Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who Watches the Doom Bunker?

A friend of mine let me in on an interesting little tidbit today. Seems it's really hard to buy 9MM, .40, .45, and .223 centerfire these days. Apparently there are people out there who are buying it wholesale. This goes right along with a clip I saw the other day of one of the top douchebags in the NRA crowing about how the economy is in the tank but gun sales have never been better. "Yeah," I wanted to yell at him, "Because you've got everybody scared shitless that the government's going to come take their rights." It's irresponsible and more than a little disturbing. Now, before I go any deeper in to this, let me put this out front: I really don't care either way about guns. I don't own any guns and don't feel the need to own them. But I'm not about to take away anybody else's guns. And, in general, I'll go along with the argument that making more guns illegal doesn't actually take most of the problem guns off the street. Moreover, as long as there are dangerous people who own guns, they shouldn't be allowed to monopolize the concept. So with that disclaimer out of the way, the I'd love to know what the hell is going on in the heads of the people stockpiling guns and ammo for the Obamageddon. Actually, sadly, I'm pretty sure I know. See, there are certain people out there who are utterly convinced the world as we know it will soon be over and the only force standing between them and the encroaching forces of evil These folks are basically the Watchmen. They can't understand exactly why it is that the rest of the world is afraid of them. I don't mean afraid in the sense of crossing to the other side of the street. I mean afraid in the wild, unpredictable beast sort of way. They're waiting expectantly for the revolution. And the fun thing about the revolution is that if it doesn't come, some grow impatient. Some take it upon themselves to create the right moment. The hope of revolution is Millennial. This is why it's a dangerous hope and something to be feared. I'll borrow a thought from Gershom Gorenberg once more. It's a thought from another, far more famous Millennial hope.
And the dissonance between hope and reality is what creates the greatest risks in Jerusalem. The day after the last is most dangerous.
When is the last day? Do we really know? One of the things we know about Millennial hope is that it's easy to manipulate. Jack Van Impe hasn't been on TV since before TV was invented for no reason, after all. We're less than two months in to the Obama Administration and the Obamageddon is imminent in some peoples' minds. And, yes, the Obamageddon is hope for the self-appointed watchmen of our freedom. Much like the Premillennial Dispensationalists rely on a tin-eared, eisegetical* interpretation of the Bible, the preachers of the Obamaspiracy rely on a history illiterate interpretation of the past. It's the only way to make Obama in to everyone's favorite bogeyman. See, we're all afraid of Hitler, but we don't understand why. And it's precisely that lack of understanding that the demagogues take advantage. "Obama will take away your guns!" the cried. And this time the gun owners believed like they've never believed before. This isn't something that happened in isolation, either. There's a strong overlap between the wing of the Republican Party the Sarah Palin pick pandered to, gun people, social conservatives, fundamentalists, and Intelligent Design proponents. One of the things all these groups have in common is that they've been "losing" for the last few decades. People have sex. A lot. Gay people have sex and it's completely legal. We're teaching evolution in the schools as if it's actually the way the world works. "Socialist" concepts like nationalized health care are being discussed seriously and with urgency. Back in the middle of his campaign, Obama was speaking to a group in California and he said something to the general effect that there were a lot of people in the heartland who had lost jobs and hope and clung to guns and superstition out of desperation. Sarah Palin tried to hit Obama for this several months later when the Republican rallies were getting scarier and scarier. Most of the country shrugged and said, "Yeah, so?" The thing is, I suspect that somewhere between half and two-thirds of the country heard Obama's words, shrugged, and said, "Yeah, sounds about right." By the time Palin joined the race I strongly suspect the Republicans had seen the writing on the wall. They may have figured there was a slim chance she could help them pull victory from the jaws of defeat, but I think they were already playing a longer game by then. I like to believe they were simply trying to get the base riled up and hope to hold it in that state through 2010 and in to 2012. I like to believe they didn't see the Millennial hope of the Revolution. But to be perfectly honest, I just don't know. It's almost impossible for me to believe that anyone can honestly compare Obama to Hitler. And it's almost impossible for me to believe that anybody sees the stockpiling of arms and ammo as an innocent activity. It doesn't