The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It's a shell game intended to keep us focused on and distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said - about militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption - while the government continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.
Unarmed citizens are still getting shot by militarized police trained to view them as the enemy and treated as if we have no rights. Despite President Obama's warning that the nation needs to do some "soul searching" about issues such as race, poverty, and the strained relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve, police killings and racial tensions are at an all-time high. Just recently, in Texas, a white police officer was suspended after video footage showed him "manhandling, arresting, and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party."
Americans' private communications and data are still being sucked up by government spy agencies. The USA Freedom Act was just a placebo intended to make us feel better without bringing about any real change. As Bill Blunden, a cybersecurity researcher and surveillance critic, points out, "The theater we've just witnessed allows decision-makers to boast to their constituents about reforming mass surveillance while spies understand that what's actually transpired is hardly major change."
Taxpayer dollars are still being squandered on roads to nowhere, endless wars that do not make us safer, and bloated government agencies that should have been shut down long ago. A good example is the Transportation Security Administration, which, despite its $7-billion annual budget, has shown itself to be bumbling and ineffective.
And military drills are still being carried out on American soil under the pretext of training soldiers for urban warfare overseas. Southeastern Michigan, the site of one of the many military-training drills taking place across the country this summer, has had Black Hawk helicopters buzzing its skies and soldiers dressed for combat doing night-combat drills in abandoned buildings around the state.
In other words, freedom, or what's left of it, is being threatened from every direction. However, as history shows us, freedom is not, on the whole, wrested from a citizenry. It is all too often given over voluntarily and for such a cheap price: safety, security, bread, and circuses.
This is part and parcel of the propaganda churned out by the government machine. In order to develop a compliant citizenry, people must be forced to live in a mental matrix of words, ideas, ideologies, and teachings that are designed to make us conform.
"As the Matrix in the movie was used to facilitate the exploitation of humans," writes author Henry H. Lindner, "so the current ideological Matrix was created for, and serves to exploit us, turning us into unthinking workers and consumers - slaves of the ruling elite who themselves are trapped in the Matrix." In fact, "few of us are able to escape the Matrix. We do not even know it exists."
For there to be any hope of real change, you'll have to change how you think about yourself, your fellow human beings, freedom, society, and the government. This means freeing your mind, realizing the truth, and unlearning all the myths you have been indoctrinated with since the day you were able to comprehend language.
The following principles may help budding freedom-fighters in the struggle to liberate themselves and our society.
First, the government's primary purpose is maintaining power and control. It's an oligarchy composed of corporate giants wedded to government officials and motivated by greed, whose purpose is to perpetuate itself.
Second, voting is practically worthless. As Jordan Michael Smith, writing for the Boston Globe, concludes about the American government: "There's the one we elect, and then there's the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy." Voting is a way to keep the citizenry pacified. It provides the illusion of participation.
Third, question everything. Don't assume anything government does is for the good of the citizenry.
Fourth, materialism is a death knell to freedom. While it may be true that Americans are better off than citizens of other nations - we have jobs, food, entertainment, shopping malls, etc. - these are the trappings meant to anesthetize and distract us.
Fifth, there is little hope for any true resistance if you are mindlessly connected to the electronic concentration camp. Remember: What you're being electronically fed by those in power is meant to pacify, distract, and control you. You can avoid mind manipulations to a large degree by greatly limiting your reliance on electronic devices - cell phones, laptops, televisions, and so on.
Sixth, an armed revolt will not work. This is not colonial America with its muskets and people's armies. Local police departments have enough militarized firepower to do away with even a large-scale armed revolt.
Seventh, there is power in numbers. Networks, coalitions, and movements can accomplish much - especially if their objectives are focused and practical - and they are very much feared by government authorities. That's why the government is armed to the teeth and prepared to put down even small nonviolent protests.
Eighth, act locally but think nationally. The greatest impact can be had at local governing bodies such as city councils. Join together with friends and neighbors and start a Civil Liberties Oversight Committee. Regularly attend council meetings and demand that government corruption be brought under control and that police activities be brought under the scrutiny of local governing bodies and, thus, the citizenry.
Ninth, towns, cities, and states can nullify or say "no" to federal laws that violate the rights and freedoms of the citizenry. When and if you see such federal laws passed, gather your coalition of citizens and demand that your local town council nullify such laws. If enough towns and cities across the country would speak truth to power in this way, we might see some positive movement from the federal governmental machine.
Tenth, understand what freedom is all about. "Who were the first persons to get the unusual idea that being free was not only a value to be cherished but the most important thing that someone can possess?" asks Professor Orlando Patterson. "The answer in a word: slaves."
Freedom arose from the hearts and minds of those who realized that they were slaves. It became a primary passion of those who were victims of slavery.
Some Americans are beginning to realize that they are slaves and that if they don't act soon, they will find themselves imprisoned in the electronic concentration camp indefinitely. Mind you, there may not be any chains hanging from the dungeon walls, but it is a prison nonetheless, and we are, without a doubt, inmates serving life sentences.
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of the Rutherford Institute (Rutherford.org) and editor of GadflyOnline.com. His latest book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is available at Amazon.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.