You Say You Want a Revolution
I keep getting accused of being an optimist. It is definitely accused, in that tone. I get accused of ignoring what grave times we are living in, and how we should already be at war if we’re ever going to be.
I’m very aware of the grave times we’re living in, but some of it, I’m also aware, is not that the times are worse than ever, but that they are more openly so.
People who accuse me of optimism often point at the oligarchic moves of the Deep State and the meretricious behavior of the press. Don’t I see that times are dire? Don’t I see Rome is burning? Don’t I see we need a revolution—now? That it should have happened long ago — when sedition took hold in the sixties; when it deepened under Clinton; or when it blossomed fully under Obama?
I’m a depressive, so of course, yes, I see all that, and I have my dark moments.
The scene that comes to mind, very often, is a scene from Don Camillo and His Flock, by Giovanni Guareschi. The main character, Don Camillo, is the village priest, and in this scene, the village has been swallowed by water from the river Po and the entire village is submerged.
On Sunday, the priest sets out a little portable altar in the tower and starts saying mass, looking out at the blind water and feeling alone and desolate, the last believer at the end of the world.
Most lovers of liberty feel that way. We feel that way when we hear half the country happily mouth that they belong to the government, or our young people say things that don’t even make any sense, having been disqualified by their education and entertainment for rationality and made incapable of individual thought.
But being a depressive by nature, I’ve learned to reality check my feelings that these are the worst of times and we should, in fact, have already had a revolution if we are to save liberty.
And I know history. Let’s suppose that outrages against liberty started at the beginning of the twentieth century. (They didn’t. They started with the Republic.) Why haven’t we had a revolution yet, gosh darn it?
Well, the people expecting us to are suffering from movie history. Movies are very fond of portraying “and then the whole people rose up and their just cause was vindicated.”
It wasn’t like that. It’s never been like that, in the whole history of mankind, much less in the history of this country.
There is no sudden rising up. Humans normally fight when the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. And sometimes they miscalculate. This is how the most civilized country of the mid-twentieth century became Nazi Germany. I’m sure there were a lot of internal dissenters, but by the time they realized what was going on was worse than fighting, the fight could not be won and they were at war.