By John W. Whitehead
“When it gets down to having to use violence,
are playing the system’s game. The establishment
will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your
face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you
violent, then they know how to handle you.”—John
June 03, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" - Brace yourselves.
There is something being concocted in the dens of
power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode
well for the future of this country.
Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by
political theater and public spectacle that they are
oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.
Anytime you have a government that operates in the
shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by
fiat, you’d better beware.
And anytime you have a government so far removed from
its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard
or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d
What is unfolding before us is not a revolution.
The looting, the burning, the rioting, the violence:
this is an anti-revolution.
The protesters are playing right into the
government’s hands, because the powers-that-be want
this. They want an excuse to lockdown the nation and
throw the switch to all-out martial law. They want a
reason to make the police state stronger.
It’s happening faster than we can keep up.
The Justice Department is
deploying federal prison riot teams to various
cities. More than half of the nation’s governors are
calling on the National Guard to quell civil unrest.
Growing numbers of cities, having just barely emerged
from a coronavirus lockdown, are once again being locked
down, this time in response to the growing upheaval.
This is how it begins.
It’s that dystopian 2030
Pentagon training video all over again, which
anticipates the need for the government to institute
martial law (use armed forces to solve domestic
political and social problems) in order to navigate a
world bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard
infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,”
“impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened
sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban
landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be
protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.
We’re way ahead of schedule.
The architects of the police state have us exactly
where they want us: under their stamping boot, gasping
for breath, desperate for freedom, grappling for some
semblance of a future that does not resemble the
totalitarian prison being erected around us.
This way lies certain tyranny.
For just one fleeting moment, “we the people” seemed
united in our outrage over this
latest killing of an unarmed man by a cop hyped up
on his own authority and the power of his uniform.
That unity didn’t last.
Indeed, it didn’t take long—no surprise there—for us
to quickly become divided again, polarized by the
misguided fury and senseless violence of mobs taking to
the streets, reeking of madness and mayhem.
Deliberately or not, the rioters have directed our
attention away from the government’s crimes and onto
This is a distraction.
Don’t allow yourself to be so distracted.
Let’s not lose sight of what started all of this in
the first place: the U.S. government.
More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism,
more than gun violence and organized crime, the systemic
violence being perpetrated by agents of the government
constitutes a greater menace to the life, liberty and
property of its citizens than any of the so-called
dangers from which the government claims to protect us.
Case in point: George Floyd died at the hands of the
American police state.
callous, cold-blooded murder of the unarmed, 46-year-old
black man by police is nothing new: for 8 minutes
and 46 seconds, police knelt on Floyd’s neck
while the man pleaded for his life, struggled to
breathe, cried out for his dead mother, and finally
passed out and died.
Floyd is yet another victim of a broken system of
policing that has placed “we the people” at the mercy of
militarized cops who have almost absolute discretion to
decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and
how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were
appointed to “serve and protect.”
Daily, Americans are being shot, stripped, searched,
choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more
than daring to frown, smile, question, challenge an
order or just exist.
I’m talking about the growing numbers of unarmed
people are who being shot and killed for just standing a
certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding
something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be
a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police
officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual
threat to their safety.
Killed by police for standing in a “shooting
stance.” Killed for
holding a cell phone. Killed for
holding a baseball bat. Killed for
opening the front door. Killed for
being a child in a car pursued by police. Killed for
approaching police while
holding a metal spoon. Killed for
running in an aggressive manner while holding a tree
branch. Killed for
crawling around naked. Killed for
hunching over in a defensive posture. Killed because
police officer accidentally fired his gun instead of
his taser. Killed for
wearing dark pants and a basketball jersey. Killed
reaching for his license and registration during a
traffic stop. Killed for
driving while deaf. Killed
for being homeless. Killed for
brandishing a shoehorn. Killed for
peeing outdoors. Killed for
having his car break down on the road. Killed for
holding a garden hose.
Now you can make all kinds of excuses to justify
these shootings, and in fact that’s exactly what you’ll
hear from politicians, police unions, law enforcement
officials and individuals who are more than happy to
march in lockstep with the police. However, as these
incidents make clear, the only truly compliant,
submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a
Sad, isn’t it, how quickly we have gone from a nation
of laws—where the least among us had just as much right
to be treated with dignity and respect as the next
person (in principle, at least)—to a nation of law
enforcers (revenue collectors with weapons) who treat us
all like suspects and criminals?
This is not how you keep the peace.
This is not justice. This is not even law and order.
This is certainly not freedom. This is the illusion
Unfortunately, we are now being ruled by a government
of psychopaths, scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves,
gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty
hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers
who communicate using a language of force and
The facts speak for themselves.
We’re being ravaged by a government of
ruffians, rapists and killers. It’s not just
shootings of unarmed citizens that are worrisome.
SWAT team raids gone wrong that are leaving innocent
citizens wounded, children terrorized and family pets
killed. It’s the
roadside strip searches—in some cases, cavity
searches of men and women alike carried out in full view
of the public—in pursuit of drugs that are never found.
It’s the potentially lethal—and unwarranted—use
of so-called “nonlethal” weapons such as tasers on
children for “mouthing
off to a police officer. For trying to run
from the principal’s office. For, at the age of 12,
getting into a fight with another girl.”
We’re being held at gunpoint by a government
of soldiers—a standing army. While Americans
are being made to jump through an increasing number of
hoops in order to exercise their Second Amendment right
to own a gun, the
government is arming its own civilian employees to the
hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style
equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and
training them in military tactics. Among the agencies
being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor,
hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles
and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint,
Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business
Administration, Social Security Administration, National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education
Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and
Printing and an assortment of public universities. There
are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military)
government civilians armed with high-tech, deadly
weapons than U.S. Marines. That doesn’t even begin to
touch on the government’s arsenal, the transformation of
local police into extensions of the military, and the
speed with which the nation could be locked down under
martial law depending on the circumstances. Clearly, the
government is preparing for war—and a civil war, at
that—and “we the people” are the perceived enemy.
