Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

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kiryan
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Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby kiryan » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:17 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-horw ... 33969.html

This article basically says the 2nd amendment does not give you the right to overthrow your government (stage an insurrection) and it calls on the NRA to divorce gun rights from right to oppose the government violently. I disagree. If its not a constitutional right, I think its a basic human right and I think its a right that the USA has repeatedly supported over the decades. We've fought proxy wars, funded regime change, invaded countries all in the name of better lives for their oppressed people.

ok so really it can't be a basic human right by definition since violence is employed against another human so at some point you'd be violating each other's rights... but you get the drift. If its ok to overthrow Iraq's government with a partial basis in freedom from the tyranny of Hussein, then why not our own government? A side point of a recent citizens united supreme court case said incumbent politicians may change election/speech laws/structures to keep themselves in office and that was a danger of allowing government to set restrictions on election speech. Several quasi dictators have "rewritten" their constitutions to remove things like term limits or grant them unchecked powers. If that ever happened in the USA, shouldn't we have the right to rise up and take control?
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Sarvis » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:29 pm

It's inalienable, certainly, in that once you're trying to overthrow the government it's a moot point. Either the government will kill you in self defense, or you will overthrow it.

There's nothing to even discuss here. Try to overthrow the government all you want, you'll either win or die.

Just remember you'll be hurting your fellow countrymen to do it.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Disoputlip » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:46 pm

I think it stops at democracy. And then it begins again when democracy isn't heard.

Example: USA is a democracy, so lets say Alaska wants to be an independent nation. Then they have mabye 90% support in the population, but they are not allowed by the people in Washington.

Then I think it is human to try and make independance, and I even think UN would support it.

Besides that, then I always assume you try and work within the democracy. When you have a functioning democracy.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Kramel » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:21 am

It's only a right if you succeed in the overthrow attempt.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:08 am

No, you don't. On the other hand, governments don't really have the right to do half of what they do.

In my opinion, the violent overthrow of your government is not a right. It's a privilege afforded by incompetent governance that can easily be abused.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:03 pm

The founding fathers of the US, a bunch of revolutionaries, in order to avoid too much power being concentrated in one place, decided in their infinite wisdom to create a system of checks and balances between the various branches of government. The 2nd amendment right to bear arms was clearly intended to be a check upon the government as a whole by the people being governed. Considering who the founding fathers are - people that lead a violent insurrection against their old governors, the British, it is not surprising that they would want the people to retain an option of armed rebellion if necessary. Of course, way back then they could not have anticipated the type of modern weaponry that now exists and it's destructive potential. It's one thing if everyone is wielding muskets. It's another thing if you have a hand gun and the government has tanks, machine guns, tear gas, etc etc etc.

A more interesting question, to me, is whether the individual states have the right to leave the union. After all, the original idea was that the states were essentially independent countries that ceded some limited national power to a Federal government. Literally, the united states of america. It would seem that if the constitution is based upon these united states agreeing to ratify said constitution, that an individual state should also be allowed to change it's mind and leave the union. This option was clearly denied in the 1860's during the Civil War. That's the only precedent available. But I wouldn't be surprised in the coming years to see a movement in various states to try and legislatively leave the union. I'm thinking Texas is a prime candidate.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby kiryan » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:51 pm

I think both are interesting questions... I don't think most people would agree that the people have a right to violently overthrow the US government, but they seem to be ok with it in other countries / states (splintering of russia for example). Part of that egocentrism I believe, we're different because we have a supposed democracy.

I can't remember if this is from Obama / admin or a musing of one of his potential supreme court picks, but the principle is constitution / interpretation needs to change as society changes. I think thats ridiculous because the constitution is supposed to limit power and if you can change those limits you can obviously eliminate those limits. Additionally, these are supposed to be rights... how do rights change over time as society changes? If your rights are endowed to you by a creator (bill of rights I believe) then why would they change as society does?

I agree with Corth that the intention of the 2nd amendment right is to allow for armed rebellion while it specifically has always authorized people to be armed. But its an interesting and probably persuasive argument from the left.

