On Guns, the 2nd amendment, and the militia

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Kittamaru, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    As I keep repeating, including in the very post you just replied to, that is almost irrelevant - the modern imposition of tyranny, as we have seen it around the world, is not usually accomplished by armies and such. It is accomplished via goon squads and mercenaries and factions of "national guards" and special branches of the police. It is the Tonton Macoutes in Haiti, the Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua, that are typical. We have seen that in the US, with the KKK and the police forces of a couple of major cities.

    There are good reasons for that, from an ambitious tyranny's pov, but here we only need note the simple fact: freedom is well supported against intrusive government if one can deter the local KKK, the local police, etc. You don't have to worry about the military, especially in the US - that's not how it's done. Rifles and shotguns and handguns would have been - and would be - perfectly adequate deterrents to the KKK. That's one reason black people have been kept largely disarmed.
    Tyranny is not only profitable, but securely so - the vast wealth gained by strongman and plutocratic governments in even the poorest countries is proverbial. In the US it would be the stuff of legend.
    The lesson of looking around would be that the level of poverty at which a government can no longer afford weapons and soldiers is incapacitating starvation among the citizenry. So collapsing the economy would facilitate the powergrab, not interfere with it. Consider who is going to able to afford all those weapons and soldiers - at the new low prices - when the government has been bankrupted. The "establish a new government" part is quite unlikely to go as one would wish.

    That was routine when I was young - 4H programs http://www.4-hshootingsports.org , Boy Scout merit badge training sessions https://www.meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Rifle_Shooting , local police or sheriff department programs, often organized through the local high school, taught by military veterans. One routinely saw high school students bring their rifles to school and put them in their locker, in preparation for classes or examinations after school.

    The gun control/anti-hunting folks got rid of them, and if you try to bring them back you will face serious opposition from that faction. You would also face opposition from the large fraction of racially bigoted Americans who would not want to see black teenagers taught how to use firearms - the underlying factor in so many odd dysfunctions of American society, from health care to transit to housing to unions to judicial reform.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No, I didn't forget: I said they were deluding themselves. They have already given up so many of their rights; they have already given all three levels of government so many poorly-defined and extensive powers; and they keep on funding so many ginormous arms purchases for the crowd-control arm of law enforcement, as well as a dozen or so domestic spying programs, that they would be totally helpless in a confrontation with a tyrannical government.

    BTW "tyrannical" hasn't been defined. How will you know when it's happened?
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  5. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    You do realize that if the economy collapsed, the Military and the Wealthy would be the ones beat able to continue subsisting, right? And the government would still have their soldiers more likely than not (the promise of a future paycheck vs the certainty of being broke and jobless)
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No, they wouldn't. That's the point.
    You need an economy for a paycheck to have any meaning.
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Just like how the Iraq insurgency failed, sure.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    This, I do not understand at all. Not its relevance to US constitution, not its resemblance to Iraq insurgency, not even what you mean by Iraq insurgency. Utter bewilderment.
  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Simple: OP question was how the possession of personal firearms could possibly stand against the might of America's own army, navy and air force.

    Answer: Iraq. Simple explosives and light arms drove the American army out. The same would be likely be true of resistance to domestic tyranny in the US. Mined roads, random sniping, common explosives, sand in gas tanks. Nothing special, no truly heavy arms or equipment required.
  11. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    in other words, we would have to trash our own country and infrastructure to the point that the government and military decided it wasn't worth it anymore...? At that point, well... what's the point?

    I guess my problem is that if we get to the stage where we have to attempt to depose our government by force of arms (well... again I guess) that we have already failed as a nation. Unfortunately, given recent trends, we seem determined to keep repeating mistakes that lead to greater disparity and economic pain.
  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Self determination and freedom from tyranny. Neither, of course, does one have to trash everything - but one side eventually must blink. Welcome to politics. You cannot argue that the imposition of tyranny is best responded to by surrender of the self. That's the very point of tyranny. If you don't resist, they literally do win.

