elections. We have chosen unrealistic expectations of fluffy lives and guarantees of happiness. We have vilified the very idea of individual responsibility and pursued rights by group — rights to things and conditions that have a cost but not a cost that those in the group must pay.
We have turned the original idea that every individual has affirmative rights — the right to do whatever one might decide to do without interference from others or the government (id est, those same others) so long as what I do doesn’t infringe on the rights of the next guy — into a body of negative rights — the right to be free from something rather than free to do something. In this body of negative rights, we would have the right to be free from illness, free from insult, free from hunger, cold, heat, inconvenience of any sort. I would have the right to be free from restrictions on my personal expression even when my personal expression forces you to stand aside or participate in it or pay for it.
Conquest In Various Forms
The American continents were simply overrun by outsiders in the latter half of the Second Millennium — overwhelmed by a population supplied with superior tools, weapons, and governmental imperative. In the novel, Cold Morning Shadow, the 20th-Centtury American Indian, Henry Clay Comosh, acknowledges that fact, echoing an earlier comment by a Japanese survivor of World War II: We are a conquered people.
There are various summations of the rules for destroying a country, available by searching the internet. Look up Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky, Mao Tse-Tung, and of course Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. These demons in Satan’s service well understood how to transform a country from within by changing the people’s expectations and not so much with weapons of war, although a little of that is needed to set the populace on edge.
You Mean, Do Nothing?
While I think it is folly to attack the federal monster by shooting guns in the streets with the hope of changing things back to the way they were in , 1960, 1900, 1840, or 1780, I also think it is useless for an individual like me to try to topple the people at the top, even though that is the appropriate target and the way to reduce casualties. A few hundred years ago a ruler could surround himself with some protection, but he was necessarily far more exposed, while traveling, for instance, than today. Even though the ones at the top are the symbols of political power and that is who presumably must be removed and replaced (with whom…?), I think it is practically impossible now to do it.
I also think those in top political office do not, in fact, possess much power. They are manipulated by the ones literally in the shadows who run the political parties and who control the money. There is plenty of speculation out there, not to mention evidence, around who those people are; I don’t need to name anyone.
It is most sad that any “revolution” against the collectivist powers in the federal government, even should it succeed in supplanting the body of the monster, will be a devolution into a comparable monster. This is made plain in Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, discussed in detail at this page. and at this Farnam Street site. A revolution based on good ideas needs to generate fervor in the masses. The masses need leaders. People interested in becoming revolutionary leaders have their own self-interest at heart more than the ideals that brought them to power.
Ave, Don Quixote!
The Washington, D.C., of tour books and picture post cards was built upon a swamp, we’re told, an exceedingly accurate representation of the government that has since formed within the slime and the goo. President Trump was elected to clean it out.
That swamp, though, is smeared across a bedrock of limestone hardness — a deep state which no swamp-cleaning can touch. Donald Trump wasn’t able to expose, much less scratch the veneer of that mantle. Its retribution for his presumption to hammer at its surface was so ferocious and so frightening to his close allies that he was left standing alone in tatters and bewilderment. Ave, Don Quixote, and God bless you. You’re the bravest man ever to hold public office in the United States of America.
In the movie, “Catch-22,” after the Italian brothel has been destroyed, Captain Yossarian finds an old man sitting in the rubble. The gist of the old Italian’s comment to the American is that Italy has been conquered, so now he must direct his loyalty to the conquerors.
Unlike the old Italian in the movie, I am not going to feign loyalty to the powers that will rule the United States for the rest of my lifetime. But for my own peace I acknowledge that we are a conquered people. It happened just as the patron saints of collectivism said it would.
This isn’t surrender on my part. This isn’t capitulation. It’s marking time. Yes, some of us can rise up and resist. I pray that, for those who participate in any uprising, it will be a smart resistance and not some goofiness about masks and vaccines. I fear that much of the energy needed to rescue the United States from the conquerors has been dissipated in useless squabbles over the virus.
