The Philosophy of Firearms was completed in 1992. The book was marketed by Broad Reach Publishing for one year.
An ad was placed in Gun Week for that year which , considering its circulation, did very well garnering almost 400 orders. Unfortunately, an expensive ad in several national magazines (Guns & Ammo, Guns, Women & Guns) mysteriously failed to produce ANY orders. This surprising unrewarded expense depleted Broad Reach Publishing's financial assets so that a printed copy of POF was never created. Nevertheless almost 300 of the 400 Gun Week orders were converted to diskette sales...many were sold to readers so eager to explore POF that they took their first steps into the computer age.
I have occasionally entertained the notion that some government conspiracy was responsible for the mysterious failure of the magazine ads. Were orders coded to the magazine ads returned by the U.S. Post Office? Was I under BATF surveillance?
Despite the fact that I would be immensely flattered to imagine myself worthy of government surveillance, I do not believe in any such conspiracy. I believe ads for POF simply failed to appeal to the readers of the magazines.
BUT, just in case the government was responsible, I now offer POF as ShareRead.
The ShareRead terms are:
Mark A. Laughlin
1740 Harbor Place, 32A
S. Pasadena, FL 33707
If there is enough interest, I will write an updated edition covering the Weaver and Waco assaults.
A Philosophy is that which ultimately creates the creators among men, with their shining, life-giving achievements, or which unleashes the destroyers, who wreck it all. 1
Anti-Gun forces righteously assault the individual's right to keep and bear arms, while today's leading defenders of firearms, in a self-effacing, timid manner, retreat in the direction Anti-Gun forces herd them.
Without being certain of their convictions, without an understanding of the moral principle upon which self-defense and hence firearm ownership rests, Pro-Gun forces suffer rout after rout at the hands of Anti-Gun forces, the media, and power usurping politicians. However, it is not the power of the Anti-gun coalition that leads them to victory, but the fundamental principles that Pro-gun organizations hold, that renders Pro-gun organizations helpless in the face of the Anti's assault.
The right to keep and bear arms is the political result of a certain philosophical school of thought. Philosophy, itself, finds its basic roots within its three main branches: metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Metaphysics, the study of existence, the basic question is "What is it?". Epistemology, the study of the basis of knowledge, the key question is "How do I know it?". And Ethics, The study of values, the fundamental question being "What should I do?"
Without a successful defense within these three critical branches of philosophy, the right to self-defense is cut off at its root and then blown away by the first fresh breeze of moral confidence.
The intent of this work is to show that the right to self-defense and hence the right to bear arms, is derived from the nature of existence, man's nature, and man's means of survival. I will not base the right to self-defense by simply quoting our "founding fathers" as authorities on the subject, unless it is as a cohesive argument. Stephen P. Halbrook's book, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, does an excellent job of demonstrating the context of the creation of the Second Amendment and our founding father's intentions.
This book will, instead, apply Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, to the issue of self-defense and gun ownership. I will demonstrate that a pro-gun position depends implicitly upon certain metaphysical, epistemological and ethical concepts. Furthermore, I will demonstrate how other anti-concepts ultimately undercut and destroy any attempt to defend the right to bear arms and the right to defend oneself.
To answer specifically the question posed by the title of a collection of Ayn Rand's essays, A Philosophy: Who Needs it; a philosophy, gun owners desperately need it.
Without a philosophy, gun owners are stranded with building conceptual constructs in thin air, unconnected to reality. Without a foundation in philosophy, gun owners will be disarmed not by a superior force or argument, but by default. Gun owners will forfeit their right to exist as gun owners which means, ultimately, their right to exist as humans.
1.1 Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America
"There are no absolutes," they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute. 2.1
The right to keep and bear arms rests, implicitly, upon a certain view of the nature of existence, and a certain view of the nature of man and man's means of knowledge. This philosophical foundation or view is not the one being taught or promoted in today's universities, colleges, high schools and elementary schools; it is not the view held by America's leading intellectuals, hence the right to arms is left without philosophical support.
The United States was founded when Enlightenment ideas were dominant. An age when intellectuals like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine made heroic efforts to implement, on a political level, the basic philosophical principles of Aristotle.
Jefferson, Paine, and Madison were not philosophers (John Locke being the leading philosopher of the period) in the fundamental sense of dealing with the nature of existence, man's means of knowledge, and the nature of man. They were the intellectuals who delineated and implemented a political philosophy of the rights of man. A political philosophy of individual rights. A political philosophy which implies and depends upon a certain view of existence, man, and the means of knowledge.
Philosophy will not tell you whether a gun buyer should be forced to wait one minute or half a lifetime for a background check, it will not tell you whether your local police chief or a Washington bureaucrat should determine "your need" of a handgun, it will not tell you whether you should be allowed to have a bolt action hunting rifle or a fully automatic UZI submachine gun. Philosophy will, however, tell you whether the government has a right and may be permitted to control guns at all.
This work will construct the foundational pyramid upon which the political implementation of the right to keep and bear arms rests. During this "system building" I will contrast these ideas with their antithesis. I will show how the wrong ideas lead to the diminution and, ultimately, to the complete abolition of man's right to self-defense and, its implementation, the right to keep and bear arms.
A .45 caliber, 230 grain copper clad lead bullet seated in a brass case with 5.8 grains of Unique (brand) smokeless powder and a primer will, when chambered in a 1911 government model autoloading pistol and struck on the primer by the pistol's firing pin, send the bullet out the barrel with a velocity of about 849 feet per second. And so long as you are on planet Earth, that projectile will follow a certain course striking terra firma, depending upon the angle of discharge and environmental conditions, about 300 yards downrange. This is the science of ballistics.
This science and all sciences, i.e., all of man's knowledge, are founded upon the axiom: Existence Exists.
Existence Exists is THE axiom of Objectivist philosophy. Existence Exists can be restated as "A thing is what it is." In other words a thing cannot be, or act contrary to what it is. That .45 caliber, 230 grain copper clad bullet traveling at 850 feet per second will not, when confronted with a human body in its path, first ascertain whether justice would be done by ending that human's life or passing ghost-like through the human without killing. The moral judgement must be made by a volitional being, Man, before the gun is discharged. A man who believes that he can start a metaphysical process (the discharging of a firearm) and allow some form of divine supernatural consciousness to alter or permit that bullet's nature should be confined to a mental institution for the psychotic and not honored as one of America's leading intellectuals and thinkers.
Modern philosophy which is opposed to all of the fundamental ideas of the enlightenment, found its roots with Plato and filtered down to its most virulent practitioner, Immanuel Kant. Whereas Aristotle supported Locke, Jefferson, and Rand; Plato and Kant unleashed Hitler, Marx, and Metzenbaum
Plato's main error involved his attempt to solve the problem of universals, i.e., the relationship of concepts to reality. He tried to solve it at the metaphysical level whereas Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, solves it in epistemology.
The problem of universals has to do with the difficulty of finding the source of concepts. Plato claimed that concepts exist in another supernatural world, the "world of forms." Ayn Rand proved that concepts are, instead, a powerful, man created tool of thought.
For an example of Plato's view of concepts consider the "bluing finish" on a firearm; when a knowledgeable gun buyer examines the bluing he compares it with his abstraction, thru experience or study, of the ideal bluing job. However, Plato would say that Man's concept of quality bluing was learned before birth in another dimension. That gun-bluing exists in this other, supernatural dimension in its perfect form. And when man examines the bluing on a firearm he is comparing it to that ideal he experienced before his birth. In fact, Plato would say that every time man experiences "gun-bluing" on earth he is perceiving an imperfect representation of the perfect, supernatural form impinging into our reality. And so it goes with all other concepts.
The really devastating effect of Plato's view of concepts raises its ugly head when applied to the concept "man." According to Plato's forms, there exists in that other dimension the perfect Man. And it is this perfect man that is manifesting itself in our world albeit in our world's many imperfect implementations. So, contrary to our sense perceptions, we are not aware of all these individual men in the world, but some hazy, shadowy reflection of the one supernatural ideal man.
Most Americans, even devoutly religious ones, are incredulous when presented with Plato's supernatural world of forms and its implications. Nevertheless, it is widely held in fundamentals by most of today's philosophers and theologians and it is implemented politically by dictators and commissars of all statist persuasions. After all, consider: if all men on earth are simply the imperfect, earthly impressions of some otherworldly perfect man, then men on earth are truly one being. At this point it doesn't matter if that one being is purported to be some spiritual entity or its modern earthly equivalent, "society"; those who claim to know the needs or desires of that one being are left free to enslave and kill in order to preserve and further the perfect whole.
Self defense? Why would one individual, imperfect, earthly man need the means to defend himself? Defend himself from himself? Defend himself from the other appendages of that perfect one?
Today's leading political intellectuals take a Platonist-utilitarian view. A view that suggests that we look at the "Costs-Benefits" of implementing gun control. Leading to the argument for gun control on the basis (a faulty one in itself) of "overall lives saved." This is the result of the "Collectivist Viewpoint" notes Peter Schwartz in Guns and Knee-Jerkism "that regards all of society as one giant unit and then weighs the 'cost' and 'benefit' to respective appendages." 2.2
Plato's forms is the metaphysics of Nazism, communism, socialism, welfarism and, ultimately, gun control. Plato's forms implies the collectivist view of politics because it views each man as only an imperfect, earthly representation of the perfect supernatural whole. Therefore it doesn't matter if the perfect whole is represented by the folk, the proletariat, the majority or the fuhrer; these are all embodiments of the same underlying philosophical disease.
Finally, because existence exists and a thing is what it is, i.e., it has identity and cannot violate that identity, we can infer one particular existent: Consciousness. It is only consciousness that can perceive existence and make the statement "existence exists." But most importantly, it can be ascertained that consciousness is perceiving that which exists; perceiving an objective reality. Not altering reality. Man may creatively rearrange existents, but he cannot violate their nature or identity. "Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed" as Francis Bacon succinctly states it.
Existence, Identity, and Consciousness are the axiomatic foundation of Objectivism. In fact they are necessarily implicit in ALL knowledge and all claims to knowledge.
The stolen concept is so named because it is an attempt to use a particular concept while denying that concept's necessary roots. It is nearly standard practice for modern philosophers to attempt to deny the axioms, Existence, Identity, and Consciousness while an argument, itself, depends upon these axioms. The axioms are implicit in every argument, any proof, and all knowledge. "'There are no absolutes,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute" said Ayn Rand's fictional John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.
Philosophical concept stealers don't just confine themselves to stealing axiomatic concepts, but will steal other higher-level concepts while denying their necessary philosophical foundation as we'll see when we review several variants of what I call "right TO" rights in chapter six.
Objectivist metaphysics tells man that the universe is knowable. It doesn't tell him what it is, only that it is what it is. What it is, is up to him to discover. Objectivism will not tell him what the nature of lead or smokeless powder is. It only tells him that each does not possess self-contradictory characteristics. A .45 caliber bullet traveling at 850 feet per second won't have a devastating effect on human tissue today and, tomorrow, a peaceful tranquil effect.
If the world were unknowable, if what were true today might not be true tomorrow, if what exists had no identity; then man's only means of knowing, only hope of understanding is the cringing, crawling, sacrificial lifestyle practiced by the cave man when faced with lightening and thunder. His only hope is to faithfully follow some omniscient being or some earthly representative claiming a link to such a being. And he has no means of judging between the contradictory claims of all the different witch doctors, all claiming to know the unknowable.
But once we accept existence as being what it is, then man's only means of gaining knowledge is reason. Reason is the non-contradictory identification of the facts of reality. Reason includes several basic tools: observation via the senses, logic, and concepts.
The Objectivist scholar, David Kelley, has written a book titled The Evidence of the Senses which is a full philosophical defense of man's sensory perceptions. For our purposes we will take sensory evidence as self evident requiring only the application of our means of evaluation: logic. If you should encounter a radically irrational anti-gunner proclaiming or implying that your senses are flawed, you would be completely justified in holding up a fully automatic Uzi and proclaiming "An automatic weapon, how can you know. Maybe it is a peace placard. Or perhaps a white bunny. Hell, I think it's a leatherbound copy of the holy bible...your senses must be deceiving you."
Another conceptual tool, logic, is simply the rules you apply to avoid contradictions. Ayn Rand called logic the "art of non-contradictory identification." Logic is directly related to reality by the fact that reality is non-contradictory and logic is aimed at identifying reality without contradiction. David Kelley's, The Art of Reason, is a thorough textbook on logic and thinking.
