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#5: Leverage & Liberty
November 15, 2021
The Rittenhouse trial has captured everyone’s attention this week. Obviously the outcome doesn’t bear directly, legally, on anything other than the life of Kyle Rittenhouse – but it’s another test of the media’s power to manipulate procedural outcomes. The facts of the case are obvious and well-documented, and virtually everyone, across the political spectrum, agrees that the prosecution has been incompetent.
There’s no question whether Kyle’s actions constituted first-degree homicide as defined by Wisconsin state law – they obviously didn’t. Kyle’s conduct before and during the incident is about as clean as you could hope for it to be. Which means it’s a test case for the media’s ability to coerce their desired verdict from a jury with the threat of doxxing, social ostracism, and riots.
What does this have to do with you and me, and EXIT? Well, those of you who have had been doxxed know what it’s like to be the target of “manipulated procedural outcomes”. You know how blessed Kyle is that there was so little of him to find online, and how remarkable it is that they had so little fault to find with his conduct on the night in question.
Too many of us have been imagining (ok, fantasizing) that we could do what Kyle did, and the letter of the law and common-sense moral intuition would protect us. But even if he is acquitted, this trial makes it clear that any publicly-expressed dissident politics would severely complicate one’s right to self-defense in any situation with the faintest whiff of ideology.
Kyle (understandably) assumed that, as an American, he had the right to be on a public street, to participate in a demonstration, to carry a firearm, and to defend himself. It’s time to accept that those rights are increasingly a contingent and political matter. There may still be situations where it’s worth the risk of exercising them, but you cannot assume you will be vindicated by the State.
When our rights are no longer protected by law and custom, liberty becomes a matter of constant negotiation – ultimately, a question of leverage. We secure our freedom by denying our enemies leverage – by ending our reliance on the people and systems who despise us. If you want to exercise the rights that your grandfather took for granted, you now have to ask yourself who wants to stop you, and what they can do about it.