Why The “Tyrannical Government Defense” Argument Is So Dumb It Should Be Outlawed

Recently I wrote a piece about how incredibly stupid the “Criminals Don’t Follow Laws” anti-gun regulation argument is.  Then I realized that there are some other standard whoppers that the pro-gun hoarding crowd is very enamored with need the same kind of attention. As luck would have it, not long after I was told via a comment thread that I should be thankful to the people who used their guns and stood up to their tyrannical government. The implication of course gets at one of the other big arguments those who oppose common sense gun regulations make.

We need our guns to protect us from a tyrannical government!

Let’s start first with what the Second Amendment is, in a historical context. I know that gun zealots have a very specific interpretation of the Second, but there never seems to be an acknowledgment of what the Founders’ world was like, and how that would have had an impact on the Second’s intent. Those responsible for the Declaration of Independence and revolution from Great Britain most assuredly lived under tyrannical rule. They were being treated as second-class citizens, taxed to the hilt both on the necessities of life and discretionary items. And all of that without any form of recourse or official representation back in the homeland.

They were being forced to quarter British soldiers, and they actually were subjected to actual attempts from their government to disarm them. The Second Amendment continually gets referred to as the safeguard against our own government’s tyranny, but in my view that’s not what the Amendment is meant for at all. The founders were starting a new country, a country of the people, by the people and for the people. They never had any intention of disarming the populace, instead the Second Amendment was a way to ensure that no occupying government would ever be able to subjugate Americans, quarter soldiers (which is also forbidden by the Constitution), and take away their guns.

The Bill of Rights, the most basic of our human rights promised by our Constitution is full of things that were written directly because of an occupying government, and not in response to our new government. The Framers were more concerned with the return of an occupying nation, and hence they made sure that every citizen in every state could  become part of their state’s militia. In fact, that’s another element of the Second that gets overlooked. The Second Amendment was meant to be a means to resist forming a standing, national army. Even then, proponents of strong states’ rights over centralized Federal power were wary of a Federal Army. So they made sure that citizens could form well-regulated militias.

Am I saying the Bill of Rights, and specifically the Second Amendment, is outdated? Hell yes I am. Of course I am. That strong national army they were so worried about? We have it. And a Navy. And an Air Force, and a Marine Corps. We spend more on national defense of our borders — the true reason behind the Second — than the next dozen countries combined. Of course in an era where we had to borrow ships, soldiers and guns from from other countries it was vital to make sure some kind of defense against invasion was in place, but now that we’ve turned that on its head, the DOD budget has supplanted the need for a Second Amendment.

Mind, I’m not even arguing that we abolish the Second. But rather, we acknowledge that times have changed and we just tighten it up. Put in verbiage that makes it very clear what kinds of weapons we feel it’s acceptable for rational, law-abiding citizens to own. “But,” you say, “As soon as we let them start controlling our guns, they control us, and we live under tyranny.” Settle down, Sgt. Slaughter. Let’s just stop and think about this for a moment.

We live in a much, much different time than when the country was founded. Our armed forces are the closest thing you can get to invincible. They have goddamned flying death robots. They have missiles and bombs that we call “smart” because of how accurate and deadly they are. The most well-trained Doomsday Prepping militia outfit made up of former Navy SEALS or Green Berets couldn’t stand up to the full force of the United States Armed Forces.

Not that we’d have to worry about that.

Because even if a president were to attempt to subvert the Constitution, ignore the Heller decision and break Federal law, ordering all of our guns taken away — the Pentagon wouldn’t listen. He’d be relieved of his duties, impeached and likely sent to prison. Our soldiers, sailors and pilots aren’t robots. They are highly-trained, but they are also free-thinking Americans themselves. What kind of insult is it to their honor to assume they’d carry out Facisct dictates like so many Nazi soldiers? Sure, you never know what’s going to happen when a gun is pointed at your head, but if you can’t even have faith in your president to not become a dictator than what’s the point, really?

