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January 22, 2013

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Gandhi (the movie)?

Not if you've seen the sequel.

Wow, I never thought that Rush would be a Black Panther Party supporter.

Perhaps the NEW Black Panther Party should show up on his doorstep and let Rush know how much they appreciate his support.

Nice observation on The Hobbit. We just saw it, and enjoyed it, bearing in mind that it's PJ's Hobbit, not Tolkien's. But I didn't catch that particular, and significant, change.

"But I think Nazis would have shot MLK and then gone about their business."

Luckily, we live in a civilization wherein the Nazis can shoot MLK and then go about their business like clever boots.

"I don't know, I'm just asking. If John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?"

I don't know, I'm just answering, if John Lewis had had a gun, I think he would have been shot before he reached the bridge and then beat upside what was left of his head and his body dragged behind a pickup truck, and then Ronald Reagan would have placed his podium right smack dab on the chalk outline around Lewis' body and kicked off his campaign for President while holding a coon gun over his shoulder.

I don't know, I'm just asking, but if Django was not a figment of Quentin Tarentino's imagination, would he shoot fat f*ck Rush Limbaugh through the eye with his six guns and then have his horse do circus tricks over the carcass?

I don't know, I'm just speculating here, but if Lewis had chosen guns over "what he says" was peaceful resistance, I think we would have saved ourselves a lot of trouble through the intervening years and there would have been roughly 20 million dead modern Republicans, many of whom would have been gunned down as they crossed over the bridge from the Southern Democratic Party.

I don't know, I'm just kind of free associating here, but if Lewis had decided armed resistance would have been effective, I suspect I wouldn't have had to look at Tea Party illustrations of Barack Obama dressed as an African witch doctor.


I don't know, my mind, it wanders, but if John Lewis started waving around automatic weapons with large capacity magazines in Limbaugh's grill I suspect the latter vermin would announce his support for stringent gun control in a voice several octaves above his usual Foghorn Leghorn, but I doubt Wayne LaPierre would hire Lewis as a teacher/armed enforcer in his kid's grade school.

If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?

Rush thinks the law in 1960s Alamaba would have sided with AA's who killed whites in self-defense ?

"Rush thinks .."

No, he doesn't.

I'm just saying, but if John Lewis thought violence was the answer, Limbaugh's minstrel show would have been fatally fire-bombed early on and AM radio would still be a place to go for high school sports and a little MoTown, instead of being the vermin-infested home of white trash it has become.

If John Lewis has less self-control, the Virginia State House would be in flames today and Bilbos ...

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+does+bilbo+mean&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

... would be in use to deal with the fleeing scum.

Thank you for this, Doc S.

The fact is that many black people in the 60's did arm themselves.

The fact is also that the significant social changes brought about by the efforts of blacks and others in the 50's and 60's came primarily through peaceable action rather than violence or the threat of violence.

That has been, historically, the norm in this country, and we should all be grateful for it.

But I think Nazis would have shot MLK and then gone about their business.

Say, let's ask Dr. King himself what he thinks about that comparison. ...Wait a minute...

Harry Turtledove wrote an alternate-history story riffing on this with Gandhi: the Nazis win WWII, Gandhi tries nonviolent resistance on them, and they shoot him and go about their business.

It's a way of simultaneously dissing nonviolence, and congratulating white Anglophone bigots and colonialists for having good enough hearts that when they oppress and murder people, a wimpy strategy like nonviolence actually works on them, unlike if they were really evil.

(Even if it's so, "better than the Nazis" is not what you would call a high bar.)

That has been, historically, the norm in this country, and we should all be grateful for it.

Seconded.

That said, the part of the civil rights movement that consisted of nonviolent demonstration, passive resistance and civil disobedience was something unique in American history. It involved people breaking unjust laws, willing to fill the jails, in order to raise the consciousness of enough people so that the laws might be changed. The incredibly large-scale discipline and bravery of the people involved in the movement was unprecedented, and hasn't been repeated. It wasn't the norm at all.

Iirc Churchill would have shot Gandhi, if it had been up to him (actually he was for letting him carry his hunger strike to the (lethal) end). Sir Winston was never above using ungentlemanly methods against the 'lower races'.
Btw, Gandhi himself admitted that non-violent resistance would not work against all adversaries, only those that still reatined some humanity. I think it was this 'moral blackmail' that really angered Churchill.

If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?

Or just imagine if armed whites in the Jim Crow South had done their freedom-defendin' duty to protect people from government tyranny and stood up for black people instead of, you know, terrorizing them, lynching them and murdering civil rights workers trying to register voters. In fact, it seems like our freedom-defendin' gun owners are usually trying to reinforce existing power structures rather than actually defend against tyranny. I know, right? Who would have imagined.

I wonder if Rush will bother to tell his audience who took the initiative in disarming legally-armed blacks in California? (NB I don't actually wonder.)

I didn't see a lot of freedom-defendin' gun owners standing up for the rights to assembly and free speech at the 1968 Democratic National Convention either, come to think of it.

Oh, now you've spoiled "The Hobbit, Part I"! Now there is no point to seeing the movie at all. I was really looking forward to the incredible expansion of the story and all the new things that must have been added.

Further to Phil's comments:

Thom Hartmann's article (not sure where I saw the link first - another blog) on the history of the Second Amendment, which was passed to preserve the power of state militias to control slave uprisings, is really interesting.

