L. Neil Smith's
Number 63, January 15, 2000
World Doesn't End!


by Curt Howland

Exclusive to TLE

           Looking back over the plethora of stories published in the Libertarian Enterprise, and especially #61 and #62, it's more than clear that the primary contributors all seem to demonstrate that a "fundamental human right", specifically arms, is very much on the mind of everyone who writes for and reads TLE.
           My reasons for saying "especially #61 and #62" is that these two issues were, it seems, mostly written by lay persons. By that I mean people not historically published in TLE. Readers. Peasants. "The People."
           Federal efforts to limit arms started after the repeal of prohibition. In "Unintended Consequences", John Ross applies the logic that the Fed.gov didn't want to have to lay off all those alcohol prohibition "revenuers", so new crimes had to be created for them to be employed to enforce. What is usually missed is that this is the same point in history that marijuana and other "controlled" substances were put on the Index. Any semblance of limited government ceased to exist.
           But the arms first listed were only a few types, just as each prohibition has since been. If any lessons were learned from the disaster of the 18th amendment, it was the greater effectiveness of gradual "boiling the frog" infringements over trying it all at once.
           We see such encroachment every day. The violations of private property and personal choices have since happened by way of as few individuals pissed off as possible each step. In California, SKS Sporter owners have now learned the lesson of confiscation. The specter of "confiscation" remains a dim cry of the distant fanatic to "most" people, even with the Sullivan Act in NYC drawing a clear parallel. It's happened before, this is not an isolated incident. It is, however, exactly what does NOT get taught in school.
           Arms are a symptom. A peaceful individual has no fear of arms, for their abuse is a danger no different than falling off a log, being hit by a car, struck by lightning or lost at sea. Yes, it does happen, but the risk can be minimized through lifestyle and intelligent choices.
           No one asks for thunderstorms to be prohibited by law, nor would anyone expect such a law to work. Lightning happens, it's a higher law than human made laws. It is natural.
           So is violence. It can be minimized, but not eliminated.
           Legal prohibition of arms is a symptom of emotional sickness. The root of it is fear, it manifests through delusion. The prohibitionist believes others cannot be trusted with arms. Beyond political arguments of who wants who dead, apologies to El Neil, and Rosie O'Donnal, the base fear that rules the life of the prohibitionist is the enemy.
           The delusion, that nature can be changed by legislation, is the Big Lie(tm). Gun control, violations of private property for "good" reasons, licensure and privilege, all follow like the metaphoric dominos in a line.
           Prior cultures had Divine Right to justify their regulation of other peoples lives. We, in our "enlightened" age, have been taught that anything labeled "science" is therefore undeniable truth. As we've seen with so many of the most intrusive regulations, all that is required is the sheen of scientific polish to make palatable even the most undeniably foul excrement.
           Most effective is the "proven" theory that evokes the specter of pre-existing fear. Danger. Hazard. Evil. "Save us, do SOMETHING!" As if the legislators can DO anything at all.
           How many times has each of us caught that hint of corruption that the lure of absolute power has invested in our elected "officials", when they say with no hint of recognition, "We must do something, there's no law concerning [whatever]."
           Here is the recipe for disaster: A people who clamor to be saved from danger, no matter how specious, if it is said to have been scientifically identified as a danger.
           Add legislators who believe they can legislate anything, with no personal repercussions no matter how wrong they are.
           Mix with individuals separated by their own little special interest groups, rarely effected by enough little prohibitions to get really upset
           Glaze with a media ready to pounce every time someone DOES get upset enough to react, ensuring that no matter how isolated the incident everyone thinks it happened in their back yard AND that the dangerous overreaction to a "reasonable" act endangered their own lives and children somehow, closing the positive feedback loop on those who clamor to be saved from the dangers of living.
           Several years ago, Robin Williams and Walter Mathow made a movie called "Survivors" (or real close, forgive spelling). This movie portrayed survivalists as buffoons, dangerous gun nuts who were a hazard to "society" by their mere existence. No one remembers Gary Cooper as Sgt. York, showing up his fellow recruits by actually being able to shoot because he grew up with arms.
           As the fear of gun ownership has been slowly exposed as the fraud it is, rather than anyone's mind being changed, the prohibitionists have merely changed tactics. We are now faced with the specter of "dangerous guns", not dangerous gun owners. As background checks have failed, the items themselves are attacked as irresponsible.
           More than 10 rounds? A hunting rifle that has a detachable magazine? You cannot need such things for responsible ownership, you must therefore want to hunt people.
           But you cannot legislate nature. Natural laws mean an individual who takes responsibility for their own safety survives. What gun owners are left? Those that realize what they have even in the face of continual assaults on firearms ownership and the natural human right to wield tools.
           TLE #61 and #62 show these symptoms. Rational individuals, armed with facts, are being told they're irresponsible. Rejection of such fraud is getting stronger, if only because the strong core is all that is left of the fruit of liberty.
           This core is fragmented among different special interests. Isolation divides us, there is always some extreme which can be used by the fearful to discredit individual arguments in favor of freedom. So long as such fragmentation exists, liberty is doomed. Will gun owners come to the aid of drug users? Unlicensed hair dressers picketing to protest mandatory air-bags?
           I cannot recommend Vin Sprynowicz's book, "Send In The Waco Killers", highly enough. The title and cover unfortunately belie the fact that arms are only one small area of focus, as arms are truly just one small symptom of the disease.
           Only by overcoming this fragmentation can liberty survive. The cries of hemp advocates have almost overcome the absurdity of that prohibition, the same way most states again allow their citizens to carry arms, if only very, very limited ways, still overshadowed by the restrictions of the Fed.gov. Never laws repealed, only new ones added on to placate a special interest.
           The symptoms are everywhere, the disease, I'm afraid, is an old one:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:

  • -From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • -from spiritual faith to great courage;
  • -from courage to liberty;
  • -from liberty to abundance;
  • -from abundance to complacency;
  • -from complacency to apathy;
  • -from apathy to dependence;
  • -from dependence back again to bondage."

-- Alexander Tyler

           The disease is, I'm sorry to say, also a law of nature. Power corrupts.

"You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
-- Robert Anson Heinlein "If This Goes On" 1939


In a series of similar rulings over the past several years, the [US Supreme] court has revived the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states all rights not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government. A 5-4 majority of justices handed down yet another decision Tuesday that strips away power from Washington and hands it back to the states.

Although advocates of a leaner federal government hail the recent decisions, others see the trend as a weakening of citizens? ability to seek legal remedies in federal courts or protections under federal laws.
Source: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/abc/20000112/pl/20000112008.html

[Apparently these "others" sense that there's still blood left in the national corpus, and they're not going to drop off until it's been bled dry. -- ed.]

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