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On When To Resist Tyranny

21 April 2014 @ 20:36

In a recent post over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff wrote [tip of the fedora to Smitty]:

…the question of whether Bundy and/or his supporters would be justified in engaging in armed resistance if the federal government attempts to carry out the court orders with which they disagree.

I say that armed resistance would be wrong. As John [Hinderaker] explained, “legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on.” Legally, he is required to pay the grazing fee and limit the grazing of his cattle. His claim that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question is simply wrong and has been rejected by the courts.

Bundy can refuse to pay the grazing fee, just as I can refuse to pay my taxes. But in a nation governed by the rule of law, non-compliance with the law has consequences. Armed resistance to those consequences is, as I say, wrong.

Spoken like a lawyer who cannot free himself of the mindset embedded in his Soul in college.

So…under Paul Mirengoff’s logic, the men at Concord and Lexington would have been in the wrong.

There is a moment when compliance with the Law becomes no longer tenable. When the enforcers of the Law no longer obey The Rule Of Law, when they trample on those Rights which come to us from God, when they cease to be servants and assume the role of Tyrants, then that moment has come.

Those of use who are fighting to restore our Freedoms and Liberties have been seeking gentle means of redress, but, when the government employs harsh and fierce means to enforce Tyranny then we have the Right, nay, the Duty, to resist it.

I do not take this position lightly.  As The Founders said:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

That train keeps having more cars added to it every day.  The Evils inflicted upon we, the law-abiding and Decent people of The United States have reached the point where only a masochist would continue to suffer the jackboot of the governments of this country.

As Russell Kirk wrote, with Edmund Burke on his mind:

….The men who made the American Revolution were not revolutionaries of the metaphysical sort. They had practical grievances; they sought practical redress; not obtaining it, they settled upon separation from the Crown in Parliament as a hard necessity. That act was meant not as a repudiation of their past, but as a means for preventing the destruction of their pattern of politics by King George’s presumed intended revolution of arbitrary power, after which, in Burke’s phrase, “the Americans could have no sort of security for their laws or liberties.” That is not the cast of mind which is encountered among the revolutionaries of the twentieth century.

It is ‘hard necessity’ that drove me to declare what I wrote above as a response to Mr. Mirengoff.  Such are the times we live in.  Such are the choices we must make if we want to have any chance of restoring our Freedoms and Liberties.  I do not seek Revolution, but Restoration of that which was once ours.

Andrew McCarthy is a lawyer as well, but he maintains a foot, a presence, in the Real World, as evidenced by his most recent column.

In analyzing the situation that occurred at The Bundy Ranch, he makes a very important more general point:

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers. If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion” [as Lincoln did]. And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

When The Rule Of Law is repeatedly violated by any government, said government looses it’s Legitimacy, and it becomes the Right and Duty of the People who consecrated that government to resist it, and either alter it or abolish it.

I will disagree with Mr. McCarthy on one thing: we are in a situation right now where The Law has declared us Outlaws and, therefore, we should embrace the derogatory term and wear it proudly, as Jeff Goldstein has advised.

Resistentiam Tyrannis nunc.
Resistentiam Tyrannis saecula.

Resistance to Tyranny now.
Resistance to Tyranny forever.

  1. 21 April 2014 @ 21:05 21:05

    These folks caved. They saw no other option, and it makes me absolutely ill.

    • Starless permalink
      23 April 2014 @ 08:20 08:20

      Try this one: All so good white liberals can ride their bikes in their shorty-shorts along the Mississippi on the weekends. There are nearly 700 miles of bike trails already in Minnesota. Granted, It’s a big state, but that’s a buttload of bike trail miles paid for with tax dollars. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that the parcel they want to pay $300k for is a ten acre lot with nearly a thousand feet of Mississippi River front. That much water front footage would fetch at least a million bucks on the open market, even in this shitty economy.

      Unlike a lot of eminent domain cases I read about, the families were willing to work with the county and give up some of their property — enough for the bike trail — but the county isn’t interested in working with its citizens, insists it must take all of the property as a condition for receiving federal money, and keeps going on about the “master plan” for the park. A master plan which seems to consist almost entirely of mainlining some of that sweet, sweet federal grant money. So they’ll shell out a total of $2 million to receive $3 million in federal grants while crapping all over their own citizens’ property rights and, in the case of at least one family, generations — over a century — of property ownership.

      Exit question: would the county board have acted like such assholes if the Feds weren’t, like ersatz drug dealers, dangling taxpayer funded grant money in their faces?

      You know, it’s one thing to say, “we must have this property for a water treatment plant/airport/power plant/some other critical infrastructure,” but a bike trail? Or in that CO case, “open space”? Forget the more serious issue of trampling on the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, do these county people realize how ridiculous and petty their demands sound?

      Evidently, they don’t.

  2. 21 April 2014 @ 21:56 21:56

    “There is a moment …”

    That moment will come when Dingy Harry Reid’s corrupt interest is exposed.

    • thecampofthesaints permalink
      22 April 2014 @ 07:49 07:49

      Or has it already come?

      On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:56 PM, The Camp Of The Saints wrote:


  3. 22 April 2014 @ 18:28 18:28

    Strong concur. I, too, noticed Paul’s lawyerly punch-pull and remarked it in Update II of this post dealing with the issue of “law” that is actually a species of violence:

  4. Adobe_Walls permalink
    22 April 2014 @ 22:11 22:11

    Surely there’s no illusion that this former republic is ”a nation governed by the rule of law”. When the government breaks the law routinely obeying the ”law” is a fools errand.

    When the Nation’s LE determines the people to be the enemy we should take them at their word.

    • 22 April 2014 @ 22:35 22:35

      When the Nation’s LE determines the people to be *their* enemy we should take them at their word.


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