The only other thing I remember that we did before leaving Sydney was to go up to a theater in King’s Cross and see the play Hair. The “Age of Aquarius” had been dawning now for a few years and we thought we ought to go see about it. There we heard all the songs that had become familiar, and heard a sweet young thing sing a sweet duet with some young man about all sorts of creative sexual activities. Then the curtain dropped and rose again and there was the whole cast – men, women, black, white, and everything in-between - standing right out there buck-naked in front of everybody. Of course we had heard about this attraction ahead of time, and we wanted to go and make sure it was true. Then they all sang about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and exhorted us to let the sun shine in….
Onto the End Times?
The revolution of the ‘60s was going on full blast, and Hair articulated it in a nutshell. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, wherein Peace was to reign with Free Love and Flower Power. Everyone would “Make Love, not War,” and all would be “Free at last!” from the traditional conventions and restraints and bonds of our society – which evidently included (as Karl Marx said at the conclusion of his Communist Manifesto) all other existing social conditions as well – which, boiled down to its essence, of course, is the recipe for Anarchy. Much was said in Hair about personal freedom. Not much was said about personal responsibility.
But Hair was an eye-opener all right, and it got to me at a time when I was beginning to seriously question some things that, before, I had taken for granted. Hair capped the first milestone for me. The Aquarians would have been proud to know that. They probably wouldn’t have been as proud to know my considered conclusions, arrived at later.
“Anarchy is the chrysalis state of despotism,” said John Randolph of Roanoke, arguing with the authority of Classical Antiquity to back him up. The Greek historian Polybius observed that there are three successive forms of government, each with its good and bad aspect, and each giving way to the next in a retrogression: Monarchy brings order out of chaos, but it devolves into Tyranny; Aristocracy deposes Tyranny, but it devolves into Oligarchy; Democracy deposes Oligarchy, but it devolves into Mob Rule and Anarchy, and the cycle begins again. A revolution is only a paradigm shift that – if left to run its natural course – leaves the social structure in balance again at its conclusion. But there are those who profit politically from revolution, and who stand to lose when it ends. Therefore, in order to effect an artificial prolongation of the process and preserve their positions of revolutionary power rather than let the revolution run its natural course, they erect a totalitarian government – a Tyranny – over the body politic. This may be accomplished by the State’s deliberate destabilization and destruction of civil society (such as church, family, neighborhood, local government, etc.) which atomizes the people and leaves them exclusively dependent on the central government – which is the very foundation of totalitarianism. The methods employed to create this dependency vary from fear on the one hand to persuasion on the other - including the promotion and encouragement of a belief in both radical individualism and radical egalitarianism. Such a belief and practice verily defined the radical ‘60s revolution and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
“None but the people can forge their own chains; and to flatter the people and delude them by promises never meant to be performed is the stale but successful practice of the demagogue….” warned John Randolph of Roanoke. True Freedom is a noble and a precious thing, and is not to be found wallowing around in such as “the flesh-pots of Egypt” that the Children of Israel murmured for during the Exodus. Its rarity carries a high price that must be paid for in the coin of self-denial, not self-indulgence. While those who were paying for it were rolling in the mud in Vietnam and dodging AK 47 fire, the Aquarians were rolling naked in the mud at an indiscriminate groupie-grope called Woodstock, high on drugs and dodging the draft. Cloaking self-indulgence in robes of Freedom, and weak character in robes of self-righteous indignation, they were running away to Canada, burning draft cards, burning flags, burning cities, running for office, and – while better men were gone – getting themselves elected by squandering that which they had done nothing to earn. So much for the freedom of radical individualism.
As for radical egalitarianism, one need only to consider the works of God, “for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?” (Ecclesiastes 7:13) God did not crank out mankind on an assembly line, as we are exhorted to believe according to the Communist philosophy and the machine age that spawned it. If “all men are created equal,” then Albert Einstein could go fifteen rounds with Mohammad Ali and fight him to a draw, and then Mohammad Ali could sit down with Albert Einstein in the locker room afterwards and intelligently discuss with him the Theory of Relativity. So, when we talk of Freedom and Equality we must define our terms, for the two conditions are mutually exclusive. If equality of opportunity is the goal, that is fine. If equality of outcome is the end promised, then it is a lie promulgated by political demagogues and revolutionaries. God created all men free. He did not create all men equal. It takes a totalitarian government to do that. Let the sun shine in….
