L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 105, January 15, 2001
Happy Jackson-Lee Day!
Will You Bend the Knee?
by Victor Milán
Exclusive to THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
I was going to wait to write this. After all, Dubya won't be inaugurated for another few weeks yet. Plenty of time.
Now I'm not so sure.
What I was planning to predict—and am in fact predicting right here—is that the complacency of so many in the freedom movement occasioned by the election of Bush II will be ground in their grinning idiot faces, sooner rather than later.
What I was going to write is that within a matter of months— probably by summer—some moody loner would take a firearm into a human-hunting preserve such as a school or "weapons-free" workplace and slaughter up a mess of helpless prey.
Then Bush II, the "compassionate conservative"—how is that supposed to differ from "liberal," exactly?—would display his statesmanship and bipartisan desire to "unite, not divide" by issuing an executive order banning the personal possession of handguns, if not all firearms. It would instantly be made law by the acclamation of both houses of Congress, unanimous but for Ron Paul. Dubya would be instantly transmogrified from the slavering hard-right ogre the media implausibly portray him as (as hilarious a misrepresentation as the media's portrayal of Al Gore, perfectly described by P.J. O'Rourke as a "Nazi with the brain of a Prince Edward spaniel," as an intellectual) to TIME magazine's Man of the Year. He would be hailed as a great statesman by his former foes—precisely as his dad was for betraying his own vow of "no new taxes."
And the fools who imagine his administration will do anything to slow the onrush of tyranny, much less reverse it, will be caught just as flatfooted as they were when they "read the lips" of Bush senior.
It was, I thought, a done deal. It merely needed a splashy provocation for Dubya to give the gun-grabbers the whole damn thing tied up in a red ribbon: and if the nation's nuts were reticent about acting spontaneously, some hapless fringe specimen could be groomed by the Justice Department or JTF-6 to do the right thing with a judicious application of sleep-deprivation and Ritalin.
I expected to be flamed for making such a prediction about Dubya. Hell, I have friends, people I respect, who really believe he will safeguard their gun rights.
And even I myself favor having a happy-go-lucky idiot as president, instead of a bizarre fanatical idiot like Al Gore: Charles II as opposed to James II. Party on, dudes!
Or I'd prefer Delta House Dubya over Unabomber Al if it made a rat's ass who was President. But it doesn't. The same people, the permanent government, will run the country January 21 as do now, and they would had Ralph Nader, Neil Smith, or Osama bin Laden been elected (apologies to true hero El Neil for including him in such creepy company as Nader.)
Here's why Dubya's betrayal is inevitable:
First, the Republicans have never had the spine to stand against the Democrats. What exactly have they denied them? And I don't mean during the Clinton dictatorship; I mean in your lifetime. Not for nothing did Newt Gingrich, himself a devout statist toad, call Bob Dole the "tax collector for the welfare state."
Second, there's a reason the Republicans never had the sand to stand up to Emperor Slick I: they're guilty as he is, even of the crimes they dared accuse him of. The Republican leadership probably had an orgasm of relief when Ken Starr succeeded against hope in the mission for which he'd been hired by Janet Reno and Bill Clinton: derailing real investigation of genuine high crimes and misdemeanors, from the Whitewater fraud (if you want to understand how that worked, by the way, watch the classic movie THE PRODUCERS) to the obvious murder of Vince Foster, into a swamp of irrelevant if grotty sexual peccadillo, where it sank sans trace.
It's not just that Republicans, like all politicians committed in private the same crimes the Clintons performed with such Pantagruelian public abandon; they were guilty of committing, in concert with Slick, crimes the American people would consider far less forgivable, such as transforming the US into the world's largest narcorepublic while vigorously prosecuting the drug war to keep prices high for the goods they were partners in peddling. Bill Clinton would not have gone down alone, and you may rest assured the GOP brass knew that.
Then there's the second reason the Republicans never stood up to Democrat aggrandizement of government power: they're in favor of it too. They're politicians. They are the prime beneficiaries of increases in government power, prestige, and profit. Do you actually expect them to act against their own manifest interests?
That's why there can be no such thing as a pro-gun politician. (You can consider Ron Paul the exception who disproves that rule if you wish—it only confirms my assessment that Paul does, on balance, immeasurably more harm to freedom than good.) Politicians must favor the centralization of power into government hands, and concomitantly of wealth. Those that don't are lethal mutations, like fish opposed to water.
Privately owned firearms are the ultimate decentralizing influence.
That's the point of the Second Amendment, folks. It's also why it is so symbolically important to the world's ruling classes to disarm Americans. We aren't the only truculently armed populace in the world—the Pushtuns are really awful people, by and large, but if you try to take their guns, they'll not only pry yours from your cold dead fingers but leave your skin drying on a rock—and good on them. We are the only group to have the principle of armed resistance to tyranny, particularly that of our own government, explicitly written into the documents founding that government (another scam, by the way, but later). For the ruling classes to impose permanent and unbreakable servitude upon all the peoples of the Earth, we have to be disarmed. It really is that way, and it really is that simple.
Which brings us to the ultimate reason Dubya will grab our guns: the real government, the permanent government, requires it.
I was going to wait to tell you that. But then some clown in the People's Republic of Massachusetts—talk about a victim-rich environment!—goes postal and whacks seven coworkers because his bosses wouldn't stand up to the IRS. Why he didn't himself have the guts to go to the heart of his torment is a mystery—perhaps the Manchurian Candidate could tell us the reason.
But here we have our splendid little provocation. And already it's being inflated fabulously: television "news" broadcasts are providing phone numbers for viewers who have been traumatized to jelly by the very reports of the incident to call for counseling.
That's the bitch of our modern age: how do you parody something like that?
Now, Crime Bill might just add gun confiscation to the already humongous list of executive orders he's squeezing out in the final days of his imperium. He won't. He probably knows better himself, since survival is something he understands expertly; and his masters won't let him. If he could have gotten away with it, he would have banned guns after Columbine. But he couldn't, and he can't now. You'd fight him.
Whereas, when Dubya does it—in his inauguration speech, perhaps? - you'll stand open-mouthed as your friends the police come by and pluck the guns from your nerveless fingers. While Charlton Heston and Wayne LaPierre insist that you must obey the law, but if you only send them tons more loot to split with politicians who vote to a man or woman for every gun-grabbing measure that comes down the pike, they might get you your guns back in another century or two.
Or will you?
The permanent government is counting on it. Bet to that.