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May 03, 2013 10:45 AM Closing Off the Revolutionary Road

By Ed Kilgore

By now you may have seen some buzz about a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University reporting that 29% of Americans, and 44% of Republicans, think “in the next few years, an armed revolution may be necessary to protect our liberties.” It was taken in the context of understanding the sources of hard-core opposition to gun regulation measures, and sure seemed to indicate a subscription to Second Amendment absolutism that’s deeper than anything we’ve seen before. You can dismiss it for its sample size or its question order or its wording if you want, but I’m sorry: when nearly half the self-identified members of one of our two major political parties in any sample looks benignly on the possibility of “armed revolution”—particularly when it’s the supposedly conservative party—we’ve got real problems. If the actual percentage of Republicans thinking positively about armed revolution as a near-term necessity is 15%, we’ve got real problems.

I’ve preached for a good long while now that the absolute minimum the rest of us can expect from the leaders of the Republican Party and the conservative movement is to spend some serious time declaring anathemas against any talk on the Right of some “right to revolution,” particularly in the context of discussions of the possession of lethal weapons. Combine a “right to revolution” with the belief that most people voting for Barack Obama are baby-killing looters who are revolting against God’s very specific plan for America as laid right out there in the Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution, and you could get some unfortunate consequences, beginning, obviously, with a lot of people whose commitment to the rule of law and democratic procedures is perpetually conditional.

We need to get right in the faces of people blandly asserting a “right to revolution” and make sure they explicitly acknowledge that “armed revolution” is not some sort of Independence Day parade, but the very tangible enterprise of taking weapons and spilling the blood and taking the lives of police officers and members of the United States Armed Forces. Even if they continue to maintain that “right” as a remote, 1% contingency if America becomes a very different place, perhaps they’ll be less likely to talk as though it’s a lively proposition that might be triggered by next week’s health care regulations or next year’s adverse election results.

But our main target ought to be the politicians and pundits and bloggers that walk the revolutionary rhetorical road because it’s “entertaining” or it makes them feel all macho (like Grover Norquist swaggering around Washington with a “I’d rather be killing commies” button after one of his trips to Angola in the 1980s), or it’s just useful to have an audience or a political base mobilized to a state of near-violence by images of fire and smoke and iron and blood.

As I’ve observed on many occasions, you can only imagine how these self-appointed guardians of liberty would feel if casual talk of “armed revolution” became widespread on the left or among those people. There should not, cannot, be a double standard on this issue.

So please join me in calling on conservatives to cut this crap out and separate themselves from those who believe in vindicating the “original constitution” or defending their property rights or exalting their God or protecting the unborn via armed revolution. If William F. Buckley could “excommunicate” Robert Welch and the John Birch Society from the conservative movement back in the 1960s, today’s leaders on the Right can certainly do the same to those who not only share many of that Society’s views, but are willing to talk about implementing them by killing cops and soldiers.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Gummo on May 03, 2013 11:04 AM:

    Really, Ed? Really? You expect Republican politicians to publicly condemn half of their rapidly shrinking base?

    Never happen.

  • esaud on May 03, 2013 11:09 AM:

    Beginning with Nixon's southern strategy, the GOP has been giving a seat at the table to the very worst society has to offer.

    This would not have been possible, if large media outlets play a watchdog role. But no, while they hound good people like Desiree Rogers out of a job (the main offence being wearing a fancy dress on a glossy magazine cover) or openly ridicule brilliant public policy experts like Al Gore, they turn a blind eye to over-the-top idiots like Ted Nugent or racist gasbags like Limbaugh.

    No, the GOP is off the rails, and media stars like Jon Karl are in the caboose.

  • MR on May 03, 2013 11:15 AM:

    Great points Ed. I agree completely.

  • Shane Taylro on May 03, 2013 11:24 AM:

    "There should not, cannot, be a double standard on this issue." Ed, I agree. Completely. Liberals must confront reckless and illiberal ideas about political violence on the right _and the left_. This is how the some on the American left are now talking about political violence. Note the presence of Dissent's associate editor Sarah Leonard. Why don't liberals have a similar obligation to call out Occupy? Just this week, anarchists were once again assaulting journalists.

