Part 1 here, mostly about food and people who want the government to dictate to them how they should eat.
And today, part 2, as we look at a Time Magazine piece titled “Tread on Me“.
America was born from resistance to tyranny, and our skepticism of authority is a healthy tradition. But we’re pretty free.
That’s good enough, right? We’re “pretty free”. It’s about time we move on in the Tytler Cycle and get back to bondage! Woo-hoo! Bondage! The state will make us free from responsibility and dangers of the world! They know what’s best for me!
the Don’t Tread on Me slippery-slopers on both ends of the political spectrum tend to forget that Big Government helps protect other important rights
Doesn’t work that way. This is a question of whether people believe in more or less government control. Americans believe in less government control, have traditionally always believed in less government control, and only ever believe in having government control them when they’ve been brainwashed and programmed.
But standby for incoming collectivist BS…
Like the right of a child to watch a marathon or attend first grade without getting massacred—or, for that matter, the right to live near a fertilizer factory without it blowing up your house.
There are no such rights. To be free from danger is not only impossible, but even reduction of danger is not a right – it something paid for by someone’s work – whether it be the soldier, policeman, or factory manager and safety staff.
I guess you could call me a statist.
How about one who will lick the hand that feeds with his chains resting upon him, and someone who I would wish posterity would forget was my countryman?
Go ahead, quote the Ben Franklin line about those who would sacrifice some liberty for security deserving neither.
You forgot the last part – they deserve neither – and will lose both.
But what about the rights of 8-year-old Martin Richard, blown away after watching his dad finish the marathon? Who safeguarded the liberty of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon, gunned down in her classroom in her new pink dress? What about Perry Calvin and Morris Bridges and the other victims of the West Texas explosion? Nobody read them their rights.
There are no such rights as to be free from danger – and there can be none.
This kind of high-minded utopian fantasy was cranked out back in the 1930s and 1940s by the FDR administration. There were even oaths made to defend the freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Photo by ShortTimer
It is, by itself, nonsense.
Life? What ‘right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What ‘right’ to life has a man who must die to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of ‘right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is ‘unalienable’? And is it ‘right’? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.
– Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers
You cannot legislate industrial accidents out of existence (unless you obliterate industry entirely – which is a goal of the left as a tool to fight Manbearpig).
You cannot legislate madmen out of existence. You can forcibly disarm the populace, and leave them at the mercy of governmental ruler madmen like maniac cop Chris Dorner. You can leave them at the mercy of government to make them “safe”.
You do all of those by destroying liberty, something that high-minded collectivist utopians have done in the past to construct human nature into what they want it to be – to “mold the world closer to their hearts’ desire”.
And it almost always looks the same in the end.
In contrast to those statist desires, you can safeguard the liberty of 6 year-old Charlotte Bacon. You need a rough man ready to do violence on her behalf to safeguard that liberty – that liberty needs to be bought, but the left is terrified of the tools of violence to the point where they irrationally declare that to make the gazelle safe from the lion, you must strip the gazelle’s horns.
By the left’s logic, to make the child safe, you must leave her unguarded; and target those who would do her no harm but instead do seek to protect her. There are people who are actively willing to put their own lives in harm’s way, but they are called monsters for demanding real security. They are demonized for understanding the tools and nature of violence as defense and deterrent.
You can begin to defend the life of 8 year-old Martin Richard more by identifying the threat and dealing with the threat when it rears its head. What killed him was islamic terrorism. We know this. We all know this, but our government denies it on the basis that their ideology rejects making that judgement. By the response of the authorities in the Boston bombing case, there will be no more fatalities from those particular two terrorists. The hundreds of lives saved, like the baker’s new suit in the Broken Window Fallacy, are easily forgotten because they never materialized. There were no more terrorist attacks from those two because the terrorists were pursued (at a cost of life and harm) and stopped.
Yet there are still high-minded utopians who believe that if they just apologize enough, that if they are sensitive enough, they can stop people who chant for their deaths in the street through just well wishes.
And here’s where the Time writer gets worse:
Our rights are not inviolate. Just as the First Amendment doesn’t let us shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, the Second Amendment shouldn’t let us have assault weapons designed for mass slaughter.
This is, as Jonah Goldberg would say, bonesnappingly stupid.
The First Amendment totally and completely does let us shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
If the government could mandate a white-noise generator that would specifically tune into the sound of a human voice shouting the word “Fire!” so that it could never again be said in a theater and the First Amendment were restricted, what would happen when there is a fire and no one can shout the word? What happens when no one can give the alarm? What happens when that lifesaving tool is denied? It would result in people burned to death.
