There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt

By John Whitehead, the Rutherford Institute.


“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

America is a ticking time bomb.

All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.

We are poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed citizens, snipers shooting police, global and domestic violence rising, and a political showdown between two presidential candidates equally matched in unpopularity.

The preparations for the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in Cleveland and Philadelphia—augmented by a $50 million federal security grant for each city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans to deal with any individual or group that steps out of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on, caged, intimidated, interrogated, investigated, recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint, detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found guilty.

For instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass demonstrations in connection with the Republican Party convention, Cleveland officials set up makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle protesters, and shut down a local university in order to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons. The city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has also been conducting “interviews” with activists in advance of the conventions to discourage them from engaging in protests.

Make no mistake, the government is ready for a civil uprising.

Indeed, the government has been preparing for this moment for years.

A 2008 Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report goes on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

Subsequent reports by the Department of Homeland Security to identify, monitor and label right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) have manifested into full-fledged pre-crime surveillance programs. Almost a decade later, after locking down the nation and spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS has concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.

Meanwhile, the government has been amassing an arsenal of military weapons for use domestically and equipping and training their “troops” for war. Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.

Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that is colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

All of this has taken place right under our noses, funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry.

It’s astounding how convenient we’ve made it for the government to lock down the nation.

We’ve even allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional lockdown of government buildings, Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory, and  Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis.

The events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more distrustful and fearful of each other and more reliant on the government to keep us safe.

Of course, that’s the point.

The powers-that-be want us to feel vulnerable.

They want us to fear each other and trust the government’s hired gunmen to keep us safe from terrorists, extremists, jihadists, psychopaths, etc.

Most of all, the powers-that-be want us to feel powerless to protect ourselves and reliant on and grateful for the dubious protection provided by the American police state.

Their strategy is working.

The tree of liberty is dying.

There will be no second American Revolution.

There is no place in our nation for the kind of armed revolution our forefathers mounted against a tyrannical Great Britain. Such an act would be futile and tragic. We are no longer dealing with a distant, imperial king but with a tyrant of our own making: a militarized, technologized, heavily-financed bureaucratic machine that operates beyond the reach of the law.

The message being sent to the citizenry is clear: there will be no revolution, armed or otherwise.

Anyone who believes that they can wage—and win—an armed revolt against the American police state has not been paying attention. Those who wage violence against the government and their fellow citizens are playing right into the government’s hands. Violence cannot and will not be the answer to what ails America.

Whether instigated by the government or the citizenry, violence will only lead to more violence. It does not matter how much firepower you have. The government has more firepower.

It does not matter how long you think you can hold out by relying on survivalist skills, guerilla tactics and sheer grit. The government has the resources to outwait, out-starve, outman, outgun and generally overpower you.

This government of wolves will not be overtaken by force.

Unfortunately, we waited too long to wake up to the government’s schemes.

We did not anticipate that “we the people” would become the enemy. For years, the government has been warning against the dangers of domestic terrorism, erecting surveillance systems to monitor its own citizens, creating classification systems to label any viewpoints that challenge the status quo as extremist, and training law enforcement agencies to equate anyone possessing anti-government views as a domestic terrorist.

What the government failed to explain was that the domestic terrorists would be of the government’s own making, whether intentional or not.

By waging endless wars abroad, by bringing the instruments of war home, by transforming police into extensions of the military, by turning a free society into a suspect society, by treating American citizens like enemy combatants, by discouraging and criminalizing a free exchange of ideas, by making violence its calling card through SWAT team raids and militarized police, by fomenting division and strife among the citizenry, by acclimating the citizenry to the sights and sounds of war, and by generally making peaceful revolution all but impossible, the government has engineered an environment in which domestic violence has become inevitable.

What we are now experiencing is a civil war, devised and instigated in part by the U.S. government.

The outcome for this particular conflict is already foregone: the police state wins.

The objective: compliance and control.

The strategy: destabilize the economy through endless wars, escalate racial tensions, polarize the populace, heighten tensions through a show of force, intensify the use of violence, and then, when all hell breaks loose, clamp down on the nation for the good of the people and the security of the nation.

So where does that leave us?

Despite the fact that communities across the country are, for all intents and purposes, being held hostage by a government that is armed to the teeth and more than willing to use force in order to “maintain order,” most Americans seem relatively unconcerned. Worse, we have become so fragmented as a nation, so hostile to those with whom we might disagree, so distrustful of those who are different from us, that we are easily divided and conquered.

We have been desensitized to violence, acclimated to a military presence in our communities and persuaded that there is nothing we can do to alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation. In this way, the floundering economy, the blowback arising from military occupations abroad, police shootings, the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and all of the other mounting concerns have become non-issues to a populace that is easily entertained, distracted, manipulated and controlled.