  • Ronald on May 03, 2013 11:24 AM:

    A hopeful dream.
    But no, the Republicans aren't going to disown their base.

    Everybody here knows the same percentages of Republicans are always: thinking Bush was good, thinking Obama is the antichrist, are ready for revolution, avid Fox news viewers, etc.

    Do you really think Fox news will broadcast to their audience that their being shut out of the party?

    Fuck; I think the Republicans might too well be afraid that those guns will end up pointed at them instead of the 'others' they keep scaring their base with.

    And the GOP has let that base grow mighty large in their attempts to create a majority. Ye reap what ye sow and all that.

    *sigh*
    It will probably take a few more 'right-wing terrorist' things like Oklahoma City before the Establishment on the Right tries to rein in the base.

    GOTV 2014. Seriously. Right now it is the best thing we, as citizens, can do to reclaim our government.

  • Gandalf on May 03, 2013 11:35 AM:

    One thing modern Americans love to do is talk tough. The people that talk that trash are tea bagger trash. most of them are over fifty years old. They might like to fantasize about offing a bunch of dirty hippies, brown people, blacks and liberal baby killers but I have to say they really don't have the juice for those kind of activities on a large scale.

  • howard on May 03, 2013 11:38 AM:

    the comment from shane taylor is an example of why ed's hope is completely forlorn: the thug party appeals to thuggish people who have limited intellectual capacity.

    and so shane taylor's response to the notion that close to half of the republican party thinks armed revolution is necessary is to say "look, over there, occupy."

    there is no dialogue to be had with people whose brains work that way.

    and there is no hope that republican leaders have any intent of calling out the shane taylors in their following: without them, there would be no republican party at all.

    i think there's only one solution left: throw the confederate states back out of the union and let the thugs from the rest of america go live there. then the rest of us can get our country back.

  • DB on May 03, 2013 11:43 AM:

    I believe in the possible necessity of a revolution, but there is no "Right to Revolution." And the reason I read sites like PA and others is to keep my finger on the pulse of that necessity. After monitoring this pulse since about 2005 when my eyes were opened to the lies and crimes of Bush and Company, it doesn't seem like this time is anywhere near, not in 50 years, maybe not even in 100 years. Does that mean it will never be needed? Does anybody believe that our country is so wonderful and perfect that it will endure longer than the Roman Empire?

    Let me illuminate something that many readers here may not know if they don't 1) live in the south and 2)know police and soldiers/veterans also from that region: a lot of these police/soldiers would desert and join this rebellion, or would not enforce martial law enacted by a democratic administration. In the case of the police in the area where I live, my cop buddy has stated his belief that half the department would not comply with orders like this, and this also happens to be the largest group in the area with personally owned fully automatic weapons (1 guy has a 20mm cannon, all legal).

    It would really take a lot for the people who think this way to actually act on it (aside from a few rogues). For the most part this is part of their daily 2-minute Hate and a way of whipping themselves almost into orgasm over the thought of it.

    For all those interested in the truth behind any government, here it is: you can either voluntarily comply with its rules, or be compelled to do so through deadly force. That's why any armed standoff against the govt is a guaranteed loser, unless the army of the govt is outnumbered/outgunned by those opposing it.

    For armed rebellion against the US govt to work, you'd need all of the citizen population to be united against it, and with the expected legions of law enforcement and military to join with the citizens for this struggle to even have a chance. We're nowhere near this unity, but to just blindly put one's faith in the belief that our government will always be so perfect and just that we cannot even talk about keeping our arms as a hedge against tyranny in the future? No thank you. I guess I'll just continue to be considered a terrorist/child-killer because of how my guns look by the authors (that I respect) of these blogs that I prefer to read (crooks&liars/thinkprogress/PA/StevenBenen are my mainstays).

  • smartalek on May 03, 2013 11:45 AM:

    "As I’ve observed on many occasions, you can only imagine how these self-appointed guardians of liberty would feel if casual talk of “armed revolution” became widespread on the left or among those people."

