Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Is the 2nd Amendment in jeopardy?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 08, 2006

Oviously it depends on how you choose to interpret it. Personally, because the Bill of Rights was written to guarantee individual rights and limit government power, I view it as an individual right to own a gun. But, given this upcoming lawsuit, that may be subject to change:
In a case that could shape firearms laws nationwide, attorneys for the District of Columbia argued Thursday that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals.

The city defended as constitutional its long-standing ban on handguns, a law some gun opponents have advocated elsewhere.

Civil liberties groups and pro-gun organizations say the ban is unconstitutional.

At issue in the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is whether the Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" applies to all people or only to "a well regulated militia."

The Bush administration has endorsed individual gun ownership rights but the Supreme Court has never settled the issue.

If the dispute makes it to the high court, it would be the first case in nearly 70 years to address the amendment's scope. The court disappointed gun owner groups in 2003 when it refused to take up a challenge to California's ban on assault weapons.

In the Washington, D.C., case, a lower court judge told six city residents in 2004 that they did not have a constitutional right to own handguns. The plaintiffs include residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want guns for protection.

Courts have upheld bans on automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns but this case is unusual because it involves a prohibition on all pistols.

Voters passed a similar ban in San Francisco last year but a judge ruled it violated state law.

The Washington case is not clouded by state law and hinges directly on the Constitution.
The two emphasized sentences are very important to understand. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled on a variety of gun laws, that's true, and even upheld some restrictions, but it has, to this point, never really interpreted the scope of the 2nd Amendment. Because Washington DC is a federal district, there is no conflict between state laws or jurisdiction. This is a purely federal case.

I'm sure this will be followed with great interest, and, if the Supreme Court carefully studies the history of the amendment and the intent of those who wrote it, the outcome should be clear ... an affirmation of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms as stipulated in the 2nd.

One of the best indications of this intent is, interestingly enough, to be found in the state constitutions of the time.

George Mason wrote, in the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 the provision "that a well regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to Arms, is the proper, natural and safe Defense of a free State".

It must be remembered that at that time, there was to be no standing army and the militia was comprised of all able-bodied and free men.

Thomas Jefferson proposed the VA Constitution contain the provision "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms".

The Pennsylvania Declaration of 1776 stated "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up."

North Carolina's Declaration of Rights (1776) said "that the people have a right to bear arms ...".

Vermont's Declaration of Rights of 1777 declared "that the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state".

John Adams who framed the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights (1780) wrote "arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used at individual discretion ... in private self-defence".

And Noah Webster, an influential Federalist made the salient point that seems to get lost in all of these discussions of "militias" and such:

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a superior force to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States".

Webster's point is clear even if, as technology has advanced and standing armies have been raised, his point about the armed population being a superior force is not as true now as it was when he said them.

I'll give Richard Henry Lee that last word concerning intent:

"The yeomanry of the country possess the lands, the weight of property, possess arms, and are too strong a body of men to be openly offended — and, therefore, it is urged, they will take care of themselves, that men who shall govern will not dare pay any disrespect to their opinions."

Remember, the Bill of Rights was approved by the same states and many of the same men who I cite above. Intent, in this regard, is clear.

It was about self-defense, it was about the defense of the state and, probably as important as the other two, it was a warning to the federal government that as long as the citizens retained their right to arms, they would keep it's power in check.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Can you re-post the original link?
 
Written By: Dan
URL: http://
Can you re-post the original link?
Done. This time it works. Thanks for the heads-up.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Doesn’t the militia argument mean that all able-bodied men between the ages of 17 and 45 (under 64 for vets) are entitled to own a gun? That would also include women of any age who are members of the National Guard. I’ve never thought this "militia argument" was very well-grounded in the law, but if it is, it would seem to apply to a lot more people than its proponents seem to think.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
probably as important as the other two, it was a warning to the federal government that as long as the citizens retained their right to arms, they would keep it’s power in check.
Guess that warning has gone largely unheeded.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
Doesn’t the militia argument mean that all able-bodied men between the ages of 17 and 45 (under 64 for vets) are entitled to own a gun?
Well if you go by Richard Henry Lee’s definition he argued the general militia is "in fact the people themselves" while a select militia is composed of "distinct bodies of military men".

And in fact, was very emphatic that the general militia be always armed:

"...whereas to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them ..."

Fairly clear intent there, eh?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Webster’s point is clear even if, as technology has advanced and standing armies have been raised, his point about the armed population being a superior force is not as true now as it was when he said them.
Not *as* true, but still quite true. Even the paramilitary SWAT teams springing up all over the place are no match for a widely armed citizenry. Enough rifles and easy-to-hide handguns in the hands of enough people, and you’re going to need a massive army to try anything too boldly oppressive. An insurgency composed of tens of millions of people, with firearms in the hundreds of millions, is nothing for even the largest professional armies in the world to sniff at.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Once you start trying to guess what they meant instead of using what they said you are almost always going to put your own spin on things. That is the nature of judicial activism.

You have broadened things substantially from what they said and got it wrong. The original intent was about defense FROM the state, not defense OF the state. We were to have a citizen militia and not a standing army because a standing army was a threat to democracy. A standing army is what makes big government big. If you read either Adams or Jefferson, they make that clear. It was a big deal just to get congress to pony up for a couple of warships to protect our merchant marine.

That said, its time for the Libertarians to offer the grand deal. They should push for legal guarantees of woman to have almost unrestricted access to abortion and legal guarantees of citizens without criminal records to almost unrestricted gun rights (No 105mm howitzers).

Keep your hands off my body and you can keep your gun.

 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
Glenn Reynolds co-wrote a law review article (36 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1737-1768 (1995)) that adopts the "militia argument" and ponders the consequences.

The consequences of finding that the Second Amendment is a collective (i.e. States) right are a bit surprising to say the least. In addition to a State being able to sue in a federal court in order to enforce its right, it would likely be able to invalidate any federal laws that infringed upon the State’s Second Amendment rights, and it would be on much different footing vis-a-vis the federal government than what we presently have.
. In short, if the Second Amendment protects only a state right to maintain an independent military force, it creates no purely individual right to keep and bear arms, exactly as gun-control proponents argue (although it is possible that courts might derive some individual rights by way of inference). However, the consequences go far beyond that particular result. If the Second Amendment creates a right on the part of the states, rather than individuals, then by necessity it works a pro tanto repeal of certain limitations on state military power found in the Constitution proper, renders the National Guard unconstitutional, at least as currently constituted, and creates a power on the part of state legislatures to nullify federal gun-control laws, if such laws are inconsistent with that state’s scheme for organizing its militia. Although these results may seem far-fetched, closer examination will reveal that they are inevitable results of a states’ right formulation.

[...]

In this view, the state governments represent the "real" governments of the people. The federal government exists as a somewhat mistrusted agent of the states, with states retaining the power to protect their people by checking the actions of the federal government when necessary to prevent overreaching. This view seems to be that embodied by the states’ right interpretation, in which state organizations are set against the federal government and in which state legislators retain the power to nullify federal firearms laws that would otherwise frustrate state prerogatives.[85](p.1763)

If applied across the board, this view would have rather dramatic consequences, going far beyond those outlined above. States’ rights, and a view of state governments as interposed between the federal government and their citizens, after all, formed the core of the losing argument in Brown v. Board of Education[86] —and, for that matter, of the Civil War.[87] Yet if we are to decide that the Second Amendment embodies this general theory of the relations between the state and federal governments, there seems no reason to assume that the Framers had different intentions elsewhere in the same Constitution. Thus, unless we are to be entirely incoherent, we must seriously consider rethinking constitutional history all the way back to Brown and, indeed, to McCulloch v. Maryland.
Interesting read, to say the least.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Seems like this is what 2nd Amendment supporters should want. If the Supreme Court says the 2nd A allows individual ownership - case closed. If they say it does not, that provides the impetus to write a new, much clearer, amendment that leaves no doubt. Either way, in the end I think pro-gun people will win.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Given the times and the nature of the bill of rights, I’d have to say the second amendment implies an individual right, not a right to militias (but does that mean people have the right to form well regulated militias? Iraq can be a model there...).

My interpretation (as someone who doesn’t own a gun): Well regulated means there can be laws regulating gun ownership. But those laws cannot be such that the individual right to own a gun is denied (just like there are limits on religious practice, speech, and other individual rights).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If you would actually read the Federalist Papers you would find the the word "regulated" meant "trained" at the time of it’s use. "well regulated" means properly trained.

My take is that the 2nd Amendment not only specifies private ownership but also the right to organize in groups or Militia.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
My interpretation (as someone who doesn’t own a gun): Well regulated means there can be laws regulating gun ownership. But those laws cannot be such that the individual right to own a gun is denied (just like there are limits on religious practice, speech, and other individual rights).
Good point. Onerous regulations would also be verboten under that train of thought
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"I’m sure this will be followed with great interest, and, if the Supreme Court carefully studies the history of the amendment and the intent of those who wrote it, the outcome should be clear ... an affirmation of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms as stipulated in the 2nd."
I can’t think what in the world would make you think that, Bruce. I don’t have any more confidence in those people on the court than the rest of the prevailing culture at sorting through the matter.