No wonder they ignored the "well-regulated militia" language in the recent Supreme Court decision.

I see that President Obama has been compared by the usual suspects (whom a heavily-armed populace never seem to keep in check) to both Adolph Hitler and Chamberlain at Munich -- all since yesterday.

Presumably then, the President must have both shot Martin Luther King AND let the Nazis continue on their merry way.

We may be the first civilization in history that to preserve itself may have to declare martial law, suspend Habeas Corpus, and declare civil war on a fair percentage of its citizenry for the unlikely crime of excessive but malignant silliness.

Instead of the Gettysburg Address this time around, we'll be treated to the Gettysburg Laughing Fit.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so decided, can long endure such malignant, willful, laughable stupidity."

"But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we cannot hallow this ground, because the clowns we fight upon it are so inane and vapid, not to mention so effing stupid, that it would be a waste of good farmland."

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget that milk shot from our nostrils in uncontrollable amusement at the notion that we had to kill so many silly ignoramuses to preserve the Union."

" .. this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom --- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth unless of course clownishness prevails."

The President should issue an "Emancipation From Jiggery-Pokery Proclamation" and free the innocent slaves on the Right from their bullsh*t plantations.

There was some nonviolent resistance against the Nazis that worked. I googled and found this link--

link

I vaguely recall that the Nazi campaign against handicapped people might have been stopped (or slowed down) because some in the church actually did speak out against it. Here's a link about that--

link

I'm not a pacifist myself because I think it'd take more guts than I have to be one--a real one, that is, not the armchair variety. I do wonder what might have been accomplished if there were tens of millions of Gandhis willing to use nonviolent resistance against the Nazis. You wouldn't have to win over the hardest core Nazis to cause the regime to weaken --you'd just have to win over the ordinary person. But it's not a counterfactual I'm willing to argue about much. It is worth pointing out that violence "worked" against the Nazis, but the bulk of the fighting was done by the Soviets, who killed and raped and ethnically cleansed millions of people and then established their own totalitarian empire (not to mention the hundreds of thousands killed by our bombing). A Nazi victory would have been worse, of course.

The problem is getting massive numbers of people to engage in heroic forms of passive resistance and if most people are no better than I am, that's going to be difficult.

On Tolkien, I haven't seen the Hobbit movie, but Jackson did really mangle the characters of Treebeard, Faramir, and Denethor and turned Frodo's compassion for Gollum into a vice in the last movie, so it doesn't surprise me what he did to Bilbo.

You've got me thinking about what the parameters of 'violence' are. And while it is distasteful to link non-violent protest to anything celebrated by Frank Miller, what the college kids did at UC Davis is, in one aspect, no different that the Spartans at Thermopylae or the Legionnaires at Camarón, which in a sense, makes it a question of strength, resolve and will.

And added to that, the framing of the concepts of bravery and cowardice makes the whole thing doubly strange. Think of the examples where commentators noted that suicide bombers are 'brave' and the opprobrium that results. This is not to say that they are revealing some home truths, it is just to note that we have an interesting problem in using the word brave. It is hard to say that it means standing up to an overwhelming force but it must necessarily be accompanied by an analysis of whether the force being resisted is for good or for evil. As soon as you have two sides, and someone puts themselves in a position where the other side can overwhelm them or they can point to some sacrifice on their part, out pops 'bravery'. It is what gives anti-vaccine folks, anti-abortion protesters and climate change denialists the wind beneath their wings.

If you really think about 'showing' non-violence, what exactly does the audience see? My first aikido teacher (a westerner) told this story about about watching a high ranking aikido practitioner doing a lesson and the person who was chosen for the demonstration, a really big bruiser, was taking the fall, and when it came to the final part of the technique, because this guy was resisting in a particular way, the practitioner had to resort to basically a trick to finish it. (with aikido demonstrations where you have someone visiting and teaching, the ranking person will choose different people to show the techniques and then have everyone try them) But what the bruiser didn't notice was that thru the whole course of the technique, there were all of these opportunities that the old guy had to really hurt him that you could see if you were watching and understood, but if you didn't (like the bruiser), you didn't. To show those explicitly, the technique becomes an exercise in violence. So it becomes a paradox, in that you can only 'demonstrate' the non-violence if you show where you have the opportunity to lay out or incapacitate your opponent, but you choose not to. So, in this analysis, Peter Jackson can't really 'show' that Bilbo is non-violent, because it would mean explicitly highlighting the chances he has to be violent and showing that he doesn't take those chances. Face it, if someone starts listing all the ways s/he can hurt you in order to make the point that s/he's not going to do it, I have a feeling you aren't going to think of him as 'non-violent'.

Another http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenstrasse_protest>example of successful non-violent protest against the Nazis. Even without backing of an organisation like the Roman Church.
It has to be said though that the success was only temporary (same with the euthanasia program). But it forced the regime to do a lot of its atrocities out of public view (a major reason to shift the extermination camps to Poland while keeping 'normal' KZs in the Reich).

Thanks for this, Doc. Yes, Gandhi was brave, King and countless others were as brave if not braver. Neither would have succeeded in Nazi Germanny and the historical incidence of nonviolent protest materially affecting the actions of heavily armed or militarized despots is zero--at some level there was/is the implied threat of force, whether widespread violence or violence/imprisonment imposed on the bad dictator. Even in King's case, and that of the civil rights movement, the gamble the protester's took was that the federal gov't (implied use of force) would make things better.

South Africa is as close to turning 'zero' into 'one' as there is, but the role of nonviolence would have been for nothing but for many, many additional pressures, internal and external, that bore on the question.

Another close-but-not-quite example might be the brief coup attempt when the Soviet Union disintegrated. I can't remember who sent troops to Moscow but no one of military significance backed that play and the troops stood down in the face of tens of thousands of citizens coming out in peaceful protest.

It's fair to imagine that if Alabama had been an independent country, the march on Selma would have been more of a massacre and a round up than the beginning of the end.

All of that said, nonviolence is pointless in dealing with Syria's, Libya's, etc of the world.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, on an individual level, there is nothing heroic about nonviolent resistance to rape. It might be prudent to remain passive depending on the threat, but passivity as a means of taking the high ground--I don't see that.

Looking again at Doctor Science's original post, the Occupy movement was a good attempt at nonviolent protest, but the ends weren't very specific. I'm glad it happened, because it put the subject of wealth inequality more prominently into the public conversation, but the laws that were broken weren't the unjust laws.

King's movement was a very focussed attempt for many people to violate unjust laws (segregation laws), and accept the consequences, in order to make it apparent to those not affected by the laws that the laws were unjust. Other examples of pacifism in the face of violence aren't really comparable, and other examples of heroism and self-sacrifice are even more different.

After King, the most comparable civil disobedience movement was the one to resist the military draft - those who went to jail rather than being drafted (and, to a certain extent, those who left the country). The draft laws were repealed (for awhile) and there has been no draft since then, and civil disobedience was probably partly responsible. More important, in that case, was that popular opinion just turned against the Vietnam war.

The idea of being a pacifist isn't really the same as being someone engaged in civil disobedience, although the same person might be drawn to both movements. Pacifism seems like a stricty moral issue - not undertaken in order to achieve a particular result, but simply as a personal stance against violence, perhaps in the belief that violence is always a sin.

I'm not a pacifist, but I would engage in civil disobedience as a political strategy, as being more effective, civilized and humane than violent confrontation. I respect the laws, but would be willing to break (and accept punishment for) unjust laws. That is, assuming I were brave and devoted enough to do so.

"Looking again at Doctor Science's original post, the Occupy movement was a good attempt at nonviolent protest,"

So-so at best. Too violent to be a good attempt at nonviolent protest.

Does "non-violence" encompass "no VERBAL violence, either" in our collective estimation? I mean, would a rally against Obamacare, say, that includes speeches and signs equating Obama to Hitler, say, be considered "non-violent" in the MLK/Gandhi sense? How about a rally outside the NRA's offices, say, that includes speeches and signs equating Wayne LaPierre to Mussolini, just for a change of pace?

--TP

Yes, and yes. Though given past performance, I doubt the (modern) left is actually capable of protesting somebody they hate, without ending up committing acts of violence.

I wonder how Mussolini felt about comparisons to Hitler?

Did he think that sort of thing was below the belt? Or was he hurt that folks didn't compare lesser lights to him rather than Hitler.

I'm not sure Mussolini would like it much if Wayne LaPierre was compared to him.

"La Pierre to Hitler, uum, maybe. Don't tell Adolph. He'd be, let us say, aggrieved."

Maybe Benito would look in the mirror, take his stance, cant his head, push that chin out and say, "Well, yes, maybe I see the resemblance now. He IS Vichy."

I often wonder too if John Wilkes Booth gazed in the mirror and dreamt of a (modern, libertarian) right that looked exactly like him.

the historical incidence of nonviolent protest materially affecting the actions of heavily armed or militarized despots is zero

It may be useful to recall that the context of King's actions were an environment where people were lynched, shot, bombed, beaten, and had dogs set upon them.

So, maybe not zero.

The counterargument here might be that King et al had, in the feds, an even bigger despot to call upon in their aid than the ones they were fighting.

Which would, in turn, lead me to note that it didn't start out that way. It was a decade or more of consistent nonviolent action that made that happen.

I doubt the (modern) left is actually capable of protesting somebody they hate, without ending up committing acts of violence.

Once again, I note, with all due respect, that I have no freaking idea what you are talking about.

SSDD.

Right, I was just imagining the rape tents at Occupy camps, the burned cars and smashed windows when "anarchists" protest against free trade...

With all due respect, I'm not going to pretend these things don't routinely happen, just because you want to think the left is peaceful when it protests.

Brett, I personally and a number of people I know have engaged in acts of public protest and civil disobedience, over the last 30 years, regarding a wide range of issues. Some of these folks (not me) have subjected themselves to arrest and a variety of other forms of harassment by civil authorities.

On NO OCCASION was there either the threat or reality of violence from folks "on the left" engaging in protest. Nothing, not once, ever.

That's the norm.

I recognize that this doesn't fit your understanding of the violent proclivities of the "modern left". Unfortunately I don't think that can be helped.

And I personally attended Michigan Militia protests in the 90's, where we left things cleaner than when we came, everybody was peaceful, (And in which the media would miraculously find the one scruffy person to interview, picking a camera angle where no mothers with their children would be visible.) which probably doesn't fit YOUR understanding of the right.

