The Line (of Facist / Facisism)

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The Line (of Facist / Facisism)

Postby Fledermen64 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:58 am UTC

Ok, so these days with all the political craziness and whatnot Ive been thinking about what in my mind constitutes a fascist state. At what point dose the government take too much power and the people need to retake control of themselves. Is it just the taking of guns. The legislation of personal issues. Unilateral unquestionable power. Persecution of races/religions. Or some combination. I have been thinking for a few months and I cant figure out where in my mind the line is drawn. How far is to far. I was wondering the XKCD community's opinion.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:Ok, so these days with all the political craziness and whatnot Ive been thinking about what in my mind constitutes a fascist state. At what point dose the government take too much power and the people need to retake control of themselves. Is it just the taking of guns. The legislation of personal issues. Unilateral unquestionable power. Persecution of races/religions. Or some combination. I have been thinking for a few months and I cant figure out where in my mind the line is drawn. How far is to far. I was wondering the XKCD community's opinion.


This is an extremely difficult question primarily because of the use of the term fascist. It is somewhat poorly defined and overall not easy to identify. In fascist Italy, which is pretty much the only country that has ever outright claimed to be a fascist state, the only thing that really united the policies under an umbrella of fascism was an extreme policy of pragmatism to the point that people's rights only went as far as the government deemed not disruptive to the general good conduct of the state.

So a country could be fascist without doing any of the things you mentioned, or it could do all of them and not be. It depends on the mindset of the government i.e. "this will help protect our people" vs. "this will keep our people better in line".

That being said, the question of whether or not a state is justified is an entirely different moral question.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Malice » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:50 am UTC

Even if a government isn't actively bad, I think the line they cross is when there is no longer a nonviolent way to change the government. A democratically-elected government can be allowed to do much without actual violent resistance, because until they disable the very mechanisms of democracy, there is always the chance of bouncing back. In other words, violence is a last resort, but it's something you resort to even if no change is necessary. I think Obama will make a good President, and certainly he has few positions I disagree with; but if he tried to dismantle the electoral system, I'd be up in arms.

So, really, it's not the surface, it's not what they've banned or allowed; it's when it gets to the point where there's no other way, that's when you take up your guns. (Although that in turn is a bit of a sticking point. When they ban the guns, watch out...)
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby seladore » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:46 am UTC

Why watch out? So in most of western Europe where guns are banned, we should watch out? Are we closer to a police state here in the UK because of our lack of guns? Of course not. What would you do with your guns if the state tried to take away your individual rights? Plug away at the heavily armed & armoured, professionally trained soldiers that patrol your neighbourhood?
Whatever 'the line' is, it's not gun control.

I think the line exists wherever the state begins to significantly inhibit the individual liberty of the people, for a purpose not related to the well being of the populace. So, whatever your views on gun control, you have to admit that where they are banned, it it to protect the people from shooting each other. So while it is an incursion on liberty, it is done with good intentions. Likewise with all laws - they are incursions on the liberty of the people, but they are there with a purpose.

When laws start to incur on freedoms with no purpose than to increase the power of the state, then that is time to worry.


Also, the term 'fascist' doesn't really apply much anymore. After being slung around as an insult meaning 'right wing', and then just 'controlling' ("my boss is such a fascist"), it has lost all meaning.

George Orwell wrote:The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’


I think it would be better to refer to a 'totalitarian state'

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:59 am UTC

seladore wrote:I think the line exists wherever the state begins to significantly inhibit the individual liberty of the people, for a purpose not related to the well being of the populace.
I think that could be too easily abused. I know, for example, that in America, much of the justification behind the Patriot Act was to protect the populous from terrorists. I'm inclined to think that's a lie used to gain more power, but it's hard to truly know. It's too easy to take away power and then claim it is for the people's own protection.

