On Rebellion


These are the words of Howard Beale in “Network”. The American movie classic is about an aging network broadcaster who rebels against the corporate oligarchy and subsequently is murdered at their hands.  Rebellion and the rebels that foment them are a recurrent theme in story and song.  Spartacus[2], Robin of Loxley, William Wallace, Zorro, Patrick Henry[3], John Brown, and Michael Collins are but a few characters, real and imagined, who considered their own liberty and that of their fellow compatriots more important than the authority of a tyrannical state.

What do you mean when you say government?
An entity once held in high esteem?
Realization of some patriot dream?
A rule of law some said was Heaven sent?

Its reputation badly tarnished now
with statesmen promulgating globally
their deconstructionist philosophy
by which they may each promise disavow.

Small wonder should a citizen repent
that he had pledged  his sole allegiance to
a flag bestrewn with stars, red, white, and blue
when it no longer means what it once meant.

Let everywhere men who love liberty,
rise up and fight for all men to be free.


Let us will explore the necessary conditions and reasoning whereby individuals may be justified in making war against their own government.  I will consider what minimum conditions seem necessary for an individual to live at peace. I shall attempt to describe the types of acts committed by governments that would be considered on their face onerous enough as to warrant direct and immediate retaliation.  Finally, listing those specific acts of aggression to which rebels may resort, I shall attempt to present arguments as to why such acts may be considered to be moral or immoral.


This essay is not to be interpreted in anyway as advocating the overthrow of the United States Government, or of any of her several member states or allies.  Scenarios described herein are purely hypothetical or historical in nature.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s [4] understanding and defense of the rights of humans is inspiring.  Nevertheless, at other times I wonder if her goal is not to rule the world, as Napoleon would phrase it, with an iron hand in a velvet glove.  She speaks eloquently of religious freedom and personal autonomy, but when speaking of nations, she speaks as if they were independent from the citizens that constitute them, and of national sovereignty as if it were not rooted in the personal sovereignty of humans, whether kings or freemen.  While arguing that individuals cannot be truly free until they have been invested with a generous list of capabilities, she suggests that encroachment upon the rights of nations, and interference by government in the private lives and social culture of its citizens, both individually and as families, are necessary to achieve this.

While considering what moral errors might be made when engaged in the task of formulating global policy, three immediately come to mind.  The first being the notion that any group, no matter how advanced or elite, should have a mandate to forcefully impose their culture upon any who are not predisposed to accept it.  Jonathan Lear documents the philosophical implications of such acts in a book describing the eradication of Crow Indian culture and their physical displacement in the 1800’s by the United States Cavalry[5] It seems to me that Dr. Nussbaum’s rejection of social contract approaches to global justice might reflect this error. (Nussbaum, 197) If one allows that there is such a thing as justice, even when administered en masse, it still affects humans individually.  Social contract is the give and take compromise of personal politics (I scratch your back, you scratch mine) extended to the community level.  While they may receive their guarantees of rights, or are provided access to resources by government as a group, they nevertheless access these resources or exercise their rights individually.  An accepted premise of contract theory is that an individual cannot be compelled to fulfill a performance contract. If I agree to sing at your wedding and decide not to, I can be compelled to reimburse you for the salary of the singer you hired to replace me, but under no circumstances can the court physically compel me to sing for you. In order for the process of political and social change to be successful and not susceptible to sabotage, or outright rebellion, individuals must be cajoled and convinced into entering social contracts, not coerced.  Even though she phrases it very delicately, Dr. Nussbaum often seems to be suggesting the imposition of cultural standards upon groups (for their own good of course), that would not at first eagerly embrace them.  Benevolent hubris of this nature is driven by the assumption that one’s own views are more enlightened than those individuals who are to be imposed upon.

The second error then, is the idea that any society’s aggregate culture should be so manifestly superior to that of another that it would warrant immediate acceptance.   No matter who they are, no one can reasonably claim be smart enough, experienced enough, degreed enough, nor may I add, heavily armed enough to be taken as the final  and absolute authority.  It seems that most people begin to realize this in the third grade, and gleefully seek to undermine the programs of those who would hold themselves up as manifestly superior.   My fellow Christians have often been guilty of this particular sin, thinking that because they hold the truth in righteousness, they get to force this truth along with every other conclusion they deduce from it upon their fellow sinners.  Yes, one can make progress this way, but the animosity generated can be extensive.  As proof, we have only to consider the results of the Holy Crusades now just beginning to bear their fully mature and bitter fruit in the Middle East.

