aNewDomain – Two years ago yesterday, I wrote an editorial urging progressive American liberals to arm themselves – not to start a rebellion but to make an armed rebellion less likely. Yet two years later, whenever there’s a cultural, political flashpoint somewhere in American, only groups of middle-aged, racist white men still show up armed to the teeth.
But the only people who I see getting hurt or killed are their polar opposites … and the only people who I see even remotely endangered anywhere in America are non-white, non-male, non-conservative, and non-white supremacist.
Time to join a progressive militia. But wait. Where are the progressive militia?
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Progressives have seemingly been enculturated for pacifism since the 1960s. That’s not a bad way to oppose your own country’s imperial ambitions, but sometimes you have to fight for liberty for yourself and others, especially if they are attacking the ideas and institutions you cherish.
If a militia composed of progressive African American ex-soldiers and police officers or LGBT ex-soldiers and police officers or feminist ex-soldiers and police officers showed up at these flashpoint events, I suspect that the dynamic of these events would be completely different.
Progressives have seemingly been enculturated for pacifism since the 1960s. That’s perhaps not a bad way to oppose your own country’s imperial ambitions … but it falls short as a way for ensuring your own personal liberty and for the progress of the beliefs you hold dear.
Non-violence and genuine self-defense are not opposites – si vis pacem, para bellum – is not a veiled cry for war.
Progressives often like to think that all conflict can be modeled after Gandhi and Martin Luther King. As I pointed out two years ago, Gandhi only advocated pacifism because he knew that his British overlords liked to think of themselves as moral people and would eventually weary of maintaining a police state.
The same dynamic is not at play with the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis.
They will kill you without mercy the first chance they get.
When the first groups of non-white supremacist militias appear, I suspect that local law enforcement will be initially nonplused. After all, they are only accustomed to conservative white dudes grandstanding about their rights to carry obscene amounts of weaponry at event where they haven’t been invited and really have absolutely no constructive role to play whatsoever.
I’m sure that the new generation of non-racist militias can win over law enforcement through an active outreach program and via social media.
I suspect that such a turn of events would tend to make these cultural flash points like Charlottesville more not less peaceful.
But I could be wrong. It all depends on how bad things have really gotten, which I often find I’ve underestimated.
As I pointed out in the article two years ago, the Founding Fathers knew they lived in a violent country and that weaponry could be a vital element for promoting civil discourse.
Americans are a practical lot – why bother listening to someone you hate when you hold all the cards.
The Pew Research Center has conducted surveys related to gun ownership for years. One item that consistently shows up in their surveys is that the lion’s share of guns are owned by conservative white men.
If the Second Amendment has any political significance – which everyone from the Founding Fathers to the Supreme Court says that it does – then this is a grotesque imbalance that must be corrected. Happiness may not be a warm gun, as John Lennon sang in more innocent times. But there is some real security in it.
For aNewDomain, I’m Tom Ewing.