The Last Stop Before Thermopylae

America is at a crossroads. We are facing the greatest threat to liberty the Republic has yet encountered—a ruling elite backed by the primary institutions of power in America: the media, academia, the permanent bureaucracy, and the defense-intelligence complex. These institutions are fully committed to a top-down rebellion of the elites determined to protect the wealth and power of the establishment. No enemy is as dangerous as the enemy within—and this enemy now controls the reins of national power in America.

We have a choice: submit or fight.

At this point, it is unproductive to rehash the litany of self-sabotage inflicted upon America over the past four years. And equally unproductive is casting the new regime and its nomenklatura as some type of Gollum that distracts us from what we need to do to survive. For traditional Americans inundated with a continuous stream of who-did-what-to-whom, outrage and hypocrisy now fall on deaf ears. The time to cry about the past is over. The solution to our predicament lies in what we do from here forward.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote “If you know yourself and you know the enemy you need not fear a thousand battles.” Let’s take an honest look at who we are and the threat we face. 

American society is now cleaved into two factions that are intrinsically at odds with one another. 

On one hand, you have traditional Americans. They come in every race, creed, and religion. They believe in law and order, expect everyone to follow the rules, and mostly just want to be left alone. 

Family-oriented, self-reliant, and armed, traditional Americans populate the working-class ranks of the military, law enforcement, and industry. Sadly, most are technically illiterate. They underestimate the threat from the surveillance state and Securitate. Many still believe the FBI only goes after bad guys, and they cannot grasp that the national security apparatus now views them as the enemy. They rightly bristle when slandered with “white supremacist” or “terrorist” labels. A habituated trust in authority makes them vulnerable to snitching on others and collaborating with those they shouldn’t. Many are infected with white knight conspiracy theories that counsel remaining submissive. In general, they have nearly zero control of the nation’s money, media, government, academia, legal system, and surveillance state.

On the other hand is the ruling elite. They advocate a multi-tiered justice system and expect others to follow their rules, beliefs, and norms. They are politically savvy and disciplined. They view traditional Americans and their beliefs as an impediment to their wealth and utopian dreams, going so far as routinely to advocate extreme actions such as genocide, re-education, and the removal of the children of their political opposition.

They employ proxy forces, such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and journalists to bully ordinary Americans and weak-willed corporations. In order to intimidate and discredit their political opposition, they’ve weaponized the use of labels such as “white supremacist” and “terrorist” on their enemies. They are generally opposed to religion and personal firearm ownership, and they cannot allow you to be left alone. They will attempt to nudge wrong-thinkers into accepting the ruling elite’s ideology. If that doesn’t work, they’ll force compliance via law enforcement, military, and the intelligence agencies they now command. They control most of the national wealth and all of the media, government, academia, legal authorities, and surveillance state. 

So, what does all this mean? Many traditional Americans are sleepwalking into a conflict they are not mentally prepared to handle. The ideals of blind justice and due process are now, for all intents and purposes, quaint relics, and relying on constitutional rights for protection is dangerously naïve. 

Like it or not, we live in a police state, controlled by an increasingly authoritarian regime with near-total electronic surveillance. The national security apparatus views conservatives and free-thinkers as domestic terrorists, and there are now more military deployed in our nation’s capital than in war zones overseas. If America were any other country, it would be considered a non-permissive environment—not a free country.

The pundit class recommends midterm elections and unifying the GOP as remedies, but they ignore the real elephant in the room—representative government is not representing us. While conservative and independent voices are censored and banned from the community square, their elected representatives cower behind their desks and make sweetheart deals with the new regime. 

We are facing a new post-justice, post-truth society. We won’t be able to debate our way out of it, vote our way out of it, or tweet our way out of it. No one is coming to save us. If traditional America wants to be free, it will have to stop living in the past, get up off the couch, and take action.

“Come With Me If You Want to Live”

There is a way forward—one that is not based on conspiracy theories, white knights, or fanciful ideas of a Second Amendment American Thermopylae. Instead, it is built on the structure of a grassroots political movement designed to return control of the country to the citizenry. This is something to be implemented locally, in communities, towns, and cities. And, importantly, it doesn’t require an elected representative to make the message heard. The movement structure has five major components, all of which need to be tailored locally and coordinated across regional areas. 