Logic's most basic rule is "A is A." A thing is what it is. "A" cannot be "non-A." Contradictions do not and cannot exist. A contradiction in your thinking is the result of an error in your premises meeting head-on with reality.
Contrary to those who try to disparage logic by tying it to ivory tower types, knowledge is not gained from logic by some exclusively mental process unconnected to reality. Logic is not some isolated conscious process. The rules of logic are applied to man's sensory experience in order to make sense of that experience.
Most assaults on reason begin as an assault on concepts. Almost all of the confusion centers around the difference between a concept and its definition.
First lets consider the role of concepts. Concepts allow man to subsume vast amounts of information and an extensive reasoning process and fix that information to a word. For example the concept "pistol" subsumes a wide ranging number of guns--revolvers, single shot target and hunting pistols, autoloaders, air pistols, etc.--all being hand held devices capable of propelling a projectile. "Pistol" is like the label on a file folder, a folder that contains all representations of pistols. Likewise the concept "justice" subsumes an extensive and complicated thought process that includes man's rights, the purpose of government and rational self interest.
One of Ayn Rand's greatest achievements had to do with her theory of concepts. She took concepts out of Plato's supernatural world of the forms and restored them as a valuable tool created by man.
Mathematics and algebra provide a cogent example of the power of concepts. The number "8" represents a quantity (* * * * * * * *). Numbers as a concept of quantity allows us to manipulate, think and analyze about quantity relationships using mathematics, particularly quantities that are not immediately apprehendable. Algebra goes another step. Algebra uses even more abstract concepts that can represent any number! For example A2+B2=C2 or E=MC2 where "A," "B," "C," "E," "M," and "C" can represent any number.
It was the relationship of definitions to concepts that, for centuries, have troubled and confused man. A definition simply distinguishes a concept from its roots. A definition must both give the "family" source of a concept and its "distinguishing" feature.
It is now quite common for modern philosophers and their intellectual offspring to make the definition the concept, dropping its complete context, i.e., its family. This error ultimately splits knowledge into two sources: Logical knowledge and empirical knowledge. Their claim is that empirical knowledge cannot be proven logically and that logical knowledge cannot be empirically tested. 2.3
They would claim that a square circle is logically impossible, while claiming that it is not logically impossible for a man to flap his arms and fly over Andrews Air Force Base and from his pointed fingers spew forth a rain of .50 caliber machine gun fire. They claim the second is only empirically established.
Their error lies in making the definitions the complete concept. For example the concept man is defined as the rational animal. They drop all of the other characteristics of man that the concept includes, they drop all of the other characteristics of Andrews Air Force Base, Earth and its atmosphere, they drop all of the characteristics of the human finger; leaving them with the non-contradictory statement: a rational animal flapped his arms, flew over an air force base and shot half inch diameter bullets from its member at the end of its arm.
The context that was dropped is that man is of a certain physiological form, that the earth has a certain amount of gravity and a certain type of atmosphere, and that the human hand has no provisions for firing large caliber projectiles. In other words the second proposition is as great a contradiction as the first. Both are logically impossible.
A square circle is immediately recognizable as a contradiction as much as "A is not-A" is. Whereas the second proposition might be conceived of as being equivalent to "A is not-C, where C=D, D=F, F=G, and G=A" A longer chain of reasoning, but a logical contradiction nonetheless.
Leonard Peikoff in his article "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" wrote: "This Argument confuses Walt Disney with metaphysics. That a man can project an image or draw an animated cartoon at variance with the facts of reality, does not alter the facts." Just because Disney Studios could create an animation of a man flapping his arms, flying over Andrews Air Force base and shooting large caliber bullets from his fingertips; it can only be conceived of if one drops the context of the entities involved.
So far our "system building" has us with a knowable universe, reason as man's means of knowledge, and concepts as man's means of "filing" or efficiently organizing his data. This brings us to the question: "What is man's nature?"
Today's gun-confiscating practitioners of irrationalism portray man as a being determined by his environment; a being without the faculty of choice. This makes it easy for gun-grabbers to focus upon the stimulus, the firearm, that leads man to become a killer. "Man cannot help it," they claim as they drop man, the rational animal, from the picture altogether: "the evil gun was there and now someone is dead."
What they have ignored is that man is a volitional being. And man's basic decision is to think or to evade thinking. Man is a self initiator in consciousness just as animals are self initiators in mobility. The effect upon a man who refuses to think is, ultimately, the same as an animal that refuses to move. For man, to think means to live, to evade means to die.
All of the other animals have some means of survival: some can fly, some have sharp claws, some have thick coats of fur to keep warm, some are swift, and some are strong. Man excels in none of these physical areas. Man's means of survival is thinking and, more particularly, thinking with abstractions.
But unlike animals his means of survival is not automatic. Man is the only animal that can evade its means of survival, i.e. man can discard his means of survival and try to live at the level of animals, which means man can act self-destructively.
Because man is a volitional being, because man's means of survival is reason; the fundamental requirement for man's survival is freedom. Freedom to think, freedom to act, i.e., freedom from coercion.
2.1 John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
2.2 Peter Schwartz. "Guns and Knee-Jerkism." The Battle for Laissez-Faire Capitalism.
2.3 For details I refer you to Leonard Peikoff's article "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" originally published in The Objectivist Forum and republished in the second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand; edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. This is an excellent article that is not as dry or difficult to read as the title might suggest.
For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors-between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it. 3.1
Since man is a volitional being, man's means of survival is not automatic. Man's means of survival, thinking, must be self-initiated. Man must decide to think.
It is precisely because man doesn't possess an instinct of self-preservation that he needs a code of ethics. An ethics is a code of values to guide man's actions. A code of ethics is a necessity of man's survival precisely because man does not possess an instinct of survival.
Any code of ethics is founded upon a certain standard of value. And the standard of value is implied in one's view of existence and one's accepted means of validating knowledge.
The standard of value for the conscious being, man; living in a knowable world; using reason to validate his knowledge is that man's life. Man's life is the standard of value, each man's life is his own standard of value. This is the critical ethical foundation of the right to self defense and bear arms. Each man has a right to protect his highest value, himself. If the ethical antithesis of rational self-interest, altruism, is accepted, then each man would be required to surrender his life in favor of that other. Even if, and especially if, that other is a worthless, no-good thief.
Rational self-interest or as Ayn Rand called it, selfishness, is not the sacrificing of others to yourself instead of sacrificing yourself to others. The choice is not whether we must sacrifice ourselves for others (altruism) or sacrifice others to ourselves. The choice is an ethics of sacrifice or the non-sacrificial (no victims) ethics of rational self-interest.
Clearly if your life is your standard of value and you accept an ethics of rational self-interest, you will not allow a murderer to destroy your life or your values without resisting.
Contrary to popular perception, rational self-interest doesn't mean it is wrong to help others. It means you help others in a way that doesn't harm yourself. It means you help others who hold values similar to your own. Rational self-interest would, however, prohibit the helping or assisting of those who wish to destroy your wealth, confiscate your property, or kill you. In other words you help those you value so long as you, on net, gain by supporting your own values.
Applied to self-defense rational self-interest means a person would help defend other people he values and help other people he doesn't even know, just because they are human, so long as the risk is not too great. And concerning those one disvalues, despises, hates, i.e., judges as evil; no assistance is recommended. An intelligent person should not place himself in danger to stop a battle between two wicked rival gangs. Likewise, the U.S. should not interfere in a battle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, nor should the U.S. try to save Iran from Iraq. But the U.S. is justified in giving moral support to values like Israel and Great Britain.
Rational self-interest asserts itself thru several virtues identified by Ayn Rand. A virtue is an action by which one gets and keeps values. Rationality is the basic virtue since one can neither acquire nor keep values if one errs in identifying the nature of existence and the requirements of man's life.
Independence is an aspect of rationality that is one of the most selfish of the rational self-interest virtues. Independence means recognizing no authority higher than one's own mind. A man cannot unswervingly follow evidence and logic while holding the wishes of others as of primary importance, nor can he stick to his conclusions if humility and self-abasement is his highest virtue, nor can he think while allowing the unthinking to be his sovereign.
Independence is critically important in self-defense. If a man is not to be allowed to think for himself, if a man is bound to the dictates of others, then how can he conceivably be trusted with acting rationally in defending himself from aggressors. How can he be permitted the use of force to preserve his life from criminals?
Justice is another Objectivist virtue that has seen its concept twisted by modern day liberals and philosophers with the notion of "social justice." Liberals and the Christian bible tell us that we must not judge others "lest we be judged."
Justice is a concept that involves judging other men. Just as man must judge the suitability of stainless steel versus playdough for the manufacture of firearms, one must judge one's fellow man. Note the liberal's "Let's not be judgmental" view when discussing some grotesque, New York City murderer and yet are quick to judge any value producer or self defender as greedy and dangerous.
To remain non-judgmental between the value producer and the value destroyer is treason to the producer while being very dangerous to one's own well being. To equate the policeman who comes with a gun to help you defend your life with an armed murderer coming to kill you can only be done via the mystic altruist code of ethics. It can only be done within an ethics where the standard of value is others.
To totally abstain from judging a man, one would have to completely abdicate from any forms of self-defense. Self-defense requires by its nature judging men as aggressive threats or as being amorally non-threatening. In the case of self-defense the question "Who are you to judge?" actually means "Who are you to defend yourself and remain living?"
Objectivism holds productivity to be an essential virtue. Why? Because man's means of supporting his life is thru productive effort. Productivity, furthermore, leads a rational individual to feel the emotion of pride, i.e., he feels that he is a value worth living. But without a right to self-defense, productivity can turn out to be useless and even dangerous to one's own well being.
Modern philosophy is directed at making the producer feel guilty; guilty for producing while bums drink themselves into unconsciousness; and guilty for creating wealth while beggars sought alms. A man possessing pride in his abilities is a man capable of self defense, a man who feels guilty will hardly find himself a value worthy of self-defense.
The ethics of rational self-interest versus altruism distills to the battle between the producer and the destroyer. The destroyer seeks to annihilate the producer by either gaining the producer's sanction via the altruist ethics or, if all else fails, the destroyer will resort to force to "bring them down." In the emotional arena this translates into the battle between those who feel pride in their abilities versus those who envy, i.e., hate, the able.
Ayn Rand in recognizing the producer/trader, i.e., the man who doesn't expect others to sacrifice for his benefit, said that his standards are symbolized by the dollar sign ($). I would add that the symbol of the man who refuses to be sacrificed to others is the handgun. The dollar sign and the hand gun, collectively, represent the non-sacrificial man, the man who refuses to sacrifice or be sacrificed.
Altruists of all persuasions would like you to believe that their ethics is simply an ethics of kindness. It isn't. Altruism is the ethical code that says that man has no right to live for his own sake. Altruism holds service to others as its only justification, as its standard of value.
Altruists attempt to take kindness, which is in no way an ethical primary, and use it as sheep's clothing for altruism.
Altruism is the ethics of self-sacrifice. Sacrifice for others, sacrifice for sacrifice's sake. This ethics is the result of Plato's metaphysics. If we are all simple manifestations of that ideal "world of forms" perfect man, then why not sacrifice some of its earthly manifestations for the betterment of that ideal?
Sacrifice does not mean gaining greater values in exchange for that which you value less. Sacrifice is giving up what you value most for that which you value less or don't value at all or even that which you disvalue or hate.
It is not sacrifice to give up purchasing that new set of golf clubs so as to purchase a quality handgun for your daughter to protect herself from muggers and rapists. At least not unless you value those golf clubs more than your daughters safety. The ultimate in self sacrifice (if you do value your daughter), the most altruistic act would be to drop you daughter into the most violent neighborhood, wearing her sexiest dress and diamond earrings, unarmed (maybe even handcuff her hands behind her back), and drive through the slums randomly tossing out 16" Bowie knives. After all, those poor misguided muggers and rapists probably haven't had the pleasure of such a fine young lady...you should think of them. Consider their needs and feelings.
By the altruist's standard it would be proper to defend another but not yourself. Perhaps Switzerland can be thought of as the society of altruistic self-defense. Every household in Switzerland is equipped with modern Assault rifles and a suitable cache of ammo. But it is not meant for the defense of the individual, but for the defense of that society, the defense of others. Its primary intent is the defense of Switzerland, though such an armed populace certainly enjoys a minimal amount of criminal violence against its individuals, too.
