My ol’ pal Claire Wolfe has a new book, The Basics of Resistance: The Practical Freedomista. Claire has been on the cutting edge of freedom hell-raising since her 1996 bestseller, 101 Things to do ‘Til the Revolution – a work that rightly captured capture a generation of fans for her. Her latest work is co-authored with Kit Perez, another well-known freedom writer. Basics of Resistance is in the same subversive vein of Claire’s earlier books and has a bounty of ideas of how individuals can live their own lives – while occasionally thwarting the system.
Claire describes herself as a “free-market anarchist” and she has one of the best Bullshit Detectors in the business. Her motto: “I believe in creating freedom—one thought, one action, and one individual at a time.” On Basics for Resistance, Claire declares: “This book is for you if you’re both a freedom fighter and a freedom thinker who can quietly lead the way or go your own way in the cause of individual liberty.”
Claire & Kit explain: “The main work of preserving freedom is actually done quietly, patiently, and sometimes behind the scenes. …You resist because the world we now live in is closing off many avenues of freedom. Our privacy is disappearing. Surveillance is everywhere. Our activities are monitored.” The book emphatically declares: “We do not agree with, endorse, advocate for, or otherwise support violent activism or offensive actions that have the potential to harm innocent lives.”
The book contains a wealth of ideas for non-violent resistance. The book mentions the “old joke… that you can always spot the fed in your group because he’s the one who’s trying to get you to blow something up.” Federal courts have practically defined entrapment out of existence in the last 40 years, making it far easier for undercover agents to lure naive folks and nitwits to their legal doom.
Claire and Kit pound home the necessity of being on guard online: “If you think your ‘secret’ Facebook group or messages are secure, then YOU are the weakest link for yourself and everyone around you.” But the dangers of detection go far beyond the obvious. Basics for Resistance notes:
Maltese Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose passionate work against corruption helped reveal the Panama Papers, got herself blown up by a car bomb in 2017. She used WhatsApp to communicate with her contacts. Did WhatsApp betray her? And those who worked with her? We don’t know. We do know that after her death her smartphone fell into some of the very hands she was trying to expose—and the good old always “trustworthy” FBI helped to crack her communications. Besides, WhatsApp is owned and developed by Facebook.”
Shortly after this book came out, the chief of WhatsApp resigned in protest after Facebook sought to weaken the encryption for the program. Claire and Kit urge readers to get off their ass to cover their tracks – on principle: “Retaining your privacy is declaring your ownership over yourself. It’s saying you don’t belong to any government.”
Basics for Resistance offers plenty of examples of anti-government activism gone awry. It labels as “ ill-considered” the “Malheur standoff in Oregon.” On the other hand, the book has plenty of examples of effective protests against anti-gun dictates: “The Toys for Totalitarians campaign sent a standard-capacity magazine to state legislators who helped pass magazine bans. Run by Mike Vanderboegh, the campaign made the news and caused much consternation (and amusement).”
This book contains profiles or references to excellent organizations such as the Fully Informed Jury Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation – both of which have done stalwart work for liberty.
My Boy Scout heritage prevents me from concurring with all the recommendations in the book (or all the groups profiled) but there are many positive ideas here for people of all political stripes (well, except for totalitarians). I learned a lot from the book – such as the existence of a website named Fake Name Generator. Damn, if only I had found that before I signed up for Twitter.
I heartily recommend Basics for Resistance. The Kindle version is only $3.99 – less than the price of an overloaded cup of Starbucks coffee – and roughly the price you’d pay for 45 seconds of a conversation with a defense attorney. It is refreshing to see a book on resistance that doesn’t pretend that America’s problems will be solved by putting the other political party in the White House.