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Old 10-12-2018, 05:26 PM
Blalron Blalron is offline
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When are "Second Amendment Solutions" justified?

Many proponents of the Second Amendment believe that's it purpose was to allow the civilian population to rise up and overthrow the government if it gets too tyrannical. Let's assume for the purpose of discussion that interpretation is true, and that civilian militias could successfully stage a coup d'etat if need be, and not crushed by overwhelming force.

What criteria do you use to justify taking such an extraordinary act? What would it take for you to feel justified in picking up an AR-15 and shooting at government officials? How do you differentiate "tyranny" from "government policy that I disagree with"?

Last edited by Blalron; 10-12-2018 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:36 PM
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They aren't. "Second Amendment solutions" is a euphemism for "treason".
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:39 PM
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They aren't. "Second Amendment solutions" is a euphemism for "treason".
The American Revolution was treasonous. Was it justified in your opinion?
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:43 PM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is online now
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In response to the OP, this is an interesting and multi-faceted question.

At an individual level, I would have no qualms with using lethal force to protect my children from being abducted by the state.

At a societal level, I would tend to NOT get behind a full-scale overthrow of the government. Often the revolutionaries are just as bad or worse than the government itself.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:44 PM
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The American Revolution was treasonous. Was it justified in your opinion?
From what I've read it mostly wasn't, but it's a bit late to worry about it now.

As for myself, you will never get me to pick up an AR-15 for any reason, but if I were the type that was inclined to cheerfully murder people then I'd say that a second amendment solution would be certainly justified if elections were canceled, regardless of the given reason.

This is not to imply that that would be the only justified triggering event, but it would be one possible one. And it's not to imply that the government we got afterward would be any better - it almost certainly wouldn't be. But a forcible removal would still be justified at that point.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:46 PM
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Many proponents of the Second Amendment believe that's it purpose was to allow the civilian population to rise up and overthrow the government if it gets too tyrannical. Let's assume for the purpose of discussion that interpretation is true, and that civilian militias could successfully stage a coup d'etat if need be, and not crushed by overwhelming force.

What criteria do you use to justify taking such an extraordinary act? What would it take for you to feel justified in picking up an AR-15 and shooting at government officials? How do you differentiate "tyranny" from "government policy that I disagree with"?
If the government exceeds it's mandate and the constitution. Say, hypothetically, that Trump declares himself king and god emperor for life, disbands the congress and takes full control. Not a very likely hypothetical, but I'd say that if that happened then the citizens would be fully justified in rising up against the government.

I don't think that it would be nearly so cut and dried wrt it being crushed like a bug that folks on this board seem to think. In the case above, presumably Trump et al would have control of the military and police...but I seriously doubt they would fully control either, or that all of the folks in those or other similar organizations would be in lockstep. By the same token, I doubt all of the citizens would be in lock step opposing this either. So, realistically, you are going to have various factions, including government ones that would be fighting it out. I think folks here envision crazy gun nuts rising up and being stepped on like bugs by the government and most citizens who are all in lock step about opposing those (few, scattered) crazy gun nut types, but real life isn't like that.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:46 PM
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If the government cancelled elections, I'd consider it illegitimate and use force to remove them from any position of power they may be holding. I'd try mass non-violent protest first, though.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:49 PM
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Iíll be honest and admit that I used to buy into this line or reasoning. Then I grew up and came to the realization that if it ever really applied it has long been a defunct notion insofar as a group of partisans with small arms stands about as much chance of facing off with even foot infantry, much less mechanized infantry, air cavalry, combined arms, or air assault as an does in deflecting a boot. There are other justifications for recognizing and allowing for an armed citizenry (albeit not without rational oversight and restriction as to the type of weapons and ammunition available to the general public) but figing off tyranny is not one that could be realistically put into practice.

The purpose and benefit of a working democracy isnít that you get the best governance, or eradicate inequality, or whatever, but that when the majority of people feel that they have participation in and accountability over the government, they are far less likely to act out in revolt because even if they donít get everything they want they have far more to lose in pulling the temple down upon their heads. When people are being systematically disenfranchised, e.g. poll taxes and competency tests prior to the Voting Rights Act, and partisan gerrymandering and prohibitive voter i.d. laws post-Shelby County v Holder, it makes them less inclined to accept the status quo and more willing to act out destructively toward a system they may legitimately feel is not responsive to their needs or operated in their interests. That doesnít make such action justified, and it is rare that an internal armed revolt results in anything but instability, corruption, and chaos.

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Old 10-12-2018, 05:55 PM
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The American Revolution was treasonous. Was it justified in your opinion?
The argument was that all men are created equal and thus the leaders should be selected from the body of the people by the people and for the people. Minus that and the government has no foundation for why they are the rulers, beyond physical might, which is not a justifiable foundation.