Ayn Rand in elaborating upon the Objectivist ethics of rational self-interest, countered critics claims that morality would not be needed on a deserted island (critics were claiming that morality is wholly a social issue) by stating that on a desert island is where a man would most need a code of ethics.
"Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today-and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it." 3.2
Ayn Rand is correct in her assessment within the context of accepting the morality of rational self-interest. However, from the viewpoint of the altruist, they too are right. They are right to claim that an ethics of self-sacrifice has no bearing to a man on a deserted island. Whom could they sacrifice? Whom could they cannibalize? Whom could they try to make feel guilty? Or if they are one of the rare altruist who do not consider themselves among the sacrificers but instead the sacrificed, they have no purpose but to commit suicide; for there would be no "others" to live for.
Altruism wrecks its greatest devastation via its effect on man's evaluation of morality. Adherents of altruism have no alternative but to feel guilt so long as they even consume a peanut to keep alive. A peanut that, by the standards of self-sacrifice, is morally due to others. Thus man must be evil or dead.
In today's world there are obviously many altruist alive how can they accomplish such a feat? By hedging on their principles. "There are no absolutes!" (illuminating their epistemological and metaphysical roots). "There are no black or whites issues." Or even worse the modern utilitarian altruism of "supply side" taxation. We must seek to extract the maximum values from the producers for the non-producers which means keeping them just alive enough to create maximum values for the unproductive. A leech that draws enough blood to weaken its host into submission but not so much as to diminish maximum extraction or kill its host.
I don't mean to completely denigrate "Supply-side" economics since it is certainly an improvement over the complete annihilation of economic productivity which would occur if extortionist taxation were to continue. At least supply siders keeps the body alive; alive enough to, perhaps, someday break free from the parasite.
Altruism leads its sheep to view evil as potent. The natural result when their means of survival is, by their standard, evil.
Any manifestation of altruist ethics is incompatible with man's right to self-defense. A man who believes that he is evil will not find the courage to defend himself. A man who believes that his purpose is to suffer, sacrifice, and die for others has surrendered his moral right to self-defense.
Altruism appeals to the lazy, the subservient, and the cowards. The lazy hope to sponge off the producers by joining the sacrificing crowd. The subservient are quick and relieved to pass off their wimpy, self-effacing behavior as noble selflessness. Cowards hide their cringing behavior under the banner of brotherly love.
Fundamentally altruism produces nothing nor defends anything of value for man. Altruism is an ethics of redistribution; redistributing all that is produced. Altruism counts upon its appeasing victims surrendering their values. Altruism encourages and ultimately demands the introduction of force in human relationships while also demanding that the victim sanction the ethics that condemns them. All that is required for altruism to wither is that the producers refuse to submit, that the producers retract their moral sanction from this evil ethics. Altruism is impotent since it creates no values; altruist only survive by leeching off the producers; producers who permit themselves to be enmeshed in traps of guilt and force. The production of values arises from the fountain of rational self-interest, reason, and reality; not beggary, redistribution or prayer.
The ethics of altruism has become so pervasive in our society and the world that altruists have managed to virtually substitute the ethics of altruism for the term "ethics" in general. It has become common for even the unthinking advocates of reason to uncritically assume that "ethical" means "altruism."
Welfarism, socialism and communism are all the result of attempting to apply altruist ethics in developing a political system. Gun control is one important implementation of altruist politics...one final, deadly means of sacrificing the producer to the looter.
3.1 John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
3.2 John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
Every assault on freedom has begun with an assault on reason. Every assault on reason has begun by attacking man's confidence that his mind, operating on the basis of sense perception, is capable of grasping reality objectively. If a culture abandons the primacy of existence as an intellectual foundation, it will also, in due course, lose its freedom too. 4.1
Politics and government is the fourth branch of philosophy. Politics rests upon the three primary branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. And just as the reality, reason, and rational self-interest alliance opposes the supernatural, faith, and altruist axis, these two opposing philosophical systems lead to two radically opposite social systems.
The right to bear arms (along with all of man's other rights) flourish only in one social system. One system is created to protect man's rights while its opposite, whatever its variant, is created to implement the ethics of sacrifice on a national or worldwide scale. One system has at its root man's basic right to self-defense, the other system is unleashed when it is commonly held that it is man's moral duty to sacrifice for others.
Capitalism is the social system arising from and aimed at defending man's rights. Therefore in order to understand its purpose and structure one must first discover "man's rights."
The basic right, which is the source of all others, is man's right to life. Man's life requires productive effort, which is self-sustaining and self-generated action, to survive. This means that man, by his nature, requires freedom to take all the actions that are necessary by the nature of a rational (his means of survival) being.
This translates into man's right to self-ownership and the right to the property and wealth he has created. It is within the right to property that man is able to enjoy freedom of speech and the right to bear arms and finally the right to life. The right to bear arms is of additional importance above and beyond conventional property since it is man's means to protect himself and his property from criminals and tyrants, i.e., it is what all other property depends upon. Rights without a means and right of self-defense cannot exist.
If modern liberals were advocates of the Second Amendment, they would no doubt declare that man has a right TO a gun much as they advocate "equal time" in the media. They would implement a massive bureaucratic structure to make sure everyone had weapons either through subsidy, Gun Stamps, or a Weapons Welfare Program to make sure the poor and indigent were appropriately armed.
The right to keep and bear arms does not mean that someone is to be forced to provide you with arms. It means that you have the right to either make your own arms or to buy arms from willing manufacturers. This right to trade applies to any commodity or product, but takes on special significance when applied to firearms because of their use in performing the utmost moral act: self-defense.
A right without its means of implementation, i.e., free trade, is easily undercut. The Appellate Court in U.S. vs. King stated:
We firmly disagree with the argument that the statute violates appellant's right to keep and bear arms. He was neither charged with nor convicted of keeping and bearing arms. He was charged with and convicted of engaging without a license in the business of dealing in firearms and of conspiring with others so to do. [emphasis added]
This is the same argument almost verbatim that Soviet Commissars would make concerning free speech. One would be convicted and hauled off to Siberia not for publishing one's ideas, but for publishing one's ideas without a Press Permit from the state.
The right to arms means one MUST necessarily have the right to deal with willing traders to acquire them. This means that a manufacturer who believes that no citizen needs a firearm with a magazine capacity greater than ten rounds would not have to sell a firearm with such a capacity. It also means that such a backward manufacturer would not have the political means to force his competitors to remain chained to selling only black-powder muzzle loaders.
The purpose of firearms is to defend oneself from criminals (individuals or governmental) and one should not be barred from gaining the finest modern technology can provide. Just as one should not be barred from seeking the finest in medical care, one should not be barred from gaining the finest in modern day personal defense care. Again, keeping in mind that no one is obligated to provide you with either...your right consists of either providing it to yourself or buying it from willing others. It is modern philosophy that has led to the political non sequitur of the legality of using lethal force in self-defense, but the illegality of carrying the arms needed to defend oneself.
One of the most damaging errors that most conservatives make (a result of their altruist ethics leading to a "hedging on principles") is their failure to recognize man's rights as inalienable, i.e., man's rights are not debatable or negotiable. Man's rights are not granted by permission of the government. The right to keep and bear arms is not a result of government permission. Man has these rights whether or not they are protected or sanctioned by the government. Capitalism is the only social system capable of defending man's rights; it is the only social system because it is the only social system that is explicitly restricted to protecting man's rights and nothing more.
Statist apologists and principle hedging conservatives claim that we must not be extreme and must temper the rights of man with the rights of the collective.
First off these appeasers forget that man's rights are inalienable. That means they cannot be, not ever, abridged or tempered. You cannot have "sort-of" absolute rights. More importantly, the collective has no rights other than those of its individual members.
The popular hostility toward being "extreme" is another symptom of the "hedging on principles" caused by altruism. If you are going to accept the ethical system of altruism, you must hedge on your principles, i.e., you must not be extreme, to stay alive. But if you are an advocate of rational self-interest, reason and reality, then to hedge on your principles is a rejection of your means of survival and, therefore, deadly.
This display of hedging is often outlined in the claim that "freedom of speech" is not absolute because one does not have the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. The error lies in their shallow examination of their own example. When one pays money there is an implied (if necessary, explicit) agreement between the theatre owner and patrons that one will refrain from disturbing the other theatre patrons.
Man grants to government a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force to place the use of punitive force under objectively defined and delimited laws. Force may only be used in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; therefore the only valid functions of government are the police to use retaliatory force against domestic criminals, the military to use retaliatory force against foreign invaders, and the courts to protect us from the police and to settle contractual disputes among men.
Because government is force, no other functions are justified. There must be no alliance between government force and business trade. The first wipes out the latter.
Liberals and even many conservatives today get confused on this issue. Liberals condemn private firearm ownership because they want nothing to stand in the way of their government's plans. Conservatives falter in their "defense" of the right to bear arms because they believe a government monopoly in all force is a necessary evil to avoid vigilantism.
Liberals and conservatives are both dealing with the murky, undifferentiated concept "force."
There are three fundamental kinds of "force": Initiatory, retaliatory and resistance. The government does have a monopoly in the use of retaliatory force to keep punitive force bound by objective law. Resistance force or Self-Defense, however, is necessarily the province of the individual. Government doesn't provide protection, but only acts as a minor deterrent by means of a punitive threat for an action committed. Self-defense is an on the-spot act to prevent an aggressor from killing, stealing, raping, destroying or succeeding in the act of initiating force.
The role of the firearm in the hands of the private individual is to stop and prevent murder, theft, rape, and destruction. The firearm is the means for defending against criminals and their most destructive ilk, tyrants.
Senator Metzenbaum and his cronies point out that guns are made only to kill. That is true, but he has dropped the context of "Kill Whom and under what circumstances?" And the answer is to kill (or more generally deter) those who "attempt to rob, maim, rape or kill us." 4.2 To stop aggression. To halt those who initiate the use of force.
Capitalism is the only social system that bars the initiation of force in human relationships. Capitalism is the system based upon man's rights and the only way man's rights can be violated is by means of the initiation of force. In such a system there are no thugs ruling over alcohol, no good squads monitoring tobacco and no storm troopers busing in your door to confiscate your guns; certainly no Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).
Some might then claim that since America is a capitalist country that the right to keep and bear arms must have the "Reality, Reason, rational self-interest, Capitalist" foundation in place. However, such a conclusion is painfully disillusioned.
To steal Plato's "World of the forms" concept, "capitalism" has not impinged itself into our world except in its imperfect form known as the 19th Century. Since the beginning of the 20th century capitalism has become more and more that weakened, debilitated, unacknowledged host for the modern day collectivist leech known as the welfare state.
The welfare state has its foundations in supernaturalism, faith, and especially altruism. The welfare state is, in fundamentals, opposed to the right to keep and bear arms at every critical level of philosophy.
A crippling intellectual malady common among today's defenders of the right to keep and bear arms is the refusal to differentiate between the "metaphysical and the man-made;" meaning the difference between the nature of existence and choices man has made. The nature of existence cannot be any different than it is, while volitional decisions that man has made are not to be accepted without judging their moral validity. For example, the nature of steel is not alterable or determined by consciousness, while its arrangement within a firearm (manmade aspects) is decided by man. The choice whether to use stainless steel or playdough is a choice made by a volitional being and therefore morally judged. The nature of stainless steel and playdough is not morally judged.
This error manifests itself when those defending the right to bear arms seek to do so within the legislative framework of a statist society. For example, to defend private individual firearms ownership by using the legislative precedent of the welfare state is to engage, in poisonous reverse, in using stolen concepts. Gun defenders attempting to prove the right to bear arms within the altruist-faith-supernatural legislative framework are ultimately surrendering the RIGHT to keep and bear arms by abandoning their only real means of defending firearms.
Today our political leaders exhort other countries to adopt democracy. Our children's school textbooks describe our nation as an advanced democracy. Civic lessons propound democracy as the best solution to achieving an enduring government. Democracy is offered as the only hope of achieving domestic or international peace.
When Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, was asked what kind of government they were giving the young nation did he answer "a democracy, if you can lobby vigorously enough for it?" No, Benjamin Franklin and our founding fathers created a new nation based upon the nature of man, existence, and man's means of knowledge. Franklin's answer was "A Republic, if you can keep it." Now, thanks to Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, we know what is required to "keep it."
