Authority If They Do, Power If They Don’t

If the government succeeds, let there be more power in their hands.

If they fail, take more from the people.

When the government succeeds in meeting any end to any degree, statists tell us that they need to have more funding and more capability to pry into our lives.

When the government fails, surely it is because the people needs more laws to limit them in their capacities to do bad things. We need to allow the government to do more to prevent it.

I suggest an alternative.

The government fails, so we recognize the need for the individual to do certain things, to be allowed to do certain others, and for them to do it these things with less oversight, as government isn’t the answer.

If the government succeeds, then we leave it alone.

If anyone complains that doing so will only shrink the government over time, well, they need to identify what happens when we maintain the status quo as stated above.

Be consistent, people. 

What Is Right Can Be Shown By Consistency in Reasoning (ft. Backpacks, Guns, and Privacy)

Hypocrisy is generally regarded as moral and/or intellectual failure. It shows that there isn’t an underlying set of principles guiding the decisions at hand, and it demonstrates that someone is simply making things as they desire.

The golden rule of morality and ethics ties into this. If something is declared right or permissible according to someone who wouldn’t like to be the receiving end, then it means that no fair truth is at play. Human being inherently value fairness, and we don’t like being lied to. Therefore, even if morality were subjective, these would truth and fairness would be pillars upon which we should build our views.

The one who intimidates and hurts other, demanding not to receive retribution, is a bully, a tyrant, and someone that most people despise.

Most of us have seen the meme floating around the net about the hypocritical childhood friend who insists that if he is at your house, he is the guest, so he makes the rules, yet, when you are at his house, it’s “[his] house [his] rules.”

This punk is a little tyrant.

He just might grow up to be a politician.

If we ask ourselves what it true and fair, we come up with a system of moral absolutes. We will get there by gathering together and having conversations such as:
Anne: “Can I kill bob?”

Joe: “Why would you want to do that?”

Anne: “He’s just annoying. He’s always singing off key on his back porch, and I don’t like it.”

Joe: “If you were singing outside and he didn’t like it, should he kill you?”

Anne: “Well, I wouldn’t, so it doesn’t matter.”

Joe:” What if your husband annoyed him with his guitar? Would you allow him to be killed?”

Anne: “No!”

Joe: “Then you can’t kill Bob. It wouldn’t be fair.”

We can keep doing this for every issue, and we’d come up with “rights” and “wrongs,” which would be “human rights” and “violations” or “crimes.”

Now  consider this as following in the conversation:

Anne: “But you don’t understand. You aren’t me!”

This is moral relativism, that individuals become arbiters.

If this happens, Bob will be killed, and Bob’s brother will come over at night and murder Anne and her husband in their sleep. Word will spread about it, and congratulations! Two families are at war. In contrast, Anne could respect Bob’s rights by first considering what would be fair.

Pretty basic stuff, right? The kind of thing that children can understand?

I am writing this because of the new rules at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that require the students to carry clear backpacks and wear IDs.

From CNN:

Tyra Hemans, 19, a senior, told CNN she supports parts of the new policy, such as the ID requirement. But she believes other security measures, such as forcing students to carry clear backpacks, don’t adequately address the real problem with school safety, which she says is lax gun laws.

“I’m not happy with it. Why are you punishing me for one person’s actions?” she said.

“We know what the root of the problem is,” she said. “(Lawmakers) don’t want to make the gun laws strong enough.” Hemans believes a clear backpack violates students’ privacy, and using metal detectors will turn the school into a prison, she said. “I want to go to school, not prison.”

The reality is that they aren’t allowed to have guns there anyways. Therefore, all they can do is make it easier to see when a non-student (as the killer was) sneaks in a gun, which can be done with a backpack – unless the pack is transparent. (Of course, that’s only if someone notices it.)

But let’s go item-by-item:

If clear backpacks aren’t validated by school security, then how is government violation of privacy rights validated by security outside of schools? If you don’t want people looking into your packs, stop the government from accessing your phones, computers, and the data from their use.

If using metal detectors makes school like a prison, why do that anyplace other than prisons? Why have them at airports and stadiums? I’m not a criminal, so why are you searching me for weapons at the big game? 

It isn’t fair to make students wear IDs at school? But the IDs help to make sure that everyone there belongs there. If they students shouldn’t be required to carry IDs, why should there be State IDs, Passports, Firearms Owners Identification Cards?

