THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 434, September 9, 2007
"A standing government is a bad idea."
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
[AUTHORS' NOTE: this essay was first posted on the website of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership on August 15, 2001, not quite a month before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Its message is as true and urgent today as it was then.]
WARNING! If you're the kind of self-defense advocate who actually believes in doing something, it's likely that you'll find this article interesting and useful. If, however, you'd rather complain than act, if you believe "we can live with" whatever unconstitutional measure has just been or is about to be passed, or that perhaps we'd better write the next legislation ourselves, before it's written for usin short, if you feel more comfortable on your knees than on your feet, the authors strenuously suggest that you skip this article, as they don't wish to be responsible for raising your blood pressure and possibly killing you.
STEP ONE: REMEMBER HISTORY
By some estimates "gun control"better referred to as victim disarmamentbegan in 1968, when retail gun sales were first registered under federal law, and mail order sales sharply regulated. Others say it was in the 30s, when the government, in violation of the Second Amendment, began telling Americans what kind of guns they could and couldn't have. Others point to New York's 1911 Sullivan Act, which outlawed possession of guns in that city, meaning that self-defense was effectively outlawed, too.
But the phenomenon is older than that. Some say victim disarmament began in the 19th century, when Wyatt Earp and his brothers tried to force a rival gang to disarm themselves. Under similar circumstances, the Fourteenth Amendment had to be passed, following the War between the States, because some jurisdictions tried to prevent black people from exercising the individual right to own and carry weapons.
That rightand attempts by those in power to suppress itare central to American history. Our nation was born as a result of an 18th century victim disarmament scheme, when minions of King George III, meaning to steal rifles and ammunition from their American cousins, were violently rebuffed at Lexington and Concord.
Recent clashes with those in power concerned weapons, as well. Ruby Ridge was about a shotgun barrel allegedly a quarter of an inch too short. The Waco Massacre occurred when members of a church were accused of having too many, or the wrong kind of, guns. It turned out, after they were all dead or in prison, that they owned fewer guns, per capita, than the average Texas family.
Naturally, in this struggle, those on the pro-gun side have spoken out. Groups have formed to see the Second Amendment properly enforced. An early one was made up of former Union officers trying to make sure the nation produced enough marksmen to defend it. They were also instrumental in passing the Fourteenth Amendment.
Others have come and gone, responding to increasing challenges to a right that was never supposed to have been questioned. These groups have fought proposed new laws in congress, the statehouse, and city hall. They've staged one holding action after another, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, always demanding that their members give more money to counter the next threat. Yet in no case has any significant restriction on the right to own and carry weapons ever been repealed, overturned, nullified, or otherwise disposed of.*
The last three decades of legal and historical scholarship are solidly on the side of an unviolable individual right to own and carry weapons. Moreover, weapons in the hands of individuals drastically reduce crimeand increasingly, ordinary people know it. And yet, although millionspossibly billionsof dollars have been donated throughout a culture-war lasting almost a century, and countless man-hours expended lobbying, electioneering, and haranguing from soapboxes, newspapers, TV, and radio, there's no record of any of these supposedly pro-gun groups even trying to roll those 25,000 laws back.
Read the Second Amendment for yourself. Learn what the Founders wrote about it, or just apply common sense: what would a group of rebels (who'd just defeated the most powerful and ruthless empire in the world) have wanted the Second Amendment to mean? Did they want to make sure the new government had guns (which victim disarmers have ludicrously suggested) or did they want to make sure the government would never have an unstoppable power to oppress its people the way the King tried to do?
Understanding the Founders' inentions, we can safely say that not one of America's gun laws is constitutional. In their view, and that of Supreme Court justices and other judges from the 18th century to the 21st, each of them is null and void.
Legal and historical scholarship, and the practical benefits of an armed citizenry, demonstrate that victim disarmament isn't just a bad idea, it's the worst possible idea for a free society. The concept is defeated and discredited. Its proponents have nothing left but lies and brute force. Still, governments gone bad (as ours did at least half a century ago) desperately need weapons registrationand the confiscation that invariably followsif they are to go about their business of "reducing us under absolute despotism".
STEP TWO: ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE
Our challenge to other pro-gun groups is this: abandon a strategy doomed to defeat; acknowledge that not one of the 25,000 gun laws in America is legal under the Second Amendment; embrace the goal that should have been adopted in the first place: work toward ending victim disarmament completely and forever.
