Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Red Flag down on the battleground of our Bill of Rights: the American Mind - To Keep and Bear Arms Across Time - pt6

The Bill of Rights which once defined and united us as Americans, is now the issue which least defines and most divides us. Unfortunately what we are so divided over is not what those amendments of the Bill of Rights were written to protect - our individual rights - but over various particulars involved in aspects of exercising them, while the rights themselves are rarely even mentioned. This is especially noticeable in the targeting of the first two, as the importance of those rights that are protected under them, in favor of spittle spewing matches over particular types of speech: 'hate speech','divisive', etc, or in favor of shrieking hysterically over one of the particular types of arms which the 2nd Amendment secures from abuse for us: Guns. This is not the behavior of people who understand and are concerned with the 'inalienable' nature of their individual rights, but that of a people who consider such rights (to the extent they do at all) for their utilitarian usefulness or nuisance value, to the conveniences of everyday living.

This lack of interest is a tri-partisan affair, shared by most on the Left and Right and the non-aligned, so it's not surprising that the rights that are protected by the first and second amendments, are treated not as individual rights, but as lists of privileges that were permitted to us in the past by an old landlord, but which need to be tinkered with so as to be made more useful for the 'greater good' today. In everything from Beto O'Rourke's 'Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47', to Mitch McConnell & Atty General Barr's memo proposing 'common sense gun laws' (for political purposes), we're awash in proposed legislative assaults such as Red Flag laws, Safe Speech Zones, national gun registration databases, Hate Speech Laws, waiting periods, 'gun buy-backs' or flat out confiscations, all are proposed as a means to alter and reform us by adjusting this or that environmental factor in society, to bring about the 'change!' that they so desire to see in you & me.

The fact that there is absolutely no proof that such tinkerings have ever, or will ever work (and much to indicate that they make matters tragically worse), or that their marching and chanting has more in common with efforts to work sympathetic magic than with objective law, doesn't sway them for a moment, should hint at just how contentedly disconnected from reality such people are - the flashing lights and sounds of the political games they are playing, and their relative ranking amongst the players, are more than enough reward for them.

The responses of those who do still grasp the importance and inalienable nature of our rights, shy away from the virtue signaling and calls for limiting everyone's liberty because the criminal actions of a few, they focus on reminding us of the dangers which these proposals pose to our lives, individual rights and responsibilities; the sober need to punish actual wrongs, and the importance of having a deeper understanding of these important principles. The people who care about our individual rights, tend to see you, not as a statistical blip in a political pinball game, but as a human being, and the need to be secure from our own worst and best intentions, because they see the deep and widespread damage which such tinkering will have on our ability to live lives worth living. Case in point, Dana Loesch's comments about the various proposals of Red Flag laws, has been focused on what most other people seem to work so hard at not noticing, that these proposals are reckless attacks not just on guns, but are attacks [as all regulatory law is] upon concepts that are fundamental to all of our rights, such as “innocent until proven guilty":
1) #RedFlagLaws are an inversion of “innocent until proven guilty.” The standard of evidence is low and while state laws vary, many different people, not just family, can report you.
, and the right to face your accusers:
2) You don't have to be in the room (and advance notice isn't required) for the petition to be granted meaning you must wait to defend yourself. Most laws provide no penalty for abuse and no state law allows for civil cause of action against false accusers.
, a speedy trial,
3) Time varies as to how long until respondents can have their day in court. A study conducted on Indiana's law, which said 14 day wait, revealed that the average wait was 9 months. Rights delayed are rights denied.
, and more, while doing nothing to solve the crisis they strive not to let go to waste, no matter what harm they may cause,
4) @davekopel , who has done excellent research on this, has noted that of the four states with the oldest gun confiscation laws, Connecticut, Indiana, California, and Washington, no research has revealed any statistical reduction in crime. #RedFlagLaws​ (Also still No. 4) Furthermore, Kopel notes that nearly 1/3 of such orders are improperly issued against innocent people."
"5) No advance notice is given ahead of serving a #RedFlag order. That worked out horribly for Maryland resident Gary Willis, who was shot and killed when answering his door early morning before the sun was up. This puts LEO in a HORRIBLE position of enforcing these orders," Loesch continued. "
6) Counsel is not provided (Blumenthal draft does, it's of little solace considering), meaning you could be like FL man Jonathan Carpenter, who is waging an expensive court battle to clear his name and reclaim his property because his name was too similar to a drug dealer's."
"7) We aren't arresting people, we're arresting guns. State laws ignore the very reason the petition was granted in the first place: danger resulting in violence or mental instability. No mental evaluations given, no charges for a crime," Loesch continued. "
8) How will confiscated firearms be stored? Local police will be tasked with figuring out storage and bearing the cost of any liability or insurance -- at a time when some struggle with budgets to afford body cams."
"9) This isn't just about the 2nd Amendment. It doesn't matter if you're a 'gun nut' or even own guns. The deconstruction of due process calls into question your 5th and 14th Amendment rights, too," Loesch continued. "
10) Lastly (not really, but I'm sticking to 10), if there is enough evidence to strip you of your rights THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CHARGE YOU or commit you. There are NUMEROUS other options to start fixing this problem WITHOUT sacrificing due process."
Those shrieking for such legislative assaults shrug off concerns for the dangers posed to all, they take it as a given that because some people are dangerous, all should be disarmed of their rights. They take no concern for the likelihood that Red Flag laws will be made use of by the same sorts of people that continue accusing Bret Kavenaugh of high crimes and misdemeanors with less than zero evidence, and those who will destroy lives and reputations in order to further their ideological agenda, out of fear for what a person might do to their favorite cause. This shouldn't be surprising, as the nature of those who act on their good intentions, do so because they expect pleasing outcomes, and consequently the question that is always on the minds of those who intend to 'do good', is not 'should they do these things', but "How best to get around those ten amendments?" in order to transform our lives into something better suited to meet their expectations of their treasured 'greater good'.

