The situation in Iran is providing liberals with a harsh lesson about the First Amendment and the Second Amendment. It’s a lesson that our American ancestors understood very well.
Here’s the lesson: Without the right to keep and bear arms, the rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly are meaningless. If tyrants own all the guns, then they know that they can suppress fundamental rights of the people without worrying about violent resistance to their tyranny.
With a monopoly on guns, what incentive do tyrants have to end their tyranny? The tyrants know that a disarmed citizenry has but two options: obey the tyrants by submitting to their tyranny or die at the hands of loyal and obedient (and armed) military and police forces.
Meanwhile, conservatives and neoconservatives are criticizing President Obama for not more openly supporting the Iranian protestors. Perhaps they have forgotten what happened to the Kurds and Shiites in Iraq after conservative President George H.W. Bush encouraged them to rise up and try to overthrow Saddam Hussein at the end of the Persian Gulf War. They got massacred, as Bush’s military forces stood by and watched.
While we’re on the subject of democracy, perhaps we should remind ourselves of the secondary rationale that conservatives and neoconservatives used for invading Iraq — “democracy spreading.” It went like this: Even though we invaded Iraq because we were certain that Saddam was about to explode mushroom clouds over American cities, after we failed to find any WMDs we decided that we actually invaded Iraq because we love the Iraqi people and wanted to bring them democracy. That’s why we killed, maimed, tortured, sexually abused, and exiled millions of them and destroyed their country — so that the survivors could enjoy democracy.
Well, we all know that there is no democracy in Iran. After all, despite those elections, the big elephant in the room is that those Ayatollahs who really rule the country aren’t elected at all. They’re the ones who decide who gets to run for office.
Yet, do you see even one conservative or neoconservative traveling to Iran to stand with the protestors and defend democracy? Do you see even one of them demonstrating in the streets of Tehran and standing up to the Ayatollah tyrants?
No, of course not, just as you never saw any conservatives or neo-conservatives standing and fighting with the Shiites and Kurds who were fighting against Saddam. That would entail taking individual responsibility for their beliefs, an anathema for conservatives and neo-conservatives. When they say that “we” need to be tough, what they mean is a vicarious “toughness,” one that is measured by the toughness of the U.S. troops that they are so eager and willing to send into battle against the forces of the tyrants.
But as with Iraq, it would be morally wrong and illegal for the U.S. government to invade and occupy Iran. It is up to the Iranians, not the U.S. government, to decide whether to resort to violent revolution to free themselves from tyranny, just as it was the right of the Iraqi people. If the Iranian people decide that they would rather submit to the tyranny than incur countless deaths in a violent revolution, that is their right, just as it was the right of the Iraqi people.
The Iranian situation helps to remind us what a disaster conservatives, neo-conservatives, and liberals have been for our country and why the only hope out of the morass in which we find ourselves is with libertarianism. Liberals are obviously pleased that the Iranian people lack the means to violently resist tyranny and wish to disarm Americans too. Conservatives and neo-conservatives would use the U.S. Empire to invade Iran for the purpose of reinstalling a U.S. stooge into power and kill, maim, torture, and exile countless Iranians in the process.
Libertarians, on the other hand, would prohibit the U.S. government from invading and occupying Iran or any other nation. Moreover, understanding that the right to keep and bear arms is the best check against tyranny, libertarians will continue resisting any effort by the gun-control crowd to disarm the American people here at home.