I'm inclined to mostly agree with Malice here--revolution should only happen when the government makes peaceful change impossible. Where to draw this line is quite difficult, though. Was it justified for the American colonists to revolt against British rule? Should the Bolsheviks have taken over Russia? I think that too often, people jump the gun on revolutions and revolt while peaceful reconciliation is still possible. And even then, revolutions often just lead to a new government which is just as bad. Napoleon, anyone? Which is why revolution should be the last possible choice, the risks and costs (whether you win or lose) are too high to make it anything but.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby seladore » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:16 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:
seladore wrote:I think the line exists wherever the state begins to significantly inhibit the individual liberty of the people, for a purpose not related to the well being of the populace.
I think that could be too easily abused. I know, for example, that in America, much of the justification behind the Patriot Act was to protect the populous from terrorists. I'm inclined to think that's a lie used to gain more power, but it's hard to truly know. It's too easy to take away power and then claim it is for the people's own protection.


I agree. But the problem with defining any kind of 'line' is that it is going to be inherently subjective. It's not possible to come up with a comprehensive list of things and say 'these are the things which a government cannot do and stay humane'.

During times of war, for example, the liberty of the people will suffer, and I would argue that the PATRIOT act gains much of its justification from defining the current geopolitical climate as a state of war. But sometimes this is justified - I know that during WWII, measures were put in place that would have been considered 'fascist' if used in peacetime, without which the fight against the Nazis would have been more difficult.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:32 pm UTC

seladore wrote:Why watch out? So in most of western Europe where guns are banned, we should watch out? Are we closer to a police state here in the UK because of our lack of guns?


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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby seladore » Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:29 pm UTC

What? That's not an answer.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

seladore wrote:What? That's not an answer.


Yes, it is. You, as a, population are giving up civil liberties in the hope of gaining added security for your daily lives. Now I didnt want to go into a whole paragraph about how when you start to give away one liberty it has a domino affect leading to a police state like environment. So instead i decided to quote a founding father and all around smarter guy than myself and point out that yes, you should be watching out for a totalitarian/police-state/other-malarkey government. As has been pointed out, when you lose the freedom to change government you lose all freedom.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:17 pm UTC

Personally I think using a quote like that is ridiculous. If you can't explain why Franklin was right, then you don't deserve the right to use his opinion in a debate. I can find millions of quotes in seconds on the internet, but if I don't understand the reasoning behind one and I use it then I'm hiding behind the big figure of the name of someone who did something at one point or another.

I contest that Franklin is wrong here. Either he or you will have to prove he is not. Since he is dead, you had better start explaining.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

I may be wrong, but if I remember correctly, the original Benjamin Franklin quote was "Those who will give up an essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither." Kind of changes the meaning a lot. It's not giving up a "little liberty", but "an essential liberty". They are not the same. So while something like the right to vote and choose your leaders might fall into the second category, gun control would not.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:I may be wrong, but if I remember correctly, the original Benjamin Franklin quote was "Those who will give up an essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither." Kind of changes the meaning a lot. It's not giving up a "little liberty", but "an essential liberty". They are not the same. So while something like the right to vote and choose your leaders might fall into the second category, gun control would not.


Ah, yes. The other thing is that it is misquoted. I had forgotten to mention that. Here is the proper quote:
Benjamin Franklin wrote:They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


I'd contest that gun rights are not essential liberties, and reducing murder rates by as much as it would is not a little temporary safety either. The orders of magnitude do not match.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Kachi » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:12 pm UTC

In my mind, it's a matter of being fascist on certain positions.

People should have the freedom to do anything that does not cause demonstrable harm or substantial risk of harm to others. Obviously there are gray areas in many issues that come to mind.

So I would say that many states, for example, have a fascist stance on gay marriage. As a matter of my personal principle, I would say that any effort to suppress the expression of an idea or thought, is fascist.

