Jeff Thomas at International Man writes The American Revolution—The Sequel from his perspective outside of America.
The US is the most observed country in the world. Since it’s the world’s current empire (and since it is beginning its death throes as an empire), it’s fascinating to watch.
Those of us outside of the US watch it like Americans watch TV. It’s like a slow-motion car wreck that we observe almost daily, eager to see what’s going to happen next. We criticise the madness of it all, yet we can’t take our eyes off the unfolding drama. It has all the excitement of a blockbuster movie.
- The national debt is, by far, the highest of any country in history.
- The economic system is a house of cards, getting shakier every day.
- The government has become mired in progress-numbing fascism and increasing collectivism.
- The government is aggressively creating the world’s most organized police state.
- The majority of the population have become wasteful, spendthrift consumers who apathetically hope that their government will somehow solve their problems.
- The media consistently misrepresents international events, prodding the citizenry into accepting that the ongoing invasion of multiple other countries is essential.
- The most popular candidates for president (both parties) are the candidates that are the most egotistical, out-of-control blowhards who preach provocative rhetoric rather than real solutions.
Still, most Americans retain the hope that, somehow, it will all work out.
Hope Is a Desire, Not a Plan
There are growing numbers of Americans who have accepted that the US is unravelling rapidly and is headed for a social, economic, and political collapse of one form or another.
Some talk of a new revolution (but hopefully a peaceful one, of the Tea Party sort). Some imagine that, if they can store enough guns and ammunition in their homes, they might be able to make a stand against government authorities. Others mull over the idea of organised secession by some of the states. A small, but growing, number are quietly leaving for more promising destinations.
Except for the last of these, most of the “hopes” are understandable, but any attempt at a “Second American Revolution” is unlikely to succeed.
Why? Well, just for a start,
- The power of the US state is far greater than that of King George III in the late eighteenth century.
- The present US state would be fighting on its own ground, not some continent thousands of miles across the ocean.
- The US state is committed to the concept that it dealt definitively (and forever) with the concept of secession between 1861 and 1865.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that a breakup of the union, or complete removal and replacement of the government were possible in the US. What then?
Well, unfortunately, here comes the really bad news for those who hope that the US could start over as the free nation it was in its infancy:
- In the late eighteenth century, America was a largely agrarian collection of colonies. Colonists had to work hard just to survive, so the work ethic and self-reliance were paramount in the colonists’ makeup. They were a brave people who were accustomed to providing for themselves and physically fighting off those who would challenge them.
- Colonists received no significant largesse from the British or local governments. No welfare, no social security, no Medicare or Medicaid, no benefits of any kind.
- Colonists made their own daily decisions. They had no government schools or media telling them what to think or what choices to make. They relied on common sense and self-determination to guide their decisions and actions.
Today, of course, the opposite is true. Less than 2% of Americans are involved in agriculture. A mere 9% are actually employed in the production of goods. They are rarely directly involved in their own physical protection (Most, if not all, combat is overseas and fought by defence contractors or those who voluntarily serve the military).
Most Americans receive benefits of one type or another from their government. Most recipients regard these benefits as “essential” and could not get by without them.
Most Americans receive their opinions from the media. Although this is not apparent to many Americans, it’s glaringly clear to those outside the US who can only shake their heads at the misinformation proffered by the US media and the wholesale acceptance of this “alternate reality” by so many Americans.
But what bearing does this have on what the future would be for Americans if they were to become determined enough to either remove their entire government or, alternatively, for some states to secede?
There have been many revolutions in the history of the world, both peaceful and otherwise. In the case of the American Revolution of 1776, the colonists themselves were largely self-contained as a people and possessed the ideal ethos to succeed as a productive country.
But this has rarely been true in history. Whenever a people have been heavily dependent on the State in one way or another, they had become accustomed to receiving largesse at the expense of others. This is a major, major factor. Such a group is unlikely in the extreme to either produce or elect a Washington or a Jefferson. They almost always choose, instead, to fall in behind someone who promises largesse from the State. In choosing such leaders, the people are more likely to receive a Robespierre or a Lenin. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The pervasive difficulty here lies in the erroneous concept that there can be a return to freedom whilst maintaining the dependency upon largesse from the State. The two are mutually exclusive. Those who seek a return to greater freedom must also accept that “freedom for all” means an end to the State being empowered to steal from one person in order to give to another.
Or, as stated by Frédéric Bastiat in the mid-nineteenth century, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody else.”
Whether the US continues on its present downward progression, or if it breaks free in a bid for greater freedom, the eventual outcome is likely to have more to do with the collectivist mindset of the majority than with the libertarian vision of a few.
Editor’s Note: Right now, the US is the most polarized it has been since the Civil War.
If you’re wondering what comes next, then you’re not alone.
The political, economic, and social implications of the 2020 vote will impact all of us.