Anyone who doubts the ultimate aim of "background checks", of gun, and gun-owner registration in any form, should ask unfortunate gun owners in California, Illinois, and, recently, New Jersey, where police have begun going door-to-door (as the Nazis did in Germany) with registration lists, demanding that guns be turned over to them. In New Jersey, if you fail to comply, your home and your business will be seized, without any "due process of law". The FBI illegally retains the results of "Brady" background checkswhich they were expressly forbidden to do under the law as writtenand America's corrupt police state courts have backed them up. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has been computerizing the records (Form 4473s) of gun dealers who've gone out of business for years. Why should they do that, unless they plan to turn the whole country into New Jersey and start going door-to-door?
It isn't enough just to militarize the police untilin weapons, tactics, and objectivesthey can't be told from the black-clad stormtroopers mindlessly serving state terrorism in today's Europe. Their innocent victims of the Productive Class must be stripped of all defenses in advance, helpless to resist no matter how evil or illegal the aims of the state, forced to grovel face-down in the dirt, cursed, bludgeoned, spat upon, and kicked at the whim of the police and their masters. And if they raise a hand, they're shot, dozens of times, by ski-masked cowards wielding guns forbidden to ordinary people, in violation of the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights.
STEP THREE: LEARN THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
This is what America has come to. The question is what will we do about it? And before we answer, there's even worse news. An historic correlation exists between victim disarmament on the one hand, and racism and social prejudice on the other. Most of America's 25,000 gun laws were originally passed to disarmand disenfranchisesome economic, social, or ethnic class that those in power were afraid of.
New York's 1911 Sullivan Act was written to take the means of self-defense from the hands of Italians and Jews. (Earlier laws tended to disarm the Irish.) The Federal Firearms Acts of 1934 and 1937 relied on fear of Italian gangsters (although many famous criminals of the time had names like Barker, Dillinger, Lansky, Schultz, Floyd, Parker, and Barrow). When the 1968 Gun Control Act became law, America's inner cities were in flames, and while white politicians publicly stroked leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., they did their best to disarm his people.
Recent laws against semiautomatic weapons that strike ignorant politicians as "ugly", and laws against magazines deemed, with equal ignorance, "too large", started in California, where the perceived problem was Asian and Hispanic street gangs. The infamous Brady law never stood a chance until male politicians, many of them Republicansand left-wing females willing to betray the feminist cause, along with the rights and safety of their own sexsuddenly noticed that women owned a majority of the handguns in America, and in certain jurisdictionsOrlando, Florida and Toledo, Ohio, among themhad put a virtual stop to the crime of rape.
Rooted in race prejudice and class hatred though it may be, victim disarmament has an uglier face. Documents exist proving that Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut had the Gun Control Act of 1968 copied from the gun laws of Nazi Germanyominous in light of the fact that, historically, genocide is always preceded by sweeping gun laws and weapons confiscation.
STEP FOUR: AVOID PITFALLS
A regrettable fact of human nature is that, sooner or later, any group created for a specific purpose begins acting like an independent organism, pursuing its own interests at the expense of the purpose for which it was created. A tragic example is the United States itself, established to enshrine individual liberty, and gradually perverted, over 200 years, into protecting "national security" and "overriding interests of the state" at the expense of everything else.
Nowhere is this more evident than with groups that claim to defend the Second Amendment (those that weren't created simply to provide their officers with comfortable salaries). Obsessed with wheeling and dealing, using other people's rights as bargaining chips, feeling important at Beltway cocktail parties, and making trade-offs that somehow always turn out to be damaging to the individual right to own and carry weapons, they have forgotten what they were all about.
Tangled in philosophical contradictions, unwilling even to attempt getting rid of existing laws, the leaders of such groups have become more interested in suppressing competition and consolidating power, than in educating members who would throw them out if they knew the truth. Clubbed into submission by viciously slanted coverage by media slavishly devoted to socialism, they eventually give in to compromise and defeatism, having also forgotten Sun Tzu's first principle, that all that's needed to defeat an enemy is to convince himbefore the battle beginsthat he's already lost.
Why haven't these groups warned their members that they have no legal right to police protection? Or reminded them why we fought a Revolution? Or shown them how blind faith in government is a fatal mistake; that this government, no longer any different from the king the Founders rejected in the 18th century, is capable of doing extremely nasty thingsthings like the Sand Creek and Wounded Knee massacres, the violent mistreatment of the World War I Bonus Marchers, the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, the genocidal Operation Keelhaul, Kent State, the MOVE bombing, Ruby Ridge, and what happened at Waco. Why do they let events like Oklahoma City and Columbine High become leverage for more victim disarmament? Why don't they encourage their members to do something really dangerouslike think for themselves? Why, instead, do we always get more treacherous backroom wheeling and dealingsuch as their secret approval and eventual acceptance of unconstitutional travesties like the Gun Control Act of 1968 or the current oppressive National "Instant" Check System?
