At 11pm on December 31st 2020 Britain (and Europe) finally reached the end of an exhausting 4 or more years of preliminary disentanglement.
I say “preliminary dis-entanglement” because, of course, Britain and the various parts of Europe are impossible to “disentangle” after centuries of getting fully entangled with language, culture, custom, business, commerce and so on and those will NOT be being untangled. British people will continue to buy properties in France or Cyprus or Spain for their retirements and European banks and business will be going to London to arranged the various finances they need.
So what has it all been about then?
Sovereignty. In a word. This is something that , reportedly, the Eurocrats really never got to grasp especially their chief negotiator Michel Barnier . There were reports in the British Press that Barnier got exasperated with the British negotiating team always bringing up the very subject of Sovereignty.
And this is, I think, the crucial point in this whole process. It is, to me at least, very amusing that a large part of the British working class and working middle class understood that concept clearly and embraced it. The people who had, and have the hardest time dealing with leaving are the intellectual ‘Snobocracy’ that infest Britain. These are the people on the BBC who agonized over the result of the vote. The same sort that like to order or flame or suggest that everyone should obey the “rules” when they, themselves think the rules do not apply to them.
I think the people of Britain want the final word on what applies to them. And, in the end that is what they have.
Yes, it may well be that Britain will go along with some EU rules – but it will go along with the rules that its own Parliament passes. And, if the British people don’t like it then they can vote those MPs out and change the rules. Without consulting the vast European Bureaucracy.
Sovereignty. It is a big word, it is a mighty concept and it is finally back in the hands of the British People.
Well played Boris. Well played David frost and the negotiating team. And VERY Well played Nigel Farage .
The astounding thing is that the article comes within a gnat’s whisker of actually being useful.
I am, personally, not a fan of the British Police as an institution. In fact in many ways I despise their performance and management. But! The police I knew who lived where I lived? Not a problem at all. They knew most of us, they drank in the same pub. Somewhere in the 60’s and 70’s the Home Office decided that it needed to cheapen the police force and spread it thinner so that it would appear that they were being “efficient” and the era of “Panda Cars” was born. By the years at the start of the new millennium they had become “Pander Cars” in that the police sat in the cars and ignored what they were seeing in areas like Rotherham, Manchester, Oxford, Huddersfield, Rochdale. They missed or enabled or tolerated the activities of known sexual abusers because they were afriad (in some cases) of being seen as “racist”. That is th elevel of the leadership in the police forces of Britain today. Too afraid to deal with crime but very sensitive to criticism of being racist.
And now Khan and the current “leader” of the met Police , Cressida Dick, want to validate the fear of racism by balkanizing policing in the British capital based on race. If only they had followed through on the original thought – recruit people from the community. Not by race. Just people who wish to be of service to their town, village, area, . Recruit and do the requisite, thorough, background checks, give these men and women solid , professional training and a rewarding job and career. Keep them trained, keep them there. Subsidized housing, professional treatment. Have a strata of support but defer to the leadership of the local constable in all matters in the local community. ALL MATTERS. Stop treating the people who sit in offices as the “elite” and start treating the “plods” as the elite.
Above all – stop trying to treat policing in the communities as an afterthought and start with respect.
Let Khan and Dick run this kind of thing and you will have a racially stratified police and community where merely talking to someone is going to become a careful algorithm of race, class, location, language – even caste. That will reduce policing and move even more resources not into policing the community but in servicing the slew of racial requirements using increasing numbers of civil servants eating the policing budget.
Covid 19. The Wuhan Virus, Kung Flu, the CCP Virus – it is certainly “big news” and it has certainly shut down the normal operations of a good part of the planet.
I am not a virologist or a medical anything. Closest I have ever come to being a medical person is working in IT at a Hospital. However, I do have a fair amount of recent unwanted knowledge and experience with health care which does give me a view on the way this virus is being handled.
Back when this started to get on my radar – same as for other people I guess – back at the end of January and beginning of February I was fairly in-synch with the view going around that we needed to head off the sudden tsunami of sickness that would sweep away the Health Care industry if the virus was anywhere near as bad as it looked like it might be. We needed to slow the rise, we needed to give ourselves time to ramp up services so that when the sequestration was over – two weeks – and the infection started barreling through the populace – our front line people would have what they need to deal with the demand.
