Is Non-Violence Really Limited?

Would non-violence really have failed against the Nazis? History suggests maybe not....

In discussing the “limits of non-violence”, my colleague Doug emphasizes his belief that non-violence is an ineffective response against tyranny.

The problem with this example is that the non-violent protest sort of assumes that the entity you’re protesting against isn’t simply going to turn the machine guns on you, pull the trigger, and kill you in the middle of your “non-violent” protest.

This argument doesn’t make any sense at all. By the same logic, I might say that responding to tyranny with violence sort of assumes that the tyrannical entity you’re using force against isn’t simply going to turn the machine guns, tanks, bombs, planes and secret police on you, taking advantage of their superior numbers, weaponry and resources to pull the trigger and kill you in the middle of your “violent uprising.” That is, after all, why the Germans didn’t hesitate to use tanks against Jewish partisans armed only with rifles. Therefore, violence never ever works against tyranny ever.

That is, obviously, an absurd argument. But so is my colleague’s argument against non-violent resistance as a means of fighting tyranny. The thing is, in both non-violent and violent resistance, tactics are of vital importance.

While mass protests are obviously one means of non-violent resistance to tyranny, they are far from the only means of non-violent resistance. Indeed, even against the Nazis, individuals and groups were actually quite successful in employing non-violent resistance against the Nazis. For example, the Norwegian “ice front” kept Nazi influence on day to day life in Norway pretty low. Civil servants and businessmen such as G.K. Duckwitz, Chiune Sugihara and Oskar Schindler were able to use their political savvy to save thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. Other organizations saved thousands more elsewhere in Europe.

More recently, non-violent movements successfully ended Apartheid in South Africa, destroyed the plantation economy and virtual serfdom in Hawaii (leading to statehood), enabled the independence of Samoa, Egypt, and India, and succeeded many other ways, besides. As for the success of non-violence against tyrannical regimes, let’s not forget the success of non-violent movements against the Soviets and Eastern European Communists, such as the Baltic Republics, Solidarity in Poland, and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. In fact, I’d have to do some historical digging to be sure, but I’d be willing to bet that there have been more successful non-violent revolutions leading to stable democracies than there are violent ones.

In fact, as I think about it more and more, it seems to be that non-violent resistance against tyranny has been generally more successful than violent resistance. The French Revolution led to Napoleon. World War I led to World War II. World War II led to the Warsaw Pact, the Cold War, and needless blood spilled in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. And lets not forget the myriad numbers of violent revolutions that never achieve their aims for independence or revolution at all.

But when you think about it, though, this makes quite a bit of sense. Non-violent resistance doesn’t result in nearly as much death or hardship as violent resistance. So there are no cycles of violence or revenge that keep continually getting fed, keeping the fires of anger and hate bellowing. They’re less destructive economically, so there’s less chance of demagogues leading populist revolts, the military forcing a coup or neighbors taking the opportunity to invade.

Indeed, it never fails to surprise me just how much people are willing to defend the use of force. Now, I don’t deny that in some cases violence may be necessary, but violence seems to always bring unintended consequences. And, you know, violence is pretty horrible.

Of course, human nature being what it is, I shouldn’t be surprised. Nonviolent resistance is hard. Loving your enemies is hard. Violence and anger? Sadly enough, they’re pretty easy.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. […] Knapp stands up for nonviolent revolution. I’d add Spain and Portugal to his list of success cases. Best […]

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Nonviolent resistance is hard. Loving your enemies is hard. Violence and anger? Sadly enough, they’re pretty easy…The thing is, in both non-violent and violent resistance, tactics are of vital importance.”

    Tell this to the inhabitants or Lidice or the hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants who perished from famine and deportation during Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture. Non violent protest may have some relevance in situations where the opposing forces observe societal norms and are subject to the pressure of public opinion from home or abroad. It is however, completely useless when it is opposed by a tyranny that hasn’t the slightest regard for morality and controls all the means of communication. Given the empirical evidence of the past 75 years in Europe, the middle east, South America and Asia, this of bit opinionating borders on the bizarre.

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    “nonviolent revolution…I’d add Spain and Portugal to his list of success cases. Best […]”

    What non violent revolutions were these I wonder?

