THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 374, July 2, 2006
"The power elite don't give a damn about you"
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the various and sundry Fourth of July celebrations happening all around me this year. In truth, I've long suspected that these annual festivities have served to rationalize and justify mindless, rabid nationalism much more than celebrate the ideals under which this country was founded. I know that every time I hear a politician even say the word "freedom" it makes me want to retch. The general idea seems to be that, just as everybody is Irish for a day on St. Patrick's Day, "my country, Right or Wrong" is an acceptable attitude for a day on July 4th.
Well, color me unpatriotic, but I just don't hold to that. To paraphrase the great H.L. Mencken, all decent men are ashamed of the governments under which they live. In these times, Independence Day celebrations seem to have the same sort of ambiance as Marion Barry's inaugural party when he was re-elected Mayor of D.C. after being very publicly busted with crack and hookers. It doesn't matter what kind of rotten behavior the U.S government has been guilty of, at home and abroad, for the last several decades; Old Glory is still flying so let's get wasted.
If I thought it would do any good I would duct-tape a copy of The Essential Thomas Paine to a cinderblock and lob it through the window of the nearest federal building. In reality, I'd probably just end up getting shot and, if I lived, I'd be charged with some sort of jailable offense under the PATRIOT Act. Think of the irony in that: a patriotic act being punished under the PATRIOT Act.
Indeed. As delicious as it sounds, I've never been sufficiently religious to view martyrdom as a desirable course of action. I prefer a constant state of low-level sedition and the occasional drunken rant.
I do, however, have an idea of how I could celebrate in my own way. I first cooked it up a few years ago as a way to "vote" without actually giving my tacit endorsement to some slick-talking Party critter in state and federal elections. It's really very simple and requires little more than a bit of piggy-banking: on election day, in lieu of voting by casting a ballot, I will instead buy a gun.
It's a beautiful idea, really. Think of the subversive impact such a thing could have if it was done on a national scale. Last I heard there were about 300,000,000 privately owned firearms in the United States. Let us adjust for gun dealers and stores and ball-park it at around 80,000,000 gun owners. If just five percent (4,000,000) of us were to buy a gun on election day...
It wouldn't be that hard. Just get yourself a one-gallon glass jug and throw your pocket change in it every day for two years. Hell, mine's only half full and I'll bet that there's at least three hundred dollars in it already.
And to really get the point across, make your purchase a handgun. The spike in purchase permits alone, once collated, would start making a great many politicos very nervous. Imagine the impact of 4,000,000 handgun purchases on election day.
We wouldn't have to get in people's faces, raise hell in public, or even participate in the fraud of elections at all. We'd just be sending the message that we're done screwing around and we're done arguing about it. It may not even make the news, but I think that the ones who need to get the message most certainly will. Who knows? Maybe in a few years the number of firearm purchases on election day could rival, or even surpass, voter turnout. What do you think that would do to the yo-yos who wring their hands over "voter apathy?"
I can see a grassroots campaign slogan on t-shirts, bumper-stickers, and coffee mugs already:
Vote for yourself. Buy a gun.