The sight of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to “a military patrol through a hostile city,” no longer causes alarm among the general populace.

We are fast becoming an anemic, weak, pathetically diluted offspring of our revolutionary forebears incapable of mounting a national uprising against a tyrannical regime.

If there is to be any hope of reclaiming our government and restoring our freedoms, it will require a different kind of coup: nonviolent, strategic and grassroots, starting locally and trickling upwards. Such revolutions are slow and painstaking. They are political, in part, but not through any established parties or politicians.

Most of all, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, for any chance of success, such a revolution will require more than a change of politics: it will require a change of heart among the American people, a reawakening of the American spirit, and a citizenry that cares more about their freedoms than their fantasy games.

This entry was posted in Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Carl_Herman

    Well stated and documented; thank you, John. The only rational pathway out is for those within US military and law enforcement to demand arrests of their unlawful masters, with organic organization to enact them.

    • Charlie Primero

      LOL! Yeah, that will work.

      • Carl_Herman

        Go ahead and argue that military, law enforcement, and government agents NOT do the job they’re specifically sworn to do: protect and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

        Those of us who recognize the importance and seriousness of that Oath are not laughing, Charlie Primero. If you insist on denial as your expression of citizenship, and without any constructive response, please enjoy your future of being dictated to.

        • Charlie Primero

          The odds of a meteorite taking out Washington D.C. are better than the odds two million Federal employees will demand we start obeying the U.S. Constitution which would eliminate 99% of their jobs.

          The U.S. Constitution died a long time ago in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act. Join us in the 21st century and work to secede from the Global Bankster Government and prosper with local food, local self-government, local policing, and local currencies.

  • ICFubar

    I’ve always found it an amazing fact that so few can control the many by the means that they employ. The only way forward that I can see for the citizenry is the general strike tactics practiced by the people in the early days of labour organization. The strikers and their families were supported by the community at large with soup kitchens and the like, but surely considering what is at stake today we could do even better.?

    • Charlie Primero

      It’s easy because the vast majority of people DO NOT WANT to be free. They very much enjoy someone else providing their child’s education, food safety programs, savings for retirement, and government-funded football stadiums.

      If the price of those goodies is STFU and pay 50% taxes, currently reality demonstrates this is a price they accept.

      • Carl_Herman

        Blame the victims much, Charlie?

        You’re arguing that given informed choice, Americans would choose what you state?

        Americans, I argue, have no idea how much they’ve been lied to, looted, and treated as work animals, Charlie. Be careful how you declare human beings to be: much of what you “see” will be what you declare.

      • ICFubar

        Great cartoon. You make a valid set of points but some functions and services that the population desires require the pooling of its members resources and or money in the interest of society as a whole rather than in the interests of shareholders of some privately run for profit service that society deems essential. The trick is for society to maintain its control over these services that it pays for. One service dangerously under threat is the county sheriff service as the ultimate law enforcement figure within the county. The Feds are trying extremely hard with money allocations to bring this vital community service under Federal control.

      • Peanutzdad

        What country are you talking about, Charlie? It’s not America.

    • Gary Youree

      We are so trapped by the most simplest and cheapest of technology. Maybe the most used, the most abused, and the inside angeryist of society(s), the soldier, will come together – somewhere along the lines where a general and former warrior turns on the senator.
      Maybe it will take totalitarian rule to create a true democracy.

      • ICFubar

        Indeed, the technologies in use today are a double edged sword, but for all parties that seek to control society, the people versus the corporatocracy and their government sycophants if you will. The people just have to unite and learn to use these technologies in better ways, to organize and coordinate resistance and then dominate the narrative. This is where the younger more technological savvy citizen is worth their weight in gold in setting up and managing these lines of communication among those so inclined to fight back. We will in the end win as we have the numbers, which are growing ever larger everyday. We have to win or else the natural human instinct for freedom will perish under an Orwellian boot.

  • Gary Youree

    Your right. There will not be another Bastille Day. It is incredible how technology has been manipulated. Instead of the potential to further the future of mankind; through clean energy for all, education, etc. but it is in the control of a few. Capitalism clear corrupts not only democracy but everything else as well. Tech has been a huge net loss of humanity. The weapons, the ability to turn a soldier into a keyboard clattering sociopath. Technology has been used to build a pyramid economy from planned obsolescence.NO, there will be no Bastille Day. The clock has been broken and with the use of tech the pendulum is stuck and unable to naturally complete its backswing.
    This whole primary, as i watched my fellow Sanders supporter fight their losing cause i could not reflect that we are attempting to fight a battle from the inside but ignorant of the fact their is a gun pointed at all of our heads.
    Even broken clocks rot away. As with all alpha predators, the oligarchy, will run short on food and eventually die in their dark bunkers, one, knawing at the last rotted body.