And what if they uphold the D.C. ban?

I have never respected the Second Amendment, for all kinds of good reasons. For one thing, the "militia" qualifier opens all kinds of territory for individual exclusions. (For example: the arguments over the precise definition of a "militia" would, on affirmation, exclude people out of age-range.) Nor have I ever endorsed the self-defense arguments. There are all kinds of reasons to own guns, just like there are all kinds of individually personal reasons to own anything at all. One of my reasons is that I appreciate firearms as ingenious examples of mechanical engineering, and because something like that doesn’t fit into most peoples (including ownership advocates’) rationales, the whole range of such reasons is simply never considered, as a matter of people just staying the hell out of other peoples’ affairs.

More principally, however, gun ownership is a private property matter that never should have been addressed politically than a question whether to allow people to own, say, buckets or fireplaces. As a matter of right, it is simply not open to the authority of any "constitution" or any court’s opinion of the matter.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Let me short-hand the thing this way:

Whether or not the Second Amendment is in jeopardy, the right to own firearms most certainly is, as usual.

The two are categorically different things.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy Beck -
More principally, however, gun ownership is a private property matter that never should have been addressed politically than a question whether to allow people to own, say, buckets or fireplaces. As a matter of right, it is simply not open to the authority of any "constitution" or any court’s opinion of the matter.
I hate to come at you from this direction, but is the private ownership of a nuclear weapon merely a property rights issue?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Can I suggest a motion that we hereafter ban the hypothetical private ownership of nuclear weapons in discussions of the 2nd Amendment?

This is the second time I’ve seen it in the last 2 weeks.

Sorta like the "1st guy that mentions Hitler automatically loses arguments rule?"

How about a functional French 75mm howitzer instead? (Since I know someone who owns one....)
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Why? What’s wrong with choosing the most extreme example? It’s not like private ownership of a nuclear weapon is out of the realm of possibility. Some groups and even individuals have the financial resources.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Some groups and even individuals have the financial resources.
Some companies even have them. But that’s still trying to make the argument so obscene as to end it.

On with the regular show...

The next arugment you’ll see is whether this selective service card I’ve got around here means I joined a government militia. I’d say so.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
Some groups and even individuals have the financial resources.
Some companies even have them. But that’s still trying to make the argument so obscene as to end it.
Hey, Billy’s the one who made it a matter of principle. If there are some "complications," then we need to see where the discrepancy is. If it’s a matter of degree of lethality, and not of kind of property, then we have to start asking where the line is drawn.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
It wouldn’t matter if the amendment read

" bannas being a tasty treat, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

or

"New England being extremely cold in the winter, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The first part is simply a declarative statement, it has nothing to do with establishing a right or putting limits on it. If the founders had meant for this right to apply only to those particpating in the militia they would have said so. I’m not aware of anybody in the founding generation who intended for citizens to have the right to bear arms ONLY in the context of participating in the militia. But simply that in any context where the government woudl overstep its bounds the militia would be the first group infringed upon.

It might have been different if the sentence had ended with something like: "..for just such a purpose." or "....as long as a militia exists." or "but only in the context of the militia." Of course it didn’t.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Yes.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
As one of the often-visiting liberalish lawyers, I’ll add my own two cents:

I think that the 2nd amendment is an individual right, in service of a collective obligation. I understand, though I may be wrong, that Swiss men are all in the militia and that everyone who has had militia training may keep a weapon at home. This is the model that I think that the Framers were considering.

First, "arms" were, at the time, individually-served military weapons (not, for example, cannon). So a M-16 would be "arms", but a nuke would not. But weapons used for hunting game were not "arms". So, today, is a shotgun "arms" or not? Dunno.

Second, the 2nd Amendment refers to "bearing arms". Again, from what I understand (and I recognize I could be wrong) that "bearing arms" meant serving in a military unit.

Third, no other amendment has a prefatory statement. Is it surplusage, or does it have relevant meaning today? Lawyers and judges interpreting modern legislation generally are reluctant to say that any language is meaningless, because that interpretation would be far more activist than trying to interpret the language as a cohesive whole.

Given the foregoing, how might the 2nd Amendment read in modern English? Here’s the original:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Here’s a rough draft in modern English:

Because trained militias are necessary to ensure that States be secure [against both federal and foreign invasion?], state and local governments may not interfere with the right of individuals who serve in the militia to keep their weapon at home.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Let me start by saying I support the right of all non felons in America to own guns. I own guns, my mom owns guns!

However, the 2nd amendment is like the bible. People read into it what they want.

It’s time for the country to replace it with an iron clad right to gun ownership. And trust me, the longer we wait to do so, the harder it will be to accomplish.

Just saying "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." won’t cut it. Felons are people too.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Even the paramilitary SWAT teams springing up all over the place are no match for a widely armed citizenry. Enough rifles and easy-to-hide handguns in the hands of enough people, and you’re going to need a massive army to try anything too boldly oppressive. An insurgency composed of tens of millions of people, with firearms in the hundreds of millions, is nothing for even the largest professional armies in the world to sniff at.
Orenry US Military History and the current "Troubles" in Iraq demonstrate that an "Armed citizenry" will crumble whne faced with well-armed goons....PERIOD. A well-armed citizenry is not a good check on the government.
That said, its time for the Libertarians to offer the grand deal. They should push for legal guarantees of woman to have almost unrestricted access to abortion and legal guarantees of citizens without criminal records to almost unrestricted gun rights (No 105mm howitzers).

Keep your hands off my body and you can keep your gun.
"I can murder MY baby and you can keep your Glock, eh?" Well as ONE of these "rights" was created by the SCOTUS out penumbra’s and emanations and the other one has a Amendment to its name, I think the grand bargain isn’t such a great idea. Bottom-line: what if abortion ISN’T a right, the Right to Keep and Bear STILL is.

The Billy Beck position is why libertarianism is a minority position. It’s a nice set of theoretical constructs, but it doesn’t get applied by its believers real well. Again, libertarians are the Anti-Marxists of our age, they offer wonderful visions of a future you probably really wouldn’t want to live in. So Billy in Billy-land IF Bill Gates has several thermno-nuclear weapons he can deprive ME of my life and property, as I have really no effective response(s). I guess I need to ally myself with Warren Buffet or Ross Perot and create a little "internal" MAD? NO RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE, so I think you’d do better to describe the limits one has to weaponry....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
First, "arms" were, at the time, individually-served military weapons (not, for example, cannon). So a M-16 would be "arms", but a nuke would not. But weapons used for hunting game were not "arms". So, today, is a shotgun "arms" or not? Dunno.
I disagree with your stateent that weapons used for hunting game were not "arms".

Men joining the state militias at the time used the rifle they kept at home. Those rifles didn’t sit while the men waited for wars to start; the men used their rifles for hunting. The thought that they’d go off to war and NOT bring the weapon they used on a daily basis would seem silly.

Shotguns would be considered "arms" as well. While rifles were the infantry weapon of choice at the time, they were comparable in range and accuracy to today’s shotguns. Unless you want to argue that the Second Amendment restricts gun ownership to muzzle-loaded ball rifles, but I don’t think you meant to do that.
Because trained militias are necessary to ensure that States be secure [against both federal and foreign invasion?], state and local governments may not interfere with the right of individuals who serve in the militia to keep their weapon at home.
I don’t see how you can infer that the text means that ONLY those who serve in the milita were entitled to own firearms, even given the preface. I don’t remember reading of any raids on non-milita gun owners in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, so it is clear to me that such a thing wasn’t intended by the framers.

 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Orenry US Military History and the current "Troubles" in Iraq demonstrate that an "Armed citizenry" will crumble whne faced with well-armed goons....PERIOD. A well-armed citizenry is not a good check on the government.
Oh really? Here I thought that Iraq (to say nothing of Chechnya) was showing that an armed citizenry stays deadly and doesn’t immediately "crumble." A determined citizenry can do quite a lot, and it can do much more with rifles and other small arms.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
It’s time for the country to replace it with an iron clad right to gun ownership.


Written by today’s lawyers....fat chance.

As for the definition of "arms" it meant the same thing then as it does now.

arms: weapons, esp. firearms.
arms: weaponry, implements of war,

Tank, jets, machine guns, cannon, nuclear weapons, all legal.

Don’t want private ownership of nuclear weapons, simple...rewrite the amendment and put it to a vote. That’s the mechanism the framers put in the constitution to allow change for things they had no possible vision of.

As I said, the 2nd amendment is not only the right to use arms for self defense buy also the right of people to ban together and organize for their mutual defense and defense of the state and against the state, if necessary.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
"So Billy in Billy-land IF Bill Gates has several thermno-nuclear weapons he can deprive ME of my life and property..."
That is Joe-land.