A democracy was specifically what America's founding fathers were trying to prevent. In a democracy 51% of the voters can vote to enslave, kill or rob the other 49%. In a democracy if enough votes can be garnered man may be denied the right to life, free speech, property, philosophical beliefs, and even his means of protecting all of the above: the right to keep and bear arms.
It is a common belief that America underwent a revolution in 1776. However, the Declaration of Independence represented a revolt in defense of their freedom, not a sudden ideological change as suggested by "revolution." However, America did experience a revolution, a quiet revolution where few shots were fired. This revolution occurred in the 1930s. A revolution where the ideas of individual rights were supplanted with notions of democracy, collective rights, and economic "right TO" rights. The revolt of 1776 is the political self-assertion of the enlightenment, the revolution of 1930 was the assassination of that achievement.
Voting is appropriate in deciding who the administrators of the law will be, but not for determining the law, man's rights, or the victims of society's predations.
Is it an accident that during the American revolution of 1930 that all state approved textbooks had the word "republic" removed and replaced with "democracy?" Why is the word "republic," today, used only in the ritualistic "Pledge of Allegiance?"
The reason for America's decline, the reason for the American Revolution of 1930, the reason for the imminent elimination of the right to keep and bear arms is that capitalism and freedom were without a moral philosophical foundation. Furthermore, the ethics opposite of that required for capitalism's existence, altruism, became dominant. Altruism grew in the vacuum of moral default. Altruism and statism expanded because there was no consistent alternative offered. But that is no longer the case. The Objectivists (Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, Peter Schwartz, David Kelley, George Walsh, John Ridpath, etc.) have restored reality, validated the senses, recovered reason, discovered selfishness, and, therefore, supported capitalism. Ultimately it is these ideas that must become dominant if we wish to maintain any hope of retaining the legislative right to keep and bear arms. It is these ideas that must ascend if we wish to avoid having to use our arms to defend our inalienable rights.
Conservative defenders of the right to keep and bear arms lose their moral fervor when liberals confront them with the possibility of criminals buying guns. "Crime Fighting" (crime creating?) Conservatives fear most of all the label of "being soft on criminals" and therefor fall for the "lets keep guns out of the hands of criminals" trap. Then they come out for "reasonable compromises" that are aimed at keeping criminals unarmed while not causing "unreasonable" intrusions into the right to keep and bear arms.
But criminals by definition do not obey the law. Criminals will steal, borrow, or lie to get weapons. Weapons will be readily available in the black market. The government has a difficult enough time keeping firearms out of the hands of prison inmates much less a free citizenry.
Therefore if a man is not imprisoned for a crime, he retains the right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps this means a few more criminals will be armed that wouldn't otherwise (just the particularly stupid ones mind you), but consider also the effect upon the judicial system. Are violent criminals going to be readily paroled? Will the judicial system be so ready to plea bargain down to lesser charges? But most importantly, why try to delude the public into thinking that they are safe from criminal attacks since "criminals aren't allowed to own guns?"
Critics attempt to counter: "if that's the case why not legalize murder?" But there is a major difference between murder and providing oneself with the means of self-defense. The first is an immoral act involving the initiation of force against another person, owning a firearm is at the most an amoral act and within the context of Objectivism a morally dynamic act. Murder is reprehensible, while self-defense is a highly moral act.
Furthermore, when a man is released from prison, if he has adopted a rational approach of dealing with other men, then he most vigorously needs the means of defending himself against his former cohorts who may try to force his old lifestyle upon him. Even an ex-convict must be presumed innocent.
When the Judicial system is considering parole for a convict they must consider whether he has an understanding of the rights of man (it would be a good idea for the judicial system to "understand" these rights also) and whether he will behave appropriately. They must not be fooled by the token "I found Christ" as evidence of a changed man.
Free citizens must keep in mind that some human beings are dangerous, and arm themselves accordingly. Criminals released after serving their time are not the only danger. New criminals and "freelance socialist" are being created daily in the schools and churches via the altruist ethics.
The Constitution of the United States of America was a wonderfully conceived document. But it is a political document tottering toward a disastrous new dark age without the appropriate philosophical foundation within metaphysics, epistemology, and, most importantly, ethics. Consequently the right to property, self-defense, free speech and one's life are all in jeopardy.
The right to free speech and the right to self-defense are two critical rights. Via the first, an intellectual defense can be offered in the theoretical arena such as this book, for example. The second provides the means of defense in the "practical" physical world if irrationalism prevails. Both, contrary to some views, are in serious jeopardy and both will die together. Free speech is being regulated by the government in all its modern forms: TV, radio, private newsletters, and, increasingly, electronic bulletin boards.
The right to keep and bear arms is a small, but critically important, part of the politics of capitalism. The right to arms presupposes the right to property. Without all that capitalism requires (rational self-interest, reason and reality) firearms are one of the early casualties of the plunge into statism.
4.1 David Kelley from audio-taped lecture "Primacy of Existence #1" in The Foundations of Knowledge: An Objectivist Perspective audio series.
4.2 The Real Reason for Gun Ownership produced by The Company of Freemen.
That government, being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. 5.1
When are men justified in resisting, with force and arms, tyranny? Why do we believe the patriots of the American Revolution in 1776 to be justified? Was Lenin justified in overthrowing the Czar in Russia? Wouldn't the Germans under Hitler have been justified in resisting with force? Who decides when to throw off the yoke? What is the part of popular support in revolt?
As the United States moves increasingly toward a totalitarian society when are men justified in bearing arms against their own government? Has that point already passed? Is anything more required to preserve freedom other than the will to forcefully resist tyranny?
So long as a country maintains a code of objective, rational law, men are not justified in taking up the use of arms. In other words so long as one can take his case to the court system with an opportunity to establish and prove his case one must assume one is dealing with rational men and behave accordingly, i.e., refrain from defending one's rights, by means of force, against governmental usurpations.
What is meant by objective law? First laws must be knowable, i.e., a man must know beforehand whether or not his actions are legal or illegal and why illegal actions are forbidden.
Secondly, the use of retaliatory force must be constrained within objective standards of proof via the rules of logic. Retaliatory force not so constrained is nothing more than a mob engaged in a witch hunt.
The "Assault Rifle" bans are explicit examples of non-objective law. No legitimate definition of an "assault rifle" has ever been offered by Gun Controllers. Their definitions consist of the universally brazen claim that "I know one when I see one." This grants the subjective evaluation of a firearm's attractiveness the force of law; an ugly gun law.
It is non-objective law that allows the bureaucrat the absolute power he seeks. The chance to force his arbitrary whim and edicts on legally disarmed citizens. Ayn Rand wrote that non-objective law is "merely a license for some men to rule others." 5.2
The United States, the nation of enlightenment, has stumbled for the siren call of statist non-objective law. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act placed every businessman under the threat of being prosecuted if he prices his products too high, too low, or the same as his competitors. Wealth producers like Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky and Leona Helmsley are all targets of envy motivated witch hunts.
The Brady Bill makes the right to bear arms into a permit to purchase granted by your local police chief who may or may not allow you the means to defend yourself. The FCC may revoke any radio or TV station's license if their broadcast is not in the public interest. The phrase "public interest" should be considered the lighthouse warning of a fog shrouded arbitrary and absolute power granted to some government official.
Americans, suffering the effects of non-objective law since the 1930s, have possessed the right to resist their government's predations with force. Consider that our founding fathers rebelled over comparatively miniscule taxes and a move by the British army to confiscate some of the patriot's arms. Today's American minutemen are burdened with confiscatory taxation, burdensome regulation, and are threatened on all fronts with arms confiscation wholesale.
Before you drop this book and collect your arms, possessing the right to resist forcefully doesn't mean one should, at this time, do so. Americans have the right to rebel, but they must be sure that they know how and will establish a freer society.
Czarist Russia was a dictatorship that the Russians were certainly justified in overthrowing, but without a philosophical rebellion against the mystic-faith-altruist axis, they were doomed to only create a more powerful, more arbitrary state. They tossed the mystic czarist monkey off their back only to hitch themselves up to the socialist ox-cart.
If America hopes to rebel against tyranny again and restore freedom, it is the philosophical system that freedom requires that must become dominant in American intellectual circles before the revolt begins.
Without Reality, the new government would be doomed to relying on a sacred mystic elite. Without Reason, the new government would have to resort to force. Without Rational self-interest, the new government would establish another form of collectivist slavery. America's modern patriots must abandon supernatural mysticism, they must deal with rational men by means of reason and persuasion, and they must expect no sacrifices and not permit themselves to be sacrificed.
American's have the right to resist the oppressive state. But they should first establish the intellectual foundations necessary to reestablish a free United States.
Nevertheless some men may resist with force in order to preserve their means of surviving as man. Some men may find the oppressive burden unbearable and are justified in resisting their attackers.
I recall seeing, sometime around 1985 on TV, some footage about a family in the northeast (Pennsylvania, I think) that because they refused to send their children to public schools and refused to pay their property taxes to support a school system they believed (justifiably so) to be corrupt, they were facing the government's agents of destruction. Armed government officers were there to confiscate their home for "past due" property taxes. The family was holding off government agents with their rifles.
The family eventually surrendered to the overwhelming demonstration of force shown by the government agents. My seeing this on TV had a devastating effect on my college inculcated liberal, left-wing, socialist, with a spattering of unintegrated individualism, perspective.
Seeing almost firsthand the unadulterated evil perpetrated by those government agents forced me to critically reevaluate my own political views. Watching that family defending their home and their rights, permits no one the evasion necessary to advocate statism and remain sane.
That family fought for what was rightfully theirs. They upheld their rights to the American public in the only way they knew how; they fought for their lives. Perhaps they rescued the minds of thousands of others, a jury watching the television and judging a family of individuals and their attackers. A jury that is, in the process, getting a hint about man's rights.
However, resisting and rebelling against tyranny can be dangerous and, worse, purposeless. Americans are a people who do not readily submit to oppression. They are a people who, during prohibition, took up drinking on principle. American's are culturally antagonistic to being controlled, but without a foundation in philosophical thought they are often advocates of some one area of regulation, control, taxation, or statism, i.e., some attempt to control others by force. It is the reluctance to submit to the decrees of others that is probably a leading cause of much of the crime in America. An unphilosophical yet independent people, oppressed, are a people ready to explode outward in any direction in random, useless acts of violence.
A second problem of rebellion is national defense. Should one resist with force the government that is also, regardless of its errors, warding off foreign military threats? This is another reason that a philosophical foundation is critical. A people cognizant of freedom and its implications will not be a slave to Washington bureaucrats, Islamic fundamentalist or Moscow commissars.
Another concern of resistance forces should be a possible alliance of Washington bureaucrats with the United Nations. American bureaucrats, in fear of losing their pampered positions, may embrace any thug that promises them a cushy job with a government salary. Such a betrayal could be easily accomplished under the auspices of the United Nations. 5.3
Unfortunately, America cannot permanently survive suffering under the burden of parasitical bureaucrats with their ever expanding Federal Register of regulations. America must turn back from the statist abyss; a tack that requires the rudder, sail, and moral certainty of Objectivist philosophy.
If we were liberals, gun owners would be staging mass demonstrations filling the streets with thousands of angry mobs chanting contentless slogans and catch phrases. We would be staging sit-ins within the offices of Handgun Control, Inc. We would encourage picket lines in front of movie houses, discouraging patrons from attending films with anti-reason, anti-gun messages.
Because the right to bear arms requires a philosophical foundation, empty, brainless catch phrases will not succeed. Catch phrases are for those mindless hordes that have abandoned their means of cognition.
There are two roles for civil disobedience within a rational defense of one's life, property and freedom.
Within the society that still maintains a rational legal system, civil disobedience is justified to bring a bad law to court for a review. Civil disobedience is to force a review of bad legislation. This is an opportunity for the defenders of freedom and reason to prove their case and, thereby, repeal or nullify bad laws.
Civil disobedience in an irrational legal system serves an altogether different purpose. This is the simple rejection of the usurpations of an oppressive government. Disobeying this government is an act of self-preservation--for if the government is acting contrary to reality and reason, then its edicts, regulations, and commandments are dangerous and opposed to human life. Civil disobedience in this context is the psychological and physical preparation for civil war.
Civil disobedience within the context of a rational legal system is the result of a healthy respect for the legal system. Civil disobedience within the context of the irrational legal system is the abandonment of a government turned evil and oppressive. It is the retrieval of that government's sanction.
