Ted Cruz’s frightening gun fanaticism: When a presidential contender encourages armed insurrection. That’s the headline at salon.com, as steadfast a proponent of civilian disarmament as you’ll find on the Internets. Sub-head: “Ted Cruz thinks Americans should arm themselves against ‘tyranny,’ and Lindsey Graham thinks that’s crazy.” Call me crazy, but I think it’s crazy that Lindsay Graham thinks it’s crazy. Anyway, here’s the windup: . . .
As incredible as it sounds, there’s an argument going on right now between two Republican senators (and, potentially, two Republican candidates for the presidency) over whether the American citizenry should be ready to fight a war against the federal government. The two senators in question are Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, and they can’t seem to agree whether the Second Amendment serves as bulwark against government “tyranny.”
And here’s the pitch:
It all started with a fundraising email Cruz sent making the case that “The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn’t for just protecting hunting rights, and it’s not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny — for the protection of liberty.” TPM’s Sahil Kapur asked Grahamwhat he thought of his Texan colleague’s view of the Second Amendment, and the South Carolina senator was not impressed. He even invoked the Civil War, which should make Cruz’s people plenty upset. “Well, we tried that once in South Carolina,” Graham said. “I wouldn’t go down that road again.”
This view of gun rights that casts personal firearm ownership as a check on the abuses of government doesn’t make a great deal of practical sense, and it betrays a lack of faith in our democratic institutions.
Yeah, no. Cruz’s view of gun rights is faithful to the fathers who founded this country. Founded it with uninfringeable gun rights to protect the constitutional republic (for which it stands).
It’s not a pretty concept: patriots fighting their own government to preserve their freedom. But that’s exactly what’s prevented government tyranny. Well, sometimes. Ask the descendants of slaves, American Indians and interned Japanese Americans how that worked out for them. Or the families of the innocents murdered at Waco by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
I don’t doubt that Cruz would argue strongly against an armed response to Obama’s immigration orders and tweaks to Obamacare. But at the same time, he’s the one bringing up government “tyranny” and “lawlessness,” and he’s the one bringing up the need to arm oneself in order to preserve one’s liberty. So he should be the one to explain where those two concepts intersect, and when an armed citizen would be justified in committing violence against the government.
Note to author Simon Maloy: it’s like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it. Alternatively, it’s when the water in the pot gets too hot for us frogs.