Look, you little jackass: if you’re going to presume an attempt to make my argument, you might do the elementary justice to understand it, first.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Okay, so Billy’s response is that anyone with sufficient resources and will should be able to bear nuclear weapons. I can’t say he’s inconsistent, but the practical implication of this principle is that private force becomes unmanageable under the contract the people made with each other to form the United States of America. If the state cannot deter a citizen from killing millions of other citizens, it becomes manifestly illegitimate. Why have a Constitution? Why have a government at all? Your rights become subject to another private person’s force (or threat of force).

So, if the Constitution contains a provision that makes the Constitution illegitimate, what is the remedy?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
If one defines crumbles as - goes out in force where it can be identified and killed off by a better armed and organized uniformed force, yeah....

However, it seems a determined version of citizenry is doing a hell of job stirring up crap in Iraq. Okay, they may not be Iraqi’s, they may not be citizens, but they ARE keeping it hot for uniformed, well organized, well armed troops, with not much gear larger than mortars, assault rifles, RPG’s and improvised explosives and a willingness to play by rules we don’t like much.

And let’s face it, no sane reading of the 2nd Amendment is going to allow us to have our own nuclear arsenals, so, no, I don’t think that’s a valid point for discussion.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Unless, Billy, your argument has some nuance that I’m not picking up on. If it does, please enlighten me.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
steverino:

again, i’m not a historian. but my understanding is that the Framers had two concerns: 1. the memory of the British seizing weapons and quartering soldiers in people’s houses (see the 3rd A.); and 2. concern about mob violence.

So, while the right is individual, the expression of the right is supposed to be in a collective context — a "well-regulated" militia, not just a rabble.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Couldn’t a case be made that the 2nd amendment can be read:

"A well regulated Militia (being necessary to the security of a free State) AND the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

As in: states cannot have their right to have a militia infringed nor can individuals have their right to bear arms infringed.

It’s a poorly worded amendment. Where the h*ll were the editors?
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Oh really? Here I thought that Iraq (to say nothing of Chechnya) was showing that an armed citizenry stays deadly and doesn’t immediately "crumble."

You mean ahving to car bomb THEIR OWN COUNTRY? Heck yeah, that armed citizenry is great, as long as you’re willing to LOSE 90% of the war you can win the last 10%? Plus, EVERY HOUSEHOLD in Iraq is allowed 1 AK-47. Now in your view, IF the "armed citizenry" was of a mind to stop the tribbles, even the troubles brougnt into their neighborhood from the outside, e.g., Shi’i in Anbar, or the AQ in Basra don’t you think that Iraq would show that? It doesn’t, does it? "The People" of Iraq, or Sadr City or Ramadi are STILL at the mercy of the armed gangs. As to the citizenry in this nation I’d refer you to Bladensburg and a number of other battles...the Militia sucks and runs away.
A determined citizenry can do quite a lot, and it can do much more with rifles and other small arms.
Yeah they can fight a guerilla war, leave their capital devastated, their populace decimated, if not worse, the latter two in realation to Grozny, they can kill school kids in Beslan, and take a theatre in Moscva, but can they WIN? The Chechens aren’t and there’s a D@mned good chance the Iraqi’s won’t either.

The idea that YOU or US with our guns is going to stop the "guv’mint" is laughable. You and I stop the "guv’mint" with our votes. If the guv’mint ever decideds to ignore THOSE, your Mini-14 sure isn’t going to dissuade them.

I have no kick with fire arms or your right to possess certain categories, BUT the "militia" argument advanced to show how the People provide a "cehck" on government, well that was just so much "Ho-Hah" that the Founders believed, in spite fo the evidence of their own eyes (It wasn’t the People that defeated the British it was the Continental ARMy and our French Allies). And really providfes not a lot of solace to the right to keep and bear...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Billy Beck:
Yes.
Joe:
"So Billy in Billy-land IF Bill Gates has several thermno-nuclear weapons he can deprive ME of my life and property..."
Billy Beck:
Look, you little jackass: if you’re going to presume an attempt to make my argument, you might do the elementary justice to understand it, first.
Look you abusive jerk if you want to advance an "argument" of more than one word feel free to do so... You are a dogmatic, @rse who doesn’t really advance arguments, but makes "Statements ex cathedra" and then proceeds to berate those who commit Lèse majesté by disagreeing with him.

So to recap you were asked IF the possession of a nuclear weapon was simply a matter of property to rights? Your response, "Yes".

Then I ask the question and operationalize your theory. Your response is some personal attack about how I didn’t understand your position.

Dude, it’s pretty clear here what your position is/was. Please defend or modify it, don’t try the attack dog route, ’cuz well that dawg just ain’t huntin’ here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m no Constitutional Lawyer, but even if the court rules that guns can only be owned by members of militias, wouldn’t the basic right still be intact? Anyone could claim they were members of a militia, and I presume that the State would not be able to pry much more into it, since the whole existence of the militia is to provide a check on the State. Ideally, of course. In the real world, I’d think that if the court sided on the "collective" gun rights side, militias would do little to save "personal" gun rights.
 
Written By: Mirabeau
URL: http://
"Unless, Billy, your argument has some nuance that I’m not picking up on."

"Ornery" — if you’re really interested, then e-mail me. The reason why I answered the question in one word is because this would be an enormous digression. There are indispensable reductions to principle and very complex integrations in all this, and I’m simply not going to do that to this thread.

I’ll tell you this right away, however: if you want to try to understand this, then you’d better be ready to think about it. I will describe this position the very best that I can, but I’m not going to put up with an attitude. If you don’t think that you can come at it with wide-open eyes, then don’t bother.


To the discussion at-large: nobody who cannot deal with theory has any business asking theoretical questions.

That’s all that I’m going to say about this aspect of this discussion, here.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Joe -

Come now, it’d be even worse if the US government had to convince an all-volunteer force to engage in widespread combat against their own people. And how much harder would it be on them if anyone wearing anything other than spandex might be hiding a firearm under his/her shirt/jacket or in her purse or in his car or anywhere in his home? How would they tell loyal citizen from rebel?

And during this crackdown on the populace, how would they keep recruiting more soldiers and collect the necessary taxes to keep this war going? By getting even more oppressive?

A war with your own armed citizenry is a disaster, the more small arms the worse.
the Militia sucks and runs away.
The same was said of the VC. They kept shooting and then running away. The power of small armed groups has only grown with time and advances in technology.
What’s a government’s response to such groups? In very small numbers, sure, you can take them down without burning down too much... in riots, you have to do very costly things... and in full blown insurgencies, you start burning down the very infrastructure that sustains you.
If you put automatic small arms and ammo in the hands of every able-bodied citizen in Watts in 1965 or Los Angeles in 1992, you’d have had a protracted revolt instead of a pair of events people call "riots."

Now imagine it’s some place other than LA; maybe multiple cities this time... maybe Washington, DC is included. Imagine that the issue isn’t acquitted cops but a string of documented, outrageous government abuses.

Now, if on top of those automatics weapons, you add widespread video cameras that document civil rights violations, combined with the internet and cell phones (not to mention TV), you have a firestorm that could spread very quickly and weaken the resolve of (and public support for) the very police and soldiers you’re sending in to put down the revolt. If some of the police and soldiers respond with even more assertive force, things could quickly spiral out of control.

Pissed off people are dangerous. They’re even more dangerous when they have transportation and weapons and rapid communications technology. All states take this into account to some degree; those that don’t do it well enough may find themselves hamstrung when, for example, their cities are sieged by their own citizenry — like Paris.
A determined citizenry can do quite a lot, and it can do much more with rifles and other small arms.
Yeah they can fight a guerilla war, leave their capital devastated, their populace decimated, if not worse, the latter two in realation to Grozny, they can kill school kids in Beslan, and take a theatre in Moscva, but can they WIN?
The fact that such a tiny segment of the populace can hold off the Russian military for so long is testament to what small arms can do. And if Washington, DC were to become a battlefield, the country will be severely disrupted even if the feds "win."
The idea that YOU or US with our guns is going to stop the "guv’mint" is laughable. You and I stop the "guv’mint" with our votes. If the guv’mint ever decideds to ignore THOSE, your Mini-14 sure isn’t going to dissuade them.
If you’re so deluded that you think that paper ballots every 2/4/6 years are the only thing standing between us and totalitarianism, this debate is over. If you think that it’s only by the charity of our elected officials deciding that they prefer to leave office when the people vote against them that we retain our liberty, I suggest you take a long, hard look at human nature and see whether that has ever been sufficient to defend liberty for any extended period of time in the past.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Billy: I’ll be emailing you in a bit. I’m entering finals studying time, so I may be a bit slow on replies right up to about Christmas, but I’m genuinely interested—if you can stay civil.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Try me.

Do it honestly.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
It seems a bit ludicrous to me that membership in a militia, no matter how many times it was mentioned, was the only legitimate reason to keep and bear arms that the folks back then had in mind. There were no police forces as we know them today, hostile native Americans, criminals, etc. to defend against also. I think perhaps that they took the need for personal self-defense as a given, and felt they didn’t need to even mention it as a justification for possessing weapons. Not to mention dueling. What need does a militia have for dueling weapons?
I really cannot comprehend how the writers of the Constitution could even conceive that a government(state or federal) could have the power to forbid ownership of weapons when that would mean literal starvation for some, and certain death from outlaws, wild animals, and unfriendly indigenees for others. Nor can I believe anyone would have ratified it if it did so.
One thing I think that all can agree on, this certainly proves that we need an educational system that does a good job of teaching standard English. Then again, maybe not, given the advocacy for such lunacy as Ebonics.

