Revolution Is Not a Crime But A Duty

Let's stipulate that Trump's remarks yesterday about "2nd Amdendment guys" were a dogwhistle to the 2A community. Is it representative of ignorance that the media and the Clinton campaign alike don't understand how the 2nd Amendment community would interpret the remark? Or is it malice, in which they are intentionally forwarding a false and damaging impression about both the 2nd Amendment community and also Donald Trump?

The media is following the Clinton line that this remark by Trump was an "apparent Clinton assassination threat." Possibly that is how it sounds to them because they don't understand the 2nd Amendment community at all. The same community that produces these journalists produces the EEOC workers who can misinterpret the Gadsden flag as having something to do with racism, for example. They really don't seem to get what we're doing here, and so they think that the flag somehow must be a coded signal for white animosity -- rather than a clear and obvious signal that the government had better respect its constitutional limits and stop treading on our traditional freedoms.

Likewise, in decades of hanging around 2nd Amendment folks, going to gun shows, shooting, and so forth, I've never heard anyone argue that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the capacity to assassinate one's political opponents. Such a claim would be obviously false and easy to reject, for one thing. Yet perhaps the press -- and Clinton herself, who hates hunters as well as other kinds of gun owners, and who refuses to admit that the 2nd Amendment protects any constitutional right at all -- really doesn't understand what we're talking about to such a degree that they think this is a plausible reading. There are three hundred million guns in America legally owned by tens of millions of Americans, who are taken together one of the most law abiding communities in the country. It is absurd to think that they are a nest of murderers. If that were true, you'd know it: after all, there are tens of millions of us with 300,000,000 guns. Yet gun violence is at historic lows, and two thirds of it are suicides and almost the whole of the rest conducted by guns that are not lawfully owned.

What the 2nd Amendment people endorse is the idea that the 2nd Amendment protects the capacity for a second American revolution. Now, you might say: "Revolutions are even more violent than assassinations! What kind of people would endorse revolution as a solution to political problems?"

Well, Bernie Sanders talked about it all last year. In fact, "time for a revolution!" is a standard line on the left.  So let's not pretend that suggesting a revolution is somehow beyond the pale in American politics.

When we do it, we are thinking of the same people who gave us the Culpepper and Gadsden flags, as well as the Plattsburg flag, as well as the American flag.

These people:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
You can't argue against that without arguing against the whole American project. It is obviously legitimate to overthrow the government if it betrays its mission -- indeed, its sole legitimate purpose -- of securing the unalienable rights of the People.

Clinton has openly said that she intends to appoint justices who will restrict first amendment rights, both in terms of Citizens United and in terms of religious liberty and free association. She has made fairly clear her intention to infringe upon 2nd Amendment rights, which she does not even recognize as legitimate rights at all. It is striking that a woman so frequently proven to be willing to say anything at all to get elected cannot even bring herself to say that the 2nd Amendment protects a real right. We regard her as the enemy of our rights for good reason. She, by her own admission at the first Democratic debate, regards both the NRA and the Republican party as her "enemies."

Whether ignorance or malice motivates them, her faction had better learn to hear this message clearly. We have heard them clearly enough, and the long train of abuses grows longer by the day. They have elected to turn the law into a weapon against us, and a shield to protect their own from prosecution for obvious and provable crimes. They cannot now hide behind an appeal to the majesty of the law, not those who have done so much to undermine our faith in its legitimacy. The only question remains just how much longer the train must grow before the American people decide that "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

And that is the most American of questions.


Christopher B said...

Trump's keen ability to mangle the English language certainly doesn't help but considering the assassination pr0n produced during the W administration I'd say this interpretation is pretty clearly projection on the the part of the Left.

raven said...

If you intend to crush someone, it helps if they do not have arms.
Statists always go for the gulag. Always.

Ken said...

Your last two paragraphs make it so clear what the fight is about. I have compied this article and will be sending it to friends. Thanks for making the aurgument for not electing Mrs Clinton so clear.

Anonymous said...

"Trump's keen ability to mangle the English language certainly doesn't help " --

He has not mangled anything. He has spoken moderately, and much more mildly that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bob Beckel, and Mike Greenwald, just to name a recent few. Every one of those individuals actually did suggest violence against their political opposition.

Donald Trump did not go there.


Anonymous said...

Here's what they don't want us to talk about:


Anonymous said...

More of what they don't want us talking about:

Obama, Clinton and the Power of Mendacity

"But if the Iranians had harbored doubts regarding whether Amiri or Clinton were telling the truth about his arrival in the US, those doubts were dispelled last summer with the publication of Clinton’s emails."

"Two of those emails outed Amiri as a US agent."

Yup, Hillary's failure to safeguard her work emails had the fully expected effect.


Ymar Sakar said...

The people who are serious about 4th generational conflict or bunkering up for some apocalypse, have already gone off grid and scrubbed, or attempted to, their online open source profiles.

Thus they would have to be idiots to even pretend to respond to Trum's call out, because in the minds of the paranoid, that's another way to "stalking horse" draw out people in order to target them. By monitoring people's reactions to a criticism or support of a faction, one can tell their allegiances and sympathies, which helps to construct their intel profiles. Their profiles then determine their threat level and what should be done about them.

