Sunday, June 09, 2013
Why fears of "armed revolution" in America are nonsense
A recent survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University asked whether "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties." Twenty nine percent of respondents agreed, and another five percent answered "unsure." I'm somewhat skeptical of this and other surveys, but it's rather "interesting" that one in three surveyed took this position. The survey also asked about attitudes towards gun control.
One of the researchers, political scientist Dan Cassino, gives this analysis: “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for...If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you’re going to be
wary about government efforts to take them away.”
In fact, I think the survey was entirely misframed. There's a much better question that would go much farther to revealing what people are thinking in the "gun debate." I suspect the FDU researchers would be incapable of asking it, though; it's too politically incorrect.
What they should have asked was this: "In the next few years, the federal government might start a civil war against the American people." Ask this question, and I think you'll get at least one third of respondents agreeing, and likely more. I certainly agree. And you'll also be understanding the real reason Americans have been arming themselves at an unprecedented rate since last November.
I spend a certain amount of time in gun stores, at shooting ranges, at gun shows, attending libertarian and Constitutional conservative events. I read (and agree with) the Three Percenter philosophy. I have never heard anyone suggest we should have an armed revolution. I have even occasionally met and talked a bit with some of the more extreme militia types (former heads of the Montana Militia, who always struck me as bit off), and they don't suggest armed revolution either. The common question -- and it is very common -- is this "what will we do if the federal government decides to come after us?" As in "come after us, with armed thugs, for owning guns, come after us for believing in and working within the system for smaller government, or come after us for simply holding religious and philosophical views that progressive-diversity- multiculturalists find intolerable."
Not only did the FDU researchers fail to ask the question that would actually capture what a large segment of the American people is thinking, their idea of an "armed revolution to protect our liberties" is inherently confused, both philosophically and with respect to current events. There is a revolution underway, but it is being conducted by the NSA, IRS, ATF, DHS, EPA, ETC, Obama administration, and parts of Congress and the judicial system and it is against our liberties. A substantial share of federal government activity is far outside what is authorized by the Constitution. A great amount of it is also plainly outside of federal law (e.g. IRS leaking of the tax records of Barack Obama's political opponents to leftwing Pro Publica). The First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments are all under deadly assault. So too the separation of powers between legislative, executive, and judicial branches -- with ever increasing power in all these areas going to the administrative bureaucracy. It's the federal government that is in revolt, not the American people.
The FDU question confuses things on a fundamental level. Rights are inherent in the individual; they are not granted by governments. Authority flows from the people's consent; it is not inherent in government. We now have a government that is engaged in massive wholesale spying on the people, beyond anything ever imagined by the KGB or the Gestapo, and it's coordinated by a president who is absolutely hostile to individual liberty. We have a government that is targeting Americans for harassment and investigation not because of possible criminal activity but rather for holding perfectly legitimate political positions that those in power do not like. We have a government that is working hard to strip the people of any real control over their political system. This question "an armed revolution might be necessary" is stupid. We have a revolution going on right now, it is being conducted by elements of the political class, and it is against the American system of limited government.
By political class, I mean those politicians, bureaucrats, judges, businessmen, intellectuals, and activists who identify their interests with a powerful, unconstrained state. It's the left, but not just the left. Another name for them is "statists." Consider despicable idiots like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R, SC), who not only supports NSA's wholesale spying on the American people but can't believe the First Amendment applies to bloggers like me. Here Graham is simply parroting communist and scoundrel Dick Durbin (D, IL) who also finds the First Amendment antiquated and thinks we need one of those "national conversations" to decide if it should apply to bloggers and other mere citizens. It's really a political class that believes in its own power, and finds limited government anathema to that. Obama represents a particularly virulent strain of this thinking, and he is leading the way in trying to kill limits on government power once and for all. "Fast and Furious," the accelerated NSA domestic spying, the DoJ's AP spying, spying on Congress by DoJ, the many efforts to ram gun control and confiscation on us, the IRS war on advocates of limited government, the turning of DHS into an internal paramilitary...this is what "hope" and "change" really mean. "Country club" Republicans like Graham, McCain, Toomey and their ilk might imagine their "reaching out across the aisle" shows how reasonable they are, or perhaps they too are totalitarian at heart. It doesn't matter that much -- they are enemies of liberty.
Not everyone in government, nor everyone in the administrative bureaucracy is the enemy, I should note. The government isn't a monolith, and we're not up against some all-powerful monolithic conspiracy. And it's hardly obvious that the statists have a winning hand, something I'll discuss in a future post. But if our political system fails to respond adequatley to the crisis of Obama, and fails to control and dismantle out-of-control bureaucracies, if we lose what is left of the constraints on government, then it doesn't matter how "well intentioned" our leaders might be (hah), the logic of interventionism and power will lead to catastrophe. And in that case, sooner or later -- and it increasingly looks like sooner, the federal government will decide to come after us. In such case, expect them to come with guns blazing.
You must be a newcomer to this blog. I often condemned Bush 43 for exactly the things you observe. If I had my way, Bush and Obama would be in the docket together. The list of Bush's crimes reads almost identical to SOP for Obama.
Thanks for your comment.