Articles

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Government Power and Evil

We are not a violent society. We are a society sheltered from violence. No one in Rwanda spends  time wondering what kind of man would murder people. They probably live next door to him. If your neighborhood is diverse enough, you might be unfortunate enough to live next door to war criminals all the way from Eastern Europe to Africa.

Guns are how we misspell evil. Guns are how we avoid talking about the ugly realities of human nature while building sandcastles on the shores of utopia.

It's not about the fear of what one motivated maniac can do in a crowded place, but about the precariousness of social control that the killing sprees expose. Every murder tears apart the myth that government is the answer.

The gun control issue is about solving individual evil through central planning in a shelter big enough for everyone. A Gun Free Zone where everyone is a target and lives under the illusion that they aren't. A society where everyone is drawing peace signs on colored notepaper while waiting under their desks for the bomb to fall.

That brand of control isn't authority, it's authority in panic mode believing that if it imposes total zero tolerance control then there will be no more shootings. And every time the dumb paradigm is blown to bits with another shotgun, then the rush is on to reinforce it with more total zero control tolerance.

Zero tolerance for the Second Amendment makes sense. If you ban all guns, except for those in the hands of the 708,000 police officers, some of the 1.5 million members of the armed forces, the  security guards at armored cars and banks, the bodyguards of celebrities who call for gun control,  and any of the other people who need a gun to do their job, then you're sure to stop all shootings.

So long as none of those millions of people, or their tens of millions of kids, spouses, parents, grandchildren, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates and anyone else who has access to them and their living spaces, carries out one of those shootings.

But this isn't really about stopping shootings; it's about the belief that the problem is individual, not evil, and that if we make sure that everyone who has guns is following government orders, then control will be asserted and the problem will stop.

It's the central planning solution to evil.

We'll never know the full number of people who were killed by Fast and Furious. We'll never know how many were killed by Obama's regime change operation in Libya, with repercussions in Mali and Syria. But everyone involved in that was following orders. There was no individual agency, just agencies. There were orders to run guns to Mexico and the cartel gunmen who killed people had orders to shoot. There was nothing random or unpredictable about it.

Gun control is the assertion that the problem is not the guns; it's the lack of central planning for shooting people. It's the individual.

A few million people with little sleep, taut nerves and PTSD are not a problem so long as there is someone to give them orders. A hundred million people with guns and no orders are a major problem. Historically though it's millions of people with guns who follow orders who have been more of a problem than millions of people with guns who do not.

Moral agency is individual. You can't outsource it to a government and you wouldn't want to.

The impulses, the codes of character, the concepts of right and wrong, take place at the level of the individual.

Organizations do not sanctify this process. They do not lift it above its fallacies or do a very good job of keeping sociopaths and murderers from rising high enough to give orders.

Gun control does not control guns, it gives the illusion of controlling people, and when it fails those in authority are able to say that they did everything that they could short of giving people the ability to defend themselves.

We live under the rule of organizers, community and otherwise, committed to bringing their perfect state into being through the absolute control over people, and the violent acts of lone madmen are a reminder that such control is fleeting and that attempting to control a problem often makes it worse by removing the natural human crowdsourced responses that would otherwise come into play.

People do kill people and the only way to stop that is by killing them first. To a utopian this is a moral paradox that invalidates everything that came before it, but to everyone else, it's just life in a world where evil is a reality, not just a word.

Anyone who really hankers after a world without guns would do well to try the 12th Century which was not a nicer place for lack of guns. The same firepower that makes it possible for one homicidal maniac to kill a dozen unarmed people also makes it that much harder to recreate a world where a single family can rule over millions and one man in armor can terrify hundreds of peasants.

Putting miniature cannons in the hands of every peasant made the American Revolution possible. The ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would have meant very little without an army of ordinary men armed with weapons that made them a match for the superior organization and numbers of a world power.

Would Thomas Jefferson, the abiding figurehead of the Democratic Party, who famously wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants", really have shuddered at the idea of peasants with assault rifles, or would he have grinned at the playing field being leveled?