I suspect no protest movement approaches the level of violence of an enraged mob, full time. And so you're right, I exaggerated, the left is capable of protesting without violence, even given the demonstrated proclivity towards it when the protests get bigger.

So, my bad.

Right, I was just imagining the rape tents at Occupy camps, the burned cars and smashed windows when "anarchists" protest against free trade...

And as always, it's much better to leave those things un-pointed-to when making your point, so that you can mock them for not having gotten the point that you didn't start out making.

Not that I've never done that, but if I have: hopefully with more finesse.

which probably doesn't fit YOUR understanding of the right.

Notably, in this exchange, I have made no statement, exaggerated or not, about the proclivities, violent or otherwise, of the "modern right".

To return to the topic:

What I'm most curious about here is this, from Doc S's original post:

What I notice is that we can't seem to make non-violent heroism into a *story*, a narrative that grips and inspires people, that makes non-violence salient.

What strikes me is that, in some communities, and at different points in time, heroic non-violent action *has been* an important and compelling story.

Nowadays, it does seem to have become kind of quaint. Stupid hippies! Another Bread and Puppets clown show.

When and how did that happen?

"which probably doesn't fit YOUR understanding of the right."

Fits mine just fine. You can find people who take up all sorts of causes, some good and some not, and they do it without personally engaging in violence. You could favor torture and never hurt a fly.

"And I personally attended Michigan Militia protests in the 90's, where we left things cleaner than when we came, everybody was peaceful, (And in which the media would miraculously find the one scruffy person to interview, ... "

Yes, scruffy person. Hey, I know that guy!

Last time I saw him up close was in D.C. in early 1973 for the Nixon Coronation. Couple years before that, he was copping media interviews at Kent State and castigating the Man, despite not being a student in the line of fire, just up the road from me at the time, the day before the sh*t went down.

Then, lo and behold, I open up the paper during Occupy two summers ago and there he is going number two on a non-scruffy guy's car fender .. and now a Michigan Militia deal in the 90's, you say!

He must be from the upper Midwest, because I think Moe Lane used him on loan over at Red State during the public servant/teacher protests at the Wisconsin State Capital in Madison last year.

Who says the media isn't balanced.

Moe finds that guy every time and there you have it, the seamy side of corrupt liberalism.

In fact, for all I know, he is Moe Lane.

That guy's a regular media Zelig.

See, here's the thing. Scruffy guy is a media prop. He hires himself out and rides in the van and out he pops for faux interviews when things get a little too orderly for the entertainment eyeballs.

They have a black scruffy guy too.

Say MLK gets shot by Hitler in Memphis (could happen). Well, next thing you know, black scruffy guy is handed a VCR by CBS or Moe Lane and there scruffy guy is, on camera in the middle of the night emerging through the broken show window of a Korean electronics store in Watts and they stick a microphone in his face and he explains his struggle and then he and the reporter catch an early breakfast together over the film editing machine to beat the deadline.

By the way, I'm not impressed with the "leaving things cleaner than we came" schtickt.

I can usually tell what kind of government will be instituted by protest groups by looking at their after-party clean-up rituals.

For example, if the Michigan Militia left things spotless, well, you can say the same thing about North Korea, judging from the pictures the Google daughter sent back last week and that were featured in lj's recent post.

You could eat off the killing floors.

Berlin, circa 1938? Clean as a whistle.

Except for Kristallnacht, where, if you look closely, there's our boy, scruffy guy, blaming it on the storeowners, the synagogue maintenance crews, and Martin Luther King, who as we know, was shot by brownshirts, but what they were doing in Memphis in 1968 in my pajamas, I'll never know.

My point being that too much scrubbing and litter-picking-uppy leads to, in most cases, not all, a government that is, dare we say, just a little too orderly for my taste.

I think some guys are going to open one of those in Montana soon.

You can bet the media is on its way as we speak with scruffy guy in tow and trying to figure out how they are going to get him over the wall in plain sight of non-scruffy guys with AR15s patrolling the perimeter.

Now, if a protest scene looks like a Holiday Inn the morning after the WHO Tour Bus has left town, Keith Moon dropped off at the local emergency room for some remedial resuscitation, then, baby, you are going to have a government that stays the eff out of everyone's business, one of those low-profile, underfunded governments we're always hoping for.

A government that leaves us the eff alone and lets us shoot that TV as it hurtles out the second story window headed down to the empty swimming pool.

Freedom.



If only THE LEFT would spend its time going into schools and shooting children, like Brett's ideological soulmates . . . but then what would he have to complain about?

A more recent version of non-violent resistance is Iyad Burnat and people of Bil'in trying to keep Israel from stealing all their land. Some of them have been killed in peaceful protests. Many have been imprisoned. They've won a case in the highest Israeli court, but an Israeli settlement is still stealing 60% of their land.

So, I kind of agree with McTex. I think this is one case that shows that non-violent resistance isn't terribly effective in general. There are cases where it has proven more useful, but I think they tend to be more specialized circumstances. Note that Nelson Mandela initially favored non-violence but then founded the ANC's armed wing when he grew disillusioned with the slow pace of progress.

I know some people who were intensively involved in Occupy Boston and their reports were of no violence. One friend is an EMT who spent days and days working in their medical tent; there's lots one can say about the Occupy movement, but the notion that it was particularly violent is just nuts.

