THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 425, July 8, 2007
"Freedom in trivial things matters too."
Is There Hope?
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
I remember there was time when I wasn't as cynical as I am now about the future of this country. It was during the time I first discovered the fundamentals of Libertarianism after reading Hope by L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman. I knew of the freedoms that we have lost, but I believed that it was possible to convince enough people to help take back these lost liberties. I am amazed at how na´ve and optimistic I was, seven years ago. My outlook would soon change through the out the years.
My experiences began when I took American Government during the fall semester of 2001 at a community college in Tomball, Texas. My class just happened to take place on what become one of the darkest periods of American history. On the day of September 11, I arrived at the teaching theater, where we usually had class. Our professor had live news footage of the burning towers projected on a large screen that she usually used for her lectures. Everybody sat in silence while watching the skyscrapers fall. I was shocked and dismayed like everybody else in the room at the senseless death and destruction. I also began to morn the loss of freedom that would surely result from this tragedy. It wasn't long before somebody came in the room and told us that the rest of the classes were cancelled for that day.
Two weeks after that day, our professor told us about her experiences she had at a Houston airport. She complained about how lax the security measures were and even complained to the airport management about it. I had to restrain myself from rolling my eyes.
Even before 9-11, I have also thought that airport security was a joke. Making some clown in a security uniform take an extra five minutes to shift through your underwear isn't going to make you any safer. I would feel safer if I wasn't treated like a criminal every time I need to board a plane.
There was one student who compared post 9-11 airports with Nazi Germany. I couldn't help but grin at that comparison. Our instructor asked if it made her feel safe. The student just shrugged. Our professor said that it didn't matter if these measures were too excessive, as long they made us feel safe.
It was then that my blood started to boil. I had to use every last bit of restraint I had from tongue lashing our instructor. There is nothing that makes me madder then somebody who is willing to trade freedom, for the illusion of security. Not only is it cowardly, but it's downright selfish. Freedom belongs to everybody. So when people give up their rights, they are also selling out yours and mine. Of course I didn't say any of this in class, since I was more worried about my grade point average.
When we started to discuss the Bill of Rights, our instructor told us that none of these rights are absolute. She even used old expression "you can't say fire in a crowded theater". This time I couldn't help but role my eyes. This was one of the oldest tactics that statists liked to use to justify the infringement of our rights. I always thought it the old "you can't yell fire in a crowded theater" was a stupid analogy. You simply punish the stupid bastard who said it. You don't make everybody where muzzles before entering the theater.
It came as no surprise that she believed that were 'reasonable' restrictions regarding the Second Amendment. First she claimed that the words "A well regulated Militia" gave the government power to regulated firearms.
Once again, I kept my mouth shut. That was until she brought up the Second Amendment. She claimed that the words "A well regulated militia" gave the government power to restrict the sales of firearms and ban certain types of "assault weapons". I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.
I told her that the Second Amendment was designed as a balance between the people and the standing army, which could one day become the tools of an oppressive government. I also said that by allowing the government to restrict certain type's weapons, then one day the government might restrict to us to muzzle loading rifles. Where's the balance in that? Besides criminals are able to get guns, no matter how strict the laws are. Didn't we learn anything from the failure of prohibition or the continuing failure of the so-called "War on Drugs?"
Most of what I said fell on deaf ears, since I was the only one in class who really understood the importance of the Second Amendment. There were some hunters in the class who claimed they were pro-gun, except when it came to AK-47's, since they weren't designed for hunting. There was one thirty year old student that said that people shouldn't be allowed to own "Cop Killing" bullets or "Assault Rifles" because her husband was a cop and she didn't have to worry about him. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to tell her that her husband had better chance of confronting an escaped tiger, then a perp. with an "Assault Rifle."
Even though the first semester of American government was definitely and eye opener, it wasn't until the next semester that I became disillusioned and more cynical about my age group that I began to wonder if there was hope for my generation. I will discuss that in part two of this article.