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Life in the time of “doubling down”

… and why, although it fills us with frustrated outrage, it’s a time of hope.

Oathkeeper Stewart Rhodes nails it. Absolutely nails it.

He starts out talking about Adam Kokesh. But then …

The more illegitimate and absurd the arbitrary rule of Leviathan, the more it violates our natural rights, the more it has to make examples out of anyone who dares to openly defy it by means of civil disobedience or nullification. You can, and should, expect more of this, and more severe examples. … There is now a large, and growing portion of the American people who correctly see this current regime to be every bit as illegitimate and unjust as the one our forefathers took up arms against in 1775. Such a government, which violates the rights of the people and thus no longer has the loyalty, respect, and consent of the people, can rule only through force and the instilling of fear – just like the British Crown and Parliament.

And this current regime is making the same mistakes the Crown made. Rather than recognizing any of the grievances of the people as legitimate, and backing off from its violations of our rights, it is doubling down on them [emphasis mine], and asserting even more power, and using enforcement methods that increasingly make it obvious that it sees we the people as its current and future military enemy, as it treats us “As If An Enemy’s Country” – like an occupied, conquered enemy nation. How else do you explain the detention of U.S. citizens Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi as “enemy combatants”, the NDAA military detention and trial provisions, warrantless domestic NSA spying, drone strikes on Americans, and the gross violations of the Fourth Amendment we saw in Boston after the bombing in April, or the calls to treat the bombing suspect as an “unlawful combatant” under the laws of war? They are all claims of power to use the international laws of war on us. And that claimed power will not, and already has not, been limited to use against Muslims. It is meant for all of us, which is exactly why the NSA has been mining metadata on all of us. All of us are considered part of the conquered enemy population – just like in Afghanistan or Iraq. Not just some of us. All of us. All are suspect. All (except the most vetted and trusted minions) are potential “terrorists” or “insurgents” and all will be monitored, tracked, and metadata profiled. There will be a “file” on us all because they know that what they are doing is contrary to the rights of us all, and any of us, or all of us, may join the resistance to their plans, at any time. They correctly assess us all as potential military adversaries precisely because they intend to violate the rights of all of us.

And of course, as the savagery of our would-be masters grows, we get madder. And more desperate to find ways to stop the outrage without stooping to their level and/or desperately making targets (and handy propaganda tools) of ourselves. And although there are a thousand ways we can create small islands of freedom for ourselves, there are no ways — or so it seems! — to halt the increasing abuses. We feel powerless — exactly as the usurpers want us to feel.

So we become patient. And smart.

And, following the Founders example, we believe that the best strategy is to use nullification, civil disobedience, and open defiance in our local communities, towns, counties, and states, while we get organized and prepared as best we can for whatever may come. Make the bad guys within the government come to us, as the clear aggressors, just like the Founders did. Make them come into our communities, our towns, our counties, our states, and by using open defiance and nullification as communities – as towns, counties, and states – we will force them to either admit they are impotent, or force them to take off the mask, take off the gloves, and use overwhelming force against us, which will only push more Americans to our side. Learn from the wisdom of the Founders, and follow their hard-learned lessons on successful resistance to tyranny by uniting at the local level, and resisting and nullifying together, at the local level.

Whole commentary is worth a long read and an even longer think.


Stewart Rhodes is a dangerous man. And I mean that in the best possible way. He has chosen the course of agitating the Praetorian guard, the very warrior class our conquerors hope will keep them safe and powerful.


  1. Mike
    Mike July 16, 2013 11:53 am

    Excellent, Claire. Lots to digest.

  2. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal July 16, 2013 2:28 pm

    One thing about Stewart’s criticism of Kokesh that I am having trouble with is that he says “we believe that the best strategy is to use nullification, civil disobedience, and open defiance in our local communities, towns, counties, and states“, yet it seems to be Kokesh’s open defiance of DC’s anti-gun “laws” that he objected to.

    It’s too bad there were no Oathkeepers on hand to stop the raid at Kokesh’s house.

  3. ENthePeasant
    ENthePeasant July 16, 2013 3:24 pm

    I came here to talk about the silly notion that Obama fears a Kennedy style assassination from the CIA. It’s possible, but not for the reasons we might expect. Claires post, and Rhodes’s warning, fits right into what I have to say.

