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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gun Nut Separatism

The weird fantasy-fortified wingnut walled towns these killer clowns are coming up with obviously couldn't withstand the firepower of the state. But more to the point, if I may, fortified walled neo-feudal villages are also unnecessary because of the state, you know, existing and stuff. It's stupid to have a big gun because you think that you and your gun can fight the state when you can't, but it's just as stupid to want a big gun when much of what the state is for is to ensure no citizen needs one.

I said this was obvious, and it is, but I think it is actually important to grasp the irrational rationality driving these fantasies and really to think through the quite nonsensical state of mind one would have to be in to indulge them.

You see, I do not think libertopian wingnut separatists are marginal to gun-nuttery, but are very clarifying symptoms of its underlying assumptions and aspirations: The ruggedized individual civilian toting his military-style weapon is clearly "standing his ground" in what he imagines to be "the state of nature" -- but in the midst of what is actually the state of democratic civilization. This is at best a paranoid delusion and at worst an active declaration of treasonable intent. I mean, I'm a critic of plutocratic corporate-militarism and all, but I have no illusions that we are pre Treaty of Westphalia here.

As often happens, a commonplace joke expresses the logic of the situation perfectly: No private person is qualified to possess a military-style weapon who would want one. The desire for possession itself is immediately disqualifying for possession once we understand what these weapons do.

These arsenal builders are not "hunters" or "sportsmen" but are actively indicating a refusal of the very idea of democratic citizenship. The clear intent of the Constitution's second amendment, yoking the right to bear arms to a "well-regulated militia" indicates that private gun-ownership is not meant as a threat but as a buttress to the republic of laws, and not of men (with the biggest guns).

A ban on the private possession of these weapons is actually indispensable to the sound maintenance of a working civilization, because a working civilization facilitates the safety and prosperity of its citizens, but not only because of that, but also because a dis-identification with citizenship coupled with the assumption of military might is literally treasonable and should be so treated.


Impertinent Weasel said...

Your post is puzzling to me. You surely are aware there is an entire subculture in the US who firmly believes American civilization is in decline? These people are convinced the dollar is, at some point, going to collapse. They argue, whether due to the public debt or the Fed's printing press, at some point the world will lose confidence in the dollar and the democratic civilization you're referencing in this post will cease to exist for a period of time. During that time, they say, it will be like a 'state of nature' and so everyone must prepare to defend themselves and the people they care about, and make provisions to survive for as long as it takes for some kind of order to return.

I don't think, in general, this subculture has any illusions about taking on the state in some kind of armed conflict. Rather, I think these people fear the anarchy of an economic and currency collapse.

This fear may be one you would ridicule, but it seems a different motivation than the treasonous dis-identification of citizenship you're imputing to them. I don't know for sure, but my guess is that they tend to be low-income, rural whites so they are probably a bit disenfranchised to begin with.

Sierra Peterson said...

Excuse me if I'm mistaken, but it seems like what you're effectively suggesting is a declaration of civil war against secessionist movements, with the inevitable bloodshed and loss of life this process would entail. Really?

Dale Carrico said...

it seems like what you're effectively suggesting is a declaration of civil war against secessionist movements

Uh, I am pointing out the reality that "secessionist movements" actually consists of that declaration already.

with the inevitable bloodshed and loss of life this process would entail

Uh, are we supposed to pretend that the bloodshed and loss of life associated with private ownership of military weapons isn't already happening? I happen to believe that recognizing the anti-civilizational impulse behind paramilitary gun-nuttery won't lead to more bloodshed, but to the marginalization via cultural sanction and conventional policing into relative harmlessness of the criminal asshole fringe who want to play wargames with real weapons in a democratic society.

Dale Carrico said...

You surely are aware there is an entire subculture in the US who firmly believes American civilization is in decline?

You need to disaggregate what you are mischaracterizing as a single monolithic "subculture" and also from the lion's share of the gun-nuttery to which I am responding here.

