An error stemming from ignorance, misinformation, or sheer delusion is sometimes labeled a formal fallacy or simply an invalid argument, and in America, it is the identifying feature of a segment of the population steeped in paranoia that government tyranny threatens their existence. Most sane human beings rightly categorize paranoid anti-government advocates as delusional, and hardly consider them a threat to society, but after the tea party inflicted damage on the nation over the past two years, most Americans realized political power in the hands of lunatics is as great a threat to America as a foreign invader. The 2012 election gave voters an opportunity to marginalize the tea party, but instead of reconsidering the efficacy of their anti-government rhetoric and tempering their outrage, they have embraced the National Rifle Association’s “tyrannical government” oratory and are threatening armed resistance against the government.
Since the Newtown school massacre in December, the national gun control discussion incited the tea party to ignore the immigration and budget debate in Congress leaving just one thing on their agenda; guns. The idea of background checks, limiting access to assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines to reduce gun violence is adding fuel to the teabaggers’ fallacy their rights are being trampled and is increasing the anti-government paranoia that drove the movement in 2009. Around the country, tea party leaders are using the gun debate as a new rallying cry for the movement’s anticipated resurgence with a wave of protests to decry “tyranny of the Obama Administration” that drives teabagger anti-government rage.
The NRA leadership droning on that the Obama Administration is waging a war on the Second Amendment has led disaffected patriots across the nation to believe they face an existential threat that fuels their “If we don’t fight, we’ll lose our rights” sentiment. The single most absurd 2nd Amendment fallacy, and deliberately promoted NRA lie to incite opposition to President Obama, is “the Second Amendment is there to protect us from losing the rest of them.” That sentiment, by a teabagger with his 3-year old daughter in one arm and a rifle in the other, is driving the tea party’s tyrannical government narrative and inflaming those waiting for a reason to begin a war against the government. Regardless the historical record that the Second Amendment was to ensure a “well-regulated Militia” was available to put down insurrections and uprisings against the government, extremist conservatives hold that the right to keep and bear arms is to fight government tyranny. Only a fool would believe that America’s Founders adopted the Second Amendment because they wanted an armed population that could battle the U.S. government, and yet this is a widely held notion among gun fanatics. It is insane on its face and a fallacy of epic proportion fueling the growing threat from gun-fanatics that “this is the fundamental issue on the founding of our nation, and job one of ours–to protect gun owners from the assault on the Constitution. Might we have to have to take up arms against the government? Yeah.”
All of this anti-government sentiment did not begin with the gun debate, but with provocation by the NRA and patriot groups, it represents a threat all the same. It is fortunate that the tyranny rhetoric is not overwhelming the sanity of an ever-growing number of Americans, including NRA members, who dispel the Republican and conservative myth that the public does not support stronger gun laws to keep Americans safe. In a comprehensive poll conducted by Republican Frank Lutz seven months before Newtown, 87% of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. 74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun, and yet the NRA and Republicans in Congress vehemently oppose them today. If the tea party is depending on a wave of support because they champion armed conflict over requiring background checks, they are incredibly delusional.
Despite widespread support for stricter gun control laws, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures embolden the gun-crazed crowd by pandering to the gun lobby (NRA) and giving credence to the teabaggers’ belief that their rights are being trampled with little option but to take up arms against the government. Mitch McConnell, Wayne La Pierre, and conservative pundits have attempted to use fear to garner support against gun controls, and although they are successful with gun fanatics, they are losing favor with the public and the tea party is gullible if they think their ticket to electoral victory rests with threatening violence against the government. The greatest allies gun control advocates have are not necessarily President Obama and Democrats, but crazed fear mongers like La Pierre, McConnell, and conservative pundits that Fox News and liberal critics challenge publicly as insane.
Last week, La Pierre said “I think without any doubt, if you look at why our Founding Fathers put (the Second Amendment) there, they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny,” but most Americans, including NRA members, do not equate gun control with tyranny. The entire “tyranny rhetoric” is a straw man for opposition to an African American President and began long before the current gun control debate, and calls for violence predicated on “tyranny” are cover for racism. In fact, no so-called patriot can cite one instance of tyranny or assault on the Constitution, but it is politically incorrect to call for violence because an African American is President, as evidenced by similar calls during the healthcare reform debate.
The rising calls for civil or revolutionary war are the result of President Obama’s re-election. Nearly a year ago, Virginia Republicans called for a revolution if the President was re-elected and the gun crowd is answering their call. Teabaggers carried signs during the healthcare reform debate that read, “We came unarmed this time,” and they are fulfilling their promise at tea party gun rallies across America today. Their tyranny rhetoric, guns, and calls for war will never garner widespread support, but with NRA, Republican backing, and a cause based on a fallacy, a well-armed group of lunatics cannot be taken lightly.