Tread Carefully

Seizing its chance, New York’s legislature has now, in a breathless rush of immoderate and ill-considered haste, passed one of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Similar measures are soon to be attempted at a national level.

Those in power should be mindful, just now, not to push too hard, too fast; there is a tremendous groundswell of resentment building. It is clearer every day that the very qualities that in bygone days would have distinguished good Americans from bad, and that hundreds of millions of Americans still cherish — beliefs in the importance of personal responsibility, self-reliance, public decency, limited government, piety, traditional folkways, civil society, fiscal responsibility, fidelity to America’s founding principles as enshrined in the Constitution, and the courage to defend our essential liberties at whatever cost (in other words, all the essential qualities that made America “1.0” a great and prosperous nation) — are now seen by our ruling class as varieties of “extremism” to be suppressed and reviled. Their attitude, as they savor the full flush of their power in the heady afterglow of the recent election, is no longer one of respectful disagreement, as parties to a philosophical debate among equals. It is at best the patronizing condescension of adults toward children; lately it more closely resembles the easy disdain of masters for their servants, or of conquerors for the vanquished.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill:

The American eagle sits on his perch, a large, strong bird with formidable beak and claws. There he sits motionless, while his keepers come day after day to prod him with a sharp pointed stick — now his neck, now under his wings, now his tail feathers. All the time the eagle keeps quite still. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that nothing is going on inside the breast of the eagle.

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  1. GW says

    On the contrary, I *want* them to push too hard, too fast.

    I want this grand reaching of theirs to fail, and fail spectacularly.

    Posted January 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Oh, so do I, as I’m sure you understand. What I meant was that they might find that pushing so hard and so fast results in their undoing.

    Far better for the American nation that they provoke a reaction, however unpleasant that may become.

    As I said in a comment elsewhere, what I fear the most for this nation is incremental surrender, and in the end, supine acquiescence.

    The belief that “it can’t happen here” is so deeply rooted in this coddled, complacent and historically ignorant generation, that by the time it finally becomes horrifyingly clear that it can happen here — that it can happen anywhere — it will probably already be far too late.

    Posted January 15, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  3. JK says

    Jeebers. I watched a smidge of the Sandy relief debate and came away with some high regards for NY reps there. (Making efforts to strip the bill of oink – evening news shows the efforts were unsuccessful alas.)

    Odd your people in Albany could be so very different from those you sent south.

    Posted January 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink
  4. GW says

    Malcolm: The incremental surrender has been happening for decades. We’ve slept through it. Their victory is almost – almost – complete.

    The cataclysmic jolt that was Obama’s re-election might have provided the needed awakening. Was it enough – and did it come too late?

    I’m glad they’ve pulled the mask off so completely, to reveal the grinning skull underneath. May their hubris provide their undoing, God, I pray.

    Posted January 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Yes, it may already be too late. Even if not, things have come so far that any reversal is sure to involve a period of considerable unpleasantness.

    Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
  6. There is much to be detested about those who wield most of our society’s power today. But the thing I hate the most is their bloody stupidity (in the British sense of “bloody”).

    The thing I yearn for most, however, is for their stupidity to be bloodied literally.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 3:14 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Easy there, Henry! I know you are one hot-blooded hombre, but there’s no need to be calling for violence here. Few things are as horrifying as civil war, and it’s the last thing anyone should wish for. The greatest value of Second Amendment rights is that they serve as a deterrent to the encroachments of tyranny. (Peace through strength, and all that.)

    Best would be a political reversal. But so divergent have the two prevailing ideologies in America become — so axiomatically irreconcilable are the two visions of America — that a political reversal seems unlikely, unless there is a sudden awakening, on the part of scores of millions of liberal Americans, to the suicidal folly of the course they have chosen.

    Next best would be a peaceful separation of some sort; there are stirrings of that all over. Already we see state and local governments pushing back: first we had the Arizona-style immigration “mutiny”, and now we already see various officials talking about refusing to enforce new gun-rights limitations. But given the geographical interpenetration of the two Americas, disaggregation into two nations will be no easy thing to achieve.

    There are hard times ahead. And when the economic shit really starts to hit the fan, things are going to get “interesting” very rapidly, I’m afraid. Especially in the cities.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  8. “Easy there, Henry! I know you are one hot-blooded hombre, but there’s no need to be calling for violence here.”

    Moi? I make no calls for violence. I have merely adopted a New Year’s resolution: Don’t tread on me, mofo!

    “Few things are as horrifying as civil war, and it’s the last thing anyone should wish for.”

    I know of one thing that’s worse. The last thing I would wish for is another Holocaust.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  9. 320px-Gadsden_flag.svg.png

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  10. JK says

    Well Henry, if it looks like that is gonna come to pass, get thee quick to Arkansas.

    Even our version of Democrats are armed to the teeth.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Yes, Henry, I had the Gadsden flag in mind: hence the “tread” in the title.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    And you can see, of course, why I might have thought your ‘yearning to be bloodied literally’ remark to express, well, sanguinary sentiments.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    And yes, there are worse things than civil war. Holocaust is one. Ovine submission to tyranny is another.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  14. Yes, I understood what motivated your objection to my remark. But you apparently didn’t quite catch my drift when I used the word “literally” metaphorically (you can’t bloody “stupidity”, after all).

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  15. Bill says

    Sad to say, I see a civil war coming. I don’t know whether it will be political or bloodless, but more and more we resemble the decade of the 1850’s. Talk of secession and nullification is already in the air.

    Posted January 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  16. Up2L8 says

    Government officials should not be able to avail themselves of protection by those using weapons of higher capacity than those they let “the peasants” own.

    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink