Have you ever wondered what makes a person snap? What causes a normal, quiet, everyday citizen, loving mother, or doting father to lose it all and fight like a caged animal? What can cause a small village to rise up and rebel against an oppressive police force and start killing them? What is the switch that gets flipped that causes a city to pour two million people into the streets, chanting and demanding to be heard by their government?
Lately it feels more and more as though we are on standing on the edge of some yawning precipice peering over the crest into darkness. What is more troubling to me is that we have been down this path before. The sense of unease is almost palpable to me sometimes; it is more evident if you are paying attention. If you are able to eliminate the white noise of the world for a minute; hit the pause button on the playlist of daily life for a while and look around, listen, you may start to recognize that you too are caught up in events that will soon change all our lives.
For several years I have felt an unsettling sense that we need to be prepared, that life is going to throw us a big, fat, greasy curve ball soon and we better not be caught napping. To try and proactively address that warning voice I started planning and taking steps to prepare my family to be able to weather events in the future. I am certainly not alone in this concern as you can easily see by the tremendous growth of the prepper movement. In the spectrum of probable events, there are a lot of potential scenarios. Natural disasters and emergencies occur every day all over the world, but you have to broaden your gaze and look to current events and history as well. One of the things that I think is a valid potential event to consider is a collapse of our way of life which leads to an authoritarian oppressive government.
Are we reaching a tipping point?
We have seen in recent events, by now almost too numerous to mention, the effects of a rising frustration with the way things are. It isn’t necessary to go into all of the individual reasons, but as a society there are more and more outpourings of frustration on a global scale. There are increasingly tightening restrictions against people. There is a manipulation of markets and the economy. There is a great increase in the loss of freedom and there is a more open antagonism and almost outright animosity by Government towards their people.
Governments exist either because they have come to power through force and violence or they have been elected and given power by the people. The force and violence crowd usually have their roots in the military and we like to call them Dictators. There have been a ton of them throughout history; Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong iL and now his son, Saddam, Gaddafi, the list goes on and on. Dictators don’t care about the people and usually kill anyone who gets in their way. It is a fact that government has killed more people than any other cause, disease or reason.
The other side of the coin is what is usually called Democracies. I am lumping a lot of governments in here I know, but the democracies are usually elected and formed with the consent of the people with the noble goal of securing rights or protecting the people over whom they govern. Almost without fail however, Democratic Governments eventually do not want to answer to the people and at some point they most certainly will not be told what to do by the people to the point of ignoring the will of the people (for the people’s own good of course). Now these governments that are supposed to secure the liberties of their people are becoming more openly hostile to the same people they have sworn to defend. Funnily enough the democratically elected governments now seem to want to hang on to power with the same methods of force and violence as dictators. How else can you explain arming themselves with ammo, ignoring the constitution, purchasing assault vehicles and preparing to confiscate firearms?
When governments will steal money outright from the citizens in order to pay bills that were not incurred by the people we have a problem. When government spies on its people and uses that information against them punitively we have a problem. When Government uses the force of the military that was supposed to defend the people that was paid for by the people, for the purposes of killing the people, we have a big problem. When someone brings to light crimes by the government and is labeled as the one who is a danger, we have a problem.
The problem is that governments around the world are viewing their people as the problem and there really seems to be only one way throughout history that this is ever rectified. My fear is that we are already set on a course that won’t be changed with laws, great political leaders, or a return to the values of a golden age in time long past.
The Fine Line – The Straw that breaks the camel’s back
The fine line between someone who is a law-abiding citizen and a murderer is one that exists purely in our souls. There is nothing physical that is different from a person who follows the rules and someone who breaks them. The urge to pull the trigger isn’t something you can see and it isn’t a trait to test for, so it must be our own individual sense of right and wrong. Of good and evil.
I know that some will argue that a psychopath is definitely recognizable by character traits and maybe even brainwaves or chemistry. That may be true, but you can be a psychopath (clinically) without ever hurting anyone. By the same token, you can take a life while being perfectly “sane”.
If you hold a knife in your hand, you are just as capable of using that to stab or cut someone as the murderer in the next town, but that thought never enters the mind of an overwhelming majority of people. A baseball bat in your hands can easily be swung with great force connecting it to the back of a skull, but this thought never appears in our heads; that is unless we are forced into a corner. When a person is in desperate fear for their lives, the unspoken rules of right and wrong are broken. The processes that we follow every day are overridden in the cause of rage or self-preservation. What was unthinkable before is now very real, necessary and even righteous with the right circumstances.
When the right buttons are pushed, anyone can lose it. When the fear of dying or of losing someone you love is so overpowering, the “fine line” that has been keeping us sane, law-abiding and good is easily shattered. When this happens, all bets are off.