A third fallacy is this. Observe that the natural state of man is often drastically different from the way some have deduced that it should be.  This gives rise to those who are compelled to change the way things are at any cost rather than recognizing the obvious.  I think that this is very apparent regarding contemporary opinions about the relationships between men and women, and consequently conceptions regarding the family arena within which these relationships play out.  When Martha Nussbaum states that “the family should be treated as a sphere that is precious but not “private” (Nussbaum 217), I must disagree.  Not only is the family a “private” institution, it is a sovereign entity and preexistent to government as is its sister entity, the church. Robert Audi’s claim that the church is an “institutional citizen of the state”[6] is similarly disturbing.  While Audi makes reference to God’s assumed omniscience and omni-benevolence, (Audi, 95) he neglects the assumption of God’s omnipotence by which, “He has established both civil magistrate and church government”[7] as separate entities, both administered by sovereign citizens who are typically members of families.

Like government, churches and families have heads who rule their members in the same manner that mayors rule their cities, and governors rule their states.  Heads of families have the primary responsibility and jurisdiction over their members, certainly of their minor children, and therefore have every expectation of receiving, if not their obedience, their full cooperation and loyalty. The peace and stability of the family is the very reason for government.  In corporate union with other families, and those independent individuals living in a community, they grant the limited authority which is provisionally delegated to the government, and retain those powers and authority not delegated, including the power to dissolve and reestablish government, or at least this is the reality in my country[8].  The point is that civil government is not the overarching, all encompassing entity it pretends to be.  Far from it, the preeminent position of honor and authority on this earth has been granted to the individual.

This leads me to conclude that were world politics ever to reach a state of peaceful equilibrium, it could do so only if every adult man and woman were afforded as much liberty as could be reasonably allowed, even at the risk of things being a little disorganized for the bureaucrats.    John Locke has made clear the difference between liberty and license[9], as has Mortimer J. Adler[10], so it is difficult to understand why philosophers like Isaiah Berlin[11] should be concerned that the exercise of liberty by individuals should conflict. Liberty need never be restrained as Berlin suggests, (Berlin 12) but rather hubris, greed and cruelty must be restrained.  These acts have never been justifiable, and the label of liberty need not be applied to them.  Given that caveat, a man’s liberty is otherwise naturally constrained by his obligations.  I acknowledge my obligation to the woman that gave me birth, and by extension, all women,[12] I acknowledge my obligation to the local community that provided a safe, nurturing environment into which I might be born and raised up, and by extension, all mankind.  I know with near certainty, that I will be in need one day of someone to “wash the blood away from my dying hand”[13], and so recognize an obligation to aid all those in need, the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, the sick, the aged, and the dying. Dr. Berlin’s examples fail to convince.  He describes an artist who, “in order to create a masterpiece, may lead a life which plunges his family into misery and squalor to which he is indifferent.”(Berlin 13)  This seems equivalent to a master cabinetmaker that creates an exquisite piece of furniture, and then uses feces to stain it to a pleasing color.  No housewife fully comprehending the process would want such a work placed in her home, any more than we would herald the research of Dr. Mengele.  No work of art created by the hand of man can be more beautiful or inspiring than the woman who is held in high esteem, with children well fed and happy at their innocent play.  Certainly, Kantians must turn their backs on this man, who failing to meet his obligations, abuses the members of his family as a means to an end. Yet, Berlin suggests that some people might reasonably take the side of the artist.

