search
top

“Prags” vs. “Three Percenters”

Over at Brillianter, in the comments.  I’m not really buying the analogy to organized crime, since organized crime mostly only has the goal to make money, and operate black markets and rackets.  In crime, confrontation with authorities is to be avoided, because it’s bad for business.  It will inevitably happen, but it is a cost of doing business for criminal elements.  Ideological struggles are a different beast.

But I would echo many of the same problems with the ideology.  One problem our founding fathers did not have to deal with is that no one in the colonies elected the government of King George III, and we had no representation in the British Parliament.  To change their government, the only choice was revolution.  You had 1/3rd of the country, that would be 100 million people today, who actively supported a violent revolution, even if they weren’t directly fighting in it.  Do you think 100 million people today support overthrowing their elected government?  Would another 100 million be indifferent to it?

On an intellectual level I can understand the problem with popular sovereignty as the basis of governmental legitimacy, but I’ve never understood how anything else can really work in practice.  At some point, you have to come to terms with the fact that the people voted for this government.  The only way to fix that, which doesn’t involve a high degree of ugliness, is to convince them that it is not the government they actually want, and offer something better.  If they want a nanny government that takes care of them, and insulates them from ugliness in human nature, responsibility, and initiative, how is any piece of paper going saying the government can’t give it to them going to stand in the way over the long term?  I can understand not wanting to live like that, I certainly don’t, but before you even start talking about revolt, you need to deal with the problem of popular sovereignty.

Unfortunately, once bullets start flying, either one side or the other is going to be crushed.  Americans are not ones to back down, and once it crosses to violence, it’s for all the marbles.  If it comes to that, the people who elected the government will not only overwhelmingly agree with crushing the rebellion, but will acquiesce to a lot of measures to prevent such a thing from happening again.  But even if by chance the three percenters actually do win, what will they do with the people who elected the government they just overthrew?  What is the basis of your government’s legitimacy?  They say they will restore the founders constitution, but how?  Whether you like it or not, the population elected this government.  There’s no way to deal with that problem short of a purge, or a massive program of forcing people who don’t think the right way out of their homes so they can go live elsewhere.  Is that change you can believe in?

I’m not saying there are no circumstances that justify violently resisting an out of control government, but you have to be sure your means justify the ends, and that there are no other options.  I hear a lot about the means, but not much about the ends.  But whatever the ends, if you don’t get at least a sizable majority to support, or at least acquiesce to your goals, you don’t stand a chance of accomplishing anything other than bloodshed.  This isn’t the first election we’ve ever lost, and it will not be the last.  We will suffer setbacks.  Politics has to be played over the long haul.  We were successful at reversing some of the worst nonsense of the Clinton years, and it remains to be seen what Heller is going to yield.  Obama will be no picnic, but we have opposed this kind of political creature before, and we’ll oppose it again, this time with some new tools at our disposal.  I can’t say for sure that we will prevail in every battle, but in many ways we’re in better shape than we were in the early 90s.  No doubt I will be called hopelessly naive, but I also think it’s naive to believe that the situation is hopeless and can only be fixed through violence and threats of violence.  When have Americans ever backed down from a threat?

42 Responses to ““Prags” vs. “Three Percenters””

  1. mostlygenius says:

    Thank you for the link.

    The comparison between organized crime and the theoretical armed insurrection was that the government isn’t making big changes out of fear of reprisal of from the criminal gangs.

    The government is not intimidated by these organizations with thousands of members, millions of dollars, and a proven willingness to do violence against government agents.

  2. Sebastian says:

    The government is not intimidated by these organizations with thousands of members, millions of dollars, and a proven willingness to do violence against government agents.

    That’s a fair point in terms of intimidation, but organized crime themselves are prone to being intimidated — in that if they overreact and make outright war on the government, they will be consumed by it — also not good for business.

    If you’ve already made the decision to go out with a bang when the feds come knocking, then there’s not much that’s going to intimidate you once you’ve made that decision. They can only coerce you if you value your life more than subjugation.

