Tag Archives: The Enlightenment

Gun Control for weapons makers not users, for war mongers not hillbillies

I’m really not big on this call for gun control, mostly because it means to further restrict individual liberties, and especially because the outcry is a media induced hysteria of disreputable provenance, aimed at America’s violence junkies instead of its dealers. Really? Is Going Postal the result of a citizenry not having laws enough to control itself? US prisons reflect a conflicting diagnosis.

In tragic synchronicity with the Sandy Hook school shooting which prompted US public calls for gun control, a knife-wielding madman in China assailed twenty schoolchildren with no resulting fatalities, giving rise to perhaps the first time the non-Mongol West has ever thought it glimpsed greener pastures over the Great Wall.

My takeaway from Bowling for Columbine was not “Gun Control Now!” but the toxic volatility of America’s culture of fear-of-violence-mongering and its gun-ho idolatry. Michael Moore called for a stepping up to our responsibilities, not a surrender to dumbassedness. I hold our national arrested adolescence to be a character flaw of pioneer, frontier provincialism, an adaptation of the civilian contractor settlers conscripted for the Westward Expansion, shock troops of the Enlightenment which became the onslaught of industrial capitalism.

Americans are hicks –we celebrate it– who define our personal space with armed borders. For us it’s bombs not education, simplistic fraternal evangelism over scientific sibling-hood, our pretended easy camaraderie really armed detente: trust but verify. Because of course, American frontierism, yet unable to see itself as invasive, from Columbus to Manila Bay, has been imperial for as long as “Yankee” has been a pejorative; Americans blissfully, Disneyfically unaware.

America’s gun problem isn’t just domestic, it’s export. For gun control I’d like to see a ban on production, not consumption. Unlike drugs whose source is organic, the manufacture of weapons is a centralized racket, easily constricted and regulated. The “Gun Show Loophole” is a stop gap for small fry; let’s muzzle the beast itself. And if you think reining in the weapons industry is improbably Herculean, why-ever do you think now is the time for Hercules to dispense with his Second Amendment protection?

Just because the Right to Bear Arms has come to exclude bazookas or drones, doesn’t mean its intent was not to protect our democracy from authoritarianism. If anyone had construed the Second Amendment as a mere hunting license, Theodore Roosevelt’s national parks would have been seen as encroachments on our revolution-conferred sovereign’s right to poach.

Are Americans thinking that democracy is lost because we can’t have bazookas — that the Second Amendment is inapplicable because the high courts adjudge the masses incapable of self-governance? The “well regulated militia” has surely gone the way of the Home Guard or Neighborhood Watch Committee, as our civic nature moved from social to anti, but it doesn’t diminish the need to have minute-men insurgents to counter would-be tyrants. Obviously we’re not talking about Minute Men privateers to whom police departments can outsource xenophobic vigilantism. If Occupy Wall Street proved anything, it lifted the fog on America’s militarized police state. Public gun ownership may be the only incentive law enforcement has to knock before entering American households.

Can you doubt it’s going to take armed resistance to overthrow Mammon? The world is teetering on uprising and already we’re seeing a stalemate on the streets, between unarmed protester and paramilitary police, a draw which upholds the power imbalance between cries for justice versus patronizing injustice. Is leading by nonviolent example going to overcome the sociopaths squeezing their underlings for blood? I’m not saying that hopes for a nonviolent transformation are misplaced, but these disciples of revolutionary pacifism espouse the same religious dogma that always shackled, never delivered, common man. Factoring sociopaths into the norm of “human nature” has been forever holding back aspirations for a harmonious social construct.

Going Postal in China is demonstrably less fatal, owing to China’s mentally imbalanced having resource only to knives. How utopian to imagine a disarmed populace, those greener pastures being a hellhole of forced interned labor. As an open air prison environmental death camp, Gaza’s got nothing on China.

Nonviolence is the refuge of cowards

I say this with the full authority of my own personal experience: nonviolence is for cowards. When push has come to shove, I stepped to the sidewalk but I am so full of admiration for those who stayed in the line of fire. Today much of the world commemorates Bastille Day, France’s unique independence day, because it launched the French Revolution. Not just a revolution for the masses of humanity, but their Enlightenment. Storming the Bastilles was no small transformative event, and the sans-culottes were not led by urgings to keep it nonviolent. The monarchy took heed, as it had for every historic concession, because the citizenry had it scared to death.

Have you changed social inequity by voting in the polls? Have you found justice via protest? Sought, beseeched, was as far as you got. Violent uprising has not lately looking too effective either. But it’s got the track record.

I’m not saying I’m up to the task, but I assure you I have the courage to be nonviolent in spades.

It is a most self-aggrandizing dishonesty that holds nonviolence to be brave. There is nothing easier than to take the path of least resistance. I don’t mean to downplay the audacity to protest, as opposed to conforming, although isn’t sticking to your principles squarly self-indulgent? I claim no credit for failing to bend on matters of principle. In fact, sometimes I feel positively anti-social.

But taken the next step, what’s easier than subjecting yourself to the authority of the sword? Again it’s the principle of not becoming like your abuser, another no-brainer, but no-bravery required.

Standing up for what you believe? Easy-peasy. To the death? Positively cowardly lion.

This is you inner dialog, be honest: I defy your authority, but only so far. I reject your physical oppression, but just kidding. I call for the total destruction of your hierarchy, but only in words, I’m entitled, and you can’t lay a finger on me because I’m playing by the rules.

Hope of getting anywhere: dismal. Modern social movements have only Gandhi and Mandela as purported success stories. But I’ll not insult the elders. The Gandhi and Mandela of our textbooks bear no resemblance to the reality, they are false role-models put forth by fascists who want to blunt every effort to rise against power.

Oh, nonviolence is the higher ideal, sure. Lovely. Browny points for the afterlife. Trickle-up transcendence has as much potential for success as awaiting extraterrestrials or building playing fields for disgraced baseball reincarnates.

Unless power wants to transcend the human experience, and lift all of us with it, mankind is not going anywhere. The only way you’re going to levitate powerful heads is with a guillotine. Dreadfully eighteenth century, but check out the horrific bygone days from which they’re reconstituting torture and feudalism.

You can probably contrive a litany of rationalizations for why it would be beneath you, but imagine picking up a gun and having a go against the overwhelming power of the state. Now that’s terrifying.