by Brandon Smith, Alt-Market:
When activist movements enter into confrontation with a corrupt government or establishment structure, often the temptation is to stick rather closely to what they know. The problem with this is that even though circumstances change and the fighting escalates, people will still turn to their old standby methods for defending themselves. This makes these movements repetitive, predictable and ineffective.
In the case of the liberty movement, the more passive tactic of marches and sign waving is immediately suggested. But inevitably some hothead is going to demand one of two things: a mass armed surge on the steps of Washington, D.C., or some kind of Alamo-inspired cinematic standoff. You would think that these strategies were the only two aggressive methods in existence; they are brought up so often it becomes mind-numbing.
I can understand (to a point) why the standoff concept keeps popping up. The movement has seen it work at least once at Bundy ranch. However, Bundy ranch came with a very specific set of circumstances that made the standoff strategy useful. The ranch was private property owned by freedom-minded people; it was a home being invaded by federal agents exhibiting intent to do physical harm and confiscate the livelihood of those in their crosshairs. Whether or not people agreed with the grazing rights issues that originally triggered the standoff, no one with any moral fortitude could deny that the Fed response was unacceptable.
The standoff had DIRECT strategic value to the situation; it had a concrete purpose, which was to stop the federal incursion, prevent harm to the people involved and prevent further theft of property. The liberty movement also had the most important advantage of all: We were INVITED to make a stand there, and many of the locals supported our initiatives.
If all of these elements are not present in any given situation, then the standoff method is a pointless and foolish endeavor. It ultimately does more harm than good.
To argue the nature of the cause does little to change the strategic reality. We can wax philosophical all day on the nature of federal overreach and the train of abuses suffered by common people. We can preach passionately about the villainy of the Bureau of Land Management and the need for its erasure. We can discuss endlessly the nature of patriotism and duty and the will to do what is right or necessary. It is a fine thing to clarify your standing on the issues in the face of ideological opposition from statists whose only interest is to blindly support the power of federal government because they believe they benefit from the existing system. That said, in the end, strategy is not subject to emotional arguments.
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