F*ck the "long American tradition of armed resistance to intrusive government"

Belated followup to this thread.

From furt’s post #52:

The link is to an article in the libertarian Reason magazine.

My response in post #79:

By which I stand. Anyone disagree?

I don’t think America has any “long tradition of armed resistance to intrusive government”. I can’t think of any such resistance off the top of my head, and I’m not exactly the kind of guy who knows nothing about history. Wait, I can think of one thing, the Whiskey Rebellion, which happened over 200 years ago. Yes, that’s a very “long tradition of armed resistance to intrusive government.”

There were a lot of communities in the southern part of the United States who tended to look the other way when revenuers were assaulted or murdered by members of the community in the 19th century.

No doubt. But that only supports my point.

I’m confused. Are you arguing that there hasn’t been a long tradition of armed resistance, that there shouldn’t have been this long tradition, or that we should end this tradition? Sounds like you are arguing for the last assertion and then assuming it derives from the first. I see nothing wrong with saying we have a long tradition of armed resistance. It’s not mainstream, but it’s there. I lived thru a lot of it in the 60s.

You haven’t even got a functioning democracy.

Reading this stuff is like the Black Knight scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail: 'Tis but a scratch.

Yes, everyone should submit to tyranny of the majority peacefully… As if decrying armed resistance will prevent a disenfranchised minority from using violence to defend themselves or advance their goals.

Violence is often the product of desperation. When people feel severely marginalized, it is a perfectly legitimate response on their part to become desperate.

Well, there was this little disagreement called the American Civil War, but it did happen almost a century and a half ago. There were a number of so-called “tax revolts” prior to that, the most prominent of which are the abortive Shay’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, of which the most significant consequence is the resulting popularity of Bourbon whiskey. The most significant post-Civil War armed action I can think of that was initiated by United States citizens against a government within the federated states was the 1946 Battle of Athens (not to be confused with several similarly-named battles from the Civil War), and while it is often cited as a rationale for armed citizenry, it was a rather modest affair. Similar armed incidents involving an armed citizen resistance against government authority at large (rather than against a specific personage), and subsequent response by government that acknowledged the action as an insurrection (distinct from mere criminal activity) are very limited in scope and largely drawn across ethnic lines. There were a number of semi-organized resistance efforts against American authority in Puerto Rico in the 1950s, and Islamic resistance to American rule in the Philippines by the Moros at the turn of the 20th Century, neither of these peoples regarded themselves as American citizens.

There is no “long American tradition of armed resistance to intrusive government.” Indeed, even the rebellion that led to the American Revolutionary War wasn’t so much against intrusive governance (save for the Stamp Act and the Quartering Act requiring Americans to house British troops) as the burden of Britain imposing taxation for needed funds to support ongoing wars with France and Spain, and the American resistance thereto was predicated on financial and moral support from France combined with the weakness of the British grasp on the lucrative and self-sufficient American colonies.

The various “citizen militias” that came to some media prominence in the 'Nineties (and which were, save for a couple of instances, not militias in any legal or functional definition) never engaged in any active armed activity against any government. Unless one wishes to classify organized crime like the Capone organization and their resistance to prohibition as “armed insurrection”, there just isn’t such a history.


There was the Dorr Rebellion during the early 1840s. In brief, when the state government of Rhode Island refused to grant the vote to men who weren’t land owners, the disenfranchised mass of the populace organized a rival government and it briefly came to armed rebellion.

As recently as 1946 there was the Battle of Athens, where WW2 vets resisted a corrupt county sheriff who was turning away voters from the polling place.

Well, yes, there is a long human tradition of armed resistance to a perception of an overly intrusive government–just ask the Catholic Church sometime about the various “heresies” they dealt with.

In the United States, there’s this tradition, also. Of course, here we also have a tradition of electoral resistance to a perception of an overly intrusive government. And we, like many places, have a long tradition of terrorism, of organizations using violence against civilians in an attempt to change political policies. When people defeated by the ballot turn to the bullet, I confess I have very little sympathy for their cause.

The three groups described in the OP sound to me like terrorist organizations. Maybe not the first one–what did that “intimidating the assessors” look like?

Placing the militias in the company of American-bred terrorist organizations seems a little harsh for some of the militias, and wholly appropriate for others.

