Fiat Out Of Control

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun . . . Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.”

            —Chairman Mao Zedong, The Little Red Book

 

This is scarier than I thought.

Vice President Joe Biden has been meeting this week with his committee on curbing gun violence and various pro- and anti-gun groups.  On Wednesday, he emphasized the urgency of action:

“If our actions result in saving only one life, they’re worth taking.”

Only one life, huh?  To save even one life, it’s worth the Administration taking unilateral action; you sure about that, Joe?

You mean like sending armed help to save Americans trapped in a consulate compound under siege in Benghazi?   Or responding to urgent requests in the weeks leading up to that attack to increase security at that post?  Or closing it (as the British did) months earlier after it became clear that the situation was unstable and dangerous?  Are those the kind of life-saving actions worth taking, Mr. Vice President?

You mean like ending the occupation in Afghanistan and withdrawing instead of leaving troops in harm’s way for some undetermined period of time with no mission?  Or employing whatever means are necessary to obtain information about terrorist plots aimed at killing Americans?  Are those the kind of actions worth taking if they save even one life, Mr. Vice President?

Or do you mean like securing the Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico borders against heavily-armed drug runners (drug-runners armed by your own Department of Justice)?   Is that what you mean, Joe?

How about stopping hundreds of millions in federal funding for 300,000+ abortions a year performed through Planned Parenthood?  Is that what you mean, Joe?

I assume you don’t mean ensuring that a stay-at-home-mom is in a position to stop an intruder and save her children when there’s no time to wait for the cops, do you, Joe.

Apparently some lives and some actions are more worthy than others.

But here’s the scary part.

The above litany demonstrates that these people are not serious about “saving lives,” which of course begs the question what it is they’re really up to.  And that’s what makes this so troubling, because Biden now says that the Administration’s zeal nevertheless to act and act quickly on gun control could include the issuance of undetermined executive orders:

“There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.  We haven’t decided what that is yet.”

Wow.

I have repeatedly covered this President’s history of power abuse through the unilateral exercise of executive fiat (by decree: it is because I say it is).  But to date that’s been limited to unconstitutional usurpations of Congressional authority by effectively repealing legislation (Defense of Marriage Act), amending legislation (Obamacare (the CLASS Act), No Child Left Behind), or enacting legislation (DREAM Act) by one form or another of executive order.  Now we’re talking about the possibility of the President, acting alone under his sole authority as determined by himself, purporting to alter/restrict/eliminate (pick your verb) a right expressly reserved to the People of the United States in the Constitution.

Let me repeat:  we’re talking about the President limiting or removing a right specifically guaranteed to you under the Constitution, based solely on his own self-proclaimed power to do so.

Of course, nothing in the Constitution grants him that authority:  Article I gives the legislative power exclusively to the Congress; Article II limits the power of the President to executing laws duly enacted by that Congress; Article V provides the sole means of altering the Constitution itself, neither of which include executive fiat.  Yet there he goes (or is at least threatening), and if he can do that, where, exactly, are the limits of his power and who is to enforce them, because they’re obviously not to be found in the Constitution?

Now if that doesn’t have you good and puckered, let’s review a little history.  On November 9, 1938, anti-Jewish riots broke out all over Nazi Germany in response to the murder of a German diplomat in Paris.  This event became known as “Kristallnacht” (“night of broken glass”), and although Jews had been persecuted in Germany prior to this event, Kristallnacht is generally regarded as the beginning of the Holocaust in earnest.

On November 11—just two days later—Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick enacted the Regulations Against Jews’ Possession Of Weapons, which effectively banned all Jewish ownership of guns.  The next day, November 12, the German Jews were fined 1 billion marks to pay for the damage caused during Kristallnacht.  On November 15, Jewish children were expelled from public schooling.  Less than a year later, Jews were being rounded up and shipped to concentration camps.

Some six million Jews were killed.

No, Hitler didn’t come to power by seizing guns, nor did anti-Semitic persecution begin with gun control.  But when it came time to get serious about rounding up and disposing of perceived enemies of the State, one of the very first things the Nazis did was disarm their victims.  And they did it by administrative order—the stroke of a bureaucratic pen—not through the open deliberative process of a representative legislature in accordance with an objective rule of law (i.e., a Constitution).

The Nazi Germany experience is not unique, although it may be the most stark in terms of the temporal relationship between government disarmament and the institution of mass killings of potential dissenters.  There are numerous other examples of public disarmament followed by governmental mass murder of dissenters just in the twentieth century.

  • The Ottoman Empire began instituting restrictions on the manufacture or carrying of firearms in the late 1890s.  By 1915, local Armenian officials were ordered to collect (read: confiscate) quotas of guns, but faced a Hobson’s choice:  meeting the quota proved you were part of an armed conspiracy against the government, while not meeting it proved you were stockpiling weapons.  Either way, you were executed.  Ultimately the Armenian population was rounded up and force-marched to relocation camps in the interior of Turkey.  A million or more died.
  • The Soviets began requiring the registration of firearms in 1918, almost immediately upon taking power.  By 1925, unauthorized possession of guns was outlawed.  Stalin’s political purges and ethnic deportations between 1929 and 1953 led to some 20 million deaths.
  • The Chinese began instituting gun control laws in the early 20th Century.  In 1957, the Communist government banned possession altogether.  Between 1957 and 1976 about 20 million Chinese dissidents died at the hands of that same government.
  • Cambodia likewise had had gun restrictions dating to the early 20th Century.  When the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, they didn’t bother enacting a law—they just went village to village and took the guns.  Once the population was disarmed, the Khmer Rouge rounded up the intellectuals (i.e. the most likely potential dissenters), and force-marched them to labor camps.  About a million died.
  • In Uganda, the government banned unauthorized possession of firearms at least as far back as 1955.  By 1969, the country was under the control of dictator Milton Obote, who tightened the ban basically to cover everyone but those close to the government.  Idi Amin took over in 1971.  The Asian population was promptly deported and their property confiscated.  Some 300,000 political enemies were killed.

While it does not involve genocide, even our own history is marked by the efforts of a tyrannical government to disarm a dissenting public.  The first military engagements of the Revolution took place on April 19, 1775 at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.  Any elementary school kid can tell you about Paul Revere riding the countryside to warn the colonists and muster the militias against a column of Redcoats marching out of Boston:  The British are coming!  But recall what it was the British were after:  private guns.  They were going to seize weapons and supplies the colonists had stockpiled at Concord.

The White House’s threat to resort to executive action on gun control is a serious, serious deal.  And don’t hold your breath waiting for John Boehner and this Congress or John Roberts’ Supreme Court to stand up and stop it.  Ain’t.  Gonna.  Happen.

We, the People, are all that’s left.  We have to stand up and stop this, and we have to do it now, before it’s too late.

Join the NRA and your state or local association.

Call or write your congressman and your state reps.

And when it comes down to it, band together and refuse to comply.

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