January 18, 2013

Morning Line: Guns and internal oppression

Sam Smith - A recent poll by the conservative Rasmussen Report finds that 65% of American adults think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that people are able to protect themselves from tyranny. Only 17% disagree and 57% of those not owning guns agree, as do 54% of Democrats.

To those who would dismiss the polls on the grounds of Rasmussen's political leanings, it's worth noting that it was only three points off on Obama in 2012 and one point in 2008.

The establishment liberal media has been painting gun owners as paranoid on this subject, in which case they are apparently living in a land two thirds comprised of paranoids.

Of course, tyranny can come from either outside or inside. As Time recently noted, "Switzerland was at risk of being invaded by Germany during World War II but was spared, historians say, because every Swiss man was armed and trained to shoot."

On the other hand, the threat can also one of internal oppression, in which case an armed citizenry may not only save our butt, but discourage would-be tyrants from even trying. I realize this may horrify some liberals, but until fairly recent years, the idea that the Second Amendment was in part to help defend against tyranny foreign and domestic was pretty much a given in all political quarters. Only in lately, as American politics has become more politically bipolar, has this view been labelled paranoid.

After all, as far back as 1784, the New Hampshire constitution declared that "nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."

And, except for their views on my state of Maine, I have found citizens of New Hampshire not to be particularly paranoid.


Anonymous said...

The Second Amendment says militias. Unfortunately we have no system like Switzerland. All we have are a bunch of people who have been listening to the ginned up fear of the NRA/Shills for the gun industry. More fear more profits. It won't matter how many AR-15's one has (one of my neighbors claims to have 70 of them) they will be no match for the the US Army.

Paul Tullis said...

I don't think that because someone believes the 2nd Amendment is there to enable us to protect ourselves from tyranny necessarily means that it is employed by its defenders to protect people from tyranny. I believe the original intent of the amendment was that people could protect themselves from tyranny, but that people who wrap themselves in it in order to protect their own desires to own penis substitutes are not doing a fucking thing to protect anyone from tyranny. Where was the NRA during the Civil Rights Movement? Down at the Greyhound station and the lunch counters making sure that blacks could eat and travel where they wanted?

This notion that Switzerland was spared because every Swiss man was armed and trained to shoot is contradicted by several inconvenient facts: 1: German tanks were not threatened by Swiss men with rifles. 2: The Swiss were the Nazis' bankers. 3: Other countries had plenty of men trained to shoot and owning guns but got invaded anyway.

Paul Tullis said...

People may think the 2nd Amendment's purpose is to enable people to protect themselves from tyranny without believing that people who wrap themselves in the 2nd Amendment to protect their right to own large penis substitutes are actually protecting anyone from tyranny. Remember when the NRA was down there at the Greyhound stations in the South and the lunch counters, protecting blacks from tyranny? Me neither.

And this notion that the reasons the Nazis didn't invade Switzerland is because Swiss men were armed and trained to shoot is contradicted by several facts. 1: German tanks were not threatened by Swiss men with rifles. 2: The Swiss were the Nazis' bankers. 3: Other countries had men with guns who knew how to use them, and got invaded anyway.

Anonymous said...

Even if you're right and their guns will indeed be no match for the weapons possessed by The State, please help me understand what it is that gives you the right to prevent them from going down fighting. My question is sincere - help me understand the principle you believe gives us the right to prevent them going down fighting back.

Anonymous said...

In response to the above "militias" were not formal governmentally organized groups but rather bands of citizens. The right of the "militia" to bear arms was just another way of saying "the right of ordinary citizens" to bear arms.

As for "being no match for the US Army," that is not true either. When the Romanian dictator was overthrown, he had an incredibly powerful secret police. It did him no good at all. Once a society starts going down, secret police go underground, army members switch sides and so on.

The idea of allowing citizens to be armed anticipates such a out-of-control situation.

This is not to say that I am not deeply troubled by the deaths of those innocent children. It is causing me to re-think my own position on guns. But, still, I fear the day when only criminals and the government will be armed.

Anonymous said...

"Militias" constitute the whole of the people able to bear arms. There is a wealth of contemporary documentary and historic evidence about this.

The idea that 'militia' refers only to officially-sanctioned forces is a modern fallacy.

Capt. America said...

The second amendment mentions militia because southerners didn't want to have to ask the federal govt to hunt escaped slaves for them, for fear that they would not do it. They wanted to keep the ability to draft all whites who couldn't pay for a substitute into slave hunting parties. It was always a state's right and it never was an individual right, the Supreme Court to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

The second amendment says militias as a premise. It doesn't say "you can only bear arms if you are in a licensed militia".