In either case civil disobedience may not properly consist of violating the rights and property of others. No one is justified in clogging the streets with marchers. No one can claim the right to "sit-in" without the consent of the property owner.
Secession is no different than rebellion. Secession is justified only if the replacement government is not going to be just another form of statism. Self-determination and state's rights are not valid foundations of a secession movement. The movement, to be just, must propose to end oppression whether from a federal government or from any two-bit local official. The choice is not whether we are to be enslaved and disarmed by Federal officials, the Congress, and the President or whether our masters will be the local zoning board, city council, and mayor; the choice is whether we are to be slaves or free.
Secession, being a form of revolt, requires the same philosophical foundation that is needed for any revolt to succeed in throwing off tyranny and earning a free society. Every break with a tyrannical government must be based upon reality, reason, self-interest and capitalism. Anything less will earn us only a different form of statism or new masters.
If we have the right to keep and bear handguns, rifles and shotguns, are we justified in demanding the right to have in our possession nuclear weapons?
Private possession of nuclear weapons parallels in some respects the justification for rebellion. So long as a government maintains a rational judicial system, private individuals have no right to possess nuclear weapons. This is because government has, by its nature, a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force. Nuclear missiles are weapons of retaliation aimed at protecting us from foreign invaders. Nuclear weapons defending a free country are not weapons of aggression or oppression, but the protectors of a free nation.
Nuclear bombs, unlike personal arms, are undifferentiated weapons, i.e., carrying a nuclear bomb in a backpack is the equivalent of holding a gun pointed at the temple of every passerby within its 15 mile range. A handgun, properly holstered, or a rifle, properly slung, is not a threat until it is drawn and pointed ("pointed" means it is purposefully directed). If a burglar comes to your home and you resist his intentions with a handgun, no one else is threatened. If you threaten him with nuclear annihilation, then you have indiscriminately threatened everyone within its 15 mile radius.
Gun Controllers try to assert that a holstered handgun IS a threat to every passerby. But the difference between a gun holstered and one pointed is the same as the difference between a knife sheathed and one upraised towards one's throat, between a hand lying casually at one's side and collaring a man with your fist cocked, between a warm "Hello, you old son of a bitch" and an angry, threatening "Die, you son of a bitch."
However, once a country has abandoned a rational, objective legal system, individuals forming the new government do have the right to arm themselves with nuclear weapons if, and only if, they are doing so to shore up freedom and they know what such a system entails and requires. Any person or group that so arms itself has severed all ties with the current government. They are, in effect, a new competing government whose job is to repel the illegitimate government and protect the people from domestic and foreign aggressors.
Nuclear weapons are not, however, an effective tool of resistance against one's own government. Nuclear weapons are tools of mass, undifferentiated retaliatory destruction. If a resistance movement needs to use such weapons against major population areas it has failed miserably in promoting the philosophical ideas needed for a successful revolt and will fail in establishing a free society after the rubble is cleared.
Clearly, if force is to be successful and justified, then force must have a proper moral, philosophical foundation.
What about intellectuals that understand and hold all the necessary philosophical ideas, but reject the use of force in defending those ideas, i.e., refuse to resist aggression with force?--A freedom loving, capitalist, pacifist society.
Basically such a society is a contradiction. A society that understood all the necessary philosophical ideas would recognize that that which makes the initiation of force wrong, makes the use of resistance force a "moral imperative."
This contradiction would quickly come to a resolution in the "real world." A pacifist society would be a magnet drawing the worst of man from all the world. Every kind of criminal mind from the lowly pickpocket to the blood thirsty serial murderer to any aspiring dictator would rush to this criminal's paradise of easy pickings. Such a society would find all its pacifistic adherents transported to that mystical heavenly paradise that is the only philosophical foundation of the pacifist ideology.
On the seemingly opposite spectrum one finds a righteous scream for a mandatory death penalty for the shooting of a police officer or federal agent. What is the intent and effect of such a law? Such a law is the hallmark of a dictatorship trying to shove its edicts down the throats of the population.
Before I alienate any law officers or "law abiding" citizens let me ask what should the Jews have done to any German SS police officers coming to take them to a concentration camp. The SS, too, were backed with the threat of death. Resist the SS and you would die.
The death penalty is justifiable in some or even many instances of killed policemen. But policeman should not go into the field thinking they can act with impunity because they are guarded by the death penalty.
A policeman coming to take you to Auschwitz deserves to be shot. A policeman coming to steal your property deserves to be shot. A policeman coming to kidnap your children to haul them off to a government accredited indoctrination center deserves to be shot. A policeman coming to confiscate your means of self-defense, your guns, deserves to be shot.
As a government moves more and more toward the totalitarian state, it is increasingly inclined to intimidate the citizens by threatening resistance to the police with mandatory death. This is less than the Geneva Conventions guarantee to captured soldiers. So if you are going to resist, renounce your citizenship, start your own country, sign the Geneva Conventions and then declare war on the tyrannical government.
Ultimately the issue of resistance to tyranny comes down to combining resistance force with the moral philosophical foundations of a free society. Force without the correct philosophy leads to a new form of slavery. A correct philosophy without the means and gumption to defend man's rights leads to an extinction of those rights which means the extinction, ultimately, of man.
5.1 From the "Declaration of Rights" in the Tennessee Constitution
5.2 Ayn Rand's article "Vast Quicksands" in The Objectivist Newsletter, July 1963
5.3 The Freeman by Jerry Ahern and Sharon Ahern gives a chilling fictional account of such a possibility.
Statism exists because, ultimately, its victims allow it to. Intellectually, people disarm themselves by accepting, in whole or in part, the premise of self-sacrifice, upon which statism philosophically rests; 6.1
To maintain an uncompromising stand on the right to keep and bear arms we must purge the ideas that are fundamentally opposed to or deny the foundations of the right to arms; all arguments for firearms that are incompatible with gun ownership and self-defense must be abandoned. All arguments for gun ownership based on mysticism, irrationalism, altruism, and collectivism must be scuttled. Such arguments allow our opponents to defeat these paper tigers and thereby gain the moral high ground by appearing to be rational.
This is not to say that we must purge those gun defenders that themselves hold irrational, mystical, altruist, collectivist ideas. It means we must not allow these particular ideas to be offered up as arguments for gun ownership. No matter what irrationalisms defenders of gun ownership maintain in their personal lives we must be certain that irrationalism doesn't spill over into defending the right to bear arms.
Ideally all defenders of gun rights would adhere to reality, be completely rational, selfish, and capitalist. As mystics, irrationalist and altruists; they are intellectually crippled defenders of gun ownership and represent a dangerous unknown that threatens to undermine the defense of gun ownership along with the rest of man's rights.
I have split the variants of Enemies, Traitors and Subversives into two camps: Liberal and Conservative. This is not to suggest that environmentalism, for instance, is only a liberal perversion, but to help direct those who label themselves "liberal" or "conservative" to the section where they are most likely to find a shoe (or jackboot, perhaps) that fits.
Undoubtedly some Feminists, for example, will assert that Feminism, itself, is not fundamentally hostile to the right to arms, but only that some Feminists are opposed to arms. Such a view assumes that the concept Feminism has no identity. As Peter Schwartz noted "the nature of an ideology is determined not by majority vote-but by logic, by analyzing its essence and its necessary implications." 6.2
Most of the examples of Enemies, Traitors and Subversives are a form of collectivism. It is not within the scope of the book to demonstrate all the different types of collectivism and what is the unifying characteristic among them, instead I refer you to Ayn Rand's works.
With this in mind the first example is Collectivism as it manifests itself in Communism, Fascism, Socialism and Welfarism. For the sake of brevity, when I refer to Collectivism in this section I mean these particular variants: communism, fascism, socialism and welfarism; not racism or feminism, for example.
Collectivism is the political philosophy that rejects the rights of man in favor of the "rights of the collective." It is the social system that demands that the individual live for the state, the people or the majority; but not for himself.
Communism and socialism are two variants whereby control and defacto enslavement of people is achieved by state ownership of the means of production. The only difference between Communism and Socialism is that Communism explicitly seeks to dominate the rest of the world.
Communism seeks world dominance for much the same reason that New York mayors seek to extend their gun control laws to the rest of America. They claim that true reductions in crime ("true" communism) cannot be achieved in a vacuum, but must be instituted nationwide (worldwide).
Socialism and communism snuff out an individual's right to self-ownership by staking claim to each and every individual's labor and thoughts. Thought and its practice, labor, are necessary for sustaining the life of an individual. Just as capitalism depends upon reality, reason and self-interest; an individual's life depends on freedom of thought and freedom to act. If a government lays claim to the means of supporting man's life, it has laid claim to man's life.
What will a socialist or communist state resort to if an individual refuses to sacrifice and submit? How will a socialist commissar respond to an individual's attempt at private enterprise? Such a state must initiate the use of force. Since such a state wants to maintain an overwhelming advantage and because they lay claim to the requirements of self-ownership; they will, inevitably, seek to disarm their subjects.
But most crucially, since communism and socialism are political systems that do not recognize or defend man's rights and are, in fact, hostile to man's rights; then man's right to self defense and to bear arms is without foundation in such systems. Even if a communist country maintains in its constitution that citizens have the right to bear arms, without its full philosophical foundation it would soon wither. Furthermore, since all property is owned by the state, including arms factories, how is one to exercise this right? Where is the peasant to purchase arms? From the state, at the pleasure of the state?
Communism, Socialism and Nazism all are founded upon the ethics of altruism. Communism and socialism are political systems purporting to sacrifice the productive for the incompetent. Fascism demands sacrifice for the fatherland, the fuhrer, or the Ayatolla. Private ownership of firearms is directed at protecting oneself from being sacrificed; whether at the hands of a murderer, robber, rapist or tyrant. Communism, socialism and Nazism must disarm its citizens to make sure that no one is permitted or able to prevent his own sacrifice.
Fascism as practiced in Nazi Germany and a Kohmeni Iran is socialism that doesn't nationalize the factories and banks outright, but socializes the people. As Hitler put it "Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings." In other words fascism is state ownership of the people and not just the physical plants. Whereas communism attempts to hide its usurpations by owning the means of self-ownership, the fascists explicitly attack self-ownership as such. In such a system where you do not own yourself, you have no need to defend what you do not own. The state will defend you if it deems it is within its own interest.
Sarah Brady, Vice Chairman of Handgun Control, Inc., confirms her philosophical alliance with collectivism during a Ms. magazine interview: "Sarah always felt uncomfortable about having rehabilitative tools that other survivors of injuries do not have, she wants a country in which they're available 'to everyone who needs them, regardless of whether you work for the President or who you are.'" 6.3 Very closely paralleling the Communist self-sacrificial dictum "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Welfarism is a special political condition in that it is a socialist revolution in slow motion. It is a capitalist country adopting piecemeal the tenets of socialism. Often labeled the mixed economy, welfarism is, nevertheless, fully based upon the principle of altruism. The productive are to be sacrificed to the non-productive. In such a system one does not OWN one's property by right, but by permission. At anytime one may be forced to sacrifice. Welfarism is not a static system, it is a system moving toward complete statism; moving toward communism, socialism or fascism.
The invasions, interventions and controls of the welfare state breed more invasions, interventions and controls. First, statist asserted that the workers weren't being paid enough so they passed minimum wage laws, then when these laws caused greater unemployment, they sought to solve that problem by giving the unemployed welfare checks, then when more people stopped working and took welfare instead, statist sought to increase the minimum wage laws to encourage working, and on and on it goes.
Gun laws show a similar blind parallel. First laws against victimless crimes caused an "increase" in crime levels. Then gun laws were passed to control crime. Criminals are free to prey on defenseless citizens so crime increases. The statist answer is to further restrict the rights of the people to have firearms. And on and on it goes and will go so long as statism is predominant.
The peace movement has lost some of its disarmament steam after the clearly superior results of Reagan's reinvigorated U.S. military with the result of a collapsing communist threat.
The mentality that is attracted to gun control is also likely to be taken in by the "peace" movement too. Senator Kennedy makes the connection between the "peace" movement and gun control when introducing the Kennedy-Rodino gun control bill: "Today we launch a new effort in the Congress to end the arms race in our neighborhoods and streets..."
It is not surprising that gun controllers would be "peace" activist, too. Anyone who refuses to recognize the firearm as an effective means to protect oneself from criminals is even more likely to be "confused" by a rational foreign policy. A policy aimed at protecting a free state from foreign aggressors.