Most places are at least a little bit fascist.
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I too get a little tired of people throwing around the Franklin quote. Just because Franklin said it, doesn't mean you're interpreting it correctly, and certainly doesn't mean it's true. It's plain rhetoric, and doesn't actually make its own case. An example of a prominent historical figure making a slippery slope fallacy in argument. Wow, who would have ever thought?... The founding fathers were not infallible.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:25 pm UTC

I too get a little tired of people throwing around the Franklin quote. Just because Franklin said it, doesn't mean you're interpreting it correctly, and certainly doesn't mean it's true. It's plain rhetoric, and doesn't actually make its own case. An example of a prominent historical figure making a slippery slope fallacy in argument. Wow, who would have ever thought?... The founding fathers were not infallible.
Well considering that pretty much every reference to the founding fathers is an appeal to authority fallacy, it's not surprising at all. I think that Franklin's original quote is good, but it's rather obvious. If you are willing to sacrifice an important, essential liberty for next to nothing, than what was the point of having that freedom in the first place? But I do agree that it's almost always misquoted and then misused.
Kachi wrote:In my mind, it's a matter of being fascist on certain positions.

People should have the freedom to do anything that does not cause demonstrable harm or substantial risk of harm to others. Obviously there are gray areas in many issues that come to mind.

So I would say that many states, for example, have a fascist stance on gay marriage. As a matter of my personal principle, I would say that any effort to suppress the expression of an idea or thought, is fascist.

Most places are at least a little bit fascist.
Could you please clarify what you mean here? I'm not sure if you are saying any level of repression of ideas is bad or if you are saying most places do that to at least a certain degree, and so we should be willing to live with minor cases of such.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Malice » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:08 pm UTC

seladore wrote:Why watch out? So in most of western Europe where guns are banned, we should watch out? Are we closer to a police state here in the UK because of our lack of guns? Of course not. What would you do with your guns if the state tried to take away your individual rights? Plug away at the heavily armed & armoured, professionally trained soldiers that patrol your neighbourhood?
Whatever 'the line' is, it's not gun control.


A superior force, armed, can overcome a lack of training; a superior force, massively out-gunned, attacking soldiers with sticks and butcher knives, probably cannot.

I'm not saying the line is gun control. I'm just saying, it's something to worry about.

Ultimately I'd prefer a situation sort of like Switzerland's. Everybody owns a gun; everybody keeps it under lock and key; in theory your gun would only be used in armed rebellion against the government. Otherwise, guns would be illegal.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby qinwamascot » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:26 am UTC

Malice wrote:A superior force, armed, can overcome a lack of training; a superior force, massively out-gunned, attacking soldiers with sticks and butcher knives, probably cannot.


How many people would it take with handguns to bring down a single tank? I'd say a lot. I don't think the general public could beat the government in an armed rebellion at this point, regardless of if we have handguns, shutguns, or even fully automatic weapons. We still would get destroyed by one bomber, or one tank, or even a copter.

I'm not saying the line is gun control. I'm just saying, it's something to worry about.

Ultimately I'd prefer a situation sort of like Switzerland's. Everybody owns a gun; everybody keeps it under lock and key; in theory your gun would only be used in armed rebellion against the government. Otherwise, guns would be illegal.


I would not be in favor of having a gun myself. I don't want one in my house, and preferably not on my street either. The fact that a gun is 40 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder is enough for me to not want one. If I ever want a change in government, I will do so legally and peacefully. If others want to use extralegal means, like armed rebellion, this is no different from terrorism.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Gunfingers » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:45 am UTC

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby qinwamascot » Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:35 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:
qinwamascot wrote:
Malice wrote:A superior force, armed, can overcome a lack of training; a superior force, massively out-gunned, attacking soldiers with sticks and butcher knives, probably cannot.


How many people would it take with handguns to bring down a single tank? I'd say a lot. I don't think the general public could beat the government in an armed rebellion at this point, regardless of if we have handguns, shutguns, or even fully automatic weapons. We still would get destroyed by one bomber, or one tank, or even a copter.

When i was in Afghanistan i had the pleasure of speaking with a man who was in the mujahadeen that drove off the Soviet invasion. Turns out they're government officials now. Anyway, he told a story of him and some of his fellows ambushing a soviet tank by laying an improvised explosive to blow off its treads. When it was immobile they charged it. He said that he personally pulled the gunner out by the hair and cut his throat with a sword.

Those guys were pretty hardcore.