We have a lot of people who believe and do a lot of things; lumping them all together for your personal disparaging does nothing for your argument (which sucks) and makes you sound like a dick.

Your assertion of the US Army's victory is just as valuable as "theirs".

Pocono Shooting said...

The purpose of the Second Amendment is to arm people in order to prevent future tyranny. They need the tools to do this.

The term "Well Regulated" in the Second Amendment meant "Well Manned and Equipped " in 1791 as was determined in the 1939 United States v. Miller case after referencing the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The concept of Government Regulation, as we understand it today, did not exist at the time.

United States v. Miller also determined that the term "Arms" refers to "Ordinary Military Weapons" (not crew operated). American Citizens have the right to Keep and Bear, which means Own and Carry, any weapons that a soldier carries into battle. That includes past, present and future weapons. A Militia consisted of armed volunteers willing to fight with their personal arms and not under government control.

The 2008 Heller v. Washington DC decision reaffirmed that the Right to Bear Arms was an Individual right. The 2010 McDonald v. Chicago decision reaffirmed it yet again and made it clear that it applies to every state, every city and every town in the United States.

To limit the Second Amendment to muskets would be the equivalent of limiting the First Amendment to writings in quill pens.

Liberty is worth the risk of death!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like a dick, speaking of disparaging remarks.
Regarding the citizens taking on the US Army, unless citizens can own tanks and artillery and fighter jets its all going to be onesided.

Defending against tryany seems to be the theme here. I don't get the feeling that Canadians (those unarmed Americans with health care to the North) worry too much about defending against tryany. Why is that? Why are Americans so worried about it?

I have no problem with citizens owning guns as I do myself. But where do we draw the line on what type of weapon a citizen can own?

Anonymous said...

" I don't get the feeling that Canadians (those unarmed Americans with health care to the North) worry too much about defending against tryany. Why is that? Why are Americans so worried about it?"

Providing health care for citizens is not tyranny. It is good government. Tyranny is suppressing dissent by force.

Paul Tullis said...

It's not that I don't think they should be allowed to go down fighting, it's that those who are so adamant about the right to own guns have no history of ever having fought against tyranny. So I doubt that it is the protection of liberty they are actually interested in. If gun owners had even once in American history demonstrated that they were interested in protecting people against government tyranny-- whether in the form of union busting, enforced racial segregation, or suppression of free speech-- I might rethink my position. But so far all I see is that they want to be able to keep their toys. Well, that's not a good enough reason. I happen to be an excellent driver but I don't insist that I be allowed to go 150mph on the freeway, because I understand that not everyone is as responsible as I am and that we live in a society in which my right and ability to drive fast must be balanced against the rights of others not to be maimed by an out-of-control vehicle. By the same token, gun owners have rights, but people also have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which is too often infringed by people who own guns. Responsible gun owners must therefore give up some of their rights in order that everyone else be able to exercise theirs. The lesson of Romania is not that the incredibly powerful secret police did the dictator no good, it's that the secret police wasn't as powerful as everyone thought; it was a paper tiger.

Anonymous said...

If militias are so ineffective just how di the Somalian militia kick our butts out of Somalia??
How about the Afghanis? They seem to have us pretty much confined to our bases and we must supply our forces by airlift. Just how is it that an illiterate people using infantry weapons defeat a superpower?? Are militias ineffective?? Our own history should teach us lessons but no one reads anymore. To those who do you will see that our own militia kept the British from living off the land. Everytime a small unit went out to get supplies they were under constant threat of capture or death. Cornwallis headed to Yorktown to get resupplied by the British fleet because feeding his army had become impossible because of that ineffective militia. LOL! With just a little help from the French fleet preventing resupply by the British fleet and we have Cornwallis surrending to avoid starvation.
The 1% know this and they know that a militia with semi-auto weapons can match a modern army. The Rohdesian Army was forced by supply problems to swtich to semi-auto against the Rebels who had plenty of ammo and had the ability to use full auto. The Rhodesian army still prevailed on the battle field.
A well regulated/trained militia is effective and the powers that be know this.

Paul Tullis said...

The Somali militia kicked us out of the country because we were unwilling to bomb the shit out of a 3rd-world country we had invaded supposedly to help. They didn't win, we were unwilling to do what it would have taken to win because the stakes weren't worth it. I'm pretty sure a government fighting for its survival would see the equation rather differently. Afghanistan isn't comparable; terrain makes it impossible to effectively patrol. The 18th century comparison is useless in today's context.