Skip to main content

View Diary: The Fantasy of "Government Tyranny" (211 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  World history --and today --show that the diarist (4+ / 0-)

    is wrong.   The greatest massacres of the 20th century were done by the governments of Hitler and Stalin.

    And we have no special virtues that make us immune to dictators if the economy collapsed like it did in Weimar.

    I think that there are MANY protections for the Constitution other than the guns.   The checks and balances, mass demonstrations, strikes, even economic sabotage.

    But the Armed Populace idea was less credible before Dick Cheney and John Yoo ripped the Bill of Rights to shreds with two-faced sophistry while the American Bar Association and the Democratic Caucus did nothing to stop them.  

    The massive surveillance and coercion system being erected against the "Islamofascists" could be easily applied against Americans.   Drones not only fly over Iraq and Afghanistan, they fly over America.

    But the Wayne LaPierre who ranted about "jackbooted federal thugs" during the Clinton Administration did NOTHING to oppose Cheney.  The ACLU was left to fight alone.

    The top liberal Constitutional Scholars -- Lawrence Tribe and Akhil Amar -- have said that there is something to the Second Amendment argument.   I myself think that the Militia under command of state governors would have to be used by Congress to defend itself and remove a rogue President if that President refused to accept an impeachment.   As the US Code notes, the Militia include all males of military age not actively serving in the Executive's military -- not just the National Guard.

    During the Cold War, Congress gave the President several major dangerous powers that should now be modified or removed.  

    The Constitution says that Congress is supposed to CONTROL who has command of the National Guard -- the President or the State Governors.   But Congress gave up this power and gave the President authority to take over the National Guards at will.   That authorization should be rescinded and the power taken back by Congress.

    Because of the massive destruction that would have occurred in a nuclear war, the Congress gave the President the power to essentially become a dictator in a national emergency , subject only to the continued concurrence of Congress every few months.   Those special powers required much greater controls now that the nuclear threat has receded.  As we saw on Sept 11, Cheney made no effort to ensure the continue survival of  Congress when the nation was under attack.

    •  But a bunch of individals holed up with their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      AR-15s aren't going to solve any of those problems.

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:28:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  absurd arguments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, JerryNA

      If a President refused to accept an impeachment, the military from the joint chiefs on down would ignore his orders and escort him (in chains, if necessary) from the White House.

      They take an oath to the Constitution, not to the President.

      More generally, if the government somehow perversely decided uniformly to become tyrannical, we'd be screwed with or without guns.   Even a city full of armed citizens would be absolutely no match for the army.   The teabagger in his bunker in Idaho would be distributed into the soil as his bunker was vaporized.  

      •  Military coups don't happen? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Says, JosephK74, bernardpliers

        I deeply respect the military but they generally are required to obey all lawful orders.   And they face severe punishment if they do not.  

        I would be concerned about a creeping seizure of power by a President during a major crisis -- with people like John Yoo making up sophistry to justify it.   After all, lots of people whined here over Cheney's acts --but what did they DO?

        I don't see guns as having a major impact in resisting a government -- and Americans are so stupid and docile that it is easy to divide and manipulate us.   Just look at Fox News.   And Daily Kos.

        But assuming that the population was united in anger and determined to fight, the military is highly vulnerable.   It depends on a $Trillion/year teat and it would quickly have problems if a majority of the population started sabotaging the economy.   cutting power lines, cutting communications lines, blowing up petroleum pipelines,etc.  
        Plus foreign countries would be inclined to help -- the American Revolution would never have succeeded without the help of the French --including a little known clandestine operation that smuggled 100,000 muskets here.And the Patriots won because the fight was bankrupting the British and they had no prospect of earning a profit. War is a business.

        I am not urging such a revolt -- I'm just saying it would be possible in some cases.   Which may be the real reason so much money is being spent on "homeland security".

        •  I had trouble following your argument. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          In the case of a President refusing to stand down after being impeached and convicted, the lawful action by the military would be to ignore his orders.

          It's hard to even construct the outlines of an alternative world where the government (including all the military) conspire to enslave or kill the rest of us.  It seems reasonable, though, that if things really did reach that weird state, personal popguns would be no match for tanks, drones, fighter planes, high powered lasers, nerve gas, nukes, and who knows what else they presumably would feel no compunction about using.  It's hard to imagine a world in which the military is just evil enough to enslave us, but not so evil as to use everything at its disposal to do so as quickly as possible.

          And we don't really need to speculate.  The Confederacy wasn't just a few armed citizens but entire armed states, and they got wiped out.  The imbalance since then is thousands of times greater.

          •  Look around you (0+ / 0-)

            1) Both history and the world today show many cases in which the legislative body is cowed into submission, the courts are ruled by coopted puppets who can justify any ruling they want with airy sophistry, and most of the population --including the rank and file military -- are in ignorance of the facts because the News Media is a lying propaganda machine that covers up the truth and constantly broadcasts a false narrative to manipulate and control the mind of the Herd.  Including the rank and file military.

            Could the Founders of this country have formed an insurgency with the Committees of Correspondence if the British Crown had had a NSA reading every word they wrote?

            2) The Congress is merely a group of ordinary men who have to provide for their families.  Do you think they are Philosopher Kings?   That they are not subject to the coercive orders of the billionaires who fund them?  

