THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 427, July 22, 2007
"We are in a position to alter history."
Is There Hope?
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
In the first half of my article ("Part One"), I discussed how my outlook began to change, when I took a course on American government. It wasn't until I took the second half that I became a total cynic. This time I had a different instructor and her name was Dr. Harder. Her class was actually fun.
Instead of boring us with hours of tedious lectures, Dr. Harder would have us get into groups and form committees. There was one project, where the entire class acted as a mock Congress and everybody was supposed to make up their own piece of mock legislation. I called my bill "Beyond Vermont," which I based from a fictional bill in the novel, Hope. Not only did my bill allow Vermont style carry nation wide, but it would repeal most of the gun laws in the nation. I really wasn't expecting it to pass, but I decided to have fun with this project.
Not surprisingly my mock bill did not go over well with the class. When I presented it, some people called me crazy to my face. There was one student who said that we needed regulations on weapons, otherwise there would be total anarchy. There was one woman who said that there would be Columbine style shootings on a daily basis, if gun laws were relaxed. I didn't have time to respond to all the criticisms of my bill, but I did point out that criminals would have access to guns no matter what the law said. I also said that there was a time when a kid of any age could walk into a hardware store and buy guns and ammunition with no questions asked. School shootings were almost unheard of during that time. The only response I got from those arguments was a room full of blank looks. Just as I expected, the class killed my bill.
I wasn't too disturbed by the fact that my mock bill didn't make it. Considering the toll that the government schools and the media had taken on the minds of today's youth, you really can't blame their ignorance. What disturbed me were some of the bills that did get passed.
One of them was a bill that would completely outlaw smoking. I asked the mock sponsor of the bill, what right he had to tell people what they can or can't put in their own bodies. First he gave me a blank look and then he told me that since we had a right to stop someone who is doing heroine, then we had the right to prevent somebody from smoking. This was an example of stupidity that didn't deserve a response. I just returned the blank stare. The bill narrowly passed.
Another mock bill that disturbed me was one that would force all pubic high schools to install metal detectors. Not only did everyone in class support this measure, but they amended it to include Jr. Highs and elementary schools. They also amended the bill to include private schools. I couldn't think of a better example of the inmates running the asylum. There was only one other person in addition to myself, that voted against it. The only comfort I had at the moment was that none of the bills were real (yet).
Even though I was disillusioned by the mindset of the class, I would try again with the next class assignment. We were placed into two man debate teams. One team would be allowed to pick the issue that they wanted to support. This ditsy blond, who was paired with a German exchange student, picked the side that was in favor of gun control. Of course I choose to argue against it.
After a week of preparation, both of our teams presented our arguments to the class. Most of the so-called facts that were presented by anti-gun side consisted of recycled dribble that was probably copied from anti-gun websites. My arguments were based on the research conducted by John Lott Jr. and Gary Kleck. I also stated that gun ownership was a constitutional right. My partner added that crimes can be committed just as easily with knives and sticks. Throughout the debate I poked holes in almost every argument that was presented. After we made our closing arguments, the class voted on the side that had the best arguments. The class overwhelmingly voted for the anti-gun side.
I probably should have seen that coming. Most people that support government control do it based on emotion. People that are driven by emotion don't like to be confused with the facts. This brings me to the question, "Is there hope?"
My experiences with college have helped me understand the mindset of the people who passed "The Patriot Act." They are the type of people I like to refer to as "Sunny-time Patriots." These are the type of people who claim to believe in freedom, but only when they feel safe. Then there is the "Health Nazis" who think they know what is best for everybody, so they became overbearing parents that want to control whatever you put in your body.
From what I have seen, the future of this country is looking bleak. Even though I have become cynical over the pass few years, I still have some optimism left. The fact that I am a living and breathing example of somebody who is able to see pass the lies of government schools and the mass media, shows that it is possible for somebody in my generation to think for himself. I know people like me are a rare breed, but hasn't that always been the case for Libertarianism? Haven't we always been the underdogs? The fight to protect our liberties is always going to be an uphill battle, but at least we will always have somebody willing to fight.