"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." -- Janis Joplin.
Bob Barr seconds Kurt Hoffman on the importance of counterattacking Obama's diktat on reimportation of military collectible firearms with H.R. 2247 in an article entitled "Obama’s Second Term War on the Second Amendment, and writes this:
American essayist and civil rights leader James A. Baldwin once quipped, “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” This poignant reflection of a man in the forefront what appeared at the time to be a seemingly impossible movement for racial equality, once may have served as a warning to the government that it should fear the people it oppresses. Today, however, Baldwin’s statement serves as a warning to citizens that the real object of their fear should be politicians no longer facing the risk of reelection. President Barack Obama, now comfortably ensconced in his second term, is a man with nothing to lose -- and citizens have good reason to be worried.
Yes, well, that is certainly true (both Baldwin's original observation and Barr's corollary), but the real danger to the increasingly dictatorial Obama regime lies with their inability to think through the obvious ramifications of their behavior when they will be judged by the pitiless Law of Unintended Consequences.
They are placing personal bets based on a mere political calculation that reflects their previous experiences without understanding that their actions are shoving the calculus of defeat and victory into a previously undiscovered (for them) country.
I have written previously of Fourth Generation Warfare. A regime which has spent its entire existence destroying its own legitimacy -- its "Mandate of Heaven" -- ought to be a little more careful of calculations about just exactly who has "nothing left to lose" -- the "enemies of the people" (us) or the enemies of the Founders' Republic (them).
My insomnia led me the other night to pull down one of my old favorite sci-fi volumes, Prince of Sparta by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling. At the opening of Chapter Twelve is this very real quote which predates most of what we consider modern 4GW theory:
It will be agreed that the aim of strategy is to fulfill the objective laid down by policy, making the best use of the resources available. Now the objective may be offensive in nature (e.g., conquest or the imposition of severe terms), it may be defensive (e.g., the protection of certain areas or interests) or it may merely be the maintenance of the political status quo. It is therefore obvious straight away that formulae such as that attributed to Clausewitz, 'decision as a result of victory in battle,' are not applicable to all types of objective. There is only one general rule applicable to all: disregard the method by which the decision is to be reached and consider only the outcome which is desired to achieve. The outcome is to force the enemy to accept the terms we wish to impose on him. In this dialectic of wills a decision is achieved when a certain psychological effect has been produced on the enemy: when he becomes convinced that it is useless to start or alternatively to continue the struggle. (MBV: Emphasis in the original) -- General D'Armee Andre Beaufre, An introduction to Strategy, 1965.
A very perceptive and prescient man for a French general. Politics and politicians -- whether rated at the moment before the first shot as "successful" or not -- start wars. In the aftermath, with 20-20 vision, these cataclysmic events are seen to be absolutely predictable. In the bloody event, the perpetrators discover who really "has nothing left to lose." Indeed, it is the failure of such people to see the obvious applications of the Law of Unintended Consequences to their own conduct that make war crimes trials so interesting.
So, I would say to the people who are trying to seize more of the liberty and property of the American armed citizenry while threatening their lives in the process: Be careful of calculations of who exactly has nothing left to lose. You may find out.