I recently purchased a bumpersticker similar to this to go along with my “Gary Johnson 2016 #FeelTheJohnson” bumpersticker. But now that I’ve thought about it, I am having second thoughts.
“Don’t Tread on Anyone” — Fantastic encapsulation of the Libertarian Philosophy. Pretty much the reason I am a small “l” libertarian. Don’t tread on gay people who want to get married, but also don’t tread on Christians (or anyone else) who don’t want to be a part of the ceremony. Don’t tread on trannies who want to use a bathroom, but don’t tread on businesses that don’t want trannies in their bathrooms either. Don’t tread on gun owners; and if you don’t like guns, don’t own one. Don’t tread on people who want to fly the rainbow flag, and don’t tread on people who want to fly the Confederate flag.
Let the special snowflakes have their “Safe Spaces” where they can suck their thumbs, grasp their teddy bears, and tell each other how awesome the world would be if they were the only ones allowed to be mean to other people; but let conservatives be free to express their opinions without fat triggered feminists screaming obscenities at them.
“Don’t Tread on Anyone” — Terrific slogan.
There’s just one minor problem.
I think this meme illustrates what that minor problem is.
My brother-in-law helped us move into the chouse (church-house… I live in a 120 year old church) a couple of weekends ago. He is not the most astute individual. He was working with my son; who is so Libertarian Objectivist he makes Ayn Rand look like Bernie Sanders. My B-I-L saw the “Don’t Tread On Me” patch on my son’s satchel and said, “That means you shouldn’t step on rattlesnakes because they’re endangered.”
I am not making that up.
But his misunderstanding is almost as bad as the misunderstanding represented by that meme; the idea that “Don’t Tread on Me” is a “request” from the citizenry for the Government to respect our rights. I suppose it’s natural that we should feel that way. After all, we have been conditioned to believe that our rights are granted by the Government, and if the Government denies those rights, our only recourse is to “request” that they restore them and hope that if enough of us beg loudly enough, our pleas may be heard and Government will be moved to show us mercy and permit us to exercise those rights; but only so long as they don’t make the gays, or racial minorities, or Government bureaucrats, or hypersensitive feminists, or any other politically-favored group feel uncomfortable.
But that’s not what “Don’t Tread on Me” means. A rattlesnake has no desire to strike a human unless it feels threatened. If you insist on provoking a rattlesnake, you may expect to be bitten. In that vein, “Don’t Tread on Me” isn’t a meek request to the Government to “Please respect our rights,” but a statement that a Government that does not respect our human rights will be brought to account; peacefully if possible, violently if necessary.
“Don’t Tread on Anyone” sounds like a polite request to respect everybody’s rights. “Don’t Tread on Me” is not a request, it is a warning. “Step on my rights and there will be consequences.”
But aside from that quibble, I like the slogan.