In Defense of Aplomb

A loyal reader and daily pen-pal of mine has burned his Mark Shea fan club card. During crunch time with deadlines looming, I ought not post on meat-days (that is, non-Fridays) but in this case I make an exception, because I hope to reconcile two friends of mine with each other.

Mr Winchester speaks of the flair and aplomb with which Mr Shea decries the excesses of the gun culture…

Which wouldn’t be so bad if Mark wasn’t going off complaining about others’ flair and aplomb so much lately.

However, his recent comparison of 2nd amendment supporters to abortionists and people discussing secession as “fantasizing about getting the chance to indulge in violence, torture and war” were just beyond the pale. I used to consider myself a member of ya’ll’s appreciation society but after those posts of his I couldn’t burn my card fast enough. (still totally your fan, John)

My comment: Please be charitable to poor Mr Shea. He lives in Seattle, which is one of the outer circles of Dante’s Inferno, and reconsider your decision.

Mark Shea supports the Church teachings. He is not loyal to left or right, to Sadducee or Pharisee, but to Christ. The Second Amendment is an absolutely core doctrine of the Enlightenment philosophy of the liberty of man. The US Constitution is the greatest embodiment and monument to that philosophy and those liberties, but that philosophy is not a Church teaching.

Clicking through the links, I read that what Mark Shea said was that resorting to Secession or civil war in response, not to a general ban on guns or universal confiscation, but in response to Federico Lombardi’s remarks that “limiting and controlling the diffusion and use of arms are certainly a step in the right direction” is a patently nutjob response.

In this case, I disagree rather sharply with Lombardi, but do not consider his remarks to be beyond the pale. However, I do consider calls for Secession to be treason, and treason to be beyond the pale.

I do not consider Mark Shea saying that treason is beyond the pale, or, in his words, calling treason a fantasy, to be beyond the pale. I would not even call his remark inflammatory. I would call it ebullient.

Neither did Mark Shea ‘compare’ abortionists and ‘2nd Amendment supporters’. What he said was this:

“This blog will. not. be. a forum for “discussing” secession or civil war. Those who choose to ignore me on this point will find themselves in the same ban file as those who want to use my comboxes to advocate for abortion.”

So it is you, my dear sir, and not he, who equated supporting the Second Amendment with supporting a new civil war with all its horror and bloodshed; and it is you, my dear sir, and not he, who drew the conclusion that two people going into the ban file together are like each other in moral worth.

He did not say or even imply the thing you find objectionable.

Myself, I ban people who offer personal insults to my family, and I ban people who are Holocaust deniers. Now, do you think I am saying insulting the Wright family is a crime akin to the genocide of the Jews, or acting as an apologist for such a crime? No, of course not, not at all. The only thing they have in common is that I ban them both. I don’t even ban them for the same reason.

Christians are commanded by God Almighty Himself to obey secular authorities placed over them, and, yes, to pray for those authorities. Saint Paul wrote those words to Christians living under emperors like Caligula and Nero and Diocletian.

I notice that the NRA, the organization to which I belong, has not advocated civil war or Secession from the union. Neither has the Republican Party, the party to which I belong. Secession and riot and resorting to violence is a DEMOCRAT passtime, that wonderful party that gave us the Confederate States of America and the Ku Klux Klan, not to mention Jim Crow, Lynch Mobs, and Race Riots.

When Conservatives start talking about Secession in response to lowering magazine limits from ten rounds to seven, it is not in keeping with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, which says quite clearly that resorting to rebellion cannot be done for light and transient reasons.

When Conservatives start talking utter bullshit and nonsense like this, Mark Shea is one hundred percent correct to mock us, and to call us the Thing That Used to Be Conservativism.

We are the party of reason, remember? The Dems are the party of hysteria and hate, remember? We don’t act like them.

Occupy Wall Street smashes windows during their riots. The Tea Party picks up litter after its demonstrations. We don’t act like them.

If you are still unreconciled with Mr Shea’s comments, please compare these two statements:

  • Mr A says “Mr Obama has signed unconstitutional executive orders infringing on my right to keep and bear arms. If this continues, I call upon all my fellow conservatives to organize a nationwide day or prayer and thanksgiving, so that the Good Lord in Heaven will sweep over this sad land with his awesome power, opening the eyes of the blind and softening the hearts of the stonyhearted, and then we will hear an end to this gungrabber nonsense!”
  • Mr B says “Mr Obama has signed unconstitutional executive orders infringing on my right to keep and bear arms. If this continues, I call upon all my fellow conservatives to organize an armed rebellion, so that we will gun down my father who is in the Navy, my brother who is a policeman, and my cousin who works as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service. My brother in law is a Democrat, so I will pop over to his house and shoot him through the head, splattering his brains across my screaming sister and my nieces. Then we will hear an end to this gungrabber nonsense!”

