When everyone has a gun -- or an army -- is it more or less likely that we will be able to live in peace and freedom from fear? If we are going to be honest (the essential starting point for a civilized conversation), we need to know just exactly what a politician, preacher, or pundit really stands for: what is her / his grand vision: if their proposals are followed to their logical conclusion. Does the vision offered tend us all towards the prospect of unity in diversity and peace with justice? Or are the "values" of unity in diversity and peace with justice brushed off as mere "liberal folly"? Is tolerance of the different and acceptance of the "other" recognized as core values of civilized society -- or are they again, marginalized as liberal or "foreign" concepts? How are we to get from "here" to the "there" of the politician's, preacher's, or pundit's proposals brings up the importance of considering means and ends.
Can unjust means lead to a just end? Can violence put an end to violence? Can oppression or injustice make it more or less likely that peace and contentment will prevail? Can a gun in every pocket make us all safer? Can the unlimited pursuit of profit -- regardless of consequences -- make it more or less likely that there will be work with dignity for everyone? Can the addictive consumption of illegal drugs (to the tune of billions of dollars a year) guarantee anyone even a year of harmony and satisfaction? The essential -- yet unpronounced -- proposition of the Tea Party, and of the many world manifestations of the Right-Wing mentality (and religious fundamentalism), is that the ends do in fact justify the means. For the Tea Party in particular and the American Right-Wing in general, their "end" is the continued exploitation of the Planet for the satisfaction of our unlimited desires and the domination of the world by the United States (just listen to former Vice President Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Gov. Rick Perry, or Rev. Pat Robertson as examples)... Is there really anything of soul-satisfying greatness in their words or visions? If freedom from fear is a legitimate human desire, then it is also legitimate to ponder how we might actually achieve that blessed condition and great end.