Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why the Revolution Isn't Happening

My apologies to regular readers who've been wondering what happened to posting on a regular basis; I've been ill. It is actually a bit more than illness, it also has a bit to do with my having a temper. By the time I had finished watching our Senate hand George II another piece of our rights and our protection from corporate misdeeds I was furious. The fact that the House let the FISA mess expire didn't assuage the boil over. I am ordinarily quite capable of expressing my outrage without losing my mind but the combination of a rather rude flu bug and the steady Congressionally approved erosion of American liberty finally short-circuited my thinking processes. I found myself looking at the screen and keyboard with disbelief, amazement, and fury; and no words. Just stalled and stuck in place.

It might have been mitigated if either Democratic candidate had gotten up on their hind legs and said something...anything, really. It didn't help in the least that friends I like were also losing their minds, it isn't the least calming to hear, "I guess we'll just have to meet on the village green." As furious as I am, this one just pokes all the wrong buttons. As an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment I have looked carefully at the intentions behind it and the current societal conditions and the results are not calming.

While there are side benefits to hunting and other sporting activities involved in the Second Amendment, and noted at the time of the framing debate, the purposes are the defense of a "free state." The expression "free state" was a deliberate usage, it is a universal concept rather than the narrow one of, for example, 'the United States' or 'the nation' or 'the free states.' In this usage "state" is not a geographical concept but rather one of condition, the condition of all people though most particularly the citizens of the US. That there could even be discussion of this concept, much less heated debate, makes rather definite statement about the state of the American citizenry. We all abhor the pointless lawless violence the is perpetrated in our schools, malls, streets, and homes; but a large percentage of the population seems to have forgotten that life is a very risky proposition and liberty increases the risks.

Murder and mayhem are scarcely new phenomenons in this country, for a large portion of our history it was the everyday norm for many. The frontier history is more recent for those of us in the West, but the frontier started at the Atlantic Ocean at one point. The states of Ohio and Kentucky were scenes of incredibly brutal violence, primarily between settlers and Native Americans but also including the French, later the British, and even between the settlers themselves. These conditions played out in varied degrees from ocean to ocean and the institution of law enforcement (civil or military) did not cause a cessation. Being on the leading edge of human condition is an incredibly dangerous situation.

The mistake people make is in thinking that law was and is the operative concept, it is human behavior that is in operation. Giving human beings liberty is not a safe sort of thing to do, humans are incredibly variable in behavior as a species. They are given to all kinds of extremes and law does no more than punish the behaviors. Laws do not stop behaviors, moral and ethical judgements do. The judgement may come down to no more than a weighing of possible consequences, but legal sanctions are only an add on, not the determinant. Committing robbery, for example, has always had possible negative consequences which may in fact have been more serious and more sure in the absence of law. It is a fallacy to believe that the law stops people who are willing to ignore consequences. The Framers decided that the benefits to the citizenry far outweighed the risks, risks they were fully aware of.

Today, many believe that we are or should be much more secure and safe now than then. Why people believe that armed bands of depredation have disappeared or would disappear simply in the face of Law is an odd question. Behavior is linked to much more than simple legal consequences, those considerations are really at the end of the line of behavioral determinants. This attitude of safeness leads to considerable outrage when it is proven unfounded. Certainly we would rather be safe than at risk, but druthers have little to do with reality, and this is aggravated by our Founders ideas.

The Constitution sets out a framework of how to govern, the Bill of Rights sets out specified human conditions that government is not allowed to trespass on, specifically prohibited governmental behaviors because these states of being are assumed to be precedent to government. Not allowing the government to attempt to interfere in these areas was at the time the leading edge of political science, it was essentially untried and acknowledged as dangerous. It is still the leading edge of political science, there is no government on the face of the earth with stronger prohibitions of interference with human rights. There is a reason this is true, it is damned dangerous. And we're throwing it away in search of illusionary security.

This is the populace of today, the one that is willing to ignore the simple language of the Bill of Rights in order to secure the non-existent safety promised by political organizations. Contrast that desire with the at any cost defense of liberty and see which is most prevalent. The idea that Revolution could now occur on the basis of the intangibles of the Bill of Rights is awfully optimistic. The simple reason the Second Amendment is within the Bill of Rights is the ability to secure a free state of being, the ability to withstand foreign or domestic assaults on that state of being. In the face of a national military, the final ends are personal security from others and citizen security from our own government's depredations.

