An Armed March on Washington?

Column by Alex R. Knight III.

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Perhaps never before have I encountered a proposal within Liberty Movement circles that has generated more controversy faster and further than Adam Kokesh’s planned July 4th march on Washington, District of Criminals, in which he states that himself and the other participants “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.”

This plan has evoked responses across the spectrum, ranging from go-to-the-wall devil may care enthusiasm, to those labeling this about the worst and most potentially volatile idea imaginable.

Note that Kokesh has also made it clear that he will attempt to coordinate this protest with the full advance knowledge of D.C. police, and that anyone who chooses to participate should peacefully submit to arrest if things should come to that. He is evidently being as above-board and forthcoming as one could hope to be with such an event.

Of course, any number of things could go wrong, especially should the march attract more than a modest number of activists and police. It is, no matter how you want to dice the tomatoes, a confrontational move. As it is intended to be, in a certain manner, of course.

My own predominant question is this: Is this the best and most effective way to attempt to achieve individual liberty, either under the current socio-political circumstances, or in general, regardless? Yes, it does send a message of sorts, but will it actually achieve anything substantially beneficial?

Kokesh is a self-styled Voluntaryist, and I have heard nothing from him of any alarming significance thus far to disabuse me of the notion that he is genuine philosophically. True, I may have heard a thing or two I disagreed with here or there, but it’s long been my experience that you can show me any two libertarians who claim to see eye to eye on every solitary fine detail of their views, and I’ll just as quickly be able to show you two liars. So I have no major qualms with his starting point.

But if the goal is the dissolution of government in sum total in favor of a non-coercive, free-market society, I personally fail to see how it behooves anyone to afford the titular head of the State – or the State at any level – attention and importance it does not deserve. In other words, I don’t believe we should be engaging government, in a show of force or otherwise. In fact, it is the force element of government we oppose to begin with, is it not?

Rather, I believe government, stem to stern, ought to be abandoned. Shunned. Walked away from. Left unsupported and un-cooperated with.

True, as things stand, those who call themselves government will not leave those of us who do not wish them to involve themselves in our lives and property alone. Far from it. And their insistence on pushing us further and further in this regard has not gone unnoticed by myself, or many others. I fully understand Kokesh’s frustration and intentions, as well as those others who will choose to stand with him this July 4th.

However, I fear this will, even should the event come off peacefully without so much as a hitch or a single arrest, produce counterproductive results. Why?

Simply put, because the only means by which government bureaucrats continue to be able to impose their aggression on us to begin with is because too many people still accept their fundamental existence as rulers and the gatekeepers of basic order. Were this not so, they would be afforded no more legitimacy than any run-of-the-mill pack of brigands, thugs, and killers. By marching on them, it only strengthens that false concept of legitimacy, and does not erode and weaken it, as is ultimately required for victory.

It will be interesting to witness how this turns out. Certainly, America is at a great crossroads right now. Polarization between statist and anti-statist ideologies has perhaps never run higher. The tensions are more palpable by the day, it seems.

It also seems to me that the most productive and peaceful path to liberty – and perhaps the only one at all – is in almost all respects the opposite of Kokesh’s plan. If government employees do go North Korea, then yes, we will have no option but to fight or be marched off to the Nazi ovens or someplace equally horrific. And the actions of bureaucrats during my lifetime have thus far only agitated further and further towards this destination, without question. Thus we must at all costs retain our arms and the corresponding fundamental ability of resistance. I will not argue against either of those points.

Meantime, however, instead of marching on or into Washington – with or without arms – which can only serve to cast government in a light of undue relevance, let’s continue to find new ways to try to intellectually persuade anyone and everyone to march right on outnever to return.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 112

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales, including Tales from Dark 7.  He has also written and published poetry; non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues; and is former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  In 1998, he was awarded Activist of the Year for that organization.  He now lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University, and looks forward to living in a governmentless society of liberty.

Comments

Jim Davies's picture

Good analysis, Alex, and congrats on your "MUST READ"!
 
There seems something a bit odd about marching on D.C. with rifles "loaded", yet with the announced intent of submitting to arrest should the marchers be challenged. And don't we already know that "free people are not welcome in Washington"? - especially if they carry guns without a license? Perhaps the point is that while "we" know that, the TV-viewing boobus does not, and this march will inform him. Maybe. Like you, I prefer a plan with more predictable and permanent results.
 

Scott Lazarowitz's picture

I agree with Alex and Jim.
 
What this will accomplish is reinforcing already-existing negative views toward the liberty movement, the "right to bear arms" movement, and the Tenthers/secessionists/nullificationists.

mjackso6's picture

I tend to hop on the band wagon with Jim and Alex on this as well.

On the face of it, this attempt to 'taunt' the feds into outing themselves by taking some sort of rash action and thereby letting the average Joe and Jane out there see what they're really all about sounds reasonable, if risky.

Looking a bit more closely, though, and knowing the near-mastery of spin that the 'powers-that-be' have developed, not to mention the sheer slack-jawed gullibility of most folks today, I would hazard to guess that whatever the outcome of the event, the MSM toadies would manage to present the marchers as a bunch of demented lunatics and whatever response government deploys, to include none at all, as 'heroic and commendable'.

I'm afraid that this will be a lose/lose; even if there's no violence, I have little doubt that the Congress-creatures and the president would take this and run with it in a second, screaming that even the 'responsible gun owners' can't be trusted if they're 'crazy' enough to march on Washington. And if there is violence... well, I don't think I have to elaborate on what they'd likely do then.

All around, as I said, a very risky venture, both for those involved and for all of the rest of us as well, and I don't think it's likely to accomplish anything positive.

Paul's picture

As usual I will differ a bit. First, in the big picture, I don't think liberty will be harmed by the actions of a single freedom-loving individual. Liberty is just not that fragile. Second, whatever government does in response, they were going to do anyway. And the Ministry of Propaganda has been smearing gun owners for decades now, with the result that people are rushing to become gun owners.

Let's sit back and see what happens. Can't do anything else anyway.

BTW, a lot of gun owners I know are literally prepared for war. Throw in dollar hyperinflation, and it seems inevitable. I hope folks here are ready for it.

Glock27's picture

I am. Food, armaments, ammunition, and other things unmentionable. If I only have to feed my wife and myself we can last a year.

Your mentioning of "I hope folks here are ready for it" is a curiosity of mine. One thing many people fail to include in preparation are trade items . Toilet paper is a great one, cigarettes and booze are other good trade items.

Douglas Herman's picture

Alex,
  Generally agree with you, that our moldy old, corrupt crony system has become almost entirely unworkable and unbelievably cruel and cunning. Overturn it, you say? Okay but every citizen, patriot, LEO, soccer mom and anarchist needs to be careful that WE do not fall into a trap. How? I found this comment on TFMR. I'm a member over there and often link stuff found here.
"All you have to do is have a dozen undercover FBI provocateurs join the march, then organize a few cops to start hassling some of those conducting the march. On cue, the undercover FBI guys — who specialize at staging false flag operations in the USA — open fire on the cops. Get it all on video and you’ve got news footage of apparent “patriots” gunning down police in D.C....  Voila! The perfect government false flag operation to destroy the Second Amendment. And Adam Kokesh is practically handing it to them on a silver platter"
.........................................
http://www.saveamericafoundation.com/2013/05/08/armed-march-on-washingto...
Doug
 

Paul's picture

Nope, this view is completely in error. If it were that easy to disarm us, government would have done it decades ago.

Armed people CANNOT be disarmed except through their acquiescence. If we acquiesce, we never deserved to be armed (much less free) in the first place.

http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2008/tle459-20080309-04.html