Ever since James Madison introduced his first draft of our Bill of Rights as "... an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive ...", it has been seen as, and has served as, something of a 'No Trespassing!' sign thrust into the faces of those who, seeing themselves as being 'the best of us', seek the power to do what they so clearly see that the rest of us need done to us, for our own good, a good which they are supremely confident is in their ability, and responsibility, to bring about, for their vision of 'the greater good'. When you hear and see those who respond to tragic events by shrieking for more laws to ban, censor, reform and re-educate, you know that you're in the presence of a Pro-Regressive of the Left or Right who's seeking to use our laws to tinker with and control your life, as a pinball wizard might shake the table and bang its flippers to control the movement of a pinball through to winning the game.

We are not in a Left vs Right battle, but in one between those who believe in the reality of truth and its centrality to what is good, and those who prefer to think that good is what poll numbers show to be preferred by sufficient quantities of people, and then to pragmatically taking whatever actions would be most useful in making those things 'work'. When you hear some calling for 'common sense' laws to limit your rights and power to live your own life, what you should hear is a call to ignore what is real and true, in favor of what they prefer and find most appealing. It bears repeating: The battleground of our individual rights today, is not primarily on the field of politics or popular culture, but upon our understanding of and regard for what is real and true, versus how pragmatically utilitarian views could be useful in making things 'work'.

No Conspiracies needed - Only a point of view -
If you wonder how this has all come about, I think that the most important point to consider is the way in which we got here:

  • Willingly
Until we realize that, and how, we are unlikely to understand why it's happened, why it's a problem, or how we can even begin to find a way towards remedying it. It was the once widespread understanding of the inalienable nature of our individual rights that enabled the Bill of Rights to serve so effectively in preventing government from trespassing upon our individual rights and powers for so long, but once We The People faltered in seeing those rights as being vital to the hard work of living lives worth living as human beings, and more as things that might help or hinder us in pursuing an easier path to pleasantries, popularity and entertainment... our willingness to thrust the Bill of Rights' 'No Trespassing!' sign in the faces of those who also intend to 'do good' unto us, also began to falter.

For those of us who desperately want the Bill of Rights to remain standing guard, it's important to understand how such vital rights are transformed into merely useful things in people's minds, and to recognize what it is that we ourselves habitually do, which aids them in that. Those who want to find a way 'through the gate or over it', intuitively follow a pattern of actions which circumvent them, and it requires focusing on anything but what the point of each amendment is about, and that gives the battleground over without a fight. How is that done? Conspiracy? Nope, just seeking to 'do good' for useful reasons, with little understanding of the the fundamentals involved or of the consequences likely to follow from such actions, and in the process, all the barriers you would've put up to doing what you may secretly have most wanted to do, fall.

Denis Prager formulated an excellent expression for this, is:
"GI - W = E", which means, "Good Intentions (GI) minus Wisdom (W) leads to Evil (E)."
Sums it up well. It takes real thoughtfulness and attention to be able to see self evident truths and to avoid unexpected evils, and all it takes to blind people to them is by not mentioning their need to do so. Our educational system has been deliberately not doing that for well over a century, and the pay off for that has been the endlessly entertaining spittle spewing matches over everything except what should be attended to and considered, and the steady encroachment of govt power on our politically essential individual rights which the Bill of Rights was written and ratified to defend and protect, moves on.

