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?

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Members have made 22 comments.

  1. Profile photo of katievs Inactive

    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.

    • #1
    • January 17, 2013 at 5:23 am
  2. Profile photo of Cornelius Julius Sebastian Thatcher

    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….

    • #2
    • January 17, 2013 at 6:03 am
  3. Profile photo of jetstream Inactive

    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” …

    • #3
    • January 17, 2013 at 6:34 am
  4. Profile photo of Blue State Curmudgeon Member
    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.
    • #4
    • January 17, 2013 at 6:55 am
  5. Profile photo of Cornelius Julius Sebastian Thatcher
    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?

    • #5
    • January 17, 2013 at 6:58 am
  6. Profile photo of Lord Humungus Inactive

    images.jpg!

    • #6
    • January 17, 2013 at 7:12 am
  7. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    I read Miniver Cheevey, and drink.

    • #7
    • January 17, 2013 at 8:42 am
  8. Profile photo of Eeyore Member
    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
    • January 17, 2013 at 8:48 am
  9. Profile photo of Eeyore Member
    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
    • January 17, 2013 at 9:00 am
  10. Profile photo of Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

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

    • #10
    • January 17, 2013 at 9:22 am
  11. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive

    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
    • January 17, 2013 at 10:27 am
  12. Profile photo of Byron Horatio Member

    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
    • January 17, 2013 at 10:36 am
  13. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive

    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
    • January 17, 2013 at 10:40 am
  14. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

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

    Eden, Atlantis, and Arcadia do not count.

    • #14
    • January 18, 2013 at 8:03 am
  15. Profile photo of Severely Ltd. Member
    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
    • January 18, 2013 at 9:26 am
  16. Profile photo of Fred Cole Member

    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
    • January 18, 2013 at 10:06 am
  17. Profile photo of TheSophist Inactive

    My response: https://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
    • January 19, 2013 at 2:48 am
  18. Profile photo of Simon Templar Member

    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
    • January 19, 2013 at 7:37 am
  19. Profile photo of Eeyore Member
    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
    • January 19, 2013 at 7:52 am
  20. Profile photo of Barfly Member
    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.

    • #20
    • January 19, 2013 at 10:45 am
  21. Profile photo of Frank Soto Contributor
    katievs:

    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. · January 16, 2013 at 4:23pm

    Edited on January 16, 2013 at 4:24pm

    So tempted to start an anti-Ghandi tirade. I will restrain myself for the moment. 

    I will point out thought that this statement about returning evil being an inefficient way to stop it, is both literally false and a confusion of the very notion of Good and Evil.

    Obviously the Evil of Nazism was more efficiently halted by returning their violence with violence, then the Evil of Soviet Communism was halted by numerous non-violent methods (Russian Dissidents and such).

    It is also highly suspect to describe it as an evil act when you are defending yourself from oppression with violence.

    There may come a day when the US govement turns from the soft tyranny of nuisance regulations, to harder forms of tyranny. It won’t be evil for the people to separate their ties to that government by force on that day.

    • #21
    • January 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm
  22. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member
    Frank Soto

    Obviously the Evil of Nazism was more efficiently halted by returning their violence with violence, then the Evil of Soviet Communism was halted by numerous non-violent methods (Russian Dissidents and such).

    Ah, but the argument was that, “one cannot fight evil with evil”.

    The argument was not, “one cannot fight evil with violence”.

    The example you cite does not refute the argument made, but instead merely shows that evil ≠ violence.

    • #22
    • January 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm