Monday, June 16, 2014

What if they gave a coup and no one cared?

I'm reading a very interesting book right now on why the United States has managed to survive going on 250 years without having a military coup.  For those of us who live in a place where the rule of law has been followed more or less for nearly two and one-half centuries, it's easy to forget that there are places in the world where the military routinely deposes elected leaders, or where the leaders come to power in the first instance at the point of a gun.  Bolivia once had six presidents in seven days.

The author offers a number of possible reasons for why we have enjoyed a relatively stable period of democratic rule, and his thoughts on the subject are all very interesting, but I have a different question:  Suppose the United States did have a military coup.  How many people would actually care?

Americans give lip service to valuing freedom, but have traditionally been willing to give it up at more or less the drop of a hat.  A society that actually valued freedom would have ejected the TSA from its airports a long time ago.  A society that actually valued freedom would not allow that organized armed robbery racket known as civil forfeiture to continue, and probably would have shut down the war on drugs too.  It seems that whenever some politician can make even a quasi-plausible claim that there's a threat looming on the horizon, people line up to exchange freedom for security, and that's even before someone chimes in with "will no one think of the children".  Shame on us.

So, if whomever staged such a coup promised security and kept food on people's dinner tables, how many people would actually care?  Sadly, I suspect not that many.  Though I hope to never find out if I'm right.

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