“From my cold, dead hands.”
— Charlton Heston
David French, apparently someone of importance at
Der Sturmer The National Review, and writing in their pages on behalf of mass murder, manages in the wake of Las Vegas, the neat trick of being right for all the wrong reasons and irrelevant for all the right reasons.
He sets up the “Left” as being boneheaded about gun control by claiming on their behalf that they support any number of contradictory positions and as hypocrites can’t be taken seriously when speaking about the need for gun control.
He’s right of course, the Democrats, the rebranded liberals who self-identify as Progressives, and what charitably might be called the American Left are, in any number of ways, as full of pretzel logic hypocrisy as anyone else.
But of course the argument, such as it is breaks down after that. The fact that the “Left” doesn’t hold their special interest groups to the same standards as they hold the NRA is not down to hypocrisy, fatuous claims to superiority, or calculated mendacity, as French asserts, but is a response to the fact that it wasn’t an underpaid public school teacher throwing chalk out of the window of a hotel in Las Vegas, it was a heavily armed psychopath empowered by the NRA who murdered 59 people and wounded over 500.
Beyond that though French does manage to stick the landing when he points out that the “Left” doesn’t understand gun culture and those parts of America that embrace the gun as a totemic devise and representation of their elimination as a cultural force.(*1)
He’s right when he says coastal elites don’t understand them because of course coastal elites have other ways to assert their identity and reap the rewards of participating in a society that for the most part and in all the ways that matter, they control. As a result of their own preoccupations and a lack of involvement, the rural have become a people about whom the coastal elites know little and care less.*(2)
What French doesn’t do is take his thesis any further. He sums it up with the mile wide and one inch depth of the pseudo-intellectual choad screaming America Love it or Leave it as a kind of Moby Dick of the rural “red state” “philosophy” – God, Jesus, trucks, NASCAR, Trump(ism) and being an “individual” who by definition is independent of government interference and elitist traits – higher education, cultural refinement, cultural sophistication, being well read, well-traveled, aware of the multiplicity of legitimate and contrary points of view, the advantages of scientific research, etc.
All of which the gun advocates despise in the same way that fascists always traditionally despise that which threatens their fragile retrograde and reactionary identity. They hear the word culture and they reach for their guns.
Gun ownership, gun rights advocacy and especially gun rights advocacy in its most virulent and forceful terms has become the migration destination for the otherwise routed state’s rights, anti-civil rights, anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalist, racist, fascist, aristocratic remnants of the Confederacy.
Desiccated, betrayed into dull conformity, dependent on government handouts, increasingly forced into cultural irrelevance by the triumph of formerly minority positions (marriage equality, civil rights for minorities, desegregation, open borders, a ubiquitous media culture saturated with “liberal values” of plurality, promiscuity, and a general tone of contempt for those unlike themselves – i.e., & e.g., “fly-over states”) the shrinking White majority is in a panic.
As French concedes, almost every other culture war flash point has been won by the “Left” leaving the right with one issue where it continues to remain victorious – the assumption of a right to own weapons of mass carnage.
French of course invokes and conflates ideas and historical facts by eliding the decades or even centuries between events. This collapse of the historical time line allows him to stand Minutemen alongside First Responders and “hunters” who think it’s “sport” to butcher an animal with a high-powered rifle. And not just sport – but an assertion of relevance; of meaning and power in which external factors (the gun) become conflated with internal ones (identity) so that the action is completely and wholly a ritual designed to stave off the anxiety of being unimportant and a cultural relic.
It is a testament to the ferocity of the right’s mendacity and evil and its control of the government through gerrymandering and other corrupt means, that the idea that the Second Amendment provides a rationale for individuals to own guns, including weapons of mass carnage, without the controlling mechanisms of a “well regulated militia” has become an acceptable point of debate. The truth of course is that the right has successfully manipulated the electoral process through gerrymandering, has manipulated key components of the media, and has enlisted the aid of wealthy fascists (the Koch Brothers and the Mercers) and their pols to create nothing less than an Orwellian atmosphere in which right is wrong up is down and war is peace.
The meaning of the Second Amendment is clear. Gun ownership is wholly dependent upon membership in a federally controlled militia.
French of course, following on from the Orwellian gaslight anthem then invokes the camouflage behind which the ugly truth of the gun advocates resides. He blathers about the threat of tyrannical government and how the ultimate defense against government tyranny is a well-armed citizenry.
No word about mass surveillance being contrary to individual liberty and how it is a clear and present example of government tyranny, nor a word about how mass surveillance renders the idea of stalwart contemporary “minutemen” being a force for freedom and a check on government overreach absurd because they are outmaneuvered before they can begin to organize, no word about the overwhelming firepower and superiority in numbers, equipment, training, logistics, supplies and control of the levers of power enjoyed by the military. Instead a few empty rhetorical calories about a centuries old concept that is utterly outmoded by the modern world.
