Brad Weber–Staff Writer
Some people tend to idolize America as an infallible democracy; I do not subscribe to this sort of exceptionalism.
While I do believe that the American system is robust thanks to our constitution and the checks and balances it provides, I am still wary of government overreach. History has shown us that, in times of crisis, republics can devolve into tyrannies. The Weimar Republic’s transition to the Third Reich, and the Roman Republic’s takeover by Julius Caesar, stand out as two historical cases; more recently, Nicolás Maduro’s stripping of power from the Venezuelan National Assembly is also a prime example of how democratic governments can fail the people.
While I do not personally believe that President Trump is on a path to becoming the next Hitler, or that the United States is ruled by some fascist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy, I do believe that we are not immune to fascism and tyranny. This is not, in my view, an immediate threat, but rather a threat to future generations. Some people may dismiss this belief as conspiratorial, but I would ask: what is so unique about America that we alone do not need to fear evil coming to power?
So, if it is possible for America to devolve into tyranny, what steps can we take to prevent this tyranny from arising? To answer this question, we must look at the issue in terms of power; who do we want to have power, and how do we assure they maintain power?
The consensus in the United States is that power should be derived from the people. We have political institutions, like voting, that put power in the hands of the people, but, unfortunately, these institutions could be suspended by the government if the government had the backing of the police and military. At that point, the only means of bringing power back to the people is armed insurrection; for armed insurrection there must be an armed population.
When power is in the hands of the people it is inevitable that some of those people will abuse their power; this is an unfortunate side effect of living in an armed society. Of course, reasonable steps can be taken to prevent and mitigate these abuses in power, but disarming the people is not the solution. By disarming the people we give government total power, and if the government abuses its power the consequences will be far graver than an individual abusing his or her power.
So, when Hillary Clinton states that an Australian-style mandatory gun buy-back “would be worth considering,” I have to ask if giving up our greatest defense against an oppressive government is also worth considering. Are we, as Americans, ready to take it on faith that we will never need to fight back against our government, or will we stand for the people having the means to hold the government accountable?