We as a people, a country are still rather firmly attached on the good side of this line. We have not yet completely been driven to abandon all hope and lash out. We have not yet been so harmed, have not gotten to the point that we have nothing to lose and are ready to lose it, but this may be coming in the future.
The force and violence that is being used now to quell the dissatisfaction of people globally is increasing. The methods to cease the complaining of the rabble has been relatively minor with some exceptions. Tear gas, rubber bullets, mace and batons only work up to a point though. When the time comes that people can no longer abide, there won’t be enough police to stop them using riot control techniques. The military doesn’t have enough people to stop the entire population unless those people peacefully agree to surrender, so what will they do? Do you believe any government will quietly step down and admit that they are obviously not speaking for the people anymore? No. They will resort to more force and violence and people will die. Either that or you have a coup like they had in Egypt and guess who took over to “restore order”? Yep, the Military.
What will be the inevitable response by the authorities?
The Chinese people who started to revolt against the police in their town did so because the authorities were “placing restrictions on their culture, language and religion”. China is no picnic compared to America and we clearly know they have lived through far worse oppression than we have, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for them?
The protests which turned into an estimated two million citizens of Brazil had started simply enough with a protest over a rise in the rates of public transportation.
In America, what will be the trigger that causes people to rise up and say we aren’t going to take this anymore and more importantly what will happen when/if we do?
What will happen if we don’t change the path we are on?
There is a quote that has always struck me as very sad and telling from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago. Solzhenitsyn was a Russian who was sentenced to 8 years in a Soviet prison camp for essentially writing things about Stalin that the government didn’t like. During this time in Soviet Russia, to stifle dissent, millions were killed or sent to prison camps. In this passage Solzhenitsyn is talking about regret that everyone felt because they simply went along with this tyranny and didn’t oppose it.
“AND HOW WE BURNED IN THE CAMPS LATER, THINKING: WHAT WOULD THINGS HAVE BEEN LIKE IF EVERY SECURITY OPERATIVE, WHEN HE WENT OUT AT NIGHT TO MAKE AN ARREST, HAD BEEN UNCERTAIN WHETHER HE WOULD RETURN ALIVE AND HAD TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO HIS FAMILY? OR IF, DURING PERIODS OF MASS ARRESTS, AS FOR EXAMPLE IN LENINGRAD, WHEN THEY ARRESTED A QUARTER OF THE ENTIRE CITY, PEOPLE HAD NOT SIMPLY SAT THERE IN THEIR LAIRS, PALING WITH TERROR AT EVERY BANG OF THE DOWNSTAIRS DOOR AND AT EVERY STEP ON THE STAIRCASE, BUT HAD UNDERSTOOD THEY HAD NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE AND HAD BOLDLY SET UP IN THE DOWNSTAIRS HALL AN AMBUSH OF HALF A DOZEN PEOPLE WITH AXES, HAMMERS, POKERS, OR WHATEVER ELSE WAS AT HAND?… THE ORGANS WOULD VERY QUICKLY HAVE SUFFERED A SHORTAGE OF OFFICERS AND TRANSPORT AND, NOTWITHSTANDING ALL OF STALIN’S THIRST, THE CURSED MACHINE WOULD HAVE GROUND TO A HALT! IF…IF…WE DIDN’T LOVE FREEDOM ENOUGH. AND EVEN MORE – WE HAD NO AWARENESS OF THE REAL SITUATION…. WE PURELY AND SIMPLY DESERVED EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED AFTERWARD.” – ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN
Will this be our fate too? Will we slowly be conditioned to accept atrocities like this and to be completely defanged so that we can be herded into camps without so much as a whimper as well? That’s crazy you say! Is it? Right now, our government is hunting down someone who simply exposed how they (government) were illegally spying on all of us. Our government is buying arms and stockpiling weapons for use domestically not in some war. Our government has the IRS actively harassing a single political/opposition party. Our government has shown that they will lock down a town and go door to door while making the citizens stay cowered inside. Our government has stated that they can imprison anyone without cause for an indefinite amount of time.
Can you seriously argue that we aren’t headed down the same path as others have in our not too distant past?
This is not a call to armed Revolution, but I do think we should all be very wary of this course we are on and the echos of history. We should not be silent in the face of increasing oppression. We should not simply go along quietly because of the fear that we may get in trouble, or worse that we believe the government is only looking out for our best interests. You only need to look at the people in Poland who quietly went into the Warsaw ghettos. You don’t have to look any further than the Holocaust to see what quietly going along will get you.
This is not a fate that I will be bringing on my family.