Choose Your Ground

In America, firearm ownership is a right—not a privilege. It is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and backstopped by the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Traditional Americans view the Second Amendment as one of the most important in the Bill of Rights. It is a part of American culture; a unique individual right of self-preservation and protection that is now either nonexistent or heavily restricted in most other nations.

Over the past several years, as the woke cultural revolution intensified, conservative conversations focused on the Second Amendment as the final defense against the tyranny that may result as progressives march toward authoritarian-style government. In response, right-leaning and independent-minded citizens have shown up at protests to exercise those Second Amendment rights by posturing with firearms and assorted tactical equipment. Regardless of the prudence involved in such actions, we are now treading on new ground.

Following the November 3 election and subsequent January 6 protest at the Capitol, the current regime set out to eliminate political opposition by casting them as “white supremacists” and “domestic extremists.” They intend to use the legal authorities, tactics, and techniques that were previously employed against Al Qaeda and ISIS against those ordinary Americans who refuse to accept the ruling elite’s political ideology.

Simply put, the most deadly counterterrorism machine from the world’s most powerful country is coming for you. You, ordinary American, are the target. Now is not the time for impotent tough talk and posturing with weapons at protests. The Second Amendment, and all of our rights, are critical to a free society, and we should seek to understand how best to exercise and defend them from authoritarian factions of the ruling elite. This is the time to get smart on how to counter this assault on liberty and avoid falling into the traps the ruling elite are setting for traditional America.


The U.S. military uses a concept called “defense-in-depth” as its primary defensive strategy. Defense-in-depth is a layered, multi-domain approach that uses numerous defensive elements designed to delay and diffuse the advance of an attacker. Rather than relying on a single, strong defensive line, the defender wears down the enemy, causing casualties while deliberately yielding space. Once the enemy has lost momentum and is under stress, the defender mounts a decisive counterattack to destroy the enemy or drive them back to their original lines.

This strategy also works in the political world and is relevant to our current situation. An effective political defense-in-depth strategy should include all mechanisms of political action to wear down the attack on our republic, its culture, and the Constitution. The term political action isn’t just limited to casting a vote or sending money to a political party. Effective political actions include protests, general strikes, walk-outs, sick-outs, civil disobedience, lawfare, and nullification.

The Polish Solidarity movement used many of these same political actions to bring down a socialist government at the height of the Cold War without firing a shot, despite having to outmaneuver rigged elections and a Soviet-style corrupt bureaucracy.

Where does the Second Amendment fit into the concept of a political defense-in-depth? Traditional Americans largely have aligned themselves with Jeffersonian non-aggression principles. These principles define a moral obligation to use non-violent means to achieve political and cultural change, and to use aggression/violence only in defense when other options are unavailable, ineffective, or imprudent.

Consider the colonists in their struggle against the Crown. The colonists built a political movement that unsuccessfully petitioned the crown for a redress of grievances before they took up arms against the British. Colonists used political actions of civil disobedience, such as the famous Boston Tea Party, to make their voices heard. They did not deploy arms before they had the intent to use them. Armed resistance came later, as a collective political activity deliberately applied at designated times to achieve a defined objective. In this struggle, armed resistance was not a single screaming Yankee flinging himself at the nearest redcoat.

The maxim, “When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty,” is instructive in the relationship between the citizen and the ruling elite.

The ruling elite watches and measures the citizenry’s engagement with the actions of government. If the ruling elite sees that the citizenry does not possess the strength of will to hold them to account, then the ruling elite will do as they wish against the citizenry. In this case, the citizenry has incentivized the corruption and tyranny from which it suffers. On the other hand, if the citizenry demonstrates the strength of will to mobilize, organize, and exert its power to hold the ruling elite accountable, then it is the citizenry who is feared . . . thus liberty.