            Do you think reporters are free to find and reveal the truth without any control from the publisher who pays their salaries and whose survival depends on getting advertising revenues?  (What obligation do you think a publisher feels for readers who won't pay for subscriptions anymore?)

            3) Look at Sept 11 -- do you really think 19 men from the far side of the world came here and killed themselves in order to strike at us merely because "they hate our freedoms"?  

            If you actually go and check the news archives, you will find that Bin Laden gave interviews to several US TV networks in 1997-98 in which he explicitly stated three reasons why Al Qaeda was declaring war on us.  So why was there a news blackout on that subject after the attack?

            Why did Conti Rice go to the CEOs of the 5 major US networks and demand that they not broadcast any of Bin Laden's statements?  

            Why did Harvard professor Ernest May state in a New Republic article --before he died -- that both Democrats and Republicans on the 911 Commission agreed that the CAUSES of the attack were too hot politically to discuss with the victims' families?

            4) If the military could kill over 100,000 Iraqi civilians to grab nonexistent nukes, then what makes you think they would not do the same to a group of Americans painted by the media as "the Enemy"?  How many Good Germans  do you think would be lining up to kiss the appropriate butts to avoid that label?  

            Wall Street has just sodomized us with a broken beer bottle-- but who is doing anything about it?  Ever seen a worker at a corporation rebel against an unfair boss, pay freezes or layoffs?

            5) But , hey, 11 years after a trivial attack by a small group of extremists with the military power of the Hells Angels, we still have 6 out of 10 of the Bill of Rights partially in effect and that ain't bad.  

            And the federal debt we owe has only increased by $11 Trillion.   To figure out how much of that you owe, just multiply the income tax you paid last year by 9.  Chump change, right?  And it was you who decided to incur that debt, right?

            •  The military find it hard to accumulate savings (0+ / 0-)

              because of low pay.   They depend on their generous pensions.  

              Do you think that some who has served for a decade or more is going to risk that pension?

              •  Generous pensions? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA

                For higher ranking officers, maybe. Not for enlisted people.

                And it takes 20 yrs of moving, working 24/7, and having minimal control over your life, to qualify for that pension. Not 10. Leave after 10 and you get a nice piece of paper to hang on your wall, and nothing else.

                Military pensions aren't any better than any other govt job, and require a lot more to get them.

              •  you insult our military service members, bmastiff (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JMcDonald

                You imply that our service personnel would descend into taking unlawful, criminal orders because of their pensions and low salaries.  You outright say they would attack other citizens.  As a veteran and a patriot, I am insulted.  Take it back.  Apologize.  Now.

                The rest of your comments are degenerating into paranoid fantasies.  That is a personal problem, for which I think you should seek professional psychiatric help.  

                •  I insulted no one. I noted the enormous (0+ / 0-)

                  means of coercion the Executive Branch has to ensure military personnel follow orders.  Dick Cheney certainly never couched his orders in terms of honor and appeals to virtue.

                  In a national emergency, this issue would not be a Black vs White question -- it would be a murky shade of gray.

                  Look at the CIA officers ordered to torture with the legal ruling from John Yoo that it was ok --only to face the threat of prosecution later.

                  Suppose the economy collapsed in a major way, there are major urban riots like in the 1960s  and you were ordered to use force to disarm a town.  

                  Legal order?  The Supreme Court itself would split on the issue.   So do you, a sargent, argue that your legal opinion is more correct than that of Attorney General John Yoo?   Think quick -- if you are right you get to enjoy that retirement.   Guess wrong -- and you spend 20 years in Levenworth while your wife and kids go on food stamps.

                  If one guy falls on his sword, higher authority relieves him of command and goes to the next guy in line.   But this time adds the argument that higher command has access to "special intelligence" --information he does not have -- and that he should support the mission.  

                  Or maybe they bring in a Dick Cheney to discuss the subject with him?  Remember Dick's visits to the CIA in the runup to the Iraq invasion??  Those low level CIA analysts he was browbeating had mortgages to pay.

                  •  However, I was unclear in para 4 of the 6:49 post (0+ / 0-)

                    above that.   What I intended was:

                    "If the military could  BE MANIPULATED INTO killING over 100,000 Iraqi civilians to grab nonexistent nukes, then what makes you think they would not BE MANIPULATED INTO DOING the same to a group of Americans painted by the media as "the Enemy"?

                    It was not the military who mounted the massive propaganda campaign --and dishonestly distorted the intelligence -- to promote the invasion of Iraq.   It was
                    civilians in the Israel Lobby and Big Oil groups --including
                    people in the Bush Administration.  

                    But When that happens, what voice does the Military have in the public forum to prevent malign acts from being promoted by dishonesty in order to prevent the subsequent orders being cut?   None

                    THe military is a tool.   It can oppose enemies of this country, both foreign and domestic , on the battlefield.  

                    But It is powerless to oppose such enemies in the councils held in Washington.

            •  i think conspiracy theories are banned here /nt (0+ / 0-)
              •  What do you see as a conspiracy theory? (0+ / 0-)

                Saying that something has happened without providing evidence is different from speculating that some things could happen in the future given special circumstances.
                Or pointing out events that have occurred in other countries.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site