  4. Phillip J. Birmingham says:

    Lidice?

    Lidice was a textbook example of tyranny reacting with overwhelming force, as described in the second paragraph, not a reaction to non-violent resistance.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    “let’s not forget the success of non-violent movements against the Soviets and Eastern European Communists, such as the Baltic Republics, Solidarity in Poland, and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia.”

    All these non violent revolutions (all of which weren’t non violent btw) only happened because the Soviet imperium was on it’s last legs and there was worldwide coverage of events in Eastern and central Europe. They certainly wouldn’t have been effective in the forties and fifties or even the sixties as the fates of the Hungarian uprising and Prague spring demonstrate.

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Phillip J. Birmingham says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 09:18

    “Lidice was a textbook example of tyranny reacting with overwhelming force, as described in the second paragraph, ”

    It was also an example of a regime acting with no regard for considerations of morality. I suppose according to this narrative if 2000 people had sat down in front of Heyrich’s car they wouldn’ have been a)killed immediately b) killed soon after out of sight c)hauled off to concentration camps and killed at leisure.

  7. All these non violent revolutions (all of which weren’t non violent btw) only happened because the Soviet imperium was on it’s last legs and there was worldwide coverage of events in Eastern and central Europe. They certainly wouldn’t have been effective in the forties and fifties or even the sixties as the fates of the Hungarian uprising and Prague spring demonstrate.

    Exactly.

    A tyrannical state that is secure in it’s power and doesn’t care about world opinion would have had no compunction about mowing down the demonstrations that cropped up in the Soviet block in 1989. In reality, though, those demonstrations only started happening when it was clear that Soviet power, which was all that was keeping the regimes of the Warsaw Pact in power, was on the wane and that the Soviets had no desire to use force to keep their client states in line.

    Contrast that with Tianamen Square, as I did in my article, or with the Chinese military actions against Tibetan demonstrators a few years ago.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Therefore, violence never ever works against tyranny ever.”

    The record here is mixed and depends on the nature of the regime practising the tyranny. Generally speaking it’s not successful against regimes with no regard for morality because they can usually summon up a greater terror but there have been some successes even against fairly extreme repression. For example: Yugoslavia WW 2; Ireland 1916-22 ; Spain 1807-1813; Cuba early 50’s; Algeria early 50’s; Vietnam early 50’s.

  9. cfpete says:

    “World War I led to World War II”
    How does one institute a non-violent resistance to a foreign invading state?
    “Let us hold hands along the Belgium border, that will stop the Germans.”
    Yeah, I am sure that would have worked. So simple, how could they not see the logic in sitting there and getting rolled over by the Germans on their way to France.

  10. Phillip J. Birmingham says:

    “It was also an example of a regime acting with no regard for considerations of morality.”

    Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were just reminding us that the Nazis were bad — I thought you were using a reaction to an assassination to make the point that non-violent resistance doesn’t work.

    But no, if 2000 people had blocked Heydrich’s car, they would have probably been killed. If they’d been armed and attacked his car, it would have been the same damn thing (c.f. Warsaw ghetto.)

    Which, I think, is really the underlying point. Tyrannies may only understand force, but they tend to speak it pretty fluently as well.

  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    Resistance is dangerous whether it’s violent or non violent. When Britain set up the SOE to foment resistance in Europe (to set Europe ablaze in Churchill’s words) there were many in Britain who were uneasy about the strategy and after a number of incidents where the Germans exacted brutal reprisals against the civilian population it became official policy to discourage open acts of resistance and concentrate on intelligence gathering, rescue of aircrews, and then in the run up to D Day sabotage.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Which, I think, is really the underlying point. Tyrannies may only understand force, but they tend to speak it pretty fluently as well.”

    I thought the underlying point was that non violent resistance is a viable option in all circumstances. It isn’t as I explained in some detail subsequent to the mention of Lidice which was just an example of the lengths to which a truly immoral state is prepared to go.

  13. Brian Knapp says:

    “Let us hold hands along the Belgium border, that will stop the Germans.”
    Yeah, I am sure that would have worked. So simple, how could they not see the logic in sitting there and getting rolled over by the Germans on their way to France.