I'm sure there are other examples of lightly armed citizens causing problems for high-tech heavily armed soldiers. It has to have happened at some point. Possibly even recently.
Hmm...


Several problems with your analogy: Perhaps it is possible for a moderately armed group to cause trouble for a more strongly armed group. However, causing trouble abroad and at home are treated differently. In Iraq, it is an insurgency. We have the goal to slow it, but this isn't a national imperative; rather, it's a goal based on morals. However, if a rebellion starts at home, it's a rebellion, and will be put down with extreme prejudice. Plus, although you can give examples of where tanks were beaten by relatively unarmed people, they didn't use guns anywhere in the example (explosives and swords only). In addition, the number of humans it takes to beat one tank is inarguably large, and even larger for bombers and copters and things like that.

My point is that any such rebellion will be forced to use guerilla tactics. These can be effective slowly in reducing the willpower of a people to fight, but a large military like the US's defending its homeland is extremely unlikely to ever lose its willpower. Unless the previous government is routed, which seems extremely unlikely, it will remain. So while it is possible for large numbers of people with guns to defeat a single tank, it will not be enough to ever beat the whole military.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:04 am UTC

qinwamascot wrote:Personally I think using a quote like that is ridiculous. If you can't explain why Franklin was right, then you don't deserve the right to use his opinion in a debate. I can find millions of quotes in seconds on the internet, but if I don't understand the reasoning behind one and I use it then I'm hiding behind the big figure of the name of someone who did something at one point or another.

I contest that Franklin is wrong here. Either he or you will have to prove he is not. Since he is dead, you had better start explaining.


Easy, look to any state that became totalitarian, Nazi Germany, Russia, you can go further back if you want to but i think these should serve the point well plus they are the ones Im most familiar with. They were populations met with turmoil at the time. Facing dire circumstances they turned to people offering to improve there situations and raise them out of the abyss. All they had to do was give up some 'minor personal luxuries' and they would be saved. Do you see where im going. I will coincide that a population willing to give freedoms for security will not always lose them and that the situations I mentioned were at the far end of the spectrum. But none the less, if you are willing to give up your liberty's for safety I can absolutely guarantee you there will be someone willing to take them for there own personal power, the question is weather they are in a position to take them at the time of the societies weakness.

And sorry for misquoting. But the point stands. And as far as appealing to authority. I did not quote him because he is an expert on authority, there are no experts on authority, there are some who know more than others on the subject but on the whole we make this up as we go along. Adapting to new situations as they crop up. I used his quote because I have thought on it, looked at supporting evidence provided by history and agreed with him.

