Hubris is a Greek word that signifies overweening confidence that leads to a big fall. It is a common component of tragedy. The Wiki article seems to get lost in ancient Greek references and, having read a lot about Greece and Greek history, I don’t think they are on target.

In its modern use, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek society. The proverb “pride goes before a fall” (from the biblical Book of Proverbs, 16:18) is thought to summate the modern use of hubris.

This is a bit closer to the definition I prefer.

I think we are about to see a grand spectacle of hubris on the part of the re-elected president. The Washington Post describes the outline, as if it was a done deal.

The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions.

A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association that one source said could include rallying support from Wal-Mart and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses. White House aides have also been in regular contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), an outspoken gun-control advocate who could emerge as a powerful surrogate for the Obama administration’s agenda.

Nowhere in the article does it acknowledge that the enemies of gun bans include, in addition to the NRA and the “gun manufacturers,” a majority of the people. This is why second terms are so well know for trouble for incumbents.

The gun-control push is just one part of an ambitious political agenda that Obama has pledged to pursue after his decisive reelection victory in November, including comprehensive immigration reform, climate-change legislation and long-term deficit reduction. Obama also faces a reshuffling of his Cabinet, and a looming debate over the nation’s debt ceiling that will compete for his time and attention in the coming months.

In addition to potential legislative proposals, Biden’s group has expanded its focus to include measures that would not need congressional approval and could be quickly implemented by executive action, according to interest-group leaders who have discussed options with Biden and key Cabinet secretaries. Possibilities include changes to federal mental-health programs and modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The election victory was less “decisive” than the White House and the political left seems to believe. It is no surprise that they are looking for ways to avoid Congress. Now that we know how the EPA evaded the Freedom of Information Act with secret e-mail accounts, nothing should surprise us.

I was going to go to the gun store today but got bogged down in running errands and will have to go tomorrow. The nearest one has a good price on Colt 1911 model .45 calibre pistols. Since the proposed actions by the Obama folks are aimed at banning “military-style handguns,” I guess I had better hurry.

One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.

I think Wal-Mart is too smart to get into bed with this administration but maybe not. Certainly, Obama is no friend of non-union Wal-Mart. The same applies to gun retailers who can’t keep enough guns and ammunition in stock. I think they know who their friends are. If not they will learn quickly.

Finally, At the White House meeting, Stanek said, “the vice president indicated that there was a very short timeline for him to get back to the president with his recommendations because the American public has a short memory.”

Yup. Get that unconstitutional law going before anybody wakes up.

12 thoughts on “Hubris”

  1. What do you mean, hubris? He commands the tides, he can certainly get a broadly overreaching new law passed in just a few weeks’ time.

    Time to get that 1911. Every American should have one.

  2. Well they will again march into a country strange to them and not be welcomed with flowers.

    Like the South before the war they shall have every outrage at the beginning and end with nothing.

  3. You are exactly correct, Michael. In fact, I cannot imagine a quicker path to impeachment for Obamee than “unconstitutional gun control by executive fiat”. No better example of hubris than what is about to come.

    There would be no clearer example of the impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” mentioned in Section IV, Article 2 of the Constitution than an executive order that willfully violates the Bill of Rights and the Oath of Office of the President.

    Not only would such an impeachment pass the House, it would undoubtedly find that 2/3rds majority in the Senate for removal. The public outcry would assure that. The oafish Biden would face the same charges as his commission will recommend these unconstitutional actions to Obamee that will be attempted to be implemented.

    That would lead to President John Boehner and Vice President Patrick Leahy, but that would be preferable, all things considered. I think America would live with that.

  4. I doubt it will come to impeachment. The Clinton case has discredited impeachment but I do think it will result in massive civil disobedience or the passage of repeal and a constitutional crisis.

