My assessment is that (1), there is more than a negligible chance this nation could be in a pre-revolutionary period and (2), every possible means should be explored to effect necessary social change other than through revolution. It is based for the most part on the following:

If we look to the past, of the last four major revolutions, only one resulted in a democratic form of government--ours --and all the rest resulted in anything but ideal worlds:

The 1789 French Revolution, considered by many as the great "stereotypical revolution", resulted in wars all over Europe for many years. The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution resulted in a cruel and unsuccessful form of government, the effects of which are still being played out in Russian politics. 1933 Germany was not technically an armed revolution but it saw many of the same forces bringing democratic institutions into disrepute that we are witnessing today in America; and it brought 12 years of hardship and disaster for the German people as well as many others.

We can also identify a number of elements that have characterized various past revolutions:

1. They have been generally unpredictable as to when they occur but slightly less unpredictable that they are in the making.

2. In the pre-revolutionary period, government is abandoned by the intellectuals.

3. In the pre-revolutionary period, the seriousness of affairs is not generally recognized until the forces of revolution are irreversible and peaceful change is no longer an option.

4. Those who control state and police powers tend to rely too heavily on those powers and are too slow to effect the social changes necessary to defuse revolutionary fervor.

5. Revolutions tend to be initiated by small tightly knit organizations not necessarily representative of the political or social perspectives of the majority.

6. Government's response to the first and successive armed confrontations is bungling.

7. Government military and revolutionary fighting elements come out of the same class of people so that government forces defect, refuse to enter combat, half-hartedly carry out orders, etc., seriously crippling government's response.

8. As revolutionary psychology gains strength and government becomes increasingly vulnerable, previously suppressed abuses by government surface at an accelerating pace increasing the inertia of the revolutionary cause.

9. During the course of the revolution, power shifts from one group to another making it impossible to determine the resulting character of any subsequent government that may emerge from it until it is over.

Terrorist or revolutionary activity and sentiment is of course by its nature difficult to track or know the extent of. The following articles give an overview of current militia, terrorist and revolutionary activity as presented in the media. As the most recent article states, the problem is growing increasingly serious.

  1. December 29, 1997, U.S. News and World Report. Terrorism Threats at Home

  2. Link to an overview of the U.S. militia movement.

  3. Link to an overview of the U.S. militia movement.

  4. Link to an overview of U.S. terrorist activity.

  5. Link to an article on the militia movement in Florida.

  6. Link to the kind of incident that could touch off a revolution.

A good reference on the common elements precipitating revolution is The Anatomy of Revolution by Crane Brinton.

This is a page in the Web site entitled Legal Reform Through Transforming the Discipline of Law into a Science.