L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 86, August 21, 2000
Back to School
Thank you for "Why Compromise Will Never Work." David Nolan, founder of the LP, told my eldest son years ago that he was an asshole for not voting. The chickens have come home.
Brian J. Monahan
Mr. [Jonathan] Taylor,
Let me first say that I tend to take the same dim view you expressed with regard to the LP's endorsement of concealed carry permits. However, it is strictly the idea of the LP (or any "Libertarian" group) endorsing it that I disagree with, not the idea in and of itself. Now, before everyone starts reaching for their poison pens, let me explain.
I will grant you that they very idea of having to go down to a government office, fill out a bunch of forms that ask questions they have no right to, provide personal and / or business references, prove I have proper training, pay a fee, wait several months for a background check, and then let three bureaucrats take a vote on whether or not I'm going to be allowed to carry the means with me to defend myself is repugnant to the extreme. However, I have these political realities to live with:
1) I live in a state that does not allow concealed carry without a permit.
2) If I carry without a permit, I face jail time and a loss of my job.
3) I am the sole monetary support of my wife and daughter.
4) I am also the best protection they have (when I am around).
5) I am lucky enough to live in one of only 3 or 4 counties that do issue permits, in a state that is may issue (may issue = they will take your money, put you through the ringer, laugh at your reasons, and vote no ... unless you are an ex cop) and that can change depending on who is elected.
6) There is very little support for ANY type of carry in this state, with or without permit, but shall issue permits have a LOT more support than Vermont style.
Looking at these, you should be able to understand why I support a "shall issue" CCW law. The county I live in only started issuing 7 - 8 years ago, and I remember well being unable to carry, for fear of imprisonment. Any way you look at it, "shall issue" is a damn sight better than "NO issue". And at least having the proof to show doubters that people carrying will NOT result in arguments over parking spaces escalating into Columbine like rampages will put us in a better position to get unregulated carry in the future.
And there is no chance, absolutely none, of getting unregulated carry in this state in my lifetime without going through a time of "shall issue". Our best chance would be to challenge the current permit system in court. And our supreme court already ruled that "open carry", even though it will get you arrested for brandishing (if you aren't shot first) anywhere that is populated enough to call itself a city, is enough to meet the constitutional requirement that they must allow us to "bear" arms. On top of that, they have upheld the AG opinion that transporting a pistol in or on a vehicle, if it is to be used for defensive or target shooting purposes, requires a concealed carry permit.
I will lay you odds that there are a LOT of other states in a similar situation. Or at least there were, before 31 of them passed "shall issue" legislation. The way I look at it, the drive to get "shall issue" is the second time since 1968 that the antis have been put on the defensive (the first time was the bit in the 80's that pulled the reigns in on the ATF for a time). That is part of the reason for the push at the federal level to outlaw or at least register handguns.
The antis realize that, with all these states issuing CCW's, they could wind up with a whole new crop of gun owners in 10 years. Only this time, the gun owners wouldn't be hunters and sportsmen who don't get involved because legislation never seems to really threaten their deer, squirrel and duck guns. It will be a group of people who have never felt an urge to limit themselves to only a couple of shots. A group who have learned shooting as "2 to the chest, 1 to the head" rather than "load one, shoot one" like most sportsmen do. A group who never did go in for "pretty" guns, cause ugly ones are cheaper, work better and no is supposed to see the damn thing anyway. A group who's members are already beginning to wonder just why the hell is it illegal to cut a shotgun down to fit under a coat? Or just why the hell can't I put a folding shoulder stock on this big pistol? A group who's members are getting awful used to having lethal weapons within easy reach ..... and who aren't likely to give that up just cause someone 3000 miles away says they should. A group who are (again for the first time in 65 - 70+ years) beginning to consider "lock, load and strap it on" as as natural and familiar as putting your wallet in your pocket as you get dressed in the morning.