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The Second Amendment represents the natural right of Americans to defend themselves, their property, and their way of life through the use of arms. It is not the rifle that the authoritarian fears, but the organized people who might wield it. The Second Amendment, as a deterrent against tyranny and authoritarian government, is a weapon of mutually assured destruction. Its use will necessarily set in motion draconian retaliatory actions by the government and the citizenry. Its employment is costly and is not a move to be taken lightly. The ruling elite understands this. They know that if Americans can’t muster the strength of will to organize, rise up, and use the political measures that are short of armed rebellion, then they most assuredly do not possess the strength of will and courage to cross the line to armed rebellion.

At this point, the Second Amendment stops being a deterrent against tyranny and an authoritarian government and becomes simply a thorn in the side of the ruling elite—to be removed by whatever means they wish and at the time of their choosing.

In asymmetric political warfare [you are here], the weaker party wins by not losing. Its greatest strength is its ability to endure. The goal is to wear down the stronger party and use its own inefficiencies and weaknesses against it. The weaker party chooses the ground to fight on and avoids being drawn into a fixed battle. That means avoiding armed conflict unless the conditions for victory are ensured. This is the same strategy our enemies effectively used against us in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Leading the political defense-in-depth with the deployment of arms is incompatible with American’s traditional non-aggression principle. It is also wildly ineffective since it jeopardizes the whole concept of a defense-in-depth by undermining the remaining non-violent political actions available. It can also lead to a decisive armed conflict before the conditions for victory have been ensured.

The right to keep and bear arms is a righteous liberty. Of all the individual liberties, it is the one most feared by authoritarian regimes—a mobilized and armed citizenry is the universal cure for the jackboot. The use of arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is an extremely valuable and important defensive capability. Like any high-value weapon, it should not be exposed to undue danger of capture or destruction. It should be applied judiciously and deliberately to achieve a specific outcome at the critical point in a struggle.

Simply put, and as it was intended by the founders, the Second Amendment should be a last resort, and the last line in the political defense-in-depth.

The Crux

The Biden regime is not a sustainable political entity. It cannot continue to exist in its present state because it will collapse under the weight of its own spectacle. As a result, it needs a catalyst to move its increasingly unpopular agenda forward. The catalyst they are trying to create is a defined internal enemy. A bogeyman they can use to justify tyrannical “emergency” actions, which mask the truth of the regime’s activities and enable it to eliminate any credible political opposition.

Since the national security apparatus is the primary regime backer within the permanent bureaucracy, you can expect it to use the provocation-reaction-counteraction template that is the favorite of organizations like the FBI. They provoke and harass the target until it punches back—at which point the target is labeled a threat and a counteraction is justified.

Traditional Americans need to recognize this tactic because they are the antagonist in this regime’s Greek tragedy. If the regime’s enforcers can get traditional Americans to look like they are about to commit violence, then they can justify the passage of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and can implement draconian gun control policies. Once they’ve attained the legal authorities to neuter their political opposition, they can move to further isolate them under the guise of national security.

Keep in mind that agents provocateurs and government informants are now a part of the political landscape. The regime wants to restrict or eliminate constitutional rights it deems problematic, including the Second Amendment. Don’t make it easy for them by following their agents provocateurs. Those who continuously espouse violence are poseurs and provocateurs. Government informants are paid to lie for their handlers. Treat both of them like any other undesirable character and walk away.

Remember the old Russian proverb: “Three men sit down to talk about revolution. Two are police informants, and the third is a fool.”

Traditional Americans can win this battle, but they need to be smart about it. They should understand the tactics that the regime will use and not fall into the trap that is being laid. We, traditional Americans, can do this by using a layered defense-in-depth that capitalizes on nonviolent political action.

There is a certain kind of personality that is attracted to Washington, D.C. That personality may be vain, self-serving, power-hungry, and even psychotic, but the one thing it will always do is try to position itself next to the winner, the one with the power. If traditional Americans want Washington to do their bidding, then they need to look, sound, and act like winners. Traditional Americans need to demonstrate that it is the people who have the power and that the people are the ones to be feared . . . thus liberty.

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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.

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