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39


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 39, June 26, 1998

If I Had Written to the Japanese Ambassador

By George L. O'Brien
obiewan@doitnow.com

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise


         A separate point I might make in "An Open Letter to the Japanese Ambassador" (The Libertarian Enterprise, Issue #38):
         "We are aware that Japan has a long history of disarming the common individual to make them defenseless against the ruling order. In feudal Europe, as well as in Japan, it was always a sign of class and status for someone to be armed. But an armed citizenry is fundamental to a society where where everyone is equal under the law.
         "A defenseless and demoralized populous might be comforting to feudal elite under the shoguns, but it left Japan weak and stagnant. It took American gunboats in 1853 to shake Japan from its stupor. Later, it would take the American occupation under McArthur to overcome the mindless acceptance of Japanese militarism by the Japanese people.
         "America's tradition of an armed citizenry has corresponded with a healthy skepticism about government leaders. Japan's tradtion of disarming its citizens has meant the extention of feudalism, the acceptance of militarism, and now the acceptance of a government elite best known for its continuing corruption and scandals. (I do not think it a coincidence that American gun regulation is being pushed by the most corrupt administration since Harding).
         "By what moral authority do you attack the right of peaceful, honest people to possess firearms? The country with a 20th century history of invading Manchuria, bombing defenseless cities in China, carrying out a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, enslaving Korean women to be used as prostitutes, and routinely torturing prisoners (during the Battan Death March, for example) should think twice about preaching to others about what is best. Current Japanese policies of mistreating Korean guest workers, impoverishing its own workers through high trade barriers, subsidizing politically connected but useless businesses, routinely changing leaders when the old group gets caught taking bribes, and so on, are hardly the basis for any claims to moral superiority.
         "At the same time, your claim that copying Japanese disarmnament is social beneficial is even more suspect. In America, towns with strict gun regulations have higher crime rates than others, while the concealed carry of firearms has led to lower crime rates.
         "So, if you imagine that crime is caused by too many people possessing firearms, why aren't you lecturing the Swiss -- whose citizens each have far more firepower than Americans? Perhaps it is because Switzerland has an extremely low crime rate. And unlike Japan, the Swiss are not overwhelmed by the impact of organized crime. It is hard to extort money from people armed with automatic weapons.
         "Of course I can understand why Japanese officials would rather preach about gun confiscation than about economics -- now that the Japanese government has created such a mess of things through trade restrictions and bad industrial policy. Considering how big a mess Japanese politicians have made of things, perhaps we can understand why they are so afraid of an armed public."


George L. O'Brien, longtime political strategist and veteran of the Libertarian movement is a spokesman for the anti-civil forfeiture organization, F.E.A.R. He lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.


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