Many of you may have read those words before, but have you ever read the greater context of the quote from which they come?
What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
It’s true: free men must ever be ready to take up arms in defense of their liberty — especially against their own government. However, this does not mean we can start the shooting. Our founders did not start the shooting in the American Revolution. The truth is, many Patriots died before the first Red Coat was killed, and when it happened, it was clearly an act of self-defense. This is because our founders understood Natural Law. So, in waking and preparing ourselves for what must soon come to America once again, we must also remind ourselves that the cause of righteousness can never initiate the use force, it can only resort to it as a means of self-defense — and even then, only as a last resort.
When you start the war, the world will see you as the aggressor — because you are. This is why those who call the Civil War the War of Norther Aggression are correct: the North started the hostilities — not the South. Natural Law dictates that all who seek the use of force to win their cause will fall to those who hold the same world view. It is what these words actually mean:
“If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.”
This is because those who use force are saying that ‘might makes right.’ If you believe might makes right, you will always find someone who is either stronger than you or more clever in his application of force. They will defeat you. So this means that those who believe might makes right reject the notion of a lasting idea of what is right and what is wrong. For them, right and wrong change according to whoever has the ability to force their will on others. Civilized people call this by many names, but the two most prominent are slavery and tyranny.
But for those who build their case on the cause of righteousness, no matter what happens to them, they can always appeal their case to the Source of all righteousness. And the Source of all righteousness, the same Source that tells us we must not live by the sword, is also the Source who told His apostles to sell their cloak and buy a sword at the Last Supper. But note: when He was told that the apostles had two swords, Christ said they were enough. This tells us that we can sometimes justify defending ourselves, but we can never justify attacking others first. The righteous use of force must always be in self-defense.
So, to all of you I hear calling for Patriots to take up arms against our government, please, hear me. You must not call for the side of righteousness to take the first shot. If you do, you will destroy our cause before it begins. If you are a Patriot, and you truly believe in the cause, then you must follow Christ’s example; the example of His early disciples; the example of Gandhi and MLK. You must speak out and tell the tyrant he is wrong, even if he jails or kills you. Yes, you can justify defending yourselves, but only after you have completely exhausted all peaceful recourse, and even then, only after the tyrant starts shooting first. This is what the founders did at Concord: they simply stood in the way of the tyrant and waited, offering themselves as sacrifices in a greater battle. That’s because they understood they were not playing their role for men, but for the Supreme Judge of this universe. If we wish to restore the promise and blessings of this land, then we must follow the founders example now.
So, do not call for and do not allow anyone calling themselves a Patriot to fire the first shot. So long as we have any peaceful means of resistance available to us, and we are not openly being slaughtered in the streets, do not let anyone use force against the tyrants. Do everything you can to stop them. Remember, and teach others, that we are not trying to serve ourselves, or act for the sake of men. We are trying to serve the Creator of this universe, so we must act to gain His approval. Play your role in this great play with this in mind. For it is only if and when we behave in this manner, which will require a humble and contrite heart, that we stand any chance of succeeding in restoring liberty to this great land.