Which brings us to the real crux of the issue. Many of the same insane people telling us the Second Amendment is a safeguard against the tyranny of our own government, actually think we live under an oppressive dictatorship now. But I assure you that if you were to pluck up any gun zealot screaming and yelling about “Maobama” and drop them into an actual Communist country with an actual Communist dictator, they’d last all of five minutes before hopping the first flight out.

In the kinds of places where these people fantasize about going — Vietnam for an ironic instance — they don’t understand what their tax dollars and Constitutional freedoms actually get them. The level of comfort on this country is staggering compared to those still-developing nations. Sure, you could move to a country where it’s legal to own a fully-automatic weapon if you’d like, but then good luck getting the cops to help you in your gun battle with anyone else who owns that same machine gun.

The truth is no American today knows what living in real tyranny is. I mean you know, unless they’re a minority trying to vote in a swing state. Or if they’re a homosexual just trying to use the same fucking word for their long-term committed and loving relationship as everyone else. That’s tyranny of government. You see, it’s not that the American government isn’t capable of tyranny. It’s just that society has to help it along; pushing the tyranny into the realm of the subtle. You can see it in dog-whistle racist claims of welfare queens that keep the country distracted by social welfare while we spend twice as much on welfare for corporations. You can see it in the House Republicans spending millions on lawyers to defend DOMA, when the country is ready to move forward.

Yes, the American government can be at times very cruel and tyrannical. But not in any way that a grumpy, gun cuddling sycophant would think. Because even in its own forms of tyranny, we still live in America. There is still hope. Yes, homosexuals can’t marry, and that is indeed a tyrannical abuse of a minority group, but there is still so much freedom to be enjoyed here, and that freedom is what enables us to fight to end the real tyranny.

But you know, when I think of tyranny, I think of a depraved indifference to human life and happiness. I think of perhaps cynical, capitalistic motives that compel a lobbyist group to force our government that is supposed to represent us into not doing anything about gun regulation at all. I think of that lobbying group who is so protective of the profits of their corporate masters that they block scientific research and data collection. I think of a group that uses spree killings to elicit such feelings of false panic that a run on weapons and ammunition always follows the mass shootings, much to their delight. That’s tyranny. Forcing a population to abandon policies the overwhelming majority of Americans want, but can’t have thanks to the almighty Dollar.

God damn, America.




About James Schlarmann 2612 Articles
James is the founding contributor and editor-in-chief of The Political Garbage Chute, a political satire and commentary site, which can be found on Facebook as well. You definitely should not give that much a shit about his opinions.
  • David Hinson

    stop it already. tryanny is here and now, but it’s not the government but the elite wealthy that gun owners appear to support. i do not understand the logic going on here. sure the gov’t seems corrupt- bribery is a fact / blaming the gov’t is the same a blaming a patient for getting cancer. AND WE DO HAVE A CANCER. … MONSANTO, EXXON, SHELL, WESTINGHOUSE, AMEX, GOLDMAN &SACHS …. take your guns, gun owners, find the heads of those snakes and take care of your business…. quit talking

    • James Schlarmann

      Right. Go live in North Korea and come back complaining about how tyrannical it is here.

    • David Hinson

      March 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm
      stop it already. tryanny is here and now, but it’s not the government but the elite wealthy that gun owners appear to support. i do not understand the logic going on here. sure the gov’t seems corrupt- bribery is a fact / blaming the gov’t is the same a blaming a patient for getting cancer. AND WE DO HAVE A CANCER. … MONSANTO, EXXON, SHELL, WESTINGHOUSE, AMEX, GOLDMAN &SACHS …. take your guns, gun owners, find the heads of those snakes and take care of your business…. quit talking

    • You don’t like it? Vote for less corporate power, vote for less business power over labor, in other words, vote for progressives – real liberals, not the pussies called “Democrats” (not talking about my man Grayson, and a couple others, but the remainder YOU ARE THE ONES). And please stop with the thinly veilied exhortations to murder someone – not needed.