If it isn’t okay to punish people for the actions of other, why are we declaring that, because school shooting are an issue, those who haven’t shot up a school need to have infringements on their rights?

The security issue and gun issue go hand in hand, because both were involved. Therefore, this event either demonstrates the need for greater government intervention in privacy and firearms, or, as Tyra stated, this event was the actions of one person that should not affect the many.

After all, it isn’t fair for you to not be encumbered by this while those who want to own a certain type of firearm are.

Now, let’s move along to the truth.

The killer carried the rifle into the school with a large, black soft case – not a pack. Those things, even when broken down into upper and lower sub-assemblies, will protrude from a pack. The magazines were in the pack, but they could have easily been kept in the case. Further, a handgun and its ammunition can be concealed on the body, especially in the winter months, so a clear backpack won’t solve this problem. To fix this, students will have to be searched, and, even then, someone could simply break in.

So, while I am glad that the students have to wear clear packs and carry IDs, it is only because I want them to realize what happens when people react to tragedies with violations of rights and liberties. I hope that it teaches them that they are hypocrites, and I hope that they turn from this foolishness.

Bonus Content: David Hogg

Since the initial posting, I became aware of a March 23rd C-SPAN2 segment where Hogg says,

“It’s unnecessary… it makes them feel isolated and separated from the rest of American school culture where they’re having essentially their first amendment rights infringed upon because they cant freely wear whatever backpack they want, regardless of what it is. It has to be a clear backpack. What we should have is just more policies that make sure that these students are feeling safe and secure in their schools.”

Let’s apply that same structure and reasoning to a different view:

“It’s unnecessary… it makes them feel isolated and separated from the rest of American culture where they’re having essentially their second amendment rights infringed upon because they cant freely keep and bear whatever arms they want, regardless of what it is. It has to be compliant with the 2018 Assault Weapon Ban. What we should have is just more policies that make sure that these Americans are feeling safe and secure in their daily lives.”

Let’s talk about how true it is that gun owners have similar issues as this kids are when we switch from privacy to firearms rights.

Like the privacy violations and the demands for heightened school security, which treats every student like a potential mass murderer, gun laws and social condemnation of gun ownership do, indeed, make Americans feel as if they are isolated from other parts of American culture. They are treated as if they are criminals in the making when they have to undergo background checks and are told that they should have to pas psychological exams. We are constantly being accused of insecurity and needing our guns out of weakness. Well, why can’t these kids just suck it up and deal with having transparent packs? If gun owners don’t want to kill a bunch of people, then hey shouldn’t mind giving up “assault weapons.” Likewise, if a kid isn’t trying to sneak a gun, knife, or bomb into the school, they shouldn’t need a transparent backpack.

“If you aren’t up to anything, then you should have nothing to hide,” some say regarding government surveillance. It’s the same argument. It’s the idea that decent people should never have any ability to do anything nefarious, and so we should restrict their rights and strip them their dignity. Anyone can be a killer, so everyone should be under constant surveillance, have no rights to privacy, and not have any guns or steak knives. Even if someone says that they just want to ban all the scary stuff, that is the ultimate destination – slavery. Just look at the UK’s knife laws. It’s insane. It isn’t a slippery slope. It’s a narrative by which the people will incrementally give up their rights. It’s a one-way ratchet. It is turned one way and it never drives the situation back the other way. The Constitution was firmly threaded into place to keep the government and people in its proper relationship to each other. If we keep backing it out, this system will fall apart.

 

 

Political Analogies to Warfare and the Stand-Down of March 2018

You don’t attack with your shield up. Harnessing all of the power available is the most combat-effective way to beat your opponent. Steamroll them with everything. The Blitzkrieg of politics is how a single event is made into a political victory if it is done properly.

After Parkland, the statists and their bleeding-heart conscripts pushed loud and hard to force change “for the sake of the children.”

Now, attacking is an act of force projection that, if done all-out, which is the best way to ensure victory, there is a power vacuum left behind the mangled line of attackers. The counter-attack is the ancient tactic of filling that vacuum at the right moment and cutting down the remnants of an enemy, overrunning their camps, grabbing their supplies, and moving the line closer to their home.

