10 Principles for Escaping the Matrix and Standing Up to Tyranny

By John W. Whitehead

Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.— George Orwell

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It’s a shell game intended to keep us focused on and distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said—about militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption—while the government continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.

Unarmed citizens are still getting shot by militarized police trained to view them as the enemy and treated as if we have no rights. Despite President Obama’s warning that the nation needs to do some “soul searching” about issues such as race, poverty and the strained relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve, police killings and racial tensions are at an all-time high. Just recently, in Texas, a white police officer was suspended after video footage showed him “manhandling, arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party.”

Americans’ private communications and data are still being sucked up by government spy agencies. The USA Freedom Act was just a placebo pill intended to make us feel better without bringing about any real change. As Bill Blunden, a cybersecurity researcher and surveillance critic, points out, “The theater we’ve just witnessed allows decision makers to boast to their constituents about reforming mass surveillance while spies understand that what’s actually transpired is hardly major change.”

Taxpayer dollars are still being squandered on roads to nowhere, endless wars that do not make us safer, and bloated government agencies that should have been shut down long ago. A good example is the Transportation Security Administration, which, despite its $7 billion annual budget, has shown itself to be bumbling and ineffective.

And military drills are still being carried out on American soil under the pretext of training soldiers for urban warfare overseas. Southeastern Michigan, the site of one of the many military training drills taking place across the country this summer, has had Black Hawk helicopters buzzing its skies and soldiers dressed for combat doing night combat drills in abandoned buildings around the state.

In other words, freedom, or what’s left of it, is being threatened from every direction. The threats are of many kinds: political, cultural, educational, media, and psychological. However, as history shows us, freedom is not, on the whole, wrested from a citizenry. It is all too often given over voluntarily and for such a cheap price: safety, security, bread, and circuses.

This is part and parcel of the propaganda churned out by the government machine. That said, what we face today—mind manipulation and systemic violence—is not new. What is different are the techniques used and the large-scale control of mass humanity, coercive police tactics and pervasive surveillance. As we have seen with the erection of the electronic concentration camp, there is virtually no escaping the invisible prison surrounding us. Once upon a time, one could run and hide or duck into a cave, but that is no longer feasible as caves are quite scarce, and those running the camp have their eyes watching everything.

Moreover, we are presented with the illusion that we act of our own volition when most of the time we are being watched, prodded, and controlled. “The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative,” Aldous Huxley stated. “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible.”

In fact, with the merger of the Internet and the corporate state, unless you are alert and aware, it will be increasingly difficult to discern the difference between freedom and enslavement. With the methods of mind manipulation available to the corporate state, the very nature of democratic government has been changed. Again, as Aldous Huxley writes:

[T]he quaint old forms—elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of nonviolent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial . . . Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.

To many, the situation seems hopeless. But is it?

From the day you’re born until the day you die, the choices you exercise are very limited. You don’t choose to be born or choose what sex you are or who your parents are or where you live. When you are a child, you are told what to do, and when you enter school, you sit plastered to a desk and are taught what others demand you should know. Yes, the indoctrinating process begins on day one.

Then there are the rules, the endless rules. If you say the wrong word, write the wrong story or wear the wrong clothes, you can get thrown out of school or even arrested. You live where you are told and eat what others think you should eat. As you grow older, this list expands into employment, marriage and so on. In other words, your so-called reality is socially constructed. It is predetermined for you, and if you step out of line and disagree with what the current society deems proper, you will be ostracized. If you speak your mind to the governing authorities, you might find yourself behind bars.

The point is that in order to develop a compliant citizenry, people must be forced to live in a mental matrix of words, ideas, ideologies, and teachings that are designed to make us conform. “As the Matrix in the movie was used to facilitate the exploitation of humans,” writes author Henry H. Lindner, “so the current ideological Matrix was created for, and serves to exploit us, turning us into unthinking workers and consumers—slaves of the ruling elite who themselves are trapped in the Matrix.” In fact, “few of us are able to escape the Matrix. We do not even know it exists.”

For there to be any hope of real change, you’ll have to change how you think about yourself, your fellow human beings, freedom, society, and the government. This means freeing your mind, realizing the truth, and unlearning all the myths you have been indoctrinated with since the day you were able to comprehend language.

The following principles, taken from my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, may help any budding freedom fighters in the struggle to liberate themselves and our society.

