Sovereign Citizens or Greengrocers? 

The infamous Louisiana Democratic demagogue Senator Huey Long (a.k.a. “the Kingfish”) once famously pandered, “Every man a king, but no one wears a crown!” Notable for his “share the wealth” platform, Long was a more charismatic precursor to the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Both men rose to political prominence making expansive promises to the populace that reality couldn’t cash. While it is unclear which well-heeled leftist pol owned more houses, both socialist demagogues—indeed, all of their collectivist, redistributionist ilk—require their victims to believe the lie that government can make every person a king or queen, let alone without anyone wearing the totalitarian crowns required to coerce society into this illusory Eden.

Despite the multitude of socialism’s historical horrors, the lie hasn’t lost its allure for the Left. After all, it is their lie and they remain fond of it. If it were merely their personal fantasy, the rest of us could light a candle for the redemption of their souls and go live our lives. But the Left is nothing if not irksome, insistent, and intrusive about their lie—for the only way these deluded loons believe they can reach their unattainable aim is by compelling the rest of us to believe it too. We must all recognize and even celebrate their subjectively defined and abjectly socialist “common good” or else we aren’t good.

Yet, even armed with the weaponized powers of the state, the Left cannot do what it means to do without our consent.

Consequently, as American Greatness Emina Melonic recently observed when discussing Soviet dissident (and later American citizen) Joseph Brodsky’s essay, “On Tyranny”:

Brodsky writes that ‘tyranny . . . structures your life for you. It does this as meticulously as possible . . . any display of individualism in a crowd may be harmful . . . the dream is to make every man his own bureaucrat.’ The point, today, is to turn every person into a soulless dullard who self-reports and accepts surveillance, and who turns himself into a machine for ideological living. 

To transmogrify individuals into automatons, the Left utilizes an incessant barrage of coercive governmental measures with the complicity of its fellow travelers in the private sector and the corporate media to promote, coerce, and compel compliance with their lies. Systemic indoctrination and compliance are the dual goals of the ironically named “diversity, inclusion, and equity” agenda, or whatever canard or action is specifically employed at any time—be it socialism, censorship, critical race theory, personal pronouns, the “1619 Project,” transgenderism, or any other leftist agit-prop they deem as “their truth” that must be accepted under threat of being “cancelled.”

The elitist “accountability journalist” play a critical role in the proselytization and compliance of the Left’s life of lies. As Walter Kirn has noted: “They lie and lie and lie and yet people keep believing them, or pretending to, which I think is worse. The default position must be total skepticism; antagonistic skepticism. If power can’t prove its statements on the spot, presume it is deceiving you. Or do you like that?”

According to public surveys, the vast majority of sovereign American citizens decidedly do not like living in a nation where the Left is waging war on their God-given, constitutionally recognized rights. The threats to these rights have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which the Left has pimped to to further cement its lies into every aspect of American life. Kirn characterizes this as, “They’ve turned reality into a pharma ad. I’m not exaggerating in the least. You are dwelling inside a live drug commercial.”

Yet, it is far worse than that. In his essay “The Power of the Powerless,” the Czech dissident (and later president of a liberated nation) Václav Havel exposed the bankrupt core of the absolutist Left—a moral contagion they are bent upon foisting upon the rest of us as it constitutes the end game of their totalitarian enterprise. Under the Left’s tyranny, people “must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.”

Yet, even as the vast majority of Americans are resisting the coercive, totalitarian Left’s lies, not all have done so. As Melonic notes, “Certainly, what’s been the most troubling aspect of our time right now is how many people are willing to turn themselves into dutiful subjects of the tyrants.” 

Like Havel’s greengrocer who hangs in his shop window a sign emblazoned with a regime approved slogan, he doesn’t believe at all in what he is saying, but neither does he demand to be left alone by the state. How many Americans are muttering slogans and going through the motions just to keep the weaponized leftist government and its lackeys off their backs—or worse?

While the linear arc between Long and Sanders’ socialist lies is crystalline, from “every man a king” to “everyone a bureaucrat,” its actual realization is impossible. The only question is how much damage the Left’s lies will be allowed to cause the public? 

That depends upon how many Americans decide they are strong enough to be sovereign citizens and how many are willing to be meek greengrocers.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Steve Pfoast/Newsday RM via Getty Images