I posted this response as I was musing on this article here.  I decided to repost my response here for later musings.

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I love the post and I want to comment at length, but it has been a tremendously long day and I just don’t have it in me. That said, one thing I want to jot down now before my tired mind lets it slip through the cracks, is the idea that Americans are allowed to carry guns because it is the carrot in front of the stick.

The genesis of this idea comes from the last 4 years or so of nearly constant wailing about the government coming for our guns. One law and treaty after another, one more vote in support of the current administration, one more manifesto on the Internet; all these things point to the culmination of a decades long conspiracy in which our government will come and seize our guns. And yet, they haven’t done so. The NRA, bless its heart!, is certainly trying to convince us they will, one donation at a time, but nothing has happened so far…

And why should the government come for our guns? The government is far more well armed than its citizens, has less manpower, and very little incentive to fight a pitched battle on its own turf. More importantly, I suspect that the government realizes it doesn’t need to fight that battle at all. We already allow more known surveillance now than at any time in our past. We’re stripped, searched, ramrodded, accused, persecuted, cajoled, lied to, defrauded, taxed and otherwise treated as voting cattle more now than anytime since the founding or our country. But hey, we’re armed, and as we all know, as long as we’re armed then the government has no real power over us… as long as good men do nothing, indeed.

If you value your freedom, thank a soldier…

I come from a family of soldiers.  In fact, I’m an odd man out in that I did not serve in the military.  Having said that, I have the utmost respect for our armed forces.  There are some good men and women in the service.  Even the ones that are there due to ulterior motives have agreed to defend our country against aggressors, to the point of laying down their life if necessary.  You honor and respect that choice, regardless of the reasons.  You honor that service, even, or perhaps especially, if you have not served yourself.  What you don’t do, though, is equate that soldier with freedom…

I know, that sounds down right blasphemous, considering we have Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and several lesser known days in which we honor our service men and women, past and present.  But your freedom was not granted to you by a soldier.  Nor a religion.  Nor a piece of paper written by famous men.  It is a truth held to be self-evident, beholden to no one and no institution.  And soldiers are not the only people who protect your freedom, physically or conceptually.  Teachers, officers, lawyers, citizens and dissidents all exercise and defend our freedoms, every day.  They teach others to recognize them, to understand them and to respect them.  They push and pull those freedoms, challenging the status quo, fighting to remind us of the ground we have lost.  Don’t just thank a soldier, thank those around you, many of whom are not nearly as popular or patriotic sounding as our soldiers…

So having said all of that, the main reason for my point today, isn’t about recognizing the work others are doing to protect and grow our freedom(s), but to make us realize how dangerous it is to equate freedom with our military; with war and military action.  Freedom, protecting and establishing it, becomes an extension of violence and military action.  More so, because our military is the extension of our government, freedom becomes something sanctioned by our government, to be doled out, weighed and measured in police actions, conflicts, pre-emptive strikes and considered warfare.  And because it is in the name of freedom, any justification the government needs to restrain our freedoms in an effort to protect them must be allowed!

This isn’t a slippery slope, my friends.  A path that one accidentally stumbled upon in the course of being a citizen.  This is a road to Hell that has been laid brick by carefully planned brick.  The associations that are being drawn, are not by accident.  Patriotism and freedom have become synonymous with military might and our government.  Don’t speak out against the government or you’re against freedom!  We saw this in the years following the events of 9/11.  It would be almost six years before people would be able to criticize the actions of the government without immediately being shouted down in the name of freedom.

Thank our veterans, for their service and commitment.  Your freedom, though, is your responsibility.