    That much I understand, my problem is, the political process is not yet pointless, but it might be if they decide to go out with a bang.

  3. Voolfie says:

    Should the day come that the government of the United States (in the absence of the mandated process for changing the provisions of the Constitution) REFUSES to abide by even the most generous interpretation of the second amendment our side can stomach – and nationwide bans (or their functional equivalent) are imposed – and relief is either denied by both the SCOTUS and the legislative branch or any relief granted is impotent in the face of bureaucratic intransigence…

    THEN…any government engaging in such behavior, will be in material breach of the original, foundational contract between itself and the “governed”, i.e. the people of the United States of America.

    At that instant the government shall render itself illegitimate – and all allegiance owed to any such government will cease. The people will have nothing left to them but the option of exercising that final right – reserved by themselves to themselves – of removing such an illegitimate, despotic government by force and replacing it with one respectful of basic human and civil rights.

    Unfortunately, we’d be hard pressed to find a million people in this country who’d be willing to miss their favorite TV show in order to save their rights…let alone take over city hall and brave an A-10 strafing.

    As for me, I no longer think the people of this country give a rat’s ass about their liberties…and are, therefore, definitely NOT worth fighting/dying for. I believe I’d try my hand at colonizing some small corner of South America.

  4. Skullz says:

    You’re hopelessly naive. OK, I just couldn’t pass it up.

    It’s the famous question… when do you say “enough”? It has to be BEFORE its too late. I also think that the point has been made over and over – no Fort Sumters.

    I continue to participate in the political process, I continue to introduce new people to the shooting sports and concepts of self defense and personal responsibility, I continue to financially support a number of 2A organizations in the hopes that all of those things work out in the positive for our country.

    I also know where my line is. If I can be turned into a criminal by the stroke of a pen, then I will be a criminal. If agents of the government decide to silence my speech, limit my thoughts, deny me, my family or my friend’s inalienable rights, then I will fight. If I see my government knocking my neighbor’s door down I will not sit idly by.

    I would rather die a free man than live subservient to another man.

    III

  5. They can only coerce you if you value your life more than subjugation.

    ‘Zackly. And that is all any of the Three Percent have said.

    Ken
    III

  6. Sebastian says:

    Voolfie:

    I think if the government pretty much refuses to follow the constitution, then it’s time to up the ante, but I think much can be done through state action before it comes to something worse. The Free State Project, way back in the 1990s, wasn’t a bad idea, but it’s ahead of its time. Their goal was 20,000, and they got 800.

    If you can’t get more than 800 people to move for greater liberty, how are you going to get more than a handful to die for greater liberty?

  7. Alcibiades says:

    I’m confused, “Fort Sumter” is bad? If I remember correctly, a group of boisterous Southern plantation owners didn’t like the thought of giving up their slaves, so they organized a preemptive secession and started a war with the federal government.

    Hey… that sounds just like Mike Vanderboner.

  8. It is my view that the either/or proposition of the ‘prags’ vs. ‘the three percenters’ is a false dichotomy. There is no lack of pragmatism among those who reasonably envision a time when citizens may be forced to oppose their own government with force.

    While it is true that the Founders’ revolution was against a government that had not been elected by the people, they clearly stated that they believed that a government that IS elected by the people can become just as tyrannical as a monarchy.

    The quotations from the Founders concerning this belief are numerous:

    “It’s a Republic if you can keep it.”
    “Liberty ceases when the people discover they can vote themselves a bounty from the public treasury.”
    “Liberty at times can only be preserved by the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

    And, as you all well know, the very reason the Founders insisted on the Second Amendment was to keep a check on govrenment tyranny–OUR OWN government!

    It is clear from history that not only did the Founders keep a wary eye on tyrannical governments from the outside but on the government they themselves had established, lest it morph into a liberty-robbing monster like other governments.