Inherent in the inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the Constitutional document is the acknowledgement of governmental inclination to abridge the natural rights of citizens and its final dissuasion is the right to keep and bear arms. You have to look at the entire document to understand that it is essentially a blueprint for Revolution. Freedom of religion, speech, and press allow the breeding of and dissemination of Revolutionary thought. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure allows the infrastructure of Revolution. The keeping and bearing of arms allows the physical means of Revolution. Follow on through the Bill of Rights with this state of reasoning and each will reveal a tool of rebellion, and why not? These were the instigators of a Rebellion against a lawfully constituted government to whom they had historical and societal ties, deep ties. We were given all the tools needed to physically "throw the rascals out."

This is what the government is in the process of dismantling to limited citizen outcry. There is good reason why the outcry is limited, it is natural to crave security and materialistic success. Those cravings are exactly what is at risk with the form of Liberty the Framers envisioned and we are so far from the obvious frontier requirements of personal responsibility and risk that the depredation of Liberty goes almost unnoticed. This is the citizenry that we could expect to hold responsible for their own Liberty? One of the reasons guns become such a flash point is that they are an actual physical and materialistic expression of liberty, it is easier to hold in your hands a Colt than it is to wrap your mind around governmental snooping, or the funding of chosen religions. The immediate bark of a Winchester is more obvious than the whimper of corporate media in the face of governmental misdeeds. But that does not a Revolution make.

The American people sat on their hands when RICO was passed, it was not a matter of their house payments or grocery bill, even though the depredation on the Fourth Amendment was clear. It was touted as a tool applicable to the Mafia, a feared and despised minority. The problem is that however feared and despised and nastily criminal the Mafia is, they are also by definition, us. What is applicable to the Mafia is equally applicable to ordinary citizens, if the government doesn't like what you and some associates are up to you can easily find yourselves designated a criminal conspiracy and subject to some truly draconian outcomes. All it takes is a few more little baby steps like The Patriot Act or Military Commission Act to make it so. In the time of the Framers, instigators of actions allowed by RICO would have found themselves at best tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail, and today almost nobody notices. This is the bunch somebody expects to build a Revolution on?

The political appellation of authoritarianism is not Party determined, it is an outlook and desire for a type of political action. The mindset seems more prevalent in the Republican Party, but that is, perhaps, due to the more heated rhetoric of the extremes of the Party and the out of control just past Republican Congress. RICO was passed by a Democratic Congress, and the more egregious offenses on the Second have been at the hands of primarily Democrats. The current Democratic Presidential candidates are both notorious gun banners and supporters of blatantly un-Constitutional gun activities. It is not a Party affiliation that is dangerous to this nation's Liberty, it is the mindset of those we elect and our refusal to hold them accountable. Authoritarians should be opposed at every pass, at every opportunity, whether their stated ends match our own or not. That is not the case, not for the ordinary gun owners, press, religions, or even speech advocates, they ignore what does not impact their pet idea. This is what Revolutionary thought has to contend with, figure a considerably larger chance if the issue was economic and materialistic. Short of another Great Depression or the grinding plutocracy of the Robber Barons expect more of the same. Toilet paper and the Constitution's parts respecting Liberty have a lot in common, in DC, Statehouses, and your houses.

8 comments:

KISS said...

so glad you are back..I really missed you. I have much more to say on this subject.. For now I leave you with this wonderful essay: http://www.alternet.org/democracy/77498/
Chuck, thanks for this forum tomorrow I'll give a lot more...as sad and depressed as it will be.

Joe12Pack said...

BRAVO!!! Excellent post, Chuck. Couldn't agree with you more, aside from that whole "As an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment..." line. Sorry, but that statement is cheapened mightily when coming from a man who has spoken favorably of Kucinich, Edwards or Obama. Little do you know, you're a Libertarian at heart. The sooner you understand that unpopular label in no way means "Screw you, I got mine" the better. ;)

KISS said...

