Background: Copied below is a chapter excerpt from a fantasy series of books. I decided to read it when I heard that the author, Terry Goodkind, integrated some of Ayn Rand's philosophy into his books. As I read this chapter recently, it reminded me of the current state of the patriot movement, and gave me pause.
Those of us in the patriot blogosphere have a passion for liberty and the US Constitution. We are very worried about the direction of the country, and feel that the time is coming for active resistance against those authorities who would infringe upon the Natural Rights of the citizens of this country.
We are becoming impoverished because of governmental policy. The government is a "gang of thieves writ large". The legislative and executive branches continue to shred the bill of rights. Both major parties are "different wings of the same bird of prey", preying on Liberty and Prosperity.
The Congress does not represent the people.
The Federal Reserve works in lockstep with global banking concerns, without regard to the impact of their policies on the American taxpayer (the productive part of our nation, in other words).
The Executive claws more and more power for that branch of government, the Congress is a lapdog. The President of the United States is many times more powerful than King George the IIIrd.
It is now legal to indefinitely detain American citizens, or kill them, anywhere in the world, without due process. No writ of habeas corpus. No right to legal representation, to face one's accuser, or present a defense. Just accusation, declaration of "enemy combatant", and disappear.
So what does a person who values his freedom do? Lots of choices: wring your hands, shrug and watch TV, protest with a sign, vote for a certain candidate, don't vote at all (in protest), passively attack the regime (go Galt, pay little or no taxes, and drop off the grid, or overtly attack the regime in words or deeds. These are among the many choices.
I have had a conundrum for a long time -- What kind of action? When? How? What should my tipping point be to switch from a blogger sneering at the TSA and homeschooling my kids in Austrian Economics to something else? My wife and kids depend on me in many ways.
The number of threepers (i.e. proactive patriots) is small, I think. A few hundred, a thousand or two. I'm sure there are sympathetic currently serving military who take the Constitutional Oath seriously as well.
But how many?
A few thousands (out of 350,000,000) inclined to become active to try to reverse the Tyranny now becoming very real in America. A few thousand is very few in the scheme of things. I don't know how many hits per day the most popular patriot sites get, but I wonder about it often-- how many of us appreciate the loss of Liberty and profoundly understand what opposes us, and what we must do.
Read the whole passage below. The boldface is what I thought was most relevant to our current situation.
A portion of Chapter 2, Faith of the Fallen, Book 6 of the Sword of Truth series, by Terry Goodkind
"Revelation." She wished she could manage more than a hoarse whisper.
"And what form did this vision revelation thing take?"
Kahlan stared up at him. "Understanding of what?"
He started buttoning his shirt. "Through this realization I've come to understand the larger picture. I've come to understand what it is I must do."
"Yes," Cara muttered, "and wait until you hear it. Go ahead, tell her."
Richard glared at Cara and she answered him in kind. His attention finally returned to Kahlan.
"If I lead us into this war, we will lose. A great many people will die for nothing. The result will be a world enslaved by the Imperial Order. If I don't lead our side in battle, the world will still fall under the shadow of the Order but far fewer people will die. Only in that way will we ever stand a chance."
"By losing? You want to lose first, and then fight?. . How can we even consider abandoning the fight for freedom?"
"Anderith helped teach me a lesson," he said. His voice was restrained, as if he regretted what he was saying. "I can't press this war. Freedom requires effort if it is to be won and vigilance if it is to be maintained.
People just don't value freedom until it's taken away."
"But many do," Kahlan objected.
"There are always some, but most don't even understand it, nor do they care to-the same as with magic. People mindlessly shrink from it, too, without seeing the truth. The Order offers them a world without magic and ready-made answers to everything. Servitude is simple. I thought that I could convince people of the value of their own lives, and of liberty. In Anderith they showed me just how foolish I had been."
"Anderith is just one place-"
"Anderith was not remarkable. Look at all the trouble we've had elsewhere. We're having trouble even here, where I grew up." Richard began tucking in his shirt. "Forcing people to fight for freedom is the worst kind of contradiction.
"Nothing I can say will inspire people to care-I've tried. Those who value liberty will have to run, to hide, to try to survive and endure what is sure to come. I can't prevent it. I can't help them. I know that now."
