It’s About Power, Not Killing

In perusing the left leaning forums, I’ve come across a pretty common argument I hear from them. This is quoted exactly from a forum, but I forgot the copy the attribution, so if I’m stiffing someone, forgive me:

Right. If you want defend your freedom against the government you need rpg’s, high explosives, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles.

You have about as much chance of defending your freedom against the government with your hunting rifle as you would “armed” with a bb gun or beanie babies. You are defending your right to have toys.

Well, this is a commonly used argument that on the surface makes sense, but if you really think about it, it’s not really true. What is true is one thing: if the government wants to kill us all, it can.

But war isn’t really about killing. The mistake the left is making is failing to understand what power is.  What gives another man power over you? Did you ever stop to think about that? I’m not talking here about the kind of power your wife has over you, when she makes you take out the trash. Or the kind of power your boss has over you, when he demands you get a report in on time. We all accept some modicum of social controls as part of enjoying the benefits of living as part of a society with other human beings.

When I speak of power, I mean what makes you accept that if you do something that displeases society, it will punish you. If you ultimately rejected anyone’s power over you, including the state’s, what’s to stop you? It all boils down to a very simple relationship. Others have power over you because, ultimately, power is derived from an ability and willingness to use violence to make one submit to the will of another, or the will of society as a whole.

The key aim of war is to get other to submit to your political will. Killing is ancillary to that; a way to cause your opponent to pay a price in order to convince him to submit to your will. That’s one reason we failed to win the Vietnam War; because McNamara and his wiz kids forgot that war wasn’t about a body count, it was about political will, and the North Vietnamese had more of that than we did. If we had just intended to wipe out the Vietnamese, we could have easily done so. But we wage war for political reasons, not because we like killing. As Clauswitz said, war is just politics by other means.

So it’s with that idea in mind that the founding fathers understood the value of an armed citizenry. Who can blame them? They had just defeated the most powerful military on the face of the planet. How many people of Boston do you think would have said, “You’ll never defeat the British Army. And even if you could, you’ll certainly never defeat the Royal Navy. Just look at what they have?” And let’s face it, if the Royal Navy had just decided to open fire and shell Boston after blockading Boston Harbor in June of 1774, I suppose there wouldn’t have been much the city could have done to survive. But the British crown did not want bodies, it wanted submission.

In our country today, the crown is the state, and it has planes, tanks, rockets, nuclear weapons, submarines, and all manner of deadly weaponry. But those are instruments of killing, and while they can translate into political power, they are not political power in and of themselves. If the government wishes to force us to submit to its will, rather than just merely killing us all, eventually someone has to get out of that plane, submarine, or tank and come shove a rifle in my face. When one talks of power between humans, that’s what it really boils down to.

What the founding fathers meant to protect, when they wrote the second amendment, was not a guarantee against getting myself killed by my government. They had just fought a war where a lot of that went on, and they knew better. What they meant to preserve was someting else; if on the day that an unlawful government came to stick rifles in our faces, demanding submission, that we could point them right back and say “NO!”.

It was Patrick Henry who exclaimed on the floor of the House of Burgesses in 1775:

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

The second amendment is not meant to be an indivdual guarantee against death, it’s about us, as a free citizens, being able to choose to say no; the freedom to choose to risk death, and rather than submit to an unlawful government, to fight it.

This is what the left of today fails to understand, and a big part of the reason I find their philosophy repugnant. Given that war is about political will rather than body counts, there’s a reasonably good chance that a body of armed people, collectively saying “NO!”, and backing it up with force of arms, will be enough to deter any government that might forget who they work for, and what constitution they are supposed to operate under.  A lot of individuals might perish in such a process, true, but the second amendment was meant to guarantee that we, as free Americans, always had a choice of whether or not to go gently into that good night.

And that folks, is why I’m a gun nut.

17 thoughts on “It’s About Power, Not Killing”

  1. I find it funny that the left is still using that old canard about never being able to defeat the US with rifles and shotguns when Iraqis are doing a pretty decent job of draining us militarily with carbombs and improvised explosives.

    You don’t need a tank, you just need to be creative with science.

  2. Brad kind of beat me to it, but I was going to mention that it is the very same people saying that we are in an unwinnable situation in Iraq under the same circumstances that they content would be hopeless here at home.

    I think they are just defeatists. Nothing is possible so don’t bother trying. Woe is me.

    “The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
    –John Stuart Mill

  3. We should never forget the Jews of Nazi Germany, lining up like so many sheep to be hauled to the slaughter. They did so because, in their hearts, they could not believe that a “civilized” country like Germany could actually systematically exterminate a portion of their population. And so. for the most part, they went (if not willingly) without forceful objection.

    I may not be able to defeat the entire power of the US government, if it’s brought to bear upon me. But I will NOT go quietly. I will endeaver to take the largest bodyguard along with me.