These are the people who will win back our rights in the years to come. Not the ones who keep a couple of rifles under the bed. And not the ones who would rather walk around unarmed than jump though the hoops (for now at least) to be able to carry one. And definitely not the ones who lose their rights because they insisted on carrying without that permit. Those last three groups will be sitting on the sidelines, while people who have been carrying legally for years form the body and mass behind a thrust to repeal ALL the laws that restrict self defense.
Jeff Colonnesi email@example.com
Well, with the full knowledge that I may be excommunicated from the El Neilist wing of the Libertarian party for my following words, I will jump into the fray, since I think it was a letter of mine that started it. Jonathan Taylor wrote to TLE the following quoted material. It follows along with most of the e-mails I received from those who disagree with me, although this one is probably the most entertaining.
> In the wake of the Libertarian party platform being decided upon -
You see, it is prose like the above that makes us the superior minds in the political battle to come. People like this are needed by the party, we need those folks who stand for no compromise around to keep us aware of the central point of our ideas. We need them because they are the compass of our philosophy, always pointing toward liberty. But onto the disagreement, after all, that's the fun part.
> And the worst part of the whole mess is, I think that some (mayhaps
Well, as one of those smiling folks, I will say here that it took 150 years to get here, and we are not getting back tomorrow. I feel physically ill myself at having to take that position, but unless you want to start a new country populated only by libertarian minded folks we have to educate the public first. By the way, if you DO start a new country I will be moving there with no hesitation, and I will sign that 3 by 5 card constitution that will cover all the bases in a heartbeat.
> "I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of
Ok, you have me there, there are many difficult points with the "moderate" position I take, I do not like them any more than you do. But I am not ready to take my pitchfork and torch to Washington just yet. If we don't take a moderate point now, with the goal of full liberty when we can than all we have left is pitchforks and torches. Keep in mind, revolution will probably fail as well since we have 150 years of the slow socialization of this country and many people don't want liberty, it is too spooky.
> Short of something monstrous and cataclysmic happening, we will
Well, then we are at pitchfork and torch time then, so when will you call up your militia group and head for DC to burn the offices of the ATF, DEA, IRS and FBI? You are basically saying that we have no hope short of violent revolution, and if that's the case what are you waiting for?
> So, the solution is to dilute the message, to make it less
Here is where we disagree, we are not talking dilution of the message to attract and not offend the beer swilling masses. We are advocating short term objectives that will serve as practical examples that a little freedom works. Then the beer swilling masses will be more open to increasing liberty, instead of, as they now stand, to further restrict it.
> As I said, I believe most of you who may be reading this, and
I don't think so, there is no other party that wants more freedom. Now perhaps we should form the Libertarian Party Reformed or some such nonsense, so you purists wont take offense at what you see as watering down of the ideals. Or I suppose you could get your butts into seats at the conventions and argue these points in the platform committee. You are not being purged from the party, in fact your voices are welcomed at the convention. I know a number of this years delegates, there weres very little politics in their selections, in fact some were all but drafted into the position because they could get the time off and could afford the trip to California.
> They will not allow it to happen, not in that manner. That, I can
What is with all this paranoia about "they wont let it happen" and "bullets in the heads". Perhaps it is you who need to form up a militia group and go to war. We are still willing to try for a political saving of this country. Are you? Or is it simply a matter of such hate and anger toward the government that you look forward to a violent confrontation?
> It does not matter how honest your intentions are, compromise will
What evil "them" are you referring to? Again the idea of incrementalism is to take what liberty we can this year, and a bit more next year. The goal of which is slow education of the average American to the benefits of liberty over socialism. I don't give a rats rear end what the Dem's or Rep's think or want.