    No imagination is necessary; remember Bill Ayres?
    That said, I was actually expecting that the data behind the survey would turn out to be similar to the polling results on the ACA. That is, that a substantial fraction of the people anticipating the possibility of revolt might turn out to be Occupiers and their sympathizers, expecting revolt on the basis of economic frustration, rather than rightwing paranoid fantasms.
    The data in the study announcement are, by themselves, unclear:
    The study summary says that 18% of Dem's think an armed rebellion might be "necessary," while 44% of Publicans, and 27% of moderates think so.
    But I haven't taken the time to look at the raw data (which I believe are linked from the study announcement linked in the OP's 1st sentence, above), so I have no idea what the numbers of Dem / Pub / "moderate" respondents were. Nor do I have any clue what the partisan leanings are within that "moderate" set.
    But with Publican party identification currently running nearly as low as it was in '08, it's not entirely inconceivable that (just as with the ACA) 1/3, or even more, of those expressing suspicions of a possible "need" for armed insurrection *are*, in fact, doing so from what we could deem leftist, or at least economic, stances, rather than from rightwing / libertarian fears of "tyranny."
    And -- given the apparent disappearance of Occupy as a force in play, and the obvious and manifold failures of the current Dem powers-that-be to represent 90+% of Americans -- I have absolutely no idea how I feel about that.

  • Mimikatz on May 03, 2013 11:48 AM:

    There is no equivalence between Occupy protestors, some few of whom may have resorted to mild violence when SWAT Team police shot gas grenades and flash bombs at them and pounded the sh*t out of them, and white guys with arsenals of military-style assault weapons and wheelbarrows of ammunition who proclaim their right to annihilate their fellow citizens and the US Government at the slightest effort to regulate guns, health care or carbon emissions.

    The correct way to talk about this is to stress that they would be fighting cops and the very well trained US Military. Militia activity fell off in the early Naughts not just because of a Republican President but also because of 9-11. All of a sudden terrorist attacks against the US weren't cool anymore and cops and firefighters and the troops were heroes. Play on their inherent respect for authority.

    And I do remember when talk of armed struggle was prevalent on the left and there were riots and the Black Panthers terrorized Sacramento by (legally, then) carrying weapons into the Capitol. The response was pretty swift. Why don't the Justice Dept and state and local police go after anti-abortion terrorists in Kanss and militia crazies in Idaho and elsewhere with the zeal they used against Occupy? They've killed a lot more people.

  • David Stafford on May 03, 2013 11:52 AM:

    Excellent post, Ed. I'm not sure there's anyone left who can reign these people in. This is the culmination of years of pandering to the fears of those who feel left out of the American enterprise which, ironically, includes most of us.

  • smartalek on May 03, 2013 12:00 PM:

    @ Gandalf: "they really don't have the juice for those kind of activities on a large scale."

    I hope -- and am reasonably confident -- that you're right.
    But that's not the only, nor is it the most serious, problem.
    What *is* a very real problem -- a "clear and present danger" -- is that the "revolt" rhetoric provides support, encouragement, and perceived permission to the sicko psychos who walk into churches and temples and start slaughtering "liberals," or who load up their cars with weaponry and take off to bravely take down whatever charity or NGO Glenn Beck might be demonizing this month.
    Not to mention the occasional über-nut who decides to bomb an MLK Day parade, a women's health clinic, an Olympic event, or a federal office building.

  • boatboy_srq on May 03, 2013 12:09 PM:

    We need to get right in the faces of people blandly asserting a “right to revolution” and make sure they explicitly acknowledge that “armed revolution” is not some sort of Independence Day parade, but the very tangible enterprise of taking weapons and spilling the blood and taking the lives of police officers and members of the United States Armed Forces.

    Has anyone bothered to inquire how many of the "right to revolution" people are already in law enforcement or the military? DB, from the evidence, is spot-on with his/her observation, but if we could quantify that segment it would be illuminating.

    RE: Shane Taylor's comments. I think we need to revisit the definition of anarchist - because the descriptions of the ideal government the Teahad continually spouts puts them pretty squarely in the anarchist camp. True, they're not quite in the "there's no government like no government" camp, but the rump that they'd permit to survive isn't enough to merit the name.