But some areas were slow to respond, some didn’t respond some got to it later than others. So now we have opinions all over the place. The one thing we have not had, just making an observation here, is an overwhelmed medical system. Though NY came close, I think.
But now we have a rotating random series of lockdowns, mask mandates, partial closures and so on with no real rhyme or reason.
But what we still have are many vast reservoirs of uninfected people. There are approximately 365 million people in the USA, 8.2 million reported “cases” (don’t know if a “case” is a positive test or positive symptoms). That means that there are over 300 million uninfected people.
The first question that comes to my mind is – have the resources to deal with a flood of virus cases been put into place? Has the vast amount of money that has been spent put us in a safer position? Because unless we UN – lock we are going to run out of money. If there is no functioning economy, things are going to get progressively worse and a LOT of people are going to be deep in the fiscal doo-doo.
The trouble we face right now is that politicians and pundits alike have not stated what they consider to be a manageable level of infection rate? No-one that I have seen – and thanks to lock-down I have a lot of time to read and to check online and on video – has stated what they consider to be the acceptable level of infection that can be managed.
This means that they are free to act upon their own “whim” or how they perceive it will benefit them the best.
The simplicity is that there is a virus, it is going to infect people until an effective vaccination is developed and there is no guarantee that this holy grail will be found in a swift and timely manner.
Government leaders have to make decisions – unfortunately those decisions mean that some people are going to die. Let’s be straight here – people die every day. They die from infections, injuries, illness, malfeasance and accidents. The Government and the Civil Servants cannot change any of that. But still the Government Leaders and the Civil Servants keep scurrying around trying anything to avoid making a decision which they may be called to account for. So they keep picking out courses of action where they try to fend off “infection”. All the time knowing that the infection is going to show up every time people start intermingling after been sequestered.
The Government needs to be transparent in its actions. It needs to state how many seriously ill pandemic patients the system can deal with. Then it needs to track back from that to how many “positive tests” will result in that number of serious cases and that needs to be set as the public threshold. Simple, and tough. Please note that the large majority of patients requiring serious care actually recover – even those who are most at risk.
The Government needs to be the thing it fears the most.
The current wave of riots and disturbances are NOT worthy of the attention they are getting. First of all – they are small groups – threatening? Yes, certainly in the confines of a street a couple of hundred people seeking to threaten and brawl ARE threatening – but only in that street.
And be sure to note that these little vignettes are being played out in Democrat controlled cities. Not across the country. When law enforcement in cities, counties and states makes it very clear that the laws will be enforced then the little ‘moblets’ find other, softer targets to attack. The objective is not to “seize power” – in most of the cities like Seattle Portland, Chicago, Denver, Saint Louis the city administration is so busy sucking up to them it’s a wonder the city councils and Mayors are not squirming on the ground out in the streets eagerly showing their bellies to all and sundry.
This is a grand distraction. The Democrats have nothing to offer, they are busily defending a candidate who cannot talk coherently and a VP candidate who has more baggage than street shopping cart lady. All they can do is point to widely photographed pictures of small riots and claim there is unrest in the country.
They are trying to keep President Trumps continuing drumbeat of good, recovering economic news, foreign affairs accomplishments and the fact that for the past four years most minorities have never had better economic gains than they have when being led by President Trump.
Actually, the country is doing OK considering what we have been through. People are getting on with living helping each, starting to open things hope, hoping to do a bit more next and the week after. You know, the American way.
This is violent street theater. It is being used for obfuscation. It needs to be dealt with directly by law enforcement and local DAs actually doing their jobs and wide ranging RICO and anti-terrorist investigations being done that actually start to tie the funding and logistics to the correct parties.
The group, Black Lives Matter, is not a group to fight racism. It is clear from their literature that they are about getting some racism of their own approved and working. If they were “against racism” they would have joined in campaigning against the blatantly racist policies of New York High Schools against Asian students when it comes to applying for the better schools within the NY Public School System (To be honest I was immensely surprised that there are public schools in NY that are good – it was nice to hear that ) but apparently the admitting process to the limited number of places has been configured to reduce the chances of Asian students getting in. Didn’t see “racist fighting” BLM in the forefront of the fight against this egregious example of systemic racism within NYC. Why not? Didn’t see any virtue signaling celebrities producing videos decrying the anti-asian bias embodied in the policy of the NY School System. NOT A WORD.
