As I edited Revolution in the Air, found myself writing a lot about how to overthrow the government. The second and third essays in that book, Lincoln’s Legacy and the Path Ahead and Revolution and the Second Amendment, contain some thoughts on that subject. Most of the notes wound up in a separate file, to be worked over in a second book. I’ve wondered what to call the second one. Revolution on the Ground would be descriptive enough. How to Overthrow the Government is better.
The first thing to keep in mind is that overthrowing a government is not easy. A lot of people have to want it to happen. Governments don’t normally leave voluntarily. So here are some don’t-try-this-at-home cautions before you read this book.
First – don’t try to overthrow a government that most people think is legitimate. It pisses people off. Even if most people think the government is illegitimate, it’ll annoy people in government. As indicated above, they will not leave voluntarily.
Second – nihilists, anarchists, and soldiers of fortune: stop here. Most people like to have a government, and they don’t like violence. The object here is to replace an illegitimate government with a legitimate one. That’s our founding principle from Jefferson and Locke: when our government dissolves its authority, we citizens have an obligation to replace it.
Third – overthrow may not be quite the right word here. It suggests throwing over a sofa with people sitting in it. People prefer gradual, incremental change. Yes, you can push the sofa over bit by bit, until it reaches its tipping point and falls the rest of the way by itself. That’s the way big changes usually come about. Small changes come first.
So that’s a bit of an introduction to the next book. Stand by.