The republican-dominated congress held the line until the incoming forces were exhausted. They had already made known the date of their next show. The conversation dwindled, and that was the time to fill the void. Instead, the republicans ceded to them in some ways and positions and in others were satisfied in their defense. Coincidentally, right after they should have taken over and pushed their side, right when the emotions ran dry, the fence-sitters were weary, and everything was being consolidated for the march, there was enough time to begin the conversation and have it reinforced by both the failed bombing in Utah and the intervention of the SRO in Maryland. These were opportunities to call out the statists for pushing body counts and ignoring the intended actions of these murderous people, and further hail an example of armed intervention. Then, they could have mentioned how limited the required training is for law enforcement, brought up concealed carry license statistics that show these citizens as being less likely to commit crime than law enforcement, and drive home the point that carrying firearms is not only acceptable, but warranted, wise, and even necessary, and that everyday citizens can get enough training in to be both safe and effective with their firearms.

This was plain to see, and yet our 4-D chess-playing representatives gave up this opportunity. They are either incompetent and cannot realize this, incapable of pushing this narrative, or insincere in their claim to be defenders of the right to keep and bear arms.

I believe that they are capable but unwilling to do what it takes because most of them don’t want to make the push. They’re statists too.

Operation Mars 1942

Armed Response of Teachers – Answering Stonekettle’s Many Viral Questions

Armed Response of Teachers – Stonekettle

(https://www.boredpanda.com/teachers-arming-issues-veteran-explanation-stonekettle/)

I am writing this as a point-by-point response to his nonsense, anti-self-defense skepticism. It is mostly in third person, as his post is being held up by many people, and he is therefore secondary in my aim. If one person is wrong about something, that’s an error. If thousands are wrong, it is tragedy.

I will preface this with the following:

If he believes that his questions are valid and unanswered, then he is using his “questions” as arguments while simultaneously dodging responsibility. That is cowardly and dishonest, unbecoming of our military men and women. He ought to be ashamed. 

Stonekettle is a veteran, so he must have a clue! … Right!?

We have no problem trusting cops with guns in crowded urban areas. If an officer is sufficient, then police-level training is sufficient.

A non-professional trained to the professional level that we accept is therefore trained with adequate specificity.

Actually, we do train soldiers to kill high-school-aged children, because they’re no different to engage mechanically. Psychologically, it’s only slightly different from engaging an adult. We don’t have 12-year-olds bringing guns to school. We have 15-to-18-year-olds doing it.

Not understanding how marginal the scenario’s specific problems are shows how unqualified Stonekettle is on this topic. Surely, he knows better than those who do train often and study violence because his tweets are going around and support the narrative.

Surely, Stonekettle knows firsthand both warfare and school shootings. He’s been there, and it’s starkly different from what ever happens on a crowded street or freshly-shelled village.

Yes, a school full of American kids. They are being shot at intentionally. Those bullets are much more likely to find them than those of a teacher. The one where some other kid is killing children without any trouble. The one where, apparently, the perpetrator will kill the adult simply because killing adults with guns while trying to simply kill as many people as possible is so easy, especially when they have no many flanking options and lines of sight on the perpetrator in most schools.

No sane person will let one live to kill many other students. Even then, it is the individual teacher’s choice. Some other teacher will have the chance to make the right choice.

No sane person regards everyone on the street as potential targets, and good police don’t do it either unless they have reason to. Until gun shots are heard, every student is just that – a student. Over the long-term, this will stop happening. A few teachers will kill a few kids and, if the media lets the world know, it will stop.

The teacher pays for it unless the government wants to help. Shooting a pistol within the confines of a classroom is an easy and cheap skill to maintain. Dry practice is sufficient if done properly.

They need no special background checks. If they can be trusted to teach your children, then they can be trusted to carry a gun in public and in the school. Think about it. If you can’t trust them not to murder your child, can you trust them not to use lesser force? Do you really want mentally unstable teachers even if they are disarmed?

Regarding the legal question: what if any citizen is judged unfit. Can they sue to change the government? Who is the final arbiter? Can I get a second legal opinion? Who will pay for the court costs to allow citizens their individual rights?

Why is a simple act of self-defense a “tactical” situation? They answer to the law. There is no commanding officer. They are private agents of their own self-defense just as they are with every other action. It’s called “adult responsibility.”