  • Grag on May 03, 2013 12:13 PM:

    Armed revolution has been necessary in this country for a long time. The Democratic and Republican party elites are basically enemies of the American people, and enemies of constitutional rights and liberties. These two parties are already at war with the people, they are already at war with the constitution. The executive branch claims dictatorial powers. The legislature has been hijacked by narrow factional interests. The judiciary is degenerate and corrupt. There are no more electoral solutions, because our electoral system has been rigged. Armed revolution is necessary. Sooner rather than later. Later it will already be too late.

  • Steve P on May 03, 2013 12:21 PM:

    Who was it who claimed that men go to war because they think it's the only time that women won't be laughing at them?

    I got news for the guy with the 20mm gun--women are still laughing at you, just from a longer way off.

    And while the Great Cleansing Fire might be a reality in Bugtussle, these guys are going to go to ground in their bunkers and wait . . . and wait . . . and wait for the country to follow them.

  • stratplayer on May 03, 2013 12:21 PM:

    If you know anything about civil war, you know that it doesn't involve just the killing of "cops and soldiers." Many innocent civilians end up dead, too. Once the forces of lethal political violence are unleashed, there's no knowing how it will play out in the end. When the shooting starts in a democracy, there's a very good chance it will end with the death of democracy.

  • Anonymous on May 03, 2013 12:25 PM:

    i think we should ignore them. paying attention to this might rather legitimatize and invite conversations as if that's something we really should focus on and distract us from talking about, say, climate change.

    we already have militias all over the country. they are masturbating with each other.
    let them have at it. i dont know it's worth our time to try to get rid of crazy people in a society as sad as it is. if the media take them seriously, they might get encouraged.

    yeah, we have had mss shooting and terrorists.
    but guess what? the real threat to our security is still our lack of access to food, health care and education. hey, it's more productive to talk about invest into clean, safe cars that prevent/reduce air pollution and accidents. look at google driverless cars. America is still awesome with full of potentials.

  • c u n d gulag on May 03, 2013 12:25 PM:

    Yes, the American Left is the exact same.
    Absolutely!
    NOT!!!

    Sure, the PETA people go to some extremes, as have some of the protests and world economic conferences.

    And I know the Occupation folks singing, and banging on drums, and chanting, and bringing in puppets (as a guy who has organized anti-war, anti-torture, anti-rendition protests in NC in the 00's, let me just say this - ENOUGH WITH THE FECKIN' PUPPETS!!!), at their protests, scare the living precious bodily fluids out of our Conservatives - but news flash: they're harmless.

    We don't have close to 50% of Democrats and Liberals thinking we need an armed revolution.
    And believe me, after over 40 years of Conservatism, we have a lot more to complain about what's happened in, and to, this country, than Conservatives do, reliving the DFH era in the late 60's and early 70's.

    It's been a highly Conservative Era.
    And while it's been revolting, we're not out their calling for a revolution - unless it's a peaceful one.

    And you don't see Miscegenation or Rainbow Supremacist Groups, training somewhere, with assault rifles, grenades, and explosives, ready to take on the police and military to enforce Mixed-race and/or Gay Rule.

    Timothy McVeigh, and Eric Rudolph weren't exactly Liberals.
    They were 100%, home-grown, CONSERVATIVE TERRORISTS!!!

    Embrace that, Coonservative. 'Cause you OWN it!

    And leave the Occupation folks singing, banging away on drums, and chanting.
    BUT NO MORE FECKIN' PUPPETS!!!
    Or, I'll have to tickle all of ya's to death!

  • Grag on May 03, 2013 12:27 PM:

    We are already in a state of low-level civil war. To deny this is to deny reality. Rampant gun violence is a symptom of this. Rampant police violence and brutality is a symptom of this. It is only a matter of time before more and more people realize these simple facts, and begin to take the war to the people and groups that have already declared war on them. It is just as simple as that.

  • alix on May 03, 2013 12:33 PM:

    Good overview, Ed. It's scary. And so many are just posturing, but Jeez, that's what the Tea Party is, a bunch of people fueling their anger to make them feel manly.

