There is an old saying in the Quaker church, “Speak truth to power.” No one seems to know exactly who said it first, or how old it truly is. But I’m going to guess that whoever first said it - as well as most of the folks who have mindlessly repeated it over the years - have never tried themselves to actually speak truth to power. Or if they did, they probably got their asses kicked for their trouble. Because I can tell you from personal experience, the powerful don’t like to have the truth told to them. Not by a long shot do they. And if you actually try to do it, as I have, you’ll find out what I’m talking about after you pick yourself off the floor.
My most recent attempt to speak truth to power came in a letter I wrote to your state Legislators just before they passed this Intolerable Act, this SB-941, seizing state control of the sale of privately held arms in the state of Oregon. You know, not even King George the Third’s tyranny was so grasping as this hateful ‘universal background check” law, this firearm owner registration act. So I spoke truth to power, and, because my time is limited I won’t read you what is now old news but we have made copies available for anyone who wants them down in front here. I can summarize what I told them, in a few paragraphs.
I pointed out that since Sandy Hook in states from Connecticut to New York to Colorado to Washington state, every anti-firearm freedom law that has been passed has been nullified by armed civil disobedience. The lesson of the past two years is clear for anyone paying attention to see -- THERE IS NO UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAW THAT CAN BE PASSED THAT CANNOT BE DEFIED, RESISTED, EVADED, SMUGGLED IN VIOLATION OF AND COMPLETELY NULLIFIED BY ARMED CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
And that includes the state of Oregon.
I told them that this is dangerous ground, truly dangerous ground. But it is not ground that we chose. I told them that all the law abiding firearm owners of this country wish is to be left alone but that proto-tyrants such as themselves will not leave us alone. I told them that they are the ones who picked this fight, who picked this dangerous ground and I told them that it is ground we have sworn to fight on, and if need be, die on. I told them that the question they have before them is this:
They must ask themselves if it is ground that they themselves are prepared to fight and die on? I asked them if we resisted their 'good intentions,’ how many of us are they willing to see dead in order to enforce their will upon us? And I asked them if once we and our families begin dying at the hands of the state police they send to our doors, can they blame us if their victims return the favor to the people who sent killers operating under color of law? And I told them that there is another law, ancient and unyielding, available to the lowliest slave, and that is Lex Talionis -- an eye for an eye. And I told them that history shows that the distance between laws like this Intolerable Act and Lex Talionis is often unexpectedly short and frequently taken in mortal error. For as the ancient Chinese warned, ‘Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.’ Or, put differently, I told them, that the rule of law protects them from us far more than it protects us from them and their tyrannical intentions.
That is what I told them when I spoke the plain truth to their power.
Of course they ignored it and passed the bill anyway, thus setting the stage for armed civil disobedience in the state of Oregon.
And do you want to know how truly divorced from reality these collectivist tyrants are? I have here in my hand an official document that was required of the legislature before they passed this hateful bit of tyranny. It is entitled, “Fiscal Impact of Proposed Legislation Measure: SB 941–A REVISED”
This is my favorite part. These bureaucratic pukes estimate that they’re going to make 400 grand a year off you sheep who volunteer to be shorn of your traditional rights. In fact they expect to make a tidy profit off of each and every one of you who comply. But here’s where they’re really smoking’ it like a Colorado doper:
The Criminal Justice Commission estimates that this measure MAY result in an additional 5-10 felony convictions per year.
“Five to ten?” FIVE TO TEN?!? I think I’m looking out at quite a few more than five to ten right here, right now. Who do they think they’re kidding? Themselves? Seriously, this purports to be a sober analysis of the cost of this Intolerable Act.
Well, let me speak truth to power one more time by asking the tax paid morons who crafted this hallucination -- WHAT DO YOU THINK THE “FISCAL IMPACT” OF CIVIL WAR IS?!? Because when you send the raid parties to the doors of our homes, when you begin killing those of us who resist your raw appetite for power, that’s what you’re going to get -- civil war. And if it comes to our doors, what makes them think it won’t come to theirs?
And that, my friends, is speaking truth to power but it is also speaking the truth OF power. It is speaking the truth FROM power. For the fact of the matter is that WE in our numbers possess far more power than they do -- if they force us to wield it. Indeed they only have the power that we allow them to have. They can only work their will upon us, they can only enslave us, if we allow them to do so with our own permission by our own failure to act.
But we are here, now. We ARE acting. Look around you. You know in your heart that for every one here today, there are tens, hundreds, even thousands just like us. People who will not comply. And do you hear that? Listen. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of all those who are not here but who are convinced that this time the tyrannical wolves are indeed coming to our doors. Do you hear it? That’s the sound of cleaning rods moving ceaselessly in thousands of rifle barrels as they are scrubbed to get ready for the coming fight.
The fact of the matter is that WE ARE ACTING! So who has the power now? Them or us -- we who outnumber the bureaucrats with badges a hundred to one? Who now needs to worry about the consequences of speaking truth to power? Them or us? We didn’t want to be here, on this dangerous ground. We just wanted to be left alone. But they will not leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. And whose fault is that? Theirs or ours?
So, on the practicalities of “speaking truth to power,” I tell you this home truth that I have learned and let it sink in deep, where all the collectivist lies cannot touch it. Yes, it can be hazardous. But the past two years have shown me that there is one very important exception to that rule. YOU CAN SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER IF YOU ARE ARMED AND HAVE LOTS OF FRIENDS WHO ARE ARMED!