Berlin asks what he seems to believe are difficult questions.  “Should children be tortured to extract information about dangerous traitors or criminals?” I think that the answer is unequivocally, no.  For in doing so we should ourselves have become traitors to mankind and criminals to be judged by them without mercy.  Should a man resist a monstrous tyranny at all costs, at the expense of the lives of his parents or his children?  To my mind, the answer without exception is yes.  For there are no end to the monstrosities of tyranny once it has been given its head, and the lives of our parents and children are ipso facto forfeit.  Every mother who has sent a son off to war, every soldier’s wife who has lost her husband, and every child who has watched a father leave for battle has done the very thing that Berlin describes.  But, surely we must let Patrick Henry have the last word saying “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”  He was on the winning side, you know.  The conclusions of philosophers Drs. Nussbaum and Berlin cause this writer to be evermore committed to the preservation of individual liberty.  I think the world a better place when as many decisions as possible about the administration of life and the workings of the planet are left to the wisdom of middle class husbands and wives, and their immediate neighbors, communities that know and trust each other. With a minimum amount of resources, the most precious of which is liberty, and “a certain humility”(Berlin 18) toward our neighbors residing in the next county or the next continent we may address our most pressing global issues and leave the rest alone.

When considering what conditions seem necessary, at a minimum, for a man to live at peace, I find that to my understanding, they are but few:

  • Air to breath
  • A ready supply of food and water
  • Raw materials for tools, shelter and attire
  • A fertile, agreeable member of the opposite sex
  • Liberty

These seem necessary and sufficient to reproduce in time, all of the wonders that humanity has wrought to date. It would be nice to have more, such as access to knowledge, medicines, good shoes, steel, etc., but to have to trade any of the other essentials for them seems to me to be a poor bargain, especially when Liberty is the payment demanded.  To be left alone, to think without petty interruption, to speak one’s thoughts without hesitation[14], to try and having failed, to try again[15] without timetable or deadline, and to go where one pleases. To be left, if one wishes, to one’s own devices. That such a life is likely to be, as Thomas Hobbes[16] describes it, “nasty, British[17], and short, make a strong argument for cooperation with the county locals, in addition to the other obligations previously mentioned. As we consider this, I would like to suggest that Hobbes’ view of man’s longevity may be discounted. Psalm Ninety, written by Moses the Patriarch, says at verse 10 that, “the length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength.” Now I do not mean to attach any particular spiritual significance to this verse.  I merely state it as a statistical reference made approximately twenty two hundred years ago.  Coincidentally, the average age at which a modern American departs this sphere was reported by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2004[18] as being, well, seventy years.  This seems to me to indicate that more government is not necessarily the guarantor of long life that Hobbes suggests it to be.  Some suggest that long life is overrated,[19] but not so liberty, for without it, one cannot hope to attain anything else of value.  William Wallace’s motto says it well. “Dico Tibi verum libertas optima rerum, nuquam servili sub nexu vivto fili” “I tell you the truth, liberty is the best of all things, never live under the bonds of slavery, my son.”[20]

Therefore it would appear that the prolonged and unjust restriction of any of these basic needs: air, water, food, necessary resources, conjugal domesticity, and most of all, sweet liberty in all of its regular manifestations, freedom of speech, religion, association, (including the formation and administration of families, churches, political parties, unions etc,) rights to privacy and personal security, property, travel, the tyrannical abrogation of any of these would present just cause for violent overthrow of the status quo.  This is further expanded by Robert Audi’s recognition of a pluralistic multiplicity of goods, (Audi, 61) which I surmise would also extend to the manifestation of liberties.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these areb ife, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

       Tommy & the Boys

I regard with great sentimentality my native land, the beautiful Hudson River Valley in the Great State of New York.  I still have friends there and many fond memories.  Beyond that my affection for our republic is focused on her founding document the Declaration of Independence, quoted above in part, and on her Constitution which, while not written in stone is neither a “living” document, but a legal one specifically designed to be very difficult to change.  It is a political document conceived and created by Aristotelian virtue ethicists, among them Jefferson and Adams who strove successfully, I think, for the “theo-ethical equilibrium” that Audi speaks of, where an underlying ethical framework makes a just and pluralistic society possible. (Audi, 77)