"Can I suggest a motion that we hereafter ban the hypothetical private ownership of nuclear weapons in discussions of the 2nd Amendment?"

I will second that.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Can I suggest a motion that we hereafter ban the hypothetical private ownership of nuclear weapons in discussions of the 2nd Amendment?"
I will second that.
I’ll ask you the same question, timactual.
Why? What’s wrong with choosing the most extreme example? It’s not like private ownership of a nuclear weapon is out of the realm of possibility. Some groups and even individuals have the financial resources.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Billy Beck:
More principally, however, gun ownership is a private property matter that never should have been addressed politically than a question whether to allow people to own, say, buckets or fireplaces. As a matter of right, it is simply not open to the authority of any "constitution" or any court’s opinion of the matter.
With all due respect, Billy, you’re off your f*cking rocker. Show me a country where gun ownership is just another property matter like buckets or fireplaces, and I’ll show you a country where the average citizen cannot legally own a gun. Every state in the union could ban buckets and fireplaces tomorrow, were they so inclined. A lot of people are so inclined when it comes to guns.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com
"Show me a country where gun ownership is just another property matter like buckets or fireplaces..."

I don’t care one whit for this sort of social metaphysics. Every other rat-ass country on earth could come out for legislating dogs into cats if they bloody wanted to — and all the legislatures in this country could do the same bloody thing — and it wouldn’t matter to me one bit. What concerns me is the political foundation of individualism on which America was declared, and its philosophical underpinnings. Let every other country go to hell. I despise democracy, and this sort of appeal to majority opinion is equally despicable to me.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
If they win and there is a federal ban wonder what we will do about the explosion in deer populations that will destroy crops, cause havoc on the roads and probably spread some weird disease livestock.
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
I wouldn’t be very surprised if SCOTUS gave us another "this train only" decision in the DC case BECAUSE it is a federal district, upholding the ban, but not ruling that the precedent applies anywhere but federal districts.

Otherwise, I would expect them to uphold the ban and rule that the federal government can indeed regulate arms unless there is a state involved, which can seek protection under the Second Amendment.

In no case do I see SCOTUS ruling that there is an individual right to own weapons that cannot be regulated by the federal or state governments, and don’t think the nuclear weapons argument won’t come into play, along with Howitzers and .50 caliber machine guns mounted on the back of pickup trucks.

As someone mentioned above, this will not be the end of the world, and could lead to unequivocal gun rights later in the form of a more specific amendment that provides the individual right to own firearms, but with limitations on heavier weaponry.

There is simply enough ambiguity in the Second Amendment to make this ruling, and enough fear of big weapons to want to, so that’s what I would expect SCOTIS to do.

It’s not libertopia, where we could all carry around our backpack nukes, and if someone messes with you, BOOM!

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Ornery the VC weren’t a militia...they were an armed force. They trained, they were moderaely well-equipped. Militias aren’t again check your US History.

And yes it is OUR VOTES that stand between us and totalitarianism. Please do you think that arms ensure Bill Clinton or Dubya only step down because an armed populace is out there.

Again, owernership of firearms is a positive good, BUT NOT BECAUSE IT GUARANTEES OUR POLITICAL FREEDOMS.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I wouldn’t be very surprised if SCOTUS gave us another "this train only" decision in the DC case BECAUSE it is a federal district, upholding the ban, but not ruling that the precedent applies anywhere but federal districts.
Here’s a thought. If the 2nd Amendment allows "well regulated" militia’s to own weapons for "the security of a free State", then wouldn’t that exempt Washington DC from the 2nd Amendment? It’s not a State. As a result, if this non-personal right theory is held up, DC residents wouldn’t be covered by the 2nd Amendment.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Libertarians:

VOTE DEMOCRAT!

And we can screw those corporate profiteers that exploit the public by greedily selling them firearms.

Voting Democrat is a protection of your idividial liberty to not own a gun.

Remember: Liberals support your freedom to not own guns.
 
Written By: Liberal Libertarian
URL: http://
Here’s two historical precedents for heavily armed, and not afraid to blow sh*t up, forces engaged against an extremely agitated and resourceful citizenry with limited weaponry.

Budapest - 1956
Warsaw - 1945

Now, the government always wins crowd can point and say yeah, but the government (The Germans in Warsaw, the Russian in Budapest) won.

Reflect on American troops being asked to perpetrate the same sort of atrocities on other Americans in order to achieve the same outcome.

Kent State anyone? A mere four dead. National uproar?
I submit we’re going to have to be a much different country before our government thinks it can re-create Warsaw or Budapest, and before a US recruited and led army will participate for any length of time.
But citizens armed with simple weapons (willing to take heavy loses) aren’t always a walk over.
Here’s a thought. If the 2nd Amendment allows "well regulated" militia’s to own weapons for "the security of a free State", then wouldn’t that exempt Washington DC from the 2nd Amendment? It’s not a State. As a result, if this non-personal right theory is held up, DC residents wouldn’t be covered by the 2nd Amendment.
Yet another thing the DC residents can’t do - ah the benefits of being a Federal district and not protected by any ’state’ rights, no represntation, no guns, etc.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker it’s not the well-armed citizenry that protects you from the guv’mint, its the social contract that exists between the government and the People. Kent State demonstrates that throwing bags of sh*t at National Guardsmen has a deleterious effect on one’s health and the folks most upset were the Smellie Hippies and CSN&Y. There wasn’t some giant outcry of "Da Peeps" and only the Smellie Hippies and the Weather Underground felt threatened by the actions of the Guard at Kent State.

Again it ain’t guns theat keeps this place a democracy. If guns made a democracy Iraq would be one right now. It is the existence of a Civil Society and the Contract that exists between the Governed and the Governors. That takes time to develop.
Yet another thing the DC residents can’t do - ah the benefits of being a Federal district and not protected by any ’state’ rights, no represntation, no guns, etc.

As the Founders INTENDED Looker. There weren’t going to be two (2) Senators and one (1) House Member representing the Federal Government.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Again it ain’t guns theat keeps this place a democracy.
Joe, this is really getting tiresome. Nobody—nobody—said that guns keep this place a ,em>democracy. Don’t try to put words in our mouths.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Again it ain’t guns theat keeps this place a democracy.
Joe, this is really getting tiresome. Nobody—nobody—said that guns keep this place a democracy. Don’t try to put words in our mouths.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Damn, wasn’t fast enough on the Stop button to fix the formatting. Please delete the first of those, and this one.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Hm, apparently my earlier comment wasn’t posted either...
Joe, you said,
Ornery the VC weren’t a militia...they were an armed force. They trained, they were moderaely well-equipped.
Thank you, Captain Obvious. However, the VC *did* shoot and run and take considerable casualties against a better-armed, professional fighting force. Further, the US military was probably a bit more willing to get the lead out when fighting Communists than they would be to attack fellow American citizens.
And yes it is OUR VOTES that stand between us and totalitarianism. Please do you think that arms ensure Bill Clinton or Dubya only step down because an armed populace is out there.
Joe, please explain to me how ballots themselves force a politician to leave office. What do these ballots do when a politician decides he doesn’t want to leave? Do they get up and push him?

And again, you’re trying to erect a strawman. Don’t put words in my mouth: I didn’t say that the "only" reason that Presidents step down is because there’s an armed populace out there. The armed populace usually doesn’t have to take action, but it’s a constant check on government power.
Perhaps not a sufficient check to preserve liberty all the time, but important nonetheless.
Again, owernership of firearms is a positive good, BUT NOT BECAUSE IT GUARANTEES OUR POLITICAL FREEDOMS.
When are you going to realize that your liberal use of CAPSLOCK makes you look like a crazy person, and rather than getting a point across, actually makes you less persuasive? (I trust you are trying to persuade somebody other than yourself, and not just wasting your time?) So stop shouting already.

And to the extent that firearms do help guarantee our political freedoms—and they do—they are quite valuable. It’s not the only reason they’re valuable, but it is certainly one.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
In a similar vein to Jon’s theory, the court could always conclude that in addition to not being a state, DC isn’t supposed to be free or secure, and that a poorly regulated militia would suit it just fine.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com
In a similar vein to Jon’s theory, the court could always conclude that in addition to not being a state, DC isn’t supposed to be free or secure, and that a poorly regulated militia would suit it just fine.
Theoretically, a DC militia would be a FEDERAL Army, and we have one of those.

As I said, I think SCOTUS is going to dodge this and rule that the federal government CAN regulate arms in a federal district, and it will serve as precedent for virtually no one.

When push does come to shove, I expect that we will find that SCOTUS, even an ostensibly conservative court, will never rule that the 2nd Amendment is a blanket protection for ANYONE to own ANY arms, ANYWHERE. It’s just not going to happen. Libertarians have a word for the logic that would support this ruling... "statist".

