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Old October 1, 2009, 05:30 PM   #1
Kleinzeit
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Are Americans Smart Enough to Recognize a Tyrant?

One of the arguments commonly put forward for RTKBA is that an unarmed populace cannot defend itself against a government turned tyrannical. I don’t wish to dispute this.

On the other hand, a succession of recent events has led me to question the capacity of many Americans to actually distinguish between a genuine tyrant and a mere image of one - an image manufactured by some corporate interest disguising itself as a “grassroots movement”, or else dreamt up out of a combination of ignorance and fear of the unknown.

My point is that if someone were to actually assassinate the President tomorrow, it is very likely that it would not be some decent patriot who has made an intelligent, informed assessment of the situation. It would be a misinformed ignoramus who actually believes that it’s possible to be a Nazi and a black supremacist at the same time, or who believes that the President is a robot being programmed by alien Nazi terrorists from inside the Kremlin.

I’m not trying to categorize any particular side of politics as stupid; stupidity cuts across party lines. Things happen to be arranged this way at this point in history, but the point applies irrespective of who is in power.

And the point is that increasing numbers of American people are afraid that the fate of the nation is going to end up in the hands of an armed lunatic. When people are afraid, they do not feel free; and people have a right to defend their freedom. I’m just pointing out the obvious: That freedom is not an absolute, but something that must always be negotiated in a civil society. What makes one person free may inhibit the freedom of the next person in some other way. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that their freedom should be absolute, and don’t care what impact they have on other people. (Such people do not really believe in freedom; such people are just greedy.) And when these people pick up guns and start muttering dangerously about the President, they have a genuine impact on the freedom of ordinary Americans to live without fear of catastrophe.

So what I’m saying is: The continued freedom of gun owners is inextricably caught up in public perception, and at this point in history, a significant number of Americans are afraid of paranoid, misinformed, angry people with guns.

So my question is: Why shouldn’t they be? And what are we going to do about it?

And please: No replies that try to turn this into Right vs. Left, or say stuff like, “It’s the government people should be afraid of!” That isn’t a conversation we are going to have here.
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:13 PM   #2
greensteelforge
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The danger lies in what little it will take to really touch something off here. Fear is an effective tool, but it becomes most dangerous when we are no longer led to believe that the enemies of our "way of life" are on the opposite side of the globe, but are right here, next door, being elected democratically into "OUR" government. A very narrow definition is being drawn among some of our countrymen for what makes an American. We will likely find ourselves at violent odds with each other before this thing is over. I believe that the most under-stated aspect of this situation is that racism and priveledge are alive and well, but are no longer spoken out openly. Americans are not so stupid as to really believe most of the garbage, but need an excuse for their hatred. I left Baghdad hoping to never pick up a gun for that reason again, and I hope we find a good way to deal with this (prefferably one that involves allot less pannicked purchasing of bulk ammo and tactical weapons).
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:15 PM   #3
Vanya
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Kleinzeit, this a good question, or series of questions...

Unfortunately, I think there's quite a bit of justification for the kind of fear you're describing. Given the number of people who've gone on shooting rampages of one sort or another in the past several months, and the high percentage of those who've been influenced in one way or another by the kind of disinformation you mention, it's not hard to imagine someone going on, shall we say, a more narrowly directed shooting spree.

And you're right that much of the disinformation is spread by folks who are being very well paid to do so by large corporations; either those who control the mainstream media, or those who are funding the "astroturf" movements you mention...

Keeping this on a civil rights theme, I'd argue that a good place to start would be to roll back so-called "corporate personhood." The extension of Constitutional rights such as free speech to corporations, combined with their effectively unlimited financial resources, gives them the ability to dominate political discourse in this country. Individual humans, or groups of humans, can't match the financial artillery large corporations can bring to bear on influencing both public opinion and the behavior of politicians.

Given that corporate agendas begin and end with their own bottom line, and tend to be very short-term as well, they don't make very good citizens.

It's extremely unfortunate that the Supreme Court seems poised to extend, rather than limit, the rights of corporations to be treated as persons under the Constitution.
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:29 PM   #4
langenc
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NO!!
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:32 PM   #5
Tennessee Gentleman
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One of the reasons that I consistently post against those who advocate the so-called "Insurrectionist Theory" is that it causes the fear you speak of.

Communication is as you know, not just what one intends to mean when they say something but how the receiving party perceives it.

When gun owners start spouting this kooky nonsense about being in a militia and overthrowing a constitutionally elected US political leader what others hear is: "I don't like this guy/gal and since I lost at the ballot box, I'll get what I want with a gun."

To fight against our government that has free elections, habeus corpus (nod to Ken) and trial by jury is nothing less than treason.

The truth I and a few others have always maintained is that the private ownership of guns in this country has NEVER protected our freedoms since the end of the Revolutionary War. Rather, our rule of law and democratic institutions have done so. In each and every case that the government overstepped it's bounds or oppressed others it was those institutions that stopped the bad acting and/or corrected it.

Drivel about Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union have no historical relation to our "Democratic Experiment" in the US. Comparing us now to those times and countries is silly.

Want to know when to revolt? When there are no free elections, independant judiciary, checks and balances, BORs or habeus corpus. Like never.