Their concern for “Black Lives” does not extend to protesting and actively campaigning against the corrupt administration in Chicago that has been overseeing the ongoing black on black slaughter that has been going on for years in the city. Preferring instead to criticize the police and forever ignoring the Aldermen and Mayors that have done nothing to end the carnage. NOT A WORD.
I think that there IS a “systemic reason” why they are invisible on most NYC admissions, Black on Black crime in Chicago, They are not seeking an end to racism. It is why their rhetoric adopts a preference for racial punishment. It is because the Organization that calls itself “Black Lives Matter” is not “fighting racism” . It is using the buzz words of “fighting racism” to carve out a piece of the influence peddling on the hard left of American politics. It is an organization making a move to bolster the ability of the hard left to influence and back off certain segments of the voting public. The Left battle plan for achieving power relies, heavily, on the Balkanization of the US middle and working classes. Let me explain;
The maxim “Black lives matter” has but one sane response “Yes, they do”.
Note I made no qualification didn’t add any context such as “but all lives matter of course”. Just the simple statement and the only possible response to it. But that is not what the Organization that has taken that statement as its name actually want people to do. They want to segue from that to the nebulous “ you are evil racists and must do as we demand” . The two things “Black Lives Matter” and “Endemic racism is the problem” have no logical connection – Black lives matter because they are human life, and that principle is true for all of us. In the USA every citizen , every resident has the right to have their personal rights respected by the government and the minions of government – without exception.
And THAT concept is something that we can all work towards. The Founders of this country set the Republic up to do exactly that – it is supposed ot be a country of laws and respect for individual liberty. How can we all, all of us, work to make that happen? How can we ensure that the police, in every interaction they are involved are working to ensure that the rights of the individual are respected and preserved while doing their job? It cannot be based on “race” because we are are a country of many races. We are a country of individuals and not working on that is where the system breaks down – when it does.
Black lives Matter is a simple statement that has been hijacked.
The current raft of “Gun Red Flag” laws that have been flooding the states in the past year or more have Second Amendment supporters up in arms – as the mass demonstration in Virginia on January 20th 2020 showed. The supporters can be rallied to oppose the passing of such a law but once passed it becomes a war of legal attrition.
But are these laws a threat to gun owners and to the constitution? Most people I have seen posting or who have written to me express their disquiet at the laws seem to have their opposition somewhat muted by their firm conviction that any of these laws that are passed are, prima facie, unconstitutional in two distinct ways. The pro-active abridgment of the right to bear arms is, they claim, a glaringly obvious violation of the second Amendment. The idea of taking private property on an accusation and without the right to due process equally seems to violate the basic law on due process. Most of those seemed to signal to me that they are not really that bothered because they figure it is going to get slapped down by SCOTUS.
If you are one of those people who thinks that this current drive will be nipped in the bud by a quick trip to the Supreme Court I have some bad news. REALLY bad news.
But to illustrate exactly WHY this is of prime importance I need to conduct a bit of a history lesson.
Before I begin the lesson I must put in place a shout out to Joyce Lee Malcolm and the book To Keep and Bear Arms. If you have any feeling for the importance of the second amendment you MUST buy and read, this book. It is not an easy read – it is a historical text written by a historian. But there is a reason why Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas relied heavily on Malcolm’s work when crafting the monumental DC v Heller decision. Please invest some time in reading this work.
And we are back from commercials…
I was actually re-reading a part of the book again – the afterword section – and I noticed it made reference to a famous episode in British Hisotry – The Peterloo Massacre. The massacre occurred outside of Manchester at St. Peter’s Fields in August 1819. It was a very large protest and demonstration called by several agitator organizations at a time when unemployment was high, the economy was bad. The Napoleonic Ware had concluded in 1815 ( the appellation of “Peterloo” is reference to the battle of Waterloo in 1815 that had ended the final spasm of Napoleonic war dreams.) and the government had downsized the vast military that had been built up over 2 decades. Soldiers returned home, sailors left their ships and it was an unhappy period indeed.