    Thus, I cannot buy the argument that because the American Revolution was against the British monarchy that had not been elected, then this somehow nullifies or minimizes the Founder’s contention that our own govenment is a danger as well…and that there could come a time when the citizens would need to fight that government.

    Jefferson was convinced that such a thing would be inevitable.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Fort Sumter forced Lincoln’s hand in terms of turning secession into armed conflict. Firing on Fort Sumter was the point of no return. After that, it was going to be a shooting war.

  10. Sebastian says:

    While it is true that the Founders’ revolution was against a government that had not been elected by the people, they clearly stated that they believed that a government that IS elected by the people can become just as tyrannical as a monarchy.

    That’s true, but how despotic did Jefferson think a government had to become before overthrowing it was justified? What about Adams? Madison or Washington? I don’t think the founders were of a single mind on this issue. The problem with any elected system is people inherently have the power to change it if it’s not the government they want to live under. Now if the government refuse to put themselves up for election, that’s a different ball of wax.

    But I think the standard needs to be very high for violently resisting a freely elected government. There are limits to that, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near them.

  11. illspirit says:

    It is my view that the either/or proposition of the ‘prags’ vs. ‘the three percenters’ is a false dichotomy.

    I couldn’t agree with this more. While my line in the sand might not be in the same place (or widely broadcast) as most 3%ers, it is there. This doesn’t stop me from doing political things to avoid (or at least delay) being pushed back over it.

    But, then, maybe I just don’t get so wrapped up in such either/or thinking because I feel the peaceful non-compliance (a la Canada’s failed long gun registry) and/or John Galt options might provide a sizable buffer between a political setback and the time to break out the fourth box. Having said that, maybe the “prags” and “SNBIs” should form a circular firing squad around me for being a Bizarro-Prag?

    /me runs

  12. RAH says:

    I agree basically what Sebastian says but people will ususally wait too late to revolt. I am thinking of Mugabe and Rhodesia. a country that was destroyed and people who could have resisted di not and now it will take a revolt from the thugs that are the military to get rid of Mugabe. The country is so destroyed economically that he can no longer afford to feed his troops.

    If the landowners had resisted this mess may not have gone this far.

    Most western governments will not go that far and some freedom will exist enough to satisfy the majority..

  13. mostlygenius says:

    “If you’ve already made the decision to go out with a bang when the feds come knocking, then there’s not much that’s going to intimidate you once you’ve made that decision. They can only coerce you if you value your life more than subjugation.”

    Again, I am refuting the argument that the 3% has some kind of chastening effect on the government. The government is not intimidated, or even interested to any great significance.

    “That much I understand, my problem is, the political process is not yet pointless, but it might be if they decide to go out with a bang.”

    My argument is that it is pretty hard for the (monolithic) gun community to appear sensible when the lunatic fringe is screaming blood and fire, and moving gun ownership one step closer to domestic terrorism in the eyes of the general public.

  14. That’s true, but how despotic did Jefferson think a government had to become before overthrowing it was justified? What about Adams? Madison or Washington? I don’t think the founders were of a single mind on this issue.

    The historical record demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that, whatever individual differences they might have had, the Founders were willing to tolerate far less in the way of tyranny than we have been for the last century. Gordon Wood writes eloquently on this subject.

    My argument is that it is pretty hard for the (monolithic) gun community to appear sensible when the lunatic fringe is screaming blood and fire,…

    A-hem. That’s amusing. Go back to the comments in the linked thread, and you’ll see MostlyGenius wondering why we don’t go after Brady Bunchers, and BC insisting on seeing David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh dead in a ditch, to prove our three percenter bona fides.

    There’s blood lust, all right.

    Ken
    III

  15. N.U.G.U.N. says:

    Very true…

    The things that could play out to offer a different scenario are, as I see them, the following:

    1. An elected government is later shown to be completely fraudulently elected. We’re not talking the debate of hanging chads, or who won a given state. But a revelation of massive voter fraud, most likely electronically. (ie: Hypothetical discovery that Ron Paul received 60% of the votes but the electronic voting machines were programmed to record them for McCain.) [Note, I do not believe that was the case, I was just providing a hypothetical scenario.] Such a situation essentially eliminates the “we voted for this government clause”.