Note that the founders did not cross the Atlantic and murder King George. They simply issued a letter of notice that they did not consider the government to have any valid justification for its own existence, and then they defended themselves when the British military came for them.

In the modern day US, where all leaders are elected, fairly, by the people as their acceptable and favored leaders, there is no real justification (under the humanistic framework) for disavowing the government. And in neither case is there a justification for violence, except in self-defense.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:55 PM
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The Oath of Office I took has a good summary:
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I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic
As long as the Constitutional checks and balances are still functioning or can reasonably be restored without force, I don't consider violence to be justified. Once that ceases to be the case I have no ethical issues using force against the Constitution's domestic enemies.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:56 PM
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Iíll be honest and admit that I used to buy into this line or reasoning. Then I grew up and came to the realization that if it ever really applied it has long been a defunct notion insofar as a group of partisans with small arms stands about as much chance of facing off with even foot infantry, much less mechanized infantry, air cavalry, combined arms, or air assault as an does in deflecting a boot.
It only takes one bullet to take out the President. (Not a recommendation, just a statement of physical reality.)
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:57 PM
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I've never hurt a fly, and don't own a gun. I can't imagine me shooting another human being for any other reason than self-defense.

However, if some Darth Sideous type plan happened and we ended up in some tyrannical dystopia, well, I might change my mind. The political landscape would have to get considerably worse than it is now. I know some people can't imagine that, but I can.
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:01 PM
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If "First Amendment solutions" have been eliminated, and "Article I, Section 2 solutions" and "Article II, Section 1 solutions" have been rendered impossible, and "Marbury v. Madison solutions" have been rendered impossible, then "Second Amendment solutions" would be morally justified.

If free speech, free press, and freedom of peaceable assembly have been eliminated; and free elections are not possible; and judicial solutions to these usurpations are not possible (perhaps the courts are simply ignored when they tell The Leader he can't dissolve Congress and rule by decree; perhaps the courts are in the same boat as Congress--dead or imprisoned), then violence has already been used, by somebody. By the government itself, presumably; either by some group which initially achieved political power by lawful means but is now acting unconstitutionally; or by some group which has violently and illegally seized control of the state.

It's morally permissible to use force in self-defense--to resist unlawful violence with force. That applies collectively as well as individually.
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:14 PM
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Iíll be honest and admit that I used to buy into this line or reasoning. Then I grew up and came to the realization that if it ever really applied it has long been a defunct notion insofar as a group of partisans with small arms stands about as much chance of facing off with even foot infantry, much less mechanized infantry, air cavalry, combined arms, or air assault as an does in deflecting a boot. There are other justifications for recognizing and allowing for an armed citizenry (albeit not without rational oversight and restriction as to the type of weapons and ammunition available to the general public) but figing off tyranny is not one that could be realistically put into practice.
I don't know, we're continually losing troops in Afghanistan, even highly trained forces like Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, to guerrilla warfare. Granted, these guerrillas have access to weapons that Americans don't; they have RPGs and machine guns, and they build bombs. But if we ever got to the point where there was a civil war in America, the rebels here would undoubtedly start building IEDs and improvised rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Even a handful of trained engineers, a few dozen people to do the manual labor, and a clandestine workshop, could probably crank out illegal armaments equal to what guerrillas in Afghanistan are currently using against our troops.

Everyone always focuses on the guns in this hypothetical scenario but they never talk about the bombs that would undoubtedly be made. Right now there are people all over America who have the ability to create homemade bombs, but no reason to do so. If they had a reason, and they had organization and communication, there would be shit blowing up all over the place.
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:54 PM
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It would take more than just living in a dictatorship, because before it would be moral to take up arms to resist the dictatorship there would have to be some possibility that taking up arms would actually accomplish something.

And in most cases, it just wouldn't. OK, you shoot a few cops, blow up a government newspaper office, drive a truck bomb into a day care center.

And then what happens? Everyone rises up and the dictatorship falls apart? Or what is more likely, the cops die and the next month more cops graduate, they just open a new office, and they use the dead kids from the day care center as propaganda against the rebellion.

Yes, it's morally OK to use violence to save your own life, at least in my ethical system. But overthrowing the government by violence isn't exactly the same thing, is it? It has to be proportional, it has to have some chance of working. And it especially can't be "we need to make things worse via random violence so that the current situation is intolerable and the sheeple finally wake up."

Note that in the case of a foreign conquering army, making things tough on them until they get sick of it and leave is at least plausible. In the case of a domestic authoritarian government that's not going to happen.

