Friday, May 15, 2015

Guns and Conspiracy Theories

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, who has spent too much time in Texas, told me that the government was going to become tyrannical and that people would need to carry guns in order to protect themselves. I asked her, “Will they also need to have nuclear weapons?” She took that as me making fun of her and discontinued contact with me. Instead I was asking a serious question.

If the government really were to become tyrannical, then guns won't protect you. American government has at its disposal the most powerful weapons that anyone has ever built. To seriously challenge American government militarily, the insurgents would also need to have weapons comparable to those held by the American government. And I do not see that happening, whether the person wanting them is a left-wing anarchist, a right-wing survivalist or an Islamic nut.

What actually protects these people is the willingness of the government to not go the way of Stalin and Hitler; and it is this that these people need to recognize as the reason for their liberties. This matter needs to be solved at a political level and not at a military level. Militarily, the anti-government people are at a huge disadvantage; and it is political action in pursuit of the Constitution and not guns or militias that actually protects them.

Obama is as far to the Left of a president as America is going to get; but even he does not practice anything close to totalitarianism. If he had been, as some claim, a Communist or a Marxist, then he would have nationalized the banks and the car industry. Instead he bailed them out; and American capitalism owes a lot to this president, including not going into another Great Depression.

There are many people who substitute paranoia and conspiracy theories for knowledge. There are people who claim that Holocaust never happened. There are people who claim that the moon landings were faked. There are people who claim that global warming is a hoax. And of course there are many people who think that the world is going the way of totalitarianism. None of them are anywhere close to being right; yet many people believe them.

When faced with such things, the duty of intelligence becomes to refute these conspiracy theories and replace them with real knowledge. There is more evidence for the Holocaust than for Roman Empire. The moon landings were done by both Americans and Soviets, and a Soviet Moon Rover, to the best of my knowledge, still remains in Moscow. Global warming was known to both the American and the Soviet scientists as early as 1950s and became common knowledge in 1980s when it should have been solved. And the people today around the world enjoy liberties that would have been unthinkable a century ago.

The reason that conmen and lunatics get away with spouting these conspiracy theories is that not enough people challenge them. More needs to be done in that direction. Paranoid ideologies actualize in extremely cruel and destructive outcomes. And people – both in America and outside of Americe – deserve better than that.


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