He's a trickster and a burglar, not a fighter; he's very brave (on occasion), but his bravery comes from his willingness to take risks (like walk into a dragon's den unarmed) and to do what he thinks is right (as with the Arkenstone), not from an urge to ATTACK!!

IIRC, in the movie, Bilbo isn't an action hero in the movie, but he does end up in situations where he has to fight. ex. not being a fighter, he's unsure and wary of Sting when he first gets it. and for the most part, he leaves the fighting and slashing to the others. he's also tricksey, sneaky and clever when he needs to be. he's definitely the weakest (in the fighting sense) of the bunch, and everybody knows it. so, i thought Thorin's respect at the end was based mostly in a sense of relief upon learning that Bilbo could actually take care himself (and others) and wouldn't be the complete burden everyone was assuming he'd be.

i forgot to add:

...in the movie, in the movie, in the movie...

Brett:

"Right, I was just imagining the rape tents at Occupy camps, ..."

I'm sure that you were imagining many things, Brett. I'll refrain from asking about what was in your hand when you did imagine this.

If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? I don't know, I'm just asking.

The answer is "Yes," Rush.

Selma was about voting rights. How would having guns have helped? Indeed, how would it have helped get decent schools, admission to state universities, or a room at a motel? Does Limbaugh think that waving a gun at an employer gets you hired or promoted?


Many civil rights workers had weapons so they would have a chance to live through the night to protest unarmed another day.

That may be so but that does not make it armed resistance in the usual sense.

The national Guard and other Army units were armed and keeping the peace. So the the protests weren't purely weaponless pacifist events.

In fact, had the armed troops not been there, it's reasonable to imagine that the protestors would have been violently dispersed; incurring many casualties in the process.

Guns are the tool of liberty

it's reasonable to imagine

There's no need to imagine what would have happened under one scenario or another. What actually did happen is what we are discussing.

There were a number of occasions on which civil rights protestors during the MLK era were assisted by the National Guard.

There were an enormous number when they were not.

As a simple example:

First and second Selma to Montgomery marches, no guard. Third march, after pictures and film of blacks having the living shite beat out of them appeared in newspapers and TV nationally, the guard showed up.

Had the first and second marches not happened, the guard would not have appeared. The feds were shamed into bringing them out.

They were shamed by the sight of people, mostly black, placing their own bodies in harms' way and offering no violent resistance to the extreme violence visited upon them.

These are historical facts, we don't have to play imaginary games and wonder "what if".

The "tool of liberty" is people's willingness to earn and keep it.

Sometimes guns are involved, quite often not. In this country, usually not.

It's something we should be grateful for.

incurring many casualties in the process.

Also, not for nothing, but many casualties were incurred, as it turns out.

Including King himself. But far from him alone.

Were you alive at the time? If so, were you living under a rock or something?

A lot of people were beaten, shot, lynched, bombed, had dogs set on them, and generally subjected to unrelenting terror and threats of violence.

The national guard did not magically ride into town on their white horse and save the day. What made things change was black people's demonstrated willingness to not be cowed by threats and acts of violence.

Guns are the tool of liberty

Baloney. Lawyers and politicians have done more to secure our freedoms and liberties than any amount of guns ever have, and that's a stone cold -- and, for certain types of people, unfortunate -- fact.

"Lawyers and politicians have done more to secure our freedoms and liberties than any amount of guns ever have, ..."
Unfortunately, with success, they then proceed in the opposite direction.

"Baloney. Lawyers and politicians have done more to secure our freedoms and liberties than any amount of guns ever have, and that's a stone cold -- and, for certain types of people, unfortunate -- fact."

Was it lawyers with their brief cases that freed us from the Brits? Stopped the secession of the South with its slavery? Sopped Hitler?

lawyers are great - ok not great, but preferable to violence - when they work. Sometimes they don't work. Thankfully those ocassions are rare and extreme. Deny the rare and extreme at your own peril.

It is interesting to note that pacifist utpoianists like Phil eschew guns as a means, but are only able to do so because they rely on others to use guns on their behalf; i.e. police, armed forces.

So, even for the phils of the country, it's not really a matter of guns not contributing to liberty and security, it's more a matter of who has the balls and skill to use the guns appropriately. Obviously phil has, probably appropriately, self selected out of that equation. A man has to know his limitations.

The point, again, being that even phil relies on guns, albeit through agency, to defend him and his liberty.


Sorry, b----hawk/someone, you've been asked to leave once and I am asking you to leave again. Pick a fight somewhere else.

Brett, do you have a reference for the "rape tents"?

The Occupy movement itself was not violent, never advocated violence, nover organized it. There were individuals who moved into camps and did violent things and got thrown out. However, isolated actions by individuals are not the same as group intentions.

If they were then Brett would have to label the Republican party as a violent organization.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/sexual-assaults-occupy-wall-street-camps/story?id=14873014>This, for instance, or http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/zuccotti_park_big_top_ilBy4VfYIwDGt2I1rM33vL>this.

The Occupy movement itself didn't regard itself as violent, as it occupied public property, and sometimes private, to the exclusion of other people having a right to be there. But they did have a rather serious problem with violence, including rape, anyway, they had a remarkably high number of "isolated actions".

You don't have to advocate or plan violence, in order to have a problem with it. I think the problem they really had, frankly, was that the people they attracted were necessarily not representative of the general, peaceful, public, because they were people with the time on their hands to "occupy". Unfortunately, one of the ways they were unrepresentative was by being a bit more violent on average than the general populace.