The Second Amendment totally and completely does let us have modern firearms. I have yet to take or instruct a firearms class wherein I have taught or been taught to use an “assault weapon” for “mass slaughter”. Sorry, just doesn’t work that way.
The Second Amendment protects the natural right of self defense. It codifies it in the Constitution and ensures that the tools of self defense will not be denied. It does the same in that sense as the First Amendment protecting the word “Fire!”. It exists as the last full response against oppression, large and small, whether it be a lone criminal or the force of a dictatorial government.
If used improperly or abused, it’s a crime, just like yelling fire when there’s no fire. If used properly, it’s a wholly necessary lifesaving right; and it protects tools that allow for lives to be saved. And just like the loss of yelling “Fire!”, if it is taken away, it ends up the same – the result is people burned to death.
To revisit this quote from the “Tread on Me” masochist:
Those of us who support aggressive government action to protect the public ought to acknowledge that it does, at the margins, limit individual rights—the rights of gun owners, the rights of business owners, the rights of the accused. Go ahead, quote the Ben Franklin line about those who would sacrifice some liberty for security deserving neither. But what about the rights of 8-year-old Martin Richard, blown away after watching his dad finish the marathon? Who safeguarded the liberty of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon, gunned down in her classroom in her new pink dress? What about Perry Calvin and Morris Bridges and the other victims of the West Texas explosion? Nobody read them their rights.
The Bill of Rights is there to limit government. Governments create oppression. In a state of nature, there may be terror, but there is no all-encompassing institution that can deny you your natural rights. The Constitution is there as a contract of free men that created a limited government with the intention of protecting all of our natural rights possible while providing us tools to ensure greater protection for all as well.
I’ve been told that invoking the death of innocents is an emotional appeal rather than a logical argument. And I do admit these tragedies make me angry. But I think it would be logical for our government to try to limit these tragedies in the future.
The author thinks wrong. There have been a million individual tragedies that are easily forgotten by their magnitude that were undertaken by free men (and sometimes conscripts) to preserve liberty, not to have it thrown away because some statist submissive grovels to beg for tyrants to enslave us all because he is a sniveling coward.
You want to protect people, do it yourself. You want to prevent tragedies, do it yourself. You want to tread on me because you’re a coward? Then you become an oppressor, Mr. Grunwald, and you are trading bought-and-paid-for liberty for security that is not only fleeting, but wholly nonexistent.
We already sacrifice liberty all the time—our right to automatic weapons, our right to walk through airport security with our shoes on, our right to run our businesses however we please.
The writer is an amoebic poltroon who kneels before the might of the state. We shouldn’t sacrafice our right to automatic weapons, our right to walk through airport security with shoes on, or our right to run our businesses however we please. Excluding abuse of our rights, which infringes on someone else’s natural rights, it’s not the place of the government to do anything. Just because the government has abused rights in the past, doesn’t mean we should tolerate it any further.
The rights of the next Martin Richard and the next Charlotte Bacon matter, too.
Yes, and the next Martin and the next Charlotte may be killed by leftists with utopian wishes who demand schools be gun-free zones, ensuring that only criminals and madmen intent on mayhem will be armed. The next Martin and Charlotte, if they survived being left in a defenseless free-fire zone for 12 years of mandated government schooling, may not like being x-rayed by government lackeys who see them nude any time they get on a plane. They may not like that when they go to start a business, that their government demands so much from them that it’s easier just to not start the business, that their freedom has been curtailed so much that they don’t have options for a business.
But they may grow up thinking they’re “pretty free”, because there’s always something worse.
The next Martin and the next Charlotte are not one or two children, they are millions of children who will grow into adults in a nation where they are less free. The next boy may be bashed for being gay because he’s left disarmed against a mob, the next girl may be another Amanda Collins, who was raped because she was disarmed by government. The next boy may have developed the motor that runs on static electricity, but will never make it because the government has regulated him into oblivion. The next girl may not want to have her privacy violated by government every time she enters a private contract with an aircraft company to fly her somewhere.
There are no shortages of people demanding destruction of liberty. From Cass “We Must Dominate You For Your Own Good” Sunstein, to any of the intellectuals Thomas Sowell criticizes as dominating sheperds who demand you be their sheep, there is never a shortage of men who wish to dominate and control their fellow man.
There is always a question of how many people believe that becoming sheep is noble, and how many reject that destructive notion of bondage.