On the subject of some typically vile remarks at Daily Kos, which I referred to earlier as an attempt to conflate the actions of a few psychos with the legitimate right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms, Caleb Howe has posted this superb article at Red State. He (properly) lauds liberal commenter Tommy Christopher for criticizing the odd, and dangerous, combination of intellectual dishonesty and spluttering rage that characterizes the left these days (also see this piece from the Sundries Shack, which I spotted at The Other McCain).
The claim that the lunatic who murdered three policemen in Pittsburgh was essentially a foot-soldier in the Tea Party movement, beguiled by the revolutionary fervor of right-wing bloggers, is, of course, an absurd and irresponsible statement - how irresponsible the fire-eaters at Kos are likely to find out some day. You see, democracy only really works when there is a basic system of beliefs that is shared by the vast majority of citizens. When a faction that holds the established social contract in contempt – including the underlying provisions (both written and unwritten) touching on the shared belief in freedom of speech, intellectual good faith in argument, and the concept of a loyal opposition - acquires influence with a major party (in this case, the Democrats), and begins to demonize those who oppose its views, then debate is rendered irrelevant, and democracy devolves into a naked grab for power, with all that that portends for our hard-won freedoms, and the very concept of a viable polity.
When I say that the Kossacks and their ilk are yet to see how thoroughly irresponsible there comments are, it is in this sense: that when the citizenry can openly debate ideas in an atmosphere of genuine intellectual tolerance, the threat of political violence is low; however, when one side decides to enforce its ideology through the shouting down of opposing voices, and succeeds in doing so though an alliance with a major political party that has sold its soul in return for power, then it should come as a surprise to no one if a substantial portion of the citizenry ultimately declines to forfeit its historical rights and freedoms - the machinery of democratic process notwithstanding. When democracy becomes a weapon in the hands of freedom’s enemies, aided and abetted by a majority of voters, either wittingly, in the case of those who share the ideology of our would-be masters, or unwittingly, in the case of those who have sunk into a bovine complacency, then the issue is no longer, “how can we protect democracy?”, but “how can we protect our liberty?”
I am neither advocating, nor even predicting, civil war; neither am I advocating civil disobedience. I am simply pointing out that if the shooting ever does start in earnest, the blame can be laid squarely on the doorstep of those leftists whose mendacity, bad faith, criminal tactics and violent rhetoric will have contributed so much to the perversion of our democratic form of government and the destruction of our individual rights.