And as stupid as the question is, the results are even more troubling.
CBS News, seizing upon the zeitgeist, one supposes, had a new poll out Tuesday night which I’ve just seen now. In it they ask respondents whether they think there is a right to violent action against the government. The question is phrased thus:“Do you think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, or is it never justified?”
Why ask this question, unless there is a desire to “stir things up” in the wake of the shooting incident in Tucson?
But since they asked the question, I think the results should concern us.
Then, of course, the responses are broken down by party affiliation. Surprise: while just eleven percent of Democrats and eleven percent of independents believe it is ever justified to take violent action against the government, fully 28 percent of Republicans do. It doesn’t surprise me that there would be a poll trying to put the smell of blood in the water given the climate of the last week. But what does surprise me is that 76 percent of respondents, including 64 percent of Republicans, think it is never right to take up arms against the government. Ever.
That was not an earthquake you just felt. That was each and every one of the Founding Fathers rolling over in their respective graves, tombs and crypts upon learning that the American people have abandoned the principles that were led them to declare independence. Sweet Martha Washington’s bloomers! Three-quarters of Americans now opine that the very sort of actions taken by the founding generation were illegitimate and never acceptable. So much for these stirring words by Thomas Jefferson, found in the same paragraph as the stirring declaration that all of us have the rights of live, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,
it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,and to provide new Guards for their future security.
In other words, our country is founded on the notion that we have the right and duty to engage in violent action to get rid of tyrannical government. That three-quarters of Americans have repudiated that heritage is a disgrace. If America still retained the spirit that animated the Founding, then three-quarters (or more) would have forthrightly declare that yes, it is indeed acceptable for citizens to take violent action against the government. After all, as I’ve pointed out here in the past, we are the Revolution People – and while in this time and place we should be seeking revolution by peaceful, democratic means, each and every one of us ought to forthrightly declare that We The People reserve the right to take up arms and overthrow the government by violence should the proper situation arise. After all, just because the NOW is not a time when it is right to engage in acts of violence against the government, that does not mean that it is NEVER the right time.