> The Libertarian Party needs to remain strong, to remain principled,
Well, to be blunt, what exactly has the party got done for the last 20 some odd years? We haven't even been an educational group. Most libertarians sit in their homes bitching and whining about how stupid people are and don't ever try to change their hearts and minds. We have been arguing with each other over issues of how to privatize the roads for almost thirty years and not one road has been privatized. Maybe it is time to take a page from the enemies book and try it out. We keep thinking that at some magical point millions of Joe Six-packs are going to wake up and say "Damn, I am a Libertarian, I had better go vote for one!" We have been waiting for a mandate while the enemy has been out creating mandates. Well, now we are at the point where we need to turn back all those wasted years, unfortunately the Joe Six-packs are even more asleep, and it is going to take more effort. In the 70's we could have found the mandate, many were still not victimized by the public education system. Today, everyone is its victim and has no idea what the truth is. How will waiting for that mandate get us anywhere?
> The party of principle must never surrender the one thing we have,
And that my friend is why this party needs people like you, to keep us on track to liberty, those who scream when we start to go astray. But at this point, we either go a bit astray with the goal of education, or we dig out those pitchforks and torches.
First of all, thanks for responding and for your kind words. I'm glad you found my piece "entertaining".
That having been said, I believe you thoroughly missed or willfully ignored the central point to it.
>>> But I am not ready to take my pitchfork and torch to Washington just yet ...
First of all, I am neither advocating violence (remember, non-agression principle?), nor do I even belong to a militia group - I don't think Maryland allows them, more's the pity - much less intend to take said group hootin and hollerin into the maw of the beast, a scant 10 miles away. I see nothing in my essay to indicate otherwise on either count, and quite frankly, consider this portion of your email argumentative, pointless, and quite offensive. My point, which I suppose was lost somewhere, was that principle will accomplish more than compromise, in the end. "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile." Compromise is what got us into this in the first place, if you remember, not fighting the small fights because they were unpopular is what landed us here, and I don't feel that the same process is going to get us out. You may disagree if you so desire, but please refrain from painting me as Bloodlust Incarnate, if you please.
>>> Here is where we disagree, we are not talking dilution of the message to attract and not offend the beer swilling masses. We are advocating short term objectives that will serve as practical examples that a little freedom works. Then the beer swilling masses will be more open to increasing liberty, instead of, as they now stand, to further restrict it.
First of all, I used 'beer swilling masses' highly sarcastically, I'd like to make that clear.
Second of all, see above in regards to our disagreement over whether or not that strategy will get us anywhere. And also reference "Unintended Consequences", by John Ross, for a good primer on how small compromises and small fights can have global impact (if only Miller's attorney had decided to show up for court . . . if only the NRA hadn't backed every gun control law so far - but wait, they're just compromising to keep us from REALLY getting screwed ...).
>>> What is with all this paranoia about "they wont let it happen" and "bullets in the heads". Perhaps it is you who need to form up a militia group and go to war. We are still willing to try for a political saving of this country. Are you? Or is it simply a matter of such hate and anger toward the government that you look forward to a violent confrontation?
I beg your pardon? First of all, I don't consider anything I said to be paranoia. The government wouldn't shoot a citizen in the head for no good reason? Ask Vicki Weaver. The government wouldn't knock off a politician because they didn't like their ideas? Ask JFK. And for a point of order, paranoia means an unreasonable belief that "They are out to get me". The above statements are respectively fact and a 'conspiracy theory' - but neither is paranoia, nor do I believe they are out to get me. I'm not a threat.
Second of all, why are you so eager to paint me as some kind of violent nut case, when all I was saying was that I disagreed with the path the party is on? Did I ever even IMPLY that violent resistance was an acceptable path to take? Did I ever say anything about it at all? I believe what I said was that the Libertarian Party will never elect someone President of the US, barring some major and catastrophic change of the political system. This has happened before, independant of war, and quite conceivably could happen again. However, I don't think the way to accomplish it is to turn ourselves into a bunch of squishy-soft doormats, who look just like everyone else. People are already sick of having two branches of the National Party, why do YOU somehow feel that making a THIRD branch will make everything OK?
Finally on this point, "a matter of such hate and anger towards the government that [I] look forward to a violent confrontation?" See, now you're really frosting my mini-wheat, and I resent your presumptious, patronizing, and otherwise snotty and offensive tone.