STEP FIVE: ELIMINATE SELF-DEFEAT
It's important to know your enemy, and even more important to know yourself, your limitations and strengths. Bound only by the laws of physics, people can do almost anything they want. They can fly like a bird, break the sound barrier, even go to the Moon. But people didn't get to the Moon by holding their arms over their heads and fending it off. Certain objectives simply can't be achieved defensively. Second Amendment advocates have always made this error, and it will finish them off unless they change.
A few years ago, one of the authors was a regular guest on a radio talk show. Callers, even the host himself, were fond of complaining about the horrible things government had done to them in the past, the horrible things government was doing to them now, and the horrible things government was about to do to them in the future. If the guest offered them good news, or pointed them toward something they could do to change their condition, they bitterly resented it.
Complaining is not the same as acting. It's not even an acceptable substitutealthough it's easier and less risky than actually trying to do something. If you paralyze yourself with depressing forecasts of doom, then of course you'll lose. And you'll deserve to. If you're serious about putting an end to victim disarmament, understand that it's only one symptom of a cancer called socialism that afflicts our civilizationand you can't fight cancer by complaining about it or limiting your treatment to its symptoms.
Shuck your victim identity today.
STEP SIX: KNOW THE REAL ENEMY
Understand, too, that there's no such thing as a "liberal". It's a word socialists use to evade being properly identified. And no wonder: socialism is nothing more than a cheap attempt, philosophically and politically, to justify rape, robbery, and murder on a scale Attila the Hun never dreamed of.
In a way, that's good. To those who don't think much about it, taking guns away from everyone but the army and police may sound like a fine idea. The Germans who elected Hitler thought it was. But it's harder for the other side, the socialist side, to make rape, robbery and murder attractive to the average individual.
Since the Soviet collapse, the new world center for socialism is the United Nations, no less an enemy of everything worthwhile in the western world than Hitler and Stalin were. The UN admits openly that it wants to obliterate the American Constitutionespecially the Bill of Rights, with emphasis on the Second Amendment. What it wants to substitute for it is a dictatorial world government.
Sovereign nations are like watertight compartments in a ship. When one becomes "flooded" by dictatorship, victim disarmament, and the mass killings that inevitably follow, others remain free, provided their geographical and psychological "bulkheads" remain sound. They act as a refuge for those who escape the "flooded" compartments. Socialists know this, of course. That's why they strive to establish a world government nobody can escape from.
Why do we tolerate the presence of this declared enemy of liberty on American soil? Without a doubt, that will become one of the most important political questions of the 21st century.
Defenders of the Bill or Rights have always been too polite. It's one reason we're in this mess. Victim disarmament causes thousands of injuries and deaths a year, many times the number of injuries and deaths claimed for the weapons themselves. Victim disarmers know this, and therefore must be evil, stupid, insane, or unbelievably mentally lazy to go on demanding it.
Privately-owned guns are used to take 30,000 lives a year (some in perfectly justified acts of self-defense, three quarters of them suicides). Guns are used to save more than 2,500,000 people from injury or death every year. Socialist victim disarmers would sacrifice the 2,500,000 in a futile effort to save the 30,000. That's crazyand there are mental health experts who agree. Victim disarmers are people, largely, who project their own mental and emotional shortcomings onto others. They would never trust themselves with a gun, but they can't admit that, so they convert their mistrust of themselves into mistrust of others.
Rosie O'Donnel, one of the country's foremost advocates of victim disarmamentwho has demanded that anyone who owns a gun should be locked up, yet travels with heavily-armed bodyguardsrecently admitted that she's fought severe depression for decades, and is medicated for it. Yet she believes that everybody else ought to be forced to accept her dictatorial and demented judgement.
What about those who parrot Rosie's sentiments? Do they also have mental problems? Should people who have mental problems be making public policy that negatively impacts your ability to save your life or the lives of your loved ones?
Whatever they are, victim disarmers are not concerned neighborhood moms with whom you've amiably agreed to disagree. They're 50-year-old white males, mostly, more than a third of whom own guns themselves. They're enemies of freedom who don't mind if you're beaten up, jailed, and murdered "under color of law" for exercising your rights. Their government representatives are criminals who took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, but violate it every day, every hour they scheme to assault the Bill of Rights. They're the badguys, lying, thieving parasites who'd rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand. They can't be argued with or made to see the truth. They can't be reasoned out of beliefs they were never reasoned into. They can only be defeated.
This is not the polite democratic debate socialists would have us believe it is. We're the goodguys, legitimate heirs of the Founding Fathers. If we win, for the most part nothing will change. You'll keep your guns. All government records of them will be destroyed. It'll be easier to buy more if you want, in the kind of anonymity the Founders regarded as essential (freedom isn't secure if government knows who has all the guns) for the Second Amendment to work.