The doctrine for armed teachers is as follows:

1) Head for gunfire. Let the kids lock the door. There will almost certainly be one killer.

2) Get there and find the person shooting at kids. Neutralize them.

3) Re-holster your sidearm.

4) Wait to see if there are any more gunshots. If so, go back to step 2.

5) If all is quiet, await the inbound SRO who will contact the office and dispatch. Any and all medically trained faculty and staff will prep the wounded for EMS.

It’s pretty simple.

There is no need for cool guy stuff like “sweep and clearing operations.” Just run and shoot the person who is focused on a body count, and, through application of fundamentals, either add their body to it firsthand or get them to kill themselves as they often do. If nothing else, the responding teachers will turn a massacre into a gunfight, reducing the rate of casualty creation, and, if they don’t neutralize the threat, they will give time for the “professional(s)” to arrive. Refer to the 5-step plan.

If you’re worried about insurance, pass a bill making a state or federal fund.

The teacher cannot be responsible for failing to intervene unless a law applies in general to the whole population, creating an obligation to intervene in a violent crime for every armed citizen and law enforcement officer. That’s how it works everywhere else. This is a non-issue, especially given that adults in these schools throw themselves in the way. Surely there will be teachers shooting back.

The perpetrator is legally responsible. His right to life is forfeit. If arrested, he will be tried. He caused this mess. He pays. The targets did not cause the problem, and therefore are not legally responsible.

A brick wall will stop rifle and pistol rounds. Doors can be easily bullet-proofed with junk metal.

And we’re back to the federal funding and the low chance of that being an issue.

Let the teachers carry what they want. We don’t need fancy protocols. Refer to the 5-step, idiot-proof plan. One guy with a gun killing kids is not a military scenario.

The SRO should know all of the staff. He will be the first LEO there. Also, if the teacher re-holsters after the engagement (step 3) they will look like a non-threat, especially being that there are few adults at the school, the gunfire has stopped, and every member of school staff is either inside a room or right next to the SRO. If a teacher gets shot by an LEO who misidentifies them, that’s on the LEO for being criminally negligent. There. I answered your question. I am sorry that it is unfathomable that cops already know how to do this.

Roll your eyes, Stonekettle. The chasm of your mind is bottomless, and I dropped rock down it when I started writing, but it has yet to impact your capacity for reason. It must still be falling.

I’m sorry that you’ve failed to figure out where you stand after all of that anti-armed-teacher ranting.

All of those very basic questions have now been answered for both you and those who have proliferated them.

They are questions that anyone with basic weapons training and capacity for reason could have already answered for you had you sought answers.

It is unreasonable to assume that “amateurs” can’t handle this when it is, in fact, amateurs who are shooting the children. It’s a fair fight if you ask me, and, as stated earlier, training to meet this scenario is easy.

The president is, honestly, clueless. The teachers don’t need crazy amounts of training. Everyday, no-name pistol competitors are beyond capable. A quality weekend class can get a common citizen 80% there and provide them with the ability to self-instruct and built their own training to get well past that threshold.

Lamentation and Conclusion

Misinformation and crummy, paper-thin arguments travel faster than the counter-arguments can find and penetrate the minds of the common citizen.

When people launch a barrage of questions, they are answerable to nothing. They get to sow the seeds of doubt and, if they do it well, people will adopt those questions before they ponder them.

A loud-mouthed skeptic claiming to not have an answer can kill an answer through doubt and emotion, and the resulting mental state will attempt to reject reason. We can always ask “what if,” and that is their weapon. It doesn’t matter what is likely or reasonable. They play the gaps. They lay the doubt.

Well, I submit to you that the law has the gap of people refusing to follow it.

The policy I suggest actually closes that gap.

Stonekettle and those like him sow doubt and hopelessness to push an agenda.

I, on the other hand, offer reason to have hope, and something to actually do about it that will work.

We cannot prevent every murder, but we can keep five bodies from becoming fifteen. We can reason away the possibility of an error with the certainty of the greater loss that will result from inaction.

Likewise, we cannot legislate morality, but we can put police out there.

The police can’t be there, but you can train to fight and shoot.

But what if they don’t let you have that weapon when you need it?

THAT is how you ask about the gap.

The answer to this question is answered by people who die fighting the armed with empty hands.

You die.

And more kids die.