As I am willing to admit the many obligations I have to my neighbors, I am equally as adamant that my obligations to my government are few.   I agree with those who have said that we do not elect people to office because we believe them to be smarter, we elect them to serve us, to secure our rights, our liberty, our safety, and our happiness.  While continually chagrined by the actions and decisions of our federal government, as Americans we still believe it to be superior to every other system of government in its ability to accomplish the goals thus outlined.  We fully expect all nations on the face of the earth will eventually adopt our system of government, or establish one very much like it, as was the case with Switzerland.  We are not ruled by men, but by written law, with no man supposed to be above it, or allowed to circumvent it.   Our laws are generated by representatives who are elected locally by our neighbors and ourselves.  Layer upon layer of representative government, from city councils,  county sheriffs, state and federal legislatures, court systems, grand juries, political parties, and yes, even the electoral college ensures that it is always be the will of Americans citizens, and whenever possible, local citizens that is expressed and enacted.  The Bill of Rights that was purposely appended to our Constitution guarantees this system by guaranteeing us the necessary means to affect revolution.  Should some rogue government attempt to disenfranchise the American people by permanently suspending elections, or forcibly shutting down all the newspapers, radio, and television stations, or in any way grossly imposing its will upon the citizenry without their express advice and consent, the people will simply rise up, shoulder their weapons, and cut down the members of that rogue government like so many sheaves of wheat.  Such words may seem harsh to the reader. Perhaps this is the type of thing that Jedediah Purdy is speaking about when he says that “The pressing issue for the moment is the balance between liberty and violence at the entrance to modernity”.[21] (Purdy 310) Yet, that is the very purpose of our Second Amendment, to ensure that freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, free elections, due process, etc. will never become seriously threatened. “To insist upon the right of revolution is to insist, in effect, that there truly are standards which transcend the governments and dominant opinions of one’s day.”[22]  These are the words of  Dr.George Anastaplo, professor of law at Loyola University of Chicago. He was refused admission to the Illinois bar for speaking them, a decision that was eventually upheld by the 1961 Supreme Court.  I have every expectation that, a few months hence, a majority of Justices on the present Supreme Court will say that this time they agree with him as they decide a case concerning the right to bear arms.[23]

We have only to look across the world stage to see continual human rights abuse up until the present time.  Sometimes, it is not an ever increasing series of abuses spurred by cruelty that serves as an impetus to revolt, but economic collapse. Such were conditions in Ireland after the potato famine of 1845. [24]

“In the four years following the famine, fifty-eight thousand families, representing three hundred and sixteen thousand people, had been evicted from their homes.  More often than not there was no place for them to go but to die by the roadside. (O’Conner, 13)

The hesitancy of the British government to move decisively to improve economic conditions began to fuel a resurgent Irish independence movement.   Militias sprang up after police were employed to violently put down striking workers attempting to organize labor unions during the early 1900’s.[25] (Stewart, 4)  As violence increased, government began to use provisions of the Defense of the Realm Act, passed because of England’s entry into World War I, to stifle civil protest.  Ultimately measure and countermeasure would escalate until the British Black & Tans and the Irish Republican Army were engaged in a murderous guerilla conflict of assassination and genocide that culminated with what came to be called Bloody Sunday, on November 21, 1920. (Stewart, 179)  A peace treaty granting Irish independence was soon to follow.

Ethical principle may be the driving force behind rebellion, as it was with John Brown,[26] famed militant abolitionist. He had an unquestioned reputation as a man of character and righteousness, “a Puritan in the Cromwellian sense of the word.” (DeWitt, 15)  He believed himself to be under divine protection with a mandate to end slavery.   He independently organized and mounted several skirmishes to free slaves.  He published his beliefs, asked for and received monies to support his cause from the public.  (DeWitt, 22)  In 1859, Brown’s poorly planned attack on Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to start a nation-wide slave rebellion failed. But it succeeded in turning the eyes of every American on slavery, forcing them to pronounce a moral judgment upon the practice.[27]   John Brown was executed for his treason, but not before a highly publicized trial that lionized him as an American hero.  His celebrity status at the time rivaled that of Lafayette and Washington and his notoriety that of Benedict Arnold.   Without question, the Brown incident had a profound impact on the conscience of the nation, and was a major factor in propelling it into civil war.

