Conservative pundits and bloggers are fond of asking themselves in times of crisis or despondency, “What would Ronald Reagan do?” I’m afraid I have bad news for you. We are well past the point of “What would Ronald Reagan do?” We have reached the point of “What would Samuel Adams do?”
Samuel Adams was the Father of the American Revolution. He fearlessly agitated and organized day and night for liberty and independence. He founded and coordinated the activities of the Sons of Liberty, an underground organization of patriotic merchants, artisans, and street toughs dedicated to making life miserable for the British government, while advancing the cause of liberty and independence. He could arguably be called “America’s first community organizer,” before the term was hijacked by Marxist thugs hellbent on imposing their warped agenda on a politically ignorant, house-trained citizenry.
So what would Sam Adams do today? Organize Tea Party bus tours and online petitions? Encourage us to make angry phone calls to our congressional representatives? Hardly. Adams and his fellow travelers were active, in-your-face incendiaries in the cause of liberty. Tarring and feathering British officials and sympathizers or ransacking their homes was just another day at the office. Adams was a brilliant and fearless seditionist and revolutionary tactician–always one step ahead of the law and always outwitting and outmaneuvering his adversaries. And he did it with aplomb. Sure, Adams was a prolific writer and propagandist, and would no doubt today be an active blogger. But writing wasn’t a hobby or something he did while watching the Patriots. It was an integral part of an active, ongoing, evolving strategy of agitation in the service of independence.
Sam Adams would, in all likelihood, consider today’s Tea Party a bunch of toothless wimps. The same goes for the Pajamas Media and the rest of the Tea Party bloggers and armchair, make-believe revolutionaries. Is blogging anonymously in your man-cave really comparable to openly pledging “your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor?” I don’t think so. Conservatives and libertarians and Tea Partiers all want change on the cheap. They want to radically reform the system without leaving the comfort of their homes or getting their hands dirty. Very few, I’d wager, have the courage to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line for their professed beliefs. (Imagine where we’d be if the Founders had said, “I don’t know about this Declaration of Independence thing. I mean, the British might get mad at us. We might lose our jobs. Our health care. Our 401-ks.”)
It’s time to face the grim reality—the United States is an occupied country. The powerful are at the table, and the rest of us are on the menu. If Tea Partiers think they’re going to take back their country from their man-caves without making waves or breaking a sweat, they’re smoking pixie dust. It’s going to take more than pithy Tweets or inspired commentary to make these establishment bastards stand up and take notice. It’s going to take a well-organized and sustained campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and resistance, while relentlessly and consistently speaking truth to power. We must aggressively challenge those who would have insidious designs on our liberty. They and their criminal schemes must be held to contempt and ridicule. This is not going to be done quickly or easily; it’s going to take years of pain and hard work and struggle. Adversity summons the hero in all of us.
The Artful Dilettante—Conscience of the Second American Revolution