Monday, February 28, 2011

The Political Football

Penigma said:

...the 2nd amendment pretty clearly was enacted as a protection against that. Equally clear, though, is that such a protection is moot and when used to justify the extension of our "gun culture" it runs counter to the best interests of all of us. I would not see the right to bear arms stripped, but neither am I so foolish as to think it is anything more than a political football used to "gin up" those who put a little too much importance in being able to walk around with a .45 on their hip talking about liberty while they vote to deny such liberties as they desire to many others.

I responded:

Pen, Thanks for that wonderful description. I go a bit further myself in disparaging the value of the 2nd Amendment in today's world, but essentially you said it just right for me.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.


  1. My colleague and blogging partner is a very smart, essentially centrist man.

    This comment came on a Penigma post I had written that violent revolution, like our American revolution had been, was becoming obsolete in favor of peaceful revolution. Pen, as an individual with a number of years in the military, didn't think it was plausible any longer to believe that modern civilian weapons were a match for modern military equipment - a point even more well made by Laci theDog.

    What Pen describes is what I call a gun fetishist, someone who gets a sort of thrill, a sense of power and adequacy they don't have otherwise, from carrying a gun where other people can see them.

    When I made the comment here originally, one of your other commenters didn't know of any peaceful revolutions other than India and the U.S. Civil Rights movement. This is a quote from a key work by Gene Sharp that has been instrumental in the recent regime changes in the middle east, revised just last year, "From Dictatorship to Democracy":

    "Since 1980 dictatorships have collapsed before the predominantly
    nonviolent defiance of people in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,
    Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Slovenia, Madagascar,
    Mali, Bolivia, and the Philippines. Nonviolent resistance has furthered
    the movement toward democratization in Nepal, Zambia,
    South Korea, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, Brazil, Uruguay, Malawi, Thailand,
    Bulgaria, Hungary, Nigeria, and various parts of the former
    Soviet Union (playing a significant role in the defeat of the August
    1991 attempted hard-line coup d’état).In addition, mass political defiance1 has occurred in China,
    Burma, and Tibet in recent years." (chapter 1)

    I hope this educates that commenter. Looks like Mr. Sharp will have to be doing another update in 2011, to add the newest countries to rely specifically on his writing for revolution to his book. Somehow I don't think he will mind too much.

  2. Pure projection on Dog Gone's part, given that he votes to deny liberties to his fellow citizens

  3. Mike,

    Thanks for the quote. My impression runs similarly, but not identically, to that of DG's. There is something fun, even exhilarating in firing a machine gun (after serving 12 years in the Army, I can say this safely from personal experience). So long as the excercise of that fun isn't hurting anyone, as a true libertarian (in contrast to Libertarians), I generally support any libert which stops at my feet, and so believe allowing people the liberty to have that fun is good and right.

    Where it crosses the line, though, is in being used as justification to protect the right to bully others with threats and intimidation and most importantly, with open violence. The 2nd Amendment is the favorite of conservatives (and really one of only 2 amendments they actually defend). It is their favorite because they a. like guns (which is ok) b. are enamored of the idea that a gun makes them "safer" (which is patently silly, but still "ok") and c. they somehow think they have the ability to "stand up" to the government and hold it accountable BECAUSE of the 2nd amendment. This last one is the problem. Not only is it untrue, it promotes ugly rhetoric suggesting that THEY are the only real patriots, the only ones ready to "pay the price", when in fact the "price" they claim they are willing to pay is exactly counter to preserving the union or liberty AND more often than not, they want OTHERS to do the fighting. Moreover, and probably more importantly, while they talk about liberties, they support using the government to intrude on church practices (by banning any church from allowing same sex marraige if the church so desires), the support stripping people of the right to vote if they are unable to (due to age or infirmity) obtain a state issued identification document (motor voter laws), and they support suspension of habeaus corpus for anyone they deem undesirable.

    Sooo.. Anonymous, if you would like to identify WHICH liberties you believe I (or DG) vote to remove from people, I'd like to hear them, but the so-called "2nd Amendment" remedy is a fiction. If the armed services oppose you, you lose, and if they don't oppose you, you don't need any arms. Peaceful protest along with rational discussion of issues, has always been the only lasting path to justice for a dissenting public.

  4. Thanks Penigma for that wonderful comment.

    "If the armed services oppose you, you lose, and if they don't oppose you, you don't need any arms."

    Now, that's a quotable quote.

  5. @Penigma, you wrote: "If the armed services oppose you, you lose..."

    That's certainly not a bet I would take, because if this country did degrade into a civil war (or, more accurately, a war of the people vs. the government):

    a) I do not believe that many of the soldiers in the US Military would fire on American citizens,

    b) Many of those that would be fighting for the restoration of the government would be ex-military,

    c) There's far, far, far more guns in the hands of US Citizens than the military has as their disposal,

    d) The arms and armaments in the hands of the US military can be taken.

    The US military HAS had it's ass kicked before by weaker opponents than US citizens are.

    Meh, I don't think we'll ever get to that point because it's not too late to work within the system at this point. But, if the scales ever tip far enough, and if the US Government ever got tyrannical enough, I think you'd be a fool to place your bet with the US Military against its own people, on our own soil.


  6. Orygunner, I've gotten into this idea in a couple more recent posts, but I think you're nuts with all this fighting the government stuff.