If Destruction Be Our Lot…
“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with aBonapartefor a commander, could not by force take a drink from theOhioor make a track on theBlue Ridgein a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”
– Abraham Lincoln
These words were excerpted from his Lyceum Address (a speech given to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield Illinois, January 27th 1838) almost 22 years before the start of the Civil War.
It is also incidentally a seminal part of the audio animatronic Lincoln at Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction.
When I worked at the park, at least once a month I would make my way over to the Lincoln theater to listen to Disney’s unique, and frankly somewhat weird take on Abraham Lincoln. His “speech” to the guests is not really a singular speech, but rather an amalgamation of about twelve of his famous works. Taken as one work they form no linear progression of thought… which is unfortunate.
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They did include the portion above from the Lyceum Address… and apart from the Gettysburg Address this is perhaps one of my favorite intellectual arguments from President Lincoln.
It is also transcendent.
When he wrote those words he was chiefly concerned with slavery, and how nullification of the laws could ultimately bring down the American Experiment.
His words are as true now as they were back in 1838. Ironically, slavery is still the issue.
The other week we saw an Islamic Radical attack a military recruiting station in Chattanooga Tennessee.
This was not the first time an event like this has happened. The fact that our soldiers and sailors stationed inside are forcibly disarmed by policy is a tremendous insult to their honor and sacrifice.
When the public saw the images of a shot out window with the asinine picture of a “gun free zone” sticker still emblazoned on the fractured pane of glass cries of foul arose.
Within a couple of days multiple states governors declared that their state guards could carry firearms, and there seems to be momentum for the pentagon to change their position on this as well.
Citizen patriots appalled at the fact that these recruiters are literally sitting ducks took up arms and began to stand post in front of these stations.
Are these self mobilized citizens as trained as the soldiers they protect?
Are they as competent as the police who would ultimately respond to a threat?
Difficult to tell.
Is there presence there largely symbolic?
Hell yes… and symbolism has power too.
Still there are the naysayers. Those that disparage the citizen standing post are the same ones that argue for a continued gun free zone.
The idea of individuals forming a collective unit outside the controls of the government is terrifying for them.
The fact that these same individuals have the power of a firearm at their disposal enhances their apparent power, and challenges the power of their protectors.
In Taiwan there was a Buddhist group efficiently mobilized their members to provide disaster relief to thousands that were effected by an earthquake on the island. By the time that government aid arrived the government workers were greeted by the sight of the Buddhist group already 3/4ths of the way completed with their relief operation. The constituents of the government were more enthralled with the Buddhist volunteers than the bureaucrats from Taipei.
As you can imagine the government sought to shut down the Buddhists.
Bureaucrats and statists hate the idea that an individual could potential thrive without their “critical” assistance.
This is directly opposite of the idea that our Framers granted to us.
We control our destiny.
We are our masters
We, when mobilized can repel any army, navy, or asymmetrical soldier from Japanese Imperial Fleet to a delusional thug from Isis.
No… our fear should not be of them.
Our fear should be of those among us that seek to make it easier for our nations enemies to attack without prejudice our greatest national treasure… our people
President Lincoln was right…. “If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author, and its finisher.”
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 12:30|Anonymous
A monopoly on violence.
The other day I was musing with some students that the State has always sought a monopoly on violence.
There are times in history where the protectiveness of this monopoly has reached such an extreme level that an innocent person, repelling the assault of an attacker with deadly force has faced a capital punishment by the authorities for intruding on the States monopoly.
In feudal Japan the State had a 100% monopoly on violence, vesting the power to use deadly force in the hands of a select few…. usually the Samurai.
In Modern day Europe we have seen examples of the State using brutal force to protect its monopoly. While modern sensibilities have prevented the State from using capital punishment as a penalty for the protective use of deadly force … they have effectively used draconian incarnation penalties as a means of dissuading its citizens from protecting themselves.
The Subjects of the United Kingdom have suffered perhaps the most absurd prohibitions. Right now there are otherwise “innocent” individuals that are behind bars for defending themselves, while their attackers have served their sentences and have been released back into society.
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While we Americans read these stories with disgust it is to be frank, intellectually honest on the part of our European cousins. To them the highest form of crime is not against the individual… it is the crime of the individual against the State that has reserved for it the strictest of punishments.
When I hear our friends and clients shake their head and exclaim that modern day progressives are “turning us into Europe!” I must offer this:
They may try… but they will ultimately fail… and they will fail not because of lack of desire… they will fail because of philosophy
Ours is a country based on two crucial premises: We are sovereign individuals who willingly cede a small portion of our sovereignty to the State only for as long as the State helps to develop an efficient platform for us to co-operate, and… more importantly: The State has only a limited role in our lives…and that the Rights we enjoy are granted to us by our Creator and only recognized (as opposed to granted) by our government.
Earlier I referred to the “Subjects of the United Kingdom”… this was not a casual use of the word. I replaced Citizens with Subjects because it frankly is a more philosophically correct.
We are Citizens in the United States. The power of the Government comes from us, and we retain the right to revoke its charter. The monopoly on violence that has been so jealously guarded by States throughout human history, was deliberately reserved to the people in our founding document. The Framers recognized that were the State to assert a monopoly on violence over the People… the People would have little means available to stand up against Tyranny.
Understand… Tyranny comes in many forms. While some scoff at the idea that a lone patriot with an AR-15 could overthrow a tyrannical government… their course of argument shows a lack of understanding on the nature of Tyranny.
Yes… we may have a Caesar that rises to power and must be dealt with by an army of patriots…. but so too might there be the local Caesar…weather a minor magistrate, or a criminal who uses violence to demand submission from his victims.
The Second Amendment recognized that the State must never have a monopoly on violence. Citizens give power to the government, and by the very nature of being sovereign have the ability to change or alter their affairs when necessary. If the State seeks to use tyranny as a means of stifling the body politic the people must have the tools at their disposal to thwart the advances of the State.
If the thug seeks to use tyranny to stifle the life of the Citizen, and the State is powerless to protect the citizen be it from lack of resources, or corruption, the Citizen has the power to protect himself in the absence of the State… not in spite of it.
We Citizens recognize.. (or should recognize) that we are free….and while “freedom” has become ensnarled in byzantine labyrinth of regulations and prohibitions we still offer ourselves up to the world as a “free people”.
As a free people we are by definition citizens.
In a world where the State has prohibited you the very basic right to defend yourself against tyranny the philosophical underpinnings become suspect…. For in that world I cannot legitimately call myself a citizen… In that world power emanates from the State, not from the People.
In that world I am a Subject.