  • Biochemborg


  • None of what you covered has anything to do with our lack of justice in this country. There is a delusional belief that we can rely on police to come to our rescue. You are attempting to force this issue into a corner claiming that the only reason to own your choice of firearms is to meet the possible threat of a tyrannical government.
    There are more reasons to protect yourself with your choice than you lead us to believe. It is up to us to determine for ourselves the manner in which we need to prepare and defend ourselves and to uphold the law. Our situations are not identical and one size does not fit all.
    Even if you live in the big metropolitan areas, you will experience a 15-20 minute response time after and only after the police are contacted. How many times can you convince a mugger to stop assaulting you while you dial 911, then wait 15-20 minutes for the police to show up? Another statistic supported by the uniform crime report clearly shows that our police are ‘reactionary’ and not proactive. 99 times out of 100 crimes are committed against us without the police being able to intervene. That’s a poor percentage which should lead you to a conclusion: Our personal safety and protection is up to us and we should not rely upon the police to come to our rescue. Our police react, take reports, sometimes begin an investigation and sometimes actually pursue the criminals.
    If you think tyranny doesn’t exist in this country, you haven’t been paying attention. The common man is not represented. Corporations and the wealthy own and determine the policies and laws that binds this nation. From our tax structure that clearly favors the wealthy, to the manner in which laws are enforced, the poor man has no chance for justice, fairness, or equal protection. This is the tyranny, that corporations go unpunished, unpursued, and with tort reforms are without consequence concerning their actions.
    If our military is so immune to becoming the tools of fascists, then please explain how the German military was so immune in the 1930’s and 40’s?
    Examples of this tyranny, in which we receive no benefit of protection can be recognized in recent history; the Rodney King riots in L.A., when our police were nowhere to be found, our national guard that was called to duty 1.5 days later, then not issued ammunition to enforce civil order; the anarchy that followed hurricane katrina, the lack of lawful order for weeks afterward is another example. These are excellent reasons to decide for ourselves what weaponry and what training to seek while determining our own situations. Not everybody lives in a nice neighborhood, nor does everybody get to work in a nice area.
    You’re going to try to decide for me my situation and my needs? No thanks, I’ll maintain my rights and decide for myself.
    Otherwise though, you made many good points that deserve merit and further discussion. I think in general the enactment of further safeguards, such as more comprehensive background checks are reasonable, as long as there are no extra fees being levied upon our citizenry to maintain such a right.
    Just as it is unlawful to create a poll tax, or to charge fees or to cause fees to be charged to maintain our ability to vote, there should also be no fees assessed for those who exercise their rights to defend themselves.
    Nice article.

    • John

      Bill, this article does not endeavor to discuss self protection and by introducing that argument shows a disregard for the premise of the story. The story is about tyranny, not how to prevent a mugging. Protecting yourself isn’t the premise of the story.

      Throwing out some more undocumented data about police response is also warping the topic. In my city, if I call the cops, there’s a very brief wait. No, they don’t park out in front of my house and wait for danger. (The old 99 times out of 100 is always a good number.)

      And still another comparison to Nazi Germany without any attempt to discuss the real issues for the rise of the Third Reich — a country that had been decimated by the Treaty of Versailles, was completely bankrupt. America is nowhere CLOSE to the social and economic conditions of 1930s Germany. If anything we were closer to it in the 1930s and endured.

      The breakdown in law and order will occur at times. What we don’t want to see is a bunch of ill-trained moronic “patriots” going around deciding who is going to manage our government. And if you decide to be a vigilante the next time a street riot breaks out, I wish you luck. ‘Cuz, I already know you aren’t welcome there.

      And bringing up the corporations and the tax structure only shows you just have a major hard-on for the government and really don’t have much of a reason to care that some of us are bothered by being threatened with rebellion. Honestly, I’ve read this tripe a thousand times. Elect smarter people to the Congress if you want the tax code changed. Don’t arm yourself and shoot down the state police because you’re pissed.

