Recently by Jim Fedako: Secession? It Happens All the Time
Only a group that can count on the consent of the governed can establish a lasting regime. Whoever wants to see the world governed according to his own ideas must strive for domination over men's minds. It is impossible, in the long run, to subject men against their will to a regime that they reject. (~ Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism).
The state rules only by the consent of the governed. All states recognize this, so they tend to operate in a manner that does not significantly offend their masses.
This is not to say the governed do not need to be vigilant — they must. And it is not to say the state will not employ efforts of appeasement and propaganda to continue molding the ideas of the governed — it will. It is just to say the state does not want to push the governed to a breaking point, so to speak, in one move. Over time through manipulation, yes. But not all at once.
Consider the Nazi regime in Germany. During the early part of war, the German state made certain that consumer goods were available to appease the governed, even to the detriment of the war effort. Why? Even an authoritarian state needs the consent of the governed — and buying off the governed through appeasement is many times the easiest way to garner that consent.
However, once unconditional surrender became a stated goal of the Allies, the Nazis no longer needed appeasement as such. The threat of unconditional surrender gave the Nazis a clear propaganda tool. The Germans masses recognized they only had two choices: roll the dice under the current, vile regime or surrender and face an uncertain future. And given the memories of Versailles and the reality of the advancing Red Army, the known evil retained consent.
While it is true the masses rarely affect change alone, protests in the streets are an almost certain sign the rule of the current state is coming under pressure, and possibly facing its end. This is why the recent, relatively tiny protests in financial districts became such a concern of the state — extended protests would signal a fragile state and lead to larger, more vigorous demonstrations.
Trotsky, in his pseudo criminal defense hearings before the Dewey Commission, noted that the reactions of the masses to Trotskyite efforts in the 1920's were the barometer used to estimate support for the Stalinist bureaucracy. And given the general lack of any reaction, Trotsky recognized he had little chance of ousting Stalin and commanding control of the Soviet state.
A common agenda item shared by most states is the disarming of the governed. If states could disarm in one move, they would.
However, the state is always watchful. While the state pushes and prods to see what it can accomplish at any given time, it will not disarm if it believes such a move will meet with a general withdrawal of consent. Instead, if the state senses too much resistance — protests in the streets — it will step back and wait for a more opportune time.
The state governing the US has just prodded with calls to outlaw certain types of firearms and accessories. And many of the governed reacted — not by "takin' it to the streets," so to speak, but by "takin' it to the stores."
Those who recently bought firearms and accessories (as well as ammo) have done the supporters of Liberty an enormous favor. Their protests in the form of purchases have formed the thin line that stands in defense of our right to bear arms, for the short-term anyway.
As it stands today, buyers have left the shelves of gun stores bare — and I mean bare. They have also cleaned out the online stores, leaving them empty. I do not know the actual numbers, though one maker of firearm accessories claims to have sold three years' worth of accessories in three days — simply amazing. Nevertheless, I can say that regular folks are purchasing personal protection in the face of the state's threat to remove the right to own those very same items.
And I can also say this: The individuals who recently made purchases — purchases in the range of $1000 or more — sent a strong statement to the political class, one that the state cannot ignore. They said they believe in the right of self-protection and are willing to make a not-so-insignificant investment. The signal to the state is as simple as it is obvious: these folks will not consent to a state that forces them to surrender those very same purchases early next year.
Of course, the sharp-eyed, scheming state will continue to manipulate opinion in its favor and use any so-called crises as means to soften opposition and push its agenda forward. Nevertheless, each firearm purchase counters the advance of the state.
To those who bought items the past two weeks, I say thank you. You purchased personal protection for yourselves and likely extended the right to bear arms for us all. Enjoy your purchases and we will enjoy a remaining taste of Liberty. For now, anyway.
Jim Fedako [send him mail] is a business analyst and homeschooling father of seven who lives in Lewis Center, OH.