Why I Carry A Sidearm

I could very easily go the rest of my life never getting or even having good reason to get into a physical fight of any kind. I’m bigger and stronger than most men, so chances are that I’ll fare pretty well in the average of all possible fight fights. However, one-on-one, declared-and-agreed to fights do not make up our violent crime. Random, aggressive, and quite frequently armed attacks are perpetrated upon someone trying to mind their own business. It is for this reason that some people practice martial arts, and it is the same reason why others carry a gun, or a knife, or both, and may also learn to fight. It is not about fear or insecurity. It is about security. It is about the easily preventable yet life-and-death possibility that, if I don’t have a firearm, I, or someone I love, could be badly beaten, kidnapped, raped, stabbed, or shot, and possibly killed, and yet, I could solve this problem – possibly without even firing a shot – if, and in some cases only if, I have a firearm. Sure, in many circumstances I could try to fight someone off, but if they pull a knife, should I only have my own? If they pull a firearm, and I am not really close, I may never have a chance to wrestle it from them or do anything else to ensure my survival. If I am in a movie theater that is being shot up, I will have to either take my chances or charge the shooter. Why do that when I can turn around, take a breath, line up the sights, and pull the trigger? And, to be honest, what if I clip one person while killing the guy in the back with the rifle? Surely, he could have done much more to the others and even that one person had I simply gone to the floor and let him control the room.

There is no insurance policy that does what training and equipment can do.

There is no one who will always be around to do it for me.

Therefore, I pull my own security.

I have to.

“Why do you need an AR-15?”

The AR-15 isn’t essential itself, but firearms of such capacity are essential to the success of my pursuit of happiness.

“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 [affect] their Safety and Happiness.”  – The Declaration of Independence

The Second Amendment notwithstanding, my right to pursue happiness, which is outlined in our very first document, protects my right to have these weapons.

The Constitution also protects rights not listed therein (9th Amendment), which includes the right to self-defense.

When the enemies of small arms ownership discover that the AR-15 is just another gun in politics, as it is to me in shooting sports and fun, they will be after the next thing. Heck, they already are if you read the 2018 Assault Weapon Ban, which would classify my grandfather’s old Remington 740 Woodsmaster with its 4-round detachable box magazine and so-called “barrel shroud” of a forend, as an assault weapon.

It isn’t about the AR-15. Or the “AK-47” (it’s usually an AKM, but never an AK-47). Or the Ruger Mini-14 if they ever catch up to Norway.

It’s about everything.

It’s about annual compromise.

It’s a one-way ratchet.

It’s tyranny.

It’s wrong.

Gay people just want to be happy. We should let them marry whoever they want.

The religious just want to worship their god(s) in peace. We should let them.

Gun owners just want to own, shoot, and carry their choice of gun. We should let them.

Life is too short and difficult to be deprived of the things you enjoy. If you want to have your hobbies, religion, and romantic decisions honored, then honor my right to keep and bear arms. Allow me to shoot my rifles in the woods or desert where I’m not deafening others, and don’t build a bunch of houses next to my gun range! Someone will complain about the noise or potential for harm that pre-existed them. If that isn’t bullying…

I actually live by the golden rule. While I do not actively and positively support gay marriage as an act, I believe that the government has no right to meddle in such a matter, as adults can do to and with their own bodies whatever they please. I don’t want high taxes, and I know that no one else wants them either. I want to be heard, so I don’t shout down others. I want my arguments respected, so I respect others.

Likewise, if you are reading this, consider that most of us really would be unhappy if the radical progressives were to convince enough of the sensible left and center – or at least the politicians – to the point where we were under their new rules. We never wanted to go out an hurt anyone, just as most people want to live in peace, and just gay couples often make loving parents.

I mean, I’m not a conservative, but consider how much “we” have given up or lost politically, and how much our opponents have won. Consider (research) how many gun laws actually exist and give us a break. Things are very fair for those who want restrictions. We do have “common sense” laws keeping felons from being armed and [actual] machine guns being sold over-the-counter to kids. Even now, things are already difficult. Want a short-barreled rifle or shotgun? Pay for it and wait 6 months or so and pay $200 to register it. Then you can have it. Want a suppressor so that you don’t make as much noise and don’t bother those people who moved in near the range? Oh, and so that you aren’t completely deafened if you have to shoot someone who broke into your home in the middle of the night? That will be, again $200 and 6 months. If anything, the government should subsidize suppressors for the sake of public safety. Want a machine gun? That’s legal and all, but the government banned post-1986 machine guns from being owned by civilians, so now what was a $2,000-dollar rifle costs $20,000 or more to buy. The registered full auto parts kits go for a thousand dollars or more, when the highly similar semi-auto parts cost less than a hundred. Oh, and that cool new thing that police get to buy that is functionally equivalent? Yeah, you can’t have that. It’s arbitrary nonsense meant to be a thorn in our sides.