      And please, just because you have some kind of agenda on personal safety, try to at least stay inside the framework of the story — it’s about patriot militias arming against the government.

      You can define your own rights as you wish, but I will be god-damned if I will be among those who let you define MINE.

  • John

    The unregulated militia movement — the same kind of people who believed in 1861 that the civil war would be over in a weekend — still cannot answer: Define “well-regulated.”

    I’ve read some doozies — that also includes disbanding the National Guard and replacing it with local neighborhood volunteers, armed at their own discretion and regulated by … um … er … well, somebody.

    I also can’t determine if these patriots, after they succeed in overthrowing this tyrannical government, plan to disarm the people who would be their opponents. Clearly, not everyone wants the government overthrown and we all know what happens to loyalists in a rebellion. I would surmise that the word “loyalist” is also the same thing as “liberal.” After all, only “liberals” would not support this band of traitors.

    All this trivializing aside, the people who believe this are as dangerous as an invading army, mainly because they don’t look like people you’d believe are willing to shoot you down for exposing them.

    These patriots believe, without actually ever intending to prove it, that the “tree of liberty is refreshed with blood,” or some such drivel allegedly said by Th. Jefferson. They evidently think they can fire at will, that nobody will shoot back, that they won’t need a surgical hospital, a funding mechanism to finance their war machine, a protocol for discipline, a chain of command and a process for defining a government inside their rebellion. A lot of them boast about “dying to defend liberty,” knowing that on that day, they probably won’t be able to get off work until after the real fighting has ended.

    Their interpretation of this little domestic uprising smacks of a Rambo movie where people are always shooting at the good guys and just missing. I think the U.S. Army probably figures close is good enough with one of its more modern tanks.

    Who’s on latrine duty? I don’t like what they are doing, so do they get to shoot me as a “libtard sympathizer?”

    It took much work to establish the Constitution. Overthrowing it or advocating that is tantamount to domestic terrorism. You have a freedom of expression but not a freedom to frighten.

    The Preamble was written ahead of the 2nd Amendment and it mentions “domestic tranquility.” That, friends, is NOT the same thing as civil insurrection by a bunch of vigilantes.

  • Dear John,
    I’m happy that the response time in your neighborhood is a short wait. The statistics I provided are from the “Uniform Crime Report” issued annually by the FBI. And if having no protection, then being forced to have someone else try to tell me how I’m supposed to defend myself is not tyranny, then you’ve missed the point.
    I’m not advocating vigilante justice, I said nothing about nazi germany, only what is referred to as Weimar Germany, and how vulnerable people were and would be susceptible to suggestion and coercion.
    I’m not an anarchist, don’t have a hard on for anti government sentiments, and I’m not suggesting that you have a clue about the rest of the country’s situation but can speak comfortably about your own situation.
    I don’t know why you assume that I would want to participate in any vigilante justice, nor why I am condoning threats of rebellion. Perhaps you think I’m a Teabagger? And then you suggest that I’m going to arm myself and shoot down a state trooper? Where do you get these ideas?
    Define your ideas for yourself, be passive if you want. That’s your right.
    I defined tyranny properly, the effects of social inequities with law, and how the many are not represented. The masses are not represented and this is easily associated with tyranny as the laws do not apply equally.
    Thanks but I’ll stick to my training and be prepared for the next earthquake or disaster. You continue to believe that anyone who is not passive is also bloodthirsty. I also will continue to believe the statistics that prove our police force is reactionary and not proactive.

  • Daren Bruce

    “Those responsible for the Declaration of Independence and revolution from Great Britain most assuredly lived under tyrannical rule. They were being treated as second-class citizens, taxed to the hilt both on the necessities of life and discretionary items. And all of that without any form of recourse or official representation back in the homeland.” ……………

    They sure did……. and that is where we are headed a mach speed!! Idiots who think like you will be responsible for ….HISTORY repeating itself…. I will keep my firearms for when that happens …..

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