    As Alex stated, there are many different non-violent tactics. This one I don’t think would be advisable.

  14. Phillip J. Birmingham says:

    “Resistance is dangerous whether it’s violent or non violent. ”

    Agreed, totally. I think it’s a matter of judgment as to when to use either, but I think there’s more scope for non-violence than most credit. It probably never would have toppled the Nazis, but it did save many of their would-be victims.

  15. DC Loser says:

    Noncooperation and nonviolence by the Danish monarch and people saved almost all of Denmarks’ Jews under Nazi occupation.

  16. Phillip J. Birmingham says:

    “I thought the underlying point was that non violent resistance is a viable option in all circumstances.”

    That’s not what I took away from the article — more that the limits of non-violence are much broader than people think.

  17. Alex Knapp says:

    Brummagen Joe –

    Tell this to the inhabitants or Lidice or the hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants who perished from famine and deportation during Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture.

    What do either of these examples have to do with nonviolent resistance? Apart from the fact that tyranny is bad, and authoritarian regimes do horrible things. A point I will concede.

    Non violent protest may have some relevance in situations where the opposing forces observe societal norms and are subject to the pressure of public opinion from home or abroad. It is however, completely useless when it is opposed by a tyranny that hasn’t the slightest regard for morality and controls all the means of communication.

    Completely useless? But there are plenty of examples otherwise. LIke the ones I cite here….

    All these non violent revolutions (all of which weren’t non violent btw) only happened because the Soviet imperium was on it’s last legs and there was worldwide coverage of events in Eastern and central Europe. They certainly wouldn’t have been effective in the forties and fifties or even the sixties as the fates of the Hungarian uprising and Prague spring demonstrate.

    And why was the Soviet Imperium on its last legs? Is it possible that, I dunno, a long campaign of non-violent resistance and protest during most of the 1980s in the Baltics, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere weakened the regime to the point that the Soviets fell? No wait, I forgot, this is America, and we all know that the Soviet Union fell because of Reagan. Never mind.

    Doug and Joe,

    A tyrannical state that is secure in it’s power and doesn’t care about world opinion would have had no compunction about mowing down the demonstrations that cropped up in the Soviet block in 1989.

    If you recall, the Soviets did send tanks into the Baltics. And that the history of the Soviet Union includes the history of several failed armed uprisings. (Heck, after World War I, Counterrevolutionary forces convinced the United States and Britain to invade the Soviet Union, which they did, only to be humiliatingly defeated.

    Joe,

    The record here is mixed and depends on the nature of the regime practising the tyranny.

    You do realize that when I said violent resistance never works, I was being sarcastic, right?

    That said, “Ireland 1916-22” as an example of successful violent resistance is a bad one. In 1919, Irish revolutionaries changed tactics from large-scale violence against the British to non-cooperation, which led to the formation of the Dail and other institutions. To be sure, there was still guerilla warfare going on, but the non-violent tactics proved much more successful.

    cfpete,

    How does one institute a non-violent resistance to a foreign invading state?

    History suggests that if you’re faced with a foreign state that possesses overwhelming force, it’s best to follow the examples of Denmark and Norway — capitulation followed by internal nonviolent resistance, including strikes, protests, sabotage, etc.

    “Let us hold hands along the Belgium border, that will stop the Germans.”
    Yeah, I am sure that would have worked. So simple, how could they not see the logic in sitting there and getting rolled over by the Germans on their way to France.

    Well, Belgium did resist with violence, and they were defeated anyway…

    I thought the underlying point was that non violent resistance is a viable option in all circumstances. It isn’t as I explained in some detail subsequent to the mention of Lidice which was just an example of the lengths to which a truly immoral state is prepared to go.

    No. The argument Doug proffered is that non-violent resistance is never a viable option against tyranny. My counter-argument is that non-violent resistance is not only often successful against tyranny, but also historically provides generally superior results to violent resistance.

    Sometimes, though, a tyrannical state is so powerful that there’s no way to win. But history suggests that non-violence is more successful than violence. Which is not to say that non-violence always works or that violence never does.