The people have the power to make political change. They need to leverage that power in a collective manner with other traditional Americans. The people of this movement do not rely on the vote or a Washington politician to represent them. Its purpose is to make the voice of traditional Americans heard. The movement is built on three organizational arms:

  • Political: This arm delivers the message, including the movement’s narrative, demands, and political action decisions. The movement funnels everything through this arm so the message is concise, disciplined and not subject to fragmentation. (Remember the failed Occupy movement, QAnon, and 50,000 sealed indictments? These are classic cases of message fragmentation and suppression.)
  • Action: This arm organizes and conducts activities such as protests, general strikes, and resistance activities. This is the arm that delivers the political and economic pain. Saul Alinsky said that people hurt before institutions hurt. Make people in D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley hear the people’s demands with civil actions like general strikes against transportation, trucking, food supply, and sanitation, along with mass civil disobedience (taxi, train, bus, and rideshare slow-downs, traffic blockages, marches, etc.), blue-flu sickouts, WallStreetBets-style financial interdictions, and local nullification of unconstitutional federal edicts. These types of actions create effective pain points while keeping the movement’s members within nonviolent and constitutional boundaries.
  • Support: This arm recruits members, conducts intelligence, and counterintelligence operations (opposition research, protecting informants and provocateurs), provides logistical support to operations (secure transportation, lodging, supply chains, etc.), and runs legal defense (see below). 


Establish macro- and micro-funding mechanisms. Macro-funding comes from well-resourced Americans and businesses who will be, and currently are, growing weary of the authoritarian bent of the ruling elite. Micro-funding is as simple as passing the hat at the local pub or community event.

Cash is king. It is possible to create and use formal nonprofit organizations, but keep them disposable since they will quickly come under fire from the regime, and may lose access to banking services. Make sure to keep out the myriad grifters who have plagued conservative movements in the past.

Legal Defense Network 

Effective political movements need a legal support network to defend members from the criminal and civil persecution their resistance activities attract. Lawyers and money are critical because lawfare is a political action. If a movement can’t keep its people out of jail, it won’t last very long.


All electronic communications are surveilled in a non-permissive environment. Establish verifiable (integrity and authenticity) digital and personal communications systems to pass information between components and members. There are myriad communications systems that have been effectively resistant to mass surveillance. Do the research, use some imagination, leverage those who already possess the knowledge, and remember: loose lips sink ships.

Community Outreach

Establish programs to teach, train, and mentor members in tradecraft, fieldcraft, and digital signature management. Develop shadow services to provide basic support to sympathetic local populations. Keep in mind that money was the greatest need for members of the Dutch Resistance during the Nazi occupation. People needed jobs and financial assistance to provide for their families, especially when resistance members were arrested, imprisoned, blacklisted, or underground.

Time Is of the Essense

This is the basic structure of a political movement that can effectively operate in a non-permissive environment. That said, traditional Americans are now in a race for time. 

The current regime in Washington is moving fast to establish new legal authorities such as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) and to rewrite Executive Order 12333. The DTPA is a naked attempt to authorize the same tactics, techniques, and government agencies used in the fight against al-Qaeda on the regime’s political opposition, that is traditional Americans like you.

EO 12333 contains the holy grail of domestic restrictions on the operational authorities of the Defense Department and intelligence community. The current efforts to update EO 12333 are aimed at relaxing or removing those restrictions, allowing defense and intelligence agencies to operate domestically against U.S. citizens. In short, these actions would give the national security apparatus dangerously expanded powers and capabilities to use against U.S. citizens conducting constitutionally protected activities. Attempting to organize after these authorities and capabilities have been established would be the equivalent of trying to start a political movement from scratch in East Germany at the height of the Cold War. 

One cannot get small enough or anonymous enough to avoid the tyranny and oppression associated with authoritarian regimes. Do not delay. Always keep in mind the adage no one is coming to save you.

Remember, you have the power and are now responsible for your own liberty. If you get to Thermopylae, you’ve gone too far.

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About Max Morton

Max Morton is a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, former CIA paramilitary operations officer, and a veteran of multiple armed conflicts, revolutions, and contingency operations.

Photo: Paris Papaioannou/AFP via Getty Images