Foreign policy is even more obscure to these anti-conceptual types. Unlike simple criminals, criminal nations usually do base their political system on a particular code of ethics. "Peace" activists, who have abandoned their mind and have absorbed the altruist ethics from our culture, are unable to maintain certainty in condemning criminal nations. They vaguely feel that socialism is the proper system within the context of their ethics so they don't feel justified in defending capitalism against socialism.
The very mentality that promotes gun control, is likely to march for disarmament. Both the "peace" activist and the gun controller originate from the same philosophical evasions. Both are the offspring of the mystic, faith, altruist, collectivist philosophical axis.
The National Catholic Reporter made the connection between gun control and disarmament in an article on Father Marshall Gourley's appeal for gun owners to surrender their arms. The article noted that "many are getting involved in a related issue: 'the big guns bought and sold by governments which threaten our existence as people of God on this planet.'" 6.4
Tom Brokaw began an interesting analogy on television when covering a new U.S.-Soviet arms reduction deal. He likened the agreement to having two six-shooters pointed at one another and now there are only four bullets in each gun. This analogy is interesting in that it attempts to equate American guns with Soviet guns.
His analogy would have been more accurate if he mentioned that one of the six-shooters was held by the Lone Ranger and the other by Jesse James. One is held by a protector of man's rights the other the violator of man's rights.
With such an analogy in mind it becomes apparent that we do not want parity between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. We do not want a "balance of power," we want the power overwhelmingly tilted in favor of the Lone Ranger. We want the leading defender of man's rights, the U.S. government, to maintain total superiority over the leading aggressor against man's rights, the Soviet Union.
Once this idea becomes clear, the gun controller's fantasy is shattered. Instead of restricting and regulating firearms, we should be fully encouraging firearms ownership to American citizens. It is time we, the law-abiding citizens, gained and maintained an overwhelming superiority over robbers, rapist and murderers.
Washington, D.C. and New York City should, instead of outlawing handguns, sanction and recommend the carrying of handguns. Will a violent husband be ready to beat his gun carrying wife? Is a rapist ready to take his chances with an armed female? Is the robber going to be so eager to knock off that 7-11 store knowing that the clerk is probably Uzi equipped, not to mention all the armed citizens coming and going?
Studies suggest that about .02 percent (don't read that as two percent, but two out of ten thousand) of handguns are involved in crimes annually. Now that's a nice inbalance of power: 9998 good guys against two bad guys. And with the elimination of the waiting periods, the prohibitions against concealed carry, and the better weaponry; we can anticipate a nearly crime free and, more importantly, victim free society.
The "peace" activist make one of two mistakes. One is oversimplifying. They see violent aggression and thereby conclude that all violence is immoral and wrong. They don't see that violence employed in resisting aggression is not only to be sanctioned, but applauded.
The other, less innocent, error is their acceptance of the altruist ethics. This, remember, is the ethics that demands the sacrifice of the good to the evil. Which means the sacrifice of the U.S. to Russia or the sacrifice of the entrepreneur to the street thug.
Ultimately those who believe that the United States should disarm in the face of an aggressive, criminal government like the U.S.S.R, are poor allies in supporting man's right to defend himself from domestic criminals and tyrants. They are poor defenders of man's rights in general.
Racism is another form of collectivism. It is the kind of collectivism that appeals to those who seek to shore up their self destroyed self-esteem. Racism is seen in both the caricature of the beer drinking, pot-bellied, racist, poor white trash and the modern day liberal seeking to make race a legislative issue via affirmative action programs. One seeks to garner self-esteem by destroying or belittling the accomplishments of those "uppity niggers," the other tries to find some semblance of self-esteem by fulfilling the moral implications of altruism by controlling and, if need be, destroying successful businessmen.
Both liberal and Nazi type racist are haters of the best within their despised race. The neo-nazi will virtually ignore a poor, destitute black man, but they turn out in droves to profess their hatred of the successful black businessman. Liberal racist direct their condemnation toward the successful white businessman who refuses to compromise the safety of his business by hiring high-risk black workers.
A businessman is justified in being skeptical about hiring black workers. Blacks in general are more prone to violence than other races. This is not necessarily a function of their race, but more probably a result of their being indoctrinated by liberal educators and spokesmen that they are owed a living by others. Black youth groomed on such ideas are primed to personally implement their own transfer schemes while their liberal cronies are ready to help by disarming their victims.
The businessman is justified in being cautious about hiring blacks just as anyone, black or white, traveling through black neighborhoods would be well advised to be well armed. To ignore such generalizations about black neighborhoods could endanger one's life. To ignore such generalizations is to evade reality. One should take into consideration what information one has and prepare for its implications.
Civil rights activist try to blur the difference between valid generalizations about race and racism. Racism is hatred of all members of a race because of their race and racists are especially virulent when confronted with a successful, proud member of the despised race. Racism is summed up by: "Black's are ok so long as they know their place and don't get too uppity" or "businessmen are ok so long as they strive for the 'public interest.'"
Generalizations about a particular race cannot and should not, however, be evaded. You should not give the same consideration to walking the streets at night in Evanston, Wyoming with taking a midnight stroll thru Harlem. I advocate being armed in both cities as a moral virtue, but maybe carrying a few extra clips if touring Harlem.
Civil rights activist blur valid generalization with racism so that they can instill guilt in white producers. Guilt that leads white producers to be morally disarmed in the face of criminal and liberal tyrannical predations.
This leads many white people to feel that today's neo-nazi types are the only one's with the moral fortitude to stand up to black violence. They appear to not fear accepting the valid generalizations that are necessary for the preservation of their life. So they appear to be potent and practical; but actually they only use generalizations to further their racist agenda. This prepares American culture for a Nazi type fascist dictatorship.
Regardless of race one must identify a criminal mind as such and act accordingly. Back or white, a criminal must be seen as a criminal.
Gun controllers, being a part of statism, are fundamentally racist at heart. The Gun Control Act of 1968 was implied as the solution to gun-toting Black Panther-type blacks. Liberals capitalized on this fear to begin what would prove to be an increasingly hostile legislative attitude toward firearms. Perhaps their fears were justified, but the solution is not to disarm people, but to eliminate the poisonous "you are owed a living" influence of liberal spokesmen and educators.
Furthermore, while it is valid to generalize about the dangers of radical "freelance socialist" gun-toting blacks, it is not valid to base rights and design laws that consider race; or laws that take preemptive actions. Rights and laws must be color blind. And just as laws are not justified in launching a preemptive strike based on race, anti-gunners are not justified in preemptively assaulting the rights of gun owners.
This kind of racist, preemptive action occurred over a period of several years in St. Louis where police conducted 25,000 searches based on the theory that any black man driving a new car possess a handgun.
As current affirmative action laws make race an issue, racism spreads. I have heard black leaders frequently decry the fact that blacks are killing and assaulting other blacks. The implication in their tone is that if they are going to kill, at least go after whitey. Black "civil rights" leaders are heard over and over to decry the amount of arms in their midst. They cry and weep over every black man killed. But how many of those killed deserved it? How many were killed as a result of their attempt to aggress against another? How many committed suicide because of the psychological contradiction that an ethics of altruism promotes?
Undoubtedly, some good men are murdered. But the solution is not to disarm the remaining good men. The appropriate action is to encourage all good men to be armed and to let the criminals know that good men will no longer be victims without a fight. Perhaps it is no accident that blacks suffer the highest murder rate in the nation since blacks are, proportionately less well armed than whites. So while hoodlum blacks are being exhorted onward by liberals with "they owe me a living" ideas, their black neighbors are being prevented by purchasing arms because of bans on cheap handguns.
A philosophical revolution must take place in the black communities. They must reject the altruist ethics. They must take responsibility for their lives. They must be free from government interference in starting their own businesses. And they must value their lives enough to be ready to defend themselves.
The bans on cheap guns are wholly racist. "Saturday night special" bans are a direct jab at the black communities. The term "Saturday Night Special" itself brings to mind images of "niggertown."
Blacks, usually being poorer, have less to spend on a high quality $1,000 handgun. To ban the manufacture and sale of cheaper "Saturday night special" weapons is to disarm those poor blacks who reside in the most violent neighborhoods in America. They, most of all, need the means to protect themselves from their high crime communities.
While the racist of the past two decades has consisted mainly of liberals, the southern conservatives were the leading racists of previous decades. Even after the civil war southern states tried to subjugate the blacks by passing Jim Crow laws that forbade blacks the right to keep and bear arms. The Fourteenth Amendment was, among other things, aimed at forcing the Second Amendment on southern states, i.e., forcing southern states to recognize the right of blacks to keep and bear arms like all other free citizens.
Racism must not be permitted in our movement not just for public relations points, but because racism's fundamental philosophy is opposed to the philosophy of man's rights, including the individual's right to keep and bear arms.
Animal Rights activists typically resemble the charismatic Adolph Hitler. But instead of standing before the folk kissing babies, they stand before an emotionalist public hugging bunnies.
There is nothing wrong with cuddly bunnies, but the Animal Rights agenda has nothing to do with liking furry creatures. Animal rights activist are haters of man, especially the best in man-his ability to think and remake the world to his own desires. They seek to outlaw the use of animals and fish for human food. They seek to demolish medical research. They condemn ownership of any kind of animals.
The animal rights movement was spawned from its parent, Environmentalism; and like environmentalists, animal rights activist resort to emotionalism and deceit to achieve their ends.
The ultimate purpose of their equivocations and deceptions is what concerns us as gun owners. They are promoting animal rights.
Animal rights activists are concept stealers at the higher level. They steal the concept "rights" while denying the philosophical foundation upon which "rights" depends. "Animal Rights" is a concept that destroys the original concept "rights." Just as, in economics, bad money drives out good money; anti-concepts or stolen concepts drive out good concepts.
Dr. S. Sapontzis during a debate on animal rights said:
A right is a very strong legal and moral prohibition and protection. And if you have a right to something, then it is impermissible, routinely, to sacrifice that interest over which you have the right. Its not that it can't ever be overridden, your interest may still be sacrificed, but it cannot be a part of routine daily life in a common institution. 6.5
In other words a right is not an absolute. It can be violated and sacrificed under certain circumstances. Whoever is the determiner of when your interest may be sacrificed is above and beyond the rights of man; and actually is the owner of all rights and grants rights by permission.
We must seek, said Dr. Sapontzis, "to be a philosopher king as Plato said, which is not a philosopher tyrant. But a philosopher king who looks to the well being of his inferiors as well as to himself." This explicitly demonstrates his metaphysical and epistemological origins. And we can expect Dr. Sapontzis to imagine himself that philosopher king, who can look after us, his imagined inferiors. He is the king who must, on occasion, suspend our rights.
The concept "animal rights" destroys man's rights because in the course of promoting "animal rights" activist must abandon the real basis of rights. Animal rights activist assert that the foundation of rights lies in feelings.
But rights arise from the nature of man and his means of survival-reason. Rights are a political concept that are meant to preserve for man the means to think and act for his own survival. To sever man's rights from its root, means that man's rights will wither which means mankind, too, will wither and enter a new dark age. The animal rights movement, being a radical wing of environmentalism, is not concerned about the demise of man. Animal rights will, said Dr. Edwin Locke in defense of man, "destroy rights and the very end they were meant to protect-man's life." 6
The concept of animal rights is the lowest form of altruism. It is not the sacrifice of man to achieving our presence on the moon or in space, it is not the sacrifice of man to building pyramids, it is not even the sacrifice of man for the fuhrer or total state; it is the sacrifice of man to rodents, worms, and slugs.
Animals survive by force. Man survives by reason and his ethics. Because man survives by reason and behaving morally, he must, so says the animal rights movement, sacrifice himself for those animals that could not even begin to understand ethics, much less live by an ethics. Like Jesus Christ, man, the morally able, must sacrifice for animals, the morally unable.
We cannot preserve our rights, and especially our gun rights, if we do not take the offensive against the animal rights movement. We cannot win by arguing that animal rights will destroy medical research. We will not prevail by defensively asserting that animal rights will eliminate, wholesale, a major part of man's food supply. It is true such will occur, but the preservation of man's rights depends on a philosophical defense of those rights. To win we must show how man's nature leads to man's rights. So far the animal rights movement, with the help of an emotionalist media, is running roughshod over the concept of "rights." They sense no intellectual opposition, and until a philosophical opposition is created, man's rights--including the right to keep and bear arms--is tottering without foundation awaiting the slightest breath of moral certainty. The moral certainty that was discarded by conservatives and snatched up by the animal rights movement.