    2. General collapse and bankruptcy of government. Followed by a fracture of the United States. In this case, the Federal government and most state governments enter insolvency. The nation fractures akin to the Soviet break-up. This is perhaps the only case of revolution in which I could a libertarian cause achieved with a reasonable amount of peace. In that I could see one segment of the United States (probably western PA thru some of the fly-over regions) becoming a Free Peoples Republic. California would probably stand with the formation of the West Coast and western rockies. An expanded Texas. And the Eastern seaboard as new European styled socialist government with probably a bit more fascism in the mix.

    3. A fascist government comes to power. Who knows what’ll happen. I imagine us gun bloggers will be some of the first to disappear, a few of us might return “re-educated”. The rest, ashes.

    4. Things continue on and the mere fact of apathy and consumerism somehow keeps things afloat enough and dispassionate enough not to bring about much of a dynamic change.

  16. mostlygenius sez: ”I am refuting the argument that the 3% has some kind of chastening effect on the government. The government is not intimidated, or even interested to any great significance.”

    You must have missed the 90s. And this much I can tell you, the three letters are more than a little interested in the latest gun run.

    Then he sez: “My argument is that it is pretty hard for the (monolithic) gun community to appear sensible when the lunatic fringe is screaming blood and fire, and moving gun ownership one step closer to domestic terrorism in the eyes of the general public.”

    Since when has appearing law-abiding and sensible got us anything on the national stage? You remind me of Hans Blix in Team America when he tells Kim Jon Il that he must let him inspect Kim’s palace for WMDs, “or else.” “Or else, what?” Kim asks. “Or else we will write you a letter telling you how very angry we are.”

  17. anon says:

    Be careful citing Jefferson. For every quote about the tree of liberty refreshed with the blood of tyrants, there are also quotes like this.

    “The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the State instead of assembling armies will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had given them.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1789.

    Jefferson also thought that every generation should determine the laws that govern them.

    “The generations of men may be considered as bodies or corporations. Each generation has the usufruct of the earth during the period of its continuance. When it ceases to exist, the usufruct passes on to the succeeding generation free and unencumbered and so on successively from one generation to another forever. We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1813

    Not a great argument for the 3%.

  18. anon says:

    Law abiding and sensible got us Heller, Mr. Vanderbough. Do you mind telling me what your threatening and pouting has gotten us on the national stage?

  19. hypnagogue says:

    What does the election have to do with anything? The only question that is relevant is “does the government allow itself to be constrained by the Constitution that gives it legitimacy?”. The results of an election are irrelevant to that question, as only the text of the Constitution can give the election legitimacy with the minority.

    The Constitution exists to limit the power of the governent and of the majority. When they dispense with that quaint doctrine, they are attacking the minority with the might of the strongest governent on earth. Self-defense is justified, regardless of the “ends” envisioned (if any) by the defenders.

  20. nick says:

    “anon,” do you honestly think that Vanderboegh has just arrived on the stage and announced that it’s time to start shooting? All he’s said is that he’s tried it your way, for decades. Why don’t you answer your own question – What has political pragmatism accomplished for us? More freedom? I don’t think so. He’s simply said he will coalesce no more.

  21. “Jefferson also thought that every generation should determine the laws that govern them.”

    Sure he did…as long as that government adhered to the principles of individual liberty. If it didn’t, then that government would be deemed illegitimate. Read it within context, my friend!

