THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 510, March 15, 2009
"The Missouri government wants you dead."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
On their website Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership published a warning that the gun banners in Obama's administration are waiting for the right atrocity, or a list of atrocities, to push a new series of gun control laws. Recently I received an e-mail from the Republican party asking for money to resist the Democrats' efforts to push gun control laws based on the drug wars in Mexico. While pretexts for weapons bans are a precondition for their passage, there are three others I worry about.
The first is the building up of political debts. There are actually pro-gun Democrats in Congress right now. However, as they gain goodies for their districts and horse trade for these benefits two things will happen. The first is that they will be put in a position of owing favors that trap them into delivering votes in favor of gun control laws. Meanwhile it is hard to vote out of office someone who got your streets and sewer system fixed and brought the money into your community that created or saved your job.
Secondly, if conservatives become scared enough of disorder their support for gun control will grow. My buddy Crazy Al thinks that an armed populace can be used by the administration to pressure their opponents into supporting what the administration considers to be necessary reforms. The problem is that sooner or later those opponents will be frightened into thinking that gun control is a necessary reform, especially if they see society is being destabilized (i.e., the common folks are getting ready to throw the bosses out and have to be kept "in line" by force).
The third is if people are tricked into developing a sense of learned helplessness. By this I mean using the media to create a sense that their wills cannot control their fates. On the one hand they are threatened by external forces they cannot resist, making the bearing of arms futile. On the other hand their inability to do other than completely surrender to negative passions or to learn self discipline and skills make them unfit to be trusted with weapons. A collapsed economy is a good tool for creating this perception.
At this time we haven't met enough of these criteria for anti-gun laws to be politically palatable. Number two will always be a problem, let's face it, most people do not want to face the fact that political liberty is rooted in the power of the people to rise up in arms against tyrants. This is especially true of possible tyrants, especially if they don't see themselves as tyrants.
This leaves us two problems to control. The first means that those who hold political power must believe that they will be voted out of office (this includes policy making appointees having their political allies voted out of office and thus getting busted with their patrons ) if they dare to act against weapons. The second means teaching people the will to fight for themselves and to believe that they not only can control their passions and appetites but that they must in order to truly enjoy life. This means supporting popular entertainment that promotes these values.
The right to bear arms is protected to the degree it is because of the particular cultural and political matrix in which we live. If we wish to strengthen respect and enforcement of this right (and most others) we have to encourage the growth of the values and circumstances that create this matrix.