Our Trying Modern Times – Part 2, by Steve Vandiver

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

“Firearms stand next to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence… The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” (Often spuriously attributed to George Washington).

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership report that Tyrannical governments always disarm their victim citizens. Disarmament happened in Turkey, the Soviet Union, in the German Weimar Republic, in Communist China, in Uganda, in Cambodia and in too many other lands. Genocide so often followed disarmament during the 20th century that generalization can be made that confiscation of firearms is a prelude to genocide. The Afghan Penal Code of 1976 had only one provision against ownership of firearms, and that was by criminals. Other than this one law, Afghan ownership of firearms was unrestricted. An indomitable will to resist coupled with ownership of firearms permitted this people to withstand the armed might of the Soviet Union, and I remark tongue in cheek, also of these United States of America.

Our Declaration of Independence contains these proud words:

“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Furthermore, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

And consider:

“Whenever Legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience.” -John Locke

A Just War and Standards of Conduct doctrine emerged during the last century. This doctrine is bifurcated with one part addressing when war is justified and the other with justifiable actions by the revolutionary in open conflict. Under this doctrine, recourse to war is permissible when there exists:

1. Just authority
2. Just cause
3. Just intention, and
4. Last resort.

The Standards of Conduct of a Just War are limited by:

1. Proportionality
2. Discrimination, and
3. Responsibility.

And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms (Thomas Jefferson)

The U.S. Declaration of Independence set forth the conditions of Just Cause for the Revolutionary War: The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. The Declaration went on to cite 28 specific Facts of Just Cause and stated the King [of England] had acted as a Tyrant by ignoring repeated petitions for redress, that the King had been warned against exerting unwarrantable jurisdiction, and furthermore all appeals had been ignored. As a result, the signatories of this Declaration, declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”  (Federalist #28, Alexander Hamilton)

Due to the long history of weapon confiscation by repressive or even genocidal governments, Just Cause is certainly satisfied whenever a government attempts to disarm its citizens. A sharply defined trigger event such as outright confiscation may not happen at once. The Jewish people of Nazi Germany had previously been stripped of the ability to own firearms by a more benign predecessor government, the Weimar Republic. Just Cause is also satisfied when a government capriciously acts against its governed to remove heretofore protected freedoms.

Under the Third Reich, enforcement of repressive laws targeting Jewish people would eventually ease just enough for them to conclude things were getting better, followed by increasing enforcement and then another slacking, ultimately ending with Concentration Camps and Gas Chambers. The erroneous belief things were getting better while all along they were getting worse may have kept many Jews from resisting oppression and/or fleeing from Nazi Germany.

Firearm confiscation initiated by a largely benign government such as the Weimar Republic or even by our own government, does not mean that government will always remain benign. Any benign government can someday morph into the most repressive of governments. Any governmental scheme to register firearms should always be viewed as a prelude to confiscation. Firearms registration which always proceeds confiscation, becomes a line in the sand separating free man from slave. Registration and certainly confiscation amount to Just Cause.

“The welfare of the people…has always been the alibi of tyrants…giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” – Albert Camus

Free citizens should always be alert to politicians currying favor and to judicial activism. For some time now, we have largely tolerated limitations of the First Amendment right to assemble due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and similar nonsense. Under the guise of protecting the people the United States Government Centers for Disease Control has proposed a shielding approach; to limit the spread of this contagion that is published on its website. This shielding approach reads like something out of 1938 Nazi Germany. Quoted verbatim:

“The shielding approach aims to reduce the number of severe COVID-19 cases by limiting contact between individuals at higher risk of developing severe disease (high-risk) and the general population (low-risk). High-risk individuals would be temporarily relocated to safe or green zones established at the household, neighborhood, camp/sector or community level depending on the context and setting. They would have minimal contact with family members and other low-risk residents [patently in violation of the First Amendment Right to Assemble].

Current evidence indicates that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In most humanitarian settings, older population groups make up a small percentage of the total population. For this reason, the shielding approach suggests physically separating high-risk individuals from the general population to prioritize the use of the limited available resources and avoid implementing long-term containment measures among the general population.”
Separating families and disrupting and deconstructing multigenerational households may have long-term negative consequences. Shielding strategies need to consider sociocultural gender norms in order to (sic) adequately assess and address risks to individuals, particularly women and girls. Restrictive gender norms may be exacerbated by isolation strategies such as shielding.