Wait a minute. What you’re saying is that the resistance wasn’t against intrusive government, except in the cases where it was. I don’t see why the resistance has to be exclusively against “intrusive government” (whatever that is) for it to be against intrusive government.

The second.

Compared to what?

Can democracy work any other way?!

I’m even more confused. You started this OP with the quote from Furt, who wasn’t arguing in favor of violence. Seems like we have a strawman here…

I’m actually responding to the author of the Reason article furt cited, and this Churchill whom the Reason article cited, both of whom seem to be arguing for the legitimacy of “armed resistance to intrusive government” – and implicitly connecting that position with the “insurrectionary theory of the Second Amendment.”

I think they miss the point. Whether or not it is an American tradition, the American value is based on human rights, and explicitly acknowledged as such: any human being has the self-evident right to resist tyranny. Being American or not doesn’t necessarily enter into it.

The tradition does not lend legitimacy, the people who claim the necessity to invoke the right must embody that legitimacy, they must have grievances petitioned but not answered, their grievances must be legitimate or they cannot justifiably claim the right to armed resistance.

I expect the closest we have come to such legitimacy would be the Black Power movement. If any group of Americans had a right to armed rebellion, it would have been African-Americans. “By any means necessary”.

Armed force does not necessarily enter into it either; ask Gandhi and King.

I’m saying that there is no consistent history of such. The British weren’t especially intrusive in regard to the governance of the Colonies except as a reflexive response to resistance to pay taxes and tariffs. The only significant armed rebellion in the history of the United States was the American Civil War, which was a response by the Southern states to what they viewed as intrusive mandates (i.e. abolition of slavery, export tariffs, et cetera) by the Northern-dominated federal government. Subsequent to that, there have been no significant armed uprisings against any government within the federated states.

The thrust of the Black Power movement was a non-violent cultural revolution intended to affirm the distinctiveness and positive virtues of “black culture” (predominately ethnically sub-Saharan African-American culture). The most militant aspects of the Black Power movement, such as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, were pretty limited in the scope of their activities and were marginalized by both the involvement in crime and the strong neo-Marxist bent, as well as internecine fighting that weakened the organization. When weapons and mass violence were employed as a response to racial inequality, it was usually the African-American communities that came off the worst (Washington D.C., the Los Angeles Watts riots, Oakland, et cetera). So, again, no long tradition of armed resistance.


C’mon… it is really very simple.

There are folks who BELIEVE that all poor people are POOR because they are LAZY.

And then, there are folks who BELIEVE that people are poor because of childhood circumstances; because of brain chemistry; because of cultural differences.

No matter.

All things seem to be judged by what cohort DRAW the most Money.

That would be… Wall Street…Politicians…Perhaps Religious Leaders…Heads of State…

Oh… and that would NOT be …Families…Parents…Schools…Communities…

(Those damned, neophyte, STUDPID people.)

Mitch McConnel
Tim Geithner
Alan Greenspan
George Bush
Tim Geitner
Larry Summers
Ben Bernanke
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Alan Greenspan

Let us include those “in the know” from every single government on the face of the Earth.

As Frederick Douglas once said, no one with Money or Power will ever give up Power or Money or Privilege without a FIGHT.

And, right now…across the globe… those with the most assets are determining the governments of the entire globe.

The Laws. The Legislatures.

No matter their philosophies nor governments.

$$$$$$ Money $$$$$

It matters NOT who made it. Only who HAS it.


A joke.

America’s politics?

A joke.

The REAL promulagters of power have, and have had, power through the ages.

Through great wealth and influence.

They laugh at the “Masses.”

The jerks who pick up garbage.

Who work in factories. (Across the world.)

Who stand at “Attendance” at high-end hotels and motels across the world.

Who subserviantly serve on educational boards at local schools.


Does THIS matter to people whom three or four or five homes exist across the globe?

Who have boats sitting at moorings which bring millions to those buisnesses?


It seems.

Matters more than anything.



Perhaps we should give up care for every other human being on earth to those human beings whose goal is to make money and have have bigger and better “things.”


THESE things matter more than THE GOOD of MANKIND…

Here we are.

BUT…we can fix it.

OBAMA is NOT the answer.

Conscience is.

We have almost a year in our political system to try again.

Let’s try again…