But again, this won’t be the end of the gun owning world.

Right now there is no movement to repeal and rewrite the 2nd amendment because those that want individual gun rights are sticking to the argument that the 2nd Amendment already provides an individual right to own guns. But once this interpretation is shot down, there should be a huge movement to amend the Constitution in a way that clearly protects the individual’s right to own guns, but this new amendment can address the whole personal nuclear weapon and truck mounted M50’s, as well as perhaps some specificity around who CAN be restricted from gun ownership (maybe felons while they are serving their sentence... not in jail, but on probation, etc).

It may be the best thing that could happen for gun owners.

Also, once the amendment is done, the NRA can revert to the industry lobbying group it is, as gun owners will have little reason to continue paying those dues to fund an industry lobby group. This one always makes me laugh, it would be like people making donations to the American Trial Lawyers Association, because they protect Americans right to redress. They may do that, but it is totally in their self interest and they can fund it just fine.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
GUESS I"LL STAY CRAZY ORNERY. I write like I talk, that’s the EMPHASIS point. Dubya and Clinton step down because they can’t govern if they don’t... and it isn’t your firearms that make the nation ungovernable. AND THAT IS YOUR POINT, that firearms in the hands of the people guarantee freedom, only History doesn’t bear you out.

You can make any number of ulitarian/philosophic points about keeping friearms and why you should and ought to, BUT FREEDOM AIN’T ONE OF THEM. Because time after time, "The People" when they meet the Guv’mint, THEY LOSE. It simply doesn’t work and if that’s going to be your linchpin, you have a WEAK argument. You have a Right to Self Defense. Firearms tend to LESSEN crime. The 2nd Amendment and the right to keep and bear can be based on something far more tangible than some theory about how the People keep the Government in check, by virtue of being armed. The People keep their government in check by voting the Rascals Out

I hope I am persuading folks Ornery, not you or Beck...just say the more "Reasonable" lot of readers at QandO. BTW, I seldom take advice from my opponents on my style. "Oh Carson Palmer you need to throw the ball less and run more. Don’t wear your arm out before Play-Off time" Nice if it comes from Coach Lewis, less so if it comes from the Steelers camp.

Finally the examples of the People In Arms you use, the VC and the Chechens, aren’t the best examples. A bunch of Marxist-Leninists and a bunch of Islamo-Fascists, both groups brutal in their dealings with the civl populace. So what it SEEMS you’re saying is, "A small group of the People, aremd with AK-47’s and a merciless political philosophy can produce great heart-ache and head-aches." True as far as it goes, but I’d submit that is a reason to have FEWER armed folks than MORE of them. Sorry I know that’s not what you intended, but when you begin to examine HISTORY-that pesky thing I keep bringing up- you seem to find examples of vicious political philosophies profiting from arms. So as a one-time Social Scientist I’d as, Are picking up the effects of arms or the effects of political philosophy?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
GUESS I"LL STAY CRAZY ORNERY. I write like I talk, that’s the EMPHASIS point.
What, you yell at people? Try em-/em brackets for italics, or b-/b for bold if need be. All-capital-letter words are for acronyms and shouting, not "emphasis."
Dubya and Clinton step down because they can’t govern if they don’t... and it isn’t your firearms that make the nation ungovernable. why can’t they govern if they don’t?

AND THAT IS YOUR POINT, that firearms in the hands of the people guarantee freedom, only History doesn’t bear you out.
They help to guarantee freedom. They are not sufficient on their own, just as paper ballots don’t get up and defend freedom.
You can make any number of ulitarian/philosophic points about keeping friearms and why you should and ought to, BUT FREEDOM AIN’T ONE OF THEM. Because time after time, "The People" when they meet the Guv’mint, THEY LOSE.
I guess no one’s ever pulled off a coup d’etat, then? I suppose no isurrection has ever been successful, no revolution has ever taken place, no government has ever been weakened or chastened by an embarrassing incident involving citizens with firearms needing to be quelled?
It simply doesn’t work and if that’s going to be your linchpin, you have a WEAK argument. You have a Right to Self Defense. Firearms tend to LESSEN crime. The 2nd Amendment and the right to keep and bear can be based on something far more tangible than some theory about how the People keep the Government in check, by virtue of being armed.
They can be, yes, because as I already said, guns have many valuable uses. Which begs the question: with whom exactly are you arguing?
The People keep their government in check by voting the Rascals Out
Their ballots stand up and forcibly remove the rascals? Really?
I hope I am persuading folks Ornery, not you or Beck...just say the more "Reasonable" lot of readers at QandO.
Oooooh, I’m crushed.
Any evidence that you’re making inroads, Joe? That you’re changing anyone’s minds when you hit that CAPSLOCK button and insult your opponents and dodge their questions, time and time again?
BTW, I seldom take advice from my opponents on my style.
No kidding?
How’s that working out for you?
Finally the examples of the People In Arms you use, the VC and the Chechens, aren’t the best examples. A bunch of Marxist-Leninists and a bunch of Islamo-Fascists, both groups brutal in their dealings with the civl populace. So what it SEEMS you’re saying is, "A small group of the People, aremd with AK-47’s and a merciless political philosophy can produce great heart-ache and head-aches."
Highly motivated, armed groups get people’s attention. I don’t have to agree with their political philosophy to note that everyone from the Soviet and American superpowers to Nazi Germany had to deal with highly motivated armed individuals who forced them to change course, who could organize in fairly short order and tie down entire armies. (Armed individuals in this country could organize faster, if anything.)
I don’t have to like every revolution, every coup d’etat, every insurgency to know that these things are threats to any government that pisses off the wrong armed people. Everything from a foreign-supplied insurgency to a single man with a rifle can keep a government on edge, and that’s a check on government action whether they’re sensitive enough to the exigencies of force to avoid a fight or not.

As for who we fought in Vietnam, well, they were nationalists before they were Communists. We should have "won that war" in 1945 or early 1946.
Sorry I know that’s not what you intended, but when you begin to examine HISTORY-that pesky thing I keep bringing up- you seem to find examples of vicious political philosophies profiting from arms.
Oh please. So did the people who started this country, and don’t fool yourself: the militia played a necessary role.
Like I said, arms are not sufficient on their own, any more than ballots themselves kick people out of office. People are the key added ingredient, people who are much more terrifying to would-be tyrants when they’re armed.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
What, you yell at people? Try em-/em brackets for italics, or b-/b for bold if need be. All-capital-letter words are for acronyms and shouting, not "emphasis."
Thank you for your input...
I hope I am persuading folks Ornery, not you or Beck...just say the more "Reasonable" lot of readers at QandO.
Oooooh, I’m crushed.
Any evidence that you’re making inroads, Joe? That you’re changing anyone’s minds when you hit that CAPSLOCK button and insult your opponents and dodge their questions, time and time again?
Don’t know. Are YOU making headway? Who can tell? Let’s do a poll...I don’t doge questions, Ornery. I make points, and RE-MAKE them. I find that you and Billy tend to falling to inults rather quickly. It bespeaks of youth, arrogance or poor arguments, though. I can be snarky, but I do respond. Note much of your last posting has been about my STYLE, not my argument. And Beck’s "arguments" speak for themselves. You MAY THINK you have the Keys to the Kingdom, but you don’t...I don’t claim to either, but that’s the difference. I haven’t spent my life drinking deeply from the well-springs of libertarian thought. I’ve been reading history and reading a broader Gospel. I find many libertarian arguments to be stilted and uni-dimensional.

Your point about firearms guaranteeing, in part, freedom is one of them. Moitivation guarantees freedom, not firearms. In the US Revoloution or in the case of the Chechen or the VC (who WERE COMMUNISTS, not "Nationalist"-sorry that one is just a myth) it is not the presence of firearms but the WILL TO COMBAT that generates victory. I think history bears this out. I keep pointing out that when "The People" meet an Army, the People LOSE. The firearms were merely the tools of victory. IF the Patriots or the VC had had 10X the number of weapons they had, but hadn’t been smart, tough and dedicated, they’d have lost. The reality is that IF you have the will to combat the weapons follow-look at the VC. Liberty didn’t come from the firearms, in the US, the firearms follwo the Liberty.

Ballots represent the "Will of the People." Politicians, in the US, realize that when they get fewer Electoral Votes than their competitor, they have LOST the Presidency. It was not an armed populace that Gore or Dubya turned to in 2000. It was to lawyers and the courts. Politicians step down because they realize that they HAVE to, at the end of their terms, not because the People will toss them out, but that they will accomplish NOTHING and in the end go to jail and have their names dragged thru the mud.

Mao was only PARTIALLY right when he said, "All power grows out of a gun barrel." A nice retort is, "You can do many things with bayonets, but you can not SIT on them." It is Political LEGITIMACY that ensures that US President or any other politician steps down when their term is up or they have been impeached.

