Random thoughts about the possibility of a second Civil War
By Robert Farago
Since 1855, the U.S. political scene has been divided between Democrats and Republicans. While there's no question which party works harder to degrade and destroy Americans' natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, I reckon the two-party political divide is a distinction without a difference. Both sides are part of the same political establishment. Maintaining the status quo – the system itself – is job one. Ideology is a merely a means to that end. A more fundamental fracture in the body politic lies beneath the surface . . .
It's the gulf between citizens who believe in Big Government and those who favor small government. Those who want government to sort sh*t out and those who want the government to GTFO.
As the recent decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage illustrate, Big Government believers have champions in the President, the Supreme Court and the entirety of the political establishment, including every government agency in existence, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and the rest of the faux Conservatives seeking a seat at the table of power and/or a lease on Air Force One. Small government supporters have . . . Ted Cruz? Rick Perry? No one, really.
No surprise there. People who want a radically limited government are not a prize demographic. Though large in number, they're politically disengaged. Why participate in a system that never listens to your desire to reduce the size of the system? Look at our national debt. Consider The Great Society's never-ending, staggeringly ineffective welfare waterfall. Check your tax bill. Small government supporters have been losing for a long, long time.
I don't need to tell TTAG's Armed Intelligentsia that Big Government is the enemy of freedom. American gun owners have lost their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms without government infringement over decades. The National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Bill of 1993 are all clear violations of the Second Amendment. Not to mention thousands of local and state gun control laws, some historic, some recent.
This loss of gun rights is part of the larger trend of expanding government interference in all aspects of American life. Thankfully, it's not happening everywhere. Some states are restoring gun rights, just as some states are returning to solid fiscal principles of balanced budgets and low[er] taxes. They're hardly shining examples of limited government, but they're at least holding steady against government encroachment and incipient tyranny. (Yes, I used the "t" word.)
America is, once again, two Americas: states that are [relatively] freedom-loving and [somewhat] laissez-faire vs. states that are endlessly intrusive and mindlessly invasive. Never mind the party split. Never forget that Ronald Reagan expanded the federal government exponentially, and signed gun control laws without a qualm. More than that, there are plenty of Big Government types in red states, and limited government lovers "trapped behind enemy lines."
On its face this divide is OK, the states being the "laboratories of democracy" and all. Truth be told, Uncle Sam is the real problem. The federal bloat in power and reach and cost has been stupendous. Monumental. Practically inconceivable. How do you get your head around the fact that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – and agency elevated by the aforementioned President Reagan without a justifiable raison d'etre – has a $1.2 billion dollar budget?
Make no mistake: the federal government is on an ongoing irreversible collision course with "don't tread on me" style states, and [the mostly rural] and inhabitants of other states who adhere to the limited government philosophy. The ever-expanding federal government and its supporters in states like California, New York and Massachusetts have turned limited government types into the proverbial frog in the pot of water slowly moving towards boiling point.
These two approaches to government cannot coexist forever. There will be a showdown.
I believe the fight over gun rights will be the flashpoint. At some point, most likely (but not necessarily) following a series of terrorist attacks, Big Government will move to "win" the gun rights battle. To establish its authority once and for all. The Bundy Ranch confrontation foreshadows that fateful day. As does Waco and Ruby Ridge and the internment of Japanese Americans.
I have no idea how or when it will play out. Privately owned guns will be involved. It won't be pretty and it won't be resolved quickly. I do not wish for that day. The vast majority of freedom-loving Americans do not, either. But not even America can be two things at once. Despite our beloved tradition of democracy, history tells us that politics is the problem, not the solution. Am I wrong?
Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. This essay originally appeared on TTAG. © 2015 The Truth About Guns.