  18. Tano says:

    “A tyrannical state that is secure in it’s power and doesn’t care about world opinion would have had no compunction about mowing down the demonstrations that cropped up…’

    You still do not have the slightest idea of what non-violent resistance is all about. It is not about holding the occasional peaceful demonstration. Obviously, if that is all that there were to the resistance, then mowing down would be a straightforward exercise. But that is not what a non-violent campaign is all about. As was explained to you before.

    A non-violent campaign is a very difficult thing to pull off. It requires a great deal of organization and education. Participants need to be trained in how to resist without becoming violent themselves. It requires the acceptance of the fact that there will be great suffering that needs to be endured. All these examples of “mowing down” that you and others point to are not, as you seem to think, refutations of non-violent strategies, but rather are expected events in any resistance campaign. That the example you point to did not lead to successful revolutions was the result of the fact that these movements (like Tienanmen) were NOT examples of well organized, Gandhian non-violent campaigns. Tienanmen was much closer to being a simple spontaneous eruption of popular sentiment, loosely organized, if organized at all. Spray a few bullets at the crowd and they disperse. That outcome was not surprising – and the experience of hundreds of such massacres over the years was the starting point for developing the non-violent, non-cooperation resistance strategy.

    You seem unable to understand that the non-violent movements that, I believe, Alex and others are discussing are not simply cases where people take the streets without weapons to chant and die. Maybe we should refer to “Gandhian non-violence TM” so you can wrap your head around the notion that these are very explicit, strategic, committed movements operating usually over years, that utilize guerilla-style non-cooperation tactics and whose main activities are organization and education. Street demonstrations are a very small part of all that.

  19. cfpete says:

    RE: Brian Knapp
    What would have been an effective non-violent tactic to prevent the escalation to WWI?
    I can honestly not think of one.
    It is a bit ironic because the Schlieffen Plan envisioned the acquiescence of the neutral Belgians hastening the German march into France. It is debatable how much the Belgian resistance affected the outcome of the War by delaying the German invasion of France, but I can not believe it could be argued that Belgian non-violent resistance would have been anything other than an advantage to the Germans.

  20. floyd says:

    Non-violence works … until it doesn’t.
    Just like violence , non-violence is an expression of power, when it is ignored or becomes ineffective, then escalation is required if the cause is sufficient to warrant it.
    This applies to all human interpersonal relationships, not just in response to government.
    For instance…
    Enforcement of manners in polite company can usually be handled with a frown, but if the infraction is sufficient and frowns are ineffective then expulsion or even bloody nose may be warranted.
    The day of the bloody nose is passed, and in many ways it was superior to the escalation to litigation. In other words…
    A measured response, with the threat of escalation, is the only way to be heard.
    The left understands this well, that’s why they must always have the force of law on social issues.
    T. R. said….”Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” That is “stick” not “schtick”

  21. cfpete says:

    R.E. Alex Knapp
    “Well, Belgium did resist with violence, and they were defeated anyway”
    Yes, the Belgians were always going to be defeated by the more powerful Germans.
    However, Belgium still exists as a country today.
    The most obvious break to your connection of WWI leading to WWII is that Belgium does not exist today. France does not exist today. In other words, if the Germans had prevailed during WWI, there would have been no WWII.
    I don’t believe the French or Belgian people would view this as an optimal outcome, but it certainly could have prevented another war. It could have prevented another war in the same way the Union could have ignored Confederate secession to avoid the Civil War. In both cases, I believe another war would have been inevitable. There would just have been more prolonged suffering of Europeans subjugated to German rule and continued slavery.

    P.S.
    Alex, I really do not like making these arguments because i am unabashedly against American adventurism – e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan However, I do believe that at some point people have to band together and defend themselves.

    P.P.S
    I do not dispute that the 1919 Treaty of Versailles did not contribute to the escalation to WWII through the harsh conditions placed upon Germany, but I find that irrelevant in this discussion.

  22. Wayne says:

    One should also remember the negative aspects of non violence. Such as people being slaughter, being enslaved, having their rights strip from them, property and children confiscated, and much more.

    One can argue that non-violent means isn’t use enough but to say it doesn’t have its limits or its price is wrong.

  23. Gene Callahan says:

    Joe:

    “Tell this to the inhabitants or Lidice or the hundreds of thousands of Russian peasants who perished from famine and deportation during Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture.”

