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Threatening the Political Establishment

Dave Hardy asks an interesting question:

What I’ve always found interesting is — why is the 2nd Amendment considered a conservative issue, and gun control a liberal one? I have some theories which I am exploring. One is simply social and has nothing to do with logic. Liberals are less likely than conservatives to come from socio-economic groups that use or like guns. But why would that override consistency? (Esp. when it comes from persons who think (1) Bush is an incipient Hitler, we are tipping to a police state yet (2) the government should have the power to disarm the populace)?

I tend to think that gun control mostly happens when the established political order feels threatened. NFA happened as we were going through the turmoil of the Great Depression. GCA ’68 was spurred by the assassinations of political leaders like President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King. The Brady Act, the crown jewel of the gun control movement of the late 80s and early 90s, was spurned by the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

I’m not actually sure that gun control, at its root, is so much an issue of progressive vs. libertarian or conservative, so much as the political establishment vs. the people.

We’ve been successful as a movement because we’re all beneficiaries of a system that was intended to put the people as paramount in the political order; that all power of the political establishment to govern was ultimately derived from the consent of the people, that agreed to give up certain rights in order to enjoy the benefits of just government. But in giving up some rights, the people retained others, and among those was the right to bear arms.

I think this has always been somewhat of a threat to the political order, especially the leftist political order, which does not see itself as a necessary evil to protect the rights of men, but as a movement to shape society as they would like to see it. Seeing people as objects to be molded into thinking and behaving correctly, belies a certain intellectual arrogance and self absorption. This is certainly not limited to the left. You can see it on the right in spades as well. But many of those elements of the right also embrace gun control.

I think the attraction to gun control is rooted in a fear among the political establishment that their power is threatened by the idea of power being distributed in society; power that could be used against them. This might seem paranoid, but I think it odd that political turmoil, particularly assassination, seems to be a primary impetus for gun control measures.

37 Responses to “Threatening the Political Establishment”

  1. anon says:

    “I think the attraction to gun control is rooted in a fear among the political establishment that their power is threatened by the idea of power being distributed in society;”

    Yes! You hit the nail on the head, and the 2nd is there to keep it that way:

    “When the government fears the people, there is liberty;
    When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

  2. Jadegold says:

    “When the government fears the people, there is liberty;
    When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    As is the case in so many instances that when a gunloon quotes a historical figure, the quote is bogus.

    Again, the notion that firearms serve to keep Government on the straight and narrow is completely ludicrous and is a hoax designed to create the facade of patriotism around a hobby.

    Essentially, this fantasy is produced by some pretty remarkable leaps of logic and twisting of the Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution asserts a right to rebellion or insurrection; in fact, the Constitution specifically militates against it by warning against treason. This is why folks like Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, or NRA member Tim McVeigh couldn’t claim they were merely exercising their Constitutional rights.

    Gun loons would have us believe the Constitution is a schizophrenic document; in one part it says its citizens are not to make war against or conspire to overthrow the government and in another part, it supposedly encourages its citizens to do exactly that.

    Practically speaking, it is of course a silly fantasy to believe gunloons could overthrow the US Govt. Red Dawn was a movie, not a documentary.

  3. jmt says:

    Gunloons huh? Kinda ruins your entire post when you include pejoratives like that.

    The Second Amendment is not about rebellion, rather is an acknowledgment that everyone is endowed with a right to arms for protection and food gathering. And just because I don’t need to go elk hunting for dinner does not invalidate the right.

    When order breaks down, like in post-Katrina New Orleans, it is the responsibility of the individual to protect himself, his family, and property. In such situations where legal authority cannot or will not enforce the law, it is the individual that has to look out for it.

    This is impossible in a gun-controlled society where predators will have weapons while the law-abiding citizens will not.

    As for references to rebellion and the justification there of, I would refer you to the Declaration of Independence. No, it is not a document with legal standing; however, it does provide a moral and philosophical reason for revolution.

  4. guy says:

    “Practically speaking, it is of course a silly fantasy to believe gunloons could overthrow the US Govt. Red Dawn was a movie, not a documentary.”

    Very true, after all the power behind the government is made up of programmed killbots with no feelings or opinions of their own. Obviously there would be 100% compliance if they were told to fire on their fellow citizens.

    Or is that a silly fantasy?

