A Gun Ownership Primer: Political Realities, Part 1

The first four articles in this continuing series are:

A Gun Ownership Primer: The Philosophy Of Gun Ownership 

A Gun Ownership Primer, Part 2: Does Evil Exist?

A Gun Ownership Primer: Is Killing Morally Justified? Part 1 

A Gun Ownership Primer: Is Killing Morally Justified? Part 2 

The first four articles in this series dealt with issues of philosophy and morality, even theology. It is now time to delve into issues far less lofty and divine, issues often fought in the muddy and fetid fever swamps of Washington D.C., which was actually built on swampy ground. As we have already established that the right to self-defense is a fundamental, unalienable right, a right not granted by government and therefore, a right which may not be infringed or taken away by government, it may seem odd to have to deal with politics in regard to that right, but such is the nature of man.

It is not widely known that a substantial number of the Founding Fathers did not want a Bill of Rights at all, while others would not sign or assist in the ratification of the Constitution without a solemn understanding that the Bill of Rights would follow in short order.  They didn’t want a Bill of Rights because they were afraid future generations of politicians would claim that those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were the only rights of citizens.  As it turns out, they were prescient in this and much else.

Gun control has always been an issue fraught with political intrigue, and reasonably so, for the truism that an armed society is a free society is undeniably true.  No dictatorship can allow its subjects the freedom to keep and bear arms, as they will inevitably be used against the dictator and his allies.  Dictators, in consolidating power and control over their populations, always deprive them of arms, commonly through the application of deadly force.  Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, all have followed this common pattern, as have all dictatorships before them.  Free men therefore look upon restrictions on firearm ownership and use with a jealous and wary eye, for they have millennia of history warning them of its inevitable dangers and depredations.

James Madison, writing as “Publius” in the Federalist #46,  clearly understood this political reality and the dark nature of human beings grasping for ultimate power over others:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.

In Madison’s conception, the militia were the people, individuals who would band together when necessary, bringing their own weapons, to abolish a tyrannical government. Madison obviously understood that the individual ownership of arms is a powerful deterrent to would-be tyrants. Notice that there is, in Madison’s prose, no mention of self-defense or hunting or sport shooting. The primary purpose of the Second Amendment is the deterrence and if necessary, the abolishment, of tyranny, and the maintenance of liberty.

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The historical record is more than clear, as the Supreme Court justly observed in its Heller decision. Yet contemporary would-be tyrants cannot understand the lessons or history, or wish to ignore them. Armed citizens frighten them, as well they should.

President Obama’s major 2013 anti-gun push was a spectacular failure.  Most congressional democrats did not dare support him.  Even so, draconian and surely unconstitutional anti-gun laws have already been adopted in New York state, Colorado, Maryland and are under consideration elsewhere.  Our Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies are purchasing enormous quantities of weapons and ammunition and commissioning targets of obviously non-criminal citizens–children, the elderly, pregnant women, all white–in order to “desensitize” their agents, apparently that they might be better able to quickly, and without thought or remorse, kill unremarkable, non-criminal Americans.

Tyrants rely upon the banality of evil. This is a term coined in Hannah Arendt’s 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Based on the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann, it observed that Eichmann was not a deranged monster, but an ordinary, efficient bureaucrat that willingly accepted the mandates of the state, and was therefore willing and able to do whatever the state considered good, including murdering millions of innocents, many fellow citizens.

Americans imagining that should a tyrannical government revoke the Second Amendment, federal agents would never murder their fellow Americans are sadly, tragically mistaken, and mistaken in ways that would surely lead to their deaths and the deaths of millions. Many federal agents would not take up arms against their fellow Americans, but more than enough would. None of them would likely appear to be monsters. They would look like ordinary Americans, like the accountant next door. But in accepting the premises of statism, they would do whatever was necessary to defend the state and its self-imagined elite rulers. So it has always been, and so it may be in America.

There are very real and direct benefits in prestige, power, creature comforts, and domination over others for men and women willing to beat, torture and kill their fellow citizens. As long as they enjoy a monopoly on the means of applying force, they maintain those benefits, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In such tyrannies, once the line is crossed, there is no going back, for not only will the state gladly murder a former agent that suddenly develops a conscience, so too will their victims.

Mr. Obama, like a good narcissistic statist, is undaunted.  During his 2014 State of the Union speech, he swore to use his pen and phone to pass gun control measures, measures that he cannot obtain constitutionally, though the legislative process in the Congress.

I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.’ Obama said.

‘Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day,’ he continued. ‘I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid.

None of the measures Mr. Obama has tried to pass would have, in any way, stopped the crimes he cited.  Such laws only inconvenience and criminalize the law-abiding.  And of course, the fact that Mr. Obama–the head of what is surely the most lawless administration in history–threatens to entirely bypass the Constitution to work his will should be a matter of no small concern.

With Mr. Obama promising to legalize millions of illegal immigrants, thus throwing open the border floodgates to millions more, the necessity of keeping and bearing arms against a tide of innumerable criminals–and I speak not of the honest man or woman merely seeking a better life for their family–can’t be denied. The perverse evil of Mr. Obama’s government, and the governments of several of the state governors in trying to disarm Americans in the face of this threat, and the never-ending threats of terrorism and domestic crime, likewise cannot be denied.

