Column on Sharron Angle & the Right to be Armed

Sharron Angle & the Right to be Armed

Tibor R. Machan

It

is not an unfamiliar ploy–if you have no arguments, try to ridicule or
just be snide, belittle your adversary.  This is what has been going
on with the messages sent by the Tea Party.  

I follow write ups in The New Republic
and elsewhere and to this date I have found no arguments advanced
against what the Tea Party is saying–for example, that the United
States federal government has an impermissibly wide scope; that the
government’s debt is a huge burden on future generations which cannot
even vote on what they are getting into; that the Second Amendment was
included in the U. S. Constitution in part so as to enable citizens to
resist tyranny should it come to their having to do so; that coercing
people to buy anything, health insurance of sandals, is unconstitutional
and certainly immoral; that forcing citizens to pay for policies such
as federally funded abortions which they object to as a matter of their
religious convictions is also abhorrent, etc., etc. All these snooty
people seem to be able to do nothing more about their dislike of the Tea
Party is to assassinate the character of the membership and leadership.

I
am no great fan of the Tea Party’s style, fancying myself to be more
cosmopolitan than nearly all those I associate with it, yet that is
irrelevant when it comes to considering political alternatives.  We
aren’t talking fashion or erudition here but public policy and last I
checked members of the Tea Party, like I and most everyone I know in
this country, are a significant portion of the public.  

Even
if you are an unprincipled politician or merely a cheerleader of your
candidates and representatives, you must at least pay attention to the
fact that Tea Party members are part of the democratic electorate.  So
in this substantially democratic polity they are entitled to be included
in the discussion of the issues even if their message strikes all the
sophisticated, snooty bunch at
The New York Review of Books and the The New York Times as way off base.  

It
is interesting to me how morally righteous these people can be when it
comes to racial or gender prejudice but how little they care about
dismissing a very sizable segment of the American public such as those
who are part of the Tea Party.  Don’t they even sense how hypocritical
it is for them to champion “the people” but then drop almost half of
those people from the ranks of those who should matter politically,
whose input must be taken seriously?  I guess not!

A
good case in point is the flack Sharron Angle of Nevada has received
for reminding us all that the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution
had something to do with empowering citizens to resist tyranny, should
their government go completely corrupt. As she said on a talk show, “You
know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for
a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against
a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good
for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.”  Never mind the
pedigree–
The Washington Post
and a host of other “liberal” media and politicians tried to discredit
the lady for saying what is quite true and not at all weird, except if
you think like compliant government subjects across the globe.

Yes,
the idea is an utterly respectable one, put forth by the likes of
English political philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and it even
makes an appearance in the Declaration of Independence.  As the document
puts it, “But when a long train abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under
absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off
such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
Although in terms deployed by nearly all the people across the globe the
American federal government may appear to be but a pussycat, in terms
of the American political tradition today’s American government is very
nearly despotic.  (What else would one consider its brutal prosecution
of the war on drugs, for example?)

But
never mind, perhaps Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle of Nevada is
misguided to think that mentioning this feature of the Second Amendment
is relevant today.  So then argue it out and do not treat it as if it
were the ravings of a lunatic.  Cannot the Tea Party opponents mount a
good case against the idea instead of pretending it is nonsense?
 Perhaps not, so they must resort to ridicule and belittlement.  

That, in turn, should inform the rest of the electorate just how impoverished are the views of those who wish to hold on to the status quo,
who want the federal government to continue moving in the direction
typified by Obamacare, massive government bailouts, and the war on
drugs!  If so, then I say all the more reason to get in line with the
Tea Party and “throw off such government”!

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