And of course as others have said, it's not going to be bands of partisans wandering in the woods shooting it out with light infantry patrols. It's going to be bombings, bombings, and more bombings. Sure, some soldiers are going to get shot in ambush, but it's going to look a lot more like Northern Ireland. And of course if there's an authoritarian tyranny the freedom-loving gun nuts are going to be supporting it rather than resisting it. It's a classic feature of authoritarian movements to have paramilitary volunteers performing quasi-official violent actions in support of the regime. And it's also a classic feature for the fall of the regime to be accomplished by disloyal regime insiders who see their chance.

Which of course means that the most likely outcome of a successful revolt against an authoritarian regime is the installment of another authoritarian regime, sometimes with brand new faces and sometimes with some of the same old faces. Restoration of representative government is much more likely to follow from the peaceful dissolution of the regime, on the lines of the end of the Franco dictatorship.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:00 PM
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Y'all're fighting the hypothetical. In this thread the second amendment solution works.

I'm operating on the assumption that the rebels all simultaneously stand up, fire simultaneously, make perfect headshots on every person in the present government, then put on their targets' clothes and steal their identities. Seamless changeover!
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:01 PM
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If the government exceeds it's mandate and the constitution. Say, hypothetically, that Trump declares himself king and god emperor for life, disbands the congress and takes full control. Not a very likely hypothetical, but I'd say that if that happened then the citizens would be fully justified in rising up against the government.
I fear that the descent into tyranny will be gradual, and there won't be a single defining moment you could unambigiously point to and say "this is when democracy died." Gerrymandering is one of those gray areas. It's anti-democratic, because it can allow a minority party to remain in power despite the wishes of the majority. But is it worth picking up arms for it? What if the minority party maintains power for 30 years despite the wishes of the majority? Is armed rebellion okay in that situation?

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Old 10-12-2018, 07:06 PM
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I prefer a bloodless coup. All smotherings.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:06 PM
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The mistake many make is the assumption that the tyranny would have to be on a national scale.

Not true.

It could be on a local or state level.

Allowing things to get to such a condition is on the shoulders of the electorate. And an armed response would be a horrible bag of shit. Gawd forbid anything even remotely close ever be necessary.

But, according to my research, it is one of the purposes of the Second Amendment, as is supplementing the organized militia, assisting law enforcement, assisting in times of civil unrest, natural disasters, etc..
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:48 PM
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The American Revolution was treasonous. Was it justified in your opinion?
Considering that it was essentially a lower-grab by the richest people in the country whose primary motivation was that they wanted a tax cut? No, it wasn't, and we'd probably be a more mature country today if we'd remained in the Empire and followed Canada's route to sovereignty.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:59 PM
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Considering that it was essentially a lower-grab by the richest people in the country whose primary motivation was that they wanted a tax cut? No, it wasn't, and we'd probably be a more mature country today if we'd remained in the Empire and followed Canada's route to sovereignty.
If I were living in the colonies in 1776, I would have been a Loyalist. If "taxation without representation" is justification for armed rebellion, are the folks in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia justified in taking up arms?
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:01 PM
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In my opinion, people are justified in using violent means to overthrow a regime when the regime is acting in an intolerable manner and there are no non-violent means to change that are reasonably available.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:01 PM
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I'm kind of curious how the Colonies would have handled the imperial abolition of slavery in the 1830s. I can picture a second revolution, though perhaps just of the southern colonies.

In any case, I'm unclear how the Second Amendment justifies insurrection by any stretch of imagination, when the Constitution is explicitly opposed to rebellion and such.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:38 PM
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It's hard to know, except in hindsight. Often after a successful revolution, you just meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Or even worse.

I do admire John Brown.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:20 PM
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If I were living in the colonies in 1776, I would have been a Loyalist. If "taxation without representation" is justification for armed rebellion, are the folks in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia justified in taking up arms?
Sidenote:
In fairness to the Colonists of the time, "taxation without representation" was merely a populist rallying cry. It was not the full intellectual justification behind the revolution which is enumerated very clearly in the Declaration of Independence.

Their grievance was against the King himself who failed to protect the colonies from abuses levied by Parliament, one of which was unlawful taxation. Since the colonies were chartered in the King's name, the colonists felt that Parliament had no jurisdiction over them.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:22 PM
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It only takes one bullet to take out the President. (Not a recommendation, just a statement of physical reality.)
Or start WWI
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:29 PM
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In any case, I'm unclear how the Second Amendment justifies insurrection by any stretch of imagination, when the Constitution is explicitly opposed to rebellion and such.
First let me say that I fundamentally believe in the right to self defense as a human right. Therefore, I don't see any principled way to justify disarming citizens while arming government agents.

