Gun Owners, Take Down Your Flags

The American political paradigm is truly hysterical, and I say that as someone who grew up under it. Those who want the least from their government, and have the greatest reason to be angry with it, are the most patriotic people under it. Simultaneously, those most angry with their government, ask the most from it, and are the least patriotic.

While there are of course exceptions to the rule, gun owners tend to fall into the former category. Conservatives, who care not for taxes, nor for the welfare state. They realize for the most part that the market could do a better job of educating their children, and nearly every other task. For the most part, they wish the government to stay out of their business, and somewhere, in the back of their minds they know, that it may ultimately come down to bloodshed if all else fails. One of many reasons for being weary of gun control legislation.

They know that taxes and regulations, at least so far as they currently stand, are tyrannical. They know, even if they support it on some level, that the post 9/11 security and surveillance state is a threat to their safety. They know, that if they are disarmed, that all hope will be lost, and they do not want to find themselves throwing rocks at tanks.


But on their bumper stickers, front lawns, boats, clothing, and even tattoos, an odd symbol is displayed. The symbol of their oppressor, the American flag. Not upside down as a signal of distress, not on fire as a symbol of protest, but pristine, with a spotlight on it at night, properly folded when taken down, and properly disposed of when tattered.

Perhaps as a souvenir from a fabled past of freedom and prosperity which they were not yet born to see. Perhaps as a way of honoring the loved ones they lost as their oppressor sought to oppress outside its own borders. Perhaps the answer is far simpler, Stockholm Syndrome.

The right to keep and bear arms, as the US Constitution put it, was really the primary difference between the constitution of the United States and all the other countries they’ve been told to view as enemies. The Constitutions of North Korea, Communist China, and the USSR, all promised fair courts, free speech, representative government, and rule of law, but not the right to keep and bear arms. Ask anyone living under those regimes, how that’s working out for them. The 2nd Amendment would surely seem to be the one thing that separates us from those oppressive governments, except of course for the fact, that much like those governments, ours does not honor its constitutional restrictions.

If you live in New York, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, or any number of other states, you’re already seeing how badly a government can ignore its constitutional restrictions on gun rights. Even if you live in less restrictive states like Alaska, Vermont, or New Hampshire though, it is not as if you escape the federal leviathan who’s flag you so proudly display. There is no law against fully automatic rifles in New Hampshire, but just you go and try to buy one. Alaska requires no background checks for gun purchases, but good luck buying a gun without getting permission from your federal overlords. Montana attempted to pass a law escaping the “interstate commerce clause” under which the largest government in the history of mankind claims power over all things, only to have it struck down by the Supreme Court. Rest assured that if the Democrats take the House of Representatives in 2014, that new draconian restrictions will come at a federal level, and all those law enforcement personnel you so adore, will come to enforce them.

We have been told our entire lives, that the United States is the freest and greatest country on Earth. We need look no further than the Heritage Foundation to prove otherwise, where the US ranks 12th in economic freedom. Reporters without borders gives us a Freedom of the Press index, where the US ranks 32. The only charts the United States tops anymore are military spending, and per capita incarceration. Like the other declining empires of history, the trend is likely to only grow worse over time, and as it gets worse, gun restrictions will inevitably follow in hopes of minimizing resistance to tyranny. Your options become few and easily defined as this happens, obey, kill, or die.

Still, some may have a grandiose idea in their heads of restoring the republic. To restore meaning to that flag, to wave it in battle as they charge against the tyrants who would wave the same banner.  I would remind those patriotic men and women that the signers of the declaration of independence sought not to restore meaning to the throne of Britain, they sought not to put the crown on a more honest man, but rather to kill his agents until they stopped showing up for work, to break free of his grasp and send a clear message to the rest of the world that they would not be ruled over by any man or group of men, and would kill anyone who tried. They would be free men, or dead men, and nothing in between.

It’s a terrible shame that this wonderful experiment has resulted in the most powerful and oppressive government that mankind has ever seen, but it was a noble enough idea at the time. Perhaps we should all hope that when blood spills again, as it inevitably will, this generation can avoid making the same mistakes, and find a more enduring liberty, but so long as the symbol of the oppressor makes people believe they are free, I’m afraid that is terribly unlikely.

So if you care about freedom, if you know your guns are there to protect you from tyrants, if you can see history without the rose colored glasses of your public school education, take down your flags. Dispose of them as you see fit. Perhaps make a new one, a banner for your family maybe, or do away with the concept altogether. Whatever you do, please stop displaying the symbol of the oppressor, because this sort of fantastic nationalist symbolism is the source of all his power.

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Christopher Cantwell comedian, writer, voice artist, and Patriot.

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