matter that the Hitler comparison completely and totally doesn't work, either. See, the entire argument is predicated on the fact that one of the first things the Nazis did was take guns out of the hands of the people. The argument follows that Obama and Biden are strongly anti-gun, so they'll take everyone's guns away. Then, with the Second Amendment relegated to the dust bin of history, they'll send the stormtroopers in and there won't be any well-armed patriots to stop them. It doesn't matter that anyone who genuinely believes this scenario lives in an absurd dream world, either. First, let's say for the sake of the argument that Obama lies awake at night trying to figure out how to take everyone's guns away. He has so far behaved in a way that indicates he respects the law at least as much as his predecessor did (honestly, he's done some stuff that doesn't get reported too much that's uncomfortably in line with Bush the Younger. But even Bush the Younger wasn't actually anywhere close to Hitler. He was more of an inept Nixon, really. But that's a story for another day). More importantly, his journey to the White House was completely and totally legal. We cannot say this about Hitler. See, Adolph had plans. When the Nazis first got seats in the Reichstag they disrupted the meetings. Apparently the Germans loved this political theater and their influence grew. Eventually they got powerful enough that they could run the house. Hindenburg [danke, bluefrog], seeking to keep things under control, appointed Hitler Chancellor. This was supposed to be a figurehead position, but Hitler was having none of that. He pretty much declared himself emperor. Then to solidify his power he pretty much made Germany in to a gun free Puritan paradise. Obama is doing none of these things. That doesn't seem to be stopping the right wing hate machine, however. This is why we have the fantasy of the Revolution. What's more than a little disconcerting is the fact that in order to believe in the Revolution you already have to believe the system is fundamentally broken. I'm not sure how it got broken so quickly, seeing as how during the Administration that vacated the Oval Office back in January it was unpatriotic to question the President. But that's where we are. Because the fact is, Hitler wanted nothing but power and stopped at nothing to get it. Laws don't matter in the face of naked ambition. So if Obama is actually Hitler, he'll trample the Constitution on his way to destroying everything America stands for. I honestly believe that there are people among the gun hoarders who honestly believe that tanks will be rumbling down their street tomorrow. I also think that they plan to yell, "You'll get my guns when you tear them out of my cold, dead hands!" and run out in to the street and somehow single-handedly win back all the freedoms we've "lost." There is, of course, absolutely no way this will ever happen. Logistically speaking, always take the organized, trained, technologically superior professional army over the disorganized militia. The only time this should be ignored is in the event of extreme local superiority where the militia can throw numbers at the professional force in huge quantities. I doubt this situation would ever appear. There's also the guerrilla situation, but I highly doubt that Mao's maxim of the guerrilla fighter as a fish swimming among the people really applies in this situation. I strongly suspect that in the event of a Revolution most of the country will come down on the side of the Tories. Moreover, the United States didn't actually win the American Revolution. The British lost it and the French helped them along. That's one of those dirty little secrets that nobody likes to hear, but it's totally true. England was a small island nation with expanding global concerns and Continental concerns in Europe. An island cannot rule a continent against the continent's will for very long, especially when the island can't actually devote its full resources to the fight. Once the colonists started bitching the end result was a foregone conclusion. A theoretical Revolution against Obama won't be able to rely on any advantage. The Revolutionaries will be outnumbered, isolated, and outgunned. And there's absolutely no way any other nation would step in to play the role of France. Still, they hold on to this fantasy that one day we'll know the truth. One day we'll see Obama's real intentions, we'll learn that the liberals were really evil and bent on conquest. One day we'll be saved by the true patriots. I can't help but hear Rorschach whenever I think about those who fantasize about the Revolution. "[They] will look up and shout, 'Save us.' And I'll whisper, 'No.'" Can't you hear it? EDIT: Doom Bunker. Not Threat Bunker. Why can't I keep that straight? *EDIT 2: I originally spelled this "isogesis," which is how I learned the word at some point in the misty past. Seeing as how I don't know where I learned the word, I can't say why. It seems to be a common phonetic spelling error, however. A modicum of critical thought about Greek prefixes probably would have cleared that problem right up, however.