However, in this day and age of modern militaries (the argument regarding the pros and cons of modern standing militaries is a separate one), I do feel that the 2nd amendment is a bit dated and should be rewritten to enshrine the right to self defense and to specify defense against whom exactly. The US had no standing military to speak of unti at least the mid-19th century, and popular opinion was largely against one. Americans for the most part did not view armed defense as something reserved for a soldier class, but viewed it as a duty of every able bodied free citizen.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:37 PM
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It only takes one bullet to take out the President. (Not a recommendation, just a statement of physical reality.)
Several people tried to kill Adolf Hitler without success (although a time-looping Tom Cruise is inching ever closer with each iteration), and the Central Intelligence Agency had a concerted campaign to figure out how to kill Fidel Castro in the early 'Sixties, who instead annoyingly live another five decades, which either speaks to the difficulty of assassinating someone who is aware and has the means to secure himself, or the utter incompetence of the CIA (not mutually exclusive).

Even if you manage to kill the leader, totalitarian regimes are rarely so unstable that they completely collapse at the death of the leader. Neither the Soviet Union nor the Peoples Republic of China fell apart when their founding leaders died, and continued to survive despite internal power struggles. The "Go back and kill Hitler" meme only works if you assume that an angsty failed artist was the only thing that caused Germany to tilt toward fascism and anti-Semitism even those fascist and hyper-nationalist regimes were emerging all over Europe.

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I don't know, we're continually losing troops in Afghanistan, even highly trained forces like Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, to guerrilla warfare. Granted, these guerrillas have access to weapons that Americans don't; they have RPGs and machine guns, and they build bombs. But if we ever got to the point where there was a civil war in America, the rebels here would undoubtedly start building IEDs and improvised rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Even a handful of trained engineers, a few dozen people to do the manual labor, and a clandestine workshop, could probably crank out illegal armaments equal to what guerrillas in Afghanistan are currently using against our troops.
Here's the thing; the Afghans don't have to "win"; they just have to make it so costly and unpopular that US and Coalition nations decide to give in, and they are perfectly happy to throw people into the grinder on often-literal suicide missions in order to make that pain felt. A domestic rebellion is a different animal entirely, insofar as tyrannical leaders don't have anywhere to go, and as long as they enjoy a measure of popular support such that they don't have soldiers literally abandoning their posts, partisans can make life unpleasant but they cannot defeat a modern professional army. The Red Dawn scenario of scrappy rebels is good storytelling but in practice the Wolverines would be killed or starved out in a winter.

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Y'all're fighting the hypothetical. In this thread the second amendment solution works.

I'm operating on the assumption that the rebels all simultaneously stand up, fire simultaneously, make perfect headshots on every person in the present government, then put on their targets' clothes and steal their identities. Seamless changeover!
Well, okay then. So, what prevents the next batch of malcontents from doing the same to the newly self-appointed leaders if they do not feel that their interests are being represented?

Mao Tse-Tong said that "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun," but Mao would not recognize the government today's PRC as resembling anything like his revolutionary ambitions. Guns (and bombs, gas, et cetera) are great for creating instability but they don't lend themselves to creating a continuity of governance without some kind of popular consensus among the people who control industry and infrastructure. Want to shut down the government? Recruit farmers, truck drivers, and airplane pilots to your side. After a week of no deliveries even moderate sized cities will be in chaos, and as good as military logistics is on the battlefield, it cannot replace what the private sector does to keep the country working within its own borders.

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Old 10-12-2018, 09:41 PM
Textual Innuendo Textual Innuendo is offline
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In my opinion, all the amygdala-driven gun-cradling fantasists completely lost all legitimacy with this "I need mah guns to overthrow tyrants!" argument when it was determined that A) our government irrefutably spies on all of us all the time, forever, and won't even pay lip service to stopping, and B) our government passed the Patriot Act and it's various associated laws literally establishing a police state that hasn't been dismantled to this day...and what did our esteemed gun crazies do in response? Anyone? That's right, nothing. They sat on their fat little butts and did absolutely nothing.

The fact that since 2014 police have reliably stolen more than robbers every year and we are steadily losing the right to assemble are just icing on the cake that don't really matter either way, because no gun nuts are ever going to do anything about it.

But I suppose this is tangential to the hypothetical - as to what it would take ME to pick up arms and try to violently insurrect, that point doesn't exist. I don't think it would actually solve anything, either personally or societally. And personally, I'll flee this sinking ship well before it gets to that point, and live out the remainder of my days in some nice tropical paradise as an expat. Cowardly? Perhaps. But if everything is screwed on a societal level anyways, I don't see that it does any good to go down with the ship, or to stir the pot even more. So more the "least bad" option available at a personal level.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:44 PM
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In my opinion, all the amygdala-driven gun-cradling fantasists completely lost all legitimacy with this "I need mah guns to overthrow tyrants!" argument when it was determined that A) our government irrefutably spies on all of us all the time, forever, and won't even pay lip service to stopping, and B) our government passed the Patriot Act and it's various associated laws literally establishing a police state that hasn't been dismantled to this day...and what did our esteemed gun crazies do in response? Anyone? That's right, nothing. They sat on their fat little butts and did absolutely nothing.