First, we must come to grips with the reality that the present system does not foster freedom. It denies freedom and must be altered. “Our authoritarian system is based on cruelty and control—it increasingly drives natural love and feelings from our society and produces violence and greed,” Lindner recognizes. “Our society is deteriorating morally and intellectually. This system cannot be reformed.”

To start with, we must recognize that the government’s primary purpose is maintaining power and control. It’s an oligarchy composed of corporate giants wedded to government officials who benefit from the relationship. In other words, it is motivated by greed and exists to perpetuate itself. As George Orwell writes:

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We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship. . . .. The object of power is power.

Second, voting is practically worthless. “In principle, it is a great privilege,” Aldous Huxley recognized. “In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty.”

We live in a secretive surveillance state that has virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. As Jordan Michael Smith, writing for the Boston Globe, concludes about the American government:

There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

How many times have the various politicians, when running for office, lied about all they were going to do to bring hope and change to America? Once they get elected, what do they do? They do whatever the corporate powers want. Yes, the old boss is the same as the new boss. The maxim: power follows money.

Moreover, voting is a way to keep the citizenry pacified. However, many Americans intuitively recognize that something is wrong with the way the electoral process works and have withdrawn from the process. That’s why the government places so much emphasis on the reassurance ritual of voting. It provides the illusion of participation.

Third, question everything. Don’t assume anything government does is for the good of the citizenry. Again, that is not the purpose of modern government. It exists to perpetuate a regime. Remember the words of James Madison, considered the father of the U.S. Constitution: “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” Power corrupts. And as the maxim goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Fourth, materialism is a death knell to freedom. While it may be true that Americans are better off than citizens of other nations—we have jobs, food, entertainment, shopping malls, etc.—these are the trappings meant to anesthetize and distract us.

Like the dodo, any “bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded,” Huxley warned. “Same thing is true of human beings. If bread is supplied regularly and capaciously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone—or at least by bread and circuses alone.” Free as a bird, some say, but only if you’re willing to free your mind and sacrifice all for a dangerous concept—freedom.

In other words, the hope is that the cry of “‘give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,’ may give place, under altered circumstances, to the cry of ‘give me liberty or give me death.’” This is indeed dangerous freedom.

Fifth, there is little hope for any true resistance if you are mindlessly connected to the electronic concentration camp. Remember, what you’re being electronically fed by those in power is meant to pacify, distract, and control you. You can avoid mind manipulations to a large degree by greatly limiting your reliance on electronic devices—cell phones, laptops, televisions, and so on.

Sixth, an armed revolt will not work. Although we may have returned to a 1776 situation where we need to take drastic actions to restore freedom, this is not colonial America with its muskets and people’s armies. Local police departments have enough militarized firepower to do away with even a large-scale armed revolt. Even attempting to repel a SWAT team raid on your home is futile. You’ll get blown away.

Seventh, be wise and realize that there is power in numbers. Networks, coalitions, and movements can accomplish much—especially if their objectives are focused and practical—and they are very much feared by government authorities. That’s why the government is armed to the teeth and prepared to put down even small nonviolent protests.

Eighth, act locally but think nationally. The greatest impact can be had at local governing bodies such as city councils. Join together with friends and neighbors and start a Civil Liberties Oversight Committee. Regularly attend council meetings and demand that government corruption be brought under control and that police activities be brought under the scrutiny of local governing bodies and, thus, the citizenry.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, police were involved in 39 shootings dating back to 2010. After a 2014 police shooting of an unarmed homeless man camped out in a public park, residents engaged in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to disrupt the normal functioning of the city government and demand that the police department be brought under control. Community activists actually went so far as to storm a city council meeting and announce that they would be performing a citizens’ arrest of the police chief, charging him with “harboring fugitives from justice at the Albuquerque police department” and “crimes against humanity.”

In Davis County, California, in August 2014, after a public uproar over the growing militarization of local police, council members ordered the police to find a way of getting rid of the department’s newly acquired MRAP tank. One man at the council meeting was quoted as saying: “I would like to say I do not suggest you take this vehicle and send it out of Davis, I demand it.”

Ninth, local towns, cities and states can nullify or say “no” to federal laws that violate the rights and freedoms of the citizenry. In fact, several states have passed laws stating that they will not comply with the National Defense Authorization Act which allows for the military to indefinitely detain (imprison) American citizens. Again, when and if you see such federal laws passed, gather your coalition of citizens and demand that your local town council nullify such laws. If enough towns and cities across the country would speak truth to power in this way, we might see some positive movement from the federal governmental machine.