At the household level, isolating individuals and limiting their interaction, compounded with social and economic disruption has raised concerns of potential increased risk of partner violence. Households participating in house swaps or sector-wide cohorting [sic] are at particular risk for gender-based violence, harassment, abuse, and exploitation as remaining household members may not be decision-makers or responsible for households needs.”

This federal government document cautions that separating multigenerational families of high risk (mainly elder) members may have long-term negative consequences. One can ponder these “negative consequences”, both for the family and for those forcibly dividing families. This Shielding Approach may require you to surrender your residence to at-risk members while relocating into one of the newly vacant residences. Negative consequences indeed, especially with an armed citizenry.

What recourse exists against government proposals such as this? What recourse exists should the citizenry be disarmed? That the United States Centers for Disease Control would promulgate such an outrageous Shielding Proposal serves as a strong example of the wisdom of our forebears in putting the Second Amendment right to own firearms just after the First Amendment right to assemble and by implication, the right to free speech, under which Survival Blog is published.

A revolting party under Just Cause doctrine should be composed of something more than a group of lawless pirates and brigands and must occupy moral high ground. The concept of Comparative Justice excludes competitive but equally bad political entities from foisting their own brand of repression. Comparative Justice can only be meted out only by honorable citizens, of honorable intent, acting upon Just Cause.
Honorable citizens inciting rebellion because of Just Cause must also be acting with Right Intention while seeking a Just Peace, and not simply revenge or booty. Leaders of any revolution carry a heavy burden to ensure a Just Victory, one in which the newly established order is better than the one to be overthrown.

“The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.” – General Stonewall Jackson, Confederate States of America

Honorable citizens engage in Just War as a Last Resort. This implies that reasonable and peaceful means to change a repressive government has been exhausted without relief or redress. Once a government initiates war on its citizens, Last Resort has been satisfied.

The revolutionary must have some hope of prevailing against the more powerful repressive regime. Speaking as a native Texan, this does not mean I believe Colonels Bowie and Travis, Davy Crockett, and the brave Texicans should have surrendered the Alamo to Santa Ana’s numerically superior force. There will always be a place and time for the valiant to stand.

Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may (Sam Houston, First President of the Republic of Texas).

Alamo co-commanders Bowie and Travis, may their names always be remembered in honor, had reason to hope for reinforcement and indeed the number of defenders of the Alamo had gradually increased. However hopeful the defenders may have been, the Alamo fell and its defenders were killed. Mexican troops later encountering Sam Houston’s hearty men at the Battle of San Jacinto cried out, Me no Alamo, me no Goliad (not wanting to be blamed for atrocities committed by Santa Ana’s troops during the battles of the Alamo and Goliad). Spartan King Leonidas would certainly testify that a lost cause well-fought can gender support for a larger theater of war.

Proportionality means the revolutionary must compare the damage done by a war against oppression with the damage that will result if no war issues. We can look to our own Civil War to understand how troubling this might be; however the suffering tyrannical governments cause by continual erosion of civil rights and resultant lack of freedoms can be ignored only at great peril.

Governments may think and say as they like, but force cannot be eliminated, and it is the only real and unanswerable power. We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose (Sir Adrian Carton de Wiert).

Liberty and Freedom always exist when power originates from the governed. Should an existing government fail to serve the interests of free men, citizens must always retain means to establish a new government, by peaceful means first and if those fail, then by violent means. Chairman Mao sagaciously quipped, Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun (and in our situation at least for now, I add: from the gun held by the citizen).

“When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation.” – Alexander Hamilton

A Just War revolution must be declared by a Public Authority acting with legal means to do so. Pre-Revolutionary War Committees of Correspondence shared, advertised, and coordinated plans of resistance against the Crown. Who then is justified in calling a people to revolt? I inquire, from whence came Patrick Henry and John Brown?

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect (sic) their Safety and Happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson, US Declaration of Independence

When does a government cross the line toward repression? I believe this line is crossed by the enactment of any scheme for registration of firearms including capriciously re-defining pre-existing conditions of ownership. Repression begins long before arbitrary seizure of firearms from law abiding citizens. History is long my witness.