  5. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think anyone would argue that the second amendment is meant to recognize a right of rebellion, and I don’t think any of the founders would have argued there’s a right to rebel against a lawfully operating government.

  6. Jadegold says:

    JMT is correct in stating the DoI is not a legal document; in point of fact, it is an op/ed–some parts are remakable and some parts contain very sloppy thinking. But, remember, the DoI represented an act of treason against the Crown.

    The Second Amendment is not about rebellion, rather is an acknowledgment that everyone is endowed with a right to arms for protection and food gathering

    Again, there’s exactly nothing in the Constitution to support this notion.

    I don’t think anyone would argue that the second amendment is meant to recognize a right of rebellion,

    Virtually every gunloon organization promotes this very idea as its cornerstone principle.

  7. thirdpower says:

    Wrong. Try again. Of course, once again, you have to selectively edit a post in which to respond to.

    Are you trying to say that the populace does not have the right to rise up if Bush decided to stay in office for an unelected 3rd term after arresting Congress?

  8. jmt says:

    [i]The Second Amendment is not about rebellion, rather is an acknowledgment that everyone is endowed with a right to arms for protection and food gathering

    Again, there’s exactly nothing in the Constitution to support this notion. [/i]

    The Bill of Rights recognizes the R2KBA. If the Constitution enumerates what the right is for or not does not matter. Similarly, the Right of Free Speech is recognized, but the uses for which such a right might be put are not enumerated. This lack of enumeration does not invalidate the First Amendment.

  9. Jadegold says:

    Sigh. Again, Third claims I have read/write privileges on someone elses website. Sebastian, kindly inform Third I have no ability to edit anyone’s posts or comments.

    Are you trying to say that the populace does not have the right to rise up if Bush decided to stay in office for an unelected 3rd term after arresting Congress?

    Wolverines! Let’s call Thomas C. Howell and Patrick Swayze to help us!

    The fact is Bush couldn’t arrest Congress and should he attempt to stay, the proper mechanisms of Government would kick in and remove him.

    Besides, I didn’t see you and yours exactly spring into action when Bush decided he could wiretap you and detain you indefinitely without charges.

  10. thirdpower says:

    And Jade intentionally BS’s again. He responds to a partially cited quote and then tries to divert the topic w/ his usual nonsense.

    Are you stalking me Jade? Have you read every letter I’ve written or post I’ve made on the net? Otherwise your claims on what I did or did not do are, as usual, BS.

  11. jmt says:

    Jadegold, your comment regarding wire taps is ill informed and a non-sequiter to the discussion at hand.

    We are discussing R2KBA and the implicit or explicit right of revolution.

    To that end, I would offer up the Tenth Amendment (I hope the italics come up this time):

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively , or to the people.

    This the clause that applies to rights not enumerated in the first nine amendments. Any right to rebellion would therefore come under the Tenth Amendment rather than the Second.

  12. Jadegold says:

    Sebastian: Please inform Third that I have no mystical power to alter his comments.

    Jadegold, your comment regarding wire taps is ill informed and a non-sequiter to the discussion at hand.

    Huh? I apologize–I now see Bush arresting Congress and taking a third term was wholly relevant to the discussion at hand.

    WRT to the 2A v the 10A regarding a right to rebellion–it is still a ludicrous notion. You’re essentially saying the Constitution is schizophrenic. On one hand, the Constitution is quite clear about treason; but then you claim the 2A (or 10A) says “go for it?”

  13. thirdpower says:

    It’s OK JG. We all know that you have to blurt out nonsense when you get called on your BS.

  14. R.J. says:

    “GCA ’68 was spurned…”

    I presume that you meant “spurred”?

  15. Linoge says:

    The notion of firearm control is just that – a notion of control. When it comes right down to it, for the most part (and this is a generalization, so take it for what it is worth), most liberals are intensely interested in controlling the population as a whole. Take, for instance, the wonderful state of Kalifornistan, that is attempting to outlaw smoking in your own privately-owned residence. For some reason, one of the primary tenets of being a liberal is the belief that the government somehow better knows what is “good” for you, and “good” for the society, and that the government should then be empowered to do whatever is necessary to ensure both, no matter the cost to the individual.