The crowd was loud and boisterous. A local magistrate had the Riot Act read out and when the crowd failed to disperse Dragoons for the local Yeomanry were told to break up the crowd. They did so by charging on horseback, firing on them and attacking them with swords. 12 people died and the country erupted.
The government of England feared revolution – having seen what happened to France the aristocracy and ruling classes had a well justified feeling that things could easily get out of hand.
And here is where it starts to look eerily familiar.
The reaction of the Government was to start drafting anti gun/weapon legislation. Not for the Yeomanry or the government but for the people who were the target of the massacre! Yep. Seriously. An out of control magistrate unleashes armed troops on an unarmed crowd and the response of the ruling class? Make damned sure the unarmed classes didn’t find it easy to arm themselves.
And you will note that the universal judgment being rendered is on that the Act were not really serious, only hard core lefties raise a ruckus about them, they were “sensible” measures taken by a caring government.
But! When I mention Freedom to own weapons – what is your current view of the United Kingdom? The idea of that question probably made you laugh out loud. This is a country where they have moved on to regulating cutlery. But 200 years ago in 1819 before Peterloo the law was very clear the English subject had a right to have firearms both for personal protection and for protection of personal property.
Of the Six acts mentioned above the one I am zeroing in on today is the Seizure of Arms Act. In part this stated that a Magistrate could issue an order to seize firearms belonging to an individual, inside their home, on the deposition of one person, Sound familiar?
And there was a great outcry against it in Parliament and in the activist press. Malcolm does a very good job of describing this in her book.
And according to the two cites I put above- it was mild, it was only occasionally employed and had minimal effect. Ahem.
By 1920 those rights had gone.
By 2020 the British government is attempting to control public use of cutlery.
Let me repeat this – desperate opportunistic legislation was introduced and passed to deny specific rights guaranteed to Subjects. It was opposed, it was a condemned and there was not really some universal attempt to rigidly apply it all – and yet now the United Kingdom is so supine one wonders how the hell they manage to conquer a cheese roll. In the UK, should you use a gun to defend yourself against an attacker you will be arrested and you will , in all likelihood, go to jail. Even if you are a citizen of spotless record and the person you have shot is a lowlife convicted violent criminal.
WE must – MUST take every one of these oppressive efforts seriously, each legislation needs to be challenged in the jurisdiction, it needs to be pursued to the point where it is declared unconstitutional by State and Federal Courts. The people the passed these laws need to be voted out of office and they need to be continually identified as people who are eager to abrogate the constitutional rights of Citizens.
Please – do your bit – and then do a bit more. If you do not these rights will disappear and our children and grandchildren will reduced to fighting off attackers by trying to pee on them.
A word to the wise… (and if you are reading this post then you must be among the very wise) there is a book that I have found INVALUABLE in understanding the concepts of a citizen’s right to bear arms. It is:
“To keep and Bear Arms, The origins of an Anglo-American Right” by Joyce Lee Malcolm.
If you do not have this book in your personal library, please buy it. It is not an easy book to read – it is a book written by a historian, not a Second Amendment advocate and is concerned with sources, lessons, examples. I urge anyone who has an interest or passion for this debate to acquire the book and take the time to work through it. It will be worth it. Just to encourage you – bear in mind Justice Antonin Scalia found this book so compelling it helped him phrase the the seminal decision in DC v Heller that affirmed the Constitutional right of an individual to own a weapon for traditionally lawful purposes.
Most of us are well aware of the phrase “Power of the purse” – because we get reminded, from time to time, that the one real power that belongs solely to House of Representatives is the power to determine how the money of the Republic is to be spent.
But there is a second part to the equation – “the power of the sword”.
The Power of the Sword technically, I guess, resides within the Executive Branch. That branch of the government tasked with executing the laws.
Passing laws is one thing – getting people to obey them is another. Ultimately it is the ability of the government to enforce compliance that determines whether a law will stand.
