July 27, 2004

Tell Me How Do I Get To My America?

Geek With A .45 has a post up y'all should read.

I obviously differ with the latter part of the post, where he speaks of the importance of crushing the Dems this time around (which I'll try to expand on when I have more motivation) but his denunciation of the "free speech" zones is nto something I'll argue with in the slightest.

He states that "Nope, this isn't MY America" & I agree completely. As I left in his comments to that post:

"Another point of agreement - that ain't MY America either. In My America every helmeted thug would have a non-helmeted shadow carrying a .30-30 & smoking like he meant it. Or perhaps the "guards" would be inside, rather than outside the box. Either way the free speech zone would extend as far as the shadow is good for with his .30-30."

I'd alter that just slightly to account for those Patriots who have garands & M1A's & mil-surp bolt actions & deer rifles that'll do some good out to 500 or 600 yards.

The problem isn't the Arms we have (at least not at the moment) but our hesitation at using them. We have the capability of taking on any military force in the known world. If another country tried to invade us our military could just sit back & at most play "ammo fetcher" while We, The People, drove them weeping & wailing from our borders.

But let a bunch of thugs with "COP" written across their helmets take parts of the First Amendment & put it to the ol' Zippo & what do we do? We bitch.

To the courts & to each other we bitch & moan about how bad things are getting & we look to Kerry as The Evil That Must Be Stopped At All Costs & we take our case before the courts & bitch & moan some more as they tell us "Constitution? Never heard of it."

No, I'm not advocating revolution. That'd be a felony & probably unnecessary. What I so wonder is how come We, The People, let it get this far at all?

I was recently reminded of the words of Jefferson. In part:

"...And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty...& what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure."

He spoke of The Whiskey Rebellion in that quote. Now he would be a federal felon for uttering those words praising the idea of taking up Arms against the government. Sad isn't it? According to Federal law the words of a founding father, president & unquestionable patriot could land him in jail, or possibly anyone who repeats them without making clear the attributation & noting it's of historical significance but not to be taken literally.

What I kepe referring to is the Alien Registration Act of 1940, more commonly called The Smith Act after one Representative Howard W. Smith of Virginia. It can be found in its current form at 18 U.S.C. § 2385.

It speaks of activities related to overthrowing or destroying the government of the U.S. or any political subdivision thereof, but don't think for a flat minute that it wouldn't be used if you were merely advocating the armed resistance of an unconstitutioonal law or using Arms to restore the government to one constrained by the bounds of the Constitution.

So what am I saying? That, as a whole, we've slipped so far intot he lethargy that jefferson warned about that even discussing our options at this point makes us felons.

I wrote previously about The Means, Knowledge & Will to Resist. For the time being Americans possess the Means to Resist. The Will &/or the Knowledge however seem to be absent.

Clayton Cramer wrote a very thoughtful piece a while back on the general subject, entitled "When do the people have the right 'to alter or abolish' their government by force?". In it he discusses the pro's & con's of various revolutions throughout history. One thing he doesn't touch on is "when do we cross the line between dealing with a minor inconvenience to our liberty & refusing to climb aboard the cattle car?" At leats not to any great degree.

This is the hardest part. We certainly don't want a revolt because a permit for a parade costs money, but then again we don't want to get to the point where we have to speak freely in a little section with armed escorts making sure we stay in bounds. No, wait, those have alreayd happened haven't they? Let's try, as a substitute for the latter hypothetical example, a permit for attending religous services.

So what do we do? Where is it acceptable to resist? Certainly not at the minor inconvenience of filing a permit that quite arguably is a pragmatic solution to several problems. But then again when we have to get the state's permission to pray in a private building with others of like faith would we take up arms to resist? Probably not. Then there's the ultimate extreme: when the government decides that a segment o the population is taking up too much space & forcibly relocates or exterminates them. By that point many many people would find resistance acceptable. But by that point it may be too late to do anything mroe than die well.

As Churchill put it:

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

Read The Decleration of Independence sometime in its entirety. Then read the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. some of the reasons for taking up Arms against Great Britain seem trivial to us. Hell, they were fuming mad over a sales tax of far less than many county sales taxes currently. Imagine what they'd think about 17% to 35% of our income taken straight off the top. Other are not, such as the King sending troops to occupy an entire town.

