Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sacralization of Self-determination?

I dispatched a missive to my brain trust this afternoon...

On background, there is an excellent series from CBC Radio Ideas podcast titled Myth of the SecularEpisode Five (there are seven, earlier episodes are great too) examines the idea that "All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts." - Carl Schmitt, Political Theology.  We the people elevate the significance of the State to that of an ideal worth killing or dying for.  What then of a country - the USA (is there another that comes close?) - that idealizes the value of the individual above even the secular State or other forms of community? 

In that context, I'm knocking around some ideas related to the current guns and ammo buying panic.

My thesis:

While gun sellers have their profit motive, the panicked gun buyers are driven by fear.  They give this fear many names, but it goes beyond unmet need, beyond losing a hobby, beyond not being allowed to hunt, and even beyond being denied the ability to defend oneself against crime.  It penetrates deep into (unrecognized?) concepts underlying the Second Amendment, and into a place where classical liberal values do battle with atavistic impulses.  This fear tears away at the perception of one's role in relationship to the state, community, and family.  Is the Second Amendment a sacralization of the ideal that the individual common man must retain an unmitigated ability to shape the state by violence?  While the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are individual rights, they can only be applied in community.  Is the concept of a "well-regulated militia" - volunteers from the community engaged in the common defense - lost on modern conservatives, these reactionary white men, struggling with the loss of a world their fathers and grandfathers knew?  Is personal sovereignty a virtue to be held above all others?  Is this a sacralization of self-determination? 

I am afraid they will take away my guns... (and with them my heritage, identity, property, power)

I am afraid they will take away... (by threat of force, violate my sovereignty, reject my dignity, extinguish my ability to resist)

I am afraid they... (the anti-gunners, soccer moms, anti-hunters, liberals, environmentalists, minorities, urban elites, non-Christians, Democrats, a black president, blue states, federal regulators, the Supreme Court, international treaties, the UN, the Other)

I am afraid... (of loss of control, status, or face; of cognitive dissonance; of fear itself)

I... (which I hold more sacred than family, community, or state)