But of course that’s exactly the point. The fantasy. The sun gleaming off a row of bayonets in that moment before Pickett’s Charge was transformed from “honorable cause” into the reality of a bloodbath in which the Confederacy died. In this delusional “West World” Custer does not lose or at least will be avenged. In this world pretty people in Manhattan mean nothing. In this world chat shows based in New York and LA have no cultural relevance or currency. In this world faggots and lesbos and Negroes and Jews and Muslims and Hillary know their place.
In this world the death spiral of the rural, patriarchal, misogynistic, racist, swamp gas of the defeated South still rules everything as far and as wide as the distant horizon. In this world the resentment, the bitter dregs of defeat, can be twisted and bent to another purpose. Here they reject the question asked by Mrs. Coldfield of Quentin Compson – why did God let us lose the war? In its place they assert the power of the gun. One part conch shell one part true cross. But above all it is not a metaphor it is a fact. The gun is real and in a bizarre migration of political forces the American right adopts Mao and proclaims: Power flows from the barrel of a gun.
When the ageing and increasingly decrepit Charlton Heston gave the NRA/Bund its slogan – from my cold dead hands*(3) – he was speaking the atavistic truth of a terrified tribe. Defeat had been tattooed on their souls and left to continue on that path the South would at last die and finally be buried by the industrial and cultural might of the North.
But Faulkner was also right when he said the past aint even hardly past. The South has risen again. The aristocratic Confederacy has joined forces with hypocritical elites and disenfranchised thugs and made common cause with strange bedfellows – like David French who as a National Review goon is as much of a “cosmopolitan elite” as anyone with a subscription to the New Yorker and a steady Zabar’s habit.
But French’s cause is to use the NRA/Bund as a stalking horse to overturn the “Left’s” control of the social agenda – gay marriage, marijuana legalization, abortion, the environment, equitable hiring standards for previously demeaned and segregated minorities – and if that means pushing vapid yet toxic arguments about the long dead frontier and twisted lies about the Second Amendment that have all the moral substance of dried gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe then so be it. He and the other goons at Fox will happily make common cause with fascists.
French’s “idea” that the NRA is a weak sister to the more powerful free formed cloud of red blooded gun toting “real Amuricans” is exactly such an example of that bullshit. His argument that the “Left” foolishly and falsely perceives the NRA as a juggernaut is nothing more or less than additional Orwellian flimflam. The NRA/Bund is the tip of the spear but it is attached to the shaft and the hands that hold it are soaked in blood and are advocating a state of perpetual terror as a means to destroy through intimidation the gains of the previously disenfranchised.
The NRA is for all intents and purposes a terrorist organization. It is essentially Sinn Fein to the IRA of Stephen Paddock and the massacre at Sandy Hook. It is hiding behind facile arguments that cloak the truth in classic American myths. The goal of the organization is the destabilization of the civil compact and the establishment of a government that rules through fear by allowing a loose affiliation of heavily armed unregulated militias to threaten anyone with whom they disagree. This is no different than any other fascist effort at destabilization through well armed street gangs or through providing a culture that nurtures and lets loose “lone wolves.”
After Las Vegas all of America has a target on its back. That is not an accident. It is a purpose designed program of terror. The idea that the NRA/Bund is just an adjunct to a spiritually pure American Arcadia where real Americans own guns because they haven’t lost touch with what’s right and proper serves two purposes. It empowers free floating psychopathic terrorists, egged on and bathed in the gun culture, to act as suicide bombers on behalf of the NRA/Bund. (and notice crucially that the analogy to suicide bombers is apt in that the majority of mass shooters commit suicide after their act of terror and before they can be apprehended by law enforcement) And secondly it allows the NRA to act as the firehose funneling money towards gerrymandered districts that in turn give disproportionate control to outnumbered rednecks, thugs and fascists who hate the idea that America has the potential to achieve its dreams of becoming a truly democratic republic where everyone, regardless of race or color or faith or orientation, has a fair chance at success and happiness.
This is the next phase in America’s Civil War. Las Vegas as the Raid on Harper’s Ferry, as Fort Sumter, as the Reichstag Fire – all rolled into one.
The right has declared war on America.
How we arrive at Appomattox with the minimum of bloodshed is a mystery. How we arrive there with the forces of the past surrendering to the future is an open question with a potential answer too awful to imagine but we ignore it at our peril.
See David French’s article here:
*1. Here’s Obama’s comment on this from a few years ago. It is essentially accurate though candidate Obama had to retract it.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Like most politicians Obama was speaking to the recent past as a means to mold the present though we assume he is well read enough to recognize that the bitterness has a long memory.
*2. All rules have exceptions and any number of so-called coastal elites have expert level knowledge of the rural areas of the country.