Malcolm provides some solid evidence of this in her book (page 14)
“… However, disafforestation, or the removal of a Royal Forest from forest status for the purpose of its enclosure and sale, might leave hundreds of poor residents without a means of subsistence.The widespread riots that resulted, among the worst the Kingdom would experience before the Civil War, vividly demonstrated the English villager’s capacity for taking up arms and provide confirmation of the availability of firearms among the rural population…”
According to Malcolm’s book – the large scale riots and organization against the Royal plans provided the rulings classes with lesson that would later bear fruit in the Civil War of 1641.
It is a simple concept. Every law passed must be enforced at a local level by local officials. If the people they live among are not willing to follow the law then it will require force to get compliance. That ONLY works if the ones doing the forcing have more “force” than those resisting and the willingness to use it. Having to face armed resistance is a greater deterrent than facing unarmed resisters singing.
When I read accounts of the Totalitarian government in Iran shooting protesters I am reminded, again why governments do not want their citizens to be armed. If the protesters are unarmed and the police and authorities are armed then any negotiations are at the mercy of the authorities and they can end them whenever THEY choose.
The great thing about the US system of government is that it is not a dictatorship of the majority as it is in so much of the west. It is, at least theoretically, subject to the rule of law – and that rule and that law is the law of the land. Not what any majority may suddenly decide.
The rule of law stays in place and stays supreme as long as the electorate has the means to resist authoritarian impositions.
Amazing how those who wish to impose those authoritarian laws and rules push so very hard to “regulate” guns for the population at large.
I have seen, in a few on-line forums variations on a theme – “how do you, as a gun owner, justify owning an AR-15?” The question is posed in slightly different forms but all basically written from the view that owning a gun is something that is not a natural thing, or is somehow a dangerous thing or a threatening one.
It is the question which is wrong. It is based upon a false premise.
A person owns himself or herself. The right to your own life is the building block of a free society. The right to the rewards of your own thoughts and work is a logical extension of the right of personal ownership and follows from it. This is what turns a country from slavery to a recognition of the personal rights of every citizen.
This is a right that the US Constitution embodies. It is NOT a right that a government gives – it is a right that belongs to the basic building block of the society that creates the laws that we live by.
My right to own my life gives me the responsibility to take care of it and to protect it. I am the one who gets to decide which means I employ to do that. However my right does not extend to forcing another person to do what I wish, merely to make me feel secure. Once we move into the realm of ME deciding what YOU must do in order to give me something, moves us back to the realm of slavery. We can agree between us on a code to enable us to live in harmony but the code must enshrine the principle that the rights of one cannot infringe the rights of the other.
In a society that recognizes individual rights the right to bear arms is a logical right. It does not require any other person to “give” me that right. I can choose to bear arms or I can decide not to. What I cannot do is decide YOUR choice in the matter. And you cannot decide mine.
The decision to be responsible for my survival is the moral stance to take. Trying to force me to comply with your wishes and feelings against my own rights is the immoral stance to take.
Like most of America I have avoided the abject “Theater of the Absurd” being played out in Washington DC by the Democrat Party.
I have watched – with bewilderment – as the process of “getting Trump” has been the all consuming passion of the hard left since the day of the election in November of 2016. I read in the book “Shattered” how the Clinton campaign went from conceding with forced grace (as we normally expect the losing side to behave in these things) to pivoting to a message that it was all the Russians’ fault. That somehow the damned Russkis had put the fix in and tricked 62 million Americans into voting for their secret billionaire property developer puppet. And they, the gallant losers (though really winners) were going to “resist”.
And so the pathetic weep-a-thon and wail-o-rama that has become the Modus Operandi for the Democrat Party was launched on a tidal wave of tears and slobbering anguish.
For a little over three years the political and strategic aim of the Democrat Party has been to “get Trump”. Within days of the election “Impeachment” was being bandied around as a technique that could remove the Trump Obstacle from the scene and start on setting the political world of the left and of the Deep State to rights again. The Main Stream Media – ABC, NBC. CBS and the dog whistlers of the Cable CNN and MSNBC have been acting in unison in a full throated attack on whatever Donald Trump is doing – right now. Everything that happens is viewed through the prism of “how can this be used to attack Trump?” . NOTHING is viewed through the prism of “how can we help the country?”.
