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Old February 28, 2009, 07:16 PM   #62
Webleymkv
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,844
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The armed citizenry ensured that our democratic institutions remained in place to begin with.

I see no evidence of that. You could also say that because the flag is blue, it prevents the government from becoming tyrannical. You can't can't show cause and effect or the deterence you claim. On the other hand I have shown historical instances of government abuse and the remedy or prevention was in every case done by our democratic institutions. You claim that tryanny is prevented by an armed citizenry and yet provide nothing more than "well it is harder to subdue an armed population". Maybe, but it is far more difficult to subdue a population that has governmental safeguards in place and whose populace obey the rule of law. However, armed citizenries HAVE been subdued and tryanny put into place.
The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton (the New York Delegate at the Constitutional Convention), James Madison (the Virginia Delegate who is often recognized as the "Father of the Constitution"), John Jay, and John Church Hamilton. On page 227, Alexander Hamilton states the following:

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If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but but in exertion of that original right of self defence, which is paramount to all positive forms of government...
Seems to me that Hamilton recognized the resistance of the people (including armed resistance) to be a legitimate means of combating tyranny.

On page 233, Hamilton states the following in his arguments attempting to allay fears that the government would use the military for tyrannical purposes:

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...but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and use of arms who stand ready to defend their own rights, and those of their fellow citizens.
Sounds to me like Hamilton thought the military would be unable to dominate an armed and well disciplined citizenry. So it would appear to me that no one has tried to seize sole governmental power by force because an armed citizenry would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to do so.

Given Hamilton's statements on the issue, it would seem rather clear that the founders did indeed intend an armed citizenry to serve as a bulwark against tyranny, the lack of its use does not negate its purpose. If you would like to argue that the premises upon which the founders wrote the Constitution are incorrect, go right ahead. I will not debate that point because I am of firm belief that those brilliant men probably knew much more about structuring a government that ensures the freedom of the people than you or I will ever hope to.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
No one branch of our government has ever attempted to seize power from the other two because they know it would be impossible to do because of the insurmountable resistance (including armed resistance) from the people.

I am not sure they (potential tyrants) know any such thing regarding armed citizens. What I think they do know is they could never pull if off politically and the other branches would stop them and they would be out of office.
How would the other branches of the government stop the potential tyrant if he already had control over a superior military force and posessed the will to use it against them. At that point, the legality of the issue would be of little consequence as the would-be-tyrant would obviously have little respect for the law or the Constitution as evidenced by his desire to attempt such a scheme in the first place. At that point, it would fall to the people to stop such an event. Hamilton seemed confident that armed and well disciplined citizens would be up to the task.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I ask if you can point out a single instance in our history in which the military refused to follow their order because that order was tyrannical and/or unconstitutional and not because the order were belayed by another branch of the government.

Not necessary for me to do. You made the claim in your scenario that the military would follow the orders of the President and overthrow the other two branches of government. I disputed that contention because of the oath of office we take and adhere to. Contrary to popular belief the military does not blindly and without thought follow orders from superiors and in fact we are taught NOT to follow illegal orders.
You claimed that the oath would prevent the military from supporting a rouge president from seizing sole governmental power. I pointed out, using your own examples, that this is a weak argument as the military can and has carried out illegal orders that would seem to be in conflict with the oath taken by its members. I asked that you support your claim, and, thus far, you have been either unable or unwilling to do so.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Socrates
Thank you for addressing TG's strawman argument.
Firearms in the hands of citizens were vital in the expansion of this country, AFTER it was established.

There is no strawman. I have asked for webley or you for that matter to give a historical example where an armed citizenry prevented or undid a tyrannical goverment action in this country since we were formed.
The fact that no one branch of the government has ever attempted to seize power from the others can be attributed to one of three possible causes: All of our past and current leaders have had such a deep respect for the Constitution that they wouldn't attempt such a thing, None of our past or current leaders were intelligent enough to realize that they could do such a thing, or some insurmountable obstacle prevented the would-be-tyrants from carrying out their wishes. Given that we've had more that our fair share of dismal leader and that some of them have been quite intelligent, I think it's safe to say that the first two circumstances are not the reason for our contiued liberty. Therefore, I think we can all agree, some insurmountable obstacle prevented the would-be-tyrants from seizing power. While you contend that the legal structure of the government was that obstacle, I argue that historically law in and of itself cannot stop a tyrant from seizing power. Certainly the some of our leaders have posessed the means to ignore the law and seize power by force, yet none have attempted it. You state that the reason is that the military would not carry out such illegal orders, but history does not support that notion as the military has carried out illegal orders in the past. The reason, by process of elimination, must be that the people would not support such action and would be too strong to opress. I contend, and Hamilton seems to agree, that arms are part of what makes the people too strong to opress.
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