    And, yes, firearm control has costs, and large ones at that – if nothing else, look at the wonderful developments coming out of England on a daily basis. The saying is trite, but there is no way around its relevancy – if you outlaw firearms, only outlaws will have firearms. People who commit crimes with guns are already criminals… what is one more set of laws to break? I do not know about your average lawbreaker, but if I had already resolved to hold up a convience store at gunpoint, the firearm itself being outlawed certainly would not stop me.

    Now, I am not saying that conservatives are against controlling the populace, just that, with liberals, it appears to be a much, much higher priority. As for how firearms fit into this whole picture, an armed man, just like an honest man, cannot be controlled – he can only be killed. And a dead person does not do his part to support Welfare, Social Security, and all the rest of the “good of the people” programs out there… not to mention he is a thorn in the side of good publicity.

    In the end, Sebastian, you are perfectly correct – it all boils down to nothing more complicated than fear. Ever since firearms were created, they have instilled fear in those who have witnessed them – the simple ability to reach out and kill someone at absurd ranges tends to do that, I suppose. For some mature individuals, that fear has eventually transformed into healthy respect. For some, they enjoy wielding that fear. And for some, they cannot tolerate fear in any form, and thus are making every effort to close their eyes, shove their heads in the sand, and wish it all away. At this point, we may as well legislate against meteors falling to earth and squishing people – it would be about as effective (of course, as I write this, I can definitely see that kind of legislation being proposed, if not adopted, in the future).

    As for the threadjack topic… this country’s government was founded by the people, for the people, and of the people. It exists solely at the largesse of the people, and while the government itself has forgotten that, and most of the people of the country have either forgotten it or suppressed the information, it does not change the reality of the situation. Certainly revolution against a lawfully operating government would be unconstitutional. However, if that government were to start violating the Constitution itself, then the question becomes far from academic.

    And for the sake of an honest record, I would like to point out that Red Dawn had absolutely nothing to do with the overthrow of the US Government (in fact, it has more to do with armed civilians doing their best to perpetuate the US Government), and to associate the two is remarkable intellectual dishonesty.

  16. R.J. says:

    Sebastian, you’re right on the mark. Gun control isn’t “liberal vs. conservative”; it’s “the State vs. the People”. Like it or not, Jadegold, that’s what the 2A is for: defense against a tyrannical govenment along with self defense against criminals, with hunting running a distant third. The people of New Orleans missed their chance to remind the thugs-in-uniform of that after Katrina. And Red Dawn wasn’t about overthrowing the U.S. Gov’t, but about repelling foreign invaders.

    BTW, Jadegold…”gunloons”? I guess you didn’t want to make the same mistake that Laura Washington did when she tried to insult us with “People of the Gun”, only to have us proudly adopt it as a tribal name! (Heh!) However, it still marks you as a venom-spitting enemy, instead of a thoughtful debater of the issue.

  17. Noops says:

    “most liberals are intensely interested in controlling the population as a whole.”

    As opposed to Republicans, Conservatives, and Compassionate Conservatives who NEVER try to control the population as a whole. Gay marriage will destroy the fabric of our nation. Abortion should be illegal even though our arguments are based on religion, and oh yeah, our government should further Christian principles in government. Without the very foundation of our nation is bunk!! And if you don’t give up our rights, the terrorists are going to get us all. It’s for the children.

    As Sebastion noted, the fear of things, especially control in governance, is something not limited to either side. It’s a power thing. Fear is what gets a populace to give up rights, and both sides are pretty good at it.

  18. Jadegold says:

    RJ: Gunloon is a much nicer term than I’d normally use. As for ‘People of the Gun,’ I’m at a loss as to understand the pride in portraying a bunch of overweight folks, playing dress up.

  19. Noops says:

    JadeGold,

    It’s amazing how people resort to name calling when their arguments don’t seem to withstand the test of reason. You seem to be upholding that idea to it’s finest extent. And through that, you strengthen the argument that it is a lack of logical thought or well reasoned logic that drives gun control.

  20. thirdpower says:

    Now JG is bigotted against those with weight problems. Such a progressive individual.

  21. Sebastian says:

    Now, I am not saying that conservatives are against controlling the populace, just that, with liberals, it appears to be a much, much higher priority.

    Depends on the type of conservative. I have little doubt that James Dobson wishes to run my life as much as or more than any progressive.