The fact that since 2014 police have reliably stolen more than robbers every year and we are steadily losing the right to assemble are just icing on the cake that don't really matter either way, because no gun nuts are ever going to do anything about it.

But I suppose this is tangential to the hypothetical - as to what it would take ME to pick up arms and try to violently insurrect, that point doesn't exist. I don't think it would actually solve anything, either personally or societally. And personally, I'll flee this sinking ship well before it gets to that point, and live out the remainder of my days in some nice tropical paradise as an expat. Cowardly? Perhaps. But if everything is screwed on a societal level anyways, I don't see that it does any good to go down with the ship, or to stir the pot even more. So more the "least bad" option available at a personal level.
QFT. More power to you, not cowardly at all.

I'm a firm believer in voting with your feet and avoiding violence whenever possible.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:53 PM
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I think the simple answer to the OP is "never". The only circumstances in which taking up arms against those in power would be a collapse of democracy and the rule of law. When there is no functional Constitution, it's meaningless to explain your actions according to Constitutional principles. The justification for lethal force would rest on one's personal ethical principles.

That's why Constitutional protection for the violent overthrow of government is a ridiculous concept, almost an oxymoron. It's never justified in a functional democracy where the rule of law prevails; and if those things do fail, the Constitution is irrelevant and you just have to do what you think is right.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-12-2018 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:56 PM
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First let me say that I fundamentally believe in the right to self defense as a human right. Therefore, I don't see any principled way to justify disarming citizens while arming government agents.

However, in this day and age of modern militaries (the argument regarding the pros and cons of modern standing militaries is a separate one), I do feel that the 2nd amendment is a bit dated and should be rewritten to enshrine the right to self defense and to specify defense against whom exactly. The US had no standing military to speak of unti at least the mid-19th century, and popular opinion was largely against one. Americans for the most part did not view armed defense as something reserved for a soldier class, but viewed it as a duty of every able bodied free citizen.
Thing is, you're sliding from personal self defense to defend of the state, there, and since by your own admission, the 2nd Amendment amendment should be rewritten for clarity, I'm not really sure how this relates to my earlier comment.
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:02 PM
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I think the simple answer to the OP is "never". The only circumstances in which taking up arms against those in power would be a collapse of democracy and the rule of law. When there is no functional Constitution, it's meaningless to explain your actions according to Constitutional principles. The justification for lethal force would rest on one's personal ethical principles.

That's why Constitutional protection for the violent overthrow of government is a ridiculous concept, almost an oxymoron. It's never justified in a functional democracy where the rule of law prevails; and if those things do fail, the Constitution is irrelevant and you just have to do what you think is right.
It was never supposed to be a check on a properly functional democracy, so that's kind of a silly thing for you to say...a strawman, basically. It was supposed to be in case the democracy stopped functioning because the founding fathers didn't actually know if their little experiment would work and they saw what happened when a strong government essentially disarmed the majority of the populace, and also, in their minds at least, how an armed citizenry could defeat one of the great powers on the planet (with a little help from our friends, of course).

Whether that's still true today is, obviously, debatable, but only crazy people and the fringe talk about 'second amendment solutions' wrt a properly functioning democracy.
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  #34  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:11 PM
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I fear that the descent into tyranny will be gradual, and there won't be a single defining moment you could unambigiously point to and say "this is when democracy died." Gerrymandering is one of those gray areas. It's anti-democratic, because it can allow a minority party to remain in power despite the wishes of the majority. But is it worth picking up arms for it? What if the minority party maintains power for 30 years despite the wishes of the majority? Is armed rebellion okay in that situation?
I don't think it will happen at all, gradual or sudden. I think at this stage we are beyond that. Since both sides use gerrymandering and have done so for over a century, I'm not overly excited about it...and my WAG is folks around these parts will be ok with it when the Dems get their crack at it in 2020. I also don't think a minority party can or will remain in power for 30 years, but assuming they do so using the system, then that certainly isn't a situation where it's ok to use 'second amendment solutions'.

Perhaps down the road we will allow the constitution to be eroded to the point where it's meaningless. Between the left and right, they both certainly seem bound and determined to ax the parts they don't like and stomp all over it. If that happens, and it's gradual as you say, then the majority will be going along with it, so perhaps there won't be any sort of uprising. Personally, I think our system is relatively self correcting, and we've certainly been further out of true than we are today in the past, so I don't foresee the citizens ever really needing to use those arms against the government.