One way to notice more of what mostly goes unnoticed in all the spittle spewing matches, is to, for just a moment, ignore the language of the 1st and 2nd Amendments, and looking instead at what they were written for.
  • 1st Amendment's purpose is to shield your actions from government interfering in your right to think, question, worship, assemble, and hold your government to account.
  • The 2nd Amendment's purpose is to preserve your right to defend your life and what is rightfully yours, by forbidding government from interfering in your ability to keep & bear those arms which you deem best suited to that purpose.
Now compare that with how their opponents attack them:
  • The 1st Amendment's protections are reduced to only 'free speech', and while it makes no mention of what kind of speech it is to protect, the amendment is attacked for permitting 'Hate Speech!' to be spoken.
  • The 2nd Amendment's protections for your ability to protect you and yours, is reduced to being a permit for, not even arms, but to what the amendment makes no mention whatsoever of, guns - today the AR-15 and yesteryear the .38 'Saturday Night Special' handgun - and it's then attacked (and defended) by behaving as if that's what it's all about.
By such means, both amendments are scarified and polarized and reduced down into more easily assailable particulars of 'Hate Speech' and 'Assault Rifles', through our ignorance of and inattention to their purposes, and without reference to or concern for those rights which they were written to secure us from govt trespasses, and if unchecked both they and all the other individual rights which are protected by them, will vanish along with their abridgment. And yet, predictably, the issue has devolved into actively preventing 'hateful' speakers from assembling, worshiping, or speaking, and all arms are reduced to some guns which are to be banned, and those 'arguments' are made through attacks that are promoted by those who are most willing to be loud, obnoxious and even violent.

Of course these assaults are made most effective with the unwitting co-operation of its enemies and its defenders. We are awash today with those who oppose guns, and who oppose offensive speech, but equally damaging are those who weakly or misguidedly defend particular things, be they types of speech or particular guns, rather than the right which that amendment preserves, consequently they either emphatically defend keeping all guns (which is itself a concession against all arms), or those who concede that some (and implicitly all) guns are scary and require regulations upon them, or those who assault freedom of speech with campaign finance laws or calls to 'get tough on' hate speech. This is what both Beto's 'Hell yes we're coming for your assault rifles!', and GOP's eagerness to agree to 'common sense' background checks and red flag laws, have in common, and exemplify. Neither one deals with those rights which a well lived life depends upon, but only with permitting those things that promise to make the daily activities of life easier, safer and more pleasant. Of course making life easier, safer and more pleasant is not a bad thing, but making that the point and purpose of life, is, and using law to ensure that is the key to the gates of hell on earth.

Another problem here, is that along with the desire to 'do good!', comes the hunger for enough (which always translates as: more), and the need for enough power (which always translates as: more) to do that good unto you, and of course the need to have enough power (which always translates as: more) over those in their way. The desire to 'do good!', coupled with the pragmatic desire to ignore what's true, in favor of what will seem to work, for now, can easily accomplish the destruction of any system of laws and justice, no matter how good and strong they might be. Look around you for reference

We are where we are today because we willingly went along with pursuing the useful and 'greater good' in our schools, in our politics, and in our lives. Moving the direction of your thoughts and purposes from what is Good & True, to what is useful - of utility - is not only the means of, but the actual action of, diminishing individual rights in the substance of your thinking. Not only is accepting that utilitarian purpose a means to tyrannical ends, but the danger of that is inherent in the very moment of accepting that as your purpose, as it philosophically dissolves the conceptual substance of those rights within your own mind, as surely as salt chemically dissolves into water, or a 'conservatives' spine dissolves in Washington D.C.

Making usefulness the point of your thoughts and actions, on that purpose which is common to its attackers and its 'defenders' - it serves their needs and their purpose and their vision of the 'greater good', and not the Right itself. It's at this point in time that our newly denatured rights must battle it out for popularity with every other preference that's been newly elevated to the status of 'rights!' - 'Gay rights' and 'Worker's rights', and 'Women's rights', 'Gun rights', 'Constitutional Rights!', 'Right to live near work!', 'Right not to be offended!'. As a result of that continual popularity contest, we are explicitly dividing our culture and ourselves apart from what was once an integrated one, back into a fragmented many, and as it's being done at the very root of our national identity, it's progressively eroding our understanding of our inherently individual rights, into group based privileges of power, which feed upon supplying you with what you 'need', which always involves threats to other group's power, and requires more and more power be given to the state, in order to satisfy ever more competing 'needs'.

It's not a plan that has or will lead to anything actually good.

There's more to say about that process of pitting our individual rights against 'Rights!', to the detriment of our liberty, which... I'll get to in the next post.

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