    Why? If your nation becomes tyrannous against its own citizens, the necessity to depose them does not mean that one throws one's hands up in the air and just gives up. Neither does it mean that one has failed as a nation. It means that corrective action is required. The situation of such a nation-state would be dire, but not worth surrendering. (Iraq, by contrast, is probably a hopeless case, as it was a fairly artificial nation from the get-go and now is wracked at all levels by tribalism and so forth. Not so all nations, and not the United States, which is founded on causes and cases of public record and note, as well as a common history and basic outlook, or largely so.)
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Iraq had tyranny before the American invasion, under the American invasion and after the American withdrawal. It's not a self-determined nation; not a functional nation - not even a nation. Infrastructure bombed to rags; people hungry and frightened; no government, no economy. After much loss of life, limbs, homes and livelihoods - chaos. But there's a shitload of US army surplus ordnance lying around for little kids to trip over and be blown to smithereens.
    The entire region politically disrupted and socially dysfunctional; zealots factions killing everybody in sight; people by the millions fleeing, destabilizing Europe, causing trouble for other peoples and suffering uncertainty and prejudice everywhere.
    Heck of a job, Georgie!

    That's how solution-through-firepower always works. Very badly.
    If you wanted to prevent your own government from becoming tyrannical, you'd take your congress reps to task for voting YES on comprehensive powers of surveillance, search and arrest, incarceration without trial, in the name of national security. You'd question them on the hugely inflated military budgets they keep approving. You'd pay attention to the political process that's been gradually teased out from under you. But buying a gun is easier - the quintessential no-brainer.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Before the American blockade etc, Iraq was a perfectly well-functioning strongman government as installed by - significantly in influence, min. - the Americans, who acted to replace (with Saddam Hussein) a strongman (Qasim) too likely to cozy up with non-American oil interests. http://www.biography.com/people/saddam-hussein-9347918
    Iraq has been a coherent, defined, at least nominally self-governing country since as far back as 1925, if not farther.
    So? We're talking about the descendants of the Confederacy here. Disasters-R-Us.
    The people buying the guns for that reason - a minority of gun buyers, btw, and not necessarily the ones committing suicide or shooting each other over drug deals, which comprise the vast majority of gun violence in the US - often feel that they have lost control of their government, and cannot see any way to "take their Congress rep to task" or any such similar fantasy.
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Still tyranny, though. Most Americans can be convinced to attack a country just because its leader is "a very bad man" - even if we did install him.
    Not necessarily, true. But If they're deluded enough to think they can win a shootout against the biggest army the world has ever seen (which was provisioned with their own money and tacit approval), or even against a local police force (decked out like the world's second and third biggest armies; with their own money and approval), some will likely fall over that ragged edge of reason that prompt freedom-fighters to mold lawn-food and cow-pats into bombs or make a stand over illegal gazing.

    As for the majority of gun violence - well, you don't see a lot of bootleggers mowing each other down in the streets of Chicago, or casino owners rubbing out snitches. The drug dealers would go the same way, if there were rational drug laws.
    You don't control government by pointing a rifle at it. You don't control anything by pointing a rifle at it. That only gives you the options, in order of ascending probability, of 1. killing it 2. threatening and frightening it into inaction or 3. getting blown to smithereens.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So? Idiots exist (on both sides of this issue, note). This point is completely irrelevant.

    And it always will be, no matter how often and tiresomely repeated in these threads, for the several reasons posted so very often in multiple threads above. A shootout is not the scene, the frontal assault of the government is not the situation, the entire nonsensical fantasy is beside the point whether arguing for or against. You are not occupying a superior position of reason when resorting to these kinds of strawmen.
    Yes. Hold that thought. When somebody introduces the possibility of abandoning the destruction of politics and discourse inevitable with the poor prospects and well-poisoned deadlock of gun control, for the almost certainly better prospects of better drug laws for reducing gun violence in the US, it's not a "deflection" or "change of subject" in a gun violence thread - right?

    It's not. The size of a country's army is a surprisingly difficult to assess, apparently, but at least the Chinese and North Korean armies are bigger right now, probably the armies of India and a couple of others are larger, the Soviet army has been bigger in the past, etc.
    Not yet; although the trend is bad it has a ways to go.
    Control is not the point, or the goal. That is important. That is the main threat here.
  17. Bells Staff Member


    They didn't drive the American armed forces out. The withdrawal was planned and signed into agreements with the Iraqi Government since Bush (the younger) was President. It was a gradual withdrawal, well planned in advance after what had come to be seen as an occupation of Iraq by American and its allied forces. The withdrawal started under Bush, was revised by Obama and then continued. The Iraqi's didn't drive them out with their small weapons fire and landmines. The US had planned to withdraw years prior. The real question and critique now is whether the US withdrew too soon, the resulting power vacuum was filled by ISIS and so on and so forth.