*3. In this context Heston’s comment becomes increasingly worrisome and full of a particular dread. A deconstruction of its effect reveals it to be a resurrection of the cult of death inherent in the Old South – in that a worship of life as being inherently beholden to death and romanticized as a means to effect control over men (they must conform and become advocates of romanticized death) women (they must submit to the misogynistic patriarchal death cult of violence and serve by being submissive) and it serves to repel progress not only rhetorically but through the intertwined facts of the gun (i.e. the extraordinary historical irony of not just Maoism in America but Maoist tactics in of all places the American South) and a purposely decrepit bureaucracy designed to enforce poverty for the “White trash” and segregated minorities, and to hold in a state of entropy anyone attempting reform which gives the new Southern Aristocrats a claim on power.
While it is clear that whole segments of the South are in flux – saturated with and by the liberating forces of technology and immigration – the issue at hand is the disproportionate and violent threat posed by the resurgent Old South and its new allies.
The inability of the media to find a motive to the terrorism in Las Vegas is down to an insistence that paradigms can not change. In the absence of easily identifiable markers like declarations of allegiance to a designated terrorist organization (i.e. a note or video establishing a connection to ISIS, etc) or declarations of racial hatred the media is left to not only flounder but to begin to cannibalize itself and turn not knowing into the story about which it at least can claim to know something.
The better perspective is that Paddock is as we’ve speculated, the first post-ideological terrorist but (crucially) the wider context places him squarely within the cauldron of post-industrial fin de siecle Imperial America and the specific coordinates of seeing the NRA as a terrorist organization in the mold of Sinn Fein relative to the IRA.
The NRA serves as the public face, fundraiser, lobbyist, PAC, and shield for the resurgent Old South. The Old South has extended its philosophy to include the rest of the dessicated post-industrial strata of the country. Out of work, opioid afflicted, betrayed, paranoid, ignorant, spouting myths and fantasies about non-existent power and the ability to resist government tyranny and the cultural hegemony of what it calls coastal or cosmopolitan elites; coached into a perpetual violent crouch, this is the new American right. This is the new American fascism and the new American terror.
Paddock had no motive. Paddock is the motive for others.
For a look at the media’s usual mile wide and inch deep take on this see the following:
And revisit our earlier work here:
Not the Beer Hall Putsch but it doesn’t need to be in order to demonstrate the severity of the threat posed by what is clearly a fifth column in conjunction with a network of terrorist organizations. See the details in the article linked below and take note of the rhetoric used:
NRA/Bund chief Wayne Lapierre today offered a perfect illustration of the Bund’s desire to transform the country into a terror state by advocating greater access to weapons based on the atavistic dog whistle that there are “monsters out there.” The monsters on the surface of the argument are of course terrorists like Paddock. The truth is Lapierre really means Feminists, Progressives, minorities, and anyone even remotely associated with them. He means to fan the flames of paranoia and an atmosphere of permanent potential catastrophic violence as a means to destroy civil society.
For a look at his comments and related details see the link below:
Update: 10/25/17. Further proof of the attempts by the NRA/bund to provide cover for terrorists and the ongoing assault on civil society.
In yet another sign of the republican party’s surrender to fascism and the Orwellian idea that less gun control equals more safety, the House GOP has advanced out of committee a proposal to allow people issued concealed gun carry permits in one state the right to bring their weapons across state lines.
The rationale being that this will allow them to defend themselves and others in the event of an “incident.”
This clearly demonstrates that the NRA is as we have outlined a terrorist organization and is Sinn Fein to the NRA as IRA fascists. the goal of this legislation is to destroy the idea of a professional, trained, regulated and controlled police force, to undermine the civil compact between citizens and the state and to create an atmosphere of perpetual terror that forces those with whom the NRa disagrees to retreat from participation in society or to accept the presence of heavily armed unregulated militia members with their fascists fantasies of power and terror.
The claim that individuals with concealed weapons will level the field and provide protection is based on zero evidence as there are no statistics to support the contention. Further it opens the public to the possibility that an individual with a weapon and little or no training, zero supervision, and who is answerable to no one might open fire in a crowded venue and miss the intended target but hit innocent bystanders.
This in turn raises issues of culpability which would open cities and businesses to devastating and financially ruinous lawsuits.
Make no mistake – this is fascism. This is no different than the Nazis running gangs across Germany in an effort to establish a corollary and ultimately seditious and destabilizing parallel militia whose purpose is to destroy the government by making it collapse from within.
The NRA is a terrorist organization and should be treated accordingly.The NRA should be outlawed and its assets seized. The time has come to state without equivocation that the right to carry or own a firearm is subject to federal regulation and only membership in a well regulated militia allows anyone to own a gun. Failure to comply should be treated as an act of terrorism and individuals should be subject to arrest, trial and imprisonment.
This of course will not happen until or unless there is a new front in the Civil War. As the House is a corrupt cesspool of gerrymandered whores and the Senate is a decadent and depraved gentleman’s club of millionaires and assorted spineless liberals it is only a matter of time before another NRA inspired terrorist launches an attack and kills dozens or perhaps hundreds of people.
See the details of the proposed legislation here:
Here’s Rosanne Cash calling the NRA a domestic terrorist organization: