Kevin Sullivan is wrong, flat-out wrong about the growing ranks of Americans gravely concerned by the direction this nation is going in, particularly those who see the warning signs ahead and, though hoping for the best, are taking serious steps to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario.
It’s oh-so-typical of our mainstream media, I know. But Sullivan’s recent Patriots at the Gate story in the Washington Post was really bothering me this morning. Why was it bothering me, you may ask? Quite frankly I couldn’t stand incessant spin throughout the entire article.
The intention of Kevin Sullivan’s article is so obvious as to hardly bear mentioning: to make a very large number of everyday Americans out to be domestic terrorists getting ready to strike. Rather than taking the growing ranks of militias and preppers as a sign that perhaps our government has grown too powerful, corrupt, inept, and intrusive, rather than doing the job of a proper journalist and investigating that government for its abuses of the common man, Sullivan prefers to paint with a broad sneering brush a very large swath of people he’d obviously just rather not take seriously.
Constant juxtaposition of such hollow facades as “but critics say” and “many who disagree respond with,” followed swiftly by flimsy rebuttals alongside every clear and confident assertion by patriots – Sullivan couldn’t have made his bias more clear. Of those things said or done by the Constitutionalists he interviews, little to nothing is able to escape being spun by him in a sinister or dismissively simplistic light.
‘What’s this? The militia group is eating together at a pizza place! Hmm… Very suspicious.’
‘Oh, hey, they’re picking up litter on the side of the highway; that’s nice. But wait, by Marx’s beard and Stalin’s mustache! Is their leader carrying a firearm while they do this bit of voluntary community service?! Unacceptable! Someone call the police!’
What’s almost worse is that Sullivan lacks the patience and tact to wait for the end of his sections before pouncing, positively chomping at the bit to pick apart these patriots he’s asking you to fear and loathe. He cannot denigrate quickly enough these people he misunderstands and is intimidated by, and he’s so arrogant and self-assured in his innate superiority over them that he fails to notice how sloppy his rebuttals to their concerns actually are, how poorly they hold up under even the briefest scrutiny. If only he were at least more skillful and clever in his bias I’d have something to admire here, but unfortunately he doesn’t even give me that much to enjoy about his piece.
Americans exercising their 2nd amendment rights are made to seem scary and dangerous by Sullivan through faulty, unprincipled reasoning and not-so-subtle innuendos. According to law professors and spokespersons for bureaucrats the U.S. Constitution should mean whatever modern politicians want it to mean, and this apart from any original meaning or moral authority of the now discredited Founding Fathers. Distrust toward the U.S. government, or the conviction that this government has greatly overstepped its bounds, can only be the result of poverty, paranoia, lack of education, and – you guessed it – racism. Cast in this light, any subsequent effort to prepare for a possible unjust conflict with said government is not only ignorant, but also borderline terroristic in and of itself.
Sullivan even tries several times to draw connections between militia groups and Donald Trump, thereby presumably making the GOP nominee guilty by association, and points out that such people as these militia men and women don’t like Hillary Clinton as further proof of their crazed disconnection from reality. And yet this is entirely consistent with Sullivan’s Twitter feed which is replete with much, much more of the same kind of muckraking and political hackery in support of Progressive ideals and in ardent opposition to Republicans.
Really the only problem with the article is that it’s a complete farce because Kevin Sullivan is wrong to fear and loathe these “patriots at the gate,” as he calls them.
Why The Preppers and Militias May Be Right
For starters, preparing for a coming economic or social collapse in America isn’t absurd, ridiculous paranoia if indeed our economy and society are in shambles and gradually deteriorating as many experts attest they are in various ways.
Nations do rise and fall. Economies can and have collapsed under the weight of ignorant, selfish, and reckless governmental corruption, arrogance, and ineptitude. Natural disasters and invasions do happen routinely in the course of human events. The response to these calamities from even large, wealthy, and powerful governments can be and has been, both abroad and here at home in America, often muddled at best.
In his Patriots at the Gate article, Kevin Sullivan draws attention to the American West – Oregon, Nevada, and Montana in particular – where all of the high-profile standoffs between government and citizens like Cliven Bundy and Lavoy Finnicum have occurred in recent years. This segues neatly, in Sullivan’s mind at least, to using photos of rifles leaning against trees and pantries stocked with 30-day food supplies. These images are supposed to serve for the reader as a sort of sinister proof of Sullivan’s sensationalist claim and suggestion that people who think like this are actually preparing to declare war on the United States government.
