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July 9, 2014

Ayres on Revolution

Recently in an interview on Fox, the infamous Bill Ayres seemed to indicate that he would not exclude the possibility of violent revolution in the United States. He argued that the country was born in violent revolution, and so it follows that it might be reasonable to experience violent revolution again. Since this notion appeared to go unchallenged, I have felt the need to make the contrary case.

It is my view that violent revolution is unthinkable . . . except, of course, by those who have a propensity for violence. The reason for peaceful transitions of power is that we live in a republic, one in which we have a chance to vote for representatives as well as the opportunity to persuade others to vote as we do. We may not be successful in persuading others of the correctness of our ideas, so our favored candidates may not be elected. But good citizens accept defeat and move on. We hope that future elections bring about the change in policy we prefer. We may expend our resources to make this more likely, but it may not happen.

I write about the possibilities of political disappointments as someone who has experienced many political disappointments. For example, I was not in favor of the Iraq War and then was not in favor of how it was prosecuted after the first few days. I tried to have some marginal influence via letter writing, but I lost. The neo-cons won; Republicans and many Democrats went along. So what should I do? I think that I should move forward peacefully and try to do better in the future.

Suppose that I disagree so profoundly with my fellow citizens that I simply cannot stand to live in the political environment that they create and I hate. Then, it seems to me that I should leave. It should not be lost on anyone that there are essentially no meaningful constraints on leaving this country. For example, there is a market for our real estate and we can ship our personal property. In addition, there are no governmental constraints on physically leaving, while there may be some issues of taxation or confiscation of assets, this is not terribly serious for a person motivated primarily by politics. At the same time, there are many other countries with different political environments. So leaving is possible and reasonable.

The bottom line is that the USA today is not the Colonies of yesteryear. The rationale for violent revolution that was here is no longer here. Peace.

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