Incrementalism: Death By A Thousand Cuts

There is a concept that is well understood by the powerful and less so by the rank and file of America. It is an insidious little activity, seemingly harmless in application but over time, it can become deadly.

I first learned about it as a teenager.

I grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi and as such, I have worked my entire life. When from the time I was about 6, I had chores to do around the family farm whether it was shelling peas or butterbeans or feeding the chickens and as I grew older and stronger, I spent more time with larger livestock and then eventually graduated to our farm and construction equipment…

When I was a freshman in high school, I started my first paying job and opened a checking account. The first year or so, I could not seem to save anything, every monthly statement was met with disappointment as I seemed to always be able to bleed the account dry. I never understood why, I never wrote big checks. I would only write them for a few dollars here and there for a burger, a box of .22 cartridges or little things needed for school.

Finally one day, I realized what was happening. I looked at the statement and saw the problem, it wasn’t a single check for $200 that was a problem, it was the 40 checks for $5.00 that were the problem. I would never have splurged for the big ticket item but the $5.00 amount seemed so small that it couldn’t possibly do damage to my balance…but that was the issue. It was not the discrete spend of a large amount; it was the smaller incremental amounts that were killing my account balance.

Incrementalism is on full display in politics – politicians know that they seldom can get the support for radical changes, so the nibble at the edges, never really solving the problem but steadily eroding individual freedom and rights.

The current “gun safety” debate is a perfect example.

Obama was in Minnesota yesterday to gin up support for gun legislation. Why Minnesota? For the same reasons he does multitudes of interviews on Sixty Minutes, he knows he is in friendly territory and will not be challenged. He went to Minnesota because the Democratic controlled state government is gearing up for not just gun “control” but outright gun confiscation. John Hinderaker at Powerline notes:

Liberals often ridicule gun owners’ fears that what the left really wants is to confiscate firearms, but in Minnesota the Democrats make no pretense: they are pushing confiscation legislation, unapologetically. H.F. 241 relates to “assault weapons.” It defines “assault weapons” in more or less the usual way; I haven’t compared it line by line to Dianne Feinstein’s federal legislation, but the definition is similar if not identical. “Assault weapons” include all semiautomatic rifles that have a pistol grip or a hole in the stock through which you can put your thumb; any “protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand;” a folding or telescopic stock; or a barrel shroud. So, what is it about a hole in the stock, a “protruding grip,” a folding stock and so on that explains why such weapons should be singled out for banning by the state? Nothing. These features have nothing to do with lethality and bear no rational relation to any legitimate governmental purpose.

Obama also lied in his speech when he stated gun violence was on the rise. As is shown in the FBI statistics, gun crime has been steadily declining and we are at the lowest rate of total violent crime in 40 years (since 1972). The FBI states in the overview for violent crime statistics (found here) that:

  • In 2011, an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes occurred nationwide, a decrease of 3.8 percent from the 2010 estimate.
  • When considering 5- and 10-year trends, the 2011 estimated violent crime total was 15.4 percent below the 2007 level and 15.5 percent below the 2002 level.

But why waste a good crisis, right? So what if you have to stand on the tombstones of little kids to do it?

The Democrats are creating a crisis to convince the public that they “don’t really need guns” and seek to ban “assault weapons”, guns that have certain “military style” features even though these features have absolutely nothing to do with the lethality of the weapon and are simply cosmetic. They are insanely focused on a “long gun”, the AR-15, to the exclusion of all other guns when in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics, Table 8 reports that in 2011, there were only 323 homicides that were recorded that used a rifle (that would be all styles of rifles) while there were 6,220 that were perpetrated with handguns.

Yet there is no discussion about handguns.

I am not advocating that handguns be banned. What I am pointing out is how the Democrats and liberals use an illegitimate “crisis” to institute incremental changes that in the long run will be used to eat away your right to own a gun of any type. Why would anyone focus on a weapon that is 20 times less likely to be used, focus on banning it for items that have absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the weapon while ignoring the fact that an earlier ban on the weapon did absolutely noting to change crime rates? Why do this when the only outcome of the earlier ban was to prohibit ownership of the weapon – unless their ultimate goal is something else?

That “something else” is the fact that a permanent ban on “assault weapons” is something that they can scare an gun-ignorant public into getting behind. A ban of this nature it is the camel’s nose under the tent. It is an incremental step to outlawing all guns and the voiding of the Second Amendment. This is not symbolism, it is a planned, prescribed and coordinated attack on a Constitutional right that the left needs to remove in their quest to destroy America.

Think I’m just a right wingnut loon? You liberals who caterwauled when Bush got the surveillance approved under the Patriot Act, please tell me how you feel now about the radical usurpation of the Constitutional Due Process clause that allows Obama to order a drone strike on any American merely “suspected” of a crime against the US…not proven guilty, just “suspected”.

Bush could only listen to you – now Obama can kill you based on what he heard after he and the Democrats re-authorized and expanded the Patriot Act. Hell, even the Right Reverend Jackson is calling for federal troops to patrol the streets of Chicago. Take away private ownership of guns and we are one manufactured “crisis” away from a police state.

You wonder why classic liberals push back and stand firm on strict interpretations of the Constitution – this is why. We understand history and we understand the danger of incrementalism.

2 thoughts on “Incrementalism: Death By A Thousand Cuts

  1. All those little increments give them plausible deniability. The left can then come up with “you crazy wingnuts” when we present a valid argument or try to tell them what’s going on. They just won’t see it.

  2. Tyranny accomplished by a thousand cuts is akin to the Frog being Boiled slowly in a pot of Cold water that heats up so slowly the Frog doesn’t realize until it’s too late. Although frogs may not actually sit around long enough for that to happen……people Certainly DO !

    Asking a simple question seems to be beyond the average Public School graduate at this point….To wit… : WHY does the Dept of Homeland Security need to order another 7000 Rifles..??? Aren’t we safe ? Are they expecting an invading army ? and If not …. then just WHO are those rifles to be used against ?

    And….. If the Government doesn’t Trust us ( the people, the Citizens) with guns, then why should WE trust them ??

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