Slave or Rebel? Ten Principles for Escaping the Matrix and
Standing Up to Tyranny
By John W. Whitehead
“Until they become conscious, they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.”—George
June 09, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" -
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It’s a shell game intended to keep us focused on and
distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said—about
militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption—while the government
continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.
Unarmed citizens are still getting shot by militarized police
trained to view them as the enemy and treated as if we have no rights. Despite
President Obama’s warning that the nation needs to do some
“soul searching” about issues such as race, poverty and the strained
relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve,
police killings and racial tensions are at
an all-time high. Just recently, in Texas, a white police officer was
suspended after video footage showed him “manhandling,
arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party.”
Americans’ private communications and data are still being
sucked up by government spy agencies. The USA Freedom Act was just a placebo
pill intended to make us feel better without bringing about any real change. As
Bill Blunden, a cybersecurity researcher and surveillance critic, points out,
“The theater we’ve just witnessed allows decision makers to boast to their
constituents about reforming mass surveillance while spies understand that
what’s actually transpired is
hardly major change.”
Taxpayer dollars are still being squandered on roads to
nowhere, endless wars that do not make us safer, and bloated government agencies
that should have been shut down long ago. A good example is the Transportation
Security Administration, which, despite its
billion annual budget, has shown itself to be bumbling and ineffective.
military drills are still being carried out on American soil under the
pretext of training soldiers for urban warfare overseas. Southeastern Michigan,
the site of one of the many military training drills taking place across the
country this summer, has had
Black Hawk helicopters buzzing its skies and soldiers dressed for combat
doing night combat drills in abandoned buildings around the state.
In other words, freedom, or what’s left of it, is being
threatened from every direction. The threats are of many kinds: political,
cultural, educational, media, and psychological. However, as history shows us,
freedom is not, on the whole, wrested from a citizenry. It is all too often
given over voluntarily and for such a cheap price: safety, security, bread, and
This is part and parcel of the propaganda churned out by the
government machine. That said, what we face today—mind manipulation and systemic
violence—is not new. What is different are the techniques used and the
large-scale control of mass humanity, coercive police tactics and pervasive
surveillance. As we have seen with the erection of the electronic concentration
camp, there is virtually no escaping the invisible prison surrounding us. Once
upon a time, one could run and hide or duck into a cave, but that is no longer
feasible as caves are quite scarce, and those running the camp have their eyes
Moreover, we are presented with the illusion that we act of
our own volition when most of the time we are being watched, prodded, and
controlled. “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act
under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own
initiative,” Aldous Huxley stated. “The victim of mind-manipulation does not
know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible.”
In fact, with the merger of the Internet and the corporate
state, unless you are alert and aware, it will be increasingly difficult to
discern the difference between freedom and enslavement. With the methods of mind
manipulation available to the corporate state, the very nature of democratic
government has been changed. Again, as Aldous Huxley writes:
[T]he quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme
Courts and all the rest will remain. The underlying substance will be a new
kind of nonviolent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the
hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days.
Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial . .
. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers,
policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the
show as they see fit.
To many, the situation seems hopeless. But is it?
From the day you’re born until the day you die, the choices
you exercise are very limited. You don’t choose to be born or choose what sex
you are or who your parents are or where you live. When you are a child, you are
told what to do, and when you enter school, you sit plastered to a desk and are
taught what others demand you should know. Yes, the indoctrinating process
begins on day one.
Then there are the rules, the endless rules. If you say the
wrong word, write the wrong story or wear the wrong clothes, you can get thrown
out of school or even arrested. You live where you are told and eat what others
think you should eat. As you grow older, this list expands into employment,
marriage and so on. In other words, your so-called reality is socially
constructed. It is predetermined for you, and if you step out of line and
disagree with what the current society deems proper, you will be ostracized. If
you speak your mind to the governing authorities, you might find yourself behind
The point is that in order to develop a compliant citizenry,
people must be forced to live in a mental matrix of words, ideas, ideologies,
and teachings that are designed to make us conform. “As the Matrix in the movie
was used to facilitate the exploitation of humans,” writes author Henry H.
Lindner, “so the current ideological Matrix was created for, and serves to
exploit us, turning us into unthinking workers and consumers—slaves of the
ruling elite who themselves are trapped in the Matrix.” In fact, “few of us are
able to escape the Matrix. We do not even know it exists.”
For there to be any hope of real change, you’ll have to change
how you think about yourself, your fellow human beings, freedom, society, and
the government. This means freeing your mind, realizing the truth, and
unlearning all the myths you have been indoctrinated with since the day you were
able to comprehend language.
The following principles, taken from my new book
Battlefield America: The War on the American People, may
help any budding freedom fighters in the struggle to liberate themselves and our
First, we must come to grips
with the reality that the present system does not foster freedom. It denies
freedom and must be altered. “Our authoritarian system is based on cruelty and
control—it increasingly drives natural love and feelings from our society and
produces violence and greed,” Lindner recognizes. “Our society is deteriorating
morally and intellectually. This system cannot be reformed.”
To start with, we must recognize that the government’s primary
purpose is maintaining power and control. It’s an oligarchy composed of
corporate giants wedded to government officials who benefit from the
relationship. In other words, it is motivated by greed and exists to perpetuate
itself. As George Orwell writes:
We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention
of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not
establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a
revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. . . .. The object of power
Second, voting is practically
worthless. “In principle, it is a great privilege,” Aldous Huxley recognized.
