The 14dec12 Newtown massacre has been blown into a celebrated “crisis” for the nation’s gun ban contingent. And President Obama has made certain that this crisis will also not go to waste in his overarching program that is fundamentally transforming America. He gave VP Joe Biden the job of fashioning the next set of regulations that will further criminalize law abiding citizens who own and bear guns. Remarkably (or not), Biden will present his panel's rapidly reached conclusions and resulting recommendations within the next few days.
The Second Amendment is one of the two or three major dividers in our ideologically polarized country. And its public debate (mirrored in these pages) shines a bright light on the enormous differences that separate our self-declared progressives from those who consider themselves to be classic liberals and libertarians – more compactly labeled our Left and Right.
The major element of debate about the extent of public ownership of guns is their beneficial functions, if any, in a free, open, and liberal society that intends to remain so. These functions are summarized in gun uses for 1) self-defense, 2) sport (including hunting), and the maintenance of 3) par force (q.v.) against a government turned rogue.
1. Self-defense is not a salutary function of a private citizen. Maintaining the safety of a citizen in his person is the role of the state through its local constabularies. (Private individuals defending themselves are “practicing vigilantism” and “taking the law into their own hands”.)
2. Sporting uses of firearms builds and reinforces the darker aspects of human character, and does not benefit the maintenance of an amiable society.
3. The sport killing of animals is a barbaric throwback that needs to be eliminated from civilized society.
4. The Bastiat Triangle of rights is not required to maintain liberal systems of governance. It is a throwback to an age that no longer exists or informs us.
5. The Bastiat Triangle is fundamental to any and every constituting formalism that unites a free people in an enduring manner. Our Founders embedded these rights in our Constitution.
6. It is the role of the federal government to interpret the Second Amendment and to enforce its uniform interpretation across the land.
7. All governments not actively kept in check by their governed tend toward autocracy (usually through democratically initiated and subsequently forced redistribution of wealth, dispersing favored entitlements, and debasing the currency).
8. Powers and collective functions in society should accrue without limit to the highest levels of government because it has the broadest purview of social needs and can assemble the qualified elites to exercise them for the greatest good.
9. Powers and collective functions in society should accrue within limits to the lowest levels of government because these have the most accurate and immediate purview of local social needs, and can execute them with minimum impact on individual liberties.
10. The main role of liberal and broad ownership of weapons in a free society is to enable citizens to band together as the check of last resort against a rogue government. Government should always be at the mercy of its citizens, deporting itself accordingly by enabling its own renewal and, if necessary, replacement through established legal and facile means. Government’s main role is to maintain the sovereignty of the nation (a nation and its government are not the same).
11. Government is the final and proper repository of its citizens’ values, mores, and social goals. Opposition to government, especially one based on its citizens’ use of force, is sedition, and should be dealt with swiftly and severely for the greater good of society. To maintain the peace, government is justified to use all means necessary (especially as it pertains to gun ownership) to prevent its restraint or its replacement by its citizenry.
12. For the greatest social good, democracy should be unbridled, practiced nationally, and applied over the broadest bases to let the people decide all levels of public policy and public norms. The collective always makes the wisest decisions, especially as these affect the permitted individual behaviors in a just society. The current will of the people should not be inhibited by dated and outmoded maxims.
13. For the greatest social good, democracy should be bridled, practiced locally (in a distributed manner; see also subsidiarity), and applied in the large through republican mechanisms founded on an established, broadly understood, amendable, and durable basis (e.g. the Constitution) for the nation’s laws. Collective will is both volatile and unreliable, and therefore should be invoked judiciously and exercised prudently in order to sustainably provide for the broadest liberties of a free people.
So now we have an orchestrated public policy circus going on in Washington through a panel headed arguably by the administration’s chief political clown. And after the charade of meeting with parties "expressing all viewpoints", the panel will rush out its politically polished recommendations that will have no bearing on preventing the kind of events that gave rise to this latest rush to judgment. However, it will provide a framework for gun ban acolytes nationwide to ratchet down another notch or two the people’s right to own and bear arms.
The lamestream will play its compliant role and trumpet the imagined ‘benefits’ of the new provisions while lamenting that more was not done to roll back the nation’s ‘gun culture’. It will do this by sticking a mike in the faces of the bereaved loved ones and our progressive pundits whose intellectual peaks will again be revealed by arguments such as - ‘But what if it were your child who got shot; wouldn’t you do everything possible to prevent that from happening again?’ Their elicited correct answer is one that appeals to simple minds who have little ability to see that their concern is not even being addressed, and in the larger sense that their wellbeing is jeopardized by a growing Leviathan.
A saner society would make its decisions based on realities and facts relating aggregate probabilities and likelihoods, not on emotional pyrotechnics based on low probability anecdotal happenings. But this is not to be, for in the final argument the socialist sees no utility in the widespread ownership of weapons. In fact, to them that ownership is only a liability that obstructs all intents and means to achieve a centrally managed society that can ultimately be populated by enlightened and correctly behaving altruists whom Marx labeled “the communist man”. And this part of the debate, dear reader, is something that will scarcely see the light of day in this ‘land of the free and home of the brave’. The focus will remain fixed on the proper needs of deer and duck hunting.
[13jan13 update] In my sixty years of observing our country’s Presidents, never have I seen the likes of Barak Hussein Obama. If America survives, I believe history will remember him as the nation’s greatest divider. We now have Americans starting to build redoubt communities where the like-minded will gather to practice their life styles and be in a place to defend their way of life if/when the time of troubles comes to this land. The latter looks more and more likely as Obama enlarges his imperial presidency.
The Citadel is the name of one (the first?) of these redoubt communities that is now taking applications for residents of a fortress like city to be built in western Idaho. More here.
Also heard on the grapevine – Obama’s hard left is beginning to have second thoughts about his promoting a big ratchet on the road to an international gun ban. The response to the emotional nonsense coming out of Washington after Newtown is without precedence. Tens of millions of guns and accessories (e.g. large cap magazines) have been sold, ammunition is gone from gun shop shelves, and waiting lists are long for the AR type long guns. Prices have gone through the roof.
This coming Saturday 19 January 2013 there will be nationwide demonstrations in support of the Second Amendment at local gun stores and shooting ranges. As a lifelong NRA member, shooting enthusiast, and promoter of an armed citizenry, I intend to throw in my ‘stubborn ounces’ in opposition to the latest managed hysteria to disarm America.
You say the little efforts that I make
will do no good; they never will prevail
to tip the hovering scale
where justice hangs in balance.
I don’t think I ever thought they would.
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
in favor of my right to choose which side
shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.