Shall we allow circumstances wrought by the hands of self-serving demagogs to affect our lives to the point where we die of starvation?  Fuel is almost four dollars a gallon now.  What would we do if it rose to eight dollars and our salaries did not rise similarly?  What would we do if bread were twenty dollars a loaf?  What would we do if the republic fell to a cruel oppressor who overwhelmed and enslaved us?  I do not think that these scenarios are as unlikely as to be completely hypothetical in character.  I think it wise to consider what course of action should be taken.   An even greater possibility is that individuals should become aware of some great injustice, or observe it unfolding before their very eyes and be faced with the moral imperative of having to act to stop it.  Since the passage of Roe v Wade, there have been over forty million abortions in our fair republic.   If the fetus is truly unfeeling and not completely human, this is just a statistic.  But if they are human, were they not my neighbors? Could they have possibly become my friends?  Am I not entreated to love my neighbor, and lay down my life for my friends?  I am sure that this is the kind of reasoning that John Brown employed when considering his brothers in chains, who were considered nothing more than property to be bought and sold.   They hung John Brown, and his “body lies a’ moldering in the grave.” [28]

Lord, let me die a hero’s death I pray.
To meet the sudden blast and never flinch.
And should my company flee in disarray,
to stand my ground and not give up an inch.

Lord, let me die a soldier’s death I pray.
Found at my post with weapons near at hand,
while carrying out the orders of the day,
and well prepared to heed the next command.

Lord, let me die a servant’s death I pray.
Years spent in service to my fellow man.
Your burden lightly on my shoulders lay,
that I might have a part in Your great plan.

Lord, grant that as I live and die, I may,
Your Holy Will more faithfully obey.   


I can think of no other discussion more sobering that that of how one should make war against one’s fellows, when and how their life may be taken, and when it may not.  For this last discussion, I have purposely not reviewed such standards as the Geneva Convention, preferring to rely on my own limited knowledge of budo, and some insights gathered from Jonathan Lear’s, “Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation”, which I referred to earlier. I will begin by giving what I consider to be a working definition of terrorism:

A premeditated act of violence directed against non-combatants in order to evoke widespread feelings of terror and helplessness among the citizenry for the sole purpose of effecting political change.

Once committed to the idea of violent upheaval and overthrow of the established political system, it follows that blood will probably be spilled and that the general population will be mightily inconvenienced.  Whose blood will be spilled one can never be sure of.  Perhaps it will be the enemy’s blood, perhaps it will be your own, or perhaps the blood of an innocent person.

We all must die and past a certain age one day is as good as another for the man at arms.  Crazy horse, a chief of the Lakota Sioux, used to spur his men into battle with the cry, “Come on, today is a good day to die!”  If you are living the life of a man at arms, it follows that you have been well trained and prepared for battle, and part of that training is preparing to die.  One’s affairs must be put in order, farewells said, forgiveness sought.  A clear sense of purpose emerges.  You have come to take life, or your life will be taken.  One comment Robert Audi has made is that, “More than ever before, living well is not fully achievable apart from dying well.” (Audi,103)  He is speaking about the unfortunate occurrence of having one’s longevity outstrip one’s functionality, physical or mental.  This seems an excellent argument for death on the battle field, as one does not have to suffer the indignity of the inevitable decay of one’s faculties, failing sight, increasing waist line, decreasing libido, etc.  Rather, better to exit the stage of life at the peak of one’s prowess in the midst of pitched battle.  Well, I suppose you have to be there.  Still I have never quite understood why the Savior says, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”[29] as if it were a bad thing.  We may therefore focus our attacks on such legitimate targets without remorse.  Soldiers, police, legislators, key government workers, and collaborators, all are fair game because it is reasonable to assume that they should know the risks they are taking by supporting tyranny.

But for those who are not prepared to die, death is horrible, frightening, unexpected, manifestly unfair.  If the victim is very young, or obviously a person of peace, or a life-giver, it seems worse. We call such people innocents, because they have not interfered with the rights or liberties of anyone; they are “minding their own business” and may even be bringing some good or beauty into the world.   If our cause is just, it is designed to bring peace to the innocent, no matter what their political allegiance. Men of honor may feel pain at the death of a comrade, even regret the death of noble enemy, but the death of an innocent is sobering and horrible, engendering feelings of helplessness and despair.  All men and women of good will desire to protect and defend the innocent.  This is reason for family and the reason for government, to create an environment where the innocent may be nurtured.  It is for this reason that terrorist attacks are immoral, and precisely why terrorists focus their attacks on the innocent.  Terror is a part of war.  The aim is to instill terror in the enemy so that they will surrender and peace can be negotiated.   Terrorists know that attacks upon the innocent are economical.  They know that others abhor the suffering of the innocent and desire to prevent their pain at any cost.   This type of attack delivers the greatest amount of terror, and what the terrorists hope is that the enemy will do anything, including meeting their demands, in order to make such activities cease.  I said earlier that one could never be sure whose blood will be spilled during combat.  Nevertheless, the attackers who purposely target the innocent can never be justified, no matter what their cause.  Collateral damage is the term used when innocent people are killed inadvertently as a result of their being near a legitimate target.  An assassin sent to kill a cruel tyrant sets up a hundred fifty yards away, acquires his target and pulls the trigger.  The bullet kills the dictator, and then passes through the wall behind him, killing his five-year-old daughter.   This is a tragedy, and it is not a simple matter to excuse such things out of hand, especially when superior intelligence gathering or logistics could have prevented it.   It seems to me that in the case of aerial bombing, the destruction of innocent lives may not be excusable at all.  This leaves us with the final question of how to make the decision to commit an act of war.