“In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by
itself, is no guarantee of liberty.”
We live in a secretive surveillance state that has virtually
no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. As Jordan
writing for the Boston Globe, concludes about the American
There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind
it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end
up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
How many times have the various politicians, when running for
office, lied about all they were going to do to bring hope and change to
America? Once they get elected, what do they do? They do whatever the corporate
powers want. Yes, the old boss is the same as the new boss. The maxim: power
Moreover, voting is a way to keep the citizenry pacified.
However, many Americans intuitively recognize that something is wrong with the
way the electoral process works and have withdrawn from the process. That’s why
the government places so much emphasis on the reassurance ritual of voting.
It provides the illusion of participation.
Third, question everything.
Don’t assume anything government does is for the good of the citizenry. Again,
that is not the purpose of modern government. It exists to perpetuate a regime.
Remember the words of James Madison, considered the father of the U.S.
men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” Power
corrupts. And as the maxim goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Fourth, materialism is a death
knell to freedom. While it may be true that Americans are better off than
citizens of other nations—we have jobs, food, entertainment, shopping malls,
etc.—these are the trappings meant to anesthetize and distract us.
Like the dodo, any “bird that has learned how to grub up a
good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the
privilege of flight and remain forever grounded,” Huxley warned. “Same thing is
true of human beings. If bread is supplied regularly and capaciously three times
a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone—or at least
by bread and circuses alone.” Free as a bird, some say, but only if you’re
willing to free your mind and sacrifice all for a dangerous concept—freedom.
In other words, the hope is that the cry of “‘give me
television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of
liberty,’ may give place, under altered circumstances, to the cry of ‘give me
liberty or give me death.’” This is indeed dangerous freedom.
Fifth, there is little hope for
any true resistance if you are mindlessly connected to the electronic
concentration camp. Remember, what you’re being electronically fed by those in
power is meant to pacify, distract, and control you. You can avoid mind
manipulations to a large degree by greatly limiting your reliance on electronic
devices—cell phones, laptops, televisions, and so on.
Sixth, an armed revolt will not
work. Although we may have returned to a 1776 situation where we need to take
drastic actions to restore freedom, this is not colonial America with its
muskets and people’s armies. Local police departments have enough militarized
firepower to do away with even a large-scale armed revolt. Even attempting to
repel a SWAT team raid on your home is futile. You’ll get blown away.
Seventh, be wise and realize
that there is power in numbers. Networks, coalitions, and movements can
accomplish much—especially if their objectives are focused and practical—and
they are very much feared by government authorities. That’s why the government
is armed to the teeth and prepared to put down even small nonviolent protests.
Eighth, act locally but think
nationally. The greatest impact can be had at local governing bodies such as
city councils. Join together with friends and neighbors and start a Civil
Liberties Oversight Committee. Regularly attend council meetings and demand that
government corruption be brought under control and that police activities be
brought under the scrutiny of local governing bodies and, thus, the citizenry.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, police were involved
in 39 shootings dating back to 2010. After a 2014 police shooting of an unarmed
homeless man camped out in a public park, residents engaged in nonviolent acts
of civil disobedience to disrupt the normal functioning of the city government
and demand that the police department be brought under control. Community
activists actually went so far as to storm a city council meeting and announce
that they would be performing a citizens’ arrest of the police chief, charging
him with “harboring
fugitives from justice at the Albuquerque police department” and “crimes
In Davis County, California, in August 2014, after a public
uproar over the growing militarization of local police, council members ordered
the police to find a way of getting rid of the department’s newly acquired MRAP
tank. One man at the council meeting was quoted as saying: “I
would like to say I do not suggest you take this vehicle and send it out of
Davis, I demand it.”
Ninth, local towns, cities and
states can nullify or say “no” to federal laws that violate the rights and
freedoms of the citizenry. In fact,
several states have passed laws stating that they will not comply with the
National Defense Authorization Act which allows for the military to
indefinitely detain (imprison) American citizens. Again, when and if you see
such federal laws passed, gather your coalition of citizens and demand that your
local town council nullify such laws. If enough towns and cities across the
country would speak truth to power in this way, we might see some positive
movement from the federal governmental machine.
Tenth, understand what freedom
is all about. “Who were the first persons to get the unusual idea that being
free was not only a value to be cherished but the most important thing that
someone can possess?” asks Professor Orlando Patterson. “The answer in a word:
Freedom arose from the hearts and minds of those who realized
that they were slaves. It became a primary passion of those who were victims of
Some Americans are beginning to realize that they are slaves
and that if they don’t act soon, they will find themselves imprisoned in the
electronic concentration camp indefinitely. Mind you, there may not be any
chains hanging from the dungeon walls, but it is a prison nonetheless, and we
are, without a doubt, inmates serving life sentences.
John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has
written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and
human rights. Whitehead's concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in
1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and
human rights organization whose international headquarters are located in
Charlottesville, Virginia. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and
spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly commentary that is posted on The
Rutherford Institute’s website (www.rutherford.org), as well being distributed
to several hundred newspapers, and hosting a national public service radio
Copyright 2015 © The Rutherford Institute