My own days of guerrilla fighting are over. I wore sergeant’s stripes in the Army during the Vietnam non-war and I’m now in my eighth decade. My mission henceforth is, as Albert Jay Nock argued: to document, edify, and exhort — to do exactly what you see here.
Restoring any semblance of the country I was born into will truly take a war of ideas. The opposing sides are individualism against collectivism, “Truth forever on the threshold, Wrong forever on the throne.”* The idea of freedom needs to take hold once more. That won’t occur in my lifetime. For the rest of my life, though, I’m keeping my guns, cleaned, loaded, and unregistered.
*James Russell Lowell in the poem “The Present Crisis” — 1845. The hymnal of the Episcopal church included a hymn based on Lowell’s poem, beginning with the line, “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide…” The hymn was purged when an updated hymnal was published in 1982.
The passage below, about freedom, a hard-won human condition, is taken from Memoirs of a Superfluous Man by Albert Jay Nock, published in 1943, beginning on page 313.
Like the general run of American children, I grew up under the impression that mankind have an innate and deep-seated love of liberty.This was never taught me as an article of faith, but in one way and another, mostly from pseudo-patriotic books and songs, children picked up a vague notion that “the priceless boon of liberty” is really a very fine thing, that mankind love it and are jealous of it to the point of raising Cain if it be denied them; also that America makes a great specialty of liberty and is truly the land of the free.I first became uncertain about these tenets through reading ancient accounts of the great libertarian wars of history, and discovering that there were other and more substantial causes behind those wars and that actually the innate love of liberty did not have much to do with them.This caused me to carry on my observations upon matters nearer at hand, and my doubts were confirmed.If mankind really have an unquenchable love for freedom, I thought it strange that I saw so little evidence of it; and as a matter of fact, from that day to this I have seen none worth noticing.One is bound to wonder why it is, since people usually set some value on what they love, that among those who are presumed to be so fond of freedom the possession of it is so little appreciated.Taking the great cardinal example lying nearest at hand, the American people once had their liberties; they had them all; but apparently they could not resist o’nights until they had turned them over to a prehensile crew of professional politicians.
So my belief in these tenets gradually slipped away from me.I can not say just when I lost it, for the course of its disappearance was not marked by any events.It vanished more than thirty years ago, however, for I have consciously kept an eye on the matter for that length of time.What interested me especially is that during this period I have discovered scarcely a corporal’s guard of persons who had any conception whatever of liberty as a principle, let alone caring for any specific vindications of it as such.On the other hand, I have met many who were very eloquent about liberty as affecting some matter of special interest to them, but who were authoritarian as the College of Cardinals on other matters.Prohibition brought out myriads of such; so did the various agitations about censorship, free speech, minority-rights of Negroes, Jews, Indians; and among all whom I questioned I did not find a baker’s dozen who were capable of perceiving any inconsistency in their attitude.
According to my observations, mankind are among the most easily tamable and domesticable of all creatures in the animal world.They are readily reducible to submission, so readily conditionable (to coin a word) as to exhibit an almost incredibly enduring patience under restraint and oppression of the most flagrant character.So far are they from displaying any overweening love of freedom that they show a singular contentment with a condition of servitorship, often showing a curious canine pride in it, and again often simply unaware that the are existing in that condition.Byron, one of the world’s greatest natural forces in poetry, had virtually no reflective power, but in the last lines of his poem on Bonnivard, who “regained his freedom with a sigh,” he displays a flash of insight almost worthy of Sophocles, into mankind’s easy susceptibility to conditioning.
I do not know the origin of this idea that mankind loves liberty above all things, but the American revolution of 1776 and the French revolution of 1789 apparently did most to give it currency.Since then it has done yeoman’s service to an unbroken succession of knaves intent on exploiting the name and appearance of freedom before mankind, while depriving them of the reality.Such is the immense irony of history.The goddess of liberty, as she lay in the arms of de Noailles and Lafayette, was a beautiful and alluring figure; but after she had been passed on to the arms of Mirabeau, then handed on to the embraces of Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Marat, Barras, Carrier, and finally Bonaparte, she was left in an extremely raddled and shopworn condition.“Good old revolution!” said one of my friends in a meditative mood, during the stormy times of 1936 in Paris. “Liberté, Égalité, Defense d’uriner.They still keep the fine old motto posted up, I see, but it doesn’t seem to mean much more now than it did when Robespierre was running things.”