    Right, Joe, I’m sure in response to a violent uprising Stalin would have calmed right down. (And, of course, as Alex pointed out, your examples aren’t of non-violent resistance, either… just getting something off your chest, I guess.)

  24. Gene Callahan says:

    cfpete: “In other words, if the Germans had prevailed during WWI, there would have been no WWII.”

    Where is your evidence that Germany was going to annex France if it won? I have never, ever heard that being given as their intention. And Germany pre-WWI was not a totalitarian country. In many ways, they were more Democratic than the US and the UK, and certainly more “progressive.”

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gene Callahan says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 21:13
    cfpete: “In other words, if the Germans had prevailed during WWI, there would have been no WWII.”

    “Where is your evidence that Germany was going to annex France if it won?”

    The German historian Fritz Fischer published a book in the 70’s I think based on the archives of the German Imperial Govt which demonstrated conclusively that German war aims included annexation of Belgium and Northern France in the West and Poland and large swathes of European Russia. They substantially achieved these war aims in the East with the treaty of Brest Litovsk and had Britain and France been defeated in the West they would no doubt have annexed Belgium and Northern France.

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gene Callahan says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 21:10

    Right, Joe, I’m sure in response to a violent uprising Stalin would have calmed right down. (And, of course, as Alex pointed out, your examples aren’t of non-violent resistance, either… just getting something off your chest, I guess.).

    How’s your comprehension Gene? Of course he wouldn’t. As I explained in some detail at 9.38 you can’t generalise about the effectiveness of violent resistance. Sometimes it can work against a government with no sense of morality, but generally it doesn’t, anymore than non violent protest would work against regimes with a similar lack of moral sense.

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    Alex Knapp says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 10:52
    “What do either of these examples have to do with nonviolent resistance?”

    A govt that is willing to resort to these measures is unlikely to be deterred from similar atrocities against non violent resistance. Is that so difficult to understand?

    “That said, “Ireland 1916-22″ as an example of successful violent resistance is a bad one. In 1919, Irish revolutionaries changed tactics from large-scale violence against the British to non-cooperation, which led to the formation of the Dail and other institutions. To be sure, there was still guerilla warfare going on, but the non-violent tactics proved much more successful.”

    I can see your knowledge of Irish history is as insubstantial as your understanding of the nature of despotic power Alex. After the Easter rising was ruthlessly crushed by the Asquith govt and all the ringleaders (with the exception of Eamonn De Valera) executed, Ireland subsided into principally political warfare between Sinn Fein and the less extreme Irish Parliamentarians until the end of WW 1 when (far from Irish tactics changing from large scale violence) in fact the scale of hostilities against the British escalated dramatically as Sinn Fein won out politically and the Irish Republican Army led by the brilliant guerilla leader Michael Collins launched a huge insurgency against the British. In response the Lloyd George govt sent in the Black and Tans and the Auxis (who were ex British officers and soldiers) to suppress the rebellion. Atrocities were committed on both sides (including the burning down of half of Cork by the Black and Tans in retaliation for the murder of some of their officers). By 1921/22 both sides were nearing exhaustion and the Irish entered into negotiations led by Collins which resulted in the Irish treaty of 1922. This treaty was rejected by De Valera and Sinn Fein who then launched a civil war against the Irish Free State which the treaty had created. The IFS won this war but Collins was assassinated during the course of it.

  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gene Callahan says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 21:13
    “And Germany pre-WWI was not a totalitarian country. In many ways, they were more Democratic than the US and the UK, and certainly more “progressive.”

    No Germany wasn’t a totalitarian country before WW 1 but to say they were more democratic than the US or Britain is preposterous. Although there was a Reichstag of elected deputies but the constitution placed most real power in the hands of the Kaiser and his ministers. It was also an intensely nationalistic society although fairly progressive in matters of education, public health, social security and so on.

  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Where is your evidence that Germany was going to annex France if it won?”

    BTW in case you don’t believe me here’s a link to Fischer’s biog

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Fischer

  30. Gene Callahan says:

    Joe, I never said Germany would not gain territory — I said they were not going to annex France.

    And So they weren’t.

