Piers Morgan thinks the notion that we need guns to protect ourselves from a future tyrannical regime is absurd. History shows us the opposite. It would do Piers good to pick up a history book.
Let's start with an American case: the Civil War. Now, the Confederates were both morally wrong, and on the wrong side of history, but the Constitution defends the right of individual citizens to openly resist the government.The Constitution does not state that there will be no penalties for it, nor does it state that secession and rebellion are permitted or will be unopposed, but it does guarantee you the equipment necessary to try. The fact that so many Southerners had their own weapons was crucial to the South standing a prayer of a chance.
In today's America, we see lots of stories about government officials over-stepping their bounds: SWAT teams storming the wrong house, destroying property and killing the family dog., or Department of Agriculture agents coming onto private property and killing livestock that was suddenly made illegal. While using guns to defend your livestock is not advisable, the Constitution guarantees you the ability to do so ... At your own risk of course, since shooting federal agents doing their job is illegal, not to mention immoral.
Now let's move to 1890s Russia. My family, a Jewish family, has been living there for countless generations, but unrest is brewing. Pogroms ravage Russia, Jewish homes and businesses burned to the ground, rape and murder in the streets. The government, which no Jew had ever thought to question, surprisingly turns a blind eye, even takes part in the violence. The people are unarmed and cannot defend themselves adequately. (Those who are armed have no chance, nor the will to stay anyway.) They move West...
...And arrive in Germany, where there is already a sizable Jewish population. My family made it to Hamburg, some of them travelling on foot for hundreds, even thousands, of miles, moving from village to village. My family decided European monarchies couldn't be trusted and they came straight here, but others stayed behind. Germany was friendly to the Jews. They ran successful businesses and lived in peace.
Then WWI came. Jews joined the German armies too! Germany was their home, and they were damned proud of it. They had no reason to think anything would change, much as us here in modern America have no idea either. If you told a German citizen in 1917 what Germany would look like in 1942 they would have thought you were insane, much as Piers Morgan thought of his guest.
But a decade of severe economic depression, not unlike the one we're in right now, does strange things to a country. At the height of the destitution comes a man who promises change, tells the people to have hope. Not saying that this guy is the same as Obama, but I am saying that hope and change are powerful messages, and in times like 2008, or times like 1932, almost anyone can get elected if they are effective at spreading that message.
But it wasn't just anyone. It was Hitler. And one of the things he did prior to the Holocaust was disarm all the Jews, while arming all the non-Jews. The 1938 German Weapons Act lowered the age one could purchase a firearm, but also stripped Jews of their right to own weapons.
This quote is also found in Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944: Secret Conversations:
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty. So let’s not have any native militia or native police."
This line of thought goes beyond just Germany, though. Hitler's quote was particularly poignant given the struggles the German army met in France, where armed citizens established the French Resistance and made Germany's takeover of France exceedingly difficult. The French Resistance likewise made it easier for Americans to use France as their launching ground against Germany.
In Europe and America today, we enjoy relative stability in our governments. However, in Europe's parlimentary system: one party, one rule. Whichever coalition government forms has absolute rule until the next election, making an extremist takeover like what happened in Germany much more likely in England, Morgan's own country, than here in the states. All it takes is a volatile mix of unfortunate events (like our current global depression, and not unlike the unrest Greece is going through currently), the right candidate, and an effective marketing arm. A totalitarian regime needs to get elected, but it only needs to get elected once. Even in this country, we're no stranger to emotional, reactionary elections.
In 2008, on the heels of our own financial collapse, we saw a single party assume complete control over our government. In 2009, from the swearing in of the new Congress until Scott Walker's election in Massachusetts later that year, we even had a Democratic super-majority in the Senate, meaning they were fillibuster-proof and could pass anything they wanted.
And they did, Obamacare chief among them.
Now imagine if we were England; if instead of many branches of government and state governments all fighting each other, we had a Parlimentary system. Now, liberals , think about what our government would look like after the crushing 2010 midterms. Obama would be gone, and the Tea Party would have had complete control of our government from 2010 to 2012.
Now, let's say, we do have a single party in total control, and they decided not to have elections the following year. What do we do?
Frankly, there's nothing we can do, except protest and fight back. A piece of paper guarantees nothing without the will and force of the people behind it. The Constitution, for all the value we put on it, is just a piece of paper.
Piers Morgan, like many other Americans and Europeans, has forgotten his history lessons in school. Just because we are comfortable now, and expect to be in the forseeable future, does not mean something unexpected will not turn the world on its head 20 years from now.
Ben Franklin once said, "Those who would give up liberty, to obtain temporary safety, deserve neither."
It is true that gun violence is a major problem in this country. But it is also true that an armed citizenry is a key component of enforcing our Constitution to make it more than just a piece of paper.
Already we have had presidents of the United States (Bush and Obama both) using "executive orders" to circumvent the democratic process outlined in the Constitution. We see further erosion of this process every time the federal government nullifies a state law, or takes power away from the state, or away from individual citizens. We control less and less of our lives every day, as the government tries to tax more of our money, and (now) control our health care and school decisions.
Is it really a stretch to say that 50 years from now, there is a possibility of it all falling apart? We give up our weapons now, since to be honest, we really don't need them. But can we really say that our grandchildren won't need them?