What better way to instigate a little “civil disobedience” in the style of freethinker David Thoreau than to march around Washington, D.C. touting loaded rifles? Nearly 900 people have RSVPed to march in the D.C. area on July 4th, brandishing loaded weapons, making their message clear, as they say, in the “subtlest way possible.” The Facebook invitation for the event, which is ultimately organized by libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh, runs as follows (as reported by ThinkProgress):
“”This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.
There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting. We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.””
Americans and their guns! Every since the “right to bear arms” became part of American scripture, as part of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution, patriotism became strangely wed to a peevish insistence on the right to own guns. The historical contingency of the second amendment determined the shape of what radical patriotism would look like. Nevertheless, the leader of this group, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh, has gone a bit beyond anything patriotic; his radio show has recently called for the abolishment of the U.S. government.
Such talk derives its rhetoric from the imminently non-violent Thoreau who said “That government is best which governs not at all,” and of course the sort of violent imagery of such revolutionaries as Jefferson, who said “What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Whether these 900 protesters will ever get their time in the sun is perhaps unlikely. Kokesh is saying they need a critical mass of 10,000 RSVPs first.