"You don't have to advocate or plan violence, in order to have a problem with it."

Gee, I hope you hold gun owners to the same standard...

Gee, I hope you hold gun owners to the same standard...

No, when it comes to guns, everyone is only responsible for their own actions. What a small handful do can in no way ever be held against a group of like-minded folks, or used as motivation for public action or policy.

Also sprach Bellmore.

I don't see that you have any point to make here, Brett, other than making weird off-topic claims about the violence of the modern left.

I have no freaking idea what any of that has to do with MLK. Or, frankly, with much of anything, for that matter.

King was not a leftist. He's been dead for 45 years, I'm not sure he even qualifies as "modern" anymore.

There are people who continue his legacy of non-violent political and social action, and many of them have accomplished some really good things.

Some of those folks are, broadly construed, "leftists". Some of them aren't. Some don't have any particular interest in situating themselves in one place or another on the political spectrum, they have other motivations.

Maybe you want to get some information and context before spouting off.

And seriously, any reasonable accounting of violent political and social action in this country in the last generation or so WILL NOT be flattering to your point of view, so you may well just want to drop it.

Darned right I do. With the understanding that "gun owners" is a pretty large group, and I don't like conflating gangbangers who own guns with ordinary people who do. CCW permit holders, for instance, have a well established record of being much MORE law abiding and non-violent than the population average.

Here is a word for you to go look up, Brett:

self-awareness

Embrace it.

I don't like conflating gangbangers who own guns with ordinary people who do.

Huh. "gangbangers," and "ordinary people?"

Is it then your position that the state has the right to strictly limit who can have a gun, so as to exclude "gangbangers?" I thought you opposed laws restricting gun ownership and carrying rights. Was I wrong?

Brett, how the bloody hell do I know that YOU are an "ordinary person" and not a "gangbanger"? Serious question. Is your own say-so supposed to be enough to settle the matter?

I don't take it for granted that you are a "gun owner", either, mind you. But I'm willing to take your word that you have gun ownership in common with gangbangers, on the grounds that it could be an admission against interest.

But any claim that you are somehow more trustworthy than a gangbanger is not in the same category. It's no more inherently reliable than my claim that I am handsome and charming.

--TP


WSJ Article

I wonder if anyone thinks the people in this article would be better off with more guns in thier community.

Byomtov, I'm quite comfortable with people being stripped of the right to keep and bear arms after a judicial proceeding comparable to a felony trial, complete with right to trial by jury. Which is how I'd propose identifying gang bangers for purposes of revocation of civil liberties.

TP, I have the fact that I metabolize in common with gangbangers, too, but it's still not a terribly useful basis for sharing blame around. Generally speaking you should use the most detailed breakdown of people available which correlates with the behavior in question, (Ideally "individual") for assigning blame. You'd never use a category like "gun owners", with such enormous and relevant internal variation for assigning blame, unless you're just intent on blaming innocent people for what somebody else did, for political purposes.

Isn't that why we object to racism, after all?

Anyway, I've led us astray, when all I wanted to do was point out that the "Occupy" movement wasn't a very good example of non-violent protest.

No, when it comes to guns, everyone is only responsible for their own actions.

Something to ponder.

Something to ponder.

Fine with me. "Everyone is only responsible for their own actions" doesn't quite cover all the bases, IMO, but it's not an unreasonable point of view.

All I ask is that, it that's how you want to play it, then you play it what way all the time. No picking and choosing.

And if folks don't recognize when they are picking and choosing, that's where self-awareness comes in.

Thanks.

It might be language attrition on my part, but

"You don't have to advocate or plan violence, in order to have a problem with it."

does not equal

"everyone is only responsible for their own actions."

What the eff are "gang bangers," even? What is Brett even talking about here? Does anyone know? Does HE know? Is it 1992 all of a sudden?

But I think Nazis would have shot MLK and then gone about their business.

The thing that I think bears pointing out here is that somebody did, in fact, shoot MLK.

Had MLK been leading an armed insurrection seeking to overthrow unjust civil government by force, that would have been the end of the story. Unjust civil government 1, MLK 0.

Because that is how most armed uprisings against unjust civil government have ended in this country. Shay's Rebellion failed, the Whiskey Rebellion failed, John Brown's effort to inspire a nation of black Spartacus's failed, the anarchist bomb throwers failed, the Weather Underground failed.

All failed.

The labor movement of the early part of the 20th C is probably the only case I can think of where the use of force actually accomplished anything constructive.

Almost every case of positive social change in this country has come about through non-violent means. If someone can think of significant counter-examples that I have left out, please advise.

And I'm deliberately leaving the Civil War out of it, because the goal of that war was not changing unjust racial codes in the south. Certainly not initially, and for most people not at all.

It may well be that King's fate would have been different under the Nazis, but we aren't ruled by Nazis, and aren't likely to be ruled by Nazis, so that's kind of a dead letter.

IMO Doc S's point about our losing the narrative on the value of non-violent civil action is, IMO, extremely apt. I'd be interested in hearing folks' thoughts about it.

If the discussion is going to be about OWS rape tents and what would have happened to MLK in a bizzaro-world Nazi USA, I'll probably stand down at this point, because I'm not sure what the value of any of that is.

Thanks.

"Anyway, I've led us astray, ..."