The push has always been to “get Trump”the hope has always been to find something, anything, which would convince the majority of US Voters that he must be removed from office. The leftist supporters, of course, have been convinced from November 2016 that Trump should be removed. Not because of what he has done or not done but because his election is just so unfair, unjust, not right, unfair and anything that removes him is fair and just.
This has led to what, in any other country, would be a hilarious spectacle – watching pompous politicians, having decided that Impeachment must be done – launch what they claim are unbiased inquiries to prove themselves right. Pelosi tries to sound serious as she announces that she has instructed the House to draw up articles of impeachment – acting as if this was something reluctantly arrived at solution instead of it being a cobbled together post facto justification for decisions reached with no proof at all before any inquiry was ever launched. And watching the media breathlessly reporting on the non-story like it was a serious moment in US History instead of being the acme of pathetic theater.
If the only thing available to them to write in an impeachment article was that Donald Trump once jaywalked – they would have already included it. Instead we are subject to the opinions of “witnesses” who actually saw nothing, opining on whether or not their own interpretation of the divining of Donald Trump’s intentions was enough to impeach him.
Really. If this tripe was going on in France the late night “comedians” in the USA would be laughing themselves into sweaty piles at the stupidity of the French. Instead, of course, those self same “comedians” are part of the background chorus chanting for something “to be done”.
Is anyone of a sound mind out there even buying into this BS?
The USA, over the last three years has an economy that is second to none. I realize – BTW – that a good economy is a complex thing and not just the result of a magic wand wave by an incoming President. I think that POTUS did do the one thing that unlocked the potential of the USA – he started rolling back regulations and needless laws and bureaucratic over-reach and, with the unchaining, things started to ramp up very fast. More and more people went back to work, unemployment dropped and dropped. There have been trade deals made, trade opponents dealt with, ISIS demolished. Overall I think the USA is doing great.
And the Democrats have done what? Nothing except organize committees to go after Trump.
We have Democrat politicians like Ocasio-Cortez shrilly claiming to have never experienced the American Dream – while being elected as the youngest member of the House of Representatives, having attended Boston University while not having any money to do so. Ms Ocasio Cortez finds herself in the legislative body of the most [powerful country on earth – and finds time to claim how hard done by she is?
In the midst of good times and good things the Democrat Party is seeking to tear society apart by balkanizing every part of society they can infiltrate. There are lessons to be gleaned from this performance by Pelosi, Hoyer, Obama, Podesta, Biden, Booker Warren et al – the ONLY thing the left cares about – is power. They have proven that they do not care about the electorate, the wishes of the voters nor the welfare of the country. They care about the handles of power.
If you want an example of how the Democrats view themselves in power – you only need listen to what they are saying.
Adam Schiff holds “hearings’ in secret. Summons witnesses who have not witnessed anything and prevented others from presenting witnesses or questioning the people he has brought up. This is what passes for “inquiry” in the eyes of the left.
At the same time we have people like Elizabeth Warren – someone who is seeking to be President who says that when she becomes President she will abolish the Electoral College. Why is that such a bad thing? Well in order to be sworn in as President a candidate has to swear to Uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Warren is promising to violate it. And that is quite apart from the fact that the President is in the Executive Branch not the legislative branch. So she cannot just change the Constitution.
Or we have Billionaire Bloomberg who plans to impede the ability of US Citizens to keep and bear arms – in Direct contravention of the 2nd Amendment. Again yet another Democrat Candidate who plans to act as a dictator and violate his oath of office.
The left does not wish to govern. It wishes to rule. Not for you and me – but for their own ideology. Believe them when they keep saying exactly that.
A person’s right to their own self defense is both a self evident right and, in addition the only possible moral building block of a safe and secure society.
That is the proposition I am arguing for.
There is a motto that is both profound and incredibly useful, both in personal and societal usage.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
It translates to “If you would see peace, prepare for war”
It derives from the work of the Roman General Vegetius who said “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum” which translates to “Therefore, who desires peace, prepares for war”.
Please note – and note carefully – it does NOT say “he who wants peace must fight a war” “ or “war brings peace” or anything like that. It merely states that in order for a person or a state to be secure in its peace it must be prepared for war.
