A recent article addressing how to deal with no rights zones sparked more mail than almost any other piece I've written to date. Some was heartening, some was frightening, some was spam ... but whatever the tone, a majority of the mail expressed a sentiment I found quite disturbing. That disturbing sentiment is the opinion that the actions of one individual -- particularly a "little guy," as many individuals described themselves -- just don't matter.
I know that taking some of the steps I suggested in that article are big and bold -- and tough. Filing suit against the government requires an iron will, deep pockets, and good lawyers. But folks are doing it -- and some are winning. We tend not to hear much about these cases because the Thought Police doesn't want word to get around that people are rebelling, much less that the rebellions are succeeding. Other actions aren't quite so hard to take on, yet many choose not to try. Why?
I think it's because many believe that one person's actions don't matter. I also think that's the largest load of crap the collectivists have ever dropped into people's minds.
Think about it for a minute. Where does any progress come from -- any technological innovation, any new idea? It comes from an individual. Human minds do not work as bees in a beehive -- they are autonomous. One person comes up with an idea, and that idea starts a fire in his mind. He becomes excited about it ... he considers the possibilities ... he examines related ideas, pros and cons ... and, if he's a man of action, he acts. That may involve getting other people's help and support, but he must act if the idea is to take shape.
Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steven Jobs: these are some of the individuals whose ideas and actions have changed our world. Consider what our lives might be like if just one of these individuals hadn't taken action in support of her or his ideas, at the time she or he did ...
Taking political action is no different from taking any other kind of action -- with the exception that those who would rule us work very hard to convince us that this type of action is futile. If there's no protest, their resources can go toward more control, more pet projects, more idiocy that makes life unfree and a chore. That means they win, without even a whimper from us. We can do better than that! We must do better than that.
You don't need to be a writer, passionately arguing a point or spurring others to action. You don't need to be a leader for a cause, urging like-minded individuals to charge the hill with you. Many actions you can take can involve only you -- and only you need know about them. Helen Keller understood the importance of the power of the individual; she said, "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something."
Individual actions, often described as "cell of one protests," vary widely in form. My "Countering No Rights Zones" article listed several, but if you aren't ready for them, here are some more. Consider these baby steps to help you work up to bolder actions.
There are many more possibilities; these are a few that span the continuum of "harmless" fun to serious civil disobedience. Find actions that work for you, and as you revel in your newly-discovered freedom, take bolder actions. A good place to start "going public" is to join in mass protests, which are increasingly being targeted by the Thought Police.
We didn't get into this mess in a day -- it's certainly going to take a lot of persistent effort to get out of it. But we start -- each individual, in whatever way he or she can -- by taking one solid, pro-freedom action, every day. Whether you see any reaction or not matters little: you will have helped advance freedom in some way. Imagine the effectiveness if 5 individuals did this ... 500 individuals ... 50,000 individuals.
It all starts with each person -- the "little guy" the Thought Police disdain so much -- choosing to take action. In an excellent book, Gene Callahan makes this crucially important point: our actions reveal more than words ever can about what we truly value. We can say we value freedom, but if we choose to do nothing while the Thought Police ravage liberty, our inaction tells how much we really value it.
Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Mohandas Gandhi are a few of the political equivalents of the individuals listed above. Each was "just one person." Each took bold steps to advance freedom, at great risk to their lives. They understood that it wasn't enough to value freedom in their hearts and minds -- to defend and keep it alive requires action. Many who cherish liberty admire and respect these men greatly. I submit that if we truly want to honor these men, we do as they did. We stop believing the bullshit about "the little guy can't make a difference," and start taking action in defense of the values we hold most dear.
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