How Do We Respond in These Troubled Times?

“The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.” Anyone who is a Tolkien fan will recognize these words from Galadriel’s monologue at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Those words send chills down my spine, and they echo in my mind as I look at what is happening today with the deterioration of the Constitution and with the gun control conflict that is escalating between Obama and advocates of gun ownership and the second amendment.

Our country has changed, and not for the better. I feel it everywhere. In the tone of the dialogue. In the force of the process. In the loss of the balance of power in our government. I smell it in the cowardice of politicians incapable of opposing such actions bravely and nobly. I smell it in the fear of those typing away in social media expressing their concerns about what the administration is doing—me included.

I fear tyranny. I fear control. But I also fear over-reaction. Antagonism. Violence. Opportunity for more control spurred by a foolish response.

As we take a look at and react to what the president has proposed about gun control, I would like to hear from rational, intelligent, and, yes, passionate, people about what our response should and should not be to Obama’s methods, actions, and goals. These are serious times and serious times demand measured responses—not weak responses, but strong, responsible ones. What should that look like? What shouldn’t it look like?

  1. katievs

    I think we have lots to learn from Martin Luther King, Jr., from Gandhi, and from the Solidarity Movement in Poland.  We could study Vaclav Havel’s The Power of the Powerless.  

    What’s key is to learn to distinguish between pacifism and non-violent resistance.  The former is too weak and unserious about the nature of evil.  The latter is a whole different animal.

    Non-violent resistance is all about exposing evil for what it is, without returning it.  Returning evil is an inefficient way of putting a stop to it.

  2. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    I think we will only know for sure when the time comes.  That Galadriel quote gave me goosebumps too in 2001, so shortly after 9/11….  One thing  is for sure, an increasing number of people are increasingly feeling like there has been a very ominous turn for the worse.  Like we have crossed a political event horizon and while the shift is only now perceptible to a few, we are accelerating to a serious moment of crisis.  How to respond? As best we can in accordance with those who showed us the way before when faced with tyrrany– especially the Founders– and consistent with the highest principles of our side’s philosophy and belief.  Because that is who we are.  See you on the ramparts….

  3. jetstream

    I’m beginning to believe Loyd Bridges accurately summed up our situation … “It was a bad time to quit drinking coffee”,  “It was a bad time to quit smoking”, “It was a bad time to stop snorting coke”,  “It was a bad time to stop sniffing glue”,  “It was a bad time to quit shooting heroine” …

  4. Blue State Curmudgeon
    Although I am in dispair I refuse to surrender to it.  We have to engage in some form of civil disobedience.  There was another post yesterday from Tabula Rasa where this was discussed.  I don’t know yet what form it has to take but it has to be non-violent, coordinated, visible, consequential and focused.  None of the disgusting excesses of the Occupy movement.  Serious people making a point to the government, the Mainstream Media and the society at large that we will not allow our government to infringe on our rights or bankrupt us.
  5. Cornelius Julius Sebastian
    jetstream: I’m beginning to believe Loyd Bridges accurately summed up our situation … “It was a bad time to quit drinking coffee”,  “It was a bad time to quit smoking”, “It was a bad time to stop snorting coke”,  “It was a bad time to stop sniffing glue”,  “It was a bad time to quit shooting heroine” … · 0 minutes ago

    Surely, your not being serious?

  6. DocJay

    I read Miniver Cheevey, and drink.

  7. Eeyore
    Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    jetstream: I’m beginning to believe Loyd Bridges accurately summed up our situation … “It was a bad time to quit drinking coffee”,  “It was a bad time to quit smoking”, “It was a bad time to stop snorting coke”,  “It was a bad time to stop sniffing glue”,  “It was a bad time to quit shooting heroine” 

    Surely, your not being serious? 

    Don’t call him Shirley.

  8. Eeyore
    Denise McAllister: These are serious times and serious times demand measured responses—not weak responses, but strong, responsible ones. What should that look like? What shouldn’t it look like? 

    I’m still working on the should.  But the shouldn’t includes anything that looks like John Boehner or Lindsey Graham, if their recent behavior is any guide.

    Ben Shapiro at Piers Morgan was a good start. I’ll keep thinking about the should.

  9. Fake John Galt

    How do we respond? Personally I am going for despair.

