A Peak at the Authoritarianism to Come

Virginia is poised to be a test case of sorts, a formerly ‘red’ state with historic roots of respect for natural rights to life liberty and property and a large gun-owning population now under the control of radical progressives. The incoming legislature, buttressed by a progressive liberal governor is foaming at the mouth to test the limits of its power. Virginia Senate Bill SB 16   “It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm” and makes such actions a Class 6 felony. (The American Spectator) The definition of “assault weapons” is pretty broad meaning that many Virginia citizens, law-abiding citizens might find themselves faced with surrendering their property or losing their liberty, both violations of natural rights protected under the Constitutions of Virginia and the US.

This is no small matter.

Already there is posturing in Virginia and in Washington with bellicose words and subtle threats. 75 counties in Virginia have passed ordinances or resolutions stating county police and sheriff departments will not enforce laws that violate the right to bear arms. This is a direct plea to the common law principle of the sheriff acting as an intermediary between the people and other powers. Under common law, the sheriff had a duty not only to enforce the law but to protect the people from external oppression and tyranny. Many that hold to the concept of natural rights protected under the Constitution have theorized for years that a fight such as this might come down to good sheriffs performing their higher duty.

This inconvenient historical fact has not escaped the radicals either in Richmond nor Washington. Some are suggesting that the governor use the National Guard to carry out confiscations, others have advocated defunding sheriffs departments that do not toe the line. The governor mentioned recently curring off the power and water to those that do not comply.

Of course, all of this is premature. If SB16 passes, which it probably will, it will be tied up in court for months or years. That is really not the point of all this. The radicals know they will not be grabbing any guns come March or April of next year. This is really a show of force. They are forcing the issue in a state where such talk was once unimaginable. They are forcing real Americans to react, to become afraid and to show their hands. Talk of empowering sheriffs departments to resist bad laws is important and necessary but it brings the topic to the surface and allows the radicals to attack the notion long before the court cases are settled. They now know exactly which counties and which sheriffs might actually stand up, they have a target list.

In Retrenchment, I discuss Saul Alinsky who essentially wrote the rule book for the radical progressive movement in Rules for Radicals.  There can be no reprieve to the traditional viewpoint he advised.  Radicals must press the issue deep, ridicule, isolate and ostracized opposing views until the revolution is complete and the opposition silenced. He pointed out that Lenin was happy to use the ballot box as long as the other side had the guns but that Lenin was pleased to consider bullets once his side had the guns.

Alinsky also preached polarization, isolation, and ridicule as methods the left should use. Now that county boards and sheriffs have stood up to identify themselves the radicals know who to individually target. It is all an almost perfectly applied strategy out of Rules for Radicals.

Another point that Alinsky made was that the leaders of the progressive revolution must always find new targets to assault so that the mobs and supporters do not get bored. Alinsky did not have a lot of confidence in the base supporters of radicalism to really understand the issues, he thought leaders needed to help them. One method to help was to always present new issues and new fights and to focus on wins.

Gun control, a historically hotly contested issue, is an easy win for the radicals at this point. They have already won as much of the culture war as is possible at the moment, it is too soon for the next stages of that fight. But gun control, that is something they can push with a vengeance.

Even if SB16 ultimately fails in court, this test case will move the ball forward. They are frontally assaulting a former red state and hundreds of thousands of real Americans living there that cherish their rights. It is bold, audacious and just the beginning.

What we should find most disturbing in all of this are the words the radicals are using. They carelessly toss about the notion of using the National Guard, which is not the militia but is really just the part-time Army at this point. And using this army to go to the homes of citizens to enforce the law and take property. Let that sink in for a moment. These people are saying this out loud and without shame. They are willing to send an army to private citizens’ homes, potentially to do violence. We fought a revolution over that issue among others, now the radicals have come to see the power of the Government and of violence as a positive good. A tool they may use to complete their revolution.

If they so callously believe this is ok in this case do you believe for a moment they will not apply the same logic to future brilliant ideas they codify into law? Religious liberty, free speech, freedom of association? Do you honestly believe any of those notions are sacred and sacrosanct in light of these developments?

We are on a perilous road toward authoritarianism. The loss of the Cultural war by traditional America was never about marriage or monuments, it was about principles. It was a fight against one side saying that good ideas and intentions ought to outweigh natural rights and common-sense. It was a fight against one side telling everyone else what to think and believe. Now they show their full hand and their willingness to do violence against those that oppose them.

Author: Barry

Southerner, father, husband, Christian and a retired Army field grade officer. Author of five books and of several papers and articles on ethics, culture, history, geopolitics and military affairs. He is the Executive Director of The Calhoun Institute and a partner at B&B Clark Consulting.

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