"Order, Safety and Liberty"
"In any riot, hurricane, or other man-made or natural disaster, who is the most popular guy in the neighborhood when the looters begin to roam? The man with the evil semi-automatic 'assault rifle' of course. 'Nobody needs one of those,' our enemies sneer. Except, of course, when they do. Will the Crips, the Bloods, MS-13, the Latin Kings, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Klan and every motorcycle gang in the country not have them too? What a silly question. So pardon me, Brady Bunch, if I wish to be armed as capably as the worst maddog criminal I might encounter.
So when we 'bitterly cling' to firearms, this is what we cling to: order, safety, liberty." -- Mike Vanderboegh, "Three Percent: toward a theory and practice of republican restoration."
So I wrote five days ago on this blog here.
I thought of this early this morning when I read this:
As in the 1970s, the problem of out-of-control youth could very soon be back on the political agenda. Although youth crime hasn’t been on the national radar since the crack boom of the early 1990s, demographic trends confidently predict a rising storm that should break within two years or so. The crime surge of the 1970s was in large part the consequence of the baby boom reaching its most crime-prone years, as the huge cohort of those born around 1960 hit their late teens. Something very similar is about to happen again. The number of babies born in the U.S. in 1990 was only slightly smaller than the 1960 generation, and by 2010 we could be entering an alarming era of violent crime, manifested in soaring rates for homicide and robbery. Factor in the economic crisis, and American cities could look as frightening and dangerous as they did at the time of New York City’s 1977 blackout, with its rioting and looting.
Making the situation still worse, the massive expansion of union membership for which many Democrats clamor will add mightily to the plethora of urban problems. Imagine cities devastated by youth crime and gang wars, while emergency workers, hospitals, buses, and garbage services are regularly on strike. If you think Americans were alienated from government in 2008, come back in two years. Liberals will try to interpret the coming crisis in terms of race and class, a problem to be solved by unlimited social spending. Conservatives had better be ready to respond with ideas of individual and family responsibility and the defense of social order.
So wrote Philip Jenkins in the 15 December 2008 issue of The American Conservative in an article entitled "The Spirit of ’76: Welcome back, Carter." Mr. Jenkins has a theory that the Obama presidency, like the Carter one, will self-destruct as a result of doctrinaire liberal over-reaching and social and political problems that their mindset is ill-designed to deal with. Personally, I find this wildly optimistic, if for no other reason than the demographic changes and cultural rot that have eaten away at the foundations of the Founders' Republic for the past 30 years have made the electorate far more susceptible to collectivist lies.
In addition, Jimmy Carter, as wrong-headed as he was and still is, is no Barack Obama. Obama is more wily and, I believe, more ruthless than the bumbling Carter.
So the critical question is, given the prediction of another crime wave above, what will Barack Obama do to counter a very real fear of crime and civil disorder? Certainly the gun confiscationists will continue to blame the firearm and its owner, and we can expect the federal seizure of control over private firearms transfers (the "gun show loophole") and another, more draconian "Assault weapons Ban."
That is one danger.
Another is the undoubted fact, demonstrable by even a cursory reading of history, that crime waves and civil disorders have always preceded tyrannies who come to power promising peace in the streets. This was Hitler's most powerful card -- "elect me and the street battles will go away, we WILL have order" -- and the fact that people understood that he was responsible for one half of that disorderly equation, the Brown Shirts, did not keep them from entrusting him with absolute power. Fearful people do stupid things, like surrender their liberty, hence the Ben Franklin quote about "a little temporary safety."
Now Obama doesn't control the Crips and the Bloods or MS-13 and the Latin Kings, but that doesn't mean that his party and his philosophy of government isn't responsible for creating the social conditions that bred them. In any case, he doesn't need to control them as Hitler did the Brown Shirts in order to scare the people into backing a tyrannical play against our traditional liberties.
But of course we cannot count out the possibility that he may indeed end up with some Brown shirts all his own, for we do not know what his "Civilian Security Force" is going to look like.
So those are some of the dangers of the coming crime wave. In addition, demographics are not the only thing driving this portending period of social chaos, we also have the current economic crisis as a huge incentive for the criminal class.
I was talking to a local cop the other day, and he says that the collapse of the scrap market has led thieves to forget boosting air conditioners and start burglarizing houses. This is anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it makes sense. Of course, when you start busting in on people, folks turn up dead -- perps and victims -- which is why KABA is under no threat of running out of self-defense examples that they lead their daily news blog with.
A conservative, goes the old saw, is merely a liberal who has just been mugged. Expect more liberals to be mugged in the coming years. The question is, will there be enough of them to make a difference with gun control legislation? Also, will the old political verities hold true as Philip Jenkins believes or are we, with Obama, truly through the looking glass where the old electoral truths no longer operate?
Time will tell.
To answer the title question I posed, "The Coming Social Chaos: Danger to Liberty or Job Opportunity for the Armed Citizenry?", I think I can categorically state: both. To the extent that we can convince people that the armed citizenry is the basis of order, safety and liberty in this country, we can fend off the demands to disarm us. But if Obama is Hitler-slick at using fear to get what he wants, we'll just have to demonstrate the limited social utility of that decision. In other words, to use the old bumper sticker, when guns are outlawed, we'll all be outlaws. They used to joke that Nixon took crime off the streets and put in the White House where it belonged. Obama has the ability -- and I think, the appetite -- to do the same thing.
But if this is so, then the government becomes just one more criminal gang. The only thing is, if the country descends into gang war between the street gangs, the government gangs and the people, they are going to find out that the armed citizenry is the biggest and most powerful "gang" of all. Because it, of all the other forces in society, is the basis of order, safety and liberty.