Yet I think it’s worth noting here that if men and women living in the remote, sparsely populated American West know anything from experience it is that they need to be self-sufficient and ready to come to the aid of their neighbors in a crisis. When many farmers and ranchers live 30+ miles from even a small town and may encounter wildfires in the summer or blizzards in the winter, when both their lives and livelihoods may and probably will at some point depend on their own efforts, these salt-of-the-Earth modern pioneers prudently stock up on tools and supplies and familiarize themselves with survival skills. These people develop community bonds with their neighboring farmers and ranchers so all are ready to come to one another’s assistance in an emergency. This is still the way of the West, even if such thinking has been by and large abandoned in the East with greater population densities, access to public services, and rapid acquisition of modern conveniences.
Especially for people who live in the more remote, rural regions of the U.S., staunch self-reliance and embracing a preparedness culture is really no different than holding an insurance policy for your health, home, or car. A basic principle of preparedness is that you don’t wait to prepare until the disaster is striking to get ready for it, just like you don’t wait to get an insurance policy until you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or your home burns down, or your car is totaled in a wreck. Once a tragic event has already occurred it’s probably too late to go back and make the arrangements that would’ve helped you weather it if they’d been made beforehand. The time to build a tornado shelter is before the tornado sirens start blaring, not while the funnel cloud is touching down a mile down the road. The time to prepare for a complete economic or societal meltdown is before it occurs, not in the midst of it or after its already taken place.
A wise person watches the forecast to decide if you need to pack an umbrella or heavy winter coat and snow shovel or not. They take note of tragic examples of what happens when someone is unprepared and try to avoid following bad examples of negligence and apathy. They take stock of their supplies and fill any gaps they can. A wise person plans ahead instead of living paycheck to paycheck, day to day, week to week, and their planning and preparation allows them to enjoy better the events of the moment because they can worry less about being caught by surprise and having their family, friends, and selves completely vulnerable to circumstances outside their control.
This trend towards militias and prepping isn’t the radical Right-wing extremism ignorant city-dwelling liberals in government and media are trying to make it out to be.
The strong tendency toward self-reliance and independent thinking in the American psyche, especially in the West, is borne of practical experience taming the land and realizing the American dream of westward expansion. This attitude is inherent to how many Americans in the younger states view themselves. For instance, if my great-grandfather came out to rural Montana and homesteaded here, braving frigid winters and blistering summers and Indian raids and roaming wildlife and bandits in order to build a home and farm and raise a family, I not only carry the stories of his exploits in my mind as a token of my proud heritage, I also feel myself the inheritor of a noble legacy which I have some responsibility to uphold.
Not only this, but the Midwestern and Northwestern States in particular have been influenced far less by the godless Socialists of Europe and Asia who have traded and immigrated heavily on both of America’s coasts. Therefore the morays have not changed and “progressed” in the heartland the way they have on the coastal states.
Additionally, the preparedness of the rural inhabitants of the West is the antithesis of the learned helplessness and planned, intentional lifelong dependence on government for food stamps, unemployment checks, and just about everything else which Leftists have conditioned populations in the Eastern U.S. to accept as an unalterable fact of life. And so, just as Westerners may often scoff at the push for more dependence on the government by Easterners, Easterners in turn seem to roll their eyes and shake their heads at what they see as backwards, idiotic, completely antiquated independence from the government which Westerners strive to maintain.
Even putting aside any talk of politics, owning guns and practicing with them regularly is entirely consistent with this Western pioneer ethos in so many ways. When a rancher may have to protect his herd, family, or self from a wandering predator in the midst of a wild field or forest, he likely doesn’t have time to call the police or animal control and report the problem, nor to sit around waiting for them to come out and protect him. The tradition of the West is to accept such responsibilities one’s self as a fact of life.
Bears and wolves and mountain lions in the West aren’t the cuddly stuffed animals you throw in your toy-box, nor are they safely separated from you by the bars or glass of a zoo enclosure or National Geographic special on your TV screen. They are real and mortally dangerous predators who can and do attack and eat real men, women, and children from time to time. And a wise person prepares to deal with that eventuality on his own rather than resolving to stumble into one of these deadly creatures unarmed and defenseless except with the hope that Fish & Game or BLM shows up in time to save his bacon.