"But Richard, how can you even think of-"
'I must do what is best for us. I must be selfish; life is far too precious to be casually squandered on useless causes. There can be no greater evil than that. People can only be saved from the coming dark age of subjugation and servitude if they, too, come to understand and care about the value of their own lives, their freedom, and are willing to act in their own interest. We must try to stay alive in the hope that such a day will come."
"But we can prevail in this war. We must."
"Do you think that I can just go off and lead men into war, and because I wish it, we will win? We won't. It takes more than my wishing it. It will take vast numbers of people fully committed to the cause. We don't have that. If we throw our forces against the Order, we will be destroyed and any chance for winning freedom in the future will be forever lost." He raked his fingers back through his hair. "We must not lead our forces against the army of the Order."
He turned to pulling his black, open-sided tunic on over his head.
Kahlan struggled to give force to her voice, to the magnitude of her concern.
"But what about all those who are prepared to fight-all the armies already in the field? There are good men, able men, ready to go against Jagang and stop his Imperial Order and drive them back to the Old World. Who will lead our men?"
"Lead them to what? Death? They can't win."
Kahlan was horrified. She reached up and snatched his shirtsleeve before he could lean down to retrieve his broad over-belt. "Richard, you're only saying this, walking away from the struggle, because of what happened to me."
"No. I had already decided it that same night, before you were attacked. When I went out alone for a walk, after the vote, I did a lot of thinking. I came to this realization and made up my mind. What happened to you made no difference except to prove the point that I'm right and should have figured it out sooner. If I had, you would never have been hurt."
"But if the Mother Confessor had not been hurt, you would have felt better by morning and changed your mind."
Light coming through the doorway behind him lit in a blaze of gold the ancient symbols coiled along the squared edges of his tunic. "Cara, what would happen if I'd been attacked with her, and we had both been killed?
What would you all do then?"
"I don't know."
"That is why I withdraw. You are all following me, not participating in a struggle for your own future. Your answer should have been that you would all fight on for yourselves, for your freedom. I have come to understand the mistake I've made in this, and to see that we cannot win in this way. The Order is too large an opponent."
Kahlan's father, King Wyborn, had taught her about fighting against such odds, and she had practical experience at it. "Their army may outnumber ours, but that doesn't make it impossible. We just have to outthink them. I will be there to help you, Richard. We have seasoned officers. We can do it.
"Look how the Order's cause spreads on words that sound good"-Richard swept out an arm-"even to distant places like this. We know beyond doubt the evil of the Order, yet people everywhere passionately side with them despite the ghastly truth of everything the Imperial Order stands for."
"Richard," Kahlan whispered, trying not to lose what was left of her voice, "I led those young Galean recruits against an army of experienced Order soldiers who greatly outnumbered us, and we prevailed."
"Exactly. They had just seen their home city after the Order had been there. Everyone they loved had been murdered, everything they knew had been destroyed. Those men fought with an understanding of what they were doing and why. They were going to throw themselves at the enemy with or without you commanding them. But they were the only ones, and even though they succeeded, most of them were killed in the struggle."
Kahlan was incredulous. "So you are going to let the Order do the same elsewhere so as to give people a reason to fight? You are going to stand aside and let the Order slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent people?
"You want to quit because I was hurt. Dear spirits, I love you Richard, but don't do this to me. I'm the Mother Confessor; I'm responsible for the lives of the people of the Midlands. Don't do this because of what happened to me."
Richard snapped on his leather-padded silver wristbands. "I'm not doing this because of what happened to you. I'm helping save those lives in the only way that has a chance. I'm doing the only thing I can do."
"You are doing the easy thing," Cara said.
Richard met her challenge with quiet sincerity. "Cara, I'm doing the hardest thing I have ever had to do."
Kahlan was sure now that their rejection by the Anderith people had hit him harder than she had realized. She caught two of his fingers and squeezed sympathetically. He had put his heart into sparing those people from enslavement by the Order. He had tried to show them the value of freedom by allowing them the freedom to choose their own destiny. He had put his faith in their hands.