  22. Sebastian says:

    Nick,

    You honestly have to be blind if you say the political process hasn’t done anything for us over the past decade and a half. If you had told me in 1994 that in 15 years I’d be able to legally carry a concealed firearm coast-to-coast without disarming, hell, even be able to leave my own state legally armed, told me we’d not have anew assault weapons ban, would shut down Clinton and Rendell’s ridiculous plan of bankrupting the industry through lawsuits, a Supreme Court ruling that says the Second Amendment is an individual right, and had a Democratic presidential candidate from Chicago running as far away from his gun control record as his legs would carry him I would have said you were stark raving mad.

  23. Sebastian says:

    Martyn:

    The context of the quote that anon shared is Jefferson talking about public debt, and the depravity of one generation binding another in debt — a lesson lost on most of our politicians these days.

  24. Sebastian says:

    Another strange Jefferson quote would have put him squarely against Heller, and into the Robert Bork camp:

    To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.

    His observation on the nature of the judiciary certainly ring true, but I doubt many folks today, or even then, would be willing to come out against judicial review.

  25. nick says:

    To my knowledge, MV and the SNBI’s haven’t desparaged the efforts of those who are working within the system to accomplish positive, peaceful change. To the contrary, the Three Percenters are some of the most active and principled political participants. They have simply said, “We will continue to work and hope for the best, but we will prepare for the worst. And we will not disarm.”

    So stop pretending like the SNBI’s aren’t just as politically active as you. They merely have the added fortitude to say that if the system fails, they will not yield.

  26. nick says:

    And I’d be happy to come out against judicial review.

  27. Sebastian says:

    Nick:

    So who decides what is and what isn’t constitutional? At that point, you essentially have a dreaded majority rule. Jefferson was fine with this, since he would come to believe that even binding future generations with a legal constitution was wrong.

    And if you guys are so politically active, can you tell me what you did this election to help pro-gun candidates get elected? They were out there. I’ll even give you that McCain sucked enough that I can understand not wanting to get behind him.

  28. M1Thumb says:

    You obviously are confused, Alcibiades. “Vanderboner?” That’s pathetic. Can’t you resort to something other than lame schoolyard taunts? Must’ve been out of ideas. Your attempt to equate him to a Confederate in beliefs and strategy belies your ignorance of his stance on anything other than not backing down from the Feds. Have you read anything he’s written?

    So, guys – where IS the line? The whole point of the III movement is that a few Americans have established that for them, the line DOES exist.

    I salute the continued efforts of the Prags (and the SNBIs) to change things peacefully, but let’s be honest. Admit it: for you, Sebastian, mostlygenius and others, there IS NO LINE. You’ll let them walk in your front door, take every gun you own and rape your wife on the way out. And then you’ll shake your fist and swear that The Line is when they start to REALLY ignore the Constitution.

  29. hypnagogue says:

    Sebastian: Your understanding of Jefferson’s position regarding a binding Constitution does not withstand even cursory historical research. Google “perpetual union” and reread Article 5. The Constitution most certainly was considered binding until and as amended.

  30. nick says:

    I donated a lot of money to candidates (a few of which weren’t in my state, let alone my district). I wrote several (and in some cases all) of my acquaintances concerning political issues and contacting their representatives. I intentionally engaged those with whom I have contact (at work, church, etc) in discussions with the purpose of challenging their systems of thought as they relate to the size of government and its role. I’m sure you’ll have a reason to believe that what I did wasn’t enough. Fine. But I haven’t done nothing.

    And “who decides what is and what isn’t constitutional?” Hopefully the elected officials can read. If (and when) not, Juries of Peers. But ultimately, it will be always be those who, like the Three Percenters, stand their ground and say to the masses, “No more.”

  31. Sebastian says:

    M1Thumb:

    When the feds are to the point of breaking down doors and raping women to confiscate firearms, I’ll be shooting right along with you. But I think it’s naive to believe you guys are a line in the sand. The feds will destroy you, and then the people will acquiesce to destroy the rest of our rights. When that time comes, we will all have a choice to make, but that’s not to say I want to make the choice unless there’s just no other avenue.

  32. Sebastian says:

    nick: That’s great… I have no beef with your political work in that instance.