After the fall of man, a major advance in history was the realization, perhaps spontaneously, that a small group of men working together could bring down a large animal. Hunting a wooly mammoth for food and other materials, or killing a large predator in order to preserve their lives and those of their families no doubt gave rise to a great sense of self-empowerment.  Soon after, venturing out upon the waters they discovered that such a small band could even bring to ground the great sea monster, Leviathan.  Similarly, it seems to me that a relatively small group of people who are faithful to each other and committed to their cause can bring down any organization or government, matter how entrenched.  The Plains Indians, the Confederacy, John Brown and his supporters may all have found a way to be militarily victorious.  But John Brown was ultimately victorious in defeat, for his philosophy that has come to be universally accepted.  Plenty Coups, the Crow chieftain has also been victorious.  The Plains Indians survived not just genetically but were able to preserve enough of their culture to weather the great storm of progress, and like the buffalo, appear to be coming into their own again.   Had all of the Indian nations followed the path of Sitting Bull, all that would be left of them would be a few archeological exhibits.  I do not think of Plenty Coups as a Pollyanna, as Lear suggests that some do. (Lear, 105) I see him as a man of the land, who was able to access a deeply rooted instinct for survival and adaptation, much as his ancestors must have had to adapted to the sudden onset of the ice age, or to the cataclysmic meteor strike in Arizona.  It appears that all of us will have to adapt greatly in the future.  I agree with Isaiah Berlin that “[r]evolutions, wars, assassinations, extreme measures may in desperate situations be required.” (Berlin 17)  However, rebellion, in accordance with the advice of the founders, is used only as a last resort.  Each day of progress promises to reveal new possibilities by which we may preserve and expand the capabilities, rights, and liberty of men and women. We should seek them out, and work to ensure that the full rights of men are included in the future constitutions of the greater republics to come even as we remain prepared to act decisively, remembering, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”[30]

[1] Network. Motion picture. Written by Paddy Chayefsky. Directed by Sidney Lumet. MGM 1976.

To view the trailer go to http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi899219737/

[2] Trow M.J..  Spartacus : The Myth and The Man. Stroud, Gloucestershire : Sutton Pub., 2006.

[3] Mayer, Henry. A son of thunder : Patrick Henry and the American republic. New York : F. Watts, 1986.

[4] Nussbaum, Martha. Beyond The Social Contract: Capabilities and Global Justice: The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism. Brock, Gillian & Brighouse, Harry (Eds.). New York: CambridgeUniversity Press.

[5] Lear, Jonathan, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press, 2006)

[6] Audi, Robert, Moral Value and Human Diversity , Oxford: OUP, 2007 (page 94)

[7] “The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of His Church, has therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate”. Westminster Confession, Chapter 30, Article 1

[8] See the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

[9] Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government, Oxford, Blackwell, 1966. Chapter II, Article 6.

[10] Adler, Mortimer Jerome. On the Nature Of Liberty and License. The common sense of politics  New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston [1971]  JA84.U5 A62

[11] Berlin, Isaiah (1909-1997). The crooked timber of humanity: chapters in the history of ideas; edited by Henry Hardy.  New York : Knopf,  1991.   B29.B4465 1991

[12] I cover this in more depth in an essay entitled “A Neo-Patriarchal Response to Communitarianism”

[13] Coe, David Allen. Song: Would You Lay With Me (in a field of stone).

