The “Right” to Rebel- Myth or Fact?

On the ‘gun rights’ front, it has sometimes been pointed out that gun ownership is not just about sport, not just about hunting, not just about personal self-defense from ‘criminals,’ but also personal self-defense from, potentially, your own government.

At it’s root, this is an assumption of a right to rebel against your own government.

This “right,” as most call it, is written into the contract, the social contract, the document that gives legitimacy of the government based on the ideational premise that government is legitimate if it has the consent of the people.  In this case, there is an implied consent given by continuing to exist and function within the borders of the United States of America.

What has been seen is that governments, at various levels (including the Federal level), have assumed gun regulation powers, to varying degree, and so far the assumption of a right to rebel against your own government has not entered into “Canon” law, as can be seen by the Supreme Court’s largely’ hands-off approach to settling gun regulation issues, and the continued existence, at various times, since the inception of the contract (the Declaration of Independence, the Original Constitution, and the first 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights), of gun regulation as well as executed gun confiscation operations (which continue to take place as of the writing of this analysis).

The ideational power of the 2nd Amendment does not seem to have translated to consistent and total actionable “protections” against government gun regulation efforts.  The ideational aggregates of the American population offer little in the way of an assumption of a right to rebel against government outside of the shifting tendencies of winning and losing camps, with the winners no longer supporting an assumption of a right to rebel, and the losers insisting on the right.

In other words, the major factions seem not so much to support a universal notion of a right to rebel against the government, but rather seem to view it (judging by action, not words) as a useful political weapon, whether they mean to actually rebel or not.  The mere threat of rebellion offers a degree of political power to the camp deploying it, so long as they can demonstrate their willingness and ability to undertake such rebellion (and it matters little if the demonstration represents real power or not).

Without ideational power, it then falls upon individuals to decide to exercise that right when confronted with a government agent.  It is almost guaranteed that the government agent(s) is not going to be swayed (let alone even listen) by your eloquent declarations of the fundamental rights of individuals to rebel against governments that violate the social contract.

What will sway that person, at this moment, is fear of potential high-physical cost at carrying out the order that has made you a target of your own government.  The “right” to rebel against the government that violates the social contract is only a “right” so long as you actually choose to execute it, and you have a chance to succeed (the order will be rescinded, one way or another).

That “right” requires the will of the people in proximal physical range to come to your aid should your government target you with an order that violates the social contract, and thus delegitimizes the state, which no longer has the consent of the people.

As many of you can tell, there’s a lot of subjective assignment of value to much of the words in the previous passage.  I’ll leave that for you to dissect.  The point here is not so much to argue for or against the positions, the assumptions, the terms, the definitions of the people who tend to support a notion of the right to rebel against your government (in a universal, not partisan political tool sense).

The point here is to outline, in simple terms, but terms regularly deployed by this group, the general philosophical ‘justifications’ behind their support of the “right” to rebel against your own government.

But this “right,” if you have it, relies on a significant aggregate of fellow believers in this “right” who are willing to actually execute that “right.”

If, for instance, the government decides to withdraw all claims of the ‘right’ to regulate arms ownership, this would still not protect you from the potential tyranny by your government.  What will protect you from being “unjustly” targeted by an order from your own government is the recognition by your neighbors that, firstly, the order itself is really “unjust,” secondly, they believe in this universal “right” to rebel against your own government, and thirdly, they are willing to execute that “right.”

If, for instance, the government decides to outlaw all weapons ownership, but a significant minority of people (say, 10-20 percent or more) believe in this “right” to rebel against your own government AND are willing to execute that right, then the cost of enforcement by the government is prohibitively high.

This is no guarantee that the government will not continue to attempt with the confiscations to follow, but it significantly lessens the chances the government will decide to push on.  If the government is well aware (be it real or imagined) that the mood of a significant-enough portion of people are willing to execute this “right” to rebel against your own government, then this also significantly reduces the chances the government will write the confiscation orders in the first place.

After all this, I get to my concluding point, which is this, the most important power individuals can wield to deter the government from disarming them is NOT to stop legislation or regulations but to have neighbors who are willing to execute the “right” to rebel against your own government when they attempt to execute orders that violate the social contract (and they are in agreement with you on what that social contract entails).

The degree to which the government understands the potential cost of enforcement of certain types of orders might be prohibitively high is the degree to which government moderates or discontinues any attempts to enforce these orders (if they haven’t been rescinded, removed, etc, already).

It is not ending or passing bills that will protect you from ‘tyranny.’  Rather, it is the ‘hearts and minds’ of your neighbors that will either offer you protections from ‘tyranny’ or else will be enablers of it.

If you cannot actually hope to stand against the unjust order that has targeted you, then you have no actual “right” to rebel against your own government.  And you cannot stand alone.

About Paul Gordon 3009 Articles
Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at