We’re being taken advantage of by a
government of scoundrels, idiots and cowards.
American satirist H.L. Mencken calculated that “Congress
consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels;
two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more
or less, poltroons.” By and large,
Americans seem to agree. When you’ve got government
representatives who spend a large chunk of their work
fundraising, being feted by lobbyists, shuffling
lucrative revolving door between public service and
lobbying, and making themselves available to anyone with
enough money to secure
access to a congressional office, you’re in the
clutches of a
corrupt oligarchy. Mind you, these same elected
rarely read the legislation they’re enacting, nor do
they seem capable of enacting much legislation that
actually helps rather than hinders the plight of the
We’re being locked up by a government of
greedy jailers. We have become a
carceral state, spending
three times more on our prisons than on our schools
and imprisoning close to a
quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact
that crime is at an all-time low and the U.S. makes up
only 5% of the world’s population. The rise of
overcriminalization and profit-driven private prisons
provides even greater incentives for locking up American
citizens for such non-violent “crimes” as having an
overgrown lawn. As the Boston Review
points out, “America’s contemporary system of policing,
courts, imprisonment, and parole …
makes money through asset forfeiture, lucrative
public contracts from private service providers, and by
directly extracting revenue and unpaid labor from
populations of color and the poor. In states and
municipalities throughout the country, the criminal
justice system defrays costs by forcing prisoners and
their families to pay for punishment. It also allows
private service providers to charge outrageous fees for
everyday needs such as telephone calls. As a result
people facing even minor criminal charges can easily
find themselves trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of
debt, criminalization, and incarceration.”
We’re being spied on by a government of
Peeping Toms. The government, aided by its
corporate allies, is watching
everything you do, reading everything you write,
listening to everything you say, and monitoring
everything you spend. Omnipresent surveillance is paving
the way for government programs that profile citizens,
document their behavior and attempt to predict what they
might do in the future, whether it’s what they might
buy, what politician they might support, or
what kinds of crimes they might commit. The impact
of this far-reaching surveillance, according to
Psychology Today, is “reduced
trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic
participation.” As technology analyst Jillian C.
York concludes, “Mass surveillance without due
process—whether undertaken by the government of Bahrain,
Russia, the US, or anywhere in between—threatens to
stifle and smother that dissent, leaving in its wake a
populace cowed by fear.”
We’re being forced to surrender our
freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of
extortionists, money launderers and professional
pirates. The American people have been
repeatedly sold a bill of goods about how the government
needs more money, more expansive powers, and more
secrecy (secret courts, secret budgets, secret military
campaigns, secret surveillance) in order to keep us
safe. Under the guise of fighting its wars on terror,
drugs, domestic extremism, pandemics and civil unrest,
the government has spent billions in taxpayer dollars on
endless wars that have sown the seeds of blowback,
surveillance programs that have subjected all Americans
to a surveillance society, and militarized police that
have turned communities into warzones.
We’re being robbed blind by a government of
thieves. Americans no longer have any real
protection against government agents empowered to seize
private property at will. For instance, police agencies
under the guise of asset forfeiture laws are taking
property based on little more than a suspicion of
And we’re being forced to live in a perpetual
state of emergency. From 9/11 through the
COVID-19 lockdowns and now the threat of martial law in
the face of growing civil unrest, we have witnessed the
rise of an “emergency state” that justifies all manner
of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called
name of national security.
Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a
threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out
for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to
When the government views itself as superior to the
citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of
the people, when the people are no longer able to
peacefully reform their government, when government
officials cease to act like public servants, when
elected officials no longer represent the will of the
people, when the government routinely violates the
rights of the people and perpetrates more violence
against the citizenry than the criminal class, when
government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted
for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather
than justice, and when the government is no longer bound
by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have
a government “of the people, by the people and for the
What we have is a
government of wolves.
Our backs are against the proverbial wall.
The government and its cohorts have conspired to
ensure that the only real recourse the American people
have to express their displeasure with the government is
through voting, which is no real recourse at all.
The penalties for civil disobedience, whistleblowing
and rebellion are severe. If you refuse to pay taxes for
government programs you believe to be immoral or
illegal, you will go to jail. If you attempt to
overthrow the government—or any agency thereof—because
you believe it has overstepped its reach, you will go to
jail. If you attempt to blow the whistle on government
misconduct, there’s a pretty good chance you will go to
For too long, the American people have obeyed the
government’s dictates, no matter now extreme. We have
paid its taxes, penalties and fines, no matter how
outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults
and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a
blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no
matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the
face of its lawlessness, licentiousness and corruption,
no matter how illicit.
We have suffered.
How long we will continue to suffer depends on how
much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.
America’s founders provided us with a very specific
explanation about the purpose of government and a
roadmap for what to do when the government abuses
its authority, ignores our objections, and establishes
itself as a tyrant.
We must choose between peaceful slavery (in other
words, maintaining the status quo in servitude to the
police state) and
dangerous freedom. That will mean carving out a path
in which we begin to take ownership of our government,
starting at the local level, challenging the status quo,
and raising hell—nonviolently—whenever a government
official steps out of line.
We can no longer maintain the illusion of freedom.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People, we are
at our most vulnerable right now.
Constitutional attorney and author John
W. Whitehead is founder and president of The
Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People is
www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com.
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