What does clean air and water have to do with gun control? Nothing, but environmentalism has nothing, fundamentally, to do with clean air and water. Environmentalism is an organized movement promoting the hatred of man, the species man.
From the environmentalist view, man is an intruder in the natural order of things and the destroyers of all that is good. Everything we do to better ourselves or our surroundings poses a threat to the natural earth.
David M. Graber, a research biologist favored by the Sierra Club, makes such hatred explicit:
Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientist who remind me that people are a part of nature, but it isn't true. Somewhere along the line-at about a billion years ago, maybe half that-we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the earth.
It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil-energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. 6.7
Stewart Brand seconds this opinion in The Whole Earth Catalogue:
We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age, where we might live like indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion-guilt free at last! 6.8
This is the fundamental attitude of the environmental movement. It is the new, secular equivalent of original sin. Man is by nature a "cancer." Man is a "plague." Basically, man is NOT a value and is, in fact, a disvalue.
Now remember, man's rights depend upon an ethics of rational self-interest. Rational self-interest, itself, depends upon reason as man's means of knowledge and is founded on man as the standard of value. Environmentalism undercuts man's rights by asserting that man is not the standard of value. In fact, they boast that man is a disvalue.
It used to be that man was a threat to only planet earth. Now man is to be prohibited from colonizing other planets because he is not worthy of it.
In response to a proposal to transform Mars into a planet capable of supporting human life, Eugene Hargrove a philosopher at the University of North Texas said "I think we would probably create a big mess." 6.9 Professor Hargrove, who specializes in space ethics, undoubtedly had his ethics clouding his characterization of what man is capable of.
Robert M. Haberle, a NASA researcher, confirmed the opinion of Hargrove "Should we, as a species, ruin a perfectly good planet?" 6.10 Just what is the purpose of NASA then, Mr. Haberle? And for whom is it perfectly good just now?
The attack from within NASA was even sanctioned by the original proponent of Mars colonization, Brian Toon. Toon, a senior researcher at NASA, said "If some creatures live there, it wouldn't be fair to transform their planet." 6.11 In other words we are to be stopped because there might be some kind of bacteria there. We are to be stopped because that unknown, primitive, unintelligent life form has rights.
These attacks stem from a fundamental hatred of man. These man-haters say man is not a value. If man is not a value then why defend him? There is no need to have the means to defend that which one does not value.
Back on planet earth within our own families we see environmentalism's poisonous influence. A cover article for USA Weekend featured today's environmental vanguard. The cover featured three youths dressed in black shirts, wearing dark aviator glasses, with arms crossed and their lips pursed. The Headline read "The Enforcers: A new breed of kid is getting tough on parents who let the water run, wear fur, don't recycle or otherwise flout their '60s values." 6.12
I thought it was "perceptive" for USA Weekend editors to make the connection (perhaps it was an unconscious connection) between the environmental movement and fascist storm troopers. The cover photo did not show "The Enforcers" feet, but I imagine they must have been fitted with black jackboots.
Environmentalism is the umbrella under which both fascist and religious movements can unite in America as they so terrifyingly did during Nazi Germany. Just as in Nazi Germany, the Catholic Church is eager to join the melee. The Pope has given sanction to the environmental movement by crowning as the patron saint of ecology St. Francis of Assis. Francis of Assis promoted the idea that all living creatures are equal. Man is no better than cattle, fish, birds and snakes. Admittedly this is an improvement over today's overall mentality; at least Francis of Assis considered man the equal of animals and not a cancer on the earth. This demonstrates the destructive power of a false philosophy, the implications of a false philosophy override the exhortations within the bible that man should be lord over the animals. A basic philosophy of sacrifice supersedes such momentary departures from its implications.
How can the environmentalist pull off this coup? Stephen Schneider, a leading environmentalist, was quoted in Discover magazine:
...to do this [further Environmentalism], we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. This "double ethical bind" we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. 6.13
This is a movement that has abandoned reason in favor of emotionalism and deceit. This is the movement that terrified people with the alar scare, the asbestos "threat," acid rain, global warming, dioxin hysteria, and radiation propaganda. For details about how environmentalism has attempted to deceive America see Trashing the Planet by Dixy Lee Ray. Tto learn more about the environmental movement's hatred of man, George Reisman's The Toxicity of Environmentalism is essential.
Hatred for man permeates environmentalism. That hatred translates into undercutting man as the standard of value. Without man as the standard of value; man's rights, including man's right to keep and bear arms, are useless and, therefor, finished.
The Feminist movement has, since its inception, been hostile to the right to keep and bear arms. Why would a movement claiming to promote the advancement of women's rights be hostile to the best, most effective means for a woman to protect herself: the handgun.
Like the environmental movement that parades a hatred of man under the sheep's clothing of clean air and water, the women's rights movement steals the concept "rights" for sheep's clothing to import an ideology that is intrinsically hostile to the philosophical foundation of "rights."
The Feminist movement is not a movement seeking to reinforce their rights as members of the human race. They are seeking instead to attain the twisted concept of rights--the rights TO something.
Feminists have been longtime proponents of the right TO an abortion. Within the framework of man's rights women do have the right to get an abortion. An embryo, even if you want to grant that embryo's have rights, no one, no embryo, nor any man has the right TO its sustenance from another man's body, effort, or thought. An embryo has no right TO its mothers blood for nutrition. But more fundamentally, the concept "fetus" rights undercuts the concept rights since "rights" requires a reasoning being for validation.
Feminists, however, make the hard to accept as innocent mistake of claiming that women have a right TO force others to pay for or supply their abortion. The idea that one has the right TO force others or to take from others completely destroys the honest concept of man's rights.
The acknowledged leader of the Feminist movement, Betty Friedan, founder of The National Organization for Women, expands what women have a right TO. In her book, The Second Stage, she claims:
The right to choose is crucial to the personhood of woman. The right to choose has to mean not only the right to choose not to bring a child into the world against one's will, but also the right to have a child joyously, responsibly, without paying a terrible price of isolation from the world and its rewarded occupations, its decisions and actions.
She continues "The point is, the movement to equality and the personhood of women isn't finished until motherhood is a full free choice."
What does she mean "the right to have a child joyously, responsibly, without paying a terrible price..."? What do they wish to extort now when she says "the personhood of women isn't finished until motherhood is a full free choice."?
They are agitating for government provided child care. Now they not only want others to pay for their abortions, they want others to pay for their children.
They are also ready to employ government coercion to force employers to give them "equal pay" and they demand benefits like flex-time. They also want to force their employers to provide them with maternity leave.
In other words they want to substitute the force of a government gun for persuasion. They want to force everyone to offer the same programs, even if some companies and employees don't want them.
They even carry this mentality over into their relationships with men and husbands. They want a right TO the earnings and wealth of men after a divorce. Their argument is that many women spend their lives as housewives for upwardly mobile men, helping them through school and boosting their career, and then they are abandoned by these men and left without job skills to support the life to which they have become accustomed.
This is a tragedy, but the solution lies not in enslaving men, but in making their marriage contracts more specific; make a contract spelling out the terms of a marriage and possible divorce. Then if a woman has such a contract whereby she will support her husband through medical school she will either enjoy life married to her doctor husband or she will have just claim to some of the earnings of her Dr. Ex-husband. The terms must be voluntarily determined by each couple and not by some bureaucratic decree.
The idea that one has a right TO, subverts the concept of man's rights. Once the concept of man's rights has been undercut, a form of statism is imminent.
Concerning women in the draft, Friedan wrote "how could women demand equal rights and opportunities and not accept equal responsibility?"
Once you accept her concept of rights, i.e., the "right TO" rights, rights that demand the sacrifice of some people for the sake of others; then women in the draft makes sense. If men must be sacrificed then women should equally bear the sacrificial burden. The mistake is in thinking that rights are granted by the government and therefore we are obligated to sacrifice ourselves when that government demands it. Rights are "inalienable," i.e., they are a part of man's nature. Rights preceded government and you are not in debt to anyone or any institution for possessing rights. A government cannot protect man's rights while simultaneously insisting on the right to violate them. There should be no draft, compulsory military service or public service required of either women or men. If the feminist movement was truly a movement of man's rights (as applied to women), then they would have to demand that they (or anyone, male or female) not be subject to the military draft.
What kind of government do the feminist "feel" is proper? Since we know their view of rights we can safely assume it will be some variant of statism.
Of all the types of government there is one in particular that is the brunt of their hostility: capitalism.
Friedan first hints at this hostility:
So far, the conservative approach to rental housing in the city is simply to abolish rent control, to make apartment buildings more profitable for owners, or to help them in the profitable escape of selling the decaying apartments at huge profits to tenants who now have to provide their own fuel and other expensive services. 6.14
Rent control is a form of fascism in that it allows "private ownership" while retaining the ultimate exercise of ownership: the right to arrange their own terms of exchange and use.
Then the attack becomes more virulent as we discover, explicitly, what kind of government the Feminist movement supports. With the concept of "right TO" rights she is at least consistent in her understanding of the purpose of government. "...what should government be responsible for, if not the needs of the people in life?" 6.15 People need food, clothing and housing; if the proper function of the government is to supply "the needs of the people," then socialist or fascist solutions to providing these needs are inevitable.
Then Friedan elaborates:
I believe that the mode of political thinking that can get us all through this crisis [Reagan's election] into the second stage-the mode for the new kind of political leadership and a new kind of public policy. 6.16
What is this new "kind of political leadership" and this new "kind of public policy?" Friedan makes no mistake in identifying its roots:
We must carry a Marxist premise further than Marx did to understand the economic structure that forces us now into the second stage. As capitalism itself created the conditions that could overthrow it, by creating the vast armies of exploited industrial workers who a century ago saw communism as their liberation--so capitalism, in its advanced stage has created the new, irrepressible armies of feminism. 6.17
Once Friedan finds her Lenin, can we expect a new form of world domination, Fem-u-nism?
Not only do Feminist subvert the meaning of rights and abhor capitalism, they expound the epistemological foundations of statism.
Friedan lapses into an epistemology of faith when she writes:
The Beta style [which she sometimes calls "feminine" thinking which, she admits, is opposed to the "scientific method"] is nonlinear. Rather than focusing on a fixed, single goal, it has to embrace and integrate differences [embrace contradictions?] and a range of values, goals, perceptions [subjectivism?], hopes and methods [mystic faith?]. The Beta style is needed to cope with problems that require a long range perspective. Instead of seeking absolute control, it views change as a process of incremental adaptation by steps or stages [Fabian socialist methodology], in which form or order, evolves out of apparent disorder. This requires a tolerance for ambiguity and a certain trust [faith], during the period of confusion, that the order will eventually develop. 6.18
This statement coupled with the ever present reference to "feelings" makes the epistemology of faith explicit.
Sarah Brady, vice-chair of Handgun Control, Inc., was explicitly sanctioned by the feminist movement when Ms. magazine chose her as "Woman of the Year" in the January/February 1989 issue. "Sarah Brady gives new meaning to the landmark feminist line" 6.19 reports the article. Sarah, throughout the article, not only promotes gun control, but all of the "right TO" rights of feminism: child care, national health care, worker's compensation, medicare and the right TO an abortion. Sarah Brady is a vociferous proponent of the anti-concept "right TO" rights which undercuts and destroys the valid concept "rights," upon which the right to keep and bear arms depends.
Truly independent women would take the responsibility to meet and provide their own needs. They would pay for their own abortions. They would support their own children. They would deal with other men and women by means of persuasion and not force. They would make their contracts with their partners explicit.
Moreover, independent women would value themselves enough to take measures to protect themselves. They would not depend upon the deterrent effect of the police to guarantee their safety. They would not acquiesce in the face of aggression by non-resistance or submission to every thug or rapist's demands as the feminist movement recommends.
An independent woman would possess the means to protect herself. She would keep a handgun, for protection, on her person at all times. The handgun would not only provide the means of self-defense, but it also gives a boldness to her step that makes her an unlikely target for criminal minds looking for weaker prey.
The effect of armed females is startling. 33% of attempted rapes are consummated if the woman is unarmed, while only 3% of armed victims suffer the humiliating submission at the hands of a rapist.