At any rate, you asked and I answered...it's justified, IMHO, if and when the government steps beyond it's mandate or attempts to set aside the constitution by fiat.
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  #35  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:16 PM
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It was never supposed to be a check on a properly functional democracy, so that's kind of a silly thing for you to say...a strawman, basically.
I wasn't discussing the historical origins of the U.S. Constitution.

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Whether that's still true today is, obviously, debatable, but only crazy people and the fringe talk about 'second amendment solutions' wrt a properly functioning democracy.
What I said is essentially exactly the same as what you've said here: that the idea of incorporating the right to arbitrary violent overthrow of democratic government into the constitution upon which the democracy is based is ludicrous.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-12-2018 at 10:17 PM.
  #36  
Old 10-12-2018, 10:30 PM
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Perhaps down the road we will allow the constitution to be eroded to the point where it's meaningless. Between the left and right, they both certainly seem bound and determined to ax the parts they don't like and stomp all over it. If that happens, and it's gradual as you say, then the majority will be going along with it, so perhaps there won't be any sort of uprising. Personally, I think our system is relatively self correcting, and we've certainly been further out of true than we are today in the past, so I don't foresee the citizens ever really needing to use those arms against the government.
The protections of the Constitution are only as strong as the willingness of the government in power to enforce them, and the people appointed to adjudicate them. While "both sides" have engaged in partisan gerrymandering to suit their purposes in local and state elections, one party in particular has used systematic, widespread gerrymandering to essentially exclude participation by entire classes of people, and has applied other measures such as restrictive voter i.d. laws to exclude demographic sections of voters.

The notion that "it can't happen here" is given iie by the fact that "it", in the sense of systemic repression and brutality, has often happened here, just to marginalized groups who have been ignored and often practically written out of history books (at least, those that you study in school). People want to treat German fascism and the rise of Adolf Hitler as some special case but he was only one of several fascist leaders in Europe, who had the advantage of gaining control over the German industry and national angst over being set aside by older dominant powers. That we've never had a serious challenge by a hyper-nationalist presidential candidate is in large measure a result of having such a diverse and multicultural population where no one group could be readily isolated and scapegoated for all problems although you can see elements of this in blaming inner city blacks for the "crack cocaine epidemic (as if it was inner city blacks who brought the cocaine into the country, or this was unique compared to the methamphetamine or opioid epidemics which were not inner city phenomena). But elements of this kind of intentional, planned social divisiveness go back to Lee Atwater's infamous "Nigger, nigger" observation about obscuring racial attacks in the guise of state's rights and economic justifications, or the "Southern Strategy" of Republican realignment in the South by inculcating racial backlash against civil rights.

The response to that, however, isn't to arm everybody up and let God sort it out at the Pearly Gates; it is to recognize and attack those deliberate inequalities and the motivation behind them, and to engender greater integration and opportunity regardless of socioeconomic background or cultural affiliation.

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  #37  
Old 10-13-2018, 12:09 AM
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Thing is, you're sliding from personal self defense to defend of the state, there, and since by your own admission, the 2nd Amendment amendment should be rewritten for clarity, I'm not really sure how this relates to my earlier comment.
Right. I was basically agreeing with you that when reading the 2nd amendment in the light of the rest of the Constitution and in the context of the mindset of the time,, it can't logically be used to defend a large scale insurrection against the government.
  #38  
Old 10-13-2018, 01:03 AM
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Question from an outsider, for those who think your constitution needs a provision entitling them to use armed resistance/revolt against the government produced by that constitution:

What is it in the constitution that is so faulty as to produce such a government in the first place?
  #39  
Old 10-13-2018, 01:25 AM
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Question from an outsider, for those who think your constitution needs a provision entitling them to use armed resistance/revolt against the government produced by that constitution:

What is it in the constitution that is so faulty as to produce such a government in the first place?
I believe the idea rather is that the Second Amendment would allow the citizenry to use armed resistance/revolt against a government that was acting against or outside of the U.S. Constitution, rather than one actually produced by it.
  #40  
Old 10-13-2018, 02:21 AM
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Question from an outsider, for those who think your constitution needs a provision entitling them to use armed resistance/revolt against the government produced by that constitution:

What is it in the constitution that is so faulty as to produce such a government in the first place?
Sorry for the double post/reply; thinking about it some more, I would also say that a major part of the intent of the Second Amendment was that an "armed citizenry"/militia was a better model for the national defense of a republic (including defense against a foreign invasion or against an illegitimate insurrection) than a professionalized standing army model; "standing armies" were greatly distrusted by many of the founding generation of the American Republic, on the grounds that some ambitious American Caesar could win the loyalty of the troops and seize power, against the will of, and without regard to the interests of, the people as a whole. For that matter, an argument for a militia model of national defense would also be that, the "militia" (being essentially the people as a whole) would be less likely to abuse its power of armed resistance by overthrowing an essentially constitutional government than would be a professional army (being a small portion of the citizenry, or in extreme cases not even part of the citizenry at all--foreign mercenaries, perhaps). The people as a whole would be unlikely to agree that a government is tyrannical unless it really is tyrannical; a professional army might decide that a government is "tyrannical" simply because it decides to cut soldiers' pay.