Lastly, im curious as the where the national guard stands. Weather they would fight for the president or the state they are based in.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:45 am UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:Easy, look to any state that became totalitarian, Nazi Germany, Russia, you can go further back if you want to but i think these should serve the point well plus they are the ones Im most familiar with.
We're back to the slippery slope fallacy here. You have done nothing to show that instituting gun control would lead to situations like the one you describe.
They were populations met with turmoil at the time. Facing dire circumstances they turned to people offering to improve there situations and raise them out of the abyss. All they had to do was give up some 'minor personal luxuries' and they would be saved. Do you see where im going.
Yes, you are going towards making statements with absolutely no backing. There is no connection between what you are describing and reality. One, modern American is not in nearly the state as pre-NSDAP Germany or 1917 Russia. They had just lost a major war and had had their economy and sovereignty stripped away from them. Two, Hitler didn't get into power by promising safety, but only if you give up your freedoms; he got in on promises to improve the economy (and even then, he had far from everyone's support)--which he then did. Look at the name of his party: Nationalsocialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Worker's Party). He was trying to get support by telling everyone he would help them improve their lives and get them quality jobs (ostensibly through socialist programs); nowhere did he say he would strip away freedoms. It was only after he seized control that he started taking away personal liberties. It's similar with the USSR. Stalin did come into power as a dictator, but it was far after the original overthrow of the Czar. The October Revolution came after the Bolsheviks had gotten sufficient support from the people to overthrow the current dictator. They got that support by promising to equalize the wealth and give the common worker a share in the wealth that was being kept by the aristocracy. Your examples are not of people gaining power by promising safety, but by promising better economic conditions. Are you going to say that any candidate who promises to fix the economy wants to start a totalitarian regime? (By the way if you try to claim that they were promising socialism/communism, so everyone who promises anything remotely Marxist is a future dictator, then I'll simply respond by saying Hitler used democracy and patriotism to get into power. So unless you think those are both horrid things which should be avoided...)
I will coincide that a population willing to give freedoms for security will not always lose them and that the situations I mentioned were at the far end of the spectrum.
Then why were you making statements to the contrary? You are claiming that giving up the "right" to stockpile assault rifles will lead to the next Nazi regime.
But none the less, if you are willing to give up your liberty's for safety I can absolutely guarantee you there will be someone willing to take them for there own personal power, the question is weather they are in a position to take them at the time of the societies weakness.
Of course, there's always someone somewhere who wants to seize absolute power. That person rarely gets to a position of actual power, however.
And sorry for misquoting. But the point stands.
No, it doesn't. There are magnitudes of difference between an "essential liberty" (as Franklin puts it) and pretty much any little freedom (which is what you were saying). The Social Contract theory (which is what democracies are founded on) operates on the principle that we give up minor freedoms (such as the right to not be taxed) in order to create a stable society that will be able to protect our more important freedoms (such as the freedom not to be enslaved). Applying this to gun control, we give up the right to buy whatever weapons we want with no controls or background checks for the right to be protected from people who would use those weapons to harm us.
And as far as appealing to authority. I did not quote him because he is an expert on authority, there are no experts on authority, there are some who know more than others on the subject but on the whole we make this up as we go along. Adapting to new situations as they crop up.
Appealing to authority simply means saying "P is true because Q says so, and Q is an expert on the subject (or far more often, Q is an expert on something else, but I'm going to hope you ignore that). There's nothing in there about being an expert on authority.
I used his quote because I have thought on it, looked at supporting evidence provided by history and agreed with him.
But you have failed to provide any legitimate evidence or reasoning as to why you support his statement (or rather, your interpretation of his statement). Why do you agree with him?
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Malice » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:13 am UTC

qinwamascot wrote:In addition, the number of humans it takes to beat one tank is inarguably large, and even larger for bombers and copters and things like that.


Luckily, we have over 300 million citizens, and significantly fewer soldiers, tanks, copters, etc.

My point is that any such rebellion will be forced to use guerilla tactics. These can be effective slowly in reducing the willpower of a people to fight, but a large military like the US's defending its homeland is extremely unlikely to ever lose its willpower.


The use of the military against the American people at the behest of the entire government is extremely unlikely--primarily because democratic representation works well enough that if the people have to be shot before they'll give in to some new law, it's likely those same people elected representatives who voted against it.
What is most likely is a coup scenario (somebody using the military to seize or expand his power); in which case all the public needs to do is prevent a swift victory. Give it long enough, and the public will win, with the assistance of one or all of the following:
-defecting soldiers
-elected representatives changing their positions
-other nations stepping in to assist

Unless the previous government is routed, which seems extremely unlikely, it will remain. So while it is possible for large numbers of people with guns to defeat a single tank, it will not be enough to ever beat the whole military.


Likewise, it's extraordinarily unlikely that the entire military would be involved. Even if they were; we're having trouble occupying one or two relatively tiny nations. We simply don't have the manpower to occupy a country that's our size. It's too friggin' big and there's too many friggin' people. Especially when they're all tossing rocks. ESPECIALLY if they're able to toss bullets, too.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby seladore » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:45 am UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:
qinwamascot wrote:Personally I think using a quote like that is ridiculous. If you can't explain why Franklin was right, then you don't deserve the right to use his opinion in a debate. I can find millions of quotes in seconds on the internet, but if I don't understand the reasoning behind one and I use it then I'm hiding behind the big figure of the name of someone who did something at one point or another.

