A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Armenian Genocide

--By Special Libertarian Librarian Correspondent John Heeder

I watched an engrossing documentary on PBS last night titled “Armenian Genocide”. It was on during the late night schedule, and rightly so. The images presented during this show were horrific; they easily rivaled any concentration camp or Nazi atrocity image.

Let’s take a step back. In 1915, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire had grand designs on much of Eastern Europe and slices of Russia. Their inept military leaders led the Muslim army right into a disastrous defeat. Armenian turncoats (Armenian Christians were a part of the Ottoman Empire) among the invading Russians infuriated the Ottoman version of the ruling Triumvirate.

A state-sponsored plot was implemented to, quite simply, commit a genocide upon the Armenians. And thus began a year-long killing spree of Armenian Christians by the Muslims who had been their neighbors and fellow countrymen.

With direction, funding, and manpower from the government, and approval from the Mullahs, the most horrific tortures and deaths were inflicted upon the Armenians. I’m not going to describe them here, but for bloodcurdling cruelty and pure evil this reign of terror rivaled anything the Nazis would do twenty-five years later.

International intervention (primarily by those war-mongering Americans) and the natural course of the war finally led to the genocide winding down. Not one Armenian family was untouched when it was over. To this day, Turkey, the modern version of the Ottoman Empire, denies there was ever a genocide effort. The Turk-on-the-street denies it as well. But scholars and historians the world over say there is no doubt that there was a genocide.

Check your local listings. "Armenian Genocide" is well worth watching, just don't let the kids be in the room.

So let’s talk about takeaways.

1. Get a gun. If those Armenians had been armed, it would at the very least have slowed down the genocide, if not stopped it altogether. One of the reasons we don’t have more Ruby Ridge or Waco incidents in this country is that our government knows we’re armed.

2. Remember. Every nation has blood on its hand, its simply how the modern world was formed. But if you are a minority living in a Muslim controlled land; remember. Not even in Nazi Germany did the man in the street turn against the state-selected scapegoat like they did in the Ottoman Empire.

3. Cherish your freedoms. For most of world history, people were split into two camps, the oppressed, and the oppressors. Be glad the lines are a lot more blurry in these modern times.

All right, I must apologize for all the doom and gloom posts while Nick is away. Tomorrow we’ll move onto a lighter subject: how to slaughter your enemies and emerge triumphant in the World of Warcraft!

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Comments:
Interesting post. One quiblle-- your takeaways are out of whack. #1 should be #3 at most. #2 and #3 are far more important than #1.

Cherish your freedoms really should be #1. Americans are spoiled in many senses of the word, but not realizing how lucky we are to live in a country founded on the principle of "live, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is maybe the worst of the bunch. We take far too much for granted-- business as usual.

#2 is probably almost as important as #3. In our Instant Message world, historical context is an after thought if it's a thought at all. How can you plan for the future if you don't know how you got to the present?

#1 I'm not really sold on. Lots and lots of people have guns in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East-- that really hasn't stopped despots and terrorists. Guns in America do serve a purpose, but I don't really see it being part of keeping the Gov't in check. And the Ruby Ridge/Waco argument seems pretty thin to me. The reason we don't have more of those kind of scenarios is because there is a well-established rule of law tradition in the U.S. Citizens who do not like what their Gov't is doing have non-violent means of petitioning their government.

Guns may be a deterrent to crime, they may provide recreational enjoyment in a number of ways, and they may make you feel more psychologically secure. But I don't think the existence of guns among the populace informs government policy in any large measure.

Oh-- and thanks for the interesting and well-written posts, John! Keep on rolling, as I will only be able to pop in from time to time until next week.
 
“Interesting post. One quiblle-- your takeaways are out of whack. #1 should be #3 at most. #2 and #3 are far more important than #1.”

Consider cause and effect. Armed citizenry=free country (usually). In modern times (that last century) the first thing every dictator did was disarm the citizens. As a practical matter, freedom comes out of the barrel of a firearm.

I say this as a guy who doesn’t own a gun! The last rifle I owned, a single shot .22 rifle with an expended shell stuck in the barrel, I sold in 1993 for $60. The pawnshop dude didn’t even look down the barrel or inspect the weapon at all, he just slammed three twenties down on the counter. And I took them.

All that said, freedom is more important than weapons. So you’re correct.

“#1 I'm not really sold on. Lots and lots of people have guns in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East-- that really hasn't stopped despots and terrorists. “

That’s a good point. A cultural grounding in individual self-determination is perhaps also required. Look at how some Russians want to go back to communism; they aren’t equipped to deal with democracy and its attendant freedoms.

“Guns in America do serve a purpose, but I don't really see it being part of keeping the Gov't in check. And the Ruby Ridge/Waco argument seems pretty thin to me. The reason we don't have more of those kind of scenarios is because there is a well-established rule of law tradition in the U.S. Citizens who do not like what their Gov't is doing have non-violent means of petitioning their government.”

There may be no way to ever settle this argument. I remain of the opinion that as long as our cultural elites and assorted government officials will state that the US Constitution is a ‘living document’, they are also stating that any freedom listed therein can be overcome or disabled.

Knowing that some redneck, or some gang-banger, or some white bread suburban homeowner has the potential to use a weapon to defend family, property, and those freedoms has to figure into the thinking of those elites.
 
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