Tenth, understand what freedom is all about. “Who were the first persons to get the unusual idea that being free was not only a value to be cherished but the most important thing that someone can possess?” asks Professor Orlando Patterson. “The answer in a word: slaves.”

Freedom arose from the hearts and minds of those who realized that they were slaves. It became a primary passion of those who were victims of slavery.

Some Americans are beginning to realize that they are slaves and that if they don’t act soon, they will find themselves imprisoned in the electronic concentration camp indefinitely. Mind you, there may not be any chains hanging from the dungeon walls, but it is a prison nonetheless, and we are, without a doubt, inmates serving life sentences.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article first appeared. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.


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19 Comments on "10 Principles for Escaping the Matrix and Standing Up to Tyranny"

  1. OratorImplored | June 27, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Reply

    People once having attained their freedoms, would quickly and almost instinctively give it back to any form they could. If it’s not a king it’s a president, if it’s not that it’s possessions, so on and so forth. It truly is a never ending cycle, one which has only one weakness.

  2. “….Taxpayer dollars are still being squandered on roads to nowhere, endless wars that do not make us safer, and bloated government agencies that should have been shut down long ago….”

    The excuse that statists (people who believe in “government”) often resort to in the end is that humanity requires “government,” that society needs rulers, that someone has to be in charge, or there would be constant chaos and bloody mayhem.

    But necessity, whether real or imagined, cannot make a mythical entity real. A right to rule is not going to come into existence just because we supposedly “need” it in order to have a peaceful society. No one would argue that Santa Claus must be real because we need him in order for Christmas to work. If “authority” does not and CANNOT EXIST saying that we “need” it is not only pointless but obviously untrue. We cannot conjure something into existence by sheer willpower. If you jump out of a plane without a parachute, your “need” for a parachute is not going to make one materialize. By the same token, if it is IMPOSSIBLE for one person to acquire THE RIGHT to rule over another, and impossible for one person to acquire the obligation to subjugate himself to another, then claiming that such things “need” to happen is an empty argument.

    From the book :
    THE MOST DANGEROUS SUPERSTITION
    by Larken Rose 2011

  3. “….police killings and racial tensions are at an all-time high….”

    The effects of the “Authority” Myth on the enforcers

    The “lawmakers” give the commands, but it is their faithful enforcers who carry them out. Millions upon millions of otherwise decent, civilized people spend day after day harassing, threatening, extorting, controlling, bullying and otherwise oppressing others who have not harmed or threatened anyone. But because the actions of such “law enforcers” are deemed “legal”, and because they believe they are acting on behalf of “authority,” they IMAGINE themselves to bear no responsibility for their actions.

    By dramatically altering how people perceive the world, the myth of “authority” alters their thoughts and actions as well. In fact, the belief in the legitimacy of a ruling class (”government”) leads nearly everyone to either condone or commit acts of evil without even realizing it. Having been convinced that “authority” is real, and that by way of it, some human beings have acquired the moral right to initiate violence and commit acts of aggression against others (by way of so-called “laws”), every Democrat, every Republican, every voter, and everyone else who advocates “government” in any form is a proponent of violence and injustice. Of course, they do not see it that way…..

    From the book :
    THE MOST DANGEROUS SUPERSTITION
    by Larken Rose 2011

  4. Aldous Huxley stated : “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him, the walls of his prison are invisible.”

    Being a moral person requires taking on the PERSONAL responsibility of judging right from wrong and following one’s own conscience, the opposite of respecting and obeying “authority”.

    The reason it is so important that people understand this fact is that the primary danger posed by THE MYTH of “authority” is to be found not in the minds of the controllers in “government” but in the MINDS of those being controlled.
    One nasty individual who loves to dominate others is a trivial threat to humanity unless a lot of other people view such domination as legitimate because it is achieved via the “laws” of “government.”
    The twisted mind of a Pol Pot [Stalin, Mao], by itself, posed little or no threat to humanity. It was the many people who viewed Pol Pot as “authority”, and thus felt obligated to obey his commands and carry out his orders to mass murder.