People buy up AR-15s because they are great rifles that don’t cost too much and shoot military surplus ammunition that is cheap due to economy of scale. There is no better option for plinking, target practice, and competition. It is the staple of gun ownership and the most popular rifle in the nation.

The AR-15 has been set up as a straw man, as the bans never go for only that type, but for every rifle meeting arbitrary criteria.

The funny thing is that my favorite rifle, the M14, has, so far as I can tell, never been used to kill a single American.

So why do I need an AR-15?

Even if I never find myself in a situation where I am threatened physically by another person, I need one to have the fun that I expect to have and, at the end of it, be truly happy.

bushmaster_ar_15_dissipator__

An AR-15 “Dissipator.” 

The barrel shown (16″) is too short for a rifle-length system (15.125″ gas tube) because there isn’t enough dwell time – that being the time of the gas trapped behind the bullet being able to flow through the gas tube and push the bolt back. In order to get this look, a mid-length (11.75″ gas tube) system with a low-profile gas block is hidden under the hand guard. The furniture of a rifle-length (20″ barrel, a la M16) gun can then be used with a 16-inch barrel for that cool short-barrel look, with the front sight, which has the [now-unused] gas block incorporated, set up front, giving the original, long sight radius of the AR-15 design, as well as more positional options for the support hand.

All of the cool composite parts are made by Magpul Industries.

Do, or Try Not.

There are two types of people – those who pass the test, and those who do not try.

 

My fellow Americans,

 

There has been a breakdown and juvenilization of political discourse in this country. Despite claims of the importance of intellectualism, the “woke” are everywhere, and they know everything about the things they have neither sufficiently experienced nor studied. Despite calls for inclusiveness, people build up narratives to define who are the “ins” and the “outs”, and ultimately would decide who would be that “haves” and “have nots” – even with the very gift of life. They call to the gift of life, but they overlook the other unalienable rights of human beings, and further fail to even choose to gather the information necessary to determine the proper cessation of rights in practice of statistical engineering of our society, despite it being the absolute wrong thing to do. After all, what is a human rights violation that it can be justified by someone knowing better?

 

Or nation is fraught with shallow posturing, well-chosen, craftily arranged words forged into arrows of lies and misdirection, launched by the select who raise up their voice, stretch back their ignorance, and, lighting the lies with the fires of well-intended, misdirected passion, launch it into the hearts of the ignorant, well-intended, and gullible, where it may burn up their bridge to the cache of truth.

 

We cannot extinguish these fires quickly enough, because the whole of the people refuses to combat these fires with the most important compound question an American, or any people, can ask. It is this:

Could I possibly be wrong, if not in my heart, then by what I have learned or allowed myself to learn?

Could I be holding myself to an echo chamber? Do I even consider the opinions of others?

Do I understand the basics of the history of this nation as it pertains to politics, brewing ideologies amid the imperialism of the most successfully expansive power in history?

Do I understand human rights, the constitution, and the frame for this experiment that I, as an American, have the civic duty and patriotic responsibility to uphold?

Do I then allow in my mind honest reasoning regarding these matters, or do I make a hypocrite of myself when I demonstrate in the political theatre the same things that I would regard as sheepish idiocy in a person trapped in what is clearly a religious cult?

 

These questions are critical, as they would convict, I believe, nearly every American on at least one issue.

These questions are foundational, as they drive those who ask them to pursue the truth. They are no different than a believer asking to be examined by God so that they improve their spiritual and interpersonal living. It is negligence for us to ignore these questions and risk our politics from crumbling into middle school name-calling, ostracization, labeling, and ear-plugging.

And believe me, this negligence is self-evident.