You are more free today because of the Internet and news media and your precious free vote than you are because of the shotgun in your closet.
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Old October 1, 2009, 06:57 PM   #6
OuTcAsT
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Quote:
One of the reasons that I consistently post against those who advocate the so-called "Insurrectionist Theory" is that it causes the fear you speak of.
So what you seem to be saying is; "let us not discuss the elephant in the room and, it will go away"

And, history has proven that a coup d etat can be successfully pulled of in America with (according to what story you believe) anywhere from one lone assassin, to a group of 4-6 quite easily, And be whitewashed out of existence.

Quote:
Want to know when to revolt? When there are no free elections, independant judiciary, checks and balances, BORs or habeus corpus.
Which goes right back to the OP's question; When those institutions and rights of which you speak are slowly whittled away, will you be able to recognize that it is taking place ?

Quote:
The theory I and a few others have always maintained is that the private ownership of guns in this country has NEVER protected our freedoms since the end of the Revolutionary War.
There, fixed it for ya ! ^^

This does not negate the fact that they may, at some point,
be necessary to protect them again.


By the same reasoning that all of us, who choose to carry on a daily basis do so (that is, to protect ourselves from what can happen) does the private ownership of firearms indeed offer a way to protect our freedom.
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Old October 1, 2009, 07:06 PM   #7
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greensteelforge wrote:
"...I hope we find a good way to deal with this (prefferably one that involves allot less pannicked purchasing of bulk ammo and tactical weapons)."

Wonderfully stated. I have a gun in my home to protect myself and my family against any person who would try to harm us, not to intimidate or terrorize those with whom I disagree, and not to overthrow any government.

However, thanks to the nut-jobs that horde ammo, prices have jumped and availability is scarce. And this type of fear-mongering makes it difficult for people like me who just want to practice at the range. Thanks guys.
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Old October 1, 2009, 08:36 PM   #8
ronl
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I do believe the American people can indeed recognize a tyrant. I will respectfully disagree with you about the fear of a growing number of Americans. It is the fear of a government that is destroying our economic freedom and way of life; fear of a government that has far overreached its lawful authority. It is a fear of a government that enacts legislation even when a majority of the people it theoretically represents are against it. These are the fears that are driving the current upswing in dissent.
The RTKBA is not a matter of public opinion or perception, but of law. It was written into the Constitution for the sole purpose of keeping the government in check. That aspect of it is clear when taking into account the writings of the founding fathers.
TG I also respectfully disagree with some of the statements you have made. The right to arms has constantly protected us. It is the threat of armed rebellion that truly drives those in power to try to relieve us of the RTKBA.
The parallels between what is happening in this country and what has happened in the past, including the rise to power of Adolph Hitler, can be clearly seen. I, as a student of that period of time, can attest to that fact. In our case, however, it is an ideaology, not a single person, that has brought us to this point in history. We do, indeed, seem perched on a precipice. Our "freedoms" have been chipped away to the point of near invisibility. Can you think of one thing that is not controlled, monitored, or taxed by the government? The question is not if, but when the next revolution will occur, as all forms of government gravitate toward despotism. The "Democratic Experiment" lies on the verge of failure. The question is, do enough people recognize it.
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Old October 1, 2009, 09:02 PM   #9
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Minor hiccups aside, this is the most thoughtful post I have ever seen on TFL.

We ain't done yet, boys. Not by a long shot.
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Old October 1, 2009, 09:03 PM   #10
ADB
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Quote:
On the other hand, a succession of recent events has led me to question the capacity of many Americans to actually distinguish between a genuine tyrant and a mere image of one - an image manufactured by some corporate interest disguising itself as a “grassroots movement”, or else dreamt up out of a combination of ignorance and fear of the unknown.
Honestly, that's a question I don't really know the answer to. At times, Americans have proven ourselves to be about as gullible as any other large group, particularly when we're afraid of something. (The PATRIOT Act comes to mind.) However there are also times when people have done surprisingly well at seperating BS from fact. As far as actually rising up against the government? I don't believe more than a small minority would ever even consider it. Hell, it's hard enough to get people where I live to register to vote.

Personally, I agree with Tennesee Gentleman: our system is designed to be self-correcting, and at all of the most moments in our history which presented the greatest danger for potential serious loss of freedom (the Alien and Sedition Acts, WW2 internment, and after 9/11 are all prime examples) the system has worked to correct itself. Sometimes not as quickly or as fully as we'd like, but it's worked.

That's not to say that we won't see more people who are mentally unstable, like the Unitarian church shooter or the man who shot three police officers in Pennsylvania, pushed over the edge into violent action by the increasingly angry rhetoric of political "shock jocks" who are trying to get ratings instead of presenting a valid opinion. But I think the fact that all Americans, no matter their political opinions, are fundamentally alike in a lot of ways is what prevents things from deteriorating too far.
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Old October 1, 2009, 09:23 PM   #11
JohnKSa
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I'm going to let this one rest a bit for review...
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Old October 1, 2009, 10:30 PM   #12
Al Norris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kleinzeit
And please: No replies that try to turn this into Right vs. Left, or say stuff like, “It’s the government people should be afraid of!” That isn’t a conversation we are going to have here.
What is unfortunate is that it is the only conversation certain people seem to be able to make.

Reviewed and still locked.
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