Thursday, May 09, 2013

Think Before Shooting Off One's Mouth; or, Before Using Mouth, Be Sure Brain Is Engaged

From the Department of How Utterly Stupid Can You Get comes this amazing story: Protest Group Plans July 4 March on Washington with Loaded Rifles.


Iraq war veteran and Internet talk show host Adam Kokesh is organizing thousands of protesters to march into Washington, DC on Independence Day with loaded rifles slung on their backs. According to Mr Kokesh, writing on his website,

“We will march with rifles loaded and flung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated and cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington. . . . We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.”

A few thoughts ...

First of all, the thought of thousands of armed extremists does not bring to mind the word "subtle."

Second, Mr Kokesh ... and those who believe as he does ... have absolutely no concept of what tyranny is. If you want tyranny, consider Nazi Germany* or Stalinist Russia or the Uganda of Idi Amin. If tyranny means any set of laws that prevents you from doing whatever you want, whenever you want to do it, without any restrictions, then yes - you are living in a tyranny.

Between 1980 and 1982 I lived and worked in what was then called the city of West Berlin. Those of you who are old enough will recall that West Berlin was a city completely surrounded by a well-guarded wall known to the East German government as the "Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart (Antifaschistischer Schutzmauer), and to the rest of the world as The Berlin Wall. People attempting to leave East Berlin by climbing over that barrier were subject to death ... and, in fact, at least one person was killed by East German Border guards while I lived there.

If you want tyranny, Mr Kokesh, try that on for size.

I know the sort of spittle-punctuated hysterical rhetoric my comments would generate in far-right circles. Too bad. I have written often enough about my support for all of our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights ... not just the much-abused right to "keep and bear arms" enshrined in the Bill of Rights. But as I learned many years ago in grade-school and high-school Civics lessons**, there's a difference between freedom and license***, as much as many people nowadays tend to ignore the distinction. With freedom comes responsibility.

And, in my opinion, equating the rule of law with "tyranny" is irresponsible.

Staging a march by thousands of armed people spoiling for a fight with what they view as a tyrannical government, is irresponsible.

Spouting wild conspiracy theories and political buffoonery without any foundation in history or in common sense, is irresponsible.

The Constitution guarantees us many freedoms. Sadly, it does not also guarantee that a degree of intelligence and personal responsibility will come along with those freedoms.

Six grandchildren I love deeply are growing up in a country full of heavily-armed, hate-filled idiots who have no idea what they're talking about, shouting slogans at each other in a self-perpetuating quasi-intellectual echo chamber that just reinforces their own fears and prejudices.

And that scares me a lot more than the imaginary bugbear of a tyrannical government.

I'm glad I'll be out of town on the 4th of July.

Have a good day. Think for yourself, rather than parroting dumb slogans and irresponsibly twisted historical fantasies.

See you back here again on Cartoon Saturday.


* That would be the real Nazi Germany, that built concentration camps, engaged in genocide, and triggered the war that killed tens of millions, not the imaginary Nazi Germany of right-wing (and left-wing) extremist fantasies, in which anyone opposing what one wants to do is frivolously called a "Nazi" and compared to Adolf Hitler.

** Any of you old enough to remember those? Too bad we don't teach good citizenship any more.

*** One definition: "Freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility; disregard for standards of personal conduct, licentiousness."


eViL pOp TaRt said...

This guy, his group, and their plans are scary. A sure perscription for something bad to happen. These are the very people who should NOT run around with guns. Or sharp objects.

From what faulty woodwork do these clowns come from?

Mike said...

'unless the government chooses to make it violent'

It's not going to be OUR fault.

allenwoodhaven said...

Well said, Bilbo. I know you don't want the job, but it's too bad you're not in Congress.

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

As if we don't have enough idiots around, this one crops up.

Atomic Dog said...

This guy is dangerous.