  33. anon says:

    “What has political pragmatism accomplished for us?”

    To quote Franklin, a republic, if we can keep it. For example, it gave us Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, which he made despite the fact that the federal government did not have an enumerated power to aquire territory.

    As for Jefferson believing that a generation could set its own laws “as long as that government adhered to the principles of individual liberty. If it didn’t, then that government would be deemed illegitimate”… that’s just nonsense. Did Jefferson view his own administration as illegitimate because it didn’t abolish slavery, though it took the middling step of abolishing the slave trade? How could that be seen as adhering to the principles of individual liberty?

    Conversely, did Jefferson view the Adams administration as illegitimate when it passed and enforced the Alien and Sedition Acts? He certainly viewed the laws themselves as unconstitutional, and he felt it was within the rights of the state of Virginia to secede, but as for questioning the legitimacy of the government that passed the laws, it simply didn’t happen.

    Jefferson ultimately saw the pragmatic value in fighting those laws within the confines of the Union, making them a central campaign issue in the election of 1800, and using opposition to them as a springboard for advancing his own ideology. He most certainly did not grab his pistols and fowling pieces and hole up in Monticello, waiting for Hamilton’s army to come and get him. He could have publically threatened secession, as he wrote in an early draft of the Virginia Resolution, but he didn’t. He was pragmatic, for both political and civic reasons.

    To refuse to see the value of pragmatism is to be as blind as those progressives who see a utopia on the horizon, where all the world will live in peace and harmony forever and ever. Your utopian vision of America is as imaginary as theirs is. We’ve never had that society or government you imagine. From the moment the founders realized that the Articles of Confederation weren’t cutting it, this nation has existed and thrived because men have been both principled and pragmatic, though not always at the same time.

  34. Sebastian says:

    hypnagogue:

    Let’s consider this Jefferson quote on majority rule:

    The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism.

    Let’s also consider:

    This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal inhabitants during their generation. They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority. That majority, then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution what they think will be the best for themselves.

    This is one of the reasons I’ve never been a great admirer of Jefferson. I admire his principles, his pen, and his idealism, but I have to stand with different founding fathers when it comes to actually having to run a government. Jefferson did not pen the constitution, but was only part of its creation. I am a great admirer of Madison, because I think he was a better architect than Jefferson. That’s not to say Jefferson didn’t believe in the constitution… but he was skeptical of binding future generations. He said to Madison:

    It is my principle that the will of the majority should prevail. If they approve the proposed constitution in all its parts, I shall concur in it cheerfully, in hopes that they will amend it whenever they shall find it works wrong. This reliance cannot deceive us, as long as we remain virtuous.

    And how’s this for a ringing endorsement of the Three Percenters:

    I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.

    Jefferson, in a lot of ways, was a very conflicted man. In many ways, I do think he would identify with the IIIs, and you are in a lot of ways within his philosophy, but you should understand that in many ways you are also without it. Jefferson was mainly an idealist, but he did have a pragmatic streak in him when pushed that way. I don’t really think you can look to one founder as the possessor of truth. I can find much to disagree and agree with among many of them. The remarkable system they created was truly a collective work, born of many compromises by intelligent, and principled men who did share a common belief in individual self-determination, liberty, and republican government. Beyond that, they didn’t agree on specifics.

  35. mostlygenius says:

    Well I have been playing the flame war game over at my blog all day and fielding all manner of comments. I am not going to carry in on to your comments thread.

    About all that I have learned from this pointless exercise is that there are some angry folks that are talking about fighting in some poorly defined way against some poorly defined threats to achieve a restoration of the founders republic in some undefined manner and everyone else is a bunch of cowards, communists, collaborators, and idiots. I apparently am all four.

  36. Sebastian says:

    The Louisiana Purchase is probably the best and most famous instance of Jefferson’s pragmatism. Under his strict interpretation of the constitution, there was no power to purchase land. Jefferson cited the General Welfare Clause, known today as Congress’ “spending power.”

