Part of an ongoing conversation. A reader (here) has written to ask on what grounds I am not outraged over Mr Shea outlawing talk of secession and treason by outraged pro-gunners at his blog.
I began with a respectful disagreement with Mr Shea, but, as time goes on, my respect grows and my disagreement shrinks. Naturally, I would prefer my friends to come into an accommodation with each other, and hope these words soothe rather than inflame any ill-will.
Let me deal with your points in order.
First, you say that Mark Shea’ objection to the HHS mandate is insincere or illogical on the grounds that he is objecting to that tyranny because it is uncatholic, not because it is tyrannous. Whereas his lack of support for NRA pro-gun types is because “Catholics are not complaining about the rules of the game, they’re complaining that they’re not winning. That tyranny is ok, as long as it’s Catholic tyranny.”
That is not what Mark Shea said, and not related to what he said. You should not be leveling such a serious (and scurrilous) accusation without firm and clear support for the proposition.
You then go on an on about how Catholics support tyranny and we want to be in charge, and how stupid we are for not realizing that tyrants might turn on us, and you utter such venomous nonsense that it ill behooves me to dignify such libel with a reply.
I am willing to assume you did not realize this is insulting to me personally, and to my Church, and particularly insulting to the martyrs who died just this year in China and in the Middle East resisting tyrants and spilling their blood for the glory of Christ.
Because of our friendliness to each other, I will resist the temptation to take offense, but whether I take offense or not, the comment is objectively offensive. You make the comment so heedlessly, I wonder if you even realize the gravity of the accusation. If this is the kind of troll-comments you made to Mr Shea, he was right to ban you.
Be that as it may, even granting your argument its best interpretation, your anger that Mr Shea, or Catholics in general, are not as excited about a matter peripheral to our Church as we are about a direct attack on our Church is not surprising, and no grounds for criticism. The Catholic Church is not the NRA.
There is nothing in the catechism which requires a Catholic to be pro-Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment is roughly 200 years old and the Church is 2000 years old. So if a Catholic is not as vocal in his support for a purely local and parochial partisan matter as he is concerning the eternal truths of the Christian faith, this would not be a matter for complaint.
Indeed, Mr Shea made it clear what is his objection to pro-gun rhetoric: it reminds him of pro-abort rhetoric.
In both cases, the partisans resist even the slightest attempt to infringe on their rights, so that even arguably reasonable regulations which pose little or no threat to the right are resisted as if they are absolutes. In both cases, the pro-aborts and the pro-gunners are afraid of a slippery slope. The pro-gunners think that a slight infringement on their gun rights is nothing but a precursor to an all out assault and abolition of their rights. The pro-aborts feel the same way. So it is hardly surprising that their rhetoric would tend to be the same.
Keep in mind that in neither case is the fear unreasonable. We will not rest until all abortion for any reason is treated as infanticide, and abolished. I expect to see the abolition of abortion in my lifetime. There are Leftists who feel the same way about disarming all civilians. They will not rest.
(Let me mention that Mr Shea and I part company on this point. While I think talk of secession is treasonous and absurd as long as the ballot box is open, I do think the threat of creeping tyranny is real and immediate. Americans should begin arming themselves and training in the safe use of arms, in order to cow the Left into surrendering their sick dreams of socialist tyranny. However, the media is the enemy, and gunfire will not help us in a war of the spirit. We cannot win an armed rebellion if we cannot win the support and enthusiasm of enough people to win an election.)
Note, however, that these two cases are not like the HHS case. The Catholics are not worried about a slippery slope that funding contraceptives and abortifacients will lead to practices that offend God. We hold that funding contraceptives and abortifacients, or using them, right here and right now offends God.
We are not worried about limitations of magazine sizes or scary-looking bayonet lugs will one day lead to a confiscation of the right to bear arms. Our inviolable right to the practice of our religion is violated here and now by the HHS mandate. We are being commanded directly to violate God’s commands.
The proposed additional restrictions on gun rights are unconstitutional as well as being imprudent and pointless (they will not save a single innocent life) but they do not directly violate the Second Amendment. So I hope you see the difference between the two types of problems.
