Je Vous Dis, Merde! 8: The Second “Peculiar Institution,” Gun Abolitionism, and Trump

Framed in Biblical terms, the birth of the USA in 1776 was attended by two original sins:

The first original sin was what John C. Calhoun later infamously called the “peculiar institution” of slavery in the USA.

Here are some things that Calhoun said about slavery:

I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good — a positive good … I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe — look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse … I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.[105]

(Source: Wikipedia)

The “peculiar institution” of slavery was the primary cause of the US Civil War; and although it was abolished by Lincoln in 1865, its evil consequences have been experienced throughout US history right up to today — as the Black Lives Matter movement vividly demonstrates.

Slavery is morally abhorrent because it treats human persons as mere instruments and mere things, and directly violates their human dignity.

And the second original sin was what I call the second “peculiar institution,” that is, the right to own and use guns in the USA, entrenched in the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1788, which says this:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Now here is a simple but decisive argument against guns and the 2nd Amendment, and for gun abolitionism.

1. Coercion is forcing people to do things, by using violence or the threat of violence.

2. Coercion is always rationally unjustified and immoral, because it treats people as mere instruments and mere things, and directly violates their human dignity.

3. The primary functions of guns is coercion.

4. Therefore, owning and using guns is rationally unjustified and immoral.

5. But the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution entrenches the right to own and use guns.

6. Therefore, the 2nd Amendment is rationally justified and immoral, and should be repealed.

7. Therefore, gun abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do.

And here is another argument.

Have you ever wondered how many people have been killed by guns within the borders of the USA since 1776?

Since 1968, more than 1.5 million people have been killed by guns.

Since the American Revolution, 1.4 million people have died in wars on US soil, most of them by means of guns.

OK. That’s close to 2.9 million people killed by guns over a period spanning roughly one-quarter of US political history, i.e., roughly 60 years.

Now, how many people were killed by guns in the USA during the 192 years between 1776 and 1968, but not in wars?

Let’s say, conservatively, 3 million people.

That would mean that the total number of people killed by guns in the history of the USA is roughly the same as the number of people murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, i.e., somewhere between 5 and 6 million.

If gun violence is not a fundamental source of human oppression in the USA, then nothing is.

So I am saying that slavery is morally abhorrent, and, for logically independent but also highly analogous reasons, that gun violence is morally abhorrent too.

Moreover, the morally half-hearted and politically expedient 21st century so-called “liberal” doctrine of gun-control is strictly analogous to the morally half-hearted and politically expedient pre-Civil War so-called “progressive” doctrine of abolishing slavery in all states except where it already existed.

If slavery is wrong, then it’s wrong everywhere, and should be abolished everywhere; if gun violence is wrong, then owning and using guns is wrong everywhere, and should be abolished everywhere.

The fact that some gun-owners don’t actually kill other people or themselves with their guns no more morally counts against the abolition of guns than the fact that some slave-owners treated their slaves well morally counted against the abolition of slavery.

Therefore, gun abolitionism is rationally justified, morally right, and what we ought to do.

***

Now here are some of the things the current President of the USA, Donald Trump, has said about guns:

No limits on guns; they save lives

Q: Are there any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America?

TRUMP: No. I am a 2nd amendment person. If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn’t have 14 or 15 people dead right now. If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no….

Source: Fox Business 2016 Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Make concealed-carry permits valid across all states

I have a concealed-carry permit that allows me to carry a concealed weapon. I took the time and the effort to get that permit because the constitutional right to defend yourself doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That doesn’t apply just to me either. It applies to all our driveways or front doors.

That’s why I’m very much in favor of making all concealed-carry permits valid in every state. Every state has its own driving test that residents have to pass before becoming licensed to drive. Those tests are different in many states, but once a state licenses you to drive, every other state recognizes that license as valid.

If we can do that for driving — which is a privilege, not a right — then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege. That seems logical to me.

Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p.110 , Nov 3, 2015

Now doesn’t that vividly remind you of John C. Calhoun defending slavery?

Therefore I say to gun-toting President Trump —

Je vous dis, merde!

***

“Je vous dis, merde!” (literally, “I say to you: shit!” or more loosely, “You’re so full of shit!”) is a morally and politically defiant slogan invented and first published by an early 20th-century Catalan anarchist who used the nom de guerre “Miguel Almereyda.” Almereyda, who was murdered in a French prison in 1917, was also the father of the famous French film director Jean Vigo, who immortalized the same slogan in his breakthrough 1933 film, Zéro de conduite, aka Zero for Conduct.

Here is the seven-part platform of The Wake The Fuck Up! Party , aka The WTFU Party —

1. Universal Respect for Human Dignity (URHD):

· Human dignity is the absolute non-denumerable moral value of every member of humanity, and everyone ought to try wholeheartedly to treat everyone else in a way that is sufficient to meet the demands of respect for human dignity, especially including (i) alleviating or ending human oppression, and (ii) actively engaging in mutual aid and mutual kindness.

2. Universal Basic Income (UBI):

· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

3. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

The rationale behind the three-year gap between (i) being offered an eco-job at 18 and (ii) beginning to receive their UBI at 21, is that every young adult who has finished high school will have the option of pursuing three years of part-time or full-time free higher education without credentialing, i.e., for its own sake, after high school, before making longer-term decisions about what I call job-work and life-work.

***

Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.

(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.

(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.

(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the monthly UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

4. Universal Free Higher Education Without Credentialing (HEWC):

· Everyone would be offered, beyond their high-school education, a free, three-year minimum, optional (but also open-ended beyond those three years, as a further option), part-time or full-time universal public education program in the so-called “liberal arts,” and also in some of the so-called “STEM” fields, including the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences.

· For many or even most people, their HEWC would fall between (i) the end of their high school education at age 18 and the corresponding availability of eco-jobs, and (ii) the beginning of their UBI at age 21.

· But HEWC would be open to anyone with a high school degree, no matter how old they are, provided they are mentally and physically capable of doing the program.

5. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

6. 2-Phase Universal Open Borders (2P-UOB):

· Phase 1: Starting in 2021, there will be universal open borders with Canada and Mexico, and everyone who moves across those borders and then claims residence in the USA, will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the USA, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents to depend on the current availability of (i) adequate funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the USA, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the USA and elsewhere in the world.

· Phase 2: Also starting in 2021, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will collectively form a Global Refugee Consortium (GRC), with three-way open borders to any political refugee, economic refugee, or asylum seeker from anywhere in the world (aka “global refugees”), who will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the three GRC countries, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents, and the precise distribution of new residents among the three members of the GRC, to depend on the current availability of (i) funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the three GRC countries, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the GRC and elsewhere in the world.

7. Universal No-Guns (UNG):

· No one in the USA, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to possess or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is coercion, and coercion is immoral.

· UNG would be implemented by repealing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 2021 and then universally banning the possession or use of guns thereafter.

I’m also assuming that Universal Public Education (UPE) — universal free access for all human persons of any age to good public education up to the end of high school — already exists in most countries, and needs no further justification.

Where UPE does not already exist, it would automatically become a necessary part of the seven-part WTFU Party package, thereby making it a eight-part package.

Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 26 January 2017

The WTFU Party is a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, which is home-based on Patreon here.

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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