July fourth rolled around with many of the comments one would expect. Republicans and Democrats turned it into yet another opportunity to worship the state. Libertarians bemoaned the chasm between the original intensions of the signers of the declaration and how far this country has gone since.
But there was another thread in libertarian blogging on the subject. There were more than a few bloggers who pointed out that the signers were not trying to “work within the system” but had openly taken up arms against the government in open revolt. Those bloggers were also questioning the reluctance of modern libertarians to make such an open revolt against a government far more oppressive than the king of England was.
The question was asked, as an imperative, if libertarians had what it takes to say to the government “I’m not going to obey your laws anymore.” There are many people every day who say that. They are called “criminals” by the government. True if everyone became a criminal at once the government would fall but that is not what the authors are actually urging.
What these authors actually want is a movement to join that will actually be a revolt. If they really stood by the call to arms at this time, they would be taking up arms at this time. They would become criminals. But they do not want to go to jail for their solo efforts.
The signers were not individual criminals funding a revolt. They were politicians. They had worked their way up through the political system and were speaking on behalf of the states that they were delegates from. John Hancock, first president of the United States, was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies before the declaration was signed. Early in his political career he was one of the five selectmen of Boston. He served in various political offices until he was made president of the Continental Congress. The rest of the singers were all people of influence, prominent lawyers, doctors, military officers, shippers, educators, publishers, and politicians. They all served in offices, elected or appointed, before they were appointed as representatives – by their states – to speak for their states in the Continental Congress.
The second revolt was also led by those who had already established themselves, when the eleven Confederate States seceded. Like the secesion of 1776, the secession of 1861 was a product of those who were already withing the political system. The vote to secede took place in the legislatures of the states.
In other countries, where avenues such as that are not available, instead of prominent politicians leading an anti-government movement, other institutions where one can have influence are used as a vehicle for revolt. In many countries religious leaders and institutions are vessles for this kind of activity.
If what the authors of those blog entries really want is a movement that people can join, what they should do is find a way to start such a movement. They need to form their own militia, train it themselves, and fund it themselves. Like everyone else raised in the current system of dependency on the government, they are waiting for someone else to handle the organization aspect of this problem. The real work is to become influential enough to create this sort of movement, instead of waiting for the movement to exist and urging everyone else to join it.