    “but to say they were more democratic than the US or Britain is preposterous.”

    I said “in many ways more democratic.” Like wider franchise.

    What is preposterous is continuing to converse with someone who can’t read.

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gene Callahan says:
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:53
    “Joe, I never said Germany would not gain territory — I said they were not going to annex France.

    And So they weren’t…What is preposterous is continuing to converse with someone who can’t read.”

    Er…..what you actually said was:

    “Where is your evidence that Germany was going to annex France if it won?”

    German war aims in WW 1 included the annexation of Northern France. I don’t think it’s me with the reading difficulties.

  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    “I said “in many ways more democratic.” Like wider franchise.”

    Gene the width of the franchise has nothing to do with the level of real democracy. Egypt has universal suffrage but it’s hardly a democracy. To say that Imperial Germany was in way whatsoever more democratic than the US or the UK is completely preposterous.

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tano says:
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:01

    “You still do not have the slightest idea of what non-violent resistance is all about… A non-violent campaign is a very difficult thing to pull off. It requires a great deal of organization and education.”

    Clearly no idea at all…Er…and what exactly would the Gestapo and the NKVD be doing while all this organization and education was going on?…Polishing their jackboots and truncheons?

  34. Alex Knapp says:

    Joe,

    I don’t deny that there was a guerilla insurgency against the British in Ireland. But far more important to Irish success was its formation of a parallel, functioning alternative to British rule. I’d argue that the refusal of the Irish to use the pound in ordinary commerce was more dispositive towards Irish victory than the insurgency.

    Clearly no idea at all…Er…and what exactly would the Gestapo and the NKVD be doing while all this organization and education was going on?…Polishing their jackboots and truncheons?

    It’s not like such organization happens in the open. Distributed hierarchies, cells, codes, secret meetings, etc. You know, just like an army. Solidarity used these to great effect in Poland.

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    Alex Knapp says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:48
    Joe,

    “I don’t deny that there was a guerilla insurgency against the British in Ireland.”

    But you said it assumed much less importance after 1919 when efforts shifted to less violent methods Viz:

    “In 1919, Irish revolutionaries changed tactics from large-scale violence against the British to non-cooperation”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. In fact violence assumed massive proportions in the period 1919-1921. The Lloyd George govt didn’t agree to negotiate Irish Independance for any other reason than the country was ablaze in a massive and violent rebellion they couldn’t contain despite a huge military presence and the savage tactics of paramilitaries like the Black and Tans. I’m sorry, but you’re clearly unfamiliar with this period of Irish history and do a deep disservice to the Irishmen who died in the struggle for independence.

    ” It’s not like such organization happens in the open. Distributed hierarchies, cells, codes, secret meetings, etc. You know, just like an army.”

    And the Gestapo and NKVD don’t always operate in the open either! The reason why secret resistance groups in Russia and German occupied Europe invariably failed was because they were penetrated by the security services. Solidarity was penetrated. The reason why it had some modest success in the years immediately before the collapse of the entire Soviet Empire was basically because the Russians and the Jaruzelski puppet govt couldn’t rely on the loyalty of the Polish army and they didn’t relish the prospect of having to send in the Russian Army (a la Hungary 1956 and Czecho 1968) who all Poles loath to crush a massive insurrection in which the Polish armed forces might have joined the dissidents.

  36. The tyrants of history are able to shoot so many sheeple into ditches precisely because of this kind of thinking.

    If one chooses to dig the ditch when ordered, as we are doing in this country now in so many ways, then piss one’s pants when the machine gun bolts slam home and die wondering, like a stupid animal, “How did this happen to me?” then I suppose that is a personal choice.

    Thank God the Founders didn’t think that way, nor Spartacus nor the brave ones who fought for the lost cause of Southern Independence.

    Someone who has been accused of preaching mindless pacifism, when he did anything but, once said this: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

    The false prophets often infiltrate the patriot movement or any movement that seeks release from tyranny in order to help keep the slaves in line. It’s possible simple political activism and elections will save our Liberty, but it’s not likely. Our domestic enemies have invested too much time, money and sweat equity to simply throw up their hands and walk away saying “Oh sorry we bothered you. We’re going home now to live in peace and Liberty with our neighbors.”