The ideal woman is not represented by the modern day Feminist who seeks to substitute the paternalistic state for the overbearing and abusive husband. The ideal woman is represented by the character of Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged, who used a handgun to kill an unthinking guard to rescue John Galt from a totalitarian state. The ideal woman is represented, in real life, by women like Ayn Rand herself and the many others who understand the context of man's rights and walk with a bold step. Women who are among the greatest values in the world. Women who should possess the means to protect that value from aggression from all fronts. Women who walk away from abusive spouses and are prepared to use deadly force to prevent being forced into submitting and returning to wife beaters. Women like Laura (played by Julia Roberts) in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy who take great pains to peaceably escape from tyrannically overbearing husbands. A woman who is ready to use a gun to defend that freedom.
Despite all the feminist rhetoric, the Feminist movement is not aimed at freeing women, but in making them equally the victims of statist government predations.
Consumerism, the movement spawned by Ralph Nader and promoted by Consumer Reports, is like many collectivist movements in that it subverts the meaning of rights.
The January 1989 issue of Consumer Reports featured an "Open Letter to George Bush" that is full of demands for the right TO something. The subheadings in this letter are: "The right to health care," "The right to a home," The right to safety," "The right to be informed," "The right to choose" and "The right to be heard."
As I outlined in the section on Feminism, the "Right TO" ideology diametrically opposes and destroys the correct concept of "rights." Rather than just repeat those arguments, I'd like to focus on the particular "right TO" that the consumer rights movement seems to have the most plausible claim: "The right to safety."
"The right to safety" is the springboard to launch attacks on many different products ranging from three wheelers and lawn mowers to, our concern, firearms.
"The right to safety" is the stepchild of a collectivist ideology. It is the attempt to subvert a man's own judgement about what risks to take in favor of a collectivist view of what risks men are to be allowed to take. What best way to allocate one's scarce resources to assure, in one's own judgement, one's own best safety versus the allocation of one's resources by some socialist commissar or welfare bureaucrat.
For example in a Consumer Reports article on a mountain bike they whined about how the manufacturer should recall the bike because it had such a powerful front brake and was, in their opinion, dangerous. They assumed the right to spell out the details of a product's capabilities for everyone. I, having been in search of better brake pads for my mountain bike, used this "information" to track down the manufacturer of these "dangerously defective" brake shoes for my own use. In this case I immensely preferred what some would call "touchy" brakes.
Consumerists seek to force their ideas of how and what manufacturers should make upon industry. This means that consumerism is not only a socialist aberration due to its demand for nationalized health care and welfare state housing, but incorporates some features of the Nazi fascist model. Fascist in that they may pay lip service to private ownership of the means of production occasionally, but reserve for themselves complete control, via regulations, over the use of those means of production.
Consumerism has nothing to do with making products safer or better. If a manufacturer misrepresents its product then that company can be charged with fraud. But if a company makes a product whose use entails risk and does not attempt to cover up the dangers, anyone who uses it does so at their own risk.
An example of the destructive effects of consumerism can be seen in their rabid pursuit of regulating airlines. They use emotionalist appeals and claims of acting in the interest of "public safety" to force standards on all airlines.
Airline regulations cost money. Airlines pass the costs on to the passengers. Fewer people can afford to fly and therefore take the far more dangerous form of transportation--the car. How many lives are lost because of airline regulation? Perhaps some number of people a year were saved, but how many people died in car accidents because they could not afford to pay the cost of a governmentally regulated airline? If it were not for this regulation perhaps some airlines would become well know for their unparalleled safety records. Other airlines would offer competitive rates, but without the luxuries and safety of the higher priced airlines. Nevertheless, some people would prefer the "riskier" airline as opposed to the greater risk entailed in driving a car. Or people might even prefer the risk to save money to spend on health care.
The gun control movement has found an ally in consumerism. In Washington, D.C. an attempt was made by Gun Controllers and Consumerists to render firearms manufacturers liable for any actions in which their products are involved. The purchaser of a firearm is essentially not to be trusted to properly handle a firearm to prevent injury to himself. The firearm consumer is not to be held responsible for his actions with the firearm. This attempt to transfer the responsibility to the manufacturer is not an attempt to make guns safer (besides guns are supposed to be dangerous), but it is an attempt to effectively ban their manufacture.
There are also attempts to bring firearms under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission which means government bureaucrats will have the defacto ability to ban firearms or make them prohibitively expensive.
Consumerism is not only a threat to the manufacture of firearms (along with the production of all other goods and services), but the ideology upon which it is based, collectivism, is fundamentally opposed to the rights of man because it fosters the anti-concept of right TO rights. Therefore Consumerism is hostile to the right to which all others depend: the right to keep and bear arms.
Liberal assaults on the right to bear arms, their subversions and deceptions, are not the greatest danger to gun rights. The right to keep and bear firearms is being undercut and subverted in a more damaging way by so-called Conservatives who try to appease liberal statists. The reason so many Conservatives seem to have no backbone is a result of their defective philosophical understanding of man's rights coupled with their belief that the principled and the practical are opposites.
The attempt to defend the right to bear arms by referring to "sporting purposes" only encourages the gun controllers. They seem to sense that once the "sporting purpose" defense is offered that gun owners have abandoned the issue of man's rights altogether.
This is not to say that hunters are not allies in the battle to protect our right to firearm ownership, but that the battle must not be fought on the whining basis of "but we need to have guns so we can hunt" or "I need my Colt AR15 to shoot at pieces of paper." Make no mistake about it, the reason for the right to keep and bear arms is based on man's right to defend his life, property and liberty by force. It means the right to resist or kill aggressors, criminals and tyrants. The right to firearms stands above simple free exchanges or trades among men, it merits additional moral recognition because firearms are necessary for participating in the virtue of self-defense, i.e., they are a requirement of all free exchanges and trades among men.
Hunting is an important activity since it keeps gun owners skilled in the use of arms. Hunting is great practice; practice that may someday be needed to defend one's life and liberty. But evading the nature and philosophical source of the right to keep and bear arms by appealing to "sporting use" will only lead to disaster. And even as hunters we must come to address, sooner or later, the foundation of rights; we must eventually grapple with whether animals have rights. An aggressive, principled stand on both fronts is the only course of action that will preserve firearms, hunting and man's rights in general.
Unfortunately, the hunting lobby has swallowed the statist lure when it comes to socialist hunting areas. Hunters are all too ready to praise the "foresight" of the likes of Teddy Roosevelt who accelerated the national forest program. Roosevelt added millions of acres of land to the national forest based on the notion that privately held land was abused and despoiled.
Now the government bars hunters from park lands and at the same time interferes with the development of private game ranches. Instead of lobbying for access to national forest lands and the government ownership of more land, hunters should support and work to develop private programs like The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy, instead of engaging in the never ending lobbying game, quietly buys up the land it wants to preserve.
The hunting lobby should stop bickering with the government for access, but instead demand that the government stop socializing forest lands and leave game preserves alone. The hunting lobby, when defending their right to bear arms, should do so from their right to self-defense. They must not give sanction in any form whatsoever to the "sporting use" concept or to other socialist, rights violating, programs.
The traditionalists are that part of conservativism that finds its justification in the opinions of our "founding fathers." Not as an argument that the founders might have offered, but as authority figures. This is the group that if their grandfathers held certain ideas then that is the ideas they promote.
The common symptoms of this "ideology" are: flag worship, societal obligations, family, and God and country. That is, a certain reverence and sacredness that is not founded in any philosophical basis, but because it was "always so."
Firearm defenders afflicted with this malady typically express an unshaken faith in the Second Amendment. That is, a belief in the Second Amendment because it is the word of our ancestors and therefore sacred; a belief in the Second Amendment without a philosophical basis. To these defenders of the right to bear arms, the Second Amendment is primary; it is the source of our right to keep and bear arms; it is a privilege granted us by the Federal government.
To hold the Second Amendment as primary is analogous to the Libertarian movement where it is common to hear the principle of "Non-initiation of force" being held as a primary, while attempting to deny, evade, or ignore the philosophical structure upon which it is founded. Without that philosophical base, Libertarian and Traditionalist defenders of gun rights are severely crippled. For example: Libertarians are typically disarmed in the face of Animal Rights activists who assert that we must not initiate force against animals. Without an understanding of the context from which the concept "rights" arises, they are helpless.
A second example of this "libertarian fallacy" was submitted to me via a newsletter by the National Association to Protect Individual Rights (NAPIR). Now who, but a tyrant, could be against protecting individual rights? Well, if this newsletter is any indication, even tyrants may be encouraged to join NAPIR.
One article, New Laws Stop Employer 'Snoopervision', asks: "Do Employers have the right to tell you what you can do in the privacy of your own home?" The article then goes on to condemn this purported "anti-privacy trend" and advocate legislation making it illegal for any business to make any employment decisions based upon what a person does "on his own time."
It is true that no businessman has the right to tell you what you can do in the privacy of your own home, but he does have the right to offer you an employment contract with such stipulations. No, the businessman cannot force you to stop drinking beer on your own time; but he can refuse to hire you if you are unwilling to submit to such a decree of abstinence, as an exercise of his own individual right of association.
As one of the founders of Broad Reach Publishing, I would not hire any person who snorted coke or advocated gun control on their own time. I may even decide that it is advisable to pay less in wages to those who smoke cigarettes or don't carry a handgun, if such activities increase the costs to me of operating my business or even if I just don't like those activities. Those who want to advocate gun control or snort cocaine may do so on their own time, but will have to find someone else with which to associate. Those who smoke cigarettes or refuse to protect themselves, may only ally with MY firm by obtaining my voluntary agreement as to the terms.
This means that any business may make it a requirement that its employees not possess any firearms...not even at home. It also means that a business may require, as a condition of employment, the possession of arms...even in one's own home. Or a business may totally ignore an employee's extra-professional activities.
Why should the owner of Handgun Control Industries be forced to associate with "those kind who keep guns in their homes." Why should the owner of Interarms be forced to associate with those who advocate the banning of private gun ownership? Why should the Catholic church accept into the priesthood a man who is an atheist "on his own time?" No man should be forced to associate with or give support to those they consider evil. The right of association includes the right to not associate with others_for whatever reason, rational or irrational. And this right applies to all men; businessmen included.
A major problem with the traditionalist argument is that it implies that values and rights are a subjective matter depending upon one's genealogy, race, tribe, or national origin. Which means that the concept "rights" does not have a universally objective meaning. Even James Jay Baker, the National Rifle Association's chief lobbyist, slips into this subjectivism: "There are no absolute rights" 6.20 he says in support of Washington compromise.
By this standard it could be claimed that it is proper for one culture, say New York City, to ban handguns; while another community, Kennesaw, GA, requires its citizens to be armed. This subjectivist version of "man's rights" leads, ultimately, to the twisted logic of "right TO" rights.
Another example of the traditionalist's philosophical evasion was the round of cheering and back slapping among traditionalist gun rights activists after Sarah Brady was booed off the stage during her visit to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas campus. But such actions are not worthy of our sanction. To disrupt a speaker, no matter how tasteless and evil they are, is not an action in support of the right to bear arms. Such an act undercuts the concept of "man's rights" of which the right to arms is a part.
Some unthinking Pro-Gun activists tried to pass off their behavior as an exercise of their first amendment rights. This is an attempt to assert a right while at the same time denying its roots. Free speech and press does not, and cannot mean the right to scribble on another man's sheet of paper. It does not mean the right to disrupt an event funded and organized by another man. It means the right to use your press, your paper, your hall without violation. You have no claim on the press, paper, broadcasting company or hall owned or rented by another.
When you entered the hall that the Gun Control advocates rented and organized to present their views, you accepted THEIR terms. They had the right to demand your absolute silence while within their hall. They had the right to demand that all hecklers leave. Moreover, they had the right to use force, if necessary, to remove hecklers.
If I ever make a pro-gun presentation and I am continually interrupted by anti-gun hecklers, I will first make it clear that any questions must be reserved until the question period. If the interruptions continue, I will ask the hecklers to leave the room. If they still won't let me speak (under the terms granted me by the promoters of the hall) or they won't leave the room, I will request campus security to physically remove the violators. If security is unable or unwilling to remove them, then my choice is: defend my rights by means of my own force or abandon the speaking engagement.
The battle for the right to arms is, fundamentally, a battle for every philosophical principle upon which that right rests. The right to arