Musing (adjective): characterized by reflection or deep thought.

Musing Millennials is a place to discuss our ever-changing world and the ideas that define our shared reality. It’s a place where independent thought and civility are valued above all else. My goal is to foster an environment where readers can explore topics that will help them live a well-informed and purspose-driven life.

At some point you are likely to read a blog post, advice column or discussion that you disagree with. This is a positive aspect of my project. Interacting with ideas which contradict your own is an essential exercise in the pursuit of truth. I encourage you to critique our content in the comments section or submit a response post.

Ultimately, I hope this project helps me to grow my understanding of the world and contribute to society. Please contact me if you’d like to author a guest post or suggest an idea to explore.

-Brian

Why ALL Americans Should Support the Right to Bear Arms:

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Communists, Democratic-Socialists, Libertarians, Social Conservatives and Good Government Republicans…lend me your ears! I would like to persuade you against taking away gun rights in America. You should all want to protect our Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms. If you care at all about implementing your ideology or protecting the integrity of our Constitutional Republic, then you need to support the “Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms” under our Second Amendment. I know that this sounds weird… Just hear me out.

 

The Second Amendment is essential to protecting our civil rights, fighting injustice and preventing the tyrannical oppression of United States citizens. I’m aware of the arguments against our Second Amendment and the risk of harm that comes with this essential individual right. While I do support reasonable gun regulations, federal and state confiscation policies are incredibly dangerous to our Republic. This is why:

 

Our political system maintains accountability and legitimacy through a series of checks and balances. Basically, voters traditionally believe that our system protects the People from harm by dividing institutional power between three branches of government at the federal level: (1) The Supreme Court protects individual rights against tyranny by stopping the other two branches from concentrating too much power; (2) The legislative branch obviously writes the law, approves judicial and executive branch nominees and provides oversight over the executive branch; (3) the executive branch executes the law and has a fair amount of leeway when determining how to execute the law. State governments then serve as a check against federal power and address issues that are closer to home. As the theory goes, “check and balances” prevent these institutions from concentrating too much “power” over our system and prevent oppression.

 

This is a merely a illusion. There is one key institution missing: The People. Power does not rest with the government. Power rests with those who influence and control government officials. In other words, the People consent to being governed by elected officials and then wield their individual rights to keep government officials accountable.

 

In this system, groups of citizens with common interests organize into political factions in order to influence government. To be clear, I’m using the following definition of power: “the capacity or ability to control the behavior of others and pursue a specific course of events.” The People maintain this power through the free exercise of their constitutional rights. Thus, in order to maintain OUR power over government, we use OUR rights to organize into groups that protect one another from government abuse and prevent illegitimate private influence over elected officials.

 

The People’s check on extremely wealthy individuals relies on OUR ability to exercise each and every individual right in the Constitution. Our First Amendment Rights allow us to inform others of problems within our communities, speak out against injustices and ultimately set the policy agenda for our elected officials. The First Amendment also allows us to organize into groups of individuals who share common political and economic interests.

 

When exercised effectively, the right to speak our minds and organize into common interest groups acts as a check against tyrannical governments AND prevents rich individuals from amassing too much power or influence over our Republic. It is perhaps the most important right that the People possess.

 

However, it comes at a high risk and must be protected at all costs. Rich individuals and corporate interests can use their massive wealth to spread disinformation, set the issue agenda for public debates and then donate to candidates who support their chosen policies. They can purchase entire media organizations and spend millions upon millions of dollars on non-profit organizations in order to influence voters and impact electoral outcomes.

 

Under our Constitution, they have the right to do these things. I do not contest this fact. But it is our responsibility to remain vigilant against systemic corruption, combat undue influence and protect ourselves against their oppression.

 

I’ve personally witnessed how this power structure operates while working in the government relations and political theaters during the first five years of my career. Unfortunately, I helped spread their propaganda and promoted their self-interested policies. I was blindly committed to my libertarian-leaning ideology and naively trusted wealthy interest groups to be loyal allies due to our perceived common interests.
Eventually, I realized that their propaganda did not align with their real policy motivations and became disgusted by their thirst for total power. Our alliance was once of convenience, and they often betrayed us by funding multiple groups on both sides of my most important issues. Today, anti-gun activists possess the same naivety and false sense of “moral clarity” that I once possessed. They’re being used by rich and powerful individuals to entrench corrupt power structures. They’re pawns in a sadistic game of three-dimensional chess. They just don’t know it yet. Tugging at emotions and creating moral outrage are highly effective political weapons, and wealthy special interests do not hesitate when using them to influence elections.

 

Never forget this universal truth about our political system: the rich use their resources to tell you which issues are “important” and HOW to think about those issues. They control the information that voters use to inform their voting behavior. They’ve done this for over 200 years, and will continue to seek influence until the end of time. Their tactics are meant to “hide the ball” and disinform, and their true intentions are almost always meant to protect their status and wealth. Their influence is everywhere and often hard to detect due to our First Amendment right to anonymous speech. They are better educated in political warfare, have FAR more resources than you and know exactly how to influence your cognitive process. Most importantly, they control the information and data that voters see online or on TV.

 

In the modern social media and journalism environment, the People are essentially the ONLY check on their power. This is not possible without the Second Amendment. The First Amendment and all other individual rights amount to useless illusions without the Right to Bear Arms. Without the threat of harm or popular revolt, the People cannot protect our individual (or collective) interests. Your power over government would lose its teeth, and the power dynamic in American would shift entirely to the wealthiest individuals.

 

THEY control the narrative. THEY control the agenda. THEY control elected officials in both parties. THEY possess undue influence over public policies that impact OUR lives. THEY control the administrative agencies and bureaucracy that executes law. THEY control the massive surveillance state that invades our privacy and spies on American citizens. THEY control what becomes illegal in our society, and THEY control the criminal justice system. THEY shape the interpretation of OUR Constitution. THEY have the resources to avoid accountability in the legal and electoral systems.

 

Your ability to organize into an armed group with other average Americans is the LAST thing standing in the way of absolute plutocratic power over government and control over our lives. Just to avoid accusations of treason or landing on a “no-fly” list, I’m not advocating for open revolt against government or eating the rich…At least not yet. My personal experience in the political and government relations industry taught me to never give up our rights and to always distrust “grassroots” movements who want to steal actual power from the People. 

I can already hear the cognitive dissonance stewing in your brain… “BUT BRIAN… eLeCtIoNs PrOtEcT oUr RiGhTs! We DoN’T NeEd DaNgErOuS GuNs!” If you believe this, then you’re either blind to reality, stupid or rich. Maybe you’re all three? (Elizabeth Warren supporters…I’m looking at you) Bposter_13c9c379537841b3b40c69f4177b1d53efore you reflexively disagree with me, please consider the following:

  • Why would the rich use their influence over elections to act in your self-interest (or in your “collective” interest)? FYI: SCOTUS isn’t going to overturn Citizens United anytime soon. Further, the IRS recently approved 26 CFR 1.6033-2 which strengthened the electoral influence of wealthy individuals. The rich enjoy their influence and are still working to secure it for the foreseeable future.
  • Do you know WHY you believe in a particular ideology or HOW government actually works? Have you scrutinized the narratives surrounding each issue and check their sources?
  • Can you recognize when your ideology or religion is being weaponized and misrepresented to divide the People? Are candidates focused on furthering division in our irrelevant culture war? Are my elected officials actually protecting constitutional rights of all Americans?
  • Should you vote away your Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms in a media environment and electoral system controlled by wealthy individual and corporate interests? In such a system, can I still effectively protect my freedom against others? If you’re a socialist-minded person or communist, can you effectively organize an uprising without guns?
  • Finally, why would the ultra-wealthy (and a government bought by the ultra-weathy) serve the best-interests of an unarmed, uneducated, unengaged and misinformed population? What keeps them accountable to the People when government controls the guns and the rich control our channels of influence and elections? In such a situation, is “change” even possible?

 

Do you still want to hand over your Right to Bear Arms? If so, please keep these potential long-term consequences in the forefront of your mind.  As for me, I’ll keep “clinging” to my guns.

I’m not willing to give up control over our Republic just to maintain your false sense of security. If that makes me a monster, then so be it.

Ten Commandments for Independent Thinkers

Several months ago, I stumbled across Bertrand Russell’s “Ten Commandments of Liberal Inquiry.” The commandments were orginally published in Russell’s 1951 NYT Magazine article entitled The Best Answer to Fanaticism- Liberalism. While Russell advocated for classical liberalism and freedom of thought in this 67 year-old article, his commandments are still applicable in 2018 across the idealogical spectrum.

Since first reading Russell’s commandments, I’ve tried to apply all ten to my career, studies and social life. As a result, I’m more confident and life is more fulfilling. Ignorant “hot takes” and chaotic news cycles are less likely to tug at my emotions. My work product, writing and political discussions have improved in many ways.

These ten short principles might not float your boat, but I think they should be required reading for Americans. I found Commandments I, VI, IX and X particularly helpful and enlightening during an era marked by insanity and divisiveness.

I. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

II. Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

III. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

IV. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

V. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

VI. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

VII. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

VIII. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

IX. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

X. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness

How could you apply Russell’s “Ten Commandments” in your personal pursuit of truth? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

-Brian Norman, Founder