  10. Whiskey Sam

    I’m probably a poor representative for a measured response, but I find Patrick Henry’s Liberty or Death speech quite apt for our times.  

    There are two diametrically opposed paradigms vying for control of our nation: one leads to an incremental decline into social democracy like our ossified European friends; the other draws us back to the principles this nation was founded upon wherein free men determine for themselves the course of their lives with minimal interference from the federal government.  This is ultimately an irreconcilable position as the two are antithetical to each other.  Either one side will capitulate, whether via a shift in public opinion which we may already be seeing or via an intellectual syncretism by which one side deludes itself into thinking gradual compromise is some sort of victory, or they will clash head-on, violently.  

    Statistics show violent crime falling, but ask around and you’ll find a widespread feeling that there is a rising hostility in society.  It brings to mind Matthew 24:12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold”.  Verse 13 gives us a hope: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

  11. Byron Horatio

    How about secession and states or a collection of them becoming independent nations? It need not be bloody. There’s no hope of rolling back the largesse of the current leviathan. Better we realize that there are irreconcilable differences and go our separate ways.

  12. Whiskey Sam

    We must be steadfast in our beliefs.  We must be willing to give an explanation for them and a defense of them when required.  We can’t wall ourselves off from everyone who disagrees with us.  How will people know there is an alternative if we don’t share it with them?  We must be willing to listen to them.  There is too much yelling at and talking past each other in American life today.  We have to strike the balance between being confident in our convictions without being arrogantly dismissive of those who disagree.  We have a great message for America: we are a strong people, and we are capable of doing wondrous things if we allow people to pursue their dreams.  We believe our nation has something special to offer its citizens because we are living proof that free people can live peacefully, that they are capable of taking care of themselves and others through their own ingenuity and talents.  Our opposition says many of our fellow citizens are too weak or too victimized or not clever enough to care for their own needs.  We need to point out we don’t share their dim view of ourselves.

  13. Misthiocracy

    Would somebody please identify for me a time that wasn’t “troubled”?

    Eden, Atlantis, and Arcadia do not count.

  14. Severely Ltd.
    Misthiocracy: Would somebody please identify for me a time thatwasn’t “troubled”?

    Eden, Atlantis, and Arcadia do not count. · 1 hour ago

    Nov. 5, 2012 wasn’t bad. I recall feeling confident, relatively calm, optimistic.

  15. Fred Cole

    There was once a great Persian king.  And one day he summoned the wisest of all the wise men who advised him and he gave him a task.

    “I want you” the king commanded “to devise for me a phrase that I can speak under any circumstances and it will be true.”

    So the wise man went off and thought for a while and a month later he came back and told the king he had completed the task.  He had devised a phrase that could be spoken under any circumstances and it would be true.

    And that phrase was

    This too shall pass.

  16. TheSophist

    My response: http://ricochet.com/member-feed/How-Do-We-Respond-In-These-Troubled-Times-the-Immigrant-Story

    I just could not fit this into 200 words. Sorry, but there it is.

  17. Simon Templar

    Are the 9th and 10th Amendments dead or just missing in action?  Isn’t the heart of the matter the centralization of power in Washington?  Is America still a government of the people, by the people, for the people – really?  We need to come up with reasonable and achievable goals that force the return of power back to the people and stay Doberman focused until implemented.  Let’s keep the number of goals low to make this effort manageable.  I recommend that we get serious about tax reform, not just nibbling around the edges of marginal rates.  How about we start by agitating for the Fair Tax?  It would fund all of you favorite big government programs, but minimizes the mischief that politicians can make through manipulation of tax codes.  Speaking of politicians, maybe the second goal should be Congressional term limits?  Can’t help but believe that if we can do these two things, we’ll start to take back our country.  Don’t know much about secession or the wisdom of relocating millions of conservatives into one or two “sanctuary” states.  How about eating the apple one bite at a time?  

  18. Eeyore
    Whiskey Sam: We must be willing to listen to them.  There is too much yelling at and talking past each other in American life today. 

    Sam, you know this area of NC. It seems when Progressive/ Conservative discussions come up, without complete obeisance to their position, “11″ is their only volume setting.

  19. Barfly
    Fred Cole:

    This too shall pass. · 10 hours ago

    “The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.”

    Of course, it was Keynes who said that, so maybe it’s bullocks too.

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