With an iron fist in a velvet glove
We are sheltered under the gun
In the glory game on the power train
Thy kingdom’s will be done

And the things that we fear are a weapon to be held against us…

The events in San Bernardino last week stoked the fear furnace to a white-hot level, as the political class tripped all over itself to exploit the tragedy.

As with pretty much everything in America, the media managed to frame the San Bernardino aftermath as a political tug-o-war between the left and the right. On the surface, it appears we have two diametrically-opposed interests locked in a mortal battle to turn the shootings to their advantage. On one side, we have progressives pushing for stricter gun control, and on the other side, we have right-wingers pushing for more police state and war.

But digging just below the surface reveals the same impulse motivating both sides of this political brouhaha – fear. And both sides are actually pushing us in the same direction. If we give in, these factions will ultimately work together and drag us to the exact same place – tyranny.

Dan Sanchez wrote a brilliant, must-read article last week perfectly explaining where the true danger lies.

I am not terrified of the terrorists; i.e., I am not, myself, terrorized. Rather, I am terrified of the terrorized; terrified of the bovine masses who are so easily manipulated by terrorists, governments, and the terror-amplifying media into allowing our country to slip toward totalitarianism and total war.”

So how do we travel down this road of fear toward total totalitarianism and total war? St. George Tucker wrote the first systematic commentary on the Constitution. In his earlier commentary on Blackstone, he provides the road map.

Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

In the aftermath of San Bernardino, the politicos are herding “the terrified bovine masses” straight toward the twin hammers of destruction Tucker warns us about.

The left has seized on American fears to once again ratchet up the cries for gun control. The New York Times published its first front page op-ed since 1920 and called for an “assault rifle” ban. The Times editorial board makes it pretty clear their strategy includes gun confiscation.

It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.”

This merely serves as a foot-in-the-door for the gun control crowd. ThinkProgress was more honest than the Times, pointing out the truth: rifles account for a minuscule number of gun deaths. To really create any impact, the gun controllers must address handguns. The endgame clearly must involve disarming the populace, if they really want to accomplish what they claim.

On the other side of the coin, we have the right clamoring for more police state.

In the aftermath of the shooting, a meme began circulating on Facebook. It featured a photo of several armored police vehicles in the aftermath of the shootout that ultimately resulted in the deaths of both suspects. The caption read, “Everyone talking crap about police being militarized? Understand yet?”

The meme-maker gets an A-plus for capitalizing on fear. It even made me pause. Perhaps access to armored vehicles and other military hardware did facilitate law enforcement’s successful effort to stop these two shooters. Of course, we don’t know that it did or didn’t. But in a situation involving shooters armed with semi-automatic rifles and tactical gear, which could have included body armor, one can reasonably argue police needed every advantage they could get.

But the meme raises a much deeper question: how much freedom and liberty will we give up for what level of safety?

In 99.99 percent of the cases, police deploy this military gear for everyday policing, primarily to fight the unconstitutional “war on drugs.” And they carry the mentality with them every time they put on the uniform. We can point to all kinds of negative effects that flow from militarizing peace officers. It changes the mentality from serve and protect to command and control. Essentially, America has turned its police officers into a domestic standing army.

So, within the two seemingly divergent political streams flowing from the San Bernardino tragedy, we find the twin-hammers Tucker warned would ultimately destroy liberty – prohibition of the right to keep and bear arms and the establishment of a standing army.

On top of that, the right wants more war. Fight them “over there” so we don’t have to fight them here serves as a rallying cry for yet more intervention in foreign lands. James Madison warned us about war.

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.” He also said, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”

The media makes it seem like the political left and right hope to push American in completely opposite directions. In some ways, maybe they do. But ultimately the two sides work together toward an identical goal – more power and control for government, and complete submission of the citizenry.

Think about it. How can the left “control” guns without the right’s police-state?

Sanchez astutely ties things together in his article.

And the same progressives who rightly warn of potential fascism under the divisive demagoguery of Donald Trump, want to give the institution that Trump may come to control greater power to register and disarm the public. They ignore or deny the fact that the mass human roundups we associate with such regimes are only practicable given broad civilian disarmament. And broad civilian disarmament, in turn, is only practicable given broad gun registration. For example, the German Jews and liberals were easily liquidated by the Nazis, thanks to the Weimar Republic’s gun registration laws. Do you really want every single Mexican and Muslim in America disarmed or easily disarm-able under “Chancellor” Trump?

“After San Bernardino, I am just as terrified of the terrorized and terrorizing Left as I am of the terrorized and terrorizing Right. I more fully realize that the latter can only do its worst if enabled by the former. The Left sets us up for the Right to knock us down. Call it the Weimar/Third Reich one-two punch.”

And the things that we fear are a weapon to be held against us…