Welcome!

Welcome to “A Little Rebellion”, a blog about politics, science, injustice, and random musings.

About the name

In a letter to James Madison in 1787, Thomas Jefferson said the following:

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

In particular, he was referring to Shay’s Rebellion, an armed uprising against the local Massachusetts government over poor economic conditions.  In general, Jefferson believed that governments should tolerate rebellions (even violent ones) and that rebellions are a necessary requisite of a healthy government.

While I mostly disagree with the use of violence as a means to an ends, I find that the idea that rebellions are necessary to achieve a more perfect Union has been proven true time and time again.  The Civil Rights Movement was a rebellion.  Women’s Suffrage was a rebellion.

At the same time, though, I find it a little disheartening and sad that rebellions are necessary.  It is still astounding to me that we had to fight the Civil War at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives just to get the point across that obvious human beings should be treated as human beings (not that we’re all necessarily at that point yet).  And yes, I understand it is easy sit in the backseat of history (the present) and comment on what the driver (the past) should have done, but it is also a necessary exercise to point out to driver’s ed students (the future) where the driver erred so the students don’t end up turning their car into oncoming traffic when they turn their head to check their blind spot. (Which totally happened to a friend of mine while in driver’s ed. No friends were harmed in the making of this analogy.)

So why the name?  Because I’ve always liked the quote.  Beyond that, though, it’s a call to (non-violent) arms.  In this world, if you’re not rebelling against something you’re not paying attention.  (For instance, currently, my stomach is rebelling against the injustice of that Taco Bell I force fed it.  Oh, the humanity!)

On the flip side, all too often, unfortunately, if you are rebelling against something, you are completely misinformed about what you are rebelling against. (And if you’re reading this blog, you are almost certainly misinformed.  But at least not Fox News misinformed.)  George Orwell has an awesome quote, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”  The most important thing about rebellion is to consistently and honestly question yourself about your ideals.  It is an incredibly difficult standard to hold oneself up to and one that we all, at one time or another, fail to uphold; but many people never even attempt it.

Thank you for visiting this blog (and for reading this far).  If there is anything we can do to make your stay here more pleasurable, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Your rebel without a clue,

Jean-Paul

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