[14] “This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought” – Euripides

[15] King Robert the Bruce, 1313

[16] Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, or the matter, forme, and power of a commonwealth, ecclesiasticall and civill, 1651.

[17]  Not the first, nor the last use of this pun, (see http://www.peterloopoets.com/html/NastyBritishShort.htm) Therefore, I do not think it fair for me to be in anyway discriminated against for using it.

[18] National Center for Health Statistics United States Life Tables, 2004. NVSR Volume 56, Number 9.  40 pp. (PHS) 2008-1120. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_09.pdf

[19] “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” The war cry of Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Sergeant Major Dan Daly, USMC, at the Battle of Belleau Wood (June 1918)

[20] Morton, Graeme. William Wallace: Man and Myth. Stroud: Sutton, 2001. Page 54b

[21] Purdy, Jedediah . Being America : liberty, commerce, and violence in an American world. New York : Knopf, 2003. JZ1480 .P87 2003

[22] Anastaplo, George. The Right of Revolution, Rightly Understood – and The Bar. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Wednesday, September 29, 1999 Copyright 1999 Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Page 5

[23] In re Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82 (1961)

[24] O’Connor, Ulick.  Michael Collins and the troubles : the struggle for Irish freedom, 1912-1922 New York : W.W. Norton, 1996.  

[25] Stewart, A.T.Q. (Ed). Michael Collins : The Secret file. Kew, Richmond, Surrey] : Public Record Office ; Belfast : Blackstaff Press, 1997.

[26] De Witt, Robert (Ed). The Life, trial, and execution of Captain John Brown, known as “Old Brown of Ossawatomie.”  Compiled from official and authentic sources. New York, Da Capo Press, 1969.

[27] Bolton, Linda.  Facing the Other : Ethical Disruption and the American. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c2004.

[28] Written in 1861 the song “John Brown’s Body” originated with soldiers of the Massachusetts 12th Regiment and soon spread to become the most popular anthem of Union soldiers during the Civil War and inspired Julia Ward Howe to write”The Battle Hymm of the Republic.” http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/johnbrown/brownbody.html

[29] Matt 26:52-53

[30] Delivered as part of a speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention by Barry Goldwater, conservative and august Senator of the State of Arizona.

About Louis William Rose

“I am an advocate for Liberty. What I do for Liberty I do not do for profit or fame. I seek no office other than the office of parliamentarian, and no reward other than for myself and my fellow men and women to live in a free country.” Louis William Rose is a lifelong student of parliamentary procedure and political process. He has served as parliamentarian for various organizations. A political philosopher, poet, singer, and writer, his articles have been published on-line and in pro-liberty papers in Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, and Montana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Florida, graduating summa cum laude in 2004, with an additional two years of graduate work in political philosophy. Mr. Rose is an outspoken supporter of the basic rights of man, especially freedom of speech, association, religion, individual rights to personal defense and property, and of republican, constitutional forms of government. He is married to the lovely Jamy Sue Rose, an award winning nature photographer and a Florida Master Naturalist and guide. He has two sons, Edward, a hydroponic farmer in the panhandle of Florida, and Alexander, a successful real estate developer.
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2 Responses to On Rebellion

  1. Robert P Colombo says:

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” (as cited in Padover, 1939, p. 89)
    “. . . whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right.” (as cited in Padover, 1939, p. 88)
    The above quotes were the cornerstones of Jefferson’s interest in education and the franchise. He placed education as the foundation of democracy and a prerequisite to vote.

    I believe interested, politically educated, factually opinionated Americans would agree or disagree with the basic tenets of “On Rebellion”. I put this number at 10 million in a country of 340 million. If I increased my non empirical 10 million almost 3.5 times, and everyone in agreement or not, read “On Rebellion” your audience would encompass 10% of the population. Please tell me why it’s not already too late?
    Your message needs to be simplified by at minimum half in order to increase the volume of your voice to 1% more of the populace. Continue at that rate and even I can’t hear you.


  2. I would have to say Robert, that it is never too late for rebellion, one must simply adjust one’s methods to fit the conditions that prevail at the time. This essay is a the product of an academic effort on my part and is directed primarily at Political Science and Philosophy Scholars. Of course I give quite a different rendition when speaking to other groups of like minded individuals. If you would move to Florida you would get to hear me.

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