by Mike Vanderboegh
21 December 2008
Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play;
For some must watch, while some must sleep:
So runs the world away.
-- Hamlet, Act III, scene 2
The Bard, wise in all things human, observes that some folks must be always vigilant against the dangers posed by evil men while others get to sleep through life, never being forced to pay attention to what is happening around them. Some accept the responsibility of being guards. Others choose to sleep. But free men, if they wish to remain free, MUST be guards. At Virginia's Constitutional Ratification convention in 1788, Patrick Henry warned his fellow delegates:
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined."
Ruined. We have very nearly arrived at the point Patrick Henry warned us about. Yet the danger does not relieve those of us who are guards from the responsibility of faithfully discharging our civic duty. If anything, it only sharpens our call to guard duty. Understand, this is not only about the right to firearms.
Joseph Story (1779-1845), was the son of a member of the Sons of Liberty who participated in the Boston Tea Party. A brilliant lawyer, in 1811 Story became the youngest Supreme Court Associate Justice ever appointed at the age of thirty-two. In 1833, he published a three volume set entitled Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States , a work of profound learning which is still the standard treatise on the subject. Story wrote, "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms" is "the palladium of the liberties of a republic." He also said this:
"The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become worthless or visionary. What is personal liberty, if it does not draw after it the right to enjoy the fruits of our own industry? What is political liberty, if it imparts only perpetual poverty to us and all our posterity? What is the privilege of a vote, if the majority of the hour may sweep away the earnings of our whole lives, to gratify the rapacity of the indolent, the cunning, or the profligate, who are borne into power upon the tide of a temporary popularity?"
The "majority of the hour." Is that not what the Obama administration represents? The gun confiscationist impulse among Obama's entourage is not only a threat to our access to arms but to our property rights as well. The new "Assault Weapons Ban," we are promised by the gun grabbers, will "have teeth." There is no doubt from the Obama transition team's own statements that they intend to ban, hence confiscate, heretofore legal semi-automatic rifles of military utility. It is our property as much as our liberty they aim to seize. And what do we profit if we successfully defend our right to arms, but cannot afford to purchase the ammunition without which they become mere expensive clubs? Sam Adams once asked:
"Now what liberty can there be where property is taken without consent?"
Or, one might add, where the ability to acquire property is artificially and tyrannically denied? The answer is, there can be none.
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass
There has been much unfortunate name-calling between the Three Percenters and the so-called Pragmatists these past six months since the printing of my letter in the Madison newspaper. They started out calling us "insane" (among the nicer terms) and we responded by calling them "cowards" and the debate went downhill from there. I shoulder as much blame for this as the next man, maybe more. As a guard, I should know better.
You know, the stern, undistractable attitude of the guards at Buckingham Palace has become cartoonish in the public mind over the years. It is now a given that tourists will approach them and do everything (including the flashing of mammary glands large and small, I am told) in order to get them to react. They do not react. They do not argue. They guard.
As Constitutional guards, I have come to the conclusion that we should do more guarding and less arguing about whether or not we have the right to guard our own liberty and property. We have taken our posts by common declaration. Let the tourists mug and mock, but let us not mug and mock them back. Let us instead guard, by declaration and example.
The truth of the matter is that when the tyrant's myrmidons approach the guard post, the tourists will scatter anyway. Seeking to convert them by anything less than consistent, stern example is foolhardy. For those who might be persuaded to our position will only be swayed by conduct that they admire, not facile taunting, however effective.
Equally foolhardy, from the Pragmatists' point of view, is their expectation that they can protect their liberties without, at base, Patrick Henry's "downright force." They are foolhardy to believe that we can guard anything, whether it is our liberty or property or even the cash register at the local gas station without the threat of defensive violence. The Founders understood this.
The Pragmatists blame us for staking out a position that will lead to violence. Yet this is as ridiculous as blaming a potential rape victim for pulling out her .38 revolver and telling her would-be attacker to put that thing back in his pants before somebody gets dead. We do not seek to attack the government. We seek merely to defend ourselves from government depredations of liberty and property. We merely seek to guard.
So let us be about our Constitutional guard duty, and refuse to engage the salad-bar philosophy tourists in taunting contests. To the extent we are able to do this, it will be seen both by our potential allies and our looming enemies as evidence of our serious purpose. And if we are able to do that, we will have taken a long step down the road back to the Founders' idea of the armed citizenry as the most important credible deterrent to potential American tyranny.
In fact, from now on, should someone decide to poke a stick into the beehive, instead of tossing off an angry retort, I want you to give me 25/25: 25 sit-ups and 25 push-ups.
If you've already done your PT for the day, then load 25 rifle cases. Don't tell me you don't have a bag of empties lying around.
People have asked me why I don't have my own blog: because I know that I cannot come up with something on a daily basis. When the regular gun bloggers look at that blank screen each morning, they have to write *something*. Sometimes, that's us. It's trolling, except that it is instigated by the blog owner instead of the more usual commenter. This is separate from someone who is merely asking a question about the whole thing. If you're smart enough to work this Internet thing, you should be smart enough to know the difference between someone stirring the sh1tpot seeking a reaction and someone looking for an explanation.
It takes two idiots to have an argument. Don't be the second idiot.
Preserving constitutional rights is like driving a truck. It doesn't matter how high the visibility is on the highway or how the dry the roads are. You close your eyes and nod off for just one second, or take your eyes off the road for just a couple of seconds, chances are, it's not going to be pleasant.
Twould be wonderful. Unfortunately, since all the prags DO is TALK, even if we were silent as the grave, they'd continue shooting their mouths off, lacking any courage to actually pull a trigger. I liken it to a firefight in which you are stuck behind some cover, being pinned down, with Jerry Lewis as your buddy. I'll be happy to break bread with them, hell, they can come over and bonk my sister, as soon as they grow a pair. There's two kinds of people I don't take with me into a fight. People with clean clothes, and lawyers. I ain't taunting no one. I don't abide with yellow-bellies, n' that's that. Anybody wants to make nice with the prags n' the fudds, be my guest, all you're going to get for your trouble is dead. A year after it begins, all that will be left is killers and those about to be killed. Philosophers and poet warriors are for books. And I know what I'm talking about because I've seen the critter.III.
excellent idea - if a man passes beneath a tree in whcih a number of small monkeys are chattering and screeching, he may glance at them, but will best be served by not trying to return their chatter. Their sounds are only of interest to other monkeys.
Well - and perhaps the US Department of Monkey Monitoring.
I've decided to go with grandpa's "never wrestle with a pig, because you both get dirty, but the pig likes it."
I shan't bother looking at the firearms related writings of prags because I have an instinct to twist the knife and poke around to see where they truly stand. It's a waste of time and generates nothing useful.
I find the whole argument silly. As I see it, this whole thing just isn't real for the prags yet. When it gets that way they'll jump in the fighting hole right along side us.
Consider Ben Franklin. He was a staunch loyalist when Sam Adams and Thomas Paine were out causing trouble. However, soon as he got his ass chewed in front of parliament over releasing Hutchinson's papers he became as loud a rebel as any.
The Prags are the Franklin to our Adams.
In 1966, a survey carried out in America showed that less than 5% of African-Americans approved of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Deacons for Justice. 60% were positively hostile to such groups. Yet it was these very groups and their willingness to arm themselves against their oppressors that won them their civil rights. Peaceful marches did little. Following Oakland Cops around with shotguns, for one example, accomplished a lot.
History is full of people shooting their messengers and helpers.
Damn, once again you have taken paragraphs of what i have been trying to say, and put it into a single sentance: "Let us instead guard, by declaration and example."
Great essay and message.
Your olive branch would perhaps hold meaning if it weren't full of name-calling. Everyone gets that there is a philosophical chasm between the self-selected camps. Calling the other side tourists and whatnot is really just more antagonism
Beyond that, while the stoic guard is a nice image to latch onto, by it's very nature, your over-arching argument is that your vocal warnings to would-be lords and masters is itself the tool by which you hope to preserve liberty without violence. Telling politicians and reporters that attempted disarmament will be met with deadly force is not even remotely stoic. That doesn't make it wrong, but it does break your comparison.
If standing armed and ready while displaying no overt agression is the image you admire, then the millions of 'pragmatists' who go to public shooting ranges every year with their evil black rifles and long range sniper rifles are in fact the stoic guards. An observer may not know what their philosophy or goals are, but they certainly know that they are well armed.
I really wish the whole argument between the camps would die down. The whole thing seems like fertile ground for a highly effective false flag operation.
Its not an "olive branch." I don't give a rip what the pragmatists think. It is a document meant to focus Three Percenters on the real issue and to quit wasting time arguing.
Calling people who select their principles according to which are convenient and who carefully arrange them on the side "salad bar" philosophers is factual. Again, its not an olive branch.
The presence of firearms in a home or even on a range is meaningless without the will to use them. See Saddam's Iraq for a recent pertinent example.
You know, I actually agree with you here, Mike. Although, you probably could have been a little less verbose - instead of 4 paragraphs you could have said "hey guys, let's not be dicks to the prags about this."
But other than that, I agree.
I get paid by the word.
Is that better than "insane"?
I guess we're making progress.
Perhaps when confronted with the urge to further the Prag vs. III dialog, one should first try to stay silent. If such effort fails, instead of fully engaging, just shout out "Buckingham Palace Guard" and then just move along. :-)
Possibly, in time it could be shortened to "BPG" and still understood.
Back to my post.
I think the 3's and the 'prags' are working towards the same goal, but just differ on the strategy to make it happen.
For all the bluster, I am sure that when the SHTF some 3's will grovel and some 'prags' will go down blazing.
Speaking of SHTF, how do you see this going down? I don't see something along the lines of 'The War of Northern Aggression' with opposing armies in the field. It is too late for that.
What I see coming is more along the lines of an insurgency. What will the camo be? Not green army digital. It will be dockers and shirts with alligators. Law-abiding mild manner citizens by day, violent insurgents by night.
When the SHTF those currently outspoken and identifiable will be taken down in many violent blazes of glory. When the dust settles it will be the 'prags' who will comprise the insurgency.
I think it will be slow and inexorable. Just like Governor Tarkin, the more they tighten their fist the more people will wake up and join the fight. The more that fight the more they will tighten their fist.
This is the way the world ends.
Mike, well it was either "verbose" or "really long", but I get kickbacks from the thesaurus company if I use less common words.
I have one issue about the comparison with the Buckingham Palace guards. From my understanding it is foreign tourists that do the taunting, I am unaware of British tourists doing any taunting (I could be wrong though). The British are taught about the history and most just walk past the guards with out even looking at them.
The problem is that technically the gun owners that ridicule us would not be considered foreigners but British citizens. The foreigners would be the non gun owners.
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