But the Democratic Party is no longer the party of Thomas Jefferson. It's the party of King George III.  And it doesn't like the idea of armed peasants, not because an occasional peasants goes on a shooting spree, but because like a certain dead mad king who liked to talk to trees, it believes that government power comes before individual liberty. Like that dead king, it believes that it means this for the benefit of the peasants who will be better off being told what to do.

The question is the old elemental one about government control and individual agency. And tragedies like the one that just happened take us back to the equally old question of whether individual liberty is a better defense against human evil than the entrenched organizations of government.

Do we want a society run by kings and princes who commit atrocities according to a plan for a better society, or by peasants with machine guns? The kings can promise us a world without evil, but the peasant with a machine gun promises us that we can protect ourselves from evil when it comes calling.

It isn't really guns that the gun controllers are afraid of; it's a country where individual agency is still superior to organized control, where the trains don't run on time and orders don't mean anything. It's afraid of individual power.

Evil finds heavy firepower appealing, but the firepower works both ways.

A world where the peasants have assault rifles is a world where peasant no longer means a man without any rights. And while it may also mean the occasional brutal shooting spree, those sprees tend to happen in the outposts of utopia, the gun-free zones with zero tolerance for firearms. An occasional peasant may go on a killing spree, but a society where the peasants are all armed is also far more able to stop such a thing without waiting for the men-at-arms to be dispatched from the castle.

An armed society spends more time stopping evil than contemplating it. It is the disarmed society that is always contemplating it as a thing beyond its control.

Helpless people must find something to think about while waiting for their kings and princes to do something about the killing. Instead of doing something about it themselves, they blame the freedom that left the killer free to kill, instead of the lack of freedom that prevented them from being able to stop him.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying your writing for a couple weeks now, but holy crap did you shine a spotlight on the true nature of gun control. The clarity is impressive. Well done sir.

meema said...

"Organizations do not sanctify this process. They do not lift it above its fallacies or do a very good job of keeping sociopaths and murderers from rising high enough to give orders."

Acerbic brilliance, yet again.

Alphamail said...

Aside from the gun theme, Daniel gives the most accurate definition of a modern Progressive or Marxist and explains Obama and his regime to a T:

" We live under the rule of organizers, community and otherwise, committed to bringing their perfect state into being through the absolute control over people..."

Anonymous said...

http://usfinancepost.com/more-guns-equal-less-crime-in-chicago-as-murder-rates-plummet-16413.html

sophie

Anonymous said...

Daniel This is and allways has been about one man or one family controlling everyone and owning everything. Once the "elite" made themselves "god kings" Over the last 200 years they were overthrown by people they consider less than bugs, and they want their power back. If the population can fight back, it makes it hard to work them to death building alters in your name.---Ray

Anonymous said...

"Moral agency is individual. You can't outsource it to a government and you wouldn't want to.

" The impulses, the codes of character, the concepts of right and wrong, take place at the level of the individual"

You are so right, yet I can't help but think about movies such as the Purge when I think about moral agency etc. Would people remain non-violent if they were able to get away with committing a crime?

Rules and laws are still needed to restrain people to a degree.


Keliata

Shavua tov

Keliata

Robin said...

Daniel-

Since I write about the mind arson that is really the aim of all these so-called ed reforms under the misleading banner of the Common Core, I would like to point out the related phenomenon. Tyrants prefer the unarmed mind. Tyrants prefer people primed to respond to emotion and the visual.

The deliberate assault on values, attitudes, and beliefs through the schools and assessments that monitor and manipulate them is pushed for precisely the same reason that we are not to be physically armed either. This is a government now pushing the idea that knowledge is any mental representation that makes one likely to act for transformational change.

Just imagine well-armed parents beginning to recognize that is what the schools intend to cultivate and monitor. The war against the individual is going on at so many different levels and venues.

Chuck said...

