Saturday, February 17, 2018

"I Think the Second Amendment is There For a Reason."

A Senator alludes to insurrection against the state he is sworn to uphold.

This is not a new phenomenon. Before the Civil war, many senators and other politicians from the South tried their best to undermine the federal government, going so far as to capture armories and other supplies for the looming conflict. Today, a similar mind-set arises from similar sources- the Southern and Southern-inspired strategists of "State's rights" and a new decentralized feudalism. On guns, their argument is that the free ownership of guns allows the insurrectionists a fair chance against a totalitarian state, much as the original colonists waged a guerrilla war against Britain.

One first question is - in what way is our democracy defective? Does it over-represent the totalitarian, state-centered interests? Only if one construes those to be represented by the Republican party, ironically. Does it over-regulate and construct collective and long-term interests against the wishes of short-term greed and small-minded ideologues? Yes, it certainly does, but we have the "democratic" process to thank for a dramatic pushback, in the form of unchecked spending by corporate and other greedy interests, flame-throwing conservative media, plus the Russian government. It is hard to see where these complaints can find purchase, in such an atmosphere.

A second question is, even supposing that our state is or could be tyrannical in some irremediable way, where does one draw the line on armaments? What arms are valid for this hypothetical use, and which are not? We all seem to agree that nuclear bombs are not proper for civilian use. But why? Is it that the danger they pose is far beyond what is reasonable to put into the hands of one person, without some organized institutional oversight? Is it that we do not want to live in a MAD society, each armed to the teeth, in a petrified defensive crouch, waiting to see what the next madman will do?

This logic applies down the line to other military weapons, naturally, given that our fellow citizens (even presidents) are not to be relied upon to be uniformly sane and good-natured. Great firepower implies great danger and great responsibility. Where do machine guns fall in this scale, for that is what the semi-automatic and other assult-style weapons amount to? Obviously, in light of the many mass shootings in the US over recent years, they fall into the dangerous class of weapons that should be restricted to organizations with structured oversight. That, of course, was the original meaning of the second amendment, with its justification through an organized, state-supporting milita, something which has been lost on our Supreme Court, not to mention our rabid gun nuts.

The Civil war should have disabused our home-grown insurrectionists from any notion of armed resistance against whatever bogeyman they make the "guvmint" out to be. People power is the only effective power. They can never win without a political movement. Their arms are merely a fascistic decoration, not an effective form of policy. That we let off the Bundy gang so lightly was a travesty, both legally and politically. But their intended revolution against government control of government lands never took off on a popular, armed basis, and now is being accomplished from the inside, in the new administration, via the "democratic" process.

There is a mental health issue afoot, and it is that people with military-grade guns are mentally ill, as are open-carriers and other maximalist acolytes of the NRA. These attitudes are uncivil, insurrectionary, and deranged. The idea that others will be politically and socially intimidated by their weapons and various forms of rage is absurd and insulting, apart from spineless politicians, who don't seem to understand the first thing about our constitution, their duties, or statehood in general.

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