As Joe Biden's flailing campaign headed toward a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, the former vice president managed to get off some doozies. Perhaps most memorable was the time he jokingly dismissed a student questioner at one of his events as a "lying, dog-faced pony soldier." But the man who first held federal office during the Nixon administration also managed to reveal his ignorance about one of the key arguments for gun rights.
"Those who say 'the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots,' a great line, well, guess what?" Biden lectured his audience in the "Live Free or Die" state. "The fact is, if you're going to take on the government, you need an F-15 with Hellfire missiles. There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you."
Although we believe that the Biden candidacy is fated to pop soon, the argument he made is such a prevalent misrepresentation of why gun rights supporters view the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny that it's worth addressing.
Yes, of course, critics are right that civilian gun owners wouldn't be able to overthrow completely a government willing to deploy a vast, expansive and technologically elite military force. But that's not the point. Our founders believed that every man has the fundamental right to resist tyranny.
Furthermore, one doesn't need to defeat the government in armed civil war for an armed populace to still serve as a bulwark to tyranny. What matters is that citizens can put up a fight. An armed populace dramatically increases the cost of imposing and maintaining tyranny. Sure, perhaps a tyrannical future president could subdue a resistance, even in a country with more guns than people, such as America, but it would require months of bloody conflict, substantial military losses and a protracted political nightmare.
Contrast this to a scenario in which an unarmed citizenry is completely at the government's mercy, able to sweep in and crack down on its people with immediacy and ease. It's clear that just imposing a higher cost to repression is a check on would-be tyrants, even if the people couldn't, in fact, overthrow the government successfully.
Just consider what has happened in other countries such as China and Russia, where citizens are disarmed and left helpless.
In China, the tyrannical government under Xi Jinping has launched a brutal crackdown on the Uighurs, rounding up people of the Muslim ethnic minority and putting them in reeducation camps. It's an international outrage and human rights disaster. But it's also one that would have been less likely to have happened if the 1 million Uighurs had AR-15s at home.
A similar scenario has unfolded in Russia, where Vladimir Putin's regime has allowed an anti-gay purge to occur in the Chechnya region.
Surely those innocent gay men facing electroshock torture would disagree with Biden's assessment that a citizenry's ability to offer armed resistance to tyranny isn't worth protecting.
For a man who is running on his half-century of experience in politics, it's amazing that Biden doesn't understand the Second Amendment or its supporters.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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