Indeed, there is no greater example of the Founders’ plan of ordered liberty than this, no further proof required. THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS SECURED BY THE SECOND! And anyone who tells you differently is selling something. For the truth is powerful, but ARMED truth is more powerful still.
Finally, I would like to speak to one more person of power, although she possesses far less real power in this situation of her own making than she thinks. And that is your governor.
Governor, this is dangerous ground you have chosen, making tens of thousands of your own hitherto peaceable, law-abiding citizens into criminals. You are messing with the wrong people -- people who you do not know or understand -- people who you barely acknowledge that they even exist. Nor do you want to. You look at us as ciphers in your collectivist scheme, as cartoon caricatures deserving of your scorn. You and your kind call us “gun nuts” and “knuckle draggers,” “gun queers” and “barrel suckers.” You do your best to dehumanize us to justify your repression of people you despise for their individualism, for their independence, for their refusal to embrace your “enlightened” collectivist tyranny.
You dehumanize us to excuse your tyranny, but are we not human? If you cut us do we not bleed? If you shoot us can we not die? Do we not have families? Do we not live and love and believe and worship as the Founders did? You do not know us, nor do you care -- indeed we know and understand you far better than you understand us -- but I tell you that if you try to enforce this tyrannical abomination upon us YOU WILL KNOW US. Oh, yes, you will.
For we will not comply. We will not back down. If you want to enforce this law you will have to kill us. Is that what you want? It is your choice not ours, but as they say, governor, choose wisely before you drink from this poisoned chalice the witch’s brew you have made.
For though you have made us criminals, we are not criminals, at least not like any criminals you’ve ever seen before. I’ll tell you what we are. WE ARE CITIZENS! More to the point we’re AMERICANS! We will not hide. We will not act guilty, for we are guilty of nothing save resisting tyranny. And we will not go gently into your collectivist night and fog!
We are citizens. AMERICAN CITIZENS. And we retain the right of our own refusal. It is our most powerful weapon, this refusal to bow to collectivist tyranny. We are Americans and like the Founders 240 years ago, we refuse to bow to your will.
WE REFUSE! For we are free men and women, just as the Founders were. And you, madam, and your collectivist kind are tyrants. You may be elected tyrants, but you are tyrants nonetheless. The Founders would have called you domestic enemies of the Constitution for that is what you are.
And when you send the raid parties to our doors to work your will upon us and our innocent families, you will discover that this country has long had a remedy for tyrants -- a Second Amendment remedy. So be careful what you wish for, madam, you may get it. I will not mince words, Governor, we do not have the luxury of wasting time on insincerities, so let me be as blunt as necessary: It is time, Madam, to pull your head out of your proctology and take a good long look at the new reality you have provoked.
That is my message to the governor of Oregon, and this is my message to you:
My fellow Americans, THAT is speaking truth to power. That is speaking FROM the reality of a newly discovered power to a lesser power. For the power is ours, my friends, if we but have the courage to grasp it.
They forced us onto this battlefield. We did not wish it. But we are here. If armed civil disobedience is all that they have left us, then let us make sure of one thing. Let’s make sure we win, let us win and secure our traditional liberties for our children’s children and their children after them. Let’s save and restore the Founders’ Republic as they designed it from the clutches of the domestic enemies of the Constitution who are perilously close to successfully overthrowing it for all time.
The political process has failed us. Both parties are two corrupt wings of the same bird of prey. The courts are packed with their own domestic enemies of the Constitution. We have nothing to count on but ourselves alone. And our rifles.
If we lose this fight, we will have lost liberty in this country, perhaps forever. We cannot lose and be faithful to the oaths that we swore. So let us win. We did not want to be here. The traitors to the Founders’ Republic chose this battlefield. They chose us as their intended victims. They have mistaken our previous exasperated forbearance for cowardice. They have mistaken our “law-abidingness” as a sign of weakness. And worse for them, they have mistakenly concluded that tyranny holds no personal threat to tyrants. And out of such mistakes, civil wars are started.
I say again, we cannot lose this struggle and be faithful to the oaths that we swore. So we must resolve, here and now, to win it. The time for irresolution is over. The time for reluctance is past. These petty tyrants have in their own ignorant, mortal error insisted upon it. If they truly think that they can enforce their will upon us with all the deadly force of state violence, bringing a war to OUR doorsteps, dispatching raid parties to where WE live, endangering OUR families with their flash bangs and small arms fire at the cost of a mere “five to ten felonies a year” and at no cost to themselves, they are delusional. But history teaches that even delusional tyrants pay the price of their errors.
For we refuse their benevolent tyranny. WE REFUSE! NOT ONE MORE INCH BACK! And if they insist upon our dead bodies as the righteous payment for refusing their benevolent dictatorship, if they ironically insist upon civil war as the proper panacea for “gun violence,” then -- regardless of how reluctant we are -- they will be shown, after they kill the first of us, what “gun violence” really is -- as the Founders showed King George.
By the passage of this tyrannical law, they have decided to use deadly state violence against all those who refuse them. They have decided that it is worth it to them to bring civil war to our doors, our homes and our families. There is only one outcome consistent with liberty in that case -- LET. -- US. -- WIN. Let us emulate the Founders of 240 years ago. LET’S WIN!