Where the line is between petty inconveniences of our Liberty & a tryannical oppression of same is hard to pinpoint. We know one from the other but there's a lot of space in between. One thing is certain: most people won't recognize the latter until it's upon them. The lethargy Jefferson warned us about has set in. It cna be cured, but not easily & not without some risk to those that would wake up their fellow Americans. After all, parts of the decleration of Independence could land a person twenty years of federal time if spoken with meaning & without attributation or reference as of historical interest only.

All is not lost. a few years back a stand-off occured between a group known as the Freemen & the FBI. Clayton Cramer speaks of it in his piece linked above. Hell, here's a partial quote as Mr. Cramer sums it up nicely:

"Quite a number of people showed up at the beginning of that siege, armed, much to the chagrin of the FBI. That siege ended peacefully.
Did the FBI show the restraint with the Freemen that they did because they were worried about getting fired on from their rear? Or had they learned something from Waco about what not to do? I know that there were people I talked to at the time who thought long and hard about loading up, and driving to Montana—just in case the FBI decided to Waco the Freemen."

I believe Jefferson would have cited this as an example of ignorance with the noblest of intentions, & therefore sufferable - even preferable to no action at all. But I'm afraid this is the exception rather than the rule. The Freemen seem to have been disreputable at best & probably not deserving of such protection, but given the facts available at the time it wa smuch better the FBI had to sweat their rear than to simply give free reign as had happened at Waco, Texas or Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

But would the same show of public support be granted to someone who made an "illegal" machien gun & was holding off the feds? would a nation fo riflemen rise up to keep the feds at bay while the matter could be fairly sorted out? I think not.

Just as the "free speech" zones have caused nothing but bitching, & numerous attacks on our Right to Arms have done more than cause us to nitch & moan a little louder, nothing short of cattle cars rolling up to your (or possibly your neighbors') house will make most people think twice about repelling the invaders.

We have the Means to Resist; most certainly. But I fear we lack the will & possibly the Knowledge to Resist. All 3 must be present fora people to remain free for long. & when you have at least one then it's not as difficult as starting from scratch. But still it's not an easy road to travel.

As for me - I have the Will, & the Means. It's the Knowledge that trips me up. It's hard to know that there's no hope left in peaceful solutions, & revolutions are not to be entered into lightly for a number of reasons. But personally if the protestors had showed up armed & asserted they'd meet any forceful attempts at restraining or confining their Liberty with an equal or disproprtionate amount of force I wouldn't go around denouncing them. Yes, it may very well have been premature or even uncalled for, but at least it wouldn't have been erring on the side of lethargy.

Of course no one wants to shoot the local cops over a question of where they're allowed to protest & this may be for the best. However it'd have been illegal (as far as I can recollect) for them to carry arms for almost purpose in Boston. Ironic isn't it? This country got into a formal shooting war for Independence largely because the King tried to disarm the colonists at Massachusetts. Now Massachusetts has disarmed her own people (for most practical purposes) & seldom is a peep of protest about it heard, except by certain bloggers & gun specific organizations.

& before Spoons & Xrlq start chiding me for calling for the deaths of cops merely trying to do as they're told - I'm not. At leats not in this instance & not yet. I'm merely trying to point out that should arms have been taken up to assert the freedom of speech then it would have been preferable to what I see as a sign that the lethargy which Jefferson warned us against seems to have come to fruition.

& yes, I realize that I, in essence, am doing nothing but bitching about the situation (blog: from the Latin; To bitch). If I think of anything more pro-active that seems appropriate I'll let you know.

Posted by Publicola at July 27, 2004 03:25 AM

Actually, to correct something you said about people not being able to carry in Boston, that's not true. If anyone had a MA license to carry, they can carry in Boston. Interestingly enough, it would be easier for non-resident protestors to get licenses to actually carry their guns than it would be for protestors from Boston.

Posted by: Bitter Bitch at July 27, 2004 05:01 PM

Miss Bitter,

I said that "for all practical purposes" Mass has disarmed her people. When a citizen of another state has an easier time getting permission to carry I'd say that would qualify as disarming for most practical purposes.

But I'll concede that it's not a complete prohibition & that from a certain perspective either of us were correct.

Posted by: Publicola at July 28, 2004 04:14 PM
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