Bottom-Line: the point I try to make to you, is that talking about the People serving as a Check on Government is TRUE, but not because they have firearms, but becasue they have votes. And IF you rely on that argument, you rely on a WEAK argument. I realize that there are OTHER arguments that you and others advance. I am trying to argue ON YOUR SIDE, that THIS argumewnt is not a good one.

Akin to my arguments with those who oppose the Death Penalty, we ought not make the KILLER out as the victim, the Victim is the VICTIM, and when we amke Mumia Abu-Jamal a victim we lose, because patently he is NOT. A better argument, IMO, is to advance the notion that Guilt or Innocence is IRRELEVANT in the debate, the debate is OUGHT WE KILL MUMIA or "Tookie", or anyone? In both cases a bad argument is being advanced. Our opponents may be wrong, but they’re not STUPID. And so a bad argument hurts our side.

Finally, that’s something you and Beck might take to heart. Your opponents may be wrong...we’re not stupid. Experience and time will show that. THAT is the critical thing to understand. You and Beck act as if we’re STUPID for opposing you, but BUT Ornery it is NOT self-evidently true that either of you is correct. Once you realize that, your view of your opponents and how to deal with them may change. Trust me neither you, nor Beck nor I are Rothbard, Madison, or Hayek, and note, even THEY were not universally accepted. Once you realize that your opponents aren’t blind or EVIL, and in fact, that you, YOURSELF, might be wrong, one sees the world a bit differently.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
" Moitivation guarantees freedom, not firearms."
"I keep pointing out that when "The People" meet an Army, the People LOSE."

Do the people lose because they are not motivated, or because the army has more and bigger guns, training, etc.? Does this mean a sufficiently motivated people can beat on army barehanded? Too many kung-fu movies, dude. A bullet to the head trumps motivation every time.


"You can do many things with bayonets, but you can not SIT on them.""

I missed your point here.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Do the people lose because they are not motivated, or because the army has more and bigger guns, training, etc.? Does this mean a sufficiently motivated people can beat on army barehanded? Too many kung-fu movies, dude. A bullet to the head trumps motivation every time.
No when you’re motivated, you get the guns...It seems Ornery has it backward...it’s not Peope and guns...its People and motivation... in our case the motivation is to vote and that’s sufficient. It’s not guns. I think Ornery confuses the TOOLS with the result.
"You can do many things with bayonets, but you can not SIT on them.""
Mao and many Realists say "Power grows out of gun barrel", only partly true. Can you SIT on a bayonet, Tim? No, you can’t... a bayonet has many uses, but one of them is not resting, and sooner or later if one’s tool is the bayonet, one must rest. One can RULE with bayonets, but one can not GOVERN with them. It’s a nice aphorism setting the limits to violence. Yes violence has settled many issues, but it is only ONE way of settling issues. I used the phrase to acknowledge that violence has a place, but also a limit. And that in our system that limit has long ago been reached. It is not the SECOND Amendment that is important to our political liberty but the FIRST.

To argue that the 2nd is key to our liberty, today is to make a weak and fallacious argument. The 2nd may be key to our PERSONAL SAFETY, but not our Liberty, or our liberty from the government. The 2nd makes your life, liberty and property safe from the thugs down the street, but does NOT guarantee your safety from George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton.

Again I support your right to keep and bear, but the argument about the People Preserving Liberty via force is laughable, and was from the moment it was propounded in the Colonies. The People lose to the ARMY. Only when the People BECOME an Army, do they succeed, if then and the whole idea is ludicrous and has been except in the minds of cetain Progressive and Paleo-Conservative conspiracy fears for over 100 to 150 years. The Guv’mint may be a threat to my Liberty, but it will act with the force of Law and the support of 40-66% of the People behind it, the US gov’mint is a threat because politicians WITHIN in it can convince a large number of people WalMart is evil or Universal Healthcare is good, or that no one ought to make more than $100,000 a year. And my pistol and Ornery’s firearm(s) will not phase that determination one whit! Because the US government has legitimacy, a legitimacy borne of elections, and speech.

Again violence and firearms have their place, but they their place isn’t on the barricades in the streets, but in your bed room keeping out burglars. And if we try to make that argument otherwise I think we hurt ourselves.

Lastly note, I’m NOT a libertarian, I am a Utilitarian...Libertarian ideas seem to wrok BETTER than other ideas but I attach no significance to the THEORY of Property or Liberty, so when someone advances an argument that is based more on Preserving Liberty I just am left cold. As Deng Zhou Ping said IIRC, "I don’t care if it’s a Red cat or a White cat, as long as it catches rats." I think the Armed People Theory has too many factual holes in it to support an otherwise good idea of supporting personal right of keeping and bearing. A society with firearms WORKS better than one that doesn’t. But it isn’t any more "Morally" superior, in short the US is a better place to live than the UK, because of firearms, but the US is not "Better than" the UK simply because we have the 2nd amendment.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You do dodge questions, Joe. For the most recent example, I asked several times by what means paper ballots remove politicians from office or stand between us and totalitarianism, and you just kept insisting that they do, in fact, do those things.
That’s not re-making a point; that’s restating a claim that has been called into question.
I find that you and Billy tend to falling to inults rather quickly.
This is a pattern, then, that you can point to in all the times we’ve responded to each other’s comments? How about you point out a few examples? You either inform yourself and stop the libel, or drop the point because it won’t stick.

Let’s see, insults I’ve dished out in the last few months...
One post going too far with Scott Erb, for which I apologized immediately and without prompting. It wasn’t exactly an insult, but it speculated on his motives in an unflattering way.
One post alluding to the metaphor of "wrestling with pigs," as a warning to McQ not to feed the trolls. I suppose that could be taken as an insult...
One post calling out Billy Beck on being self-righteous (whereas you responded to one insult by calling him an "abusive jerk" above).
And so far in this thread, using the figure of speech, "Thank you Captain Obvious." Oh, and saying that you’d have to be deluded to believe that ballots themselves stop totalitarians, but that’s not exactly an insult either.

So, what’ve you got, Joe? Back up your attack on me.
Note much of your last posting has been about my STYLE, not my argument.
"Much"? I responded to every word in your post; to the extent that it was about style, it was because you consented to discuss your style. You’ll note that I also responded to the rest of what you said.
I’ve told you in several previous threads, Joe: I don’t point out the CAPSLOCK thing because I hate you or want you to be taken less seriously; quite the contrary. I told you that you’d get your point across better if you didn’t do the textual equivalent of yelling. It’s "netiquette," plain and simple.
You MAY THINK you have the Keys to the Kingdom, but you don’t...I don’t claim to either, but that’s the difference. I haven’t spent my life drinking deeply from the well-springs of libertarian thought. I’ve been reading history and reading a broader Gospel. I find many libertarian arguments to be stilted and uni-dimensional.
I don’t believe I have the capital-T Truth. Never have. I seek out debate and I seek out information from a wide variety of sources, and believe it or not, I do change my mind.
As for how you find libertarian thought, that happens. I find good and bad arguments from all corners of the ideological spectrum, including the libertarian corners.
-=-=-=-=-
Regarding the VC: it’s not a myth. Look up Vietnamese history in the wake of World War II, these guys were expecting the US to be on their side, against colonialism. They figured, of all countries, the US could understand nationalism and throwing off the yoke of a foreign empire, and it was no mistake that Ho Chi Minh had the Star Spangled Banner played—and recited the American Declaration of Independence—when declaring Vietnam’s independence in 1945.
Ho Chi Minh, despite being a communist and (I’ll be charitable) not terribly pluralistic, would have accepted a hedging strategy against his fellow Communists which the US could have taken advantage of. It would have given us a foot in the door that we never had in South Vietnam, and it would have saved us one helluva damaging war.
If we had told the French that they had enough trouble as it was, and backed up Vietnamese independence with full recognition in early 1946 (or pushed harder in ’45), we could have had an ally in place in SE Asia after China fell. The Vietnamese, even the truly red Communists, didn’t want to be dominated by China, and the best guarantee they could have secured was an American hedging strategy.
It wouldn’t have been pretty—we’d have been backing more than a few rat bastards—but we ended up backing rat bastards anyway, and dying in large numbers for them, and pressuring the Viet Minh early on would have been more in our interests during the Cold War. Who knows? Once they came to rely on us—and they would—we might even have been able to push some reforms.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Regarding the will to combat: I absolutely agree that without determined people, you’ve got nothing, and I think I’ve made that clear. However, determined people can only do so much without guns. Guns go a very long way toward equalizing any combat that does take place. The will to combat may prevent a big thug from raping a woman, but if that woman’s got a gun, she’s got a much better chance, wouldn’t you agree? Is that not as good an argument in politics as it is in crime and self-defense?
The weapons do not axiomatically "follow." A demand for weapons is less useful than having them readily available, and knowing that people will demand weapons if you oppress them isn’t nearly so great a check on oppression as if the people are already armed.
I think history bears this out. I keep pointing out that when "The People" meet an Army, the People LOSE.
The Nazis and Soviets would beg to differ. See the history of armed uprisings in Eastern Europe and the Balkans after the national armies had been defeated; the Army may win a lot of the time, but not always, and even the victories come with a serious cost—particularly if the people are armed.
Further—and I keep saying this—the widespread use of personal communications makes the organization of small armed groups even more potentially dangerous to would-be tyrants.