The mere fact that elected representatives should even think to propose laws that are so clearly unconstitutional, so counter to the very foundations of liberty, and that they should see their law-abiding countrymen as threats, should be alarming to all free men that wish to remain free.

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Before I go further, a brief political primer might be useful.  Generally, American Conservatives have been supportive of the Second Amendment and Liberals have not, particularly those Liberals of a Socialist or Statist bent.  I’ll use the term “Progressive” as many Democrats no longer like to be associated with the term “liberal”—too many Americans have come to associate that with actual Democrat policies and intentions–-and now tend to prefer “progressive,” for who could be against progress?  However, the goals and policies of the contemporary Democrat party have become virtually indistinguishable with Socialist—or if you wish, Statist or even Marxist—orthodoxy. Democrat, Statist, Socialist, Communist, Progressive, all are simply constituent parts of the American left, all of which despise firearms and their possession by free men.  For those familiar with the general philosophies of the respective political movements, this is to be expected and is a natural consequence of those beliefs.  Few political differences more clearly delineate and illuminate the philosophies and intentions of Conservatives and Progressives than their respective views on the Second Amendment. In this, clearly, by their fruits shall ye know them. Keep in mind that this primer is, of necessity, brief and a generalization being painted with a rather broad brush.

Progressive Philosophy:  Socialists are fundamentally concerned with equality of outcome.  During a 2008 debate, Mr. Obama asserted that he would raise capital gains taxes even if doing so produced less tax revenue (as historically has been the case) because it would be “fair” to make ostensibly wealthier people pay more.  Since that introduction, Mr. Obama has consistently argued for “fairness,” most notably in a speech in Kansas that seemed to suggest “fairness” would be a major theme of his 2012 re-election campaign.  Not only was this so, he has since continued to make this specious argument, making the class warfare argument that the wealthy–whoever they might be–are not paying enough taxes, despite the fact that the top 1% of Americans pay 37% of all taxes, and the top 10% pay 70% of all taxes.  Remember that some 46% of America households paid no federal income tax in 2011 and the same is true today.  For Mr. Obama, the definition of “rich” is quite flexible, dropping as low as an annual income of $200,000 dollars and likely, less.

This has been made absolutely clear by Obamacare, which was, from the very beginning, a vehicle for the absolute control of the population, and for the redistribution of wealth. Those suffering economically under the many regulations, mandates and hidden taxes of Obamacare are far from the relatively well off making $200,000 thousands dollars a year.

All of this is perfectly predictable because it reflects the Progressive preoccupation with equality of outcome.  In other words, in the name of “fairness,” everyone should have the same things: food, housing, medical care, conveniences, etc.  That not everyone is willing to work for these things matters not.  Perhaps the most commonly known aphorism relating to this concept is the Marxist “from each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.”  As a general statement of “fairness,” it has much to recommend it.  However, like so much of Progressive philosophy, it ignores the realities of human nature.  Notice too that “fairness” is nebulous; it means nothing and everything.  It also has the very salutatory benefit of allowing its user to conceal his true intentions.  Who, after all, opposes “fairness?”

Progressivism is by nature very much occupied with big government and with over-arching governmental power.  This flows from the fundamental progressive belief that man is perfectible, or at the very least can be forced to behave–even think–in appropriate ways.  Only elite scientific Progressives are sufficiently evolved to keep everyone on the straight path of Progressivism where utopia will be established and perfect social justice will reign under their enlightened and benevolent rule.  The average man is untrustworthy, greedy, homophobic, racist, sexist, unconcerned about the environment and “social justice,” so it falls to the scientific Progressive to force their less evolved brethren to better themselves.  If only government becomes large enough, if only the right laws and regulations are written and enforced (and there will never be enough, for the process of perfection is never-ending), only then can man be perfected–or made to simulate perfection–despite himself.

Progressivism can never be wrong, for if it appears to fail, this simply means that insufficient Progressivism has been applied, not enough money has been spent (sound familiar?), conservatives have been allowed to exist to oppose it (in a tyranny, this is a lesser problem as they can simply be killed), or it has not had sufficient time to work its miracles of transformation.

In fact, it was Barack Obama in 2008 who repeatedly swore to “fundamentally transform” America.  However, in a February 2, 2014 interview with Bill O’Reilly, Mr. Obama backed away from that boast.  This is certainly not an indication that Mr. Obama no longer intends such transformation, merely that he is reverting to standard Progressive tactics of lying about his true goals.

And after the 2014 mid-term elections, where Mr. Obama lost the House and the Senate, he has made clear that he will accept no limits on his desires for power and the establishment of a progressive utopia. With nothing to restrain him–certainly not respect for the Constitution and the rule of law–Barack Obama promises to become the closest thing to an anti-democratic tyrant America has yet seen.

