L. Neil Smith's

Number 9, June 1996

Fear & Loathing, 1996

by Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         The American government is doomed. The main unanswered questions are the manner -- and the day -- of its passing. Will it expire because a significant minority of Americans get terminally fed up and decide not to play anymore, rendering government irrelevant and themselves (and the nation) ungovernable? Or will it just run out of money?
         One or the other is inevitable. The former is the easy way, the latter seems more likely. Too bad, since the financial ruin of the welfare/warfare state will almost certainly entail terrific civil disorder -- what our masters and their media toad-eaters love to mislabel "anarchy" -- attended by the usual Horsepersons of the Apocalypse.
         But we cannot say when the State is going down. The current stock market/mutual fund/credit bubble is going to pop, too, but any number of investors have gone navel-sunward through premature bets on the timing of its implosion. Similarly, we still have reason to pay attention to this twisted puppet-play our politics, since it's likely to expropriate, imprison, and kill a mess of us before the Jubilee.
         Which brings me to the single most outrageous statement I ever expect to make in The Libertarian Enterprise: America's gun owners had better hope like hell that William Ceausescu Clinton wins the 1996 Presidential election.
         OK. Lightning didn't strike me when I wrote that. I'm surprised.
         What I'm not is joking. Nor hyperbolizing. I mean this, people.
         Bill Clinton is evil. Bill Clinton is corrupt. What with Brady, the Crime Bill, Digital Telephony, HR 666, CDA, and the Terrorism Bill he has stolen more of our freedoms than any prior President.
         But consider: in the long run, and even the not-so-long, no politician can actually favor allowing the American people to keep their guns. You run for office in order to reap the power, privilege, and profit which government confers. You don't bust your ass elbowing for a place at the trough in order, once there, to do anything that might impede the burgeoning flow of slops. The presence of hundreds of millions of guns in the hands of American citizens is a powerful decentralizing element, a check-in-place to the otherwise uncontrolled greed of the State -- just as the authors of the Second Amendment intended it be. How can any politician stand for that?
         They can't. The occasional wild-eyed ideologue might try to buck the terrific incentive-pressure to expand government, by gun confiscation among myriad means. But such nonconformists invariably find themselves marginalized, reviled, and eventually neutralized -- just as Washington's freshmen and women Republicans, despised by media, Democrats, and the Thunder Lizards who run their own party, are being now.
         The Republicans will not protect our gun rights, much less restore lost liberties. They haven't before; why should they start now? They voted for the Crime Bill because they were afraid to look soft on crime. They voted for the Terrorism Bill because they feared to look soft on terrorism. In between they passed a "repeal" of the scary-looking gun ban, which notwithstanding the astoundingly brainless optimism it engendered in the NRA's leadership was an entirely empty gesture. They knew Clinton would veto it.
         They never intended it to stick. The real reason Republicans voted for Brady and Crime and Terrorism was that they don't want us to have guns.
         That's why a Republican president in concert with a Republican Congress would be a disaster for gun owners. Republican opposition to gun control is a show - they only do it to piss Bill Clinton off, and to falsely differentiate themselves from him in the minds of gun owners. They don't mean it.
         If Bob Dole is elected, he'll hand Sarah Brady everything she wants within a year of his inauguration. That's total gun confiscation. The House and Senate will pass it overwhelmingly, and TIME magazine will make him Man of the Year and talk about his transition from politician to Great Statesman. It's a done deal.
         If on the other hand Clinton is re-elected, the Republicans will continue to pay lip-service to gun rights purely as a political expedient. They will fight his attempts to extend gun prohibition not because they believe it's wrong, but to make him look impotent. They will oppose him, not on principle, but to gain advantage.
         That's the whole engine which drives our political process: the struggle for advantage. Aside from minor disagreements as to the order in which our liberties are to be stripped from us, there is today no distinction in policy or principle between Democrats and Republicans, if indeed there's been any since the run-in to the Civil War. Without thought they swap positions overnight as expedience dictates. Those budget proposals the Republicans pushed last winter -- for which Slick and the media scourged them as heartless Scrooges bent on slaying our children and elderly -- were the very same ones Clinton himself made last summer. What positions the politicians take on "issues" are determined solely by tactical considerations.
         Thus, with Dole of the Living Dead in the White House, the Republicans will abandon all pretense of opposing gun control. They won't need that scam anymore: it will have served its purpose. They will serve their own self-interest as politicians by ramming home all the gun laws Bill Clinton could have ever hoped for.
         A Clinton victory, obviously, will not save our gun freedoms. It will only force the Republicans into the unnatural and uncomfortable position of defending rights they don't actually think we have. All it gains us is time.
         But it's time we otherwise wouldn't have, before we have to face the Big Decision: turn in our guns, or turn into federal felons. And maybe -- just maybe -- it will be time enough.
         Clinton in 1996! And nobody in 2000!

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War in Tethyr from TSR.

Don't sacrifice PRINCIPLES to POLITICS! The Libertarian party must not abdicate its position as the party of principle. That it might do so by nominating a candidate for President who endorses the government's right to tax us, and even advocates taxation, is a clear and present danger. The only way to protect LP integrity is to support Rick Tompkins. See his Web page at: http://www.nguworld.com/rick96/. Send contributions NOW to: Rick Tompkins, Libertarian, for President; 8129 N. 35th Ave. #262, Phoenix, AZ 85051.

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