And it’s not all about democracy, it’s about freedoms. Armed people make more noise when they fight back, and impose greater costs on those who would push them around. There are a number of actions that would be fairly simple against unarmed people by comparison to what would need to be done if those people were armed. Armed people are more dangerous to startle, more dangerous to piss off. Going after armed people requires more force, and that force is often visible. That raises alarms. See where this is going?
Combine that with widespread communications, particularly video, and you’ve got a powerful tool just waiting to be used against thugs of all sizes and budget authorities.
Ballots represent the "Will of the People." Politicians, in the US, realize that when they get fewer Electoral Votes than their competitor, they have LOST the Presidency. It was not an armed populace that Gore or Dubya turned to in 2000. It was to lawyers and the courts. Politicians step down because they realize that they HAVE to, at the end of their terms, not because the People will toss them out, but that they will accomplish NOTHING and in the end go to jail and have their names dragged thru the mud.
You’re getting much closer now, Joe, much closer. The ballots themselves don’t force the President out; there are other costs entirely, costs imposed on them by other people, people who use the legitimacy represented by the ballot to make it clear that the costs of staying will far exceed the benefits.

The day I see paper jump up and push a man out of office, I’ll eat my hat.
-=-=-=-=-
Re: the argument surrounding the death penalty, that one should be simple. Those who oppose all killing and try to draw moral equivalence from two actions that are physically similar are falling prey to the physical fallacy; by the same standard, those who rob should not be robbed to get one’s property back, because the actions are physically similar.
-=-=-=-=-
Once you realize that your opponents aren’t blind or EVIL, and in fact, that you, YOURSELF, might be wrong, one sees the world a bit differently.
I constantly say roughly the same thing to other people, and have said so on QandO several times. I don’t call my opponents evil, I do recognize that I can be wrong (like I said, I do change my mind), but sometimes, my opponents really haven’t seen what I’ve seen. Instead of presuming them blind, though, I show them. I seek out debate for that reason.

So don’t assume that I behave otherwise. K?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Ornery you’re simply being unecessarily "literal" true ballots NEVER force anyone from office, HAPPY NOW...

But the votes they represent DO and not the firearms... and the LATER was my point, you seem to believe otherwise.

So let us recap.. we now agree that ballots force no one out, but that votes do. See we DO agree. We could’ve agreed to that LONG AGO, but instead we have to have some semantic fight, OK if you want, but the fundamental point of disagreement remains, which is the role of violence or its threat has in the current body politic. I simply say an armed populace has ZERO value in the equation, you seem to believe differently. I simply say that YOUR argument is a weak argument, in light of history and current events and that therefore we ought not rely on it to support a right to keep and bear.

Oh and Ornery, please do look up a history of Ho Ch Minh... he was a COMMUNIST from the 1920’s and 1930’s! He purged members of the Party and the "Libertaion Movement" South AND North that disagreed with him and/or his policies. It is a MYTH put out by opponents to the War in Vietnam that Ho was "MERELY" a Nationalist and if only we’d supported him he’d have been on our side. So too were Castro and Nasser...in short it’s a nice story that many like to hear, but it ain’t true. In the South there were 20-30 NATIONALIST parties after the 1954 partition...the National Liberation Front, was WHOLLY organized and managed by the Communists and their armed force the VC were a COMMUNIST force. Ho used the NLF as a tool to invade the South. It IS true he was a NATIONALIST, a NORTH VIETNAMESE Nationalist. And a Marxist-Leninist to boot. The end result was that the COMMUNIST North got to over-run the South and institute a Marxist regime.

We can argue the MERITS of US intervention and the TACTICS of that intervention, but please don’t try that old dodge, "Only Nationalists" which seeks to DENY the need for intervention..."They were only Nationalsist we didn’t need to fight the war." No and YES, they were Nationalists, like Stalin, Nationalists intent on being in charge of a unitary Party Marxist-Leninist State with the North and Ho Chi Minh in charge. I don’t know we could have stopped it, so I’m not sure that the Vietnam War was EVER winnable, but it wasn’t a war or a group with which we were EVER going to be to compatible with.

As I say, it’s just a little tale opponents to the war like to hear or repeat because it makes the "Narrative" of the Vietnam War more futile and their opposition all the more Noble...but it’s not a true story, it’s merely propaganda, of the worst sort-propaganda being statements designed to advance one’s cause, not merely or soley lies-in this case the Nationalist line IS a LIE.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Ornery you’re simply being unecessarily "literal" true ballots NEVER force anyone from office, HAPPY NOW...

But the votes they represent DO and not the firearms... and the LATER was my point, you seem to believe otherwise.
Joe, I’m just trying to get you to be precise here: neither ballots nor the "votes" they represent force a politician out of office. Votes do not push, they do not pull, they do not apply force. People take action based on those votes, based on the perceived costs and benefits of ignoring the election results. And those costs and benefits come from the implied threat of what certain people will do if protocol isn’t followed.

This is not merely semantics. The fact that some people will act if protocol isn’t followed is greatly magnified if those people are armed.
-=-=-=-=-
Oh and Ornery, please do look up a history of Ho Ch Minh... he was a COMMUNIST from the 1920’s and 1930’s! He purged members of the Party and the "Libertaion Movement" South AND North that disagreed with him and/or his policies. It is a MYTH put out by opponents to the War in Vietnam that Ho was "MERELY" a Nationalist and if only we’d supported him he’d have been on our side.
I know he was a communist, and I said so. I also know he was not pluralistic, and I said so. But he would not countenance Chinese or any other foreign domination, and his first choice for who could help hedge against Chinese power was the United States. He was a Vietnamese (not "North Vietnamese") nationalist before he was a Communist, period, so while he may have been a believing communist in addition to being a nationalist, he was enough of a nationalist to be useful to us.

We backed a whole lot of bastards whose values were not "compatible" with our own. Sadly, we drew a line against backing some bastards who happened to follow a nasty ideology simply because we (wrongly) assumed that they’d be of no use to us, that they’d back the Soviets and the Chinese automatically. Ho Chi Minh was one example of a communist we could have used. Instead, we lost a war, which, while it may not have been futile, was certainly costly.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
But he would not countenance Chinese or any other foreign domination,
So the whole acceptance of WTO aid and then the granting of base rights at Camh Ran Bay was NOT accepting foreign aid or domination?
and his first choice for who could help hedge against Chinese power was the United States
.

Well SURE if you can get your chief opponent worldwide to fund you why not? It’s not HIS job to make sure the US behaves in its OWN interests!
He was a Vietnamese (not "North Vietnamese") nationalist before he was a Communist, period,
No he was a NORTH VIETNAMESE Nationalsist AND a Communist. The North had traditionally dominated the South. The NLF was a tool for the North. The Tet Offensive saw the virtual ELIMINATION of the VC and the diminuation of the NLF to irrelevance and was a net plus for the North. In the end, unlike Yugoslavia, it was the NVA of the DRVN that over-ran the South, and it was the NVA that represented 75% of the "insurgents" in the South post-1968. The regime installed in the South was simply Northeners, governing the North from Hanoi, not Southerners running the South in conjunctrion with the North. In fact a number of VC and NLF members took up arms post-1975 because the new regime was NOT what the NLF, supposedly supported.
so while he may have been a believing communist in addition to being a nationalist, he was enough of a nationalist to be useful to us.
Uh No, as a Marxist-Leninist he wasn’t. No more so than than Castro or Nasser was likely to have been. It’s a nice story, but not a correct one. This "missed opportunity" narrative is just a nice STORY folks like to trot out, as I say to justify the story of the "futility." It has a nice place in both Progressives and An-cap libertarians.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Familiar with the concept of hedging, Joe? Familiar with why the US would want to be that hedge, and why hedging often involves strange bedfellows?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Familiar with the concept of hedging, Joe? Familiar with why the US would want to be that hedge, and why hedging often involves strange bedfellows?
Sure we’d WANT to ally with a Marxist-Leninist even though we OPPOSE it, worldwide... Ornery note you’ve moved from he was a Nationalist(communist) to "OK he WAS a COMMUNISt, but it’s IRRELEVANT."

We alinged with Stalin because Hitler was a threat and Stalin was a counter... now why would the US have allied with ONE OF ITS ENEMIES? If the US was going to think it wise to align with an ideologic enemy I really can’t help you.

It wasn’t a choice between Clement Atlee’s Socialist Labour Party or the more conservative Conservatives, this was going to be an alliance with the enemy not a differnece in the belief of the relative values of Progressive Tazation or the need for "Socialist Medicine."

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"talking about the People serving as a Check on Government is TRUE, but not because they have firearms, but becasue they have votes"
And the American Revolutionary War fits this description how?
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Unknown read the thread...the names Kocziusko, Von Stueben, Pulaski and LaFayette all figure prominently. By the time the US won it wasn’t the militia, again it was the Continental ARMY. Only at Cowpens did the militia contribute to victory, because Gates understood that if he could get two rounds from the militia that’s all he could expect. So he got two rounds from them, they ran, and his REGULARS moved to defeat Tarleton’s British Forces that were tired, hungry and disorganized-from two militia volleys. Beyond that the militia meet the Brit’s and skeedadled. It IS the geneisis of "Yankee Doodle Dandee", it is NOT complimentary to "Cousin Jonathan"-US forces.