On states seceding. On the other hand, I don't think there is the political will to have a civil war over secession not now, not in 10 years. There would have to be a vote of the people... and probably something north of 66% in favor of succession... probably higher to solidify the legitimacy of the action. I think that the feds would argue that Texas has to grandfather in people's existing rights (or compensate them and resettle them in the US) before they could secede which would make it prohibitively expensive essentially preventing them from seceding. Also consider the federal lands... public lands used to be primarily state lands that were federally funded, i believe today the lands are actually property of the federal government... I'm not sure how they could legitimately appropriate this property or change property rights fairly which would then give the federal government a strong argument for action. Regardless, I'm sure the feds would cut a deal as well if push came to shove to entice them to stay.

is there an actual procedure within the constitution for secession? I've never been clear on the constitutional validity of secession. I believe there were a couple of things written or agreed upon before ratification, but I've never really studied the civil war or the secession case.
Last edited by kiryan on Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:03 pm

kiryan wrote:I think both are interesting questions... I don't think most people would agree that the people have a right to violently overthrow the US government


No, you are wrong.

More likely people
A) Don't think we'd stand a snowball's chance in hell against tanks (even with shovels) and fighter jets
B) Don't think there is any need to overthrow our government

If the government actually got totalitarian the American populace would attempt to overthrow it in a second.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:22 pm

Sarvis,

He is discussing whether there is an inherent right to overthrow the government. Not whether it is something that can or would happen at this time.

As you mention, I think it's pretty clear that a) it couldn't be done violently (unless the millitary cooperated or initiated the overthrow), and b) we are not even close to the point where a substantial percentage of the people would even want to do so.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby kiryan » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:31 pm

so are you saying that most US citizens believe they have the right to violently over throw their government?

or are you just saying I'm wrong period. As corth mentioned, I am looking at whether we have a right, whether in the constitutional / bill of rights or a UN style "basic human right" to violently overthrow our government. The article I posted is an argument from a leftist that says this is not a right and more specifically that the NRA tieing of insurrection to the 2nd amendment is invalid and dangerous. I'm pretty sure I don't on the basis of the intention of the founding fathers as Corth laid out.

I don't believe violent overthrow of the government is warranted at this point, but violent demonstrations are.
Your statements about tanks and shovels is incredible. Look at the issues the superpower USA has faced in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Look at the defeat of the royal british military by a bunch of miscreants in the USA? Being the behemoth has its advantages, but so does "dishonest" warfare of hiding behind rocks and shooting british soldiers in the open. Look at history and you'll see it over and over. Look at Bin Laden... he caused trillions of dollars of damage to the USA. Trillons in direct economic damage and indirect (air flight screeners, wasted time ect), a trillion + in direct military expenditures for the current war, plus imagine the trillions spent on vet healthcare after the war ends... We may defeat bin laden/islamic extremism, but its already a pyhrric victory and the trend looks a lot like the fall of the roman empire.
Last edited by kiryan on Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Corth » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:32 pm

kiryan wrote:
I can't remember if this is from Obama / admin or a musing of one of his potential supreme court picks, but the principle is constitution / interpretation needs to change as society changes. I think thats ridiculous because the constitution is supposed to limit power and if you can change those limits you can obviously eliminate those limits. Additionally, these are supposed to be rights... how do rights change over time as society changes? If your rights are endowed to you by a creator (bill of rights I believe) then why would they change as society does?


This is exactly my criticism of the so-called 'living constitution'. The constitution doesn't say that the federal government has the power to do anything it wants except for the following (itemized list). Rather, it says, the federal government has no power except for the following (itemized list). It was clearly meant to be a severe restriction on what government is allowed to do, as is appropriate insofar as it was drafted by a bunch of people that felt abused by their former governors and wanted to limit such abuses in the future in their new country. When you accept the philosophical notion that the meaning of this restrictive document can change over time to suit an 'evolving' country based upon what a few judges say, then the protection from government abuse that the constitution represents is undermined because it can so easily be reinterpreted to suit what the government wants.

The constitution has always contained a method to 'evolve' - the constitutional amendment process. It requires a super-majority to amend the constitution, which is appropriate - a very clear consensus among the people was expected in order to modify those protections. Unfortunately, it seems these days that the will of several unelected judges can substitute for the broad consensus envisioned by the framers of the constitution.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Sarvis » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:59 pm

kiryan wrote:so are you saying that most US citizens believe they have the right to violently over throw their government?