“A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

A revolution begins when a terrified and harassed citizen breaks free of fear and concludes there are indeed some things more valuable than life itself. Patrick Henry said it best, Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains of slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.

You may remember another of this great man’s pithy sayings, … if our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

The oath of office I swore upon appointment as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation reads:

I…solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

The oath I swore upon becoming an elected judge in the Great State of Texas followed a similar format as do oaths of office taken by military officers. These solemn oaths do not expire upon leaving office and have no temporal limit.

All should pay particular attention to what constitutes, enemies, foreign – and domestic.

My purpose here is to draw attention to those conditions of divisiveness and unhappiness that launched this great gift of Representative government of the people, by the people, and for the people, this so very precious gift so many now enjoy only by right of inheritance and not by personal sacrifice. My purpose here is to bring attention the predictable results of long-term inability to find common purpose.

Every patriot should fear a future time when each must like George Washington and his band of revolutionaries, Colonels Travis and Bowie, Davy Crockett, and the other defenders of the Alamo, draw that line in the sand and make a brave stand against repressive government.

Should such a future arrive and all peaceful means of change fail, will you have the courage to make hard choices; will you underwrite the great sacrifices necessary to throw off an oppressive and corrupt government? Will you be men of honor and valor, and by your actions clearly demonstrate: “THIS I SHALL NOT PERMIT!”


Italics other than indicating a quote, bold face type, and contents in brackets are by the author. Common quotes are uncited.

1  TO GERMANY, Charles Hamilton Sorley (PD:US).
2 https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/983082132/census-to-release-1st-results-that-shift-electoral-college-house-seats.
3 Due Process Clauses are found in both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government, and requires any such denial to be made only as authorized by law. See: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-xiv/clauses/701.
4 Rummell, R. J., Death by Government, New Brunswick, 1990, 269pp.
5 Ludwig Von Mises (1985). Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War,
Libertarian Press.
6The right to assemble is incorporated into the First Amendment to the Constitution and by interpretation gives rise to freedom of speech. See: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-i/interps/267.
7Technological means serve to amplify the communications power of public assembly. Technological means increase the spread of information and include the printing press, telephonic communication, radio and television, the internet, and social media.
8La mordita (the bite). See: https://www.tripsavvy.com/definition-of-mordida-1588821.
9List of Nazi death camps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nazi_extermination_camps_and_euthanasia_centers.
10 List of Nazi concentration camps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nazi_concentration_camps.
11 UK firearms laws at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/firearms#firearms-law.
12 Just War Theory, Oregon State, more information at https://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl201/modules/just_war_theory/criteria_intro.html.
13 National Archives, America’s Founding Documents, The Declaration of Independence, A Transcription, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript.
14 An excellent article published by The New Yorker on 2/9/1963 regarding the evolution of the Nazi State by Hannah Arendt can be found at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i.
15 Wikipedia article on normalcy bias https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias.
165See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/shielding-approach-humanitarian.html.
17At risk individuals are further described: “Older adults represent a small percentage of the population in many camps in humanitarian settings (approximately 3-5%), however in some humanitarian settings more than one quarter of the population may fall under high risk categories based on underlying medical conditions which may increase a person’s risk for severe COVID-19 illness which include chronic kidney disease, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, many camps and settlements host multiple nationalities which may require additional separation [due to their inability to tolerate one another].
18 Santa Anna and the Texas Revolution. See: https://www.andrews.edu/~rwright/Oldwww/Alamo/revolution.html.
19 John Brown was an active abolitionist (against slavery). He and his followers seized the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, hoping to enlist slaves into his army. This revolt was put down by troops let by Col. Robert E. Lee. Brown was found guilty of treason and hanged on December 2,1859. His actions were considered a prelude to the U.S. Civil War which commenced April 12, 1861. See: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/john-brown.
20 When Bowie’s mother was informed of his death, she calmly stated, “I’ll wager no wounds were found in his back.” Hopewell, Clifford (1994). James Bowie Texas Fighting Man: A Biography. Austin, TX: Eakin Press. ISBN 0-89015-881-9. pp 2-3.