Look Who’s Mocking Fascist Fear-Mongering NowSubmitted by fonzdrew on Fri, 01/25/2013 - 02:45
One of the arguments we’re hearing in the current debate about gun control is what might be called the anti-anti-tyranny argument. Coming from liberals, it’s a little rich.
Some gun-rights supporters say the Second Amendment’s purpose is not merely to protect the right to hunt or defend yourself, but to guard against oppression. “The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons,” writes Kevin Williamson in National Review, “is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions.” Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano likewise argues that the Second Amendment protects “your right to shoot tyrants if they take over the government.”
The history of the founding and the language of the rest of the Bill of Rights suggests they have a point. (Though not the whole point. One reason the founders wanted people to be armed is so they could put down insurrections, not just start them.)
But many progressives say this is just plain nuts. To Charles Blow of The New York Times, the rise of “so-called patriot groups” who think such things is evidence of “paranoia by people who have lost their grip on the reins of power, and reality.” To Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, it’s part of a dangerously radical “insurrectionist” movement. To Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, the idea that Americans might need weapons to fight a “war with the government” is one of conservatives’ “paranoid fantasies.”
Paul Waldman of the American Prospect agrees. In a piece for CNN on how “The NRA’s Paranoid Fantasy Flouts Democracy,” he says the conservative media encourage listeners to view the Obama administration as “the very definition of dictatorship. ... [M]any would say that their ‘right’ to own any and every kind of firearm they please is the only thing that guarantees that tyranny won’t come to the United States. Well, guess what: They’re wrong.”
No doubt the gun-rights group has a fringe element, exemplified by those who think the Sandy Hook massacre was orchestrated as part of a plot to disarm America. But it’s worth pausing to ask: Is it really so outrageous to believe the government of the United States is capable of tyranny?