  5. yes, that’s a good definition of the ancient greek dynamic whereby hubris (the human pretension to be godlike) attracts vengeance from nemesis (the goddess of divine retribution). what I’d like to add is that some leaders who have hubris also try to play nemesis against someone else they accuse of hubris. they try to play both roles. this results in an extraordinary, energizing, and often charismatic “hubris-nemesis complex.” if reading about it should ever interest you, a full-text free download is at

    obama is not afflicted with this complex, but a variety of other leaders and pundits are, on both the left and the right. recent examples abroad, to name a few, include castro, chavez, bin laden, ahmadinejad, and acc to a write-up I saw the other day, assad. important to spot in advance; very difficult to deal with in practice. captain ahab is a literary archetype.

  6. I always liked

    “Of all the Causes which conspire to blind
    Man’s erring Judgment, and misguide the Mind,
    What the weak Head with strongest Byass rules,
    Is Pride, the never-failing Vice of Fools.”

    From somewhere near the middle of Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism in 1711 or so claims the all knowing Google.

  7. Once again the Left distorts the English language. “Gun control?” No. It is gun rights infringement, an illegal activity [see the U.S. Constitution].

  8. I am not sure that sweeping gun control legislation is the hill that the zero wants to die on. Too many congresscritters from his own party that are from big gun owning states that would lose their jobs next election and if nothing else politicians want to get re-elected. Preferably not explaining to their gun owning constituents why they had to vote certain ways.

    But if they do ram stuff through I agree with you – there will be massive disobedience including a huge black market for guns and ammo until the SCOTUS knocks the laws down. Prohibition, anyone?

    In this fairy and unicorn world of gun “control” nobody has mentioned farmers. Now that I have lived on a farm for a while I understand that guns are absolutely an essential tool just like farm equipment or a barn. From the conversations I have had with neighbor farmers I guarantee you that exactly zero will be registering or turning in anything. Warm fuzzy city dwellers love their farmers markets. They need to understand that those goods don’t get there by accident and that the ag community is laughing at their gun control tantrums.

  9. Military style handguns…

    I guess that rules out the 1911, of course. And the Beretta 92 and its relatives. And all Glocks, since the original was designed for the Austrian military and the entire line is based on that design. And most Sig-Sauer pistols as well, since the modern lineup is based on the P220, developed for the Swiss army. Walther pistols are right out, as are the S&W M&P line of course. And the Springfield XD line is bad news because it’s been adopted by the Croatian military. H&K guns, obviously out of bounds too. Well, we could go on, might as well just eliminate any pistol with double-action and the ability to accept a magazine larger than 10 rounds. Which eliminates pretty much every pistol in existence.

    Well, at least we get to keep revolvers right? Well, revolvers have long been used by the military, and the original colt single action (which all modern revolves trace their heritage to) was designed for the US Army, so we might as well eliminate all those as well.

    So any handgun that is not a magazine fed pistol or a revolver you can keep, everything else should be banned, because of its military style. Oh wait, also gyrojets, since those were developed for the military as well. Probably best to eliminate Derringers too, since they’ve been used to assassinate presidents before.

  10. A constitutional crisis would lead to impeachment, surely.

    Especially given that Obamee is the most singularly arrogant, imperial President in history.

  11. Why do you put your faith in governmental machinations? Such as impeachment, SCOTUS…

    and “Civil” disobedience? While armed? When armed you either obey utterly or *you do not*.

    I can understand laughing and saying you’ll ignore it. However the Progs are feeling extra earnest right now and just you try ignoring them!!

    Now mind you in the past their earnestness – in particular on this issue – disappears rapidly when it gets “too hard.” When anything gets “too hard” [at all hard for them]…pffft gone. In all matters. Hard is for Mexicans, Asians, Rednecks if your must…that sort.


    However this sort of thing requires such a nice and delicate sort of subtly knowing when you are to proceed with who and whom…that I shouldn’t have made it part of “Cue Ballz” Biden’s ever growing brief [He has the Iraq brief as well you know]. Subtle just ain’t his fcking deal ya know.

    Oh Dear. I fear the cast of Glee is about to fire on the steadfast Maj Lee, with no idea what end of the cannon the business comes out.

  12. “Possibilities include . . . modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives . . .”

    The agents who are walking the fifty-cals south through Neuvo Laredo will now have credit card swipers that plug into their Androids.

    No more paper trails.

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