, Salem, MA

January 15, 2013

Letter: The most dangerous form of tyranny

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Though I rarely agree with columnist Barbara Anderson’s stance on politics or economics, she generally seems to stand at least a “few” feet outside the realm of true conspiracy theory and paranoia. Not so in her recent columns. Specifically, it’s time for us and all reasonable, rational people to call her (and the other neo-secessionists out there) out for her dangerous fear-mongering she so blithely throws out. In one breath, she appears to pay lip service to a horror no parent and no country should have to ever see, that of the massacre in Connecticut. And in the next, she states: “But am I the only one imagining grandchildren living in a country that had lost its right to defend itself against a too-powerful government? I think not.”

Though she claims to be a student of history, obviously it’s either highly selective or quickly forgotten. So for those that have, too: What you are talking about is at best domestic terrorism, and one only has to look at the Oklahoma City bombing to see how that ended. Or perhaps any of the other right-wing militia standoffs that have occurred over the years; not a great template. Not what you had in mind? Maybe Ms. Anderson (and others) is hopeful that this would be a much larger uprising, something like the Civil War? At the time, after years of carnage, massive destruction of cities, towns and infrastructure, we ended up with fully 2 percent of the population dead. More than all wars before or after combined! Today, that would be about 7.5 million people.

Perhaps looking over at Syria, or any of the dozens of rebellions in the late 20th century, might enlighten our gung-ho citizens about how things usually end? Of course, in those situations, the people actually didn’t have the rights you and I have, plus little economic freedom and no systems to work with. They could tell all our “poor me citizens” what REAL hardship and oppression is. They would laugh at the histrionics our so-called libertarian citizens cry foul so loudly about. And yet, whatever the original reasons for these rebellions were, the cost by the end is usually crushing defeat. In fact, it could quite forcefully be argued that the ONLY time any of these “revolutions” ever worked was when a larger power (like us) stepped in to lend a hand. So why did they risk so much? Exactly what, assuming it all went down well, was the final goal of these people’s victories? Once the dust settled and dead buried, and once the armed militias disarmed, what then? After everyone rebuilt what had been lost, what exactly did these people want? Oh yes, it was basic civil rights and a system called democracy. And you know why? Because every single one of them never, ever, would want to go through what they just did again. We take our system for granted, and insult those who have given their lives for it, by suggesting there is any viable path for a citizen outside our democratic institutions. Guns are not a human right, and probably not a privilege most anyone needs or deserves in the 21st century. To say that “right” is to kill those whose voices you disagree with is the most dangerous form of tyranny of all.

Douglas Bowker