  • Gary Youree

    it would take america, on bended knee in apology to all the world – to announce all lies – and then to take their own lives – to save this world from the inside.
    So, lets create an empathy pill and pull those rats from their gilded holes, and make them human.

  • jadan

    The fear and loathing Americans have of their government is expressed in a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “that government governs best which governs least.”. Jefferson never said it. Henry David Thoreau said it in 1853. Thoreau attributed it to Jefferson. Thoreau was your archetypal anti-government American. Jefferson never was. Jefferson believed in democratic government, unlike most of the founders, who supported the republican type, which is expressed in our Constitution.. The founders on the whole did not like direct democracy and distrusted rule by the “mob”.

    Fear of government is the result of a failure of the people to be politically involved. The failure to be politically involved is the result of undemocratic government. People do not see that individual votes count. People see that they have no real control over what their government does. Government is not owned by the people, but by an elite group of oligarchs and their corporations.

    It is foolish to attempt a violent revolution, but did the government attempt to actively enslave the population by the old fashioned “Stalinist” model, there would be a guerilla war. This is why the government does not go further than it does. “Friendly fascism” is the rule of thumb, and the demands by the NRA in support of guns and the original 2nd Amendment intention to arm militias to defend against tyranny, is strongly felt among the people. The military and the police are not a unified force and their ranks would not hold. Want to test this hypothesis, John? Have the national guard and the police shoot down some students like they did at Kent State in 1970. A few blacks get executed and look what happens.

    “We are fast becoming an anemic, weak, pathetically diluted offspring of our revolutionary forebears incapable of mounting a national uprising against a tyrannical regime.” This statement is typical and essentially false. Americans believe in war and most of them spend many hours each day playing war games. Friendly fascism knows how to keep them gratified. Government is also afraid of the people. And this is the reason for all the effort to monitor and control.

    The solution is political revolution, to use the phrase Bernie Sanders put out there. Instead of imagining we are HD Thoreau and we can escape somewhere to avoid taxes, we should engage in government. First we create a voting system that actually counts each vote so that every citizen can verify his or her vote. When each citizen feels that their vote counts, we will have a democratic government that will not fear the people and the people won’t fear it.

  • diogenes

    Who was it said (something like) ‘those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable’? Violent revolution may well be impossible in contemporary America, but then, is it ever a good idea? A wise man said that the thing about revolutions is, the generals always win. But if violent revolution is unlikely in contemporary America, how likely is it that a full blown police state will long manage to lock down a nation of 320 million of us with traditions — however withered and anemic at present — which value (ostensibly, at least) liberty? Doesn’t it seem likely — inevitable — that as repression rachets up, at some point the balance will tip? That’s what happened in Eastern Europe — and non-violently.

    A third option is for informed committed Americans to realize that our Constitutional government does provide us the means, if we use them, but this is only possible by circumventing the baffles the two-party money-politics system. For more on this see my essay, posted elsewhere on this site, The Distribution of Wealth In America — especially parts four and five.

    • Ann Danley

      <<o. ✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤✤:::::::!ja661s:….,……

    • awb22

      Absolutely agree, the US Constitution is a document upon which we can begin rebuilding.

      America shines as a beacon of freedom to the world, which the 2A defends. Let it shine domestically as well.

  • awb22

    John says we can’t win a second revolution, then he says we can. Seems more of a book promotion telling us what we already know. The battle is fought between our own two ears, and the war is to win the hearts of minds of every thinking person, something the government cannot win, because they can’t replace God. This doesn’t mean they won’t try, and it doesn’t matter the sentiment, without God there is no hope. With God, all things are possible. But I digress, we were talking the American Police State. They’re still outnumbered, and at best can hope to hold strategic points and prevent movement. This strategy hasn’t worked in Vietnam or the ME, and hasn’t prevented lone wolves from taking them out at will.

    Nice book promotion, and I don’t disagree with the premise, that there need must be a resurgence of the indomitable spirit of man, it’s just that we may not have fallen enough which the nanny state is more than happy to facilitate.

  • DebL.

    True, Mr. Whitehead, to a point. But the problem for the criminal psychopathic elites and their minions is that, one, they tend to eat each other figuratively, two, if they set up such totalitarianism as you speak of then at some point it breaks because historically it always does (there is no 1984-ish “boot stomping on the human face forever” scenario coming no matter how much they want it), and, three, such control has never happened in all history, and never will…what is the biggest weakness of the criminal psychopathic elites? The fact that they are psychopaths: these folks are mentally ill, and at some point their minions will no longer support them (plus, what happens if these psychos can no longer pay the minion mercs?). As long as even a few people do not conform, there is always hope. (And, as “Brave New World” postulates, even genetic modification is not the be-all-and-end-all.)

  • patroy75

    the government cant beat an American uprising. Sorry. The government hasnt won a war in 75 years.