If your threat profile gets too high, as a result of SPLC for example, the Waco police just might shoot you with a SWAT team. It's sort of like winning the lottery. Except this one, you want to avoid winning.

jaed said...

Grim... you realize, do you not, that the people you're discussing would look at your penultimate paragraph with precisely the same attitude with which they regard Trump's statement?

I genuinely do not think this is a problem with the way Trump is expressing himself, or with ignorance or clumsiness on his part. (And I think the haste to discount it as being Trump's fault is not helpful - either in immediate electoral terms or in terms of figuring out the truth of this matter.)

Grim said...

They might well, Jaed. But there's a difference between a people taking a democratic decision to respond to a long train of abuses through collective action to replace its government, and a few criminals undertaking assassination to get their way because they lose elections. The latter would be corrupt and wicked. The former is the whole way we got America.

As I wrote, you can't really reject this sort of revolution as a legitimate option without rejecting the American project. If you're going to do that, then we really aren't involved in a common program of governance anymore: you're trying to use the state's mechanisms of force to assert a dominance you claim that citizens have no right to resist. If you're going to do that, we really ought to fight you.

Joel Leggett said...

It's obvious that Trump was making a joke about assassinating Hillary. His comment about her being able to pick the judges (which presupposes that she had been elected-that's the only way she could appoint judges) and that nothing could be done about that, except maybe by the 2nd Amendment people (2nd Amendment = guns) obviously implied shooting Hillary.

However, lets not get carried away and give Trump too much credit or criticism for his statement or read too much into it. It was, as pointed previously, simply a joke. He wasn't seriously calling for her assassination. It was a bad joke because it really wasn't funny. It was a STUPID joke because it needlessly opened him up to criticism that took the focus off news stories demonstrating Hillary's awfulness and lawlessness.

Trump just went off script thinking he could get a few cheap laughs or cheers. It didn't work, as is so often the case when Trump thinks he's being cute. Trump's comment wasn't a call for violent revolution. It was, yet again, another ham fisted attempt to be funny.

jaed said...

there's a difference

Surely there is a fundamental difference. I wasn't saying I didn't recognize the difference; my point was that putting it the way you did, linking the right of revolution with the fundamental principles undergirding the American Revolution, would not be received differently by the people who are horrified by Trump's statement.

Let's say Donald Trump were magically transformed into a historically knowledgeable, skilled orator, and let's say he uttered exactly the paragraph you wrote. Those who say Trump is calling for violence would be, if possible, even more alarmed and outraged by that, than by what he actually said.

In other words, I think the outrage we are seeing is at the basic idea that citizens have, in some circumstances, the right and duty to resist government overreach by violence, not with the way he put it. It's more fundamental than "Trump isn't well-informed about conservative arguments" or "Trump is an unsubtle speaker" - both these things are true, but if they changed tomorrow, the outrage wouldn't abate, so focusing on them seems counterproductive to me.

Grim said...

... magically transformed into a historically knowledgeable, skilled orator, and let's say he uttered exactly the paragraph you wrote.

Well, that's a generous and flattering way of phrasing that hypothetical.

In other words, I think the outrage we are seeing is at the basic idea that citizens have, in some circumstances, the right and duty to resist government overreach by violence...

Clearly, they don't feel the same way about riots in the face of police shootings of unarmed black men, say. So it's not the idea that citizens might violently reject state abuses per se that's the problem.

Some of the objection is a revulsion towards guns. Some of it is a revulsion towards us, at least as they imagine us to be (which is the only way in which we exist for them). Some of it is tribal, as AVI says often: we are very much not their kind. They want to think bad things about us, especially that we are violent and irrational, because that means we are deserving of the suppression and control by the state that they intend for us.

They want to believe that we are a kind of huge hate group, but really they are the ones who hate us. They need to hate and despise us in order to justify the brutal and lawless aspects of their political program.

So they will.

jaed said...

Clearly, they don't feel the same way about riots in the face of police shootings of unarmed black men, say. So it's not the idea that citizens might violently reject state abuses per se that's the problem.

I actually think there's a subtle difference there. The rioters are defined as an oppressed class, so their violence is an "understandable expression of frustration". It's not a challenge to the supremacy of the state. It's seen more as a cry for help than as people standing on their rights.

Armed revolution, on the other hand, is very much a challenge to that supremacy. I think you're right that this is a matter of tribal identification and tribal hatreds, but I think that's only part of the picture. There's a genuine disconnect concerning the philosophy of government here.

Grim said...

That may be, but I'm inclined to argue that they fully intend to turn us into an oppressed class -- yet they won't regard our 'expressions of frustration' as understandable. Indeed, they won't even recognize their oppression of us as legitimately being oppression. 'Of course we prevent your legislatures from passing laws with which we disagree. Of course we have invalidated your ancient liberties. Of course we have ruined you with the mechanisms of the state when you've resisted. That's not oppression -- it's for your own good.'

jaed said...

I should have clarified that I meant "oppressed class" in Marxist-like terms. (Proletariat versus bourgeoisie, black versus white, women versus men, gay versus straight, etc.) There is an oppressor class and an oppressed class, and moral weight rests with the oppressed class. You're right that they want to oppress us. But we will never be defined as "the oppressed" in those terms, so our "expressions of frustration" will be criminal and inexcusable.

I suspect we're in violent agreement here.