@AlphaMail nailed it. Your subject was gun control but it applies to the entire left's view of people. Free will is the problem and control is the solution. THe way to that solution is to remove your choices and freedoms until your 'choice' is only the option they approve of.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Daniel and I agree it is all about controling the masses while the elite adhere to a different set of rules.

Always thought this gun control issue was a bit silly. It's like banning cutlery to stop people getting fat.

Proud Brit.

The Ray Esquivel said...

Great encapsulation of the war on the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms.

When you combine the on-going national effort with the foreign efforts under the guise of the UN, World Bank, etc., you can see how much of a losing struggle those wanting to have control are fighting at home in America. But alas, as Ronald Reagan said, to paraphrase, "we are only one generation away from losing our freedom because it is not passed on in our genes." Their fight can go on indefinitely while the fight for civil liberties will slowly wane over time. The American Spirit is losing ground little by little.

The current generation, XYZ or whatever they call themselves, are pretty much anti-anything from the America the Great genre. Only in the midst of a very great cataclysm will they learn the hard way that maybe there was something to that old fuddy duddy piece of paper called the "Bill of Rights."

As for me, when you combine this situation, the government grab for guns, with the complete breakdown of the justice system, laws, and priorities, I long for the days when a man could stand up for his honor "mano-a-mano" and win or lose, at least have a chance to face his enemy. The recent FOX News stories about "Enemies of the State" was so frustrating on the point that fighting the "government" was like fighting a shadow. It was a faceless, formless entity that could shape-shift and come at you from any direction and you, the EoS, was left to fight legal battles that drains time, money and life from those involved. That is criminal. And even when those persecuted win in court, the government has yet to pay up. Makes my blood boil!

I guess Keliata makes a point that rules and laws do serve a purpose. But too many times they only serve the masters who have the game rigged. As for them, the rules and laws do not apply. They can attack and literally kill on a whim and no one does anything because everyone is afraid of the big bad wolf, or they are afraid for their political future. We need to keep fighting for 2A rights and expand by any means necessary, the ability of freedom seekers to throw off the tryanny of tyrants. They are the sick ones. They are the ones who need to be controlled. Resist. Molon Labe!

DenisO said...

"... the absolute control over people..."
Guns in the hands of citizens will not allow that to happen. People who fear the unknown, guns, accept the Utopian goal of protection by making guns "go away". Women are more likely to fear "guns" and accept "gun control" as a good. It's their nature to cringe at the thought of violence, and their education, in the USA, reinforces that normal emotion, so they equate guns with evil, not insurance.
Overcoming their instinctual revulsion is hard enough, because they have a difficult time even considering guns, so unless women are convinced that guns can prevent violence, the hill is steep.
A strategy that clearly shows them that neighbors with guns are more protective of their families then a Police that will not come, has to be what lures them out of their ingrained fear of guns. Their protective nature can overcome the fear, IMO.
Regards,

Anonymous said...

As Hayek wrote in Road to Serfdom, people who rise to power are often the worst sorts. After all, they are the types who want power over others.

On a more empirical note, you can see how serious the Brady Campaign and the likes of Diane Feinstein are about violence prevention in their reactions to Fast and Furious. Consider gun banner CA state senator Yee. Gun control is about people control. Arguments about safety are for the low information voters.

DonS

Anonymous said...


Rules and laws are still needed to restrain people to a degree.
Keliata


The key to to have a well behaved culture. One that respects rule of law. The world's various banana republics, from Mexico to Russia to Cuba, are places where rule of law really does not exist.

Part of the required rule of law is a president who respects and follows the constitution, and the limits of power in his office. The key thing to understand is that there is no constitution that enforces itself. If those in power ignore the rules when it benefits them, what is to enforce the rules?

Note how Obama and Holder have gotten away with Fast and Furious. Note Al Gore's statement about "no controlling legal authority" (by which he meant no cop was going to arrest him, so he could break campaign finance rules with impunity).

Rule of law is not imposed by government or central authority. It requires a virtuous culture that obeys rule of law and steps up to enforce rule of law when needed. Hence the English Revolution and American Revolution, and Texas Revolution as well.

