We’ve seen it a thousand times. The words used may vary but the sentiment is the same. You’ve probably seen these. Maybe you’ve said them. Maybe you’ve been the target of someone’s accusations. What are they accusing you of? Division.
“You’re dividing the movement!”
There are two things you need to understand about division. We’ll explain both of them, but first, you need to understand a concept that is fairly controversial: There is a movement, and there is a resistance—and they are not the same thing.
How can you tell the difference between the two? Well, one way is that the movement cares about division and ostracizes anyone they believe is causing it. The resistance, on the other hand, in many cases thrives on it.
Why the Movement Hates Division
The movement worries about division because they believe that if we all just come together, things will be better. Many of them want to unite under a national leader. They want the perceived security of a hierarchy, a chain of command. When it comes down to it, a lot of people who consider themselves rebels or revolutionaries are really just a different kind of follower. More than once, someone has complained to me in private that “If we just had someone to lead us.” Others have named their favorite ‘big name’ in the movement and said, “I’ll go wherever that guy says we should.” Still others exhibit a seemingly worshipful attitude toward one man or group. Many of these people find pride in their own affiliations and/or relationships; they are fulfilled through their associations. The bigger the group they’re in, the more well-known they are as leaders, the more publicity their group gets through various exploits, the more fulfilled they feel. That sense of belonging is important to many. It’s part of who we are as humans. Even those who say they don’t care what anyone thinks, they are Bad To The Bone and Not Going To Take It Anymore and Ready To Fight…well, let’s face it. They’re looking for others who share their view. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be sitting on Facebook carping about it, they’d be out doing whatever it is they are So Ready To Go Do Right Now. Humans are social.
Meanwhile, the movement is also no different than the rest of society in that it is a microcosm of humanity. Within the movement there are people we don’t agree with, people who are corrupt, people who are driven by ego, opportunists and power grabbers and perverts and white supremacists and every other kind of person there is, right along with the moral, ethical, solid freedom-lovers who desperately just want liberty. There are those who claim the III% moniker while engaging in behavior we all know is wrong. I’m not talking about a difference in candidate choice, either. It’s a sad truth, but it needs to be said. We must self-police our ranks; if we are not willing to purge those who are dangerous, who discredit the cause, who bring dishonor to liberty through their actions, then we risk being found guilty by association—and our cause suffers. For a perfect case in point, think back to the couple who were kicked out of the Bundy Ranch action and later went on a shooting spree. How fast did the media link them to the Bundy Ranch? How many times did you have to see someone say “Hey they got turned away! They weren’t with us!” Just think: Those two pieces of trash did get sent away. Imagine how you’d explain it if they had been allowed to stay and be part of the group for a while?
So here we have a juxtaposition. People want to be accepted, they want to be part of the The Big Patriot Movement(tm), but we also know that there are those among us who bring dishonor to everything we are trying to accomplish. All of us have seen things go on in the movement that should not have.
The next logical question is how can that be exploited? How can someone—an infiltrator or agitator, for instance—use that to derail operations and render members ineffective? How can someone ensure that those who are dishonoring the ideals we are fighting so hard to uphold get to stay right where they are, and keep doing it? It’s so simple, and it’s the first thing you need to know about division: Accusations of division can be used by bad actors to manipulate members and render them useless while allowing misconduct or disruption to continue.
When someone who is emotionally fulfilled by being in a group is accused of “dividing the movement,” it causes guilt, which is, by the way, a very effective way of controlling many different kinds of people. Truly dedicated people can often be convinced that any issues are their own fault, that by bringing up problems in the group, they are actually causing problems themselves by “creating drama.” People can be manipulated rather easily in this way.
The Resistance Loves Division
The resistance, on the other hand, is made up of people who are already divided by choice. They are compartmentalized by design, separated and segregated into cells that operate independently. They do not need or want a leader, they do not care about drama or the dynamics of a large group because they avoid large groups like the plague. You won’t see them on Facebook complaining about division because they’re too busy acting outside of it. They are harder to infiltrate, harder to approach, harder to find. Their unity is only within their cell, and their loyalty is only to the cause and the people within their cell—five to seven people who they train with, work with, and operate with. They are not part of a greater hierarchy. They plan, train, and act outside of the “movement.”
Which brings us to the second thing you need to know about division: it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What is more effective: 2500 people in a Facebook group, or 10 cells of 5 people each who cannot be tracked, cannot be found, and can’t even be confirmed to exist? It takes very little time to confirm pretty much anything there is to know about a group on Facebook. We already know that during the Malheur standoff, FBI agents and other federal agencies were camped out on social media, collecting every scrap of information, every name, every location, every photo, everything. How many arrests have occurred since Malheur? It’s much harder to arrest a group when you don’t know its members, don’t know where they live, or even if a group exists at all. And as we’ve written before, you can only die once for liberty. Better to stay out of jail, better to stay alive, and do more for longer—even if (ESPECIALLY IF) no one knows you’re doing it.
No, Not Everyone Preaching About Division is a Plant
Now, does this mean that every time you hear the word “division” it’s coming from a plant or manipulator? No, of course not. Often it comes from well-meaning people who need a leader in order to be effective. It comes from people who truly believe that we all need to unite under one banner in order to achieve anything, we all need to show up to Big Events and Multi-Unit Exercises. There are good things about that belief system, and the people who believe it are not somehow horrible or stupid. The thing is, that sense of altruism, that depth of emotion that we bring to the cause, is one of the very things that can be used against us. The fact that we love liberty so much means, far too often, that we desperately want to believe that everyone around us, in our groups and our circles, loves it too. And so we make excuses for bad behavior, we keep quiet about security problems, we set aside that gnawing feeling in our gut about someone, all for the sake of unity…and we wait for a leader to tell us what to do.
The movement doesn’t need leaders. It needs doers. It needs people who are willing to set themselves aside, learn the skills they don’t have, and teach the skills they do. It needs computer geeks who can help set up secure comms for others. It needs gunsmiths who can teach others how to maintain their weapons, and radio guys who help ensure we can talk to each other no matter what’s going on, and medical personnel who can teach us how to handle the carnage that is almost certainly to come at some point.
You don’t need unity to learn. You don’t need unity to get things done. And if you need a leader…be one.