    Of course, back then you had Congress arguing over what the constitution meant. A far cry from today’s version of passing whatever laws they damned please, and letting the courts sort things out.

  37. hypnagogue says:

    Selective quotation makes for an easily disputed argument.

    “[To establish republican government, it is necessary to] effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions.”

    “[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.”

    “Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the people the principles of their political creed.”

    And, as if to speak to you, Sebastian:

    “The Tory principle of passive obedience [seeks to] become entirely triumphant under the new-fangled names of confidence and responsibility.”

  38. Anon:

    ‘As for Jefferson believing that a generation could set its own laws “as long as that government adhered to the principles of individual liberty. If it didn’t, then that government would be deemed illegitimate”… that’s just nonsense. Did Jefferson view his own administration as illegitimate because it didn’t abolish slavery, though it took the middling step of abolishing the slave trade? How could that be seen as adhering to the principles of individual liberty?’

    The slavery issue with regard to Jefferson seems to be a stumbling block to many who completely disregard the Constitution because it was ‘written by a bunch of old white men who believed in slavery.’

    The point is moot, because you are attempting to impose a 21st century point of view on an 19th century document. Since most caucasians at the time believed that African slaves did not even possess souls, thus rendering them less than human, they saw no conflict in speaking of liberty while at the same time practicing something we today believe is the epitome of anti-freedom.

    But the principle of expanded liberties, as built into the Constitution, comes into play at this very point. The Founders did not know that their IDEAS were so forward-looking that it would expand the understanding of liberty far beyond that of which they were capable at the time.

    ‘Conversely, did Jefferson view the Adams administration as illegitimate when it passed and enforced the Alien and Sedition Acts? He certainly viewed the laws themselves as unconstitutional, and he felt it was within the rights of the state of Virginia to secede, but as for questioning the legitimacy of the government that passed the laws, it simply didn’t happen.’

    We have no way of knowing exactly at what point was Jefferson’s line in the sand. He didn’t really say. We can only assume that he felt the Alien and Sedition acts should be fought within the system while at the same time maintaining that when government does certain things it ceases to be a legitimate government.

    We know the latter is the case because he said so himself. And he went further to state that such government had to be opposed, thus purging it of the cancerous growth of anti-freedom.

    Obviously, in Jefferson’s view we never reached that point. But you cannot argue that because of this he had no line in the sand.

    Sebastian said it best when he stated that Jefferson was in some ways conflicted. He believed for example that there should be no standing army. And he reduced the Navy down to nothing more than small patrol boats that guarded the East Coast.

    I certainly don’t agree with every single thing he said or did, but when it came to the overarching principle of human liberty, he was a pioneer for his time…even for today.

  39. A quick correction to the above–I know the Constitution is an 18th century document, not 19th.

  40. Alcibiades says:

    My point was, most people see “Fort Sumter” as a net good. Referencing it makes Mike Vanderboer look like a Neo-Confederate jackass. The question was rhetorical.

    Having read his “proclamation” of sorts, Mike Vanderbore seems to think Lincoln was the aggressor in the lead up to the Civil War, so I can only assume that he actually is a Neo-Confederate.

    I defend name-calling on the grounds that the works of Mike Vanderbonehead are replete with ad hominem attacks. Or, in a way that M.V. can understand, “Sez u, sez I, sez her, sez him, sez thee, sez thou, sez they, sez them, sez me” ad infinitum.

    *Wink, wink*

  41. Sebastian says:

    He believed for example that there should be no standing army. And he reduced the Navy down to nothing more than small patrol boats that guarded the East Coast.

    Which was a serious hindrance for us in the Barbary War. Most of our ships were easily bested by the pirates. Jefferson often let his ideals get the better of him, but I don’t think he got lost in them.

  42. Sebastian says:

    Not to mention a hindrance to us in 1812. His belief that the militia would protect the country turned out to be false. Madison had to spend a lot of money rebuilding the army and the navy after the war.

top