It's an ancient and time-honored tradition for kings, nations and occupiers to institute a policy of 'divide and rule' to aid their control of their subjects. Wikipedia sums it up as follows:
In politics and sociology, divide and rule (or divide and conquer) is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up.
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Elements of this technique involve:
- creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign
- aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign
- fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers
- encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political and military spending
There's more at the link.
This is, of course, the diametric opposite of another policy, one often adopted by those resisting tyranny (including the founders of the United States of America). That policy is 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall'. Wikipedia again:
"United we stand, divided we fall" is a phrase used in many different kinds of mottos, most often to inspire unity and collaboration. Its core concept lies in the collectivist notion that if individual members of a certain group with binding ideals - such as a union, coalition, confederation or alliance - work on their own instead of as a team, they are each doomed to fail and will all be defeated. The phrase is also often referred to with only the words "United we stand".
More at the link. US 'Founding Father' Benjamin Franklin summed this up in his famous aphorism, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
The office of President of the United States has historically been seen as a unifying factor in the politics and society of the United States. Regardless of the political affiliation of the current occupant, the White House has traditionally been seen as a symbol of the nation as a whole, not of only one part of it. Sadly, under the Obama Administration, that's changed. The current President has been 'the great divider' rather than 'the great uniter'. His public statements, policies and actions seem designed to set different segments of the American population at each others' throats, rather than bring them together to support common action for the common good.
That certainly seems true of his latest gun control proposals. For a start, they're vague and non-specific, leaving details to be provided in future regulations and procedures to be implemented by administrative fiat (and which will doubtless lead to questions about constitutionality and whether or not they're practically enforceable). Nevertheless, they seek to demonize certain sectors of US society in the name of safety for all. In particular:
- By refusing to categorically define the nature of 'dealing in firearms', the proposals will make it possible to pursue anyone who sells a firearm privately. If you can't be sure whether your actions will be legal or not, won't this have a chilling effect on your willingness to engage in such transactions? Clearly the Administration hopes it will.
- By requiring background checks for firearm transactions involving members of NFA trusts, the Administration is ignoring the reality that not one single member of such trusts has ever used an NFA firearm to commit a crime. In other words, the new regulation is administrative window-dressing, a public relations exercise that will achieve precisely nothing.
- It seems very much as if the Administration intends to prohibit firearms ownership among recipients of Social Security benefits who require the assistance of others to manage their financial affairs. This is, to my mind, reprehensible. There will be no attempt made to determine why such individuals need assistance to manage their money. It might be because they're not capable of easy movement, and therefore want someone else to be able to go to the bank on their behalf, pay their bills, and generally conduct business in their name. Now those individuals will be assumed to be mentally incompetent to manage their own affairs, whether or not this is actually the case, and therefore be deprived of their ability to defend themselves against intruders. I regard this as reprehensible and unconstitutional discrimination.
Sebastian at 'Shall Not Be Questioned' sums up his reaction to the President's proposals as follows: "... he’s basically just restating current efforts, and not really changing anything about 'engaged in the business'. This is a lot less ambitious and bold than I was expecting." I'm not sure that I agree with him. I think the President is adopting the principle of erosion. A water droplet is a small, insignificant thing; but let enough of them fall on a rock, for a sufficiently long period of time, and they'll erode that rock. The evidence of the accumulation of such 'droplets' is visible in the changes in American culture and society that have become visible over the past decade.
President Obama's latest gun control proposals are more droplets, political, social and cultural. Individually, even collectively, they may not matter very much, but as the latest moves in a long-standing war against our individual rights, liberties and freedoms, they continue to erode the foundation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The President also continued to set Americans against each other in his weekly address last Friday.
In the address, Obama went on to urge citizens to stand up against the groups like the National Rifle Association, with which he has had a contentious relationship since entering office.
“The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone,” he said. “The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in defense of our kids."
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“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, but what if we tried to stop even one. What if Congress did something, anything, to protect our kids from gun violence?,” he implored.
Again, more at the link. Note the appeal at the end. "It's for the chiiiiiil-dren!" Of course, such protestations are straight out of the Alinsky playbook that's informed so much of President Obama's actions in office, and prior to that as a 'community organizer'.
I think Howie Carr put it well in a column in the Boston Herald last Saturday.
What this is about is very simple — Obama is coming after our guns because he and his ilk don’t want us to be able to defend ourselves.
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Obama, Holder, Lynch et al. have zero interest in enforcing the existing gun statutes because they’re violated in large measure by illegal aliens, gangbangers, drive-by shooters, street muggers and fifth-generation welfare layabouts — in other words, the core constituencies of the Democratic Party. Do any of these Obama voters get their weapons at gun shows? If you’ve ever been to a gun show, you damn well know the answer to that question.
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None of these harass-the-Americans measures ... would have had the slightest impact on most of the recent mass shootings — you know, like by the Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino, or the Islamic terrorist at Fort Hood, or the Islamic terrorist at LAX, or the Islamic terrorist Beltway shooter...
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If only the terrorists and the rest of the illegal aliens were Republicans, they’d have been deported yesterday. If only Democrats went to gun shows, they’d be sacred ground, like abortion clinics.
In the meantime, here’s the only New Year’s resolution you need to make. Buy a gun if you don’t have one. If you already have one, buy another, or two, or three. And buy stock in gun companies. It’s going to be a banner year.