PersonalFailure said...

Do you know how long it's been since somebody made me look up a word? (It's sexy.) To make matters worse, has no idea what "isogetical" means.


PersonalFailure said...

Not long after the election, I ran into a bbs post devoted to people stockpiling guns and ammunition in response to the nonexistent rules the not-even-then-president had no-power-at-all-to-pass restricting guns and ammunition.

One gentlemen bragged that he had purchased 5 automatic rifles and over 18,000 rounds of ammunition. He bragged about being "prepared".

For what? Invading Sweden?

These people scare me.

Geds said...

So you think discussing history is foreplay, it's sexy to have to look up words, and fuck with the heads of Gamestop employees for fun. I'm beginning to think you don't actually exist and someone is playing an elaborate practical joke on me. I'd be far more convinced if it weren't for the fact that I can't begin to fathom what the payoff is or why they started creating a back story quite some time ago...

Either way, "isogesis" is a word I picked up back in the days when I thought I wanted to be a pastor. It's the seldom-used opposite of exegesis. Which is odd, since I actually think isogesis is far more applicable.

And, um, as a further elaboration for those who don't know what exegesis means: to "exegete" is to read the Bible and create an interpretation of the world from it, so to "isogete" is to read your own interpretation of the world in to the Bible. Biblical hermeneutics are basically the story of the tension between exegesis and isogesis. It's part of what I was attempting to get at with my old This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours series, especially the last entry. It's also at the core of why Fred has to wrestle so mightily with Left Behind. There's no telling where the Bible creates L&J's world and where their world creates the Bible.

Geds said...

Erm, and that should be "think it's sexy," not just "it's sexy." Sadly, I can't edit comments...

bluefrog said...

Small fact nitpick: Kaiser Wilhelm was deposed in 1918. The Weimar Republic was formed, with the creation of a new constitution and governing body--the Reichstag-- in 1919. Hitler was appointed Chancelor by President Paul von Hindenburg in 1933.

Geds said...

bluefrog: Damn, you're right. I knew it was wrong when I wrote it but couldn't be bothered to actually fact check.

That'll learn me to write blog entries at midnight on a work night. Okay, no it won't.

Fiat Lex said... told me it's spelled "eisegesis". But it is a real word! I am so glad it's in my vocabulary now. :D :D It's a bigger problem in Christianity than the theodicy, and creates a much bigger practical barrier for anyone who might otherwise be interested in it.

Man, I love Jack Van Impe. He's like the Micro Machine Man of Bible quotations. And his wife is one of the scariest-looking women on television.

I forget what the number is--maybe rule 46?--but there's an internet meme that says when the argument reaches the point where somebody gets compared to Hitler, the argument is over. Presumably because the Hitler comparison means nobody has any more actual point to make, and there's nothing else to do but flame.

And ha, ha. Geds is a PF fanboy and thinks she is teh hawt. *starts reciting some puerile rhyme about sitting in trees and baby carriages*

Ah, this post reminded me of the old saw "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns." I rather wish I owned a gun--both my sisters do, and Dad was very insistent about teaching us all to shoot. He saw them as an equalizer of force in small-scale combat. Me vs. an NFL linebacker, if we're both armed with sticks, is no contest at all. But me vs. an NFL linebacker if we both have pistols is much closer to fair.

But on a larger scale, Geds, you have hit the nail on the head. If one group has better organization, training, equipment and logistics than another, even with a significant disparity in size in a given encounter, that group will prevail. I joke (half-joke, at worst) about tumbleweeds in the streets and skyscrapers crumbling, but that's because I think there's a strong likelihood of a devastating pandemic. Totalitarianism is frigging expensive and hard to upkeep. It takes a large group of rich, insane ideologues with lots of power to strongarm a government into going that route. And most of the rich, insane, power-hungry people in the US tend to be both lazy and cynical. Which means they much prefer to let us maintain the illusion of liberty. While sneakily emptying our wallets, chipping away at our rights, and letting government services that might benefit us fall by the wayside while they and their friends all hop on private jets and head off to their private islands for massive coke-and-hooker parties.

Jerks. I so envy them.

Geds said...

Huh. That's interesting. I'd learned it as "isogesis." Although when it gets right down to it, "eisegesis" is the more logical spelling. In fact, the "iso-" prefix is completely wrong for the word. In Greek "iso-" is equal. "Eis-" is to put in. "Ex-" is to take out.

So there's a strong parallel between eis- and ex- for the context that doesn't exist with iso-. So now I'm forced to assume that I learned the term from a dumbass. Either that or "isogesis" is a common phonetic spelling and I learned that before/instead of the proper spelling. Stick "isogesis" in Google and you'll see it's a far from uncommon mistake.

Ah, well, you learn something new every day...

big a said...

From Fiat Lex:
"I forget what the number is--maybe rule 46?--but there's an internet meme that says when the argument reaches the point where somebody gets compared to Hitler, the argument is over. Presumably because the Hitler comparison means nobody has any more actual point to make, and there's nothing else to do but flame."

Just to corroborate:
"Rule 4 (Godwin's Law)

Mike Godwin said in 1990:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Frequently, a reference to Hitler is used as an evocation of evil. Thus a discussion proceeding on a positivist examination of facts is considered terminated when this objective consideration is transformed into a normative discussion of subjective right and wrong. "

Read about it in more detail than you could ever possibly want here:

PersonalFailure said...

Me vs. an NFL linebacker, if we're both armed with sticks, is no contest at all. But me vs. an NFL linebacker if we both have pistols is much closer to fair.

Lex, that's why I own a shotgun and a rifle, and know how to use them. An 8 year old boy wouldn't have much trouble overpowering me hand to hand, but try to overpower a shotgun!

Yet, I own one box of shells for the shotgun and I think I'm down to like 3 bullets for the rifle.

Because I won't be invading Sweden today.

PersonalFailure said...

Maybe tomorrow. Those deer look sweet!