  22. jmt says:

    Jadegold, your comment regarding wire taps is ill informed and a non-sequiter to the discussion at hand.

    Huh? I apologize–I now see Bush arresting Congress and taking a third term was wholly relevant to the discussion at hand.

    I assume you were referring to the NSA wire taps which do not have any bearing on this discussion.

    Apology accepted.

    WRT to the 2A v the 10A regarding a right to rebellion–it is still a ludicrous notion. You’re essentially saying the Constitution is schizophrenic. On one hand, the Constitution is quite clear about treason; but then you claim the 2A (or 10A) says “go for it?”

    I hope you didn’t get lettuce on your hand when you put those words in my mouth. :)

    I said:

    Any right to rebellion would therefore come under the Tenth Amendment rather than the Second.

    That is not stating that there is a right to rebellion in the Constitution, simply that rights not enumerated in the Constitution (what ever they may be) are covered by the Tenth Amendment.

    For example, if there was a right to free health care, it would be covered by the Tenth Amendment and therefore prohibited from being legislated by the Federal government. (This is an example and not a non sequiter.)

    Reading more of you posts, I see you’ve gone off the reservation on this topic and are now casting aspersions on various conservatives who you imagine want to control your life. In my life time it has been the Left (or left leaning RINOS) who have been the most interested in control – wage and price controls, the Brady amendment, McCain-Feingold, general Political Correctness.

    Thanks for playing, you’re generating much more heat than light.

  23. Jadegold says:

    JMT: I also apologize for your inability to recognize sarcasm.

    Thanks for playing, you’re generating much more heat than light.

    Well, we’ve gotta take one game at a time and Good Lord willing, things will work out our way. I’m just glad to be here and hope I can help the ballclub.

    See? I’ve mastered the cliches, too.

  24. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    JadeGold keeps whipping out his fearsome JadeSpeak.

  25. straightarrow says:

    “I don’t think anyone would argue that the second amendment is meant to recognize a right of rebellion, and I don’t think any of the founders would have argued there’s a right to rebel against a lawfully operating government.”-Sebastian.

    WRONG! Read the founders, remember the second amendment and the Constitution, itself, as welll as the Declaration of Independence was written and ratified by men who were rebelling against a lawfully operating government. It was unjust, but it was operating in compliance with the law.

    Other than that glaring mistake, you are correct that the problem is more one of the state vs. the people. The left believes power and privilege (they do not recognize rights) flow from government to the people, a great many pseudo conservatives do also (McCain is an example). Real conservatives believe in our system the flow of power is from the people to the state with the consent of the people. Only people have rights, the people grant “powers” to the state only so that the state can perform its tasks.

    Real political conservatives are very rare, they are the “classical liberals” because their philosophy provides for the most attainable individual liberty.

    They are hated by both the social conservatives and the poiitical liberals, because they do not recognize the supremacy of state power over the supremacy of the individual citizen. That position is anathema to all who would control every aspect of the lives of others. Controlling someone else completely is a very difficult task on a personal level, but if one who wishes to control can get voluntary compliance by a coalition we call government then it becomes much easier and the controllers gain more power and treasure.

  26. dwlawson says:

    The point of “militia nullification” is that if the WHOLE militia rose up it would overwhelm the government and would, necessarily, represent the voice of the people.

    Jade’s references to Tim McVeigh are spurious. Just like the whiskey rebellion and Shays Rebellion, when only a part of the militia rises up, they do not have a mandate of the people and can be (rightly) quashed by the government.

    Understand that Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion by raising the militia to combat rebellious militia. Had the other militia felt compelled by the whiskey rebellion they would have not answered the call and Washington would have had to stay home.

  27. Linoge says:

    Ok, I should have been a little more clear that I do not hold either side of the political fence completely blameless when it comes to trying to exert control over the American people. *shrugs* When you get right down to it, I am not particularly happy with either party. But 90% of the time, given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat… well, there is not a lot of choice involved.

  28. Jadegold says:

    DWLawson brings up the Red Dawn fantasy once again.

    Wolverines!

    Again, there is this fantasy that gunloons will rsie up en masse and set things right. I’ll tell you now–the movie Transformers is an infinitely more likely scenario than getting a relatively small group of ill-trained and undisciplined gunloons to get together on any issue and then prevail against any halfway trained and equipped military force.