I would have to say " The Right of Free Assembly" Has been denied by both parties as they see fit. No longer can protesters gather where the heads of government convene..now like 1/2 mile away.
Than let's travel to the center of government in the OutPost..Oregon.
From Dennis Richardson, state representative: "First, HB 5100 provides for $113 million of Certificates of Participation. Our founding pioneers knew the dangers of allowing the government to incur debt during times of peace, so in Article 11, Section 7 of the Oregon Constitution they told government officials they could not, “…in any manner create any debt or liabilities which shall singly or in the aggregate with previous debts or liabilities exceed the sum of fifty thousand dollars….” For decades Oregon (as well as several other states) has found this constitutional limitation too restrictive, so to avoid having to go to the voters for permission to incur debt, alternatives have been devised that ignore Oregon’s Constitutional limitation on public indebtedness. Certificates of Participation (COP’s) are the government’s way to circumvent Art. 11, Section 7. COP’s get around the Constitution using what are known as “legal fictions.” The COP’s legal fiction goes something like the following: Since the state uses a two year budget, any debt that does not bind the state beyond its two year budget is not considered a “debt or liability.” Therefore, a Certification of Participation (although it is understood to be and is intended to be a long-term debt), will not be considered a “debt or liability” so long as the state has the power to nullify the understanding at the end of each biennium. Notwithstanding the state’s legal right to terminate the debt every two years, if the state were to do so, it would be a violation of its “understanding” that the COP is in fact a long-term (generally 5-25 year) debt and the state would severely damage its credit rating by violating the COP understanding. If the payments on the COP’s were stopped the lenders would own the capital improvement being funded with the debt. In short, COP’s are legal and are a fiction—they legally circumvent the Constitutional limitation against in “any manner” creating “any debt or liability” above $50,000. The attached summary of HB 5100 itemizes an additional $113 million COP’s. Although the items listed may be needed and justifiable, the Legislative and Executive branches should either comply with the intend of the clear and concise wording of the Oregon Constitution or ask the voters for a Constitutional Amendment that would raise the debt limitation amount. "
Another breach of our constitution, done by both sides, and this isn't the only ways for indebtedness. I bring this up only to show the connivery of modern politics and the dismantling of the work of our fore-fathers.
With the RICO Act, I absolutely agree with you, When the government could not win prosecution against the scum-bag John Gotti, they found a way to get his lawyer Bruce Cutler, who always successful against the government, off of Gotti's case through the RICO Act, another dismantling of the constitution for representation before the court. Yup Gotti is scum..but his rights are my rights and yours.

KISS said...

When Change Is Not Enough: Seven Steps to Revolution

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future. Posted February 22, 2008

http://www.alternet.org/democracy/77498/
I know I have pissed off many and you too Chuck because I see the dark side of dimmos as well as the bright side. Baucus of Montana is the type of dimmo that is in league with creeps like Lieberman.
Than we have scum like Jefferson of Louisiana another crook like Nye of Ohio, a repug. A question the media has not asked of the candidates is: Will you relinquish the power that Bush has usurped from the constitution? This is not a pejorative nor a rude question to ask. And here's the kicker, it behooves the Free Press to ask this question as well as for the citizens, or maybe more so. Why has McCain been given a free ride and nothing mentioned of his being a charter member of the Keating 5, in fact the only repug to be one of the scumbags that were up to their eyeballs in collusion with that crook. Yup, four dimmo scum-bags and McCain.
Watching News on Television and buying a newspaper is much like treason, these days. The media, for most part are as much to blame as the parties.
Maybe more important now than before
" Keep your Powder Dry"

Chuck Butcher said...

Libertarianism = I got mine, screw you.

Not even a debate. Don't publish BS unless you're willing to back it up. You show where it isn't true.

As for guns, McCain is over all worse. One fight at a time is the best I can do. If you can find a single place where I have not complained about Obama & Clinton you can pick at me. I've howled BS about it from the beginning.

Joe12Pack said...

Please elaborate, Chuck. You like to throw around stuff like "Libertarianism = I got mine, screw you.", but you leave me to assume that you consider government entitlement programs to be a whopping success and things like self determination & freedom are bad. I'm not affiliated with any party myself, but probably would be best defined as a "classic liberal", or "Libertarian" by modern labels. Yes, I believe in crazy shit like letting people lead their lives as they see fit, personal responsibility, minimal government intrusion, etc. How does that equal "screw you"?

What are you thinking, Chuck? In your mind, living out in podunk Oregon amongst a bunch of conservative hicks, you probably think it's cool to be the rebellious "progressive Democrat" while at the same time revering the U.S. Constitution and all the rights that come with it, including bearing firearms, building hot rods, owning your own vehicles, etc. I know these people, my friend. I live in Portland where the vast majority of your Democratic cohorts reside. Believe me, most don't share your views. You're nothing more than a useful idiot out there in the sticks. If you want to align yourself with the typical Oregon Democrat, surrender your guns and change your immigration views to open borders/no person is illegal/Si Se Puede! That's what you're doing.

I'm tepid at best on John McCain, but I'll go out of my way to promote the guy at this point. Are you kidding me? Hillary & Obama are better on guns? Don't pass me any of that Baker City bud you're puffing on.

Anonymous said...
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Chuck Butcher said...

Joe,
I've never said one positive thing about Hillary and Obama and guns, not once.

As for libertarianism it is not about what you seem to think. It is about removal of all restrictions on business, the privitization of governmental services, the removal of all safety nets, etc, ie screw you I've got mine. Sure it gets dressed up with anti-foreign involvements, etc, but that is just window dressing.

McCain is flat bad for the country, BushIII. He believes in nothing you espouse, not even strongly on guns or immigration. Not one iota.

So you kick me for preferring a Democrat? They both stink on the 2nd. OK. Immigration? I don't know how this is going to play out.