I take personal responsibility for allowing you to lead me astray.

"Anyway, I've led us astray, .."

I think W.C. Fields started a sentence like that one time, but the finish was "and now I think I'll repair to the Lesser Antilles", before being startled by a gunshot, at which point he knocked his own hat off.

My advice to gangbangers, whatever they are, in the personal responsibility bullsh*t con we carry on in this civilization, is to form limited liability corporations and bundle their personal responsibilities for sale to unsuspecting buyers in distant locales and then hedge the remaining responsibilities in the futures market in case they get too personal.

Then walk around repeating phrases like "never mind that, this is business" and that favorite of the bullsh*t personal responsibility purveyors, "buyer beware".

I'm not sure what a "gangbanger" is either, but I think it's darker than your typical white mass murdering individuals, who show admirable and enterprising cultural character in their armed, entrepreneurial and self-sufficient pursuits.

Self-starters is what they are, unlike those collectivistbangers.

I suspect a definition of gangbanger, in some quarters, might be those guys who murdered Malcolm X, where as James Earle Ray and J. Edgar Hoover were marksmen and patriots, if you count a "quarter" as 27% of the electorate.

All I ask is that, it that's how you want to play it, then you play it what way all the time. No picking and choosing.

Sure, that's fair. So if I were to, for example, blame every Democrat for the deeds of Stalin, that would be right out?

I can live with that. So say we all?

You have to blame every Republican for Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon. Also, strictly speaking, Josef Stalin did not ever belong to the Democratic party, despite suggestions to the contrary.

"If someone can think of significant counter-examples that I have left out, please advise."

The battle of Athens? (Tennesee, not Greece.)

The battle of Athens? (Tennesee, not Greece.)

I will confess that, up to now, I was unaware of the battle of Athens, TN.

Having done the obligatory Wikipedia look-up, yes, I think it's fair to chalk up the battle of Athens TN as one for the "achieved by force of arms" column.

So if I were to, for example, blame every Democrat for the deeds of Stalin, that would be right out?

I think we're all clear on what we're talking about, frankly.

You have to blame every Republican for Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon.

How about the ones that weren't even alive at the time?

I'm quite comfortable with people being stripped of the right to keep and bear arms after a judicial proceeding comparable to a felony trial, complete with right to trial by jury. Which is how I'd propose identifying gang bangers for purposes of revocation of civil liberties.

Perhaps you'd care to define more closely what you mean by a "gangbanger" as opposed to, say, an ordinary citizen, or even a non-gangbanger felon.

Is it someone convicted of a violent crime? Then we really wouldn't need a separate proceeding at all. If it's something else, what exactly is it? A young black man wearing a hoodie?

I'd also like to know on what basis, other than criminal activity, you'd initiate the proceeding you describe against someone, and what the actual grounds would be.

Back to what (for me) is the central topic: non-violent heroism in narratives.

The most important non-violent fictional hero I can think of off the top of my head is George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life.

For me, Frodo and Sam in LOTR, the books, are also non-violent heroes, but I don't seem to recall that coming across in the movies.

Slart asked:

"How about the ones that weren't even alive at the time?"

By some of their own definitions, they were pre-born and thus pre-blamed.

We could unpack the Christian concept of Original Sin, but suffice to say that we deserve everything we get under that model.

"I'd also like to know on what basis, other than criminal activity, you'd initiate the proceeding you describe against someone, and what the actual grounds would be."

Pretty much none. That's my point: People should not lose civil liberties save by felony conviction, or (in the case of a claim they're mentally incompetent.) a procedure essentially indistingishable from a full blown felony trial, complete with right to trial by jury.

I also believe people should get their civil liberties, ALL of them, back on completion of sentence. I really hate the idea of having multiple classes of citizens walking about, it's just an excuse to burden the full citizens with all sorts of hoops they have to jump through to exericise their civil rights, and an incentive for those who don't like the civil liberties to expand the effected classes.

"The most important non-violent fictional hero I can think of off the top of my head is George Bailey from 'It's a Wonderful Life'."

I love that movie.

I assume you mean to say that without the well-lived life of George Bailey, Bedford Falls might have been the scene of a nascent violent political revolution, given the predatory depredations of Mr. Potter.

I find the prospect of Uncle Billy, Violet Bick, Mr. Gower, George Bailey's would-a-been-mother, and the mousey Librarian/Donna-turned-Rosa Luxemburg marching in solidarity on City Hall and Mr. Potter's unregulated loan-sharking operation with assorted large-clip automatic weapons kind of bracing, as maybe a sequel --- "It's A Complicated Life".

Of course, some have different views of the Capra vision:

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/01/against-caprarsquos-critics

And I seem to recall that during the recent and ongoing banking crisis, the usual suspects recast George Bailey as the problem and Ernie the cab driver, for example, as a parasite, and Mr. Potter as Paul Ryan.

As far as violence in the movie, I am glad gun control was prevalent, because I doubt Clarence would have been able to prevent a bullet from entering George's cranium during his suicide attempt, which instead took the form (a replacement effect) of attempted drowning in the river.

There was other physical violence: the teacher's husband popping George in the kisser at the bar for the latter's rudeness to the former's wife, and near-violence earlier in the movie when Violet Bick tries to hit George with her purse when he suggests she kick off her shoes and come with him to the hills for some cavorting under the moonlight.

