This is a follow-up post to Eating Our Own, published by P&S last year. Most of the themes are the same. We still face dogged opponents set on taking our liberties away. We still have problems with infighting and heresy. We still have different Second Amendment- based advocacy organizations vying for our membership, support and contributions, and yes some of them still try to do so by bashing others. We still need to circle the wagons and we still need to form a combined front.
I still believe there are some who are misguided and think compromises can be made, à la Neville Chamberlain. I still believe we should work to educate those who fail to see that any compromise at all with elements who want to enact even seemingly small and innocuous “gun safety measures” merely further erodes liberty. I believe we should work to convince those people to stand in line with the rest of us. I believe we should praise in public and chastise in private.
You may be asking so why the follow-up. That’s because frankly some of those who say they’re some of us do not keep the faith and never really have or will. It’s because some people want so badly to be seen as authorities on things that they will sell our liberties (and their own along with their souls) willingly for notoriety or profit. It’s because even though some have been addressed on the subject they bristle and act like they’re smarter than the rest of us. They’ll split hairs and play word games to try to claim intellectual dominance, all the while using deflection instead of actually arguing with competing points. This isn’t the deer hunter who says he doesn’t see the need for an AR. This isn’t the guy who doesn’t care about silencers or SBRs. This is a well-known personality in the industry who doesn’t learn and doesn’t care to. For those who are still wondering, I’m writing of one Rob Pincus. He’s not the only one but is the most recent to skyline himself and a good example.
Pincus wrote a piece for his Second Amendment Organization recently. In that piece he advised that “rights are defined by laws”. This article and its fallacies was well covered by Caleb Giddings, and I’ll leave it alone because Caleb summed it up perfectly. The uproar over the article reminded me of a post a good friend and mentor and I engaged with Pincus on awhile back, Pincus digging in his heels and saying taking guns from allegedly mentally ill persons without due process in a court of law wasn’t a big deal. He has argued many times that vacating rights over things like the VA or Social Security declarations of incompetence (due to having financial fiduciaries appointed are just fine as it’s only a small intrusion and there’s only a small chance it will be abused). He has made similar arguments over HIPAA and mental health. He has defended“Red Flag Laws”. Think about that, this man advocates for firearms to be removed from people (abridging their rights) while ignoring their affirmative right to face the accuser and defend themselves in a court of law before being deprived of liberty. Yet he has the audacity to say he’s a gun rights activist. He has posted many times on rights carrying responsibilities. Unfortunately, some of these posts basically made responsibility out to be mindlessly obeying whatever the Crown demands. Don’t get me wrong, with rights DO come responsibilities,but, Rob, to use one of the things I’ve seen you post more than a couple times………. I’m pretty certain that word doesn’t mean what you think it means.
Responsibility doesn’t mean bowing down and obeying the power of our self-appointed overlords. It means acting in a manner so as to not cause unnecessary harm to self or others. It means not infringing on the rights or liberties of others. It means being a generally decent human being. Responsibility doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with laws or regulations. I would dare say in some cases it requires disobedience. For the record, I believe in the rule of law as it’s required to keep a semblance of order. On the other hand I also believe any law that runs in contravention to natural rights and liberty is a law to disobey and fight. I applaud the fact that the State of New Jersey has reportedly seen zero compliance with this new law. Patrick Henry said it best in this regard- “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms,in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us,as in our own hands?”
There are many historical references to back the challenge to unjust laws. One, which Pincus called a “cute” argument and said doesn’t apply in the current age is a quote from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in the 1803 Marbury vs. Madison case which set precedent still followed today- “A Law repugnant to the Constitution is void.” While at it let’s examine a few other thinkers from history. Benjamin Franklin proposed a version of the Great Seal of the United States that would have included the phrase, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Maximilien Robespierre said, “Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.” Martin Luther King Jr. said, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.” Henry David Thoreau said, “Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?” Robert Heinlein said, “No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law.” It would seem there are quite a few very smart men who have agreed. After all, what would’ve happened had a band of brave men in Massachusetts decided to quietly hand over guns and ammunition the morning of 19 April 1775?
How do we handle people who appeal to an authority fallacy when faced with arguments that their stances are contradictory to our best interests? How do we deal with these people when they continually refuse to listen to reason and try to claim intellectual or moral superiority while telling us they know best? Unfortunately riding people out on a rail isn’t exactly an acceptable practice anymore. What then? We let people within our spheres of influence know what the deal is- this is even easier when they are exceptionally talented at selling themselves but the products they offer are less than stellar. It’s even easier when the offender is a defensive firearms trainer who readily admits to often not carrying a defensive firearm, a “combat focus” dude who has never seen combat and doesn’t understand it, and a “counter ambush” trainer who fundamentally misunderstands what an ambush is.
(Note: Rob- I’ll offer you a chance to change my mind about your products. I read your Counter-Ambush book on your recommendation after you told me I don’t know what situational awareness and ambushes are… even though I’ve graduated the Army’s advanced situational awareness course, and have both conducted ambushes and been caught in one or two- have you? Frankly it’s the dumpster juice of literature on self-defense. But in the interest of fairness I’ll pay to take your class and even recant parts of this article if it turns out to be other than expected, and if not that will also be reported.)
We treat the person like the shitbag of an Infantry platoon. We ostracize them and let others know we don’t claim them. Beyond that give them no notice, not a handshake at SHOT, not a comment on one of their 173 social media accounts, no support to their organizations, just don’t acknowledge they exist. They thrive on attention so let’s take that from them and watch them wither. With that I will spend no digital ink, money to causes or organizations, or thought on the guy aside from the above offer. The same goes for others who this article describe. I will close with a fitting quote from Samuel Adams, made a couple hundred years ago- “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”