Amidst a continuous multimedia assault on legal civilian gun ownership, one paradox studiously ignored by the gun-banners is the penchant for Domestic Agencies of the State to arm their staff members with firearms deemed (rhetorically) appropriate for warfare.
As obvious as this cognitive dissonance may be, it still betrays conditioned blindness to the staggeringly larger institution of mass destruction in whose shadow we live our daily lives.
People who live in a village at the foot of a volcano undoubtedly become accustomed to the occasional tremor or sign of steam rising from the cone above. The longer they live there without any significant sign of danger from the mountain, the more unconcerned they become regarding the threat it represents. They regard its contribution to fertile soil a blessing, and as time passes give ever less thought to the mere possibility that conditions could rapidly change.
Americans appear particularly vulnerable to this false sense of security. The founding myths of the country are taught as history to children and adults alike, leaving the typical citizen smug in his or her belief that the USA enjoys the best system of governance, and that "we're the biggest kid on the block." "We" have the fastest war planes, the biggest Navy, "our" nuclear submarines ring the globe and "our" troops have boots on the ground in nearly every nation on the planet, all part of a force for "good."
If this is in doubt, imagine what would occur if you loudly opined at work or a family gathering that the USA is the Evil Empire? Given the stridency with which most people identify with the State, you might risk physical violence by making such a bold statement.
This leads to some worrisome observations.
First, few people understand modern technology. How many people do you know who actually could describe the scientific basis for how cell phones or microwave ovens work? Could any of them roughly sketch out the parts of these marvels?
These are but two of many items we use in daily life which for all practical purposes are magic. We may laugh at documentaries that recorded how primitive peoples reacted to modernity when first exposed, but in truth the vast majority of us cannot tell modern mechanisms from magic.
In such an environment, is it difficult to understand why many people seem to regard our modern "expert" rulers as wizards able to repeal laws of nature and deliver on promises that are arithmetically impossible? Most people clearly regard the political state as an Earthly God, a supra-human organization that elevates its human members to the level of infallible and not-to-be-questioned demigods who have divined the General Will and guide the rest of us from their seat of Wisdom.
The second worrisome observation is made by Professor Hoppe, who helps illustrate why in a democracy where elected rulers are but temporary caretakers, and elections have become media-saturated popularity contests driven by $50,000 per plate "fundraisers," we must acknowledge that the people who are elected are the most cunning, facile con artists among us. The "lying" candidate, upon winning the election, becomes someone handed the power to order…almost anything these days.
Another term for our politician-rulers might be "sociopaths," and if one popular author is correct, then the 5% figure she offers for the population at large must be ten times, if not nearly twenty times higher when considering public officeholders.
The third worrisome observation is that the US military is a political organization, at least within its upper ranks.
Sociopaths with WMDs.
Please stop to think about that for a moment.
Nearly every American knows someone who is or was in the military. Mom or Dad, brother or sister, an aunt, an uncle, a neighbor, a coworker, those who currently wear a uniform or did so in the past are present almost everywhere we look.
Such people represent the "military-as-normal" in our lives. They are people just like us (for the most part) and would never hurt us, their family, friends and neighbors.
They are what make living in the shadow of a Krakatau or Iceland's Katla seem so safe and normal. The U.S. military is so…pedestrian…or so it seems. It is made up of people just like us, who would never collectively act to harm anyone in this land of the free and home of the brave, right?
It is this overly-sanguine condition that has led to handing technologies of nearly unlimited destructive power to people who are 1) politician-sociopaths, 2) drunk on power, and 3) operate in near total secrecy, surrounded by absolute obedience to authority inculcated on a 24/7 basis.
Instead of worrying about Bubba's AR15 that he uses to shoot cardboard targets a couple times a summer, why aren't we wet-our-pants terrified of the sociopaths to whom our best and brightest have handed atomic bombs, biological weapons, nerve gasses, and more modern, secrecy-shrouded technologies that could prove even more mass-murderous than those of fiction and horror stories?
The answer is simple: If those hellish technological marvels were unleashed on us, then the sociopaths who rule us would insure their own self-destruction, right? They would destroy their wives and husbands, their children and parents, their brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. No sane persons would contemplate such things.
The fourth and final worrisome observation ties all this together.
In the ancient fable of The Scorpion and the Frog, the frog was of the same belief, that imminent self-destruction would stay the "hand" of the scorpion and allow the frog to safely convey them both across the river.
The nature of the scorpion, however, was to sting. The frog forgot that the scorpion was not a frog; it was by nature something entirely different and always a deadly threat.
We, as a society, let our optimism, society-level Chauvinism, our confusion over technology and experience with the familiar lull us into creating a titanic threat to our lives and our future, one we seem to understand as little as did the residents of Pompeii prior to the historic eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius.
As usual, it is not the small and foreign (small arms like an AR15, in this case, to the person who doesn't own one) that threatens our children sitting at their school desks, it is the monstrous and familiar, whose incalculable destructive power rests cradled in the hands of megalomaniacs who have spent their entire adult lives steeping in human blood. They are not like us, despite appearances, and any belief to the contrary is childish, naïve, and self-destructively stupid.
What happens if such scorpions decide that the USA (or world) must be destroyed in order to save it?