    Because such actions have worked really well thus far? The US could wage a war on its own citizens from the air, with drones. Small arms fire could not compete against that. Considering most of the conflict the US is involved in around the world is being fought from the air, with quite a few strikes being made by drones piloted remotely, I would say that it sparks a new form of warfare, that militia's on the ground in the US in their survival bunkers with their guns and landmines and sand for gas tanks, not to mention their bibles, could not compete against.

    And lets face it, mined roads would most likely kill innocent American civilians than the armed forces who travel with their anti-mine crews in tow in war zones.

    Food poisoning, however, smearing faeces on their salad leaves, could bring them down with severe bouts of food poisoning from contamination. In actuality, people's backsides and computer hackers would probably be a more powerful weapon against tyranny than small arms fire would be.

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    Realistically, small arms fire would not win any war against a tyrannical Government. Locals tried it in Iraq against Saddam for years, with no effect. It took "shock and awe", with many bombs falling from the sky, to actually remove him from power.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They did too. The withdrawal was forced on the Americans by the insurgency, which was a bunch of militias armed with rifles and improvised land mines. The original plan was many years of American governance and American control of the economy (especially the oil fields), including the installation of a client or Vichy government (headed by Adnan Chalabi, in the original version) entirely beholden to American favor and support.
    Repetition of this kind of strawman and irrelevancy does not improve it, or rescue it from its multiple and quite thorough dismissals.
  19. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I've lost the thread of your argument.
    Is it your contention, iceaura, that a population self-selectively equipped with small arms, can prevail against a tyrannical government?
    If their inability to do this is an irrelevant straw-man, what aspect of unregulated private gun-ownership is relevant?
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Define "prevail". We have overwhelming evidence, in the form of several modern and even ongoing examples as well as many hundreds of years of history, that such a population can in at least some circumstances prevent such a tyranny from governing an area, and even cause its withdrawal or collapse. That does not mean it could defeat the State's army in a "shootout", of course, as claimed above, or militarily seize territory in open war.

    Defense is much easier than offense. The drug cartels in Mexico would not stand a chance against the Mexican military in a "shootout" - and so what?
    We starting the entire topic over from scratch?

    Unregulated? Where is that coming from?

    As far as the role of guns and gun controls: The non-fictional ones, that a reasonable person would make, beginning in my case with the enforcement means and consequences of proposed legislation in the actual situation of the US now.
  21. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    A group of rebels could hold (for example) a mountain fastness against government forces, if they'd blown up the bridge and mined the approaches; they might not be captured for months. If enough such pockets of resistance could hold out for long enough, the government would waste its efforts trying to round them up, perhaps while a larger rebellion gets organized. Masada. Afghanistan. Not desirable for any of the participants, but possible.

    Where "unregulated" comes from is the gun lobby's opposition to any legislation that limits the sale and ownership of private weapons, which opposition is invariably presented as defending the second amendment, absent the well-regulated militia clause.
    And I do see that, if even a toothless little bill on automatic weapons can't be passed at the behest of a majority of constituents, control of the legislature by the citizens is a pipe-dream.

    All right, I think I understand now.
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Apparently not quite.

    1) Firearms are regulated, in the US, and could be regulated much more than they are without violating the 2nd Amendment.
    2) The "well-regulated militia" clause is firmly and loudly incorporated - the fact that it specifically guarantees the right of private possession of militia grade weaponry is part of the difficulty in banning these insane semi-automatic rapid fire weapons. We who favor such a ban hope to split a few hairs, and get the Courts to agree that a satisfactory militia can be raised from a population armed only with ordinary rifles and such. Or possibly remove the "militia" clause, although amending the Constitution in the current political climate would be dangerous imho.
    3) You are mistaken about the "behest" of the constituents. Although polls clearly show that a large majority of US citizens favor more and better curbs on firearm possession and use, that is not at all the same thing as favoring the passage of one of these bills recently voted down, or any other governmental intrusion apparently motivated by the prevalent gun control advocates's rhetoric - and the legislators involved are keenly aware of the difference. What you see there is not a legislature uncontrolled by its constituents, but one quite sensitive to their moods and essentially cowardly in the face of their displeasure.
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Oh, all right then. Nothing changes.

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