Then there was the War of 1812, and the milita achieved about NOTHING there. There is the 1st Bull Run in 1861, when the militia forces of both sides were pretty useless, but "Stonewall" Jackson’s did better.

Bottom-line: I repeat, the People meet the Army, the ARMY wins. Politicians step down not because if they don’t Joe, Ornery and TimActual are going to FORCE them out at gunpoint. Again note Gore v. Bush refers to a COURT case, not a battlefield. Nixon stepped down, because the Senate told him they would CONVICT if it came to them...And beyond a few Buchananites and Smellie Hippies no one SERIOUSLY believes Nixon contemplated using the military...because he KNEW the military wouldn’t help AND that it wouldn’t do any good, anyway, AND that Nixon wasn’t some Dictator any way even if CSN&Y may have sung like he was. And the military wouldn’t help not because it FEARED the populace, but becasuse it wasn’t done...A conunter-point would be the Polsih Coup of 1982, when Jaruczelski ACTUALLY used the Polish military to intervene.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sure we’d WANT to ally with a Marxist-Leninist even though we OPPOSE it, worldwide...
I think that we did some seriously stupid things, treating all of Communism as one monolithic bloc, thinking they were all The Enemy, black and white, like there was no light in between them on their liberalism-crushing agenda. We were left unable to exploit huge opportunities like the Sino-Soviet split.
We opposed a lot of the kinds of policies that our Cold War allies practiced. Didn’t stop us, and rightly so. We had bigger fish to fry and not enough friends to do it alone.

Ornery note you’ve moved from he was a Nationalist(communist) to "OK he WAS a COMMUNISt, but it’s IRRELEVANT."
I haven’t moved an inch. I said right from the beginning that he was a communist, but he was a nationalist before he was a communist. Period. Look back and quote me, so you can eat your words. Do not accuse me of flip-flopping until you can back it up.

Now, can we please get back to the Second Amendment? The particulars of the Cold War are irrelevant; the reason I brought up the VC was only to show that poorer-armed groups could stand up to the greatest military machine the world had yet seen and keep it from accomplishing its objectives.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The People lose to the ARMY. Only when the People BECOME an Army, do they succeed, if then and the whole idea is ludicrous and has been except in the minds of cetain Progressive and Paleo-Conservative conspiracy fears for over 100 to 150 years. The Guv’mint may be a threat to my Liberty, but it will act with the force of Law and the support of 40-66% of the People behind it, the US gov’mint is a threat because politicians WITHIN in it can convince a large number of people WalMart is evil or Universal Healthcare is good, or that no one ought to make more than $100,000 a year. And my pistol and Ornery’s firearm(s) will not phase that determination one whit! Because the US government has legitimacy, a legitimacy borne of elections, and speech.
Hey, Joe, check out the French Revolution will ya, let me know how that turned out for the French Royalist Army.

While you’re at it, you might inquire into the doings of the Czarist army circa 1917 and let me know how that all worked out for the Russian Imperial government.

Um, let’s see, sometime around 1979 there was this group of wild and crazy Iraninans, and this guy called the Shah, I think he had an army, but I’m not sure what happened there....

Now, these are pretty crappy examples of armed populace offsetting government forces, but let’s not pretend the people never beat the Army okay? And when the Army stops obeying the commands of the government, they aren’t the ’army’ any more. All of these governments thought (and they were...) legitmate. Course not a one was born of elections, but if you think elections is the magic, hey whatever works for you. Two of those governments were around for a long time before people forcibly changed them.

The question isn’t can we vote - yes, we can, we do. I already said it would be a very much different United States that would be able to behave like, oh, say China in Tiananmen Square. I cited Kent State as an example of what happens in the United States. Course you seemed to think only smelly hippies got choaked up about that, I remember it a bit differently. Five days after the shooting 100,000 people gathered to protest the war in Washington, 4 million students protested on colleges nationwide, the Army changed it’s crowd control methods and sought less lethal approaches. Man, that’s a lot of smelly hippies ain’t it. Nixon thought they were acting with the force of law that day, but Presidents Commission on Campus Unrest saw it differently.

But the anit-federalist founders certainly were interested in keeping weapons in the hands of someone other than the (a) centralized federal government, and in the 2nd they managed to accomplish that.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Damn, looker, you did it so much better than I was.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
"again it was the Continental ARMY..."
Okay Joe, whatever. The Continental Army was as rag-tag as an army gets - enlistments were short, training was slight, and funding was dismal. There were two years of fighting before von Steuben provided some much-needed training. It was basically a bunch of patriotic PEOPLE fighting off the Brits. Yes, the French made a big difference (and the Spanish and the Dutch), but they only came into the picture fully three years later (ignoring some financial assistance) smelling serious opportunity created by the PEOPLE who started the campaign against the Brits. It’s also true that Washington used the militia throughout the war. And don’t forget the two mutinies in 81/82 while the war raged on. I’d say the Continental Army then was a lot like what we’d have today if a lot of regular guys had to form up. The Brits had an army. Ours was something less than that.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
""talking about the People serving as a Check on Government is TRUE, but not because they have firearms, but becasue they have votes""

Paper cuts. As long as we had the paper ballot, politicians were kept in line through fear of paper cuts. Now that we have done away with paper ballots in favour of electronic voting, there is nothing to deter them. There is not enough electricity in today’s electronics to produce a shock large enough to serve as a deterrent.
******************************

"And the American Revolutionary War fits this description how?"

"Unknown read the thread...the names Kocziusko, Von Stueben, Pulaski and LaFayette all figure prominently."

Yes, they are all well known motivational speakers. (Some of them made good pickles, too).

*******************************

" Bottom-line: I repeat, the People meet the Army, the ARMY wins."

So where does motivation fit in?
***********************************
"because he KNEW the military wouldn’t help AND that it wouldn’t do any good, anyway,"

But I thought the Army wins. I am getting confused.
************************

"I think that we did some seriously stupid things, treating all of Communism as one monolithic bloc, thinking they were all The Enemy, black and white, like there was no light in between them on their liberalism-crushing agenda."

Yeh, silly of us to believe them when they all said that they wished to defeat Capitalism everywhere and replace it with Communism. Sort of like believing that all Christians believe in Christ.

Perhaps you are confusing a short term, temporary alliance to advance a particular interest with a long term goal.

********************************
" the Army changed it’s crowd control methods and sought less lethal approaches."

I do not think firing live ammunition into a crowd was ever an official Army crowd control method. It was certainly not one that I was taught.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"I think that we did some seriously stupid things, treating all of Communism as one monolithic bloc, thinking they were all The Enemy, black and white, like there was no light in between them on their liberalism-crushing agenda."
Yeh, silly of us to believe them when they all said that they wished to defeat Capitalism everywhere and replace it with Communism. Sort of like believing that all Christians believe in Christ.
What they said is one thing. What they did was another, and was much more important. They had incredible feuds, and it came to shooting on occasion. The two major Communist powers had profound disagreements on Vietnam, on Cambodia, on North Korea. The US was able to take advantage of the feuding once it finally figured out that a Sino-Soviet split existed.

And Ho Chi Minh’s experiences, his professed beliefs in the immediate postwar period, and his internal struggles in the Viet Minh are far more complex than can be simplified as "He was one of the enemy." It was downright stupid of the US not to take Ho up on his offers just because of the same kinds of suspicions Joe is talking about: that he had a communist background and therefore automatically could not be trusted—he’d just be taking orders from the Kremlin.
I’m not saying Ho was a perfect little American puppet. I’m just saying he would have been a useful ally. Though hindsight sure is nice, it’s pretty clear to me that acting as a hedge against China for Vietnam could have opened up quite a bit for us and averted some of the tragedy that followed our obstinate refusal to deal with Ho.
Perhaps you are confusing a short term, temporary alliance to advance a particular interest with a long term goal.
I don’t think so at all. Hedging is something that remains useful as long as the threat of domination still exists, and for Vietnam, the threat of Chinese domination was something with which they were intimately familiar. They were willing to make deals; yes, some were merely short-term deals, but that didn’t mean the US couldn’t take advantage.

Take what you will from this, but I think it shows there was potential for a smarter policy on the US’s part:
You fools! Don’t you realize what it means if the Chinese stay? Don’t you remember your history? The last time the Chinese came, they stayed one thousand years!
The French are foreigners. They are weak. Colonialism is dying out. Nothing will be able to withstand world pressure for independence. They may stay for a while, but they will have to go because the white man is finished in Asia. But if the Chinese stay now, they will never leave.
As for me, I prefer to smell French sh*t for five years, rather than Chinese sh*t for the rest of my life.
— Ho Chi Minh, 1946, upon being criticized for making a deal with the French for independence
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider