Hundreds of 2nd Amendments supporters gathered just out side the Capital building in Montpelier on Saturday for a rally to defend the right to bear arms. Although the crowd included veterans of Tea Party rallies, many who came were not from the Tea Party movement. This became evident to members of the Green Mountain Patriots as they handed out petitions for people to sign in support of the cause. Though they had hundreds of petitions, those went fast as the crowd was bigger than expected. The enthusiasm was contagious as well. Below is a video clip from a participant who arrived 20 minutes early and started to film the event. There was already a large crowd as he started filming and they just kept coming.
One person who signed a petition noted that he never thought he would sign a petition passed out by a Tea Party group. He had been to rallies for what he considered liberal causes before. What brought this diverse crowd together was a concern that their individual rights were being ignored by an over bearing government. Several speakers addressed the crowd, but one that stood out in the mind of some participants was former candidate for State Representative Paul Dame from Essex. Paul’s’ speech touched on the larger concern over individual rights that the provided the context for the threat to the right to bear arms:
One matter that Paul pointed out was that the question asked by many proponents of gun control is whether people need such arms. The premise behind such a question is that the government has the authority to determine our needs and wants. One problem with this latest move to give the government the authority to decide what our needs are is that it comes about as a solution in search of a problem. In a Burlington Free Press article about some of Vermont’s Mayors joining a national coalition to restrict firearm ownership these Mayors admitted that: “Vermont, rife with hunters and sports-shooters, boasts relatively low per-capita firearms deaths.” So, Vermont admittedly does not have a problem with gun related violence. Why on earth then would these people join a movement to restrict the right to bear arms? ”The coalescence of Vermont’s urban leaders on tighter gun regulation, even without agreeing on the value of an assault-rifle ban, will send a message beyond the state’s borders, Lauzon added.” The reason we need to join in the movement to restrict the right to gun ownership is to send a message to the rest of the nation? Given that there is no evidence showing that restrictive gun laws reduces violent crimes, what message would we be sending? Perhaps the message we would be sending is that Vermonters are ready to allow the government to be the arbitrator of our wants and needs. It would not be the first time that the left in Vermont chose to send that message. The assault on the right to bear arms did not just appear in a vacuum. We have been allowing our political leasderhsip to invest the government with the power to determine what we want and need for quite some time now, why should we expect gun ownership to be any different?
In a May of 2011 True North Reports article on Vermont becoming a petri dish for the creation of a “smart grid” revealed an interesting mindset among our would be social engineers. Rick Stulen, Vice President of Sandia National Laboratories, explained the goal of the Smart Grid system: “Part of what we’re about here in the next two days is about changing culture,” Stulen said. “It’s about changing human behavior.”
Here we have it. The goal of that endeavor was to “change human behavior”. Such a goal presupposes the notion that those socially engineering these changes know better than the rest of us how we should behave. Unfortunately, such notions are not isolated comments, but seem to be reflecting a pattern of thought that ougth to give Vermonters pause. In a blog article on this site in February of that same year, we noted that a similar notion was expressed as a justification for raising the cigarette tax. Usually the rational for raising taxes is the raise revenue in order to fund the necessary functions of government. Not so in this case: According to Tina Zuk, spokeswoman for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont: “The overall price per pack of tobacco would have to be increased by at least 10% to be an effective public health tool”. In other words, the purpose of the policy is to control behavior, not to raise the needed revenue. Again, the assumption is that the policy makers know how we should behave better than we do.
The problem is that in order to change the culture by changing our behavior, the would be social engineers need to be put in charge of us. In other words, we cannot be left in charge of ourselves. As pointed out in the following True North Reports Commentary, the problem that the left sees with our current healthcare system is that “No one is in charge”. What they really mean is that no would be social engineer is in charge.
Give them time and they will control everything we do. Assault weapons are not the only thing they think we could do without. On September 14th of 2007, the Eagle Times printed an article entitled “Vt. House speaker lays out priorities”, that sheds some light on the mentality of our political leadership. The article is based on an interview with then Vermont House Speaker Gaye Symington on the priorities of next year’s Legislature. In a section dealing with the rising cost of health care as our nation grows older, this quote caught my attention: “We are paying for our lack of discipline” by becoming more overweight as a nation, she said, hoping a change in administration in Washington, D.C. will lead to the issue being dealt with a national level.
First of all I must say that it is about time that a prominent Vermont political thinker finally acknowledges that irresponsible behavior is a major driving factor in the rising costs of health care. One would think that such a realization would prompt the speaker to pause and reconsider the “government can solve all our problems” mentality. That does not appear to be the case. We got a problem with a lack of discipline? Why we merely need to get the right social engineers in government and the problem is solved! How long is it going to be before they decide that it is the government’s job to tell us how much we can eat?
The problem is that changing our behavior requires control over us. How can they socially engineer a cultural change by changing our behavior if we are left in control of our own behavior? The simple answer is that they can’t, they must be put in charge of everything if they are going to succeed in changing our behavior. Whether it is energy policy and the creation of a smart grid, tax policy, our healthcare policy, or thr right to bear arms the real question is who is to make the decisions? The left is obsessed with this issue as they need control decision making to enact their social engineering schemes. Remember this when the subject comes up again about the five member board of unelected “Czars” to be put in control of our healthcare system, or whether anyone “needs” “assault” weapons.
The left in Vermont likes to talk about “Putting people first.” Actually, that is a noble sentiment, one that we should strive to achieve. The problem is that you cannot put the people first if you do not trust the people. Just about every policy initiative that the left proposes expands the role of government and puts bureaucrats in charge of decision making. How can you possibly put people first if you do not trust people to make their own decisions? Our politics has become so out of whack that if you suggest that we should actually roll back the role of government and let people take charge of governing themselves, you are branded as a right wing Tea Party extremist. In the end that is really what the Tea Party is all about. Rolling back the heavy hand of government and putting enough trust in the people to govern themselves. Hopefully Saturday’s 2nd Amendment rally will spark a Tea Party 2.0.