    When Obama tells his progressive/liberal friends (at fundraisers naturally) that he’s in danger from some vague security apparatus inside established agencies we need to be very afraid… but not because it’s true. He says things like that and gets an immediate pass from his base… and lots Libertarians as well. But the truth is quite different and much more terrifying. This guy is doing everything imaginable to co-opt the security apparatus of this country and the military leadership. He’s changing standards for agents, promoting (progressive) women at a stunning rate, and destroying the careers, or at best, forcing the professionals with even a shred of conscience into retirement (check out the number of generals who have suddenly retired in that last year). They’re even making a huge effort to insure a majority of drone pilots are women (Hey, that’s the way it should be, right ladies???). The same thing is taking place at the Department of (no) Justice. I can only conclude that they are coming for us. And nothing will be off the table, to include chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Obama practices ” spiraling opposite speak”. When he’s talking about the Assad Regime in Syria using chemical weapons on it’s people, he means that Free Syrian Army is the one using them against the Assad Regime but we’re blaming it on Assad. Anything Obama says, to include things like “We’re not listening to the phone calls of the American people”, or the classic, “They’ll warn that tyranny is lurking just around the corner. Reject these voices”, should be taken as a clue to his intentions. It’s never in the statements he makes, which are mostly lies hidden amongst kernels of truth, it’s in the denial, which is always the real truth.

  4. leonard
    leonard July 16, 2013 5:13 pm

    Stewart Rhodes is right on. But I have a question, isn’t Kokesh practicing civil disobedience and nullification, and isn’t that what Stewart is arguing for?

  5. Claire
    Claire July 16, 2013 7:57 pm

    I don’t know whether Stewart reads this blog; it would be great to let him answer for himself the question that both leonard and Kent raised. But I’ll give it a shot. I think it’s simply that there’s disobedience and nullification and there’s disobedience and nullification.

    I think Stewart and Mike Vanderboegh both perceive Kokesh as being reckless in his choices and driven more by ego than by strategic thinking. Kokesh’s proposed armed march would have led people into needless danger, and since participants would have been perceived as the aggressors, they wouldn’t have held the moral high ground when police responded violently.

    I don’t personally take Kokesh as harshly as Mike and Stewart do. But he doesn’t seem to think things out (e.g. making that challenging video while apparently having illegal ‘shrooms in his house).

    I mean, seriously. If you’re going to poke a dragon with a stick (which both Stewart and Mike V do), you need to have some concept of what you’re getting yourself — and others who might follow you — into.

  6. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal July 16, 2013 8:53 pm

    I’m not referring to the armed march on DC, since that didn’t happen, just the making of the shotgun video.

    And, yes, if Kokesh had ‘shrooms in his house after making the video, that was not smart. But since we know (yes, we really do) that cops plant drugs routinely, why does it seem that everyone assumes Kokesh put the ‘shrooms in his house? Has he said they were his?

  7. leonard
    leonard July 16, 2013 9:04 pm

    I agree that the armed march was ill conceived and foolish. It would have violated the no Ft Sumter rule.

    I didn’t know about the mushrooms. If true it wasn’t very bright. There is so much misinformation and disinformation out there anyway.

    Maybe Kokesh is more ego driven than anything else but I liked the speech he made.

    Not saying anyone here but in general freedom types spend a lot of time fighting among themselves and being critical. There is always a rush to judgement too, it seems like.

    I would bet the bad people really like that.

  8. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 16, 2013 9:39 pm

    “there’s disobedience and nullification and there’s disobedience and nullification.”

    Hmm, two sides? …I don’t know.

