May 8, 2013


A national poll released last week shows that almost one in three Americans believe it might be necessary to take up arms against the federal government and sooner rather than later. It was conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s public policy publication, PublicMind.

The actual polling statement, put to 863 people chosen at random from across the country, was: “In the next few years an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” Twenty-nine percent agreed and 5 percent weren’t sure.

If that number could be reliably extrapolated, that’s 70 million adult Americans who have taken leave of their senses.

We could – and probably should – shrug this off as a collective howl of unreasonable fear, a biteless bark at a bump in the night, mere theatrics of politically disappointed drama queens, our own Kim Jung Un moment. But aside from the fact that these people are arming themselves at a frantic pace, there is something worth noting in all this, even if it’s just for fun.

I think it is in the statement itself. There are four juicy parts: “In the next few years;” “armed revolution;” “might be necessary;” “to protect our liberties.”

Let’s take a look at each:

• Timing. Well, obviously this refers to three more years of Obama’s second term. The horrors. And obviously, these people can see what’s heading straight at them after that: a juggernaut named Hillary. And obviously, as the Republicans become and more and strident, their ability to nominate electable candidates, like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, becomes problematic. So as a radicalized GOP nominates only candidates that Democrats pray they’ll get to run against, yes, this is a reasonable fear.

• Necessity. Again, this is a reasonable fear considering that efforts to disenfranchise minorities have failed and that the Republicans are locked into an ideology that alienates every single demographic (women, Hispanics, blacks, urbanites, gun violence victims, Indians, etc.) except sitcom-worthy cranky white guys and church ladies. And, it’s clear these demographic majorities are going to keep trying to use the government to make the lives of Americans better, so yeah, I can see where these people, this unhappy third, no longer considers the ballot box an attractive option.

• Violence. Here again, since reason has obviously failed and has been long ago abandoned, and obstructionism is reaching its policy limits and is beginning to annoy even traditional conservatives, the question for these people looms large: “What to do with all this military weaponry we’ve been frantically buying?”

• Liberty. OK, this one stumps me. I do not understand how these people expect armed revolution to protect liberty. I just don’t.

I do get how much they thirst for liberty and freedom, because this isn’t the first time someone got all lathered up thinking the federal government has gone tyrannical in its desire to help people. Same thing happened eight score ago.

True, the freedom those angry folks were protecting was the freedom to enslave other humans, but it was the exact same ardent protect-our-liberty-from-the-hated-president-who-spites-our-way-of-life thing. In fact, I’ll bet they hated Lincoln almost as much as these people hate Obama.

Of course, as long as we’re on the topic, let’s note that slavery, the opposite of freedom, was not the result of government regulation, but the lack of it. But the anti-government passion was the same. As is the delusional expected outcome.

And that’s the problem with armed revolutions, of course. The revolutionaries think all they have to do is show the depth of their convictions and the heat of their rage and that will be that. But in reality, when armed revolt meets a relatively strong government with significant support in the population, the result is protracted and bloody civil war. And let’s face it, civil wars simply aren’t as much fun as they used to be.

But never mind all that. Let’s say the city liberals and those squishy moderates and the rest of those pin-headed smarty pantsers who make up half the country cower and slink off and presto! the angry third controls the country. How do we get our liberty?

Well, as I understand the logic (using the term gingerly), the first thing we do once we’ve toppled the government and probably shot the place up a bit is repeal Obamacare and swear off any attempt to rein in health care costs or insure the uninsured, get rid of that nasty Social (ist) Security and Medicare and Medicaid, kick those expensive and lazy old people out into the street, end all the nutrition programs for all those fat little poor kids, abolish the graduated income tax and the minimum wage so the poor can pay their fair share of what taxes are needed to build aircraft carriers to protect the portfolios of the rich, get rid of all those job-destroying regulations on corporations like pollution controls and OSHA rules, stop inspecting food because we’re overpopulated anyway, go back to the gold standard, quit letting just anybody vote and most importantly let us smoke and spit chaw anywhere we want. Cause noble.

And then, as the fantasy unfolds, we can shout, “Free at last! Free at last! Lord Almighty! Free at last!” Providing, of course, we don’t mind the intrusion of reality.