Are We Still “Those People”?

Second Amendment


I thought what presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said the other day was intriguing.

Before an NRA meeting, he opined that we could prevent or frustrate Communist China from invading Taiwan by “exporting” the Second Amendment to our Taiwanese friends.

Of course, he then cringily added, “like we did the blacks”, which gave a lot of people permission to ignore his point in favor of ridiculing his words.

There is no denying the vital role of private gun ownership in preserving life and property for Southern blacks in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras.

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But his point was that it’s a lot harder to invade and suppress a people with their own means of resistance, yes, even in the modern warfare era.

We were founded upon precisely this principle.

Before there was a standing, professional military, our bedrock defense doctrine was the armed American household. Period.

In an 1838 speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, IL (kind of a TED talk for its time), Abraham Lincoln imagined an attempted foreign invasion of his young nation:

“All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

For all the talk about being a “gun culture” today, I wonder: are we those people in 2023? Are we the people Vivek Ramaswamy envisions the Taiwanese being?

Or have we hollowed out our resolve and unity so much that the hardware wouldn’t matter. After all, the formula doesn’t just call for guns in private hands. It presumes a willingness to defend, and a passion for preserving our way of life.

Because Lincoln also said this, 185 years ago:

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

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