    Seems to square with this some:

    The Daily Bell is closing shop. Here”s a bit from the final entry:

    “The Daily Bell helped expose the real agenda of the Soros-funded Occupy Wall Street movement, which apparently remains intent on generating what could be a French Revolution-style bloodbath aimed at the “one percent.”…”

    Here is the link they had for ‘French Revolution’, and a snippet:

    “The French Revolution, for all its promise, provides us with an example of what happens when violent revolutions are accompanied by a faith in the perfectibility of the human beings who are making the revolution.”…

    ~ Memento Mori ~

  9. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 16, 2013 10:02 pm

    And the reason the real agenda of the Soros-funded Occupy Wall Street movement, which apparently remains intent on generating what could be a French Revolution-style bloodbath aimed at the “one percent:

    Problem: violence. Solution: Minority Report

    “The entire covert op to stimulate violence in America, following up with interventions, and finally “prediction of future violence,” is underpinned with, yes, a philosophic position: the mind is nothing more than the brain.

    Therefore, an all-out assault on brain function is the answer. If you want a supposition guaranteed to sink a civilization, this is it.” …

  10. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 16, 2013 10:04 pm

    That should’ve been, ‘And the reason FOR the real agenda of…’

    But like it matters.

  11. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 16, 2013 10:43 pm

    One last bit, pardon my thread clogging:

    So I got around to reading the rest of the Stewart Roads article. It seems to me he does not know, What Is Anarchy?

    It seems like he refuses to see how goberment is different from rules and customs within anarchy. I was quite disappointed in that.

    Perhaps someday he will be able to understand what it means to have, Society Without a State

  12. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 17, 2013 6:58 am

    Yeah, I had that same reaction about his opinion on anarchy, but it is beside the point of his article.

    [I can only conclude that they are coming for us. And nothing will be off the table, to include chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.]

    That would be foolish, and immediately lose him all support both inside and out of the government. That’s not going to happen. I also don’t buy the French Revolution comments. If you recall, the initial and subsequent leaders of the French Revolution all ended up losing their heads. There is no controlling something like that.

    [Problem: violence. Solution: Minority Report]

    Yeah, I think that is the target, along with the drugging of America to control violence (starting with Ritalin in schools for everyone). Minority Report combined with This Perfect Day. However I believe this wet dream of the ruling class will fail. Everyone else is moving in the opposite direction. Even Illinois now has a right to BEAR arms for example. Homeschooling is thriving. Internet, etc…

  13. Claire
    Claire July 17, 2013 7:05 am

    Given that Stewart has dedicated himself to persuading soldiers & police to turn toward liberty, advocating anarchism would be stunningly counterproductive.

  14. Benjamin
    Benjamin July 17, 2013 7:16 am

    Within every Praetorian Guard there will be a Sejanus, they should be far more concered with him/them than any of us.

  15. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth July 17, 2013 8:35 am

    Claire, that’s the lens I view Rhodes with too. Whether or not he believes it himself, personally, the position he’s staked out is potentially very valuable, and he seems to play the part very well.

    He doesn’t need to be another Grigg, or Silber, or Claire, etc., to do what he is trying to do. And I wish him the best of luck in that; this world would be an unrecognizably better place if he succeeds in what he says he wants to accomplish.

    Personally, I’m not a minarchist any more–as the saying goes I “ran out of excuses” years ago (thanks again Claire for your formative part in that)–but I’ll admit that I’d much prefer a proper minarchy to the open horror we have now. If we ever got there (and I won’t offer anything here about whether that’s possible or not), I might still be among the “that guy” types trying to convince others that even minarchy is but a stop–a stop–along the road to liberty. But if there is a continuum, I’d sure welcome any improvement in our position on it, because it’s getting awfully twitchy.

    For that reason I tend to be consciously easy on folks like Rhodes and Vanderboegh, who are at least working on the most immediate problems first. 🙂

  16. KenK
    KenK July 17, 2013 5:58 pm

    How i see it: When Leviathan figures it’s time to make its move, the Oath Keepers will be rounded up and dealt with just like the rest of us on their lists. Don’t kid yourself about that angle, folks. Between the various feds, military spec ops units, and the local civilian cops that’s likely a big enough force to launch and carry out their coup. The regular armed forces are a question mark as to what they’ll do. All but the most politically reliable Army, AF, MC, and Naval units will be confined to ship/base/fort under lock down until the deed is done the mission is accomplished. The “standing army” the founders feared isn’t really an army at all but is in fact made up of all the armed local police, feds, and a few elite military units and it has a garrison in every city and county in the entire nation.

  17. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 17, 2013 8:34 pm

    Personally I find Mr. Rhodes, and by extension the Oathkeepers, hugely enigmatic. The words read sensibly enough for the most part, sometimes even appealing. But to quote Swann, “We are what we do, not what we say we do.”

    Mr. Rhodes makes a big deal at the end of the piece of the oath that he has taken, even that he’s willing to die in support of it. But that oath was to protect against “enemies, foreign and domestic.” Sorry, but I don’t see it. Besides the obvious problem that no action is being taken against blatantly unconstitutional (not to mention immoral) deeds by numerous Govco employees, there’s also the fact that most Oathkeepers themselves are (or have been) affirmatively engaged in tactical support of those deeds…whether fighting for oil and poppies in the military (NOT defending the Constitution) or even worse, engaging in the disgusting police-state thuggery that is ubiquitous across the nation. As I see it, this is no small divergence between words and action.

    Now it so happens that I take no umbrage at any of it. Oath or not, I don’t think the defense of my life is some claim on anyone else. So I’m not looking for any Oathkeeper to do anything about it, but I still find it puzzling why they speak so big and yet carry such a soft stick.

    Oh well, I guess that riddle will be resolved one day. I try to go with what I know, and what I know is that a person’s life rests upon the actions that a person does. I don’t think any set of words or any organizational scheme is ever going to make that false, so I figure that it comes down to decent people deciding that they’ve had enough, and then choosing to live the decent and happy lives that they wish. IMO most everything else is just noise, and these days largely collectivist noise. As Claire and others have intimated forever, we are free already. The only question is when individuals will be courageous enough to accept that responsibility.

    Now would be a nice time, before all the wasted blood gums up the sewers.

  18. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 18, 2013 9:03 am

    Claire, good point! 🙂

    [When Leviathan figures it’s time to make its move, the Oath Keepers will be rounded up and dealt with just like the rest of us]

    Well perhaps, to some extent. But remember, cops and other such groups are a brotherhood. Even those who have not signed up to oathkeeping would not look kindly on an attack on their ranks. Hell those guys even cover for murderers within their ranks; they will not put up with a purge.

    Gene Sharp, who I think really knows his stuff, thinks pro-liberty contacts within these organizations are crucial to our success. It’s clear why. The rulers really have a problem, knowing who among their minions is reliable. To be a leader, there must be followers, and if the followers don’t follow then you aren’t a leader any more.

    Even at the end of the Soviet Union there was an attempt by a clique within the rulers to crack down, and it was stopped by the army units that refused to go along:

    Also in Tianmen Square the rulers had to take pains to select units that would kill the students.

    Think how much more difficult this problem is in America, where the police and army (taken from the ranks of the people as always) are much more connected to their communities and with at least a tradition of liberty (yeah they pay lip service to it but it’s not entirely cynical). Even now many western sheriffs have come out saying they will not follow any unconstitutional gun bans, an action which helped stop that post-Sandy Hook gun-ban movement in Congress.

  19. Claire
    Claire July 18, 2013 10:04 am

    Thanks for the history, Paul. Excellent points.

  20. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 18, 2013 12:34 pm

    “Even those who have not signed up to oathkeeping would not look kindly on an attack on their ranks. Hell those guys even cover for murderers within their ranks; they will not put up with a purge.”

    Wow Paul, I’m not accustomed to disagreeing with you twice in one week…I hope it doesn’t become a habit! That claim is plainly absurd IMO. Guys who would cover up for murderers won’t give a hoot about abandoning a genuine Oathkeeper, if he were viewed as jamming up the machine. This should be obvious, since such people aren’t driven by any sort of moral foundation in the first place.

    Let’s not forget that even collectivists are individuals. If Thug John’s living and pension depend on violating the Constitution, I doubt he’s going to care about sacrificing Oathkeeper Bob to the lions if he presents some threat to that incentive, just because Bob wears a uniform too.

    Let’s also not forget that to the degree there is any moral foundation in John’s warped mind, that foundation is sacrifice.

  21. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 18, 2013 9:15 pm

    I understood that Stewart’s opinion on anarchy was beside the point of his article. However; I fully expected him to understand the terminology and the meanings, even if he didn’t embrace it.