Hell, as somebody who strongly opposes ecologically unsustainable domestic/planetary extractive-industrial-petrochemical consumer culture and also economically unsustainable neoliberal/ neoconservative corporate-military foreign/global war and debt **I** advocate a whole host of policies that many would declare premised on precisely such a narrative of "decline" -- an end to the fantasy of infinite growth, an end to the fantasy of the US as global hegemon. But you would of course be profoundly wrong to corral or ally me with such gun-nuts, preppers, or anarchists left or right just because one **can** assume an orbit high enough to lose track of the differences that make a difference between us.

By the way, I think paramilitary preppers who think their arsenals would be equal to post-collapse posses in any sustainable way are just as stupid as white-racists or anarcho-whatevs who dream of using their big guns to smash the state. So, stupid is still stupid.

But I also think it is fair to say that many of the folks you are talking about simply need to understand post-Keynesian economics a bit better, many of the folks need to be reassured that multilateral diplomacy and open immigration won't make their dicks smaller, many of the folks need to understand that consumer goods cannot fill the hole left by social alienation or individual isolation, many of the folks should find a way to urban/yard gardens or farmer's markets/co-ops, many of the folks would benefit from counseling, and pretty much none of these folks should have military-style weapons. The latter truth will play out differently depending on where particular folks are according to the preceding.

I do think ignorance and idiocy are different, and that education not only in schools but via public discourse is a much bigger piece of dealing with the distress leading many folks to indulge the dangerous and often treasonable nonsense of paramilitary gun-nuttery than simply tracking, regulating, banning, and buying back these weapons is in the final analysis. And when I say "many folks" I do think it is worth emphasizing that the number of these folks is large enough that they need to be policed but small enough that we need not be scared of the noises they make at the prospect of being policed.

People who should know better need to start behaving in a way compatible with the recognition that the world is not going to end and hence could use our collective effort to work better for all of us, and part of this means recognizing that people who think it makes sense to build an arsenal in anticipation the world's end have a serious problem but that they exist in small enough numbers that the problem they pose for the rest of us is not as hard to solve as all that.

And so, in the final analysis, I am puzzled that you are puzzled. Maybe you are less puzzled now?

erickingsley said...

Dale knows all about the "impending collapse" people. We both personally know one who has in fact invited us to take refuge within his fort/bunker/bungalow/whatever with his hoard of guns and gold, and has even offered us guns.

However, all that stuff is a subset of the usual anti-gummit stuff Dale is talking about. It is not separate from it.

Black guy from the future past said...

@ Dale, Yep totally off topic but wanted to bring this ABSOLUTE NUTTERY to your attention. Jesus Christ! Nutter self proclaimed fascist white nationalist Rachel "Haywire" is making a run for Hism board!

*Also you should have that site disinfo on your radar. LOTS of all the wall stuff posted there.*


Now on the issue of government collapse and what not.. all I have too do is laugh at that thought because the United States government is probably one of the most stable nations in the world. What we need is more efficiency, better and HUMANE DEMOCRACY. Not some fantasy world of little to no govt.

Dale Carrico said...

I approve your concluding remark, but am a bit scared to think the mention of RH may derail yet another Moot. Stay on target, stay on target, almost there, almost there...

Black guy from the future past said...

Promise the moot won't derail. Speaking of gun nuttery and conservatism just take a look at this video.

Worldwide the issues are the same. Liberal values are under attack.

jollyspaniard said...

Whoever drew up those plans is probably a big fan of the TV version of The Walking Dead.

It's a silly notion on several levels. Even if there were some kind of collapse it's a big mistake to hole up with all your guns and gold, folks who did that when Argentina had it's mini collapse ten years ago didn't fare well. You are better off living in a real functioning community.

The state wouldn't have to attack The Citadel to shut it down, simply cut it off. It's not self sufficient so it can't really be sucessionist.

Interesting that they are also calibre snobs. They dictate the calibre of your assault rifle. Some gun nuts wouldn't like that!

jimf said...

> We both personally know one who has in fact invited
> us to take refuge within his fort/bunker/bungalow/whatever
> with his hoard of guns and gold, and has even offered
> us guns.

If he offers to let you fire his official John Galt
nanotech-powered superintelligence-guided Death Ray,
you should take him up on it!