The feds want you scared.

They want you to fear them.

Government uses force to make us comply with its laws. But it’s not really the force itself that keeps us in line. It’s the fear of that force.

Think about the last few times you drove. How many police officers did you actually see? And how many of the officers that you did see were actually in a position to write you a ticket? In reality, the odds of getting pulled over on any given trip are really pretty low. Yet, most people drive relatively close to the speed limit. Why? Because of the FEAR of getting that ticket.

Fear is a powerful weapon – one the federal government wields with precision.

We see the use of fear in the recent federal marijuana raids in Colorado. The feds spent a tremendous amount of money and used a huge number of resources just to impact 3 percent of the medical marijuana business in a single city, in a single state. From a practical standpoint, they accomplished very little. But the timing of the raids – just six weeks before the first retail marijuana outlets were scheduled to open in Colorado – was obviously meant to send a message. The feds flexed their muscles hoping it will intimidate marijuana businesses to stay in line – and maybe even scare some folks out of the business altogether.

Fear tactics work. We saw some of it from commenters who chimed in on the article we wrote reporting the Colorado raides. One reader asked, “What if the feds target grow operations? Then they could really shut things down.”

Could they? Really?How many grow operations are there in the 21 states with legal medical marijuana? Hundreds. Maybe thousands. The feds simply don’t have the resources to shut them all down.

But they want you to think they do.

They want you scared.

When I hear people start with the “what if…” question, I can almost guarantee they are scared. When talking about cutting off resources to the NSA at the state level, I’ve had people ask, “What if they just take them anyway?” When Texas was considering a bill to stop TSA groping, people asked, “What if the feds turn Texas into a no-fly zone?” That question was enough to make the Texas Senate back down. Or perhaps the most common “what if…” “What if the federal government cuts off our funding to punish us for standing up to them.”

Fear.

You can’t live life in fear of the “what if…” If you do, you will accomplish nothing. You will become paralyzed and ineffective.

That’s what they want. They depend on that fear. Because again – and I can’t emphasize this enough – the feds do not have the resources to stop us when the states refuse to cooperate with them. They are a paper tiger. They can roar, but they are not as powerful as they make you think. Their only real power is in the fear they create.

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Sure, they can sting us. There is risk when facing down a bully. You might get punched. You just might face some consequences for standing up. But you can’t let that fear stop you.

Aren’t you glad Rosa Parks didn’t let her fear of jail keep her from saying, “No!”? Keep in mind – she went to jail. But look at the movement a single courageous woman sparked. Her “no” ultimately killed Jim Crow.

Those 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” They had plenty to fear. They were defying the most powerful empire on the planet. But they did it anyway. And to think some today cower at the thought of losing a little funding.

It brings to mind the quote by Samuel Adams

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”


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