Yes. Though I'm not sure I'd use the word "right" as overthrowing leadership is far more fundamental than that. A group of people who overthrew their government and started their own country is our national identity. It's who we are.

or are you just saying I'm wrong period.


That too, in the general sense. About pretty much everything you've ever said. But that's a different set of arguments. :P


As corth mentioned, I am looking at whether we have a right, whether in the constitutional / bill of rights or a UN style "basic human right" to violently overthrow our government. The article I posted is an argument from a leftist that says this is not a right and more specifically that the NRA tieing of insurrection to the 2nd amendment is invalid and dangerous. I'm pretty sure I don't on the basis of the intention of the founding fathers as Corth laid out.


I can find you articles about how God is killing our soldiers because of homosexual behavior. That doesn't mean the majority of Americans believe it, it means some fringe crackpots out there wrote an article. The fact remains that in 1st grade we are taught how our country was founded, and we learn to revere revolutionaries who rebelled against their government and won.

I don't believe violent overthrow of the government is warranted at this point, but violent demonstrations are.


No, violent demonstrations are never warranted. There is a difference. There is no reason to hurt people until you mean it. In fact, it is counterproductive to your goals.

Your statements about tanks and shovels is incredible. Look at the issues the superpower USA has faced in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


So do you see Iraqi insurgents winning any time soon? The fact is they have as much traction as they do because we play nice. We play nice because our government is beholden to the people, and leadership which behaved inhumanely would not get re-elected.

If we were rebelling against the government, the question of re-election has already been thrown out the door and the leadership would, and could, just carpetbomb the problem areas daily until nothing but cockroaches could be found.


Look at the defeat of the royal british military by a bunch of miscreants in the USA? Being the behemoth has its advantages, but so does "dishonest" warfare of hiding behind rocks and shooting british soldiers in the open. Look at history and you'll see it over and over. Look at Bin Laden... he caused trillions of dollars of damage to the USA. Trillons in direct economic damage and indirect (air flight screeners, wasted time ect), a trillion + in direct military expenditures for the current war, plus imagine the trillions spent on vet healthcare after the war ends... We may defeat bin laden/islamic extremism, but its already a pyhrric victory and the trend looks a lot like the fall of the roman empire.


Yes, look at Bin Laden. Look at any modern dictator. They don't seem to get overthrown until another country comes in with better hardware and helps out.

Hell, didn't we need the French to help us out?
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Todrael » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:39 pm

I think you're equivocating on the term 'right'.

1. Are you asking if it would be legal? No, it's not legal. Elections are the proper and peaceful means of handing over power for a democratic republic.

2. Are you asking if it's possible? It's most certainly possible, and has occurred many times in many places, though it may not be possible today in the United States due to social complacency and power disparity.

3. Are you asking if it would be morally/ethically correct? The moral and ethical situation is much less clear. It depends on your moral/ethical system and the current, factual state of the government. Personally, I think we're doing fine. I'm amazed people get so worked up over things they can't affect in any meaningful way.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby kiryan » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:59 pm

Sarvis wrote:
I don't believe violent overthrow of the government is warranted at this point, but violent demonstrations are.


No, violent demonstrations are never warranted. There is a difference. There is no reason to hurt people until you mean it. In fact, it is counterproductive to your goals.


Are you trying to say that a population has to go from happy law abiding non violent citizen to taking up arms against the government in one singular conscious decision? Violent demonstration is a precursor to full on rebellion and has its place and legitimacy if you have a right to violently overthrow your governemnt.

--

yes tod i suppose i am and your points are all valid. I might try and argue on #1, if the 2nd amendment is interpreted to have an intent to allow for violent overthrow makes a legal rebellion possible. If you can legitimize the rebellion within the legal framework, then you may be able to legitimize the violence. We don't try our soldiers for murder for killing enemy soldiers... The happenings of the civil war obviously set some precedences... but yea i'm not expecting to find a legal right. On the other hand, it could be some sort of "basic human right". if its not how do you justify the civil wars / violent overthrows of governments we support vs the ones we don't.
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:23 pm

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby Todrael » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Teflor linking to the UN? Is that sarcasm? A joke?
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Re: Do you have the right to overthrow your government?

Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:22 pm

I link to a lot of things. What's your problem?

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