    A guy I know-- a nice guy, and this is something we have to remember-- to appeal to their niceness, as most of them personally are nice-- was just talking revolution, and I said, "Joe, this is the United States of America. We had one revolution, and since then, we have elections. Democracy. Constitution. Only traitors talk about revolution. And you're not a traitor."

    I think we need to use words like "treason" and "traitor" and "America-haters". They don't want to be that way, so let's give this a name that resonates. "You understand, don't you, that this means firing on our own troops? Our own young people? Our own police and fire officers? Is this actually what you want?"

    It is amazing and absurd how much power these people have granted to loons and conmen.

  • J Bean on May 03, 2013 12:35 PM:

    Sure smartalek, I remember Bill Ayres. That happened a mere 43 years ago. I was 10 years old and my mom, grandmother and great-grandmother were from the same tiny town as his girlfriend Diana Oughton. Barack Obama was 8 years old at the time and had no connection to the event.

    Nobody is arguing that there are no lunatics on the left. There are. It's just that they aren't in congress, they are marginalized, and there are very few of them. They don't have their own, damn TV network. They don't have an organization like the NRA that acts as a powerful lobbying force in congress. Occupy never supported violence, violent ovthrow of the government or even developed any kind of lobbying presence.

    It would be interesting to see a regional breakdown of these statistics. i'd like to know how many of these "rebels" live in the CSA.

  • Anonymous on May 03, 2013 12:36 PM:

    i dont think it's important for democrats and republicans to disown violent extremists, right and left. you shouldn't yell that it's conservative or liberal.

    i dont think it's fair to attack republicans/conservatives for those extremists as much as it is unfair to attack democrats for environmental terrorists, for example.

    i think the article is saying that politicians/leaders should take stronger public stance against them instead of ignore them or even use them for their agenda.
    And right now it seems like democrats do denounce extremes of their side while republicans don't as much. it is just that today there are more than 1000 right wing hate groups, hundreds of them militias.

    talk about "lack of leadership", huh?

  • Rick B on May 03, 2013 12:40 PM:

    Digby described this as America's two tribes. I describe it as America's culture war.

    We have two cultures in this nation, one modern, urban and based on the industrial revolution. It centers on public education and the expectation of and demand for social equality and a middle class life.

    The other is older, class and race-based and can be characterize as the Southern Plantation culture. The dominant class in America until the Great Depression was the christianized white race. The politicians came mostly from small towns based on farming and agricultural industry. Paul Ryan is fourth generation from Janesville, WI.

    The current political situation in America is not simply a question of two ideologies. It is the battle for the displacement of the older tribe's political leaders as the dominant force in America by the newer, modern, educated and less religion-dominated urban tribe.

    There is no room for compromise. The older rural-based political leadership is in the process of being replaced and it will be mostly gone in a generation. Just look at California.

    In our two-party system with no room for third parties, one party has the be the party of the new culture and one has to be tied to the older culture. The conservatives represent the older culture. Nothing they do will stop the change-over, and as that dawns on their political followers they are getting more and more desperate.

    The generations since WW II have seen massive expansion of the population, in America and around the world, and ALL of that increased population has moved off the farm and into the cities where the jobs are. But the political structures that existed before put the current leaders into power, and they are isolating the political power of the cities as much as they can. Our Constitution was designed exactly for that purpose. It gave extra power to rural populations.

    Those populations are now in the minority, but the structure still leaves their politicians in power. Still, the demographics clearly show they are inevitably losing that power. The Northeast, California, and soon Texas are Democratic.

    Conservatism is dead, it just hasn't lay down in its grave yet.

    Is the talk of armed insurrection any surprise? Never to a Southerner.

  • martin on May 03, 2013 12:41 PM:

    Right can certainly do the same to those who not only share many of that Society’s views, but are willing to talking about implementing them by killing cops and soldiers.

    Forget Cops and Soldiers. If the Right hasn't figured out this means killing politicians and dog catchers, they are stupider than they act. Maybe deep in their shallow little souls the Repubs think they are "good Aryans" and won't be in the way when the bullets start flying. Or maybe their rich friends have a safe room for them to hide in during the revolution. If so, they are living in a bubble within a bubble and they need to get out and breathe the Tea to find out how badly it smells.