    The Jews (and others) in Germany had seen their firearms, or their right to keep and bear arms, eliminated long before the “Final Solution” was implemented. But even so, imagine if, instead of being herded along like sheep, every single person being rounded up for the camps had turned with the ferocity of a cornered cat, and attacked with ANY means at their hands their would-be exterminators. Kitchen knives, cleavers, cement blocks from the rooftops, heck, even broken-off table legs. Seek to inflict the most possible damage before you’re killed…and you will be. But just maybe they could have taken some of them with.

    And the result is that no trooper would have gone out, thinking that they had perfect impunity, and that maybe they themselves, or one of their comrades, might not be back in barracks that evening. Would it have made a difference? Possibly not. But it might have, and there was NOTHING to loose by trying.

    My wife and I have drawn our line in the sand, and it’s lies where the forces of government power attempt to physically disarm us. Her entire family, root and stock, was wiped off the map in western Poland, and the only survivors were the ones who managed to make it to the US before the war. Her father taught her, “NEVER let them take your rifle”, as he was teaching her to shoot at age 10.

    We will die, but we’ll set an example. All I can do is hope that it doesn’t come to this point, even with the lunatic left-wing collectivists taking control of our country, and driving us into the ash-heap of history as they dismantle the Constitution.

  4. Exactly right. I “keep and bear” several weapons, for several reasons.

    The first is to protect me, and everyone else, from the government of the United States, and the state of Texas.

    The second is to protect the government of the United States, and the state of Texas, from any and all attacks from outside our borders.

    The third is to defend myself, and others where I can easily see the right, from any individual who would unlawfully seek to cause harm.

    All other reasons can be lumped together as “personal amusement” and, while valid, cannot be put forth as a true defense of the second ammendment.

    God willing, I will never need to use my weapons for any of the major reasons for owning them, but I believe that is because I, and others like me, do own them.

  5. Blackwing: That’s what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto did. The Germans did finally manage to wipe them out, using a lot of heavy artillery that would have been much better employed against the Russians – but not only was it costly, it was an unmistakable public demonstration that the Nazi leadership were savage barbarians. That late in the war, it didn’t matter, but such violence had been required back when they started rounding up Jews, Hitler would have had to choose between dropping the project or giving the many nations that had not yet committed to a side the clearest possible warning. Not to mention that blowing apart German cities to get a few Jews wasn’t really an option…

  6. Hell, I’m not sure, but I may love him myself. And I’m not even turned that way. A very good thought process produced that elucidation. Too damn bad the people that need to embrace it are too damn afraid of liberty and its price to attempt cogniition of the irrefutable points he has made.

  7. “The Art of War” says : Don’t attack your enemy where they are strongest, attack them where they are weakest.

    Those tanks and jets that the government have at their disposal all require fuel. Attack the fuel supply and those jets and tanks are just so much scrap metal.

  8. Back to the original quote.

    “Right. If you want defend your freedom against the government you need rpg’s, high explosives, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft missiles. You have about as much chance of defending your freedom against the government with your hunting rifle as you would “armed” with a bb gun or beanie babies. You are defending your right to have toys.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Think back to the ugly hot spots of the last 50 years where large military units failed. Vietnam, Afghanistan, current Iraq, etc. A committed group on the ground with adequate rifles will always win in the end unless eliminated. This is the opposite of disarmament of which there are also numerous examples. Germany, Uganda, Burma, etc. The militia is a current idea that will prevail if used and supported. Rifles on the ground (the militia) will be successful if carried by dedicated individuals.

  9. You said:

    “….what the left of today fails to understand…”

    They most certainly do understand it. They are deathly afraid of the threat to power that it implies. It stands in the way of their power over this country and the citizens of this country that they would subjugate under the mantle of socialism. That is why they must destroy it

  10. Excellent post. I am reminded once again of one of my favorite judicial dissents, 9th Circuit judge Alex Kozinski’s dissent in the decision not to re-hear en banc the Silveira v. Lockyer case:

    “The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed – where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”


  11. Timmeeee said: “Those tanks and jets that the government have at their disposal all require fuel. Attack the fuel supply and those jets and tanks are just so much scrap metal.”

    Agreed. But my opinion doesn’t matter much, me not having anything at all to do professionally with combat. However, take a look at what Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavian partisan leader and later Communist Dictator) said in WW2 (I’m paraphrasing): ‘I’ve been asked how we can fight the Germans with their new tanks, when all we have is old rifles. Well, I’ll tell you – when the Germans in their new tanks get out to take a piss, we’ll shoot them with our old rifles.”

  12. Well said indeed Sebastian,also in the comments! Willingness is a statement of intent,readiness to do what is necessary irregardless the circumstances is a statement of fact.



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