I contest that Franklin is wrong here. Either he or you will have to prove he is not. Since he is dead, you had better start explaining.


And sorry for misquoting. But the point stands. And as far as appealing to authority. I did not quote him because he is an expert on authority, there are no experts on authority, there are some who know more than others on the subject but on the whole we make this up as we go along. Adapting to new situations as they crop up. I used his quote because I have thought on it, looked at supporting evidence provided by history and agreed with him.

Lastly, im curious as the where the national guard stands. Weather they would fight for the president or the state they are based in.


But you are already giving up a whole host of liberties that you would have in an anarchic, truly 'free' society. Such as

- The right to drive at 120 mph if you want to, ensuring you won't be late.
- The right to beat someone up if they annoy or insult you.
- The right to sell drugs to children if you need some money.
- The right to take someone's property if you want it.

As roc314 said above, the point is that we give up these rights as part of the social contract: in a truly free society, you would be able to do any of these things. Society, however, has deemed that allowing them would cause more harm than good, so you surrender the liberty to do them in exchange for a safer society. A truly 'free' society, with every possible liberty, is anarchy (just look at FaiD).

And the misquote is important - it's the difference between supporting an anarchist society (the original misquote), and a more subtle point about the place of liberty in the social contract (the corrected version). My point was, firstly, that gun control fits more closely to the 'liberties' listed above than, say, the right to vote. And secondly, I feel that the premise underlying gun laws in the US (they make it possible to overthrow the government) is flawed at best, and is possibly no longer true.

Also, they are saying it was an appeal to authority because you quoted him with no supporting argument. If you have made a cogent point and had placed the quote in context, there would have been no problem.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Pa-Patch » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:06 am UTC

Fascist is a really subjective/ill-defined term, so no one can really say. That said. I say no.
Now, I'm Canadian, so I'm only just going on my assumptions here, but pretty much everything points to fascism being a long, long way off and a lot of people on the internet overreacting. Yeah, there's some problems. You're also at least as free as Americans have ever been. Yes, there's some wiretapping, but they haven't exactly ever done anything with wiretapping info other than use it against clear criminals. Yeah, there's a little corruption, occasional profiling, and Guantanamo isn't on the up-and-up. There's always been corruption. Occasional profiling isn't good but it doesn't make a society fascist on it's own. Guantanamo is the closest thing to an argument, but it's only really bad by today's standards. Years ago no one would blink at it. It should also be noted that even G.W. wants it shut down, and that while the people there are not treated legally, they're pretty often VERY BAD PEOPLE.

Oh, and you guys do have a non-violent way to change things. You don't need guns to do it, and don't pretend anyone would use guns to overthrow the government these days anyways. It's called voting. Go out and do it this election.

Oh, and it should be noted that a lot of quotes on liberty/security are stupid. You've already traded liberty for security. Everybody does it, and it hasn't made them fascist. It's the smart thing to do. You've given up your freedom to shoot people for giggles in exchange for people not being allowed to do it to you. You've given up your freedom to carry weapons onto planes to stop others from doing it too. I can go on. There's an issue with a line being crossed there, but again: far, far away.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Kachi » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:15 am UTC

Could you please clarify what you mean here? I'm not sure if you are saying any level of repression of ideas is bad or if you are saying most places do that to at least a certain degree, and so we should be willing to live with minor cases of such.


The former, with very few possible exceptions.

I don't feel very strongly either way about gun control. Ideally I think it should be restricted to hunting rifles, but at this point, it would be nigh impossible to get handguns and assault weapons out of the hands of criminals, particularly in a large nation like the U.S., where there are so many places to hide and stockpile them.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:35 pm UTC

I didn't realize we were talking about modern day america. When I started this thread I guess I should have put in that in my opinion we are heading into some sort of bureaucratic aristocracy and not a totalitarian/fascist/police state. Do i forsee the possibility that under the wrong circumstances we could fall into the complete control of the few. Yes, yes I do. But I don't think it likely. And just to put it out there. Someone taking complete control of the government and taking liberties is not a slippery slope issue. If it happens it will happen at once, in a shitstorm of unfortunate circumstances. Gun control is a failsafe. If all else goes wrong shoot bad guys. Yes there are issues that come up with having guns in households. But some mechanism of natural selection must remain in this bubble warped world of ours (that was a joke).

