"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
-Thomas Jefferson (spurious quotation)
An Unplanned "Tract" with Incendiary Origins
I began this "Tracts for Our Times" series from a sense of having some interesting, outside-the-box ideas tailor-made for these highly perilous "interesting times". Perhaps it's emblematic of our times that I find it impossible "to keep my tracts on track". In other words, something even more urgent pops into my brain that supersedes the content I promised in ending my previous tract. Such is my discussion of Donald Trump's "bearing" (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) on the Second Amendment here.
Like my previous piece (about my proposed Justified Outrage movement) this one began with an act of rash public speech. Speech so rash my nervous misgivings drove me to deeper reflection--which then became subject of a new "tract". But unlike the passion-provoked taboo language of "vulgar satyagraha", my rash, incendiary speech here was of the legally questionable kind--the kind that can bring law-enforcement personnel a-rapping at your door.
To wit, I publicly proposed--in several tweets and in article comments at OpEdNews and Reader Supported News--the conditional assassination of one Donald J. Trump. More precisely, I proposed that leading liberal billionaires should put a $1 billion bounty on his head provided he refuses to accept an Electoral College loss in the upcoming presidential election.
Needless to say, numerous respondents--even those who agree with me that Trump is an unprecedented public menace--were shocked and horrified. Didn't I fear being arrested for making an illegal public threat against the life of a sitting president? And why am I crazy enough to now publicly admit having made such a threat?
Why indeed? Because, on serious deep reflection, I'm by no means convinced conditional threats of this nature are illegal. For if they are, the right-wing's ad nauseam justification for the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms--that it's the safeguard of all our other freedoms--is the biggest imaginable piece of bull crap. Or better yet, "bear" crap. In any case, I'd love to be arrested for my conditional threat--provided the ACLU or the Center for Constitutional Rights is notified in advance--and turn this into the show trial of the new millennium. Specifically, about Trump's tyranny and America's less-than-worthless 2nd Amendment.
Why Conditional Threats on Tyrant Presidents Are Protected Free Speech
Readers should understand that I, in writing this, am a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of the Second Amendment--though not necessarily of regulated gun ownership. They should likewise understand that I do not desire the assassination of Donald Trump (wholeheartedly as I despise that fascist tyrant). Rather, fearing massive bloodshed--if not outright civil war--if he refuses to accept a clear electoral loss, I'm proposing the most powerful last-ditch deterrent available to stave off national tragedy (after all safer, saner ones are exhausted).
I do so based precisely on my scathing contempt for President (or better yet, Tyrant) Trump. See, I believe "President Bone Spurs" is a sniveling coward who'd snivellingly accept democracy's harsh judgment on his four-year misrule if faced with likely assassination. Not wishing to see Trump--or anyone--die, I (as an avid chess player) base my proposed tactic on the old chess-players' adage "The threat is stronger than the execution."
And despite finding the Second Amendment an outmoded piece of constitutional raw sewage (worse than useless against modern tyranny), I as a political tactician and strategist work with the laws--and prevailing legal theory--as I find them and not as I wish they could be. One prevalent legal theory, strongly embraced by most Trump supporters (and presumably by the conservatives on the Supreme Court), is that the Second Amendment offers our best (if not only) deterrent against government tyranny. So I'd love to see them embrace a theory of legally protected speech that renders the Second Amendment more useless (as a tyranny deterrent) than breasts on a mechanical bull. If we can't publicly forewarn that a tyrant, upon undertaking certain clearly tyrannical deeds, is likely to be shot for them, what the hell kind of tyranny deterrent is the Second Amendment?
As Dr. Strangelove memorably said about the Doomsday Machine ultimate deterrent, "Of course, the whole point of a "doomsday machine" is lost ... IF YOU KEEP IT A SECRET! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL THE WORLD, EH?" Since the whole point of the 2nd Amendment as a credible tyranny deterrent is that prospective tyrants be forewarned of the vigilant citizens who are forearmed--and of their intent to act. While presidents are generally aware of many U.S citizens being armed to the teeth, these citizens so rarely (like never) signal their intent to invoke "2A" against tyranny that renewing its near-dead credibility as a tyranny deterrent absolutely depends on vigorous public speech signaling intention.
Of course, with a government vastly--indeed, unimaginably--more heavily armed than the citizenry, the consequences of invoking "2A" against general tyranny (say, by corporate influence) are so grave that few dare do so. And with uninvolved citizens so likely to be caught in the crossfire, public opinion (and not just force of arms) is virtually certain to be strongly against those who'd dare. Plus, our government possesses vastly greater propaganda tools for shaping public opinion than militias of armed citizens. These considerations alone should convince us that the 2nd Amendment--almost certainly not intended by the Framers as a tyranny deterrent--is virtually worthless in that role. And yet that toothless right-wing justification is dogma for millions of gun-toting Americans--and possibly soon for a majority on the Supreme Court.
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