This article was written by Brandon Smith and originally published at Alt-Market.com
Not long ago, I felt compelled to address the idea of self defense as a moral imperative in an article titled “Violence In The Face Of Tyranny Is Often Necessary.” My intention was to perhaps undo some of the propaganda conditioning that Americans have suffered over the decades that has taught them that “all” forms of violent action are “immoral”, including the defense of one’s person, one’s property, and one’s freedom.
The recent uprising at Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., confirmed my predictions that many Americans are tired of playing by rules chartered by the establishment and are ready to take measures outside of the boundaries set by the system. The reality is that change will never come without consequence and cost, and when faced with an entrenched tyranny, if the citizenry cannot present the threat of physical consequence to their oppressors, the oppressors have no motivation to relinquish power.
To use the schoolyard analogy yet again, it is a fact of life that the class bully will not leave a victim in peace because he is enthralled with the feeling of power over others. The bully will not stop because he has no incentive. Protesting only encourages him. Using the system as a shield only amuses him. Logic and reason only anger him. Punching the bully in the teeth is the only incentive he will respect. If you show that you can disrupt a tyrant’s abuse of power anytime you wish, if you show that you can hurt him back, only then will he take you seriously.
There is a rather insane notion within modern activist movements that self defense represents an abandonment of higher principle. They argue that to fight is to automatically lose, and to prepare for conflict is “extreme.” I would say that self defense is actually the HIGHEST principle one can value, for without the courage to physically resist tyranny, without the will required to put one’s life at risk to stand against the evils of the world, ALL other principles will be lost. Even Gandhi, the man often idolized by pacifists and “non-violent” activists, recognized this fact:
“Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor…”
“When violence] is offered in self-defense or for the defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission…”
I believe that the idea that self defense is a morally unacceptable option for dissenting groups is an obnoxiously false one, promoted by the establishment itself and sold to easily brainwashed dupes to steer the public away from the only method that could in fact do harm to the elitist power structure. The holier-than-thou attitude of the pacifists is encouraged as the system plays to their exaggerated sense of righteousness. Good people want to remain seen as good people, and even though deep down most of them understand that fighting back against aggression is not wrong, the peer pressure of the sunshine patriots often convinces them to keep their mouths shut, or otherwise they might “hurt the cause.” I say that without self defense and the possibility of action, there is no cause.
As I write this, I am working during a brief trip to Alaska. I was invited by Stewart Rhodes, the head of Oath Keepers, to check out the logistical progress of a project he has launched in an effort to counter the apathy and inability of the American populace today to present a meaningful defense against a host of threats the public faces in these increasingly chaotic times. The very real dangers of economic instability, poverty, civil unrest, open borders, viral pandemic, and Federal corruption are all factors that led to the creation of the Oath Keepers CPT (Community Preparedness Team) program.
The CPT program is a State-by-State program designed to reestablish the concept of localized community preparedness and self defense measures in case of regional or national crisis, including localized security, medical, food and water supply, as well as engineering and communications: everything a neighborhood, a town, a county, or state would need to rebuild in the advent of unexpected (or expected) catastrophe. The CPT mission is to train groups of people within as many communities as possible to a pinnacle of preparedness knowledge, and then send them out to train other citizens in other towns and counties, replicating their knowledge across the nation as they go until eventually every person has the ability to become self reliant and unafraid.
The establishment would have you wait for help in the wake of a disaster, begging a bureaucracy like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for aid that you may never receive, when you could be helping yourself and your neighbors without any need for Federal involvement. The establishment would also rather have you unorganized and helpless in the event that they choose to overstep their Constitutional mandate and deny you your inborn liberties.
They do not fear traditional protests and cardboard signs, as movements like Occupy Wall Street end up trampled, ineffective, and mostly forgotten. But they do fear citizens with resolve ready to fight to keep their freedoms, as we saw at Bundy Ranch with the outright retreat of the Bureau of Land Management. When in doubt, do exactly what the oligarchs fear.
I have myself joined a CPT group in my home county in Montana, and I have also seen excellent groups in training in Alaska. The people I have met through CPT come from all walks of life, a full spectrum of ages, and various career backgrounds. Many have military experience, from administrative to tactical. Each person brings to the table an impressive array of skill sets, from science and engineering to security to medical and beyond. All of them have been highly intelligent, effective, and unwavering in their principles, not to mention the finest collection of folks I’ve had the pleasure of working with. If America had to start again from scratch, I would suggest starting with the Bill Of Rights, and the kinds of citizens that make up the core of the Oath Keepers CPT.
The only negative responses I have seen in reference to the CPT concept have come from establishment mouthpieces like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and from activists with a rabid attachment to pacifism who for some reason feel threatened by the mere idea that other activists might train for the worst case scenario.
In my view, if a goal can be achieved through a purely peaceful redress of grievances, then it should be. However, it is foolish to expect that some evils can be defeated by reasonable speech and refusal of participation alone. In fact, these methods are nothing more than a stop-gap, a delaying tactic in the face of inevitable conflict between those people who desire to control others, and those people who only wish to be left alone.
I find that people who deny this reality tend to be people who have no previous legitimate experience with self defense and preparedness. In the world of non-threatening white-bread activism, they can play at being heroes, patting each other on the back for their poetic speeches and catchy slogans. But as the movement evolves towards real tangible organized defense and proactive preparation, they lose their status as heroes and fall behind the curve. The “intellectual warriors” then have to become true warriors, or otherwise be left in the dusts of history. For some, the change is upsetting, and they tend to take the reprehensible position that NO ONE should be allowed to train effectively for self defense scenarios, lest the movement be labeled as a whole with the dreaded “M word” (Militia). In response to their skewed philosophy I would ask one simple question – If we are doing what is right and what is practical, why should we limit ourselves by catering to the unreasonable fears of others?
I see great hope in the growth of the CPT program and Oath Keepers; perhaps the only hope this country has left. For if we do not organize with our neighbors to protect our communities from all enemies, foreign and domestic, then who will? I also see a welcome alternative to the long failing methodologies of “lone wolf” survivalists, as well as shamelessly recreational protestors.
When people ask me for solutions to the collapse of America, often they are looking for a predetermined top-down magic bullet response. There is no such thing, nor will there ever be. There is no scenario in which we will escape unscathed. There is no cartoon-land happy ending at the finale of this story.
The “solution,” as it were, is ultimately something that many do not want to hear about; namely, hard work, sacrifice and a willingness to put everything on the line for the future. Our only advantage is that we still have some time, and any time is better than no time. What we have left must be used now to the greatest effect possible by organizing together for self reliance and security during collapse.