And to respond to the bold type roc. Economic turmoil was the issue of the moment for Russia and Stalin used it to take unilateral control. Could one of the people promising economic safety today wish to seize the government. Possible but very unlikely. I think the closest thing we have had to a play for dictator status was Mr. Bernanke's, give me 700 billion and no over site and ill fix the economiez 4 u, plan. And that is a long way off. Though, we do now live in a socialist state. Woot all taxpayers own banks.

And I said im sorry for this misquote, I am aware it stands for essential liberties. The point however still stands.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:And I said im sorry for this misquote, I am aware it stands for essential liberties. The point however still stands.
No, the point doesn't stand with the corrected quote. Saying that any small removal of rights is worse than any security gains (or if you prefer to think of it this way, the right to be physically protected) is not supported by the statement that the trade of an essential freedom for a small, temporary security gain is unjustified. You could claim that the complete and absolute right to bear arms (or some limited version of that right) is an essential freedom, but then we are arguing a completely different point.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:46 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:
Fledermen64 wrote:And I said im sorry for this misquote, I am aware it stands for essential liberties. The point however still stands.
No, the point doesn't stand with the corrected quote. Saying that any small removal of rights is worse than any security gains (or if you prefer to think of it this way, the right to be physically protected) is not supported by the statement that the trade of an essential freedom for a small, temporary security gain is unjustified. You could claim that the complete and absolute right to bear arms (or some limited version of that right) is an essential freedom, but then we are arguing a completely different point.


You bring up and interesting point. Are essential liberties dependent on the person. I don't think so but I could not say defiantly. But it dose raise the point that what to someone may be a small liberty, to someone else it could be the most important one they have. I don't think I have an answer to that. Obviously liberties that create a high probability chance of someone else getting injured by direct action are not nor should they be essential. Nor are the logistically impossible ones IE the right to not be taxed, yet still protected by and existing under a government.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Gunfingers » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

Go read one of the firearm control threads. What liberties are essential is very dependant upon the individual.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:18 am UTC

No, no. I don't mean to the person. I mean to the system. Of course essential liberty's are subjective to the individual. But for the system as a whole. Is there one set of liberty that are necessary and others that can be given up with no real consequence. Or are all of them important in holding the liberty of all together
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:26 am UTC

Fledermen64 wrote:No, no. I don't mean to the person. I mean to the system. Of course essential liberty's are subjective to the individual. But for the system as a whole. Is there one set of liberty that are necessary and others that can be given up with no real consequence. Or are all of them important in holding the liberty of all together
That's what government is for: determining what liberties are important to society. So a government may decide that the freedom to drive place land mines under the sidewalk is not worth as much as others freedom to not get blown up by walking in front of your house. Of course, they are not perfect about doing this, but that's to be expected.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:30 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
Fledermen64 wrote:No, no. I don't mean to the person. I mean to the system. Of course essential liberty's are subjective to the individual. But for the system as a whole. Is there one set of liberty that are necessary and others that can be given up with no real consequence. Or are all of them important in holding the liberty of all together
That's what government is for: determining what liberties are important to society. So a government may decide that the freedom to drive place land mines under the sidewalk is not worth as much as others freedom to not get blown up by walking in front of your house. Of course, they are not perfect about doing this, but that's to be expected.


But of course the government's liberty to place landmines under your house won't be taken away, since the government is the one who decides who has what liberties.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:34 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:But of course the government's liberty to place landmines under your house won't be taken away, since the government is the one who decides who has what liberties.
Unless there happens to be something set up specifically to limit the government's power, some document that explicitly lays out what the government can't do, something that constitutes what our government can or cannot do... Like the Constitution! And since we are a democracy, you always exercise your protected liberties to participate in the governmental process and try to change what the government is doing if you don't like it.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:32 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
Falmarri wrote:But of course the government's liberty to place landmines under your house won't be taken away, since the government is the one who decides who has what liberties.
Unless there happens to be something set up specifically to limit the government's power, some document that explicitly lays out what the government can't do, something that constitutes what our government can or cannot do... Like the Constitution!