A lot of early state constitutional right to keep and bear arms provisions directly relate the right to keep and bear arms with a distrust of standing armies:

"That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination, to, and governed by, the civil power." (Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776; this language was later echoed by several other state constitutions.)

Peacetime standing armies (let alone large professionalized military forces) were really not part of the American experience until the eve of World War II (the first system of peacetime conscription in U.S. history was in 1940), and IIRC, even after World War II, the U.S. started to "demobilize"--as it had always done in the past--before the Cold War (and the Korean War) intervened. The U.S. has essentially had a standing army ever since; and since the end of Vietnam it has been a professionalized standing army (not based on even selective conscription, let alone universal service)--which would probably alarm many members of the Revolutionary generation.
  #41  
Old 10-13-2018, 03:09 AM
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Gerrymandering is one of those gray areas. It's anti-democratic, because it can allow a minority party to remain in power despite the wishes of the majority. But is it worth picking up arms for it?
Well, nobody has since the term was coined in 1812.
  #42  
Old 10-13-2018, 04:33 AM
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I don't think it will happen at all, gradual or sudden. I think at this stage we are beyond that. Since both sides use gerrymandering and have done so for over a century, I'm not overly excited about it
Gerrymandering has been around a long time, but new technology and better mapping information makes it more efficient than it was in the past. It will take a +7 percent vote advantage for Democrats to gain a simple majority in the House.
  #43  
Old 10-13-2018, 07:03 AM
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I believe the idea rather is that the Second Amendment would allow the citizenry to use armed resistance/revolt against a government that was acting against or outside of the U.S. Constitution, rather than one actually produced by it.

It would have to have been produced by the constitution in the first place, or it wouldn't be in a position to act against or outside it.
  #44  
Old 10-13-2018, 07:13 AM
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Sorry for the double post/reply; thinking about it some more, I would also say that a major part of the intent of the Second Amendment was that an "armed citizenry"/militia was a better model for the national defense of a republic (including defense against a foreign invasion or against an illegitimate insurrection) than a professionalized standing army model; "standing armies" were greatly distrusted by many of the founding generation of the American Republic, on the grounds that some ambitious American Caesar could win the loyalty of the troops and seize power, against the will of, and without regard to the interests of, the people as a whole.
As indeed in the UK after the Civil War, to the point that the army was only authorised to exist by an Act of Parliament that had to be debated and voted annually - right up to 1955 if memory serves!

One can trace a number of the founding principles of your constitution back to the thinking of the Civil War and post-Civil War period in England - in this case, the Parliamentarians had the memory of a king raising an army to suppress their rights, and the Royalists the memory of parliamentary rule descending into more or less a military dictatorship - and radical democrats had the memory of oppression by both. Likewise, the objections raised in 1688 to James VII/II permitting Catholic landed gentry to bear arms, but taking away that right from the lower orders (Protestant and Catholic alike).

But the question still remains, what might fail in the system of checks and balances to permit Caesarism to happen, and what way is there to deal with it, short of recourse to arms?

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 10-13-2018 at 07:13 AM.
  #45  
Old 10-13-2018, 07:29 AM
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I believe the idea rather is that the Second Amendment would allow the citizenry to use armed resistance/revolt against a government that was acting against or outside of the U.S. Constitution, rather than one actually produced by it.
The trouble with that is the moment you fire the first shot you become a criminal and the government can go after you with everything it has.
  #46  
Old 10-13-2018, 12:33 PM
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I don't know, we're continually losing troops in Afghanistan, even highly trained forces like Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, to guerrilla warfare. Granted, these guerrillas have access to weapons that Americans don't; they have RPGs and machine guns, and they build bombs. But if we ever got to the point where there was a civil war in America, the rebels here would undoubtedly start building IEDs and improvised rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Even a handful of trained engineers, a few dozen people to do the manual labor, and a clandestine workshop, could probably crank out illegal armaments equal to what guerrillas in Afghanistan are currently using against our troops.

