If you look closely at the rights extended to us by the US Constitution, you will realize that several of them are not just rights, they are the duties of free peoples. This is because the very EXERCIZE of those specific rights helps us maintain them and all other rights. The first two amendments of the constitution stick out foremost in my mind -- by worshiping as we see fit, we are reminded that our rights are endowed to us by our Creator, not the whim of the state. It is by speaking freely that we keep the flame of freedom lit in the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens, and it is by assembling that we can communicate and coordinate any and all efforts to protect our freedom.
But the second amendment is even more essential, for an unarmed populace is powerless to do anything to protect itself or its freedoms except to call upon and trust in the good graces of the powerful. That is not a bet I care to place. You see, while I do not intend to downplay the usefulness of firearms as a way of securing food (hunting) or self-defense, I believe, as many of us on the right do, that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect us all from Tyranny -- and not just to arm the military to proterct us from foreign tyrrany, but to arm the populace against domestic tyrrany. The Founding Fathers had taken up arms in such a cause once, they intended to provide for the possibility of a repeat performance in the future.
I came to the above realization while pondering the recent brouhaha regarding the Christmas Cross that Lars Larson was planning. At least on poster at Portland IndyMedia made comments fantazizing about doing bodily harm to Lars. I supported Lars' decision not to go through with the cross raising, believing he had taken the moral high ground. But two things about the incident struck me: One was that I found it highly ironic that those on the Left (Let's be clear here, I'm not talking about liberals, I'm talking about THE LEFT -- people whose politics make Howard Dean seem centrist) would call Lars a Fascist and in the same breath threaten violence to silence him. But while I was bemused, I was not surprised.
The Left's fringe has become stronger, louder, and more openly embraced by the "Party" in general. And it's become apparent to anyone paying attention that the Left is becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of doing anything they must to further their views, including using violence and lawlessness. They also seem more than willing to do what they must to silence the expression of opinions contrary to their own. And while they might believe they are "Freedom Fighters", they are striving for a political and social order that is frighteningly oppressive in its tolerance of personal freedom. It seems more and more apparent that what the Left wants is Revolution, or at least Civil War. Case in point, note the tone taken by the reader "Unapologetic Liberal" in the comment thread of this post at Ace of Spades HQ.
But the left may be biting off more than they can chew.
This was the second impression I got from the Christmas Cross incident. As one conservative (I can't remember who or where) pointed out that this would be unwise, ever since a leftist idiot revealed Lars' home phone number at Michael Moore appearance and Lars began receiving death threats, Lars has had a CCW permit and actively exercizes his Second Amendment rights. While Lars decided to back down to prevent violence, if any of the PDX IM crowd really tried to do Lars bodily harm, I'm sure they would regret it -- if they lived.
There's a lesson about the Right to be learned by the left from that angle to the story, just as we are learning about them from their reaction. You see, while there is a fringe element to both sides of the political spectrum, it seems that in recent years, the Right has more and more marginalized its fringe, distancing ourselves from it, rejecting its extremes in a way that the Left has failed to react to their fringe. And while it's popular to cast the Right in the light of being the oppressors, we have for the most part shunned violence and domestic unrest as a means to our ends. We have tried to take the moral high ground, abide by the law, distance ourselves from unscrupulous allies and distinguish ourselves from unscrupulous adversaries.
But we can only be pushed so far. And if we find ourselves in a position where our own ability to push back is all that stands between us and being overrun by those who wish to oppress us, we will push back -- and our push is harder. We strive to uphold and respect the Rule of Law. But if you finally get what you want, if you achieve revolution in the streets and open conflict between us, remember this: We're the ones who believe in and exercize our right to bear arms as a means of protecting our other rights. Usually that means from the random criminal who would mug or rob or rape us or our families. Strategically that means from a tyrant who would invade our country from without. Theoretically, the Framers believed it could mean from a corrupt government that would usurp its authority from within. But make no mistakes. If you try to impose a Marxist order on us through violent overthrow of the Government, we are highly likely to decide that you are a greater threat to our freedom than the Government ever could dream of being.
And you won't like what happens when we take sides.