Because it's us who punishes the government when they do something unconstitutional, or determines what is or isn't unconstitutional. No wait, sorry, that's the government. So the government is the judge, jury, and pardoner of itself.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:38 am UTC

I strongly disagree there. The government is not for deciding on the liberty's we should have, it is for upholding the liberty's the people believe they should have. If the government is the only thing determining what is right and what is wrong with no consent of the people. Than they are just a group of people trying to impose themselves on others. They are no government. And that is far past the line I speak of.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:17 am UTC

Two points: first, the government is ran by, elected by, and more or less is the people. True, they sometimes extend over their power, but nothing is perfect.
Second, we have separation of powers for a reason. When you say that the government decides if what the government did was unconstitutional, you are ignoring the fact that they are two different parts of the government. But thank you for pointing out why a dictatorship is bad--aren't you glad your country isn't like that?
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:21 am UTC

roc314 wrote:Unless there happens to be something set up specifically to limit the government's power, some document that explicitly lays out what the government can't do, something that constitutes what our government can or cannot do... Like the Constitution! And since we are a democracy, you always exercise your protected liberties to participate in the governmental process and try to change what the government is doing if you don't like it.


Like gun rights or the tenth amendment? You can quibble about the specifics of the second amendment, but let's be frank; the founders spoke of the need to occasionally violently rebel, they meant for people to be able to wreck havoc with weapons. Now, I think it's a fair debate to question whether the freedom to own guns should indeed be a right, but this hasn't been decided through Constitutional means (i.e. get an amendment). Same goes for the tenth, but I don't think anyone honestly believes the Federal gov't gives two shits about it anymore and neither do the people, I hardly see people up in arms about the unconstitutional restriction of drugs.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Fledermen64 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:57 am UTC

I am, in fact. But none the less the government is not quite the people. And its that difference that makes it important that the people always do keep an eye on them. Its allot easier to prevent a body of people from taking unilateral power than it is to get that power back. I would prefer to err on the side of caution.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Griffin » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:35 am UTC

The line is this:
When the government ignores the result of an election, the line has been crossed. When the government does not allow an election to happen properly, the line is being crossed. When the government tries to limit things so that people cannot hold certain positions and run for office, the line has been crossed. Basically, if the government starts interfering with out right to change the government, the line has been crossed. If it does, we have only two defenses - those IN government ignoring and beating back the element that attempts this or violent revolt, which never ever ends well.

For example of line being crossed, see a certain African country..

Okay, technically that doesnt make a country fascist, but fascism kind of requires it.
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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby seladore » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:59 am UTC

I hope this isn't too off topic - I know this thread has been straying into 'gun control' territory, and I don't want to make a mod go all red pen on this interesting topic - but I have a genuine question for the pro-gun-for-reasons-of-revolt crowd.

Under what circumstances would violent armed revolt be allowable, and how would you go about it?

Say, hypothetically, Bush decides to cancel the election because an imminent terrorist threat made the administrative confusion - associated with a change of leadership - dangerous. Say he postponed the election indefinitely, because national security would suffer.

At this point, I think we would all agree that the line had been crossed, reaching the point at which violent revolt is needed (if you are someone who subscribes to this view). What would you do? Organise your neighbourhood into a mob, and go and shoot at the national guard? Go shoot at a policeman? Remember also that a not insubstantial fraction of the population would support the extreme measures. I can't see how any violent action that could be taken would make the slightest bit of difference.

I just can't see how this idea makes sense. The idea of guns for overthrowing the government is outdated, shaky in theory, and would be ludicrous in practice.

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Re: The Line (Goverment Version)

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:49 am UTC

Actually you take your weapons and march to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The fish rots from the head, as they say.


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