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L. Neil Smith's
Number 515, April 19, 2009

"The shot heard round the world"

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When the Goons Show Up On Your Doorstep...
by Paul Bonneau
2.paulbx1 -+at+-

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

...what are you going to do?

Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago is a rather dreary book; and truth be told, I am still working my way through it. However, in the first chapter he's expressed some thoughts on the above problem. He writes,

The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it... and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: "You are under arrest...."

But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these displacements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life's experience, can gasp out only: "Me? What for?".... [and later:] "It's a mistake! They'll set things right!"

Solzhenitsyn later recognized the inadequacy of this response, penning perhaps the most quoted footnote ever,

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? ... The Organs would quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

OK, sure. That was Stalin's Soviet Union. But we don't have an American gulag, eh?

Don't we? There are over two million Americans in jail, most for no good reason; and torture (in the form of prison rape) is an almost universal management tool. In the courts, a fully informed jury is denied, voir dire stacks the deck against you, and you can't even bring up constitutional objections. It's even worse for anyone designated, on the whim of the ruling class, an "enemy combatant". At some point (and we are long past it here), the system drops its original mission and becomes concerned only with supporting those working within it, by consuming ever-larger numbers of victims. That is what the Gulag is all about.

Well, perhaps it has not yet actually dropped its original mission. Watching these two videos (especially the cop's), one gets the impression that, however broken it may be, the system still works pretty well at putting actual bad guys away. It may be more accurate to say that the criminal justice system now has two distinct functions: putting bad guys away, and putting freedom-lovers and tyranny-resisters away. Not to mention, being a gigantic jobs program.

Unless you are in the habit of stealing cars or mugging little old ladies, you should never see any cops on your doorstep, offering to arrest you. What does it mean when you do?

It means you are the next prospective victim of the Gulag. It means the next several years of your life, or perhaps your entire life, are very likely gone. It means rape and other torture, AIDS, and a broken life even if you do survive your term.

It means the system has, for its own inscrutable reasons, declared war on you. And as Solzhenitsyn notes, "Me? What for?" is an absurdly inadequate response to a declaration of war.

The proper response to a declaration of war, is a hail of bullets.

Well, what about the case where you are incorrectly accused of something? What if it was just a simple mistake? Isn't the system supposed to sort the actual bad guys from the good guys?

Yes—and it probably still manages to do that now and then (reinforcing the fantasy that "they'll set things right"). But what are your chances of running into that kind of situation, compared to the war scenario? Particularly if you are publicly critical of tyranny, or a member of the class of undesireables mentioned in documents like the MIAC Report? Does the system "work", are things set right, for political prisoners? Or is setting things right restricted only to the function of putting actual bad guys away?

Setting things right for political prisoners would require such court actions such as observing the Constitution. Good luck on that.

Has MIAC not perhaps generated a self-fulfilling prophecy, angering and activating people who resent the slide into tyranny? Might not that have been the intention all along, to help feed that Gulag? Who wrote the MIAC report after all—was it not members of the Gulag? Are these several recent mass shootings another part of that?

Life in this country is bound to get interesting shortly. If you need a "pick-me-up" to help you adjust to the unpleasant new reality, I'd advise getting Mark Spungin's book, Neither Predator Nor Prey.

What do you do when the goons show up on your doorstep? There are no good answers here, but you still have free will. Think about this problem, then exercise that free will if it happens.


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