THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 590, October 3, 2010
"Americans hold Congress members in lower esteem than
even drug dealers, child molesters and used car salesmen"
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Many years ago1979 it was, at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los AngelesI was attending a national Libertarian Party convention where, among other things, I met J. Neil Schulman and F. Paul Wilson in the flesh, and the Prometheus Award was handed out for the first time.
To Paul, for Wheels Within Wheels.
It was also the second occasion that I'd heard Nathaniel Branden speak. The first had been from way at the back of an exceedingly long and crowded ballroom at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, back in 1964. I asked what proved to be a silly question, and was properly chastised.
As I've observed before, time flies whether you're having fun or not. In Los Angeles, 15 years later, Branden sat in the center of a small room, on a stool on a low platform ten feet away from me, where I occupied a place in the front row. But the important thing about that night was a question that Branden asked, and as he did sothe mark of a good speakerit felt just like he was looking straight at me.
We've been struggling for freedom for a long time, he said in so many wordsalthough, of course, it hadn't been very long at all, not in 1979. If we were to win tomorrow, if the enemies of individual freedom were all vanquished and oppressive government faded away, if victory were finally and totally ours, what would you do day after tomorrow?
It's a really good question. Do we live for the struggle, or do we live for what comes after the struggle? I'm not sure anyone in that room took it very seriouslyI don't think many of them expected to live long enough to see such a day (and some of them didn't)nor do I recall what else was said about it. But Branden's question has haunted me through the decades, three point one so far, since he asked it.
Basically, the question boiled down to, will you have a life to live, after we win? I've made certain, ever since then, that I had an answer.
Several answers, in fact. First, of course, I have to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of libertarian victory. This is largely a matter of science versus Barack Obama and his orcish minions, who see other people as interchangable and disposable units, like cattle. We stand on the threshhold of a new era in which human lifespans will increase spectacularly, but this is not desirable to the United Nations and its "Agenda 21", or the twisted creeps now running the government.
Assuming we get past them, as well as the repulsive attempt in our movement and elsewhere to make a political virtue out of literary shoplifting, I would keep writing. I saw my first byline around fifth or sixth grade, in the Pepperrell Air Force Base newspaper. It was a parody of "The Night before Christmas" in which various automotive parts were hung on the tree because my dad was the vehicle maintenance officer. Since then, writing, getting published, have become a way of life.
As it stands now, in the middle of my sixth decade, I have more ideas for stories and books than I will ever live to write, which makes me very sad. I experience those untold tales, those unborn characters, as crying out for life. It's vastly worse than an itch that can't be scratched, it's a dull ache you can't find the center of.
I have some interest in reclaiming good technology that has been abandoned by our civilization, usually for the most stupid of reasons. Living in a free country would mean that I could return to a dream I've had for years, of becoming a weapons-manufacturer. For example, as a gunsmith, I don't believe that history and humanity are quite through with the design known as the "Broomhandle Mauser", the first commercially successful semiautomtic pistol. The Broomhandle is so different in conception and execution from the Browning-invented weapons we're all used to, as to seem like the product of an alien mind.
Some folks don't like the Mauser's grip, which I find perfectly comfortable, and seem to forget that we almost never shoot a revolver today with handles shaped like its frame. I lovee neoprene grips like the Pachmayr "Presentation" model, myself. They make shooting magnums pleasant. Others don't like magazines situated in front of the trigger, rather than inside the handle, but they're happy with sport- utility rifles like the AR-15 and the AK-47 built exactly the same way.
What killed the "Broomie" was the inadequate cartridge, 7.63x25mm, it was made for. By the time a more effective offerng was available9mm Mauser Export, which rivaled the .357 Magnumit was too late. Browning designs and their imitators had taken the field over. But with modern steels and production techniques, in effective caliberslike .40 S&W, 10mm, or .45 ACPthere is still a place for the Mauser design. I'd even like to make a miniature that shoots .22 Long Rifle.
Make no mistake, I absolutely venerate St. John Moses Browning's 1911, and his P35 Browning High Power is also "of the best"or at least it would be if it could be made for a worthwhile cartridge without messing up its marvelous handling qualities, as I find the .40 caliber version does. I have some fresh ideas in this area, beginning with a 145-grain .375 bullet loaded into a modified 8mm Nambu parent case.
At the same time, however, I would bring the Dardick pistol back, an absolutely revolutionary design that combines the best qualities of automatics and revolvers, without any of the drawbacks of either. Critics at the time of its introduction said it looked too weirdrather like an oldtime Weller soldering gunbut how do you suppose the Broomhandle, the Luger, and the 1911 looked to generations of revolver-shooters? Aesthetics are arbitrary, and shooters would get used to the Dardick as they did to other weapons, if it served them well.
The Dardick used special plastic-cased cartridges with a roundly triangular, or trochoidal, cross-section, loaded with a .38 caliber bullet. It was pretty clearly aimed at the police market, where the standard at the time (the late 1950s) was the wildly-successful Smith & Wesson Model 10, of which it is said more than six million were produced.
There's no reason that the Dardick concept couldn't be mated with much better calibers than it was offered in. With its double-action works, and an astonishing magazine capacity (in 1958) of fifteen "trounds", it might well have nudged the Model 10. But it fell victim, not to the market, but to a corporate boardroom dispute, and history lost one of the most effective devices for personal defense ever invented.
I might also explore the concept behind the "Ngu Departure" pistol people are always asking me about, which I described in Pallas, a brand new edition of which will be released by Phoenix Pick November 10.
The idea was to combine the double recoil springs of a Walther P-38 or AutoMag, with the tilting barrel of a Beretta Model 21A, to produce a straight-blowback 10mm pistol. (Astra once made excellent straight-blowbacks in 9mm and the equivalent of .38 Super, but it was hard to get the slide back.) For nongunners, this would cut the cost of making a gun in half. Add to that, the Ngu Departure's frame was composed of stacked metal plates, like a Master Lock, and you have a manufacturer's dreamand a viable industry for an emerging new culture.
Up yours, Hillary.
I also have ideas for projectile weapons that don't use gunpowder. How about one that pushes a BB to 10,000 feet per second? Or shoots nanites that will feed on a CCD camera for thirty minutes and then die?
This essay has turned out gunnier than I intended, so I will add a couple of final thoughts. One is that I have always been terribly interested in archeology and paleontology. I live in a part of the country, the Golden West, less than a hundred miles south of Como Bluff, Wyoming, where the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus of its time was discovered. I admire the careers of Roland T. Bird and Roy Chapman Andrews (look them up) and would like to do some of what they did.
For that matter, nearby Fossil Creek, fewer than ten miles from my home, has petrified clamsI don't know from what eraI first played with as a little boy. My lovely and talented wife Cathy wants to do some digging tooshe's gone back to college to study both antiquities and geologyso if the winter isn't too bad, we will gather up our rock hammers, our whisk brooms, and our dental picks, and do some of that under the warm western sun. Maybe we'll find a dinosaur.
I was a musician for some years before I became a professional writer, during the folk music era. I had two or three bands, played the guitar (and the banjo, badly), and sang songs through high school and college. I'm a composer, and have written a fair number of pieces that I'm proud of, ranging from tragic to funny, and from political to romantic.
Whether we win or not, I'd like to get my music recorded so that it won't die with me. I have one love song in particular that will tear your heart out, and an anthem for our movement that needs to go public.
Now, if somebody else, living his or her life fully after we win will kindly produce a full size replica of the 1937 Cord Phaeton convertible ...