  • jim filyaw on May 03, 2013 12:46 PM:

    i find this downright scary. both the russian and french revolutions had far less support when they kicked off. even the american one didn't have anything like majority support. none of the three had anything like the access to weaponry these present would-be revolutionaries have. this is not going to end well, especially for a lot of these people who foresee a 'red dawn' or 'left behind' scenario.

  • Grag on May 03, 2013 1:03 PM:

    And if they started killing off the scum elites leading the Democrati-Republican two-party class war against the rest of us, would that be such a bad thing?

  • c u n d gulag on May 03, 2013 1:43 PM:

    I've been saying it for years - what we're going through, is a "Cold Civil War."

  • kindness on May 03, 2013 1:45 PM:

    Guillotine? Yet?

  • Shane Taylor on May 03, 2013 1:57 PM:

    There is an anarchist revival in America today. In a previous era, anarchists conspired to bomb the police in Chicago (yes, there was proof of a conspiracy by anarchists) and assassinated a President. Emma Goldman, who is still praised today on the left, defended the latter murder as "self-defence." And it is likely, though it was never confirmed, that anarchists bombed Wall Street in 1920, killing 38 people. We are talking about violence on par with that of the Tsarnaev brothers. Similar rationales from that era for insurrectionary anarchism can be heard again today. Watch the video posted at Dissent if you do not believe me.

    This is why I recoil when places like The Washington Monthly call David Graeber, an apologist for anarchist violence, a "liberal." Revolutionary anarchism is the self-poisoning of liberal values.

  • Russell Sadler on May 03, 2013 2:21 PM:

    This "Right of Revolution" is a deliberately cultivated myth. Although the United States was born of a revolution and "the Founders talked a bit about "watering the Tree of Liberty with the Blood of Patriots"in their letters, if they intended such a right, they could have included it among the enumerates rights in the Constitution itself or in the first ten amendments. They did not. There is no mention of a right to revolution in the original document.

    Indeed,there is only ONE crime listed and defined in the Constitution. It appears in Article III, Section 3. Here it is:

    "Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

    Treason is levying war against the state. Taking up arms against the state is treason. This is not foolish rhetoric by deluded lunatics. This polls demonstrates these people are serious and the rest of us are foolish not to take them seriously.

  • smartalek on May 03, 2013 2:29 PM:

    @ J Bean:
    Thank you for pointing out that what I wrote was arguably ambiguous, and could easily be taken very differently from my intent.
    To be clear:
    I am in no way suggesting that the rightwing's media mouthpieces and other rabble-rousers are *justified* in trying to tar any current elements of the progressive movements (other than perhaps a tiny handful of earth-1st-ers, if any of them are still around) with the sins of the self-styled "revolutionaries" of the 60s. IIRC, Jerry Rubin became a stockbroker, and Abbie Hoffman did something almost as infamous, committing suicide a while back.
    And that's just liberals -- there's obviously even more distance between the late radicals and our current "centrist," corporate Dem-Party "leadership."

  • Wally on May 03, 2013 2:51 PM:

    @shanetaylor

    You contention seems to be that political violence in this country would not be from people with guns who responded that revolution is necessary, but instead "liberals." And your evidence for this contention is based on an unproven accusation from 97 years ago about an unidentified group espousing political theory not espoused by any modern liberal. Hmm.

    Your also claim that people (many with military weapons) who responded that armed insurrection is necessary are not the ones who will commit political violence. But instead it will be anarchists, who ostensibly hold liberal values. So your evidence is based on the theory that liberals want too much government but are really anarchists who want no government. And that conservatives who constantly espouse their hate for government will be the ones to protect democracy and civil society.

    Have you thought about starting a talk radio program? Running for Congress in Kentucky or Texas? Selling gold? 'Cause you could make a lot of money with these angry, illogical, conspiracy-laden theories.