If the socialists win, thousands of innocents will be assaulted, imprisoned, and killedalong with thousands of their would-be oppressorsas the government attempts to enforce unconstitutional laws. Thousands more will die because they no longer have the means to defend themselves against ordinary criminals.
STEP SEVEN: DEVELOP GRIM DETERMINATION
To end the kind of victim disarmament that annoys you most, you must end all victim disarmament. To end all victim disarmament, you must end all violations of the Bill of Rights, even those you may quietly approve of. To end all violations of the Bill of Rights, you must end all forms of socialism. Socialists got us where they want us by offering us "candy"social security, national health insurance, federal highways, national parks, public shooting ranges. As painful as it may be, it's time for America to go on a diet.
Get your family and friendsand yourselfout of denial regarding their fear of government. Although at some level they know bettereverybody saw what happened at Wacothey want government to be their friend, and despite the evidence, they've tried to convince themselves it is. The Founding Fathers knew better than that; they'd be horrified today.
Next time you start to write your congressman, remember: constant petitioning of politicians gives them more power. Don't begthrow away those Monica Lewinski knee padsdon't be polite. If you must write, tell them that if they won't enforce the Bill of Rights, you'll do your best to see that their next job will be standing on a corner with a tin cup, selling pencils. (The tactic that works best with bureaucrats is to stand on their toes, grab them by the lapels, and scream up their nostrils.) Remind these government goblins of the limits on their power. Tell them your new "Zero Tolerance" is for police states and victim disarmament, and that they'd better get with the program, or go back to chasing ambulances, selling used cars, and flipping burgers.
If you can't do that, if you can't overcome the urge to grovel, you're a part of the problem.
One of the authors is Jewish. He says it's time for Americans of all faiths and ethnicities to stand up to Jewish, black, and other minority politicians who've made a career blowing their noses on the Bill of Rights. Most Americans have been sensitive to and considerate of them because of unspeakable crimes committed against their people in the past. Now it's time to tell them that if they can't appreciate what America's done for them, after long, dark centuries of oppression and slaughter, if they really hate freedom so much, they should pack their bags and leave.
STEP EIGHT: MEMORIZE THESE FIVE POINTS
1. A holding action, no matter how prolonged, is doomed to defeat. You must decide to take the offensive and eliminate victim disarmament altogether and forever.
2. You can't defend one right by sacrificing another. Other people are going to do things with their lives you don't approve of, just as they're unlikely to approve of everything you do. Making criminals of them gives socialists a precedent for making a criminal of you.
3. You can't stay freeor regain your freedomby exalting your oppressors, no matter how flashy their cars and uniforms may be.
4. You can't defend without attacking. Let the world know who the real enemies of liberty are, and that there's no such thing as a liberal.
5. And you must decide upon another kind of "Zero Tolerance"for compromise.
Do you disagree? Then let's see your blueprint.
STEP NINE: MAKE A NEW BEGINNING
It's impossible to change a nation's politics before you change its culture. Do that, and the politics will follow. America will enforce the Bill of Rights when it has a Bill of rights culture.
The best way to start is to celebrate December 15th in your family and community as Bill of Rights Day, making it fully equivalent with Independence Day. Take charge of the celebration yourself. Keep it out of the hands of politicians and the media. Next time some socialist complains that "only America allows people to own guns", tell him that's because only America has a Bill of Rights to keep us from being slaves. The Bill of Rights is what makes America different from other countries, it's the one thing that keeps America from becoming the world's largest banana republic.
STEP TEN: ENVISION THE FUTURE YOU WANT
Socialists have made us waste our lives, spend decades defending rights that were supposedly guaranteed. Consciously or unconsciously, everyone carries a picture of the future in his head. Until now, it's been the picture socialists want us to carry, of a gradual, inevitable loss of our rights. If you feel strangely disturbed or embarrassed at the notion of ending victim disarmament, that's what they did to you and it's time to get it fixed.
Begin by carrying a new picture of the future in your head, one of a nation that celebrates and enforces the Bill of Rights, where you can afford to enjoy your life instead of using it up fighting tyranny.
Striking through your opponent is a vital part of the martial arts. Thinking through to the future, seeing beyond the victory of freedom, is vital to that struggle, as well.
The novel HOPE, by Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith, paints a picture
of a future where the Bill of Rights is energetically and stringently
enforced. To get a copy postage paid for $14.95or for additional
resources and information regarding points covered in this articleplease
contact: Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership at
call toll-free (800) 869-1884, or write to