You then ask whether treason by America’s founders was beyond the pale? You smirk, and say the straight line was too tempting for you. I would say that if the American founders rebelled because the British Crown lowered the number of musket balls carried in a poke from ten to seven, but gave the colonists full representation in Parliament so that any other disputes could have been settled peacefully in the ballot box and not on the battlefield, yes, it would apply to them too. As a Southern gentleman, I dismiss the complaints of the Confederate States of America as treason unworthy of shedding blood to defend.
These complaints are less worthy than theirs to trigger rebellion.
You then give the case for opening a discussion about treason, namely, that the Constitution is violated, and therefore the dissolution of all loyalty to the sovereign people of the United States should now be open for discussion. You ask whether it is really that treasonous to begin discussing secession.
The answer is yes.
The Federal government has been in violation of the Constitution since the time of FDR. We should be discussing Federalism and Constitutionalism, and throwing all the toad-eating collaborationist RINO’s out of the GOP, not discussing a new Civil War. (For one thing, this generation does not have the manhood needed to found a rational form of government if the old form were overthrown. Can you imagine the leaders these days, who cannot abolish or even reform Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, having enough skill at drafting law to establish a republic?)
Democrats started the Civil War because they hated and feared Lincoln. Republicans only fought it. My party does not start Civil Wars. We do not even stage riots. That is a Leftwing pastime. We do not even use military metaphors (like “Occupy” Wall Street) for our peaceful protests. We are routinely and incessantly accused of violence—but we do not start it. By talking as if we do, by talking about when we should, the pro-gunners who shoot their mouths off about committing treason harm our cause. They are not serious.
If you are willing to shoot your neighbor in the head in front of his wide-eyed child, so that blood and brain matter splatters over the child’s shocked face, and being willing to die when the neighbor’s brother bayonets you in the guts, so that your intestines are in your lap, and so that it take you hours to die, all the time crying for water, then you are serious about fighting a Civil War.
If you think that this nation, which still has a free press, and free elections that are almost honest, has reached a point where outlawing ten-round magazines makes you willing to die and justified to kill, then you are serious.
Seriously crazy, that is, a sober defenders of our Constitutional rights should not be seen with you.
Myself, I regard such language as extravagant and inflammatory, not to mention infantile and disgusting, and hardly in keeping with Christian notions of longsufferingness, patience, and peace.
If my neighbor were coming to enslave me, I would be glad to kill him and glad to be killed by him in the noble cause of preserving my liberty, whether his child were looking on or not.
But only the atrocious and most serious provocation by my neighbor would be sufficient. The damage inflicted by the my neighbor on my nation or must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success for the mutiny; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.
The remainder of your comments do not ask any direct questions, nor change the basic outline of the argument. Mr Shea is being more sarcastic than I think prudent, but sarcasm is his schtick and it amused me when other people’s sacred oxes are gored, so I do not flinch when he gores one of mine.
I think he is being emotional and falling rather gullibly for Leftwing agitprop on this point, but I do not find his disgust at talk of treason to be beyond the pale. I share his disgust.
He is wrong about guns increasing rather than decreasing the crime rate. The statistics, as well as common sense, are against him. The number of mass murders, although they get more press these days then previously, are actually less frequent and less dangerous than in previous years, and much less than in previous centuries.
Not a single child’s life will be saved by gun control. Not. One. All such talk is pure emotionalism, bull excretion and horse manure. The federal government is utterly powerless to stop atrocities like Sandy Hook. Utterly, utterly powerless. They can do nothing. Nothing. The culture decides things like whether parents get divorced, whether madmen get locked up, whether all grown men tend to go armed or tend to rely on others to save them, whether schools proudly advertise the fact that they are in ‘victims disarmament’ zones, whether they mind their own business or mind each other’s, and so on. The culture is not under federal government control. The government makes laws, it does not establish values and virtues.
There will be no peaceful secession of states from the union of the United States. The Civil War settled that issue, and even if it did not, the peaceful division of the Eastern from the Western Roman Empire should be a terrifying cautionary example.