I do not hate my government. I hate its behavior. And I submit to you, that if one is not a socialist, one MUST hate its behavior. Angry? You're damn tootin. Anger and disgust with the system are what compells me to write, and I expect what compells a good number of other people to do the fine work that they do. If I were complacent and happy, not only would I not be a libertarian, I would not be bothering to write and irritate you so. Look forward to a violent confrontation? From a strictly academic standpoint, I would like to point out that such a confrontation as you propose would be brief, brutal, and bloody. That having been said, I'm going to again register my disgust with the idea and bewilderment at why you feel it necessary to attempt to put words in my mouth.
>>> What evil "them" are you referring to?
I believe I made it abundantly clear. "... people who are dishonorable and have the destruction of everything you hold dear at heart ..." You quoted that right above your response. Am I, in fact, being unclear with that statement, or are you disagreeing with the assertion that it is foolish to trust people to 'compromise' when so far they've proved that their only goal is to destroy everything you believe in? And to make it more specific, since you seem to despise abstract terms, I am referring to the politicians in this country for the last 150 years.
>>> And that my friend is why this party needs people like you, to keep us on track to liberty, those who scream when we start to go astray. But at this point, we either go a bit astray with the goal of education, or we dig out those pitchforks and torches.
Gee, you need me? I guess I can't be THAT paranoid and violent.
What you are saying, is that the Libertarian party cannot accomplish its goal with Libertarian ideals - that those ideals must be compromised to make them more like the Republicans or Democrats to accomplish what we want. Which - oddly enough - is pretty damn close to what I was saying, that you called paranoid and then told me to march my militia on Washington.
The only difference is, I believe standing by ideals and principles, and you believe in discarding them when convenient to achieve your goals.
Well, I am glad we can keep this at a civil level. Let me cut to the chase as it were and see if I can make my point clearer.
Today in your home state of Maryland if you were to take your carry piece, place it in a concealed carry rig and wander the streets of your town, you would be safe, unless you were found out by a cop, then you would be arrested, and most likely charged with a high misdemeanor or low felony.
Now, lets say some moderate libertarians managed to get a "Minimally Intrusive Concealed Carry Law" (MICCL) passed in Maryland, and you, not wanting to file paperwork, kept carrying concealed without the permit. How would your situation change? How would liberty be restricted for you?
What this does do is make those of us not willing to go to court for unlawfully carrying a weapon able to endure a small filling process, and then make ourselves and our families safe. Perhaps my home here in El Paso County in Colorado biases me a bit, as we have a permit process that is no more aggravating than getting a drivers license and around half the libertarians here have filed and received their permits.
Now after 4 or 5 years of no wild west showdowns after traffic accidents, and the rest of the gun grabber horror stories not coming true, then the libertarians in Maryland push for "Pack 'em if you got 'em" and without a leg to stand on the gun grabbers lose and then you are legal to do what you have been doing all along.
Now how has your liberty been infringed at any point? You would have not had any bayonets stuck in your direction that wouldn't have been stuck there already. I see this as a matter of liberty expanded, not restricted.
Now certainly any new "MICCL" would have to not make the carrying of a weapon without the permit any worse than it already is for me to support it, also such laws would have to be seen, by libertarians in private at least, as a short term educational goal, not the final goal.
That's the long and short of my opinion on the matter, if you disagree, so be it. I hope to see you as a delegate to the next convention, I plan on being there myself.
Scott Graves firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you do a special on Joe Lieberman this week. He really showed his true colors today! This week on Nightline, "today the Second Amendment, tomorrow the First!" You gotta be kidding me, and these guys are going to write a "Patient's Bill of Rights" what a crock!
Talk again soon.
Since you mentioned the education in your last article for the TLE, there is an additional book that you might want to take a look at.
It's called The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America: A Chronological Paper Trail by Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt.
It supposedly traces the history of the steps that have been taken to degrade the public education system starting in the '30's.
I haven't read it myself, but I have heard discussed on talk radio.
James J. Odle JODLE4@excite.com