L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 63, January 15, 2000
World Doesn't End!
by Curt Howland
Exclusive to TLE
Looking back over the plethora of stories published in the
Libertarian Enterprise, and especially #61 and #62, it's more than
clear that the primary contributors all seem to demonstrate that a
"fundamental human right", specifically arms, is very much on the
mind of everyone who writes for and reads TLE.
My reasons for saying "especially #61 and #62" is that these two
issues were, it seems, mostly written by lay persons. By that I mean
people not historically published in TLE. Readers. Peasants. "The
Federal efforts to limit arms started after the repeal of
"Unintended Consequences", John Ross applies the
logic that the Fed.gov didn't want to have to lay off all those
alcohol prohibition "revenuers", so new crimes had to be created for
them to be employed to enforce. What is usually missed is that this
is the same point in history that marijuana and other "controlled"
substances were put on the Index. Any semblance of limited government
ceased to exist.
But the arms first listed were only a few types, just as each
prohibition has since been. If any lessons were learned from the
disaster of the 18th amendment, it was the greater effectiveness of
gradual "boiling the frog" infringements over trying it all at once.
We see such encroachment every day. The violations of private
property and personal choices have since happened by way of as few
individuals pissed off as possible each step. In California, SKS
Sporter owners have now learned the lesson of confiscation. The
specter of "confiscation" remains a dim cry of the distant fanatic to
"most" people, even with the Sullivan Act in NYC drawing a clear
parallel. It's happened before, this is not an isolated incident. It
is, however, exactly what does NOT get taught in school.
Arms are a symptom. A peaceful individual has no fear of arms, for
their abuse is a danger no different than falling off a log, being
hit by a car, struck by lightning or lost at sea. Yes, it does
happen, but the risk can be minimized through lifestyle and
No one asks for thunderstorms to be prohibited by law, nor would
anyone expect such a law to work. Lightning happens, it's a higher
law than human made laws. It is natural.
So is violence. It can be minimized, but not eliminated.
Legal prohibition of arms is a symptom of emotional sickness. The
root of it is fear, it manifests through delusion. The prohibitionist
believes others cannot be trusted with arms. Beyond political
arguments of who wants who dead, apologies to El Neil, and Rosie
O'Donnal, the base fear that rules the life of the prohibitionist is
The delusion, that nature can be changed by legislation, is the Big
Lie(tm). Gun control, violations of private property for "good"
reasons, licensure and privilege, all follow like the metaphoric
dominos in a line.
Prior cultures had Divine Right to justify their regulation of other
peoples lives. We, in our "enlightened" age, have been taught that
anything labeled "science" is therefore undeniable truth. As we've
seen with so many of the most intrusive regulations, all that is
required is the sheen of scientific polish to make palatable even the
most undeniably foul excrement.
Most effective is the "proven" theory that evokes the specter of
pre-existing fear. Danger. Hazard. Evil. "Save us, do SOMETHING!" As
if the legislators can DO anything at all.
How many times has each of us caught that hint of corruption that the
lure of absolute power has invested in our elected "officials", when
they say with no hint of recognition, "We must do something, there's
no law concerning [whatever]."
Here is the recipe for disaster: A people who clamor to be saved from
danger, no matter how specious, if it is said to have been
scientifically identified as a danger.
Add legislators who believe they can legislate anything, with no
personal repercussions no matter how wrong they are.
Mix with individuals separated by their own little special interest
groups, rarely effected by enough little prohibitions to get really
Glaze with a media ready to pounce every time someone DOES get upset
enough to react, ensuring that no matter how isolated the incident
everyone thinks it happened in their back yard AND that the dangerous
overreaction to a "reasonable" act endangered their own lives and
children somehow, closing the positive feedback loop on those who
clamor to be saved from the dangers of living.
Several years ago, Robin Williams and Walter Mathow made a movie
called "Survivors" (or real close, forgive spelling). This movie
portrayed survivalists as buffoons, dangerous gun nuts who were a
hazard to "society" by their mere existence. No one remembers Gary
Cooper as Sgt. York, showing up his fellow recruits by actually being
able to shoot because he grew up with arms.
As the fear of gun ownership has been slowly exposed as the fraud it
is, rather than anyone's mind being changed, the prohibitionists have
merely changed tactics. We are now faced with the specter of
"dangerous guns", not dangerous gun owners. As background checks have
failed, the items themselves are attacked as irresponsible.
More than 10 rounds? A hunting rifle that has a detachable magazine?
You cannot need such things for responsible ownership, you must
therefore want to hunt people.
But you cannot legislate nature. Natural laws mean an individual who
takes responsibility for their own safety survives. What gun owners
are left? Those that realize what they have even in the face of
continual assaults on firearms ownership and the natural human right
to wield tools.
TLE #61 and #62 show these symptoms. Rational individuals, armed with
facts, are being told they're irresponsible. Rejection of such fraud
is getting stronger, if only because the strong core is all that is
left of the fruit of liberty.
This core is fragmented among different special interests. Isolation
divides us, there is always some extreme which can be used by the
fearful to discredit individual arguments in favor of freedom. So
long as such fragmentation exists, liberty is doomed. Will gun owners
come to the aid of drug users? Unlicensed hair dressers picketing to
protest mandatory air-bags?
I cannot recommend Vin Sprynowicz's book,
"Send In The Waco Killers", highly enough. The title
and cover unfortunately belie the fact that arms are only one small
area of focus, as arms are truly just one small symptom of the disease.
Only by overcoming this fragmentation can liberty survive. The cries
of hemp advocates have almost overcome the absurdity of that
prohibition, the same way most states again allow their citizens to
carry arms, if only very, very limited ways, still overshadowed by
the restrictions of the Fed.gov. Never laws repealed, only new ones
added on to placate a special interest.
The symptoms are everywhere, the disease, I'm afraid, is an old one:
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It
can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote
themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment
on, the majority always votes for candidates promising the most
benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a
democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always
followed by dictatorship.
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been
two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this
- -From bondage to spiritual faith;
- -from spiritual faith to great courage;
- -from courage to liberty;
- -from liberty to abundance;
- -from abundance to complacency;
- -from complacency to apathy;
- -from apathy to dependence;
- -from dependence back again to bondage."
-- Alexander Tyler
The disease is, I'm sorry to say, also a law of nature. Power
"You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
-- Robert Anson Heinlein "If This Goes On" 1939
HOW DARE THEY ENFORCE (HOWEVER FEEBLY) THE BILL OF RIGHTS?
In a series of similar rulings over the past several years, the [US
Supreme] court has revived the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the
states all rights not specifically delegated by the Constitution to
the federal government. A 5-4 majority of justices handed down yet
another decision Tuesday that strips away power from Washington and
hands it back to the states.
Although advocates of a leaner federal government hail the recent
decisions, others see the trend as a weakening of citizens? ability
to seek legal remedies in federal courts or protections under federal
[Apparently these "others" sense that there's still blood left in the
national corpus, and they're not going to drop off until it's been
bled dry. -- ed.]
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