Hamlet: Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
Horatio: Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins, too.
Hamlet: They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that…
Hamlet, Act V, Sc. 1
Virginia today is under a Constitutional crisis. The Party of Big Government has absolute power here and is wielding it arbitrarily under authority of the tyranny of the majority. It is arbitrary power because it is unconstitutional. Notwithstanding any pettifogging legalese, “shall not be infringed” is as plain as English can be spoken. Recognizing that tyranny may come from a majority as well as from a monarch, the Founders constituted as the best guarantee against despotism a federal form of government that diffused power. Further recognizing that power corrupts, and that ambitious men will always find a way to gain power over constitutional restraints, the Founders implemented a Bill of Rights, which are the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. These enumerated rights are not rights granted by the government. They are inalienable, God-given rights that no just government may infringe, violate, or destroy. They may only be voluntarily relinquished by the people themselves. Ambitious men seeking dominion over their fellow citizens, therefore, may not force this on them. They must use persuasion. Powers of enforcement may come later. History has shown us the effectiveness of persuasion by the ministries of propaganda in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Today, modern information technology gives power-seekers advantages undreamed of by Stalin and Hitler.
The First Amendment protecting the right of free speech, and the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms have both been infringed with the acquiescence of the citizens by persuading them that these infringements will make them safer. One cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, and one may not walk the streets with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Most have agreed that these are reasonable infringements, but the danger to our civil rights and liberties lies in the fact that “reasonable” and “common-sense” are arbitrary terms that can be manipulated by power-seekers in government.
The more the inalienable rights of citizens are restricted, the more power accrues to government. Now we have arbitrary laws against “hate speech”, and arbitrary “common-sense” gun control laws. “Big Brother” is watching. Once implemented, there is no end to more. For one example, the Southern Poverty Law Center – a hate-based scam – may provide government with specious rationale for surveillance with its arbitrary “hate map,” potentially intimidating law-abiding citizens into silence; for another, gun registration schemes and “red flag” laws are the first steps towards unwarranted government search and seizure.
Government cannot implement these laws without the consent of the governed, but “the consent of the governed” is not universal. It is only the consent of a simple majority who have been persuaded to have their inalienable rights diminished or destroyed. But this destroys the inalienable rights of the minority who have not been so persuaded. There, then, is the tyranny of the majority: a naïve majority who are selling our inalienable rights down the river to the Party of Big Government in exchange for a specious promise of “security” - or a calculating majority in league with the Party of Big Government!
As Alexis de Tocqueville observed, political parties may be looked upon as lesser nations within a greater one, and in this country they are increasingly alien to each other. If one nation can act tyrannically towards another, can it be denied that a political party can act tyrannically towards another? If a man possessing arbitrary power may abuse it by wronging an adversary, may not a collective of men possessing arbitrary power do the same? Men do not change their character by uniting with one another. Asserting that the majority can do no injustice, and therefore its Rule of Law must be submitted to without question, is the language of a slave. In the reign of Henry VIII, Parliament decreed that one Richard Rose “be boiled alive without benefit of clergy” under the Rule of Law.
These arbitrary, unconstitutional “common-sense” gun laws imposed upon Virginia infringe not only on our guaranteed rights under the Second Amendment, but, with the frighteningly dangerous “red flag” laws, they infringe on due process, assuming a citizen is guilty until he proves himself innocent. As a result, Second Amendment sanctuaries have arisen like a flood tide across Virginia. They do not deny the right of the majority to command justly. They deny the right of the majority to command arbitrarily.
A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, the author graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1967 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a Regular Commission in the US Army. His service included qualification as an Airborne Ranger, and command of an Engineer company in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. After his return, he resigned his Commission and ended by making a career as a tugboat captain. During this time he was able to earn a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Richmond, with an international focus on war and cultural revolution. He is a member of the Jamestowne Society, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Society of Independent Southern Historians. He currently lives in Richmond, where he writes, studies history, literature and cultural revolution, and occasionally commutes to Norfolk to serve as a tugboat pilot