But why is this the case?
Immanuel Kant in an Essay of 1795 entitled “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch” had many things to say about the ingredients of a “perpetual peace” and how it could and should be achieved. I am including a link to that sketch and I would urge you, if you have not read this, to go, now and read it.
I shall be using a couple of quotes from that article – and want to be sure that they are read within the context of the overall article itself.
Section two of the essay has the following opening paragraph:
“The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state (status naturalis); the natural state is one of war. This does not always mean open hostilities, but at least an unceasing threat of war. A state of peace, therefore, must be established, for in order to be secured against hostility it is not sufficient that hostilities simply be not committed; and, unless this security is pledged to each by his neighbor (a thing that can occur only in a civil state), each may treat his neighbor, from whom he demands this security, as an enemy.”
Kant goes on to show that the establishment of a peace can only occur when states adhere to a republican form of government. (I am probably being overly cautious here but Kant is not endorsing the Republican Party in the USA or the Republican Guard in Baathist states) Kant goes on to lay out why this is the case and is well worth the read.
“The only constitution which derives from the idea of the original compact, and on which all juridical legislation of a people must be based, is the republican. This constitution is established, firstly, by principles of the freedom of the members of a society (as men); secondly, by principles of dependence of all upon a single common legislation (as subjects); and, thirdly, by the law of their equality (as citizens). The republican constitution, therefore, is, with respect to law, the one which is the original basis of every form of civil constitution. The only question now is: Is it also the one which can lead to perpetual peace?”
Kant’s essay contains some interesting arguments on “republican government” versus “democracy” and lays out the philosophical underpinning of why democracy is a despotic form of government.
But the purpose of this essay/blog post is to lay out why it is that self defense is an inherent human right that, when denied by the ruling class, leads not only to threat and violence but also to decay in the society.
Why must this be the case?
The fundamental building block of a society is the individual.
John Locke in his Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government says:
“every•·individual·man has a property in his own person[= ‘owns himself’]; this is something that nobody else has any right to. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his.” (chapter 5 – Property).
Your right to your life is a building block of any civilized society. It is the ONLY approach that guarantees respect for every individual.
In order to maintain your life you must have the right to defend it from the aggression or ill will of others who might seek to harm you. If you do not have the right to your own defense then you do not have a right to your own life. Does that mean that we are in the Hobbesian nightmare of “ The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.”? No it does not.
What it means is that we owe ourselves a duty to protect our lives. No-one else has that duty to us. Only us. I can defer part of that duty to those who might volunteer to defend me, but the final responsibility is mine – not theirs.
If we return to the quotes at the start of this article – if I am to see peace, I should prepare for war. I should, at all times be willing to defend myself against anyone seeking to harm me. My choice of defense is mine. Not the aggressors, and not the authorities, Mine. It has to be that way because the life I hold is mine.
If we, as a society, are each determined to defend ourselves then we have that in common with each other. We can enter into business and dialog and agreements and contracts and partnerships and families in the knowledge that we share this attribute. We have respect.
But if some force ( the Leviathan that Hobbes thought was the answer) interferes in that compact, what happens?
You no longer know where I stand on the fundamental facts of our existence. Do I respect YOUR life? Do I respect YOUR rights? What was previously an established fact between us has now become a conditional – only resolvable by appeal to a third party. Which has now assumed a power over that one inviolable right – our own lives. And, in a “democracy” that power is wielded by those that command a “majority”.
When the power over our own lives, our personal property, becomes the plaything of the mob – we have reached the condition of war of every man against every man. Instead of our own personal judgment we are at the mercy of of rabble-rousers who can command a majority to take away the rights that we should hold.
And once lost those rights will only ever be restored by the blood that established them in the first place.
Kant summed up, nicely, why Democracy is Despotism
“Thus in a despotism the public will is administered by the ruler as his own will. Of the three forms of the state, that of democracy is, properly speaking, necessarily a despotism, because it establishes an executive power in which “all” decide for or even against one who does not agree; that is, “all,” who are not quite all, decide, and this is a contradiction of the general will with itself and with freedom. “
Please re-read that.
It is simple – if we wish to see peace we must be prepared for war.