Some Clarification

On Caleb and Bonnie’s Blog Talk Show, Martin, from The Liberty Sphere asked a question of me, about whether I thought there was ever a time when it was justifiable to violently resist an out of control government.  The answer to that is yes, but as to what the line should be, I would defer to Judge Alex Kozinski, in his eloquent Silveria dissent:

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.

I also agree with Joe Huffman, who said on this topic:

Anyone considering “shooting the bastards” needs to realize that even if taking that step is fully justified (justification basis deliberately omitted as being beyond the scope of this post but this could be a starting point) one needs to look at the long term direct and unintended consequences of such an act. They need to have a reasonably good idea what the position of society will be a day, a week, a year, and a decade after they “pulled the trigger”. And after evaluation they conclude the world will be a better place by most measures. They need to be a grand master chess player with only a small fraction of the pieces visible on the board and see ten moves ahead against opponents who are known and unknown. Or they need to know, with near certainty, things can’t get any worse if they do take the shot.

I contend no such grand master “chess player” exists. Hence before “taking the shot” the existing or reasonably projected conditions need to be so bad as to replicate something like a Nazi concentration camp or Soviet Gulag. We aren’t there yet.

It’s not that I have no line in the sand, it’s just that as long as we can change our government without using violence, and if the people really wanted to change it, they could, we’re obligated to work within the system.  That’s not to say we need to stand by while two wolves and a sheep decide what’s for lunch, but things aren’t that bad yet.

I thought the show was interesting.  Too short, really.  I was also having a hell of a time hearing Kurt.  There wasn’t enough time for callers.  Caleb says he’d revisit the topic at some point.  I’d be happy to participate, but someone else should probably get a chance.

12 thoughts on “Some Clarification”

  1. I was also having a hell of a time hearing Kurt.

    Sorry about that–I was listening to the podcast just now–I was pretty tough to hear. Actually, the fact that I had to use a cell phone is probably only part of it. The same accident that put me in a wheelchair did a real number on my ability to project my voice.

    I do try to make it a point to carry a big stick, though ;-).

  2. Thanks for the clarification. As you said, your line in the sand is set much lower than some within our gun rights community, but you have a line in the sand, nonetheless.

    In fact, I haven’t really come across a gun rights activist who did not have a line in the sand. It’s just that we have each drawn our lines at different points.

    My problem is that in theory the government has already crossed my line in the sand, although it has backed off from it for over a decade. Ruby Ridge and Waco are two perfect cases in point. The government’s actions in those two cases were unconscionable. But fortunately, they did not continue with such atrocities as a matter of routine.

    And, interestingly, I did absolutely nothing about the government’s crossing my line except to raise holy hell about it…which may have been the best response we could have given under the circumstances. I don’t know.

    There is a nebulous quality to all of this that is entirely subjective and depends on the values and circumstances of the individuals involved. Perhaps we should not be so quick to judge each other on the matter. We have our reasons for the positions we take.


  3. Nothing to apologize for–I’ve come to terms with it. Besides, I should be dead–it’s actually kind of crazy that I’m not (long story).

    Anyway, it probably was cell phone noise, but 6 years ago, I could easily have drowned it out.

  4. It was a good show, but definitely too short. It’s funny how when get a really good topic that generates a lot of listener interest the 45 minutes just fly right by.

  5. I agree with Kurt’s recap in that the real issue for me is not where any particular person places their “line in the sand” but the invective directed between both sides in this “reasoned” discourse.

    I’ve long been insulted by the hard-liners for being an “incrementalist” now termed a “pragmatist”. It seems the “pragmatic” side has their share of insulters too.

    Can’t we all get along?

  6. It’s just a tough call…

    By the time people realized it was time in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, it was too late. The masses were disarmed.

    Take Australia, if a tyrannical government, or really a government that was tyrannical to just a segment of the population arose – could Australians still overthrow such a government.

    If they come for one’s guns. That is one thing. But if they come for all of our guns, it’s time to hand them over one bullet at a time.

  7. I’m honored that you quoted me and included the link where I discussed how to “draw the line in the sand”.

    The line in the sand problem has been around for a long time. Probably as long as there have been governments and people with the ability to overthrow them. I’m not sure “the line” can ever be clearly drawn and adhered to. If the line is made public knowledge then the oppressors can probably find a way around it to make actually crossing the line unnecessary or make holding the line untenable after a while. For example: Suppose your line is when they outlaw guns, come to take them away or even just require registration of all guns. Then what do you do when they impose a tax on ammo? Nothing? What when after 15 years the tax is $10/round? Or impose such harsh range restrictions that there are no ranges within a 100 miles of any major city?

    Actually “shooting the bastards” is tough to justify for such transgressions. And who do you shoot under any circumstances? The duly elected politicians that enacted the legislation? The police enforcing the restrictions? The activists who pushed for the oppressive laws? The media who only told the one side of the story in their news coverage? And if you do figure out the answer can you tell anyone else what the answer is? If you do tell someone then it makes it much easier for the oppressors to catch you and send you to the gulag–for conspiracy even if you don’t actually drop the hammer on someone. And the prime directive of every revolutionary is to get away with it.

    These are very, very tough problems with, to the best of my knowledge, no good answers. I have given it a lot of thought and I have written more on it.

    Think about it and if you can improve on my suggestions please let me know.

  8. We are at three of the five points of Mr. Huffman’s test, at least part of the time.

    (Test 1) At least a few states have “papers, please” statutes (Ohio is one, a lovely parting gift from Bob Taft [finger]); meanwhile, Real ID hangs in the balance.

    (Test 2) The Supreme Court upheld “whatever” checkpoints a while ago, I believe.

    (Test 3) Wait.

    (Test 4) I know some states have this provision; I believe it’s a minority, and the number may decline if we do our jobs well.

    (Test 5) Elimination or severe restriction of anonymous financial transactions hasn’t technically happened, but handling large amounts of cash may draw (and has drawn) unwelcome attention from law enforcement and banks acting at the behest of government.

    Of the five, we probably have the best chance to stop 3 (by stopping socialized medicine) and roll back 4. Test 1 might be rolled back by means of massive civil disobedience, but I doubt that would be an effective tactic for tests 2 and 5. A specific ammunition tax might be an additional JITA test (wouldn’t this run afoul of Murdock, though?).


  9. Those weren’t five tests. Those were five examples of things that failed the test. And, IMHO, all of those must be opposed in vigorous manner.

  10. I stand corrected, then, and beg your pardon. :-) Also, I agree with opposing each vigorously.

    Still, I’d say the boat done sailed on example 2, and 1 and 5 are sliding down the hill in the wrong direction.

    I did think of another possible point to the test: “Laws” banning the photographing, audiorecording, or videorecording of law enforcement in public. How else to make others aware of the persecution of the Jews while they still technically enjoy the protection of the law?


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