That said, apart from defense against wild predators, neither owning a firearm nor familiarizing yourself with its operation and purpose makes you a terrorist, and it certainly shouldn’t make you a suspected terrorist. Defending myself and my family from a would-be intruder or assailant intent on harm is a basic human right which ought not draw scorn or derision. This shouldn’t even need to be said, but the fact that it does lends credibility to the concerns and fears of men and women who identify with the growing movement in America toward material and martial preparedness. That hundreds of thousands, or millions, or tens of millions of decent, hardworking, everyday Americans exercising a centuries-old tradition of firearms ownership and self-reliance would draw slanderous implied accusations of terrorism as a pretext for intervention by law enforcement should be deeply concerning to us all.
That America’s government or its lapdog media would become nervous about the American people being able and willing to defend themselves from its predations and abuse is, after all a moot point if that government has no intention of preying on and abusing its people. On the other hand, if it does have intentions which could be fairly characterized that way, it would stand to reason that such a government and those who have devised such dark intentions for it would be nervous. The hungry pack of wolves naturally prefers the slow and defenseless calf separated from the herd over the massive bull elk with large antlers and sharp hooves.
Lest we suppose our American government cannot morph into a dangerous, evil, totalitarian state because it has not so far as we can tell been one in the past, just remember how the Progressives have relentlessly attacked the moral authority of the American tradition. Ask yourself whether we can be so sure they would retain the moral restraints against cold-blooded murder, even mass-murder, or mass-incarceration, or theft, or unjust imprisonment when they’ve argued so hard and long against the restraining influences of a limited government and Christian morality which have been the hallmark of the United States of America up until this point in history.
Consider also that Republics turning into autocratic and oppressive Empires is not without precedent in human history. Ancient Greece and Rome a few thousand years ago, or more modern France and Germany in the last three centuries offer us four prominent and well-documented examples of how this fundamental transformation can and does occur even within the most civilized and advanced of nations.
Kevin Sullivan is Wrong to Fear and Loathe ‘Patriots at the Gate’ He’s Railing Against at The Washington Post
The Constitution doesn’t mean whatever the Leftists in government or the mainstream media want it to mean, otherwise we may as well go back to adopting absolute monarchy. Is that really what we want, though? Do we want to choose an emperor for ourselves and be done with it? Our nation’s Constitution is worse than useless if it doesn’t mean what it says, but can be made to mean whatever those in power over us decide it does. If that is to be the way of things, we really might as well have for ourselves another Louis XIV with his famous assertion:
“L’etat c’est moi” – “I am the state.”
We might as well except that there is no right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness when the government has unlimited power over every aspect of your daily affairs and is not itself restrained by any universal or objective standard of truth, justice, or right conduct.
America’s Founding Fathers knew this not just in theory but in practice, and even the most cursory glance at the history of mankind outside the revisionist mumbo-jumbo of Progressive-dominated public education would prove they were right. They knew from firsthand experience that an unrestrained and intrusive centralized government – especially one based in a distant place and manned by officials concerned with their own personal profit and glory even at the expense of the common good – will invariably prey upon and abuse its own people. This is why those same Founding Fathers enshrined freedoms of speech, religion, and self-defense in the Bill of Rights. This is why they waged war against the British Empire and obtained for this nation independence from King George.
In tragic point of fact, Leftists like Kevin Sullivan simply do not love America as it is or has been. Instead they love the Utopian, Orwellian America they’ve been working tirelessly to fundamentally transform us into. This is why they fear and loathe self-styled American patriots, conservatives, and Christians. This is why Leftists like Sullivan and publications like The Washington Post choose to slander Republicans and the growing ranks of militia members and preppers, because all of these people are intent on resisting and contradicting them with pesky things like truth, justice, and the American way.
Lest we forget, this nation was founded by men who resisted a tyrannical government with force. Therefore, it would be as American as apple pie for average men and women to prepare themselves to follow that tradition if they at some future date found it necessary to. If only the Left would stop pressing for more and more tyrannical control and dictation of our actions, if only a growing number of Americans didn’t feel as though their rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” were being eroded and erased, perhaps we wouldn’t see the ranks of American militias and preppers growing.
All the same, Kevin Sullivan is wrong to fear these “patriots at the gate” as he styles them. Wrong, that is, unless his chief concern is with the unlimited expansion of the State until it has all power and authority to solve all problems and manage all affairs, both great and small. If that is Sullivan’s aim and desire then I suppose he does have much to fear from patriots who rightly identify his aim as tyrannical, totalitarian, and inherently un-American. Only still it should not be the patriots we see as marching against America’s gates and preparing to invade; we patriots are America, and these have been, are, and should remain our gates to do with as we will.