Any philosophy that believes in big and ever-enlarging government must of necessity support high and ever-increasing taxes.  In fact, taxes can never be high enough, and must be imposed based on “fairness”–whatever the elite choose to define as “fair” at the moment–rather than a rational scheme of necessity.  In practice, this means that taxes will always be highest on those Progressives do not favor, such as the wealthy, and particularly wealthy conservatives such as the Koch Brothers, serially denounced on the floor of the US Senate by the execrable Harry Reid.  Progressivism, like Marxism, is obsessed with class warfare. Pitting Americans against each other is one of its primary tactics.

Progressives are, at best, unsure of the existence of evil.  Good, of course, is faithful adherence to Progressive doctrine and the goals of the state, but the overt recognition of evil would require the admission that evil cannot be made to conform to Progressivism, hence evil must be understood as resistance to Progressivism.  Unsurprisingly, many Progressives are irreligious at best, and often hostile to any expression of faith as is commonly demonstrated in the writings of the Legacy Media which is irredeemably Progressive, for the most part, no longer bothering to pretend to be unbiased.  People of sincere faith are commonly depicted by progressives–which encompasses virtually all of the legacy media–-as fools, dupes, or dangerous lunatics seeking to impose their religious superstitions on all.  Progressives often reserve their greatest hatred and venom for those that oppose their policies.  This is in large part why Conservatives trying earnestly to discuss policy with Progressives often find themselves on the receiving end of violently angry and irrational verbal assaults.

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For Progressivism to flourish, the state must always take primacy over the individual.  The state’s prerogatives are always supreme, and the individual has no rights, but only the privileges accorded him by current state policies and preferences.  Despite continual lip service to “equality” and “fairness” and the welfare of “the people,” there is no rule of law under Progressivism, no equal treatment under the law.  The state cares nothing for any individual, only the abstraction that is “the people”–coincidentally, “the people” always fully support the state–and some animals are simply always more equal than others, or so progressives and the media (I repeat myself) will commonly say.

This is why progressives absolutely oppose self-defense and the means to secure it. Recognizing that fundamental, unalienable right is a tacit admission that the law-abiding individual has supremacy over the state. A state forced to recognize the natural rights, and the rights of the individual under the rule of law admits that the individual and the rule of law are more powerful than the state. No tyranny can exist if this is so.

Progressives tend to support collective rather than individual responsibility and embrace victimhood.  If one is poor–for instance–it must be because they are black, female, the education system has failed them, society has failed them, someone or something is discriminating against them in some way, or any one of many circumstances outside their control is involved in their oppression.  This is particularly true of certain constituencies that will slavishly support progressive policies in return for governmental largess.  Members of favored victim groups bear no individual responsibility for their behavior or circumstances because they are, by definition, victims.

J. Christian Adams, Former Department Of Justice Attorney, in his book Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, explains how Mr. Obama has packed the Voting Section of the Department of Justice with radical leftist activists who have adopted the policy that only Blacks and other minorities can be the victims of electoral discrimination and fraud, allowing black criminals to run fraudulent elections in many American cities and counties, even–as in the infamous New Black Panther case–to engage in outrageous voter intimidation.  They also oppose voter identification laws, removing the dead or ineligible from voter roles, and refuse to enforce the law so as to ensure that the absentee ballots of our soldiers, sailors and Marines serving overseas are received in time to count.  Inevitably, Democrats are the beneficiaries of such election fraud.

Progressives are always concerned with maintaining maximum governmental power.  To that end, power must be taken from “the people.” Progressives fear arms in the hands of the people, and always do whatever they can to disarm them.  Among the most severely punished crimes in progressive societies—even Great Britain–-are those involving citizen possession or use of arms.  The possession of arms by citizens is an ever-present threat to the very existence of Progressivism, and Progressives accordingly never cease their efforts to achieve total citizen disarmament.  The Democrat party has always been at the forefront of the American gun control movement, particularly in the days of the Civil Rights Movement.  Gun control has its roots in the most evil expressions of racism. Historian Clayton Cramer’s essay “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” should be required reading in every school in America.

Progressives recognize no individual rights–-for others–-but only those privileges of contemporary utility to the state, and do not recognize an individual right to self-defense, though they absolutely reserve such privilege for themselves.  As no right to self-defense exists, the means to exercise self-defense are illegitimate and must be taken from the people (non-elite progressives).

Ironically, Progressives commonly hate and despise the Police, seeing them as stupid, racist brutes and oppressors, but again, recognize their social utility, particularly when they support progressive policy.  As I’ve noted in previous articles, the police—even in our democracy—have no obligation to protect any individual.  In a progressive state, the police actively play favorites, and they universally favor criminals because Progressives favor criminals.

Why would Progressives favor criminals, even terrorists?  It takes little effort to find thousands of contemporary examples of what rational people would find amazing, inexplicable affection for and support of the worst elements of society.  While some part of this may be nothing more than a perverse tendency to reflexively oppose the values of those they hate–-conservatives and the unremarkable American God and gun clingers of flyover country of Mr. Obama’s 2008 formulation–-simply put, criminals and terrorists commonly share Progressive views and goals.  They oppose individual liberty, support Progressivism because it gives them maximum freedom to work their wills, and accept the praise and support of Progressives who tend to see them as oppressed victims of society.

Next week: the continuation of the political difference of Progressivism and Conservatism and why they define the American gun debate.