The imposition of vile and sweeping restrictions by central authority is not rule of law. Look at corrupt Mexico, its strict gun bans and its violent crime.

Anonymous said...

I guess Keliata makes a point that rules and laws do serve a purpose. But too many times they only serve the masters who have the game rigged. As for them, the rules and laws do not apply.

Real rule of law made the Anglo-Saxon nations great. However, rule of law requires that the law apply to all; the key is a constitution (even an unwritten one, in England's case) that is followed because the cultural tradition is that it is followed. Control by central authority is not rule of law, it is rule by men, and men who are where they are because of a thirst for power over others.

DonS

Jon said...

Remarkably well said. Good job. I've shared your post.

Bill Jones said...

I've long said that if you want "gun control" let's start with the drunken whoremonger's who president Barry carts around with him.
Then disarm the Capitol Police, then the Waco-murdering thugs of the FBI,
then let's chat about it in 5 years time.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
I read your thoughts daily for a couple of years now - this is one of the best!

Anonymous said...

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. -- Daniel Webster

Anonymous said...

I am so very moved by the article that I think no more can be said. I will address one comment, however:

Keliata:

The fact that the people have restrained themselfs for so long and that there are not politicians swinging in the trees indicates a strong moral pursuasion of the people to be peacable. In the old country of the Israelites every person was empowered to to execute the law. If they could take their cause to a judge they were to do so but when they could not due to obvious constraints they were to execute the law. so simple it was that it was abouve mis interpretation.

It was the elite class during the time of the kings that perverted the law. Jesus said this a number of times. The scribes and the "....attorneys... placed greivous yokes upon men and you yourselves will not enter in"..... Obviously history is being repeated now. The legislature and those in government will not abide by the very law they force us to. My how the world hasn't changed......

"...mankind is more disposed to suffer the evils are sufferable"...
Declaration of Independence

Anonymous said...

"People do kill people and the only way to stop that is by killing them first."

This reminds me of a character from the Judge Dredd comment called Judge Death. Judge Death comes to Dredd's world and starts killing everyone he comes upon. When cornered and asked to explain, he says that the Judges on his world found that all crime was committed by the living. So therefore they made life itself a crime.

I probably shouldn't say that too loud or someone on the Left might start thinking that's a good idea.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

obviously Judge Death was an environmentalist

Scott J said...

As I read your post this scene kept running through my head.

Hard to believe it came from the mind of one of those dedicated collectivists.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=1VR3Av9qfZc

Anonymous said...

You beat him. What is the matter with you?
You strangled him. What is the matter with you?
You stabbed him. What is the matter with you?
You shot him. We Have Got To Do Something About Guns....

Anonymous said...

Churchill wrote that the longbow made the yeoman the equal, both militarily and socially of the knight. English democracy, like our own rests upon the people bearing arms. The Founders recognized it and wrote it into the Bill of Rights.

Horace Staccato said...

The thing to remember about ALL of the workplace/school shootings is that they are entirely the Left’s fault. For decades the Left has been “celebrating” the bravery, transcendent moral superiority and high sensitive intelligence of losers, cowards, criminals and deviants. The Left has gathered these misfits to her venomous tit and filled them full of self-righteous entitlement and feelings of superiority. It’s the old concept of the alienated “beautiful loser” writ large.

So these losers are confirmed in their pathological impulse to blame all the evil “normals” for their misery. The Left also implies, directly or otherwise, that it is an act of transcendent courage to lash out at the Oppressors; that is to say, winners and achievers who have been conveniently redefined by the Left as bullies and brutal, uncaring Neanderthals.

As soon as a loser/deviant decides he has nothing more to lose, and is ready to up his self-destructive behavior to the ultimate, logical conclusion, he feels like a hero when he mows down those around him with whom, by any rational, moral standard, he compares unfavorably.

And, true to form, the real victims in these scenarios are blamed for their own deaths. The mainstream media and the Leftist tyranny decide that decent people should be changed to suit the deviants. THEY should be forced to behave like cowards and losers. THEY should be disarmed.

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