  • Danny Adams on May 03, 2013 4:20 PM:

    "As I’ve observed on many occasions, you can only imagine how these self-appointed guardians of liberty would feel if casual talk of “armed revolution” became widespread on the left or among those people."

    We don't necessarily have to imagine. There was plenty of talk of protecting civil liberties during the George W. Bush administration, and the Right's reaction was to accuse the defenders of everything from being un-American to treasonous to being in bed with terrorists. It was like they didn't discover we had a Constitution until Obama was elected.

    I think the Second Amendment is as valuable and necessary as every other part of the Bill of Rights. But having all the guns in the world to protect yourself against tyranny from your own government won't do any good at all if you happen to agree with the tyranny.

  • rrk1 on May 03, 2013 4:28 PM:

    After over three decades of hate radio, Lush Bimbo, and that ilk spewing vitriol 24/7 what do you expect? A love-in? Radio with a left-slant to counteract the venom from the Right doesn't draw an audience because progressives, liberals, lefties, call them as you will, don't need the constant stroking and reinforcement the gullible, ill-educated, frightened, fearful stupids on the Right have to have.

    We already know the conservative brain is wired differently than the liberal brain, and on that basis I do think we have reason to worry about an armed insurrection. There is no such thing as rational persuasion for the hard-bitten Right, and appeals to democratic values and process are useless.

    The real question isn't whether the Right will take up arms. It already has. The question is will the left shoot back if it comes right down to it.

  • Anonymous on May 03, 2013 5:39 PM:

    smartalek's opinion that "1/3, or even more, of those expressing suspicions of a possible "need" for armed insurrection *are*, in fact, doing so from what we could deem leftist, or at least economic, stances, rather than from rightwing / libertarian fears of "tyranny." " is to me one of the most salient obervations.

    It is past failures in the face of natavistic american exceptionalism that I think this demographic wants to put right at a cost that is not considered with long term consequence. The arc of history has not been going well for this particular mindset. Economic globalization is showing major cracks at the seams, wars of choice are increasingly becoming debacles, the renewed suppression of women is at a biblical level, and the disdain for youth and their freedom of expression has forced schools and their educational models into armed compounds.

    One has to remember, though, that globalization was actually a liberal idea with capitalist consequences, that wars of choice were a nation-building stratagem that were more about a liberal ideal of how we can manage the world than the simple response to an agressor, and that some of the best education came out of the 70's -- with its commitment to the student as a whole person -- Art, literature, all of the maths and sciences, gym and recess for chrissakes -- those were very conservative views at the time. Then the "educational models" came and we had to be China.

    The supression of women's rights, well, you got me on that one. As a liberal democrat I don't think Plan B is appropriate for young women under 15 -- it leaves them too vulnerable to their abusers.

  • sold2u on May 03, 2013 6:28 PM:

    you think the military would side with obama? Not a slam dunk by any means...

  • PTate in MN on May 03, 2013 10:24 PM:

    howard is absolutely correct: "i think there's only one solution left: throw the confederate states back out of the union and let the thugs from the rest of america go live there. then the rest of us can get our country back.

    A regional breakdown would be interesting. I bet that Republicans in the old Confederacy represent the most of the 44% of Republicans who think that "an armed revolution may be necessary to protect our liberties." But that overall figure of 29% is close enough to the "crazification factor" that maybe it's pointless to worry.

    I'd still like to toss the Confederacy out of the USA, though. Sorry, Ed.

  • Doug on May 03, 2013 10:26 PM:

    sold2u, so you're saying the U.S. military is riddled with traitors? You may wish to see the post @ 2:21 PM for *the* definition of what treason is.
    Then there's the UCMJ; are you saying the U.S. military is refusing to abide by it? Because, as CiC, President Obama is the one in charge *now*. *I* haven't heard of any mutinies and if *you* have any information, and don't pass it along to the FBI, see the first paragraph.
    The "military" didn't all side with Mr. Lincoln either, how'd *that* one turn out?

  • pjcamp on May 04, 2013 1:40 AM:

    "you can only imagine how these self-appointed guardians of liberty would feel if casual talk of “armed revolution” became widespread on the left or among those people. "

    You don't have to imagine it. You need only look at the Nixon administration.