They Might Rise Up and Resist

Are contemporary Americans the most cringing, servile, whipped-dog people in the history of the world? I’m not saying they are, yet the question naturally occurs to anyone who observes their capitulation, with scarcely a whimper, to the ever-increasing outrages of their cruel and stupid masters (whose tyranny they regularly validate by their votes).

Of course, the possibility remains — and indeed I think it the more likely situation — that the current Americans are, for the most part, not uniquely lily-livered, but simply not especially distressed by the police state’s mayhem, given that most of its hammer blows fall on blacks, Hispanics, poor whites, and other marginalized groups.

However, if anyone seriously threatened to take away what they truly value — creature comforts, the illusion of state-supplied security, and 24/7 access to a practically unlimited variety of entertainment — they might rise up and resist as bravely as the Greeks at Thermopylae.

In sum, American have been given, as it were, a choice between (a) living in a free society and (b) fiddling with their smart phones and watching Game of Thrones, and they have, in effect, chosen the latter.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.