In a crushing defeat, an enormous majority had spurned all he had offered, and in so doing devastated that faith.
Kahlan thought that perhaps with some time to heal, the same as with her, the pain would fade for him, too. "You can't hold yourself to blame for the fall of Anderith, Richard. You did your best. It wasn't your fault."
He picked up his big leather over-belt with its gold-worked pouches and cinched it over the magnificent tunic.
"When you're the leader, everything is your fault."
Kahlan knew the truth of that. She thought to dissuade him by taking a different tack.
"What form did this vision assume?"
Richard's piercing gray eyes locked on her, almost in warning.
"Vision, revelation, realization, postulation, prophecy. . understanding-call it what you will, for in this they are all in one the same, and unequivocal. I can't describe it but to say it seems as if I must have always known it. Maybe I have. It wasn't so much words as it was a complete concept, a conclusion, a truth that became absolutely clear to me."
She knew he expected her to leave it at that. "If it became so clear and is unambiguous," she pressed, "you must be able to express it in words."
Richard slipped the baldric over his head, laying it over his right shoulder. As he adjusted the sword against his left hip, light sparkled off the raised gold wire woven through the silver wire of the hilt to spell out the word TRUTH.
His brow was smooth and his face calm. She knew she had at last brought him to the heart of the matter. His certainty would afford him no reason to keep it from her if she chose to hear it, and she did. His words rolled forth with quiet power, like prophecy come to life.
"I have been a leader too soon. It is not I who must prove myself to the people, but the people who must now prove themselves to me. Until then, I must not lead them, or all hope is lost."
Standing there, erect, masculine, masterful in his black war wizard outfit, he looked as if he could be posing for a statue of who he was: the Seeker of Truth, rightfully named by Zeddicus Zu'1 Zorander, the First Wizard himself-and Richard's grandfather. It had nearly broken Zedd's heart to do so, because Seekers so often died young and violently.
While he lived, a Seeker was a law unto himself. Backed by the awesome power of his sword, a Seeker could bring down kingdoms. That was one reason it was so important to name the right person-a moral person-to the post.
Zedd claimed that the Seeker, in a way, named himself by the nature of his own mind and by his actions, and that the First Wizard's function was simply to act on his observations by officially naming him and giving him the weapon that was to be his lifelong companion.
So many different qualities and responsibilities had converged in this man she loved that she sometimes wondered how he could reconcile them all.
"Richard, are you so sure?"
Because of the importance of the post, Kahlan and then Zedd had sworn their lives in defense of Richard as the newly named Seeker of Truth. That had been shortly after Kahlan had met him. It was as Seeker that Richard had first come to accept all that had been thrust upon him, and to live up to the extraordinary trust put in him.
His gray eyes fairly blazed with clarity of purpose as he answered her.
"The only sovereign I can allow to rule me is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists; what is, is. From this irreducible, bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. This is the foundation from which life is embraced.
"Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality-it's our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see.
"If I fail to use reason in this struggle, if I close my eyes to the reality of what is, in favor of what I would wish, then we will both die in this, and for nothing. We will be but two more among uncounted millions of nameless corpses beneath the gray, gloomy decay of mankind. In the darkness that will follow, our bones will be meaningless dust.
"Eventually, perhaps a thousand years from now, perhaps more, the light of liberty will again be raised up to shine over a free people, but between now and then, millions upon millions of people will be born into hopeless misery and have no choice but to bear the weight of the Order's yoke. We, by ignoring reason, will have purchased those mountains of broken bodies, the wreckage of lives endured but never lived."
(Please note: No copyright infringement was intended here. These passages were copied from another internet site for illustrative purposes only.)
Maybe it is time for the American People to prove to us that they are worth fighting for. I am underwhelmed by the will to Liberty of the vast majority of Americans.
I will go to TL's Liberty Summit in April to meet like minded folks. Others will go to regional PATCOMs to meet fellow patriots. I am meeting people in Oathkeepers once a month. I am still trying to guage other people's moods and willingness to act.
The thing is: I don't want to fail because I acted when only a small number of people were willing to act. None of my experiences tell me that we are "there" yet. I am trying to be realistic, not throw cold water on anyone's passion.