I guess Bedford Falls didn't have a Mothers Against Abstinence chapter in town, though one gets the feeling Violet's views on those matters may have wavered from time to time, which even Bert the cop (Ward Bond) so much as admitted caused him a certain amount of male exasperation during the middle of the day when he and the others watch Violet do a traffic-stopping shashay across Main Street and then he pushes up his cop hat and decides he'd should probably go home and see what the wife was doing for lunch.

So was Adam Lanza a "gangbanger" or what? Or John Lee Malvo? Or Colin Ferguson? Or James Holmes? I'm still trying to get my head around this. I've done Ctrl+F on the Ohio Revised Code twice now and still can't find "gangbanger," so now I don't know what to think.

Brett,

What was all that talk about "gangbangers," then? By your logic, anyone out walking the streets ought to be allowed to carry. Sounds like you want them conflated with "ordinary people" some of the time, and not others.

What it comes to is this, AFAICT. You idetify two classes of people, "ordinary" people, and "gangbangers." You think they should have equal rights to carry weapons. But when it comes to counting up firearm homicides, you want the totals separated by these groups. Is that right?

"Looking again at Doctor Science's original post, the Occupy movement was a good attempt at nonviolent protest, but the ends weren't very specific. I'm glad it happened, because it put the subject of wealth inequality more prominently into the public conversation, but the laws that were broken weren't the unjust laws. "

The Occupy Movement did have a very clear (at least initial goal), and that was to point out that This Was Wrong. Overturning a massively corrupt system isn't done in a day.

And I remember seeing somebody in the movement saying that they were very, very specifically not giving a specific list of demands or goals, because then everything would bog down into endless squabbling over paragraph (iiib) of section (IV-A),....

And I remember seeing somebody in the movement saying that they were very, very specifically not giving a specific list of demands or goals, because then everything would bog down into endless squabbling over paragraph (iiib) of section...

ah liberals

I condemn the few incidences of rape during Occupy, but my real beef with the movement was the utter lack of pillaging.

Where were the pillage tents, a guy wants to know.

The Occupy Movement did have a very clear (at least initial goal), and that was to point out that This Was Wrong.

Today, if you say "the 99%", everybody knows, immediately, what you are talking about.

OWS mission accomplished.

Well, as I said re: Occupy, "I'm glad it happened, because it put the subject of wealth inequality more prominently into the public conversation, but the laws that were broken weren't the unjust laws."

However, the economic downturn, the election of Obama, the stimulus, etc. - in other words, all of the things that transpired, including the causes of the recovery - happened without the Occupy movement. And it certainly didn't do much to get sympathetic people to the polls in 2010.

Also, the lack of specificity confused the message a bit. The Occupy people in my neighborhood were largely eccentric libertarians who would have been (and probably were) just as at home with tea party people.

But, it was a movement that was spontaneous, largely nonviolent, and provided some moral support to a lot of people in the country during a difficult time. A win, for sure. But not in the same league a the Civil Rights movement.

But the upshot for our collective imagination is that a fundamentally non-violent, trickster hero becomes a conventional violent one, and we lose a template for non-violent heroism.

Despair not, doc. We'll always have Brett Maverick.

Russell,

The "Battle of Athens" is the gun nuts' favorite bullwark-against-tyranny example, no least because it's pretty much their only one. But it's a piss-poor example. I looked it up myself last time Brett cited it, and had this to say to him afterwards:

Incidentally, the 'Battle of Athens' (which featured 14 fewer fatalities than the Binghampton Massacre) seems to have been a quite local affair. The fight was over local interests, not federal oppression. The victorious citizens seem to have armed themselves for the occasion; they were not, by and large, gun owners. The episode was, if not a one-off, then certainly less common than the mass murders which easy access to guns makes possible. So, proudly citing 'The Battle of Athens' in support of 2nd-Amendment absolutism is problematic at best.

--TP

I cited it as relevant to the question, which it was whether you like it or not.

If only THE LEFT would spend its time going into schools and shooting children, like Brett's ideological soulmates . . . but then what would he have to complain about?

Brett:

"Right, I was just imagining the rape tents at Occupy camps, ..."

I'm sure that you were imagining many things, Brett. I'll refrain from asking about what was in your hand when you did imagine this.

Someone please remind me of the posting rules again, please. Why haven't flags been thrown?

But it's a piss-poor example.

I asked for an example, Brett came up with one. I just figured that was worth acknowledging, and thought it would be bad form to comment on its quality or relevance.

I suspect the ObWi readership broadly construed is capable of comparing the scope and importance of the Battle of Athens TN, relative to that of, frex, the American civil rights movement of the middle 20th C in its entirety, and forming the appropriate conclusions.

But yes, all of the points you raise are, IMO, apt.

Why haven't flags been thrown?

A fair point, I agree the post you cite was not called for.

The fight was over local interests, not federal oppression. The victorious citizens seem to have armed themselves for the occasion; they were not, by and large, gun owners.

If you are familiar with Texas history, Stephen F. Austin and others made considerable efforts to work with the Mexican gov't to resolve differences. It didn't work out. Texas rebelled. Some argue, with some reason, that the Texas rebels were difficult to distinguish morally from their Mexican rulers. I think the argument is overdone, but that's neither here nor there. The Texas revolution is an example of armed citizens throwing off what they perceived to be an oppressive gov't.

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Whatnot


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