    I didn’t expect him to embrace it.

    He likely never will.

    The ‘why’ he likely won’t embrace it is due to what Jim Klein wrote, which is very true and I totally get where Stewart is coming from,… it’s just … misguided? Made into a puppet?:

    “Let’s also not forget that to the degree there is any moral foundation in John’s warped mind, that foundation is sacrifice.”

    Also, @Paul: The subsequent leaders of the French Revolution all ended up losing their heads – still – the aristocrats and a desired system all came out on top.
    Hubris – they think they can control it. History says they can. Or so it seems,… so far, anyway.

  22. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 18, 2013 9:37 pm

    Upon further reflection: if Stewart came to understand the terminology and the meanings of anarchy, then he’d have to embrace it due to his other convictions (sacrifice non-withstanding).
    And so would every other soldier.

    In other words, he’s like most people. They don’t want to know – they refuse to know – because then they’d have to face up to it. …And embrace it.

    Is this why Jon Rappoport uses the term, androids?

    We’re surrounded by social machines?

  23. IndividualAudienceMember
    IndividualAudienceMember July 18, 2013 10:37 pm

    I wonder, are The Oath Keepers even doing this?:

    End the Occupation: A Mission for the Oath-Keepers

    …”The Oath Keepers should urge police and Sheriff’s Departments to reject counter-narcotics grants and federal subsidies of any kind, including equipment transfers and other material support from the Pentagon. They should find the honest and principled law enforcement personnel who are mortified by the transformation of so many police and Sheriff’s departments into criminal syndicates through the practice of “asset forfeiture.” And they should take the point in reining in the ever-expanding use of SWAT teams (as a prelude to abolishing them outright, of course).”…

  24. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 19, 2013 7:26 am

    Jim, I’ll grant you a point, as there was Serpico… However my opinion does not stand on self-sacrifice. Cops working in their self-interest (as everyone does) may still put the brakes on any govt action they don’t think will fly. Personally, I think the reason the chiefs of police said they won’t enforce any federal gun bans, is that they don’t want to end up shot dead in the middle of a war.

    Also, cops are in very strong unions. Sacrificing Oathkeeper Bob may result in a walkout or “lax enforcement” particularly if the other members decide Bob would only be the first of many. It may depend on Bob’s popularity with the others, as much as anything.

    I’m not saying cops can’t be fired, but they may also be fired because they get too heavy-handed with enforcement. One in Cody Wyoming lost his job that way, merely because word got around he was a total jerk (not a career-enhancing move in a small town).

    Somehow I don’t see cops and military as such puppets for the rulers as you do. Maybe because of what I saw in the Marine Corps back in ’68-72.

    As to whether Stewart and his cohorts measure up philosophically, I think that all depends on worldview. His is different than ours. I don’t much care if he or anyone else has opinions about human nature counter to mine. All I care about is that he or others tolerate anarchists. We need not, and probably should not, be passing judgement on someone like Stewart until we know his opinion on tolerance.

  25. Jim Klein
    Jim Klein July 19, 2013 7:55 am

    Ha…I prefer others have opinions counter to mine. At least some; I couldn’t take the boredom otherwise.

    Anyway, I don’t ever argue at a craps table about what the other guy bets. We’re on a roll…now you can explain Gene Sharp’s “commitment to demcracy”!

  26. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 19, 2013 9:26 am

    Sharp was writing back in the 60’s and 70’s I guess, when democracy was not so disreputable as today.

    Found this in a comment on Western Rifle Shooters. Johnny Cash rules! 🙂

  27. Victor Milán
    Victor Milán July 19, 2013 12:22 pm

    What I wonder is: how many Oathkeepers sang this song when George W. Bush was presiding over the greatest attack on American liberty in history?

    And would they keep singing it with another Republican sock-puppet in the White House, doing (as the current Democratic one is doing) the same vile things his predecessor did, only bigger, harder, and worse?

  28. Claire
    Claire July 19, 2013 12:41 pm

    I’ve wondered the same thing, Victor. Sigh. The wisest founders warned us about parties and factions. I don’t get being loyal to a group when that group is busily betraying you, but … sigh.

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