I might have witnessed some of the revolutions which occurred in my time, but having a pretty clear notion of what they would come to, I paid little attention to them.Like Ibsen and Henry George, I have little respect for political revolutions, for I never knew of one which in the long-run did not cost more than it came to.Beheading a Louis XVI to make way for a Napoleon seems an unbusinesslike venture, to say the least of it.Passing from the tyranny of Charles I to the tyranny of Cromwell is like taking a turn in a revolving door; the exertion merely puts you back where you started.If every jobholder in Washington were driven into the Potomac tonight, their places would be taken tomorrow by others precisely like them.Nor have I any more respect for what the Duke of Wellington called “a revolution by due course of law” than I have for one of the terrorist type.In this country, for example, unseating predatory and scampish Republicans to give place to predatory and scampish Democrats, and vice versa, has long proved itself not worth the trouble of holding an election…
The Constitution, Article IV, Section 4, declares “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Nothing in the Constitution suggests that this country was ever intended to be a democracy. The critical difference is in the matter of rights.
John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he wrote, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” An individual has a right to his life, a right to defend himself against an aggressor, a right to protect his family, a right to use and to dispose of the fruits of his labor as he sees fit, a right to speak, a right to associate and assemble with others of his choosing, a right to turn his back and walk away, a right to manifest faith in a God, and a right to attempt to persuade — but not to coerce — others.
A republic is the one form of government that is designed to protect the rights of an individual against the whims, fashions, emotions, fervor, and ignorance of the many. A democracy confers on the majority the temptation to interfere with these rights, to introduce new, arbitrary privileges, and to do either according to popular zeal. A monarch or dictator may also presume to interfere with the fundamental rights that John Adams described. Even under a dictatorship, those fundamental rights exist; it’s just a question whether an individual or group of individuals will assert them.
The United States is confused, nowadays, about its form of government. It is not a democracy, although the original republican form of government has been corrupted into a semblance of democracy. And the people are deluded into thinking that a republic and a democracy are one and the same, even that a democracy is somehow superior to the antiquated and presumably unworkable concept that we are a republic.
In a democracy, you see, the majority rules (supposedly, and that is debatable, because those hungry for power, whom the majority has elected, effectively rule), while in a republic, the individual is protected from the majority. In a democracy, the people’s representatives identify groups, often called “communities,” who need special privileges in order to remain more loyal as voters, and the people’s representatives create new “rights” to soothe those groups. Generally these are “rights” to be free from discomfort and almost by definition infringe on the real rights of every individual.
With this distinction clear, consider now a passage from Nock’s The Theory of Education in the U.S.:
So the popular idea of democracy postulates that there shall be nothing worth enjoying for anybody to enjoy that everybody may not enjoy; and a contrary view is at once exposed to all the evils of a dogged, unintelligent, invincibly suspicious resentment.
The whole institutional life organised under the popular idea of democracy, then, must reflect this resentment. It must aim at no ideals above those of the average man; that is to say, it must regulate itself by the lowest common denominator of intelligence, taste, and character in the society which it represents.
In a republic, where all the population are free to create, invest, and exercise patience or engage in self-indulgence, an individual may prosper and enjoy comfort that many others do not. This prosperity may have come his way by birth and inheritance, by effort and good judgment, by sheer luck, or by a convergence of these advantages. In a republic, a person who enjoys some prosperity may share his good fortune with others, or may choose not to do so. In a republic, an individual chooses how to dispose of his income and assets, and takes responsibility for the consequences of his actions. In a democracy, where all the population are free to create, invest, and exercise patience or engage in self-indulgence, an individual may prosper and enjoy comfort that others do not only until those others, many of whom do not want to take responsibility for their own choices, are goaded by people who ache on their behalf and are whipped into mass action that denies a moderate person the fruit of his labor.