There is in this nation a whole host of issues, including, but by no means limited to:

The fundamental misunderstanding of human rights, their gravity, and their proper relation to each other

The fundamental understanding of what America was founded to be, however effectively still is, and is meant to always be

The fundamental understanding of what individual responsibility is, and how to apply it to discussions of human rights and the roles of government

The fundamental understanding of our founding documents, which outline what we, as Americans and inferably all of the people of the world in their own nations, are responsible for doing to ensure that government does, indeed, serve the people, protecting their rights, and doing only what is necessary to keep them from becoming a complex, growing, powerful, invasive, restrictive behemoth that it is now, so that tyranny can be held back from even trickling from its ranks.

We misunderstand the right to free speech, its scope, and its protections, as well as how personal responsibility ties in and determines the cost of misuse of one’s words.

We fail to recognize that the first amendment identifies the rights to also peacefully assemble – not riot, loot, and destroy private property – and to petition the government for redress of grievance – taking it out on the government, and neither stealing nor destroying private property during riots that should have been peaceful protests.

We fail to realize that the first Amendment has been circumvented by and large by private corporations, serving as an oligarchical press leviathan, and that our failure to properly make non-partisan efforts to dismantle the propaganda machines that not only blind our enemies into disagreeing with us, but lie to us and keep us from considering that they are right on a given issue, and even, preferably, not our enemies, but rather coworkers, is making this experiment in freedom and self-governance unsuccessful. Likewise, we fail to recognize the group hate, failing to truly respect all religions and follow that government commandment to make no law respecting establishment of religion while claiming the benefits of strict democracy, and using the loud voices of few to destroy what is innocuous to many, and is only harmful to them because it upset them, even if only because it doesn’t suit their ideal for the world. We are raising tons of little tyrants to reject the very premise of free speech, free religious exercise, and freedom of association, because we, as individuals, rather than the government, decide in our groups to demonize, marginalize, and ostracize those who disagree. Our speech and association are powerful, and we are dangerous, negligent, undisciplined, and unaccepting of correction regarding their use, and we cause many great atrocities with these abuses not only in the hearts of individuals, but across and throughout our society. Ray Bradbury would ask, “who might be the target of the well-read man,” armed with knowledge, grounded on principle, and armored with reason? Well, we have militias of the unread, armed with propaganda, grounded on what they don’t know is tyranny, and armored with their ego. These go all too often unchecked by their opposition, are fed by many institutions, and, most tragically, are unchecked by themselves.

We reject the right to keep and bear arms for what it really is and what arms really are, failing to properly apply historical details in their proper historical context to modern weaponry, self-defense, and combat. This is not a partisan failure either, but a failure among people in every ideology, as it is perhaps the greatest stumbling block to the individual that another may legally and rightfully own the implements of war, that they might either defend themselves and their family, or decide to leave a trail of blood and death, robbing others of their loved ones, or end the life of a beloved political leader. Remember that our forefathers fought for this new nation, and then promptly allowed for such a thing to happen again when they ensured with our bill of rights that the common citizen could be armed. This way, no one should be able to rise to the top and, hating the opposition, lay siege to an unarmed or disarmed population, but rather having to deal with what they knew was the great futility of resisting a guerilla insurgency within one’s very border. It is for these reasons that the right to rebel against the government in both dissemination of information and the distribution of projectiles has been expressly protected in the bill of rights, and why the founders wrote many papers on the importance of these rights, these powers of the people, who are meant to hold the highest level of sovereignty in the land.

We have failed to support our very physical freedom to do these things by neglecting to enforce the limitations on the government in their investigations and arresting of private individuals. It is necessary for a person to remain secure in their belongings, property, personal affects and information, and privacy as a whole, because without these protections, any official can seek to destroy an individual or even an entire justified movement, such as the very insurgency that gave birth to this nation, by violating the rights of the people. We have foolishly ceded these rights of ours for the sake of security that only the exercise of our rights, and not our government, ultimately provide. This is the magnitude of personal responsibility as a founding principle, that only the individual has the truest best intentions for themselves, and their intentions for themselves are never higher for a stranger or an enemy. Therefore, we not only ought to be able to speak out against the government and both keep and carry arms as a rule, but we have the right to defend ourselves physically and against the prying eyes of the man, as they have no right to know anything about a citizen’s arms, ideas, persuasions, associations, or intentions until probably cause for specific searches for specific pieces of property and/or information are obtained. After all, no private individual has neither the right to know any such thing about another nor the right to arrest another. We cede the right to do these things only when necessary to have any sort of governance at all, deciding that the optimal amount of government is the minimal amount – more than none, but as little as possible.

