“The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”.
— Often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, possibly apocryphally.
Deterrence: America is the result of a revolution – not an ideological or market revolution, but a military revolt against what the colonists (or at least the ones who ended up winning) considered a hostile occupying power.
Whether or not the Second Amendment was specifically intended to allow Americans to rebel against a future tyranny is the subject of any number of debates by both the informed and the less-so; in the seminal Yale Law Review article “The Embarassing Second Amendment”, Sanford Levinson notes that in Professor T. Cooley’s ” T. Cooley, The General Principles of Constitutional Law in The United States of America 298 (3d ed. 1898), that the thinking among scholars in the nineteenth century was “Should the contingency ever arise when it would be necessary for the people to make use of the arms in their hands for the protection of constitutional liberty, the proceeding, so far from being revolutionary, would be in strict accord with popular right and duty.”
The notion that The People have a right to rebel against a government that becomes unjust and tyrannical is instituted in a number of state constitutions: New Hampshire, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina and most notably Texas all consider the right to rebel important enough to bake into the foundation of their state government.
Beyond that? The constitutions of Germany, Greece, and the Czech and Slovak Republics – all of whom have experience with real live tyranny within living memory – all recognize a human right to fight against tyranny.
And if that’s not enough for you? That noted favorite of conservatives, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares:
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by rule of law.
Which is an oblique way of recognizing the justice of armed uprising against tyrants.
So it’s not like the idea that free people have the right to remain free, even if they have to convince their idiot government to stay that way, is a product of the American lunatic fringe.
Of course, rebellion against a civil government is a daunting task, not for the faint of heart. And it’s certainly not to be undertaken trivially. To paraphrase the computer in War Games, the only way to “win” a rebellion is to never really have to fight it with force of arms.
Fortunately, our founding fathers were smart enough to enact a little poison pill to deter tyranny.
The Second Amendment.
The idea, and ideal, being that a government that knew a lapse into tyranny could be answered by an armed, motivated people, was built into the Constitution, not a battle plan for future citizens, but as a deterrent to anyone with bright ideas of squashing the rest of the freedoms granted us all by our creator.
And so far it – the deterrent – has worked.
Useless Idiots: The National Rifle Association, since its rise as a political organization forty years ago, has embraced the idea that the Second Amendment deters tyranny.
And key to any deterrent is the certain knowledge among those to be deterred that the threat is not idle. If you buy a pit bull to guard your house, but advertise that he’s always muzzled, meaning his bark will be all the dog has going for him? His value as a deterrent is limited.
So the NRA – like most gun-owning, politically-active Americans – is not slavering away for an armed revolt. War is, as Sherman said, hell. It hurts people and breaks things.
Long story short: deterrence. Not war.
Someone needs to tell it to the precious snowflake who wrote this excrescent bit of bile for the HuffPo:
The gun lobby has long preached armed insurrectionism as a panacea for those facing oppression.
The “writer” – one Ladd Everett, director of some fragrant non-profit -states this repeatedly as settled fact. The conflates “deterrence” with “wishing for violence”. It’s dishonest…
…but it’s the gun control movement we’re talking about here; “dishonesty” is “dog licks dog”.
When Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on Dallas law enforcement officers during a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday night, killing five and injuring seven others, he was fighting what he perceived as government oppression with a method that has long been advocated by the National Rifle Association and gun lobby: force of arms.
Let me see if I can get this straight:
- When a “Black Lives Matter” protest chants “Pigs like bacon, fry ’em in a pan”, theatrically threatening death to cops, it’s the organic rhetorical uprising of the black community.
- But when one of them actually does it, it’s the NRA’s fault?
It doesn’t really add up.
The NRA has long disseminated propaganda telling African-Americans that gun control is “racist” and that they must prepare for war with their own government in order to truly be free. For example, current NRA board member (and past president) David Keene has claimed that “the initial wave of [gun control] was instituted after the Civil War to deny blacks the ability to defend themselves.”
Keene claimed it – because it’s true. After the Civil War, Klan-dominated southern governments tried to bar black freedmen from having guns; they were shooting up too many Klan attacks. It helped lead to the “Equal Protection” clause of the 14th Amendment.
In 2013, NRA favorite Glenn Beck was the featured speaker at their annual meeting, where he told those in attendance that “universal access to firearms is indistinguishable from Emancipation.”
And while I’m not a huge Beck fan, he was right. The ability to protect one’s self, property, family, community and democracy is one of the things that distinguishes a citizen – one who actively participates in governing himself and his society – from a subject, a serf, a fyrd, a slave.
If one is not armed, one’s freedom exists only through the beneficence of those who are.
In Dallas, the NRA’s prescription for oppressed minorities was fully realized. According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, at least 20 people showed up to the rally on July 7 openly carrying rifles and wearing “protective gear,” making a not so-subtle threat of violence against a government which they believe has overstepped its bounds in terms of policing.
So let’s get this straight; when a group of protesters chants “Pigs are like bacon; fry ’em in a pan!” to indicate to the police that they’re angry enough with police abuse to threaten death, it’s the apogee of free speech. When one of those same (?) people shows up showing that he has the means, as a free citizen, to make it stick, suddenly it’s wrong?
So “freedom” only matters when it has no consequences?
Micah Xavier Johnson then made good on that threat, destroying at least six families in the process.
Well, no. The open-carriers threatened nobody. They exercised their constitutional and legal rights. Micah Jackson violated the rights of others – of a whole city – in the most profound way possible, by doing something none of the other shooters did.
Of course, getting the distintion would imply that Ladd Everett “gets” civil rights.
He doesn’t. He is a propaganda mouthpiece.
How do I know? This next bit is the tell:
Let’s keep in mind that there is nothing principled about the NRA’s call for black Americans to arm themselves. For them, it is entirely about profit motive. They understand that fear sells guns, and they have intimate financial ties to the gun industry. Their priority is to push product.
The whole “NRA is about profit” line showcases the gun controllers’ logical vacuity. Americans have been armed well enough to deter tyranny since our founding. Americans have had a (legtimate) disdain for tyranny since before even that. That is the status quo, among Americans who actually think about the nature of government and man (who are fairly common between the Hudson and the Sierra Madre, though vanishingly rare outside those borders).
The “fear” – that the status quo will be changed – which drives the current astronomical gun sales and three-shift gun production is entirely a product of the left’s eliminationist hysteria about guns.
So you will likely continue to see insurrectionist appeals and transparent efforts to market firearms to urban youth like the NRA’s “Noir” show.
Aaaaand the racism.
The NRA makes no more “insurrectionist appeal” than do six state and four national Constitutions, and the United Nations.
It’s the people for whom Ladd Everett is a useful idiot that are prone to the violence.