By: Mike of the Ornery Young Gunz
As the debate over gun control and rights rages on in America, I want to discuss something fundamental that needs to be discussed: what gives people the right to rule over others? On the surface these may seem like a silly or simple question to answer, but the reason this is so fundamental is that once you understand what does (or does not) give someone the right to rule over you, you understand what the natural limitations of rulers are. Unless you know when those we elect into positions of power and authority have crossed lines that should not be crossed, how can you know when to effectively resist them? How do we determine what is an abuse of power, and what is simply a policy we do not agree with?
In a country as wonderfully diverse as ours, you are going to inevitably bump up against people who think differently than you; whose beliefs or values or principles simply do not line up with yours. In some cases, you meet ideologies that are not only polar opposites, but completely incompatible with one another.
Liberals and Conservatives are one such example. Whether it’s on foreign policy, abortion, taxation, the size and reach of the welfare state, et al, we just can’t seem to agree –and sometimes our disagreements turn ugly.
In most cases in life, when two people can’t come to an accord, they agree to disagree and go on with their lives. However, there are situations where you can’t do that, where compromises become essential. When opposing factions require that the other side yield something, there comes a point where each side must decide if what they want is worth fighting for, or if they are willing to give something they value up in exchange for something they value even more. The greatest example of this would be the 3/5 Compromise: The Founders valued preserving an infant nation and what liberty the People had obtained thru bloody revolution over nationally suicidal attempts at abolishing slavery nationwide then and there. As much as the most prominent Founders would have loved to achieve both, stubborn and self-serving men forced them to decide between one and the other. However, we are seeing more and more in today’s culture where “compromise” means a unilateral capitulation by one side to another –conservatives to liberals, morality to immorality, the weak to the strong, liberty and freedom to safety and slavery.
Rather than discuss the virtues of true compromise, or the dangers of the kind of “compromise” liberals demand from conservatives, I would simply ask people: What gives you the right?
What gives you the right to take from someone who has earned their living thru honest and lawful labor, to give to someone else? What gives you the right to end an innocent human life without due process, just because they view the deliverance and care of said life as too inconvenient? Why do you have a right to force people to do what you command, to sacrifice what you demand, simply because that is what you want?
If I, as a private citizen, were to break into your home, steal your property, and give it to one of your needier or poorer neighbors, would I not be in violation of the Law, both manmade and Natural? Are you willing to be consistent and say that I could argue, in a court of law, that I was justified in my infraction, because the greater good was served? Would I be more, or less, justified if I decided *I* was the needier neighbor who deserved your stuff?
It’s a serious question that demands a serious answer: what gives you the right to use force against me and mine?
Is there some natural predilection that I was born unworthy of? Were you born of higher class than me? If so, who made it so that you were born worthy and I unworthy of autonomy and self-governance?
Is it a democratic answer? If there are more of you than there are of us, does that give you the right to deprive the weak and the few of what is theirs by birth and by lawful attainment? Does that then mean that if there are more of us one day in the future, that we can then subject you to the same privations?
Is it because you are more powerful? Does might make right?
Are we wasting our time and energy trying to reason with a group of people who would better respond to force, perhaps even necessarily deadly force? Would you have us duke it out in literal battlefields instead of the metaphorical battlefield of ideas? Is the only way to resolve differences bloody conflict?
Does the apparent virtue of your position solidify your right to dominate and control? Is it because you believe yourselves to be more virtuous than the rest that you have the right to rule us? Who determines that you are more virtuous? What makes your conscience purer than ours?
Rational people already know the answers to this simple, yet fundamental question: nothing gives you the inherent right to rule over another. Even if the fundamental premises mentioned here were true, whether you are higher born, or more numerous, or more powerful or of greater virtue none of it matters. We are all born free and equal under the law. We are born with the right to live, to live free, and to pursue thru the exercise of our natural-born faculties those means and ends which are conducive to our individual happiness, provided we are not violating the life, liberty, or property of others.
“That property which a man has honestly acquired he retains full control of, subject to these limitations…that he shall not use it to his neighbor’s injury, AND THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE MUST USE IT FOR HIS NEIGHBOR’S BENEFIT…” (Budd v State of New York)
You do not get tell us who to care for or how, how to spend our money, who we have to marry or allow into our religious rites and ceremonies, who we do business with, who we associate with, et al, just because YOU think it is right. You do not have the right to deprive us of our lives, our liberty, or our property simply to satisfy your agenda. You may not agree with us, you may think we are stupid, or gullible, or superstitious or backwater, but you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to rule over us. You may only rule over me to the extent that I let you.
Fundamentally, the differences between Progressives and Conservatives could not be starker: We believe in self-rule by the People, in freedom, and equal justice under the law; you believe in rule by the few, in slavery, and social justice that favors certain political factions over others.
We believe in the Rule of Law; you believe in the Rule of Will. We believe that all men are created equal before God and the Law; you believe that some men are more equal than others. We believe that taxes are only intended to pay for those services that every citizen requires to secure their safety and liberty from threats to both, like courthouses and armies. You believe that taxes should be used to punish success and “redistribute wealth” (in other words “steal”) to provide for dole programs and subsidies for cronies. We revere the principles outlined in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers; you see such principles as antiquated and obsolete. And while you certainly have the right to believe these things, the moment you attempt to enforce these beliefs, you have crossed from the domain of enlightened rationality into the domain of barbaric brutality. When our elected officials –or their supporters- cross into that latter domain; when they, drunk on the power and authority we voluntarily yielded up for our sake, no longer see themselves as servants who act on our behalf, but as masters who can do as they please, there can be no compromise. There is only brute force.
There can be no reasoning with those who choose violence over persuasion; compromise requires that we give up something of value in exchange for something you have to offer that we value more. The only thing you could offer us in exchange for our silent, obedient consent is peace –a peace you will always threaten to shatter the moment it is politically convenient for you. And peace is something we have a right to take for ourselves, forcibly if we must, and without compromise.
After all, it’s our God-given right to be left the hell alone.