    The Ballot leads to the bullet without fail for all government is force. Politics is war that sometimes sheds blood. Those who would live in Liberty must have a line carved in stone deep enough to carry the blood away for there is no limit to our domestic enemies’ insanity nor to what they will stick in our face to be kissed. Simply look what they have done to our ‘mother country:’

    http://willowtown.com/reality/britsinsane.htm

    And to what some of them are doing here:

    http://www.zombietime.com/up_your_alley_2008/

    What is happening in England would be fine and dandy by our so-called “Liberals” and ‘progressives’ who call themselves by those and various other cute names to hide their evil communism.

    It’s time to wake up and grow up and accept responsibility for what will be required regardless of who ‘wins’ the next few election cycles.

    For more on this go here:

    http://www.willowtown.com/reality/columns.htm

    Don’t understand at all? Start here:

    http://willowtown.com/promo/quotes.htm

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Thank God the Founders didn’t think that way, nor Spartacus nor the brave ones who fought for the lost cause of Southern Independence.”

    The founding fathers were in little danger of being shot in ditches as many were related to or associated with the English ruling elite. And the brave ones who fought for southern independance were really fighting to continue a monstrous tyranny.

  38. tequila says:

    A monstrous tyranny whose remnants were finally broken by a nonviolent resistance movement, natch.

  39. Gene Callahan says:

    “Gene the width of the franchise has nothing to do with the level of real democracy. ”

    Right, Joe. A country with one person voting out of 100 million can be a “real democracy,” since the width of the franchise has NOTHING to do with “real democracy.”

    By the way:

    “the political scientists of 100 years ago, subscribed to a different concept of the “good state.” To them, Imperial Germany was a member of a select group of states – modern, constitutional, administrative, cohesive nation-states – that were politically the most developed on earth. The difference in political development between this select group (whose chief members included the United States, France, Germany, and England) and the rest of humanity was perceived as far greater than the differences among members of the group themselves. Certainly, members of this group, Germany included, were considered superior in their political development to countries such as Greece, Italy, Argentina, and Chile that are listed by Michael Doyle as members of the liberal club for the pre-World War I period.(19) Within the group of “modern constitutional states,” Germany was not necessarily the farthest from the ideal. John Burgess’s belief in the superiority of the German polity and culture was fairly close to the views of ardent German nationalists such as Treitschke and Droysen. And Woodrow Wilson’s more Anglophile disposition did not exclude Germany from the small circle of the most modern nations, nor did it preclude high regard for important features of the German system. To [Woodrow] Wilson circa 1890, for example, the Prussian administrative model was superior to the French one (not to mention Anglo-American administrative impotency); the Prussian constitutional state was preferable to the immature democracy of France; and Prussian local government was the shining model of “self-government” not despite but partly because of its three-class voting system.”

    So political scientists before 1914 believed my “preposterous” idea. That’s because it’s only “preposterous” to people whose “thinking” consists in swallowing whatever propaganda they are spoon fed.

    And taking a small chunk of French territory is not the same as “annexing France,” not matter how often you assert that someone has to have a reading problem to recognize the difference.

  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    Gene Callahan says:
    Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 15:50

    “John Burgess’s belief in the superiority of the German polity and culture was fairly close to the views of ardent German nationalists such as Treitschke and Droysen.”

    There were no shortage of admirers of German authoritarianism before WW 1 but then Germany had no shortage of admirers before WW 2 either. None of this means that Germany was as remotely democratic as Britain or the US. I yield to no one in my admiration of Bismark who created the German empire but he certainly didn’t intend it be “democratic” on the British model.

    “And taking a small chunk of French territory is not the same as “annexing France,”

    That “small chunk” was a THIRD of France and and the third that contained almost all of her natural resources of coal and iron ore not to mention large tracts of her manufacturing industry. As this original comment demonstrates your knowledge of the period is fairly shallow since I can’t imagine anyone with knowledge of Imperial Germany not being familiar with Fischer’s book:

    “Where is your evidence that Germany was going to annex France if it won? I have never, ever heard that being given as their intention. ”

    All the bluster in the world isn’t going to disguise your basic ignorance I’m afraid.