Which man, Mr A or Mr B places more faith in his gun than in his God? Which statement do you think a loyal son of the Church like Mr Shea should publicly support?

Don’t get me wrong. I am as fierce a defender of the Second Amendment as anyone can be. I take it to be the touchstone separating friends from foes. Any man who does not favor personal ownership of firearms is merely striking a pose, and is no friend of liberty.

I also, like all red blooded Americans, want to fly into a storm of wrath against lying-ass clowns and vermin who mock and rape our Constitution and make public statements like Danny Glover claiming the Second Amendment is racist, because it was meant to put down slave revolts and America Indian uprisings.

(I assume Mr Glover is blissfully unaware of the NRA arming southern blacks to resist the KKK, and the Dem-controlled states being unable to disarm the blacks thanks to that very Amendment he is denouncing.)

But I also know wrath is a sin. The bastards who talk this way deserve to be shot, but that vengeance is not for our weak human hands to take. God knows what I deserve; so let me flee to the skirts of mercy, not justice, and treat even those who speak such evil and vile things as Mr Glover with mercy.

And I know prayer is more powerful than arms. We took over the Roman Empire just with the blood of martyrs and the witness of love. We conquered the most powerful civilization history had ever known, and spilled no blood but our own. We did not talk of civil war. We talked of the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world.

As a practical man, I know that if we cannot convince the people via sweet reason or impassioned rhetoric to vote to protect their rights and freedom, we have no chance to convince the people via sweet reason or impassioned rhetoric to take up arms, take the field of battle. How can we convince men raised in a leftist culture, indoctrinated by leftwing schools and brainwashed by endless leftwing infotainment to maim and kill and bleed and suffer and die and watch their bold sons die for those selfsame rights and freedoms which they were not willing to get out of bed and go to the town hall and pull a tiny little lever in a voting booth to defend?

I am a Catholic, and, to the degree that Enlightenment-style ‘classical liberal’ conservatism comports with Catholic teaching, I am a conservative. (‘Conservative’ is a misleading term: I believe in Republican forms of limited government rather than the sado-totalitarianism for which the Left pants with sweaty and unseemly lust. I am pro-human rather than pro-tyrant.) But in the areas where conservative politics disagrees with Catholicism, I part company with my party.

Like all honest Christian gentlemen, my motto is “My Savior first, my nation second, my life third.” I place the Fifth Commandment above the Second Amendment.

The Republicans are a political party, nothing more. I join with them for our mutual convenience to influence the political arena in the direction of logic and justice and for the common good of the commonwealth. I do not bow to them nor serve them. It is the Dems who make an idol of their party, and who, out of party loyalty, never denounce nor criticize their more extreme members, those whose fire and enthusiasm propel them beyond the pale. We don’t act like them. When a member of the team pulling in harness with us breaks the traces and pulls too hard or careens from the track toward the brink of madness, we rein him back in.

Anyone who is talking about treason should be reined back in. Within walking distance of my house is the battlefield of Bull Run. Here is a contemporary photo of some Americans killed by other Americans, their brothers, during the first of the two bloody battles fought there.

The Union Army suffered 2,896 casualties (460 dead, 1,124 wounded and 1,312 captured). The Rebels suffered 1,982 casualties (387 dead, 1,582 wounded and 13 missing). First Bull Run is still remembered by historians as being the sobering moment when the Union realized the war would not be ‘over by Christmas’ and that the three-month enlistments were insufficient. It was when the shock of what war really meant began to sink in. It was when the ground parted beneath their feet, and the roof of flaming hell was opened, and the screams rose up with the dark smoke, and we all peering in and saw what this war was.

Like I said, this is within walking distance of my house. I do not know how the Yankees feel about starting the Civil War 2.0, but before any clean-limbed fighting man of Virginia wants to shoot off his big mouth about how much fun it would be to take up arms against his brother, let him walk on a moonless night through this field, and explain his position to the unquiet ghosts of the brave young men who fell there.

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