    Invoking Daniel Shays and the Whiskey Rebellion does not help DWLawson’s case; in both events the rebels believed they were defending liberty–much as NRA member Tim McVeigh. History has demonstrated things did not work out very well for them.

  29. straightarrow says:

    “……getting a relatively small group of ill-trained and undisciplined gunloons to get together on any issue and then prevail against any halfway trained and equipped military force.”

    Yeah, like we didn’t get our asses handed to us by a bunch of guys in black pajamas who never won a major battle in over ten years. Couldn’t happen, never, oh wait, except it did.

    Or the lobsterbacks didn’t get their asses handed to them by a bunch of ill trained guys without shoes or uniforms who had won very few battles. Couldn’t happen, oh wait, it did.

  30. Sebastian says:

    Jadegold must think we sit in our houses and watch Red Dawn over and over again when we’re not out actively engaging in gunloonery.

    I will admit to having it on DVD, along with a lot of other 80s movies that were the films we all grew up with, but is it the bestest movie of all times? No. It’s an entertaining teen movie from the 80s. Also in the collection are other 80s films like Real Genius, War Games, Vacation, European Vacation, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and a few others I can’t think of off the top of my head.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is actually my all time favorite movie.

  31. dwlawson says:

    Great use of straw man, Jade.

    First, I did not bring up any Red Dawn fantasy nor did I attempt to make any case involving the Shays and Whiskey rebellions. I simply explained to you the fallacy in your argument by showing you how militia nullification was thought to work. It is only theoretical since I am not aware of any instances where the militia refused duty, though there were many instances of low turn out.

    The point is that if 500,000 armed US citizens decided to rise up against our government, it would be overwhelmed. An insurgency of that magnitude could not be combated effectively by the forces of our military.

  32. Jadegold says:

    StraightArrow’s ignorance of history is breathtaking; pretending the North Vietnamese were just a bunch of suburbanites who banded together and beat the US is simply silly. The fact is the North Vietnamese had been at war almost constantly for 20 years before US involvement. They had taken on the Japanese and the French and had honed guerilla warfare to an art.

    The point is that if 500,000 armed US citizens decided to rise up against our government, it would be overwhelmed. An insurgency of that magnitude could not be combated effectively by the forces of our military.

    Wolverines!

    Reading DWLawson, I am reminded of an old Steve Martin comedy routine. The bit has Martin explaining that he has a foolproof plan on how to make a million dollars and pay no income tax. Martin begins, “First–get a million dollars….”

    Simlarly, I suspect even DWLawson knows he probably couldn’t get 50 armed citizens to overthrow the Government.

  33. dwlawson says:

    Simlarly, I suspect even DWLawson knows he probably couldn’t get 50 armed citizens to overthrow the Government.

    I never said I could nor wanted to. Again, since your reading comprehension seems to have atrophied, I was simply explaining the theory behind the militia concept.

    The statement wasn’t that I or anyone else could get 500,000 to rise up, it was that our govt could not handle such an insurgency embedded in its own territory.

  34. straightarrow says:

    How much experience did they have when they started, you stupid twit?

  35. Jadegold says:

    The statement wasn’t that I or anyone else could get 500,000 to rise up, it was that our govt could not handle such an insurgency embedded in its own territory.

    And your proof is? Oh yeah, it’s in the thin air somewhere.

    I’m also pretty sure you don’t understand what an “insurgency” means. For a succesful insurgency, it requires much more than a fighting force; it also requires a not insignificant percentage of the populace (probably at least a quarter) to be actively supporting the fighters or, at least, willing to look the other way. So, in reality, your US insurgency would require tens of millions who are at least sympathetic to your cause to have a ghost of a chance.

    I’d suggest that poltical activity through the democratic process would be far easier and more effective.

    How much experience did they have when they started, you stupid twit?

    As I noted, the North Vietnamese had been engaged in near-constant combat for 20 years before the first US troops ever heard of Vietnam. They had significant OJT in fighting a guerilla war.

  36. straightarrow says:

    Hey, stupid, you didn’t answer the question, “How much experience did they have when they started?” In other words how much experience did they have when their OJT began?

    And for your information the American Revolution only had about a 15% participation on the side of the rebels. So your made up facts just are getting the job done. You’re a veritable encyclopedia of made up facts.

  37. straightarrow says:

    aren’t.

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