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WND Commentary
Getting free, ourselves alone

By Claire Wolfe
© 1999 Claire Wolfe

The mail thundered down. It came in floods, waves, deluges and tides in the days after WorldNetDaily ran my column "Before they come for the guns". I'd expected it, in a way. I'd expected to take a kick or two for talking about freedom lovers "plotting" to take their freedom back.

What came wasn't what I'd anticipated. Not one of the hundreds of e-mails that cascaded over the dam of frustration (more mail than I'll ever be able to answer, to my regret) said, "No. That's crazy. That's irresponsible. That's wrong." A friend or two wrote, "Better shut your mouth, Claire." And a few writers disagreed on details. But what flooded in was one huge cry of, "YES!" from people around the world.

I had quoted nameless working-class American guys standing in a gun store, talking the kind of talk you hear every day here in the West. The words of peaceable people who -- like German Jews of the 30s -- see themselves being legislated against, exploited, blamed, deprived of their earnings and possessions, and gradually being driven to defend their very existence as full, free human beings.

E-mail after e-mail said, "Next time, Claire, portray that same conversation among businessmen at the country club. It's happening there, too." "Show doctors talking about when we might have to fight for freedom; believe me, here at the clinic, it's what we think about every day." "Scientists, Claire." "Entrepreneurs. Housewives. Students. Count us in." One cubicle dweller, whose letter was published in WorldNetDaily, wrote of corporate "Dilberts" who whisper of that desperate day in chrome-trimmed lunchrooms, and who buy weapons they never thought of owning -- until the ever-more-threatening government threatened to deprive them of the ability to do so.

Many writers remarked, "Thank God someone said it. I thought I was alone." "I thought I might be nuts, feeling that way when the media keeps telling me how good everything is."

And everywhere I go, I keep stumbling into these conversations. Readers are right; it's not only at the gun stores and gun shows. It happened again yesterday in a pretty little shop in the city, filled with flowers and antiques. There they stood behind the counter, the tidy, bookish entrepreneur couple who'd spent a career politely doing everything right. We'd been talking no more than five minutes, about nothing in particular. Someone made a remark about the government long ago dropping John Kennedy's casket into the sea. Nothing more than that -- a chance reference to an old cover-up -- when the man burst out, "Sometimes I've thought we just need a revolution to wipe away all this ... all this government. I'm sorry. I'm out of line. I shouldn't say that. But. ..."

Whatever it was with this quiet, middle-aged man -- whatever had been building inside him -- it was so close to exploding that it burst in front of strangers, triggered by nothing. It isn't just about guns, as my column was. But about tyrants threatening the core of individuality itself, the core of freedom. How much more pressure can ordinary, good people bear before the dam bursts? Before talk is no longer "just talk"?

Nobody's listening

One reader, Sonny Diehl, asked:

My only question, and I know that it is a rhetorical one, is: "Why can the powers-that-be not see this?" They overlook the fact that more Americans want their freedom today than were willing to fight for it in the eighteenth century. Why are they willing to risk the bloodbath that must come if they continue? Are they really the nitwits they seem?

And haven't you wondered? As you listen to NPR or watch NBC News and hear nothing but assumptions that we need more intrusive government, haven't you wondered what's really going on in the reptilian brain stems of those devouring our freedom?

Do those who wish to control us actually believe their own propaganda? Do they imagine all is well in Happiland? Do they think all that's required to put the finishing touch on their Utopia is a few more laws, regulations, executive orders, judicial fiats, presidential decision directives and canisters of CS gas? Do they -- folly of follies -- ultimately imagine that a few million abused freedom lovers simply don't matter?

In a way, it doesn't matter what they think. Something has changed in the last few months in the way many of us, the freedom lovers, think. We've stopped believing in illusions. We've stopped chasing chimeras, stood still and taken stock. It's been coming for a long time -- years -- for some, even decades. But just recently -- in a way that millions suddenly feel, but few have yet articulated -- the freedom movement has reached a critical mass of disillusion. Maybe it was the sickening gyrations of the Senate and the NRA in the wake of Littleton. Maybe it was long before. But millions of us have irrevocably lost hope in all the institutions and methods we've looked to for years.

And it's a good thing we have.

Because that means we can quit wasting our time on what doesn't work -- on being polite and begging our would-be rulers please, please, please don't take our freedom away quite so quickly. Go a little more slowly. Tread a little less roughly on our hearts.

Yes, I know there are millions still doing it. Begging, writing, pleading. I receive their URGENT! LEGISLATIVE! ALERTS! everyday. They urge me to urge my readers to join NOW! in the latest, newest, desperate, most-important-ever-ever-ever SAVE! OUR! RIGHTS! Beg-A-Thon to Congress. And while they blow their priceless energy on these touching Civics Class exercises, control freaks snicker and freedom erodes.

But enough have now stopped doing the useless. We can get on with what actually works. Ultimately the only thing that can work is for millions of good people to become ungovernable. To live our freedom for ourselves. And to do that, we don't need a majority. Mainly, we need our hearts -- plus a lot of courage and just enough numbers that tyrants can't arrest or kill us all.

Easy? No. But necessary. Time for each of us to start finding our own path.

In the end our determination to be free may mean having to fight tyrants with weapons, as well as wits. I hope not. I don't want it. I don't call for it. I'd a thousand times rather use wits alone -- wits and truly free spirits and creative disregard for unjust laws. The monkeywrench can be a more powerful weapon than the M-16, in the right circumstances. So can the pure, ungovernable, hellraising soul. But like a lot of others who'd rather just be left alone to live free, I'm becoming convinced that freedom lovers who don't simply leave for freer pastures will have to stand and fight someday.

No threat. Just a realistic assessment.

Leave if you can. If your heart allows. Find a place with a less imperial government and a means of making a living there. But if you stay here, prepare to live your freedom, regardless of what the government does. No one is going to hand you liberty, no matter how much you beg or threaten. No matter how many letters you write, marches you march, rallies you raise, e-mails you fling or articles you read or write. No matter how many times you replace Reptile A in Congress with Reptile B, freedom ain't gonna happen like that.

It's too late -- if it ever could have worked at all.

One way or another, if you want it -- if you really, sincerely want freedom and don't just prefer to whine about its loss -- you're going to have to take it back yourself. In your own life. In your own attitude. In your own actions. Pray you can do it with your wits, in your own uniquely, peacefully intransigent way. But know that you are the only one who can do it.

And let's get on with it, making freedom, ourselves alone.

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