Everyone always focuses on the guns in this hypothetical scenario but they never talk about the bombs that would undoubtedly be made. Right now there are people all over America who have the ability to create homemade bombs, but no reason to do so. If they had a reason, and they had organization and communication, there would be shit blowing up all over the place.
I agree and depending on how widespread or how popular the rebellion there would probably be defectors from both law enforcement and the military who could lend their expertise and possibly supply military grade equipment to the rebellion. Almost every nation on Earth would have an interest in the outcome of an American rebellion. Itís safe to assume some would lend financial support or supply arms to the side they thought best matched their own interests.
  #47  
Old 10-13-2018, 12:50 PM
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The protections of the Constitution are only as strong as the willingness of the government in power to enforce them, and the people appointed to adjudicate them. While "both sides" have engaged in partisan gerrymandering to suit their purposes in local and state elections, one party in particular has used systematic, widespread gerrymandering to essentially exclude participation by entire classes of people, and has applied other measures such as restrictive voter i.d. laws to exclude demographic sections of voters.

The notion that "it can't happen here" is given iie by the fact that "it", in the sense of systemic repression and brutality, has often happened here, just to marginalized groups who have been ignored and often practically written out of history books (at least, those that you study in school). People want to treat German fascism and the rise of Adolf Hitler as some special case but he was only one of several fascist leaders in Europe, who had the advantage of gaining control over the German industry and national angst over being set aside by older dominant powers. That we've never had a serious challenge by a hyper-nationalist presidential candidate is in large measure a result of having such a diverse and multicultural population where no one group could be readily isolated and scapegoated for all problems although you can see elements of this in blaming inner city blacks for the "crack cocaine epidemic (as if it was inner city blacks who brought the cocaine into the country, or this was unique compared to the methamphetamine or opioid epidemics which were not inner city phenomena). But elements of this kind of intentional, planned social divisiveness go back to Lee Atwater's infamous "Nigger, nigger" observation about obscuring racial attacks in the guise of state's rights and economic justifications, or the "Southern Strategy" of Republican realignment in the South by inculcating racial backlash against civil rights.

The response to that, however, isn't to arm everybody up and let God sort it out at the Pearly Gates; it is to recognize and attack those deliberate inequalities and the motivation behind them, and to engender greater integration and opportunity regardless of socioeconomic background or cultural affiliation.

Stranger
Perhaps you don't understand the use of 'I don't think' and 'I personally think'...these generally indicate someone giving their opinion. Your opinion is that it's already happened based on your read of history. I think these are indications that our system has grown stronger over time, able to shift with the shifting attitudes, culture and mores of the citizens and been able, over time, to at least shift our system in better ways. We haven't solved all the problems, but IN MY HONEST OPINION, it's gotten progressively better over time...and will continue to do so. And IN MY HONEST OPINION we have progressed past the stage where the whole thing will fall apart into some banana republic fascist nightmare. And IN MY HONEST OPINION, you are wrong.


See how that works? BTW, where did you get that last bit of horseshit about arming everyone and letting god sort things out from anything I said or wrote? Just curious.
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  #48  
Old 10-13-2018, 12:53 PM
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Gerrymandering has been around a long time, but new technology and better mapping information makes it more efficient than it was in the past. It will take a +7 percent vote advantage for Democrats to gain a simple majority in the House.
Well, the entire history of US voting has been a progression of technology changing the game, and each side attempting to game it for their own ends. In the latest round the Republicans seemed to have come out on top, to be sure, but I have every confidence that they are smart enough to figure something out at some point.
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  #49  
Old 10-13-2018, 01:14 PM
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Many proponents of the Second Amendment believe that's it purpose was to allow the civilian population to rise up and overthrow the government if it gets too tyrannical. Let's assume for the purpose of discussion that interpretation is true, and that civilian militias could successfully stage a coup d'etat if need be, and not crushed by overwhelming force.

What criteria do you use to justify taking such an extraordinary act? What would it take for you to feel justified in picking up an AR-15 and shooting at government officials? How do you differentiate "tyranny" from "government policy that I disagree with"?
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When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of 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
(emphasis added)

Last edited by AHunter3; 10-13-2018 at 01:14 PM.
  #50  
Old 10-13-2018, 01:38 PM
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Iíll be honest and admit that I used to buy into this line or reasoning. Then I grew up and came to the realization that if it ever really applied it has long been a defunct notion insofar as a group of partisans with small arms stands about as much chance of facing off with even foot infantry, much less mechanized infantry, air cavalry, combined arms, or air assault as an does in deflecting a boot. There are other justifications for recognizing and allowing for an armed citizenry (albeit not without rational oversight and restriction as to the type of weapons and ammunition available to the general public) but figing off tyranny is not one that could be realistically put into practice.
Sure, but would the military all line up behind a dictator who abrogated the Constitution?

I mean, if it got so damn bad there was a mass civilian armed uprising, I'd expect many members of the military to join in, even whole units like the National Guard.

So it would be another Civil war, but with few geographical boundaries.
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