Referring to Alexei Navalny, a Russian dissident who was arrested and Detective Jennifer Gugger, who had her gun taken from her for the crime of attending the January 6th rally in Washington DC, Hmacheck says this.
What do these two seemingly quite different people have in common? They are both dissidents. They both acted as though they had the right to say and do what they said and did. They were both mistaken. In Russia, given its history of totalitarianism, Navalny likely knew what he was getting himself into. In our country, however, where totalitarianism is in its infant stages, it is quite likely that Gugger was caught unawares.
This is going to be commonplace for many of us over the next several years as we are forced to come to grips with the fact that this is no longer the “home of the free and the land of the brave.” We can stomp our feet and deny it, we can try to act as though we don’t accept it, but it is not going to change the reality that the great American experiment that was launched just over 230 years ago is finally producing empirical results. The conclusion: People are capable of sustaining individual liberty only for as long as they can be constrained by a system of law that suppresses and contains their true nature.
We need to awaken to the reality that we are not a majority. We are not a vocal minority with the same rights as the majority. We are now dissidents. We do not have the same voice as our ever-strengthening oppressors, and we do not have the same rights that they enjoy.
For those who might argue that there more of us, or at least as many of us, who believe in individual liberty and free market capitalism than there are opponents to same, I would suggest that you should not confuse a simple head count with total political atomic mass. The positions within society that our opponents hold and the institutions and machinery they control gives them leverage beyond simple membership numbers….
The role of a dissident is not to convert those who are already on their side. The role of a dissident is to convert those who are opposed but who eventually come to realize and accept the teachings of the dissident. This comes through self-revelation. Self-revelation is created through awareness. Self-awareness is best created by posing a question to the listener that causes them to tip their head, scratch their chin, and say to themselves, “I never thought of it that way.”
It is likely that you have friends who use their social media or who engage in coffee shop conversations (back when it was possible to meet in a coffee shop for conversations), who talk about people who believe in the individual liberty and free market capitalism as the proverbial “they”, “them”, and “those” people. Those same friends might look at you and say that, of course, they do not mean you personally. They reassure you that you are not like “those” other people whom they insult.
One of the main objectives of being a successful dissident is to make the impersonal generic condemnation of others into a personal condemnation of you. Those who support the suppression of individual liberty and free market capitalism must understand that they are not allowed to criticize everything you believe in, and those who believe in it along with you, without simultaneously criticizing you. The supporters of suppression need to know that “others” and “you” are indivisible. This is a critical element of success….
Our role models need to be people like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, and Andrei Sakharov. These were courageous men, true dissidents, who stood up to totalitarianism during the period of Soviet domination. Their unyielding yet steady courage and resolve helped to make the world understand what true oppression felt like. People forget that in the early days of Soviet Russia, the country was considered to be a utopian model for many in the West. The efforts of dissidents like these taught the world a different story. More importantly, over time it taught their countrymen.