  5. 11 – plant FREE fruit-trees along roads, in parks.. = create FREE FOOD to all 7 billion people = first step toward abundance for people and independence where nobody works for a salary for to pay food
    12 – create FREE SERVICES and produce only gifts – bring down their profit based system
    13 – share & gift as much as you can
    = GIFT ECONOMY can turn our planet into a free garden

    • Human beings are not made for Communism.
      It does not work in the real world.

      Trying to escape the real world is not the way.
      Use the system for your OWN profit and others will profit from you. The more people will profit the better. This slave society can brought to an end very quickly !

      • In Communism as well in Capitalism, one has to pay for his food, water, shelter…
        In a Gift Economy eerything is FREE of charge

        • I prefer to call it Free Enterprise System.
          That’s not Capitalism, of course.

          Nothing is “free” in this world. People must work to be able to acquire goods and services.

          • gifteconomy | June 28, 2015 at 10:29 am |

            Linux is free and better than Windows; Ubuntu is FREE; Wikipedia is FREE; mother care is FREE…

    • you must be a burner

    • ‘ 11 – plant (and endlessly spray, prune and tend) FREE fruit-trees along roads, in parks.. ‘

      There, fixed it for ya.
      Nice sentiment, and I believe in sharing, but freedom to do that comes only as a result of socio/political freedoms and a free market economy.

  6. I agree with the article, but it failed to mention that we can become business owners and start paying our employees fair wages and not just the slave wages that we’re getting from corporate America. I’m one of those people who have no option but to try to live on $9 an hour instead of a nice salary. IT DOESN’T WORK! WE’RE STARVING AT THE MIDDLE OF EACH MONTH!

  7. Excellent article, John. Thanks for it. And thanks to activist post for carrying it.

    Getting there…

  8. noBeastNoBanks | June 29, 2015 at 6:36 am | Reply

    Stop feeding the beast system – it is ravenous and loves misery.

  9. Ruben Hernandez | June 29, 2015 at 9:05 am | Reply

    http://planet.infowars.com/activism/revolution-of-the-mind

    6000 years of human history has been plagued by 3 things that interconnect:

    1) Money Manipulation

    2) Alcohol Destruction

    3) Violence

  10. David J. Pyles | June 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Reply

    Where were you Mr. Whitehead,…where was your state bar attorney Mr. McKusick,…and where the hell was The Rutherford Institute when I needed help in Oregon beginning 03/08/2010?

    See: David J. Pyles v. Sheriff Winters, Jackson County, City of Medford, et. al., Medford Division, U.S. 9th Circus Court, case no. 12-CV-00346-CL?

    See also: http://reason.com/archives/2010/03/16/pre-crime-policing

    All I experienced was feckless interest and non-assistance by The Rutherford Institute. Put up, or shut up….when it comes to legal assistance to American citizens facing a corrupt, out-of-control CRIMINAL government and police state at the local, county, state (and/or federal) levels!

    Outcome: the police, sheriff and hospital criminally covered up THE key “peace officer mental health hold report” – i.e., both a medical record and a public police report record required by Oregon Revised Statute 426.228 – for 2-1/2 years, following written requests for all records beginning in May 2010. And no one goes to jail in the government? WTF?!!!?

    If the actual facts of what happened to me (at the hands of Oregon city/county/state police, the Oregon Dept. of Transportation, and the Rogue Valley Medical Center) were actually known to the public,…I am very sure We the People would rethink your #6 above. Period. The courts are a complete joke and sham,… functioning only to cover for the criminal government and its Stasi-state goons. A state government effected punitive professional “SWATTING” incident to effect a sham police mental health hold by government,….likely for the desired purpose to kill a whistleblower of corruption,….breeches any respect of any authority. Period.

  11. voiceofmillions | June 29, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Reply

    Re-posted on The Everyday Concerned Citizen–http://everydayconcerned.net

    Thank you!

  12. Good points all, but I would put at the forefront the following point.

    Recognize that: we have been divided according to the capricious whims of those who would control us, we are constantly being pigeonholed and labeled, and at any given point there are people who will hate us, fear us, envy us or despise us for any number of reasons.

    If I say I am a white, heterosexual, progressive, smoker I will be vilified and excoriated by many. If I say I am an African-American, gay, conservative, vegan, I will be despised by an equal amount of people.

    No matter where we stand, or how we identify ourselves, we will have plenty of enemies.

    We need to recognize that we are being manipulated to be controlled and work to stop the hatred and anger toward one another. We must focus our anger and actions against those who have engineered this hellish mess.

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