It is ultimately for these reasons that we are to ensure that no one has to answer any question by an authority, as being forced to answer can incriminate them, and it is better to let a rogue run free than the punish an honest citizen. Accepting anything less leads to tyranny. Our preference for safety over regret is fulfilled by letting the guilty have the benefit of the doubt, rather than shackling or destroying the innocent with its deficit. We also have decided that a person can not be repeatedly made to defend themselves, so that the rich and empowered may not destroy someone with constant charges, leading to their de facto life imprisonment and impoverishment. To further facilitate this end, we have laid out express recognition for personal representation in every process of law, as every citizen is due a fair and speedy trial – this is due process, not an ex parte hearing held in secret, or a law passed at midnight, but rather that every case of the government taking from privacy, liberty, or property from a citizen the accuser and taker must stand before the judge against the accused and their representation, witnesses, arguments, and evidence. And it is also for this grand purpose that jury trials exist here, and limitations on bail, fines, and punishments are limited.

To seal up the powers of the individual, our Constitution’s Bill of Rights was closed up with two powerful amendments that affirm – as no amendment can declare or cause a right to be – that the enumeration of rights therein are not to be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and that once all of these powers and rights of the people are subtracted, and the federal government is given its express powers, and finally the states take their express powers from the list, those remaining powers go to the people first, in recognition of their rights, and then finally to the states. This was done to invert the most ancient power structure, turning on its head the idea that the top of government has all the power, and instead making the individual the most powerful level of government.

This power of the people is a grave responsibility, especially in a land where it is formally declared and widely-recognized, however incompletely. Because we are not yet under the weight of true despotism, our responsibility is to keep wrangling this machine into what it ought to be, a minimalist, efficient, distant, unintrusive umbrella under which we call ourselves American, under which our states are united, and by which the citizens maintain their freedom from other nations and other citizens who might climb into, feed, and pervert the structures of the state and federal systems, and turn them into the monsters we still try to weaponize against each other today.

 

So, as I said in the beginning, there are two types of people – those who pass the test, and those who do not try.

You can take that to God, and he will tell you that it is true.

You have already spoken it to or thought it against your neighbor, so it had better be true that if they really tried to see something your way, they would.

 

This is the challenge for Americans: Undo these things regarding which I have charged you with guilt and shame.

 

 

Leave your echo chambers. Engage in civil dialogue with people regardless of whether you know that you agree with them and discuss everything. See why you agree and disagree, and boil down the issue to first principles, to matters we might call axiom, and then apply that idea to every belief. Undo your hypocrisy by ridding yourselves of double standards.

Leave the propaganda machines to spew their nonsense to those who fail this test by failing to challenge themselves – and then challenge them, both the machines and their victims. Write against, speak against, and protest the lies of major news organizations, political parties, and other organizations that lock us into this dissonance that benefits them, keeping them in power to further divide and destroy us for their own benefit.

Enter into study of the very philosophy of human rights and of the history of this nation. Study the history of the English Bill of Rights and its influences on our nation. Realize that we are constantly trying to prevent a revolution and yet reap the fruit of our founding war, that we are here to make and keep peace and prosperity by properly using our powers of speech, assembly, community, and discourse so that we do not go to torches, pitchforks, rock-throwing, or bullet-launching. Yet, embrace and support the rights of individuals and their assemblies to do these things under the proper contexts now that you understand the source of these rights and protections with your studies.

Then, once you realize the whole goal, stop doing the things that antagonize these ends. Mature in political discourse. Stop the name-calling, the dirty political tactics, and the pushes for restriction of your most despised group. Rather, come to understand them and make reasonable amends. It takes maturity to actually compromise, and much more to realize when compromise, such as with our right, is actually wrong. However, we have done this before, and so long as we actually intend to do it and are not blinded by our short-sightedness or by others in it, we will unravel this ball of contention, come together as a nation, shrink our governments, and ensure by the reduction of government, and certainly its horrific spending, a prosperous future for our children, and, if we make haste, even ourselves.

 

My fellow Americans, do try.