By Nathan Barton
I am hearing more and more signs of rebellion in many parts of the West – especially the rural farming and ranching areas.
People are sick of being told what to do in the minutest detail by the people in their State Capitols. Add this to resentment of the Federal Congress and bureaucracy and THEIR micromanagement (directly through the alphabet agencies and indirectly through state government agencies), and the anger grows.
Usually, the mandates result in making life more costly, as well as more miserable. People know that they are breaking numerous laws and innumerable regulations. It is not that they don’t care. They were once law-abiding citizens, and proud of that nature. Even when it didn’t make sense to them. But now, not only do the laws and regulations make less sense, not only do they cost a fabulous amount of money and time, they are also impossible in many cases to comply with. This is not a “War on the West” as during the Reagan era. It is a war against rural people, societies, and institutions. Against not just farmers and ranchers, but against businesses and institutions.
School requirements, even for government-run, tax-funded (GRTF) schools, become more and more difficult for small schools and districts to comply with. Consolidation has gone about as far as it can: making children ride buses for 1-2 hours each way in rural areas on gravel roads is unbearable for parents and children. But the cost of compliance drives more and more districts into insolvency, while beggaring the people and businesses. Even with “generous” state and federal funding, the cost is never met except by taking more money from landowners and the parents (and yes, teachers and staff) themselves.
Business is crushed, by taxes and the cost of compliance with regulations. Coupled with the fear of being caught out by the swarms of inspectors. And aided by the “do-gooders” who rat out business, schools, local government, and anyone else that doesn’t comply with their sense of order. The margins are tight and getting tighter. The poorly-run or marginally-profitable businesses are all gone. They were folded years ago. Now it is the few profitable, sustainable enterprises that are being destroyed. Sometimes, they are eaten by larger, even multinational firms. Sometimes their competitors in the bigger towns and the major urban areas expand and buy them out, swallow them up, and at least provide essential goods and services.
But that is usually limited. Services which are commonly available in big urban areas (and I use the Western definition, not that of the Coasts) are often no longer available in the rural and frontier communities only 80-100 miles away. I needed to rent some equipment for a project about 120 miles from Colorado Springs and 170 from Denver. I called firms that rented in these areas, and made sure that they understood we would be picking the equipment up from their shop and returning it to their shop. They refused to rent to my clients because “we don’t serve that area.”
There are many other examples.
But as conditions get worse, as people get more angry and frustrated, what is happening? In other nations, in other times, there would already be open, violent rebellion. The crazies, the less patient, the people without hope, would have taken the weapons that they “cling to” and started killing government agents. They would start ambushing and robbing the trucks and trains that carry goods through the rural areas to the big urban complexes. They would, in Claire’s words, “shoot, shovel, and shut up” – and maybe not shut up that much!
But the Americans in the rural and frontier areas of the West have not. Indeed, it seems only to be people in the urban areas – the privileged ghetto and ethnic enclaves – that come anywhere close. It is Wal-Marts and Coscos in the big urban areas, and Korean-run liquor stores and the like in those cities that are looted in bad weather conditions or after the cops shoot someone of the wrong skin color. It is not the Family Dollar and Shopko Home and Fresh Start convenience stores that got looted. And even their shoplifting rate in the rural and frontier areas is far less than that in similar stores in urban areas.
People in the likes of Newcastle or Whispering Pine or Dove Creek or Kim or Bird City do not beat up and rob – much less shoot and kill – strangers of a different skin color or accent who come to their door asking for help. They help them: they invite them into their homes and share. When there are killings and robberies and other nasty business, it is very likely done by someone visiting or returning from an urban area. And when that happens, the typical Westerner does not use that an an excuse to hate all urban-dwellers.
So why? Why no rebellion, no revolution? No Robin Hood and his merry outlaws? Not even a Jesse James type gang?
There are no doubt many reasons, but one is that we understand that rebellions and revolutions seldom (if ever) come out with improved conditions: consider France and Russia, and a couple hundred incidents in Third World countries since about 1945. And we have been (wrongly) taught that we are free and that government will respond to our pleas sooner or later. And that it is a very serious decision to initiate force, even with justification. (It is just that we were also taught (wrongly) that government was an exception to that rule, being “of, by, and for the people.”)
But that may change. And if the people of the rural and frontier West lose hope and faith and confidence, it may be a very quick, and catastrophic, change. One that this modern society here in the Fifty States – and the world – might never recover from.
Mama’s Note: The first step is to get rid of the idea that any non-voluntary government, any “constitution” you didn’t sign or agree to, any group of “rulers” who imposes their will by force… the idea that any such person or government has some legitimate authority to control our lives and property.
Who owns your life?
Now, you can give control of your life and property to anyone you want… but the thing to remember is that you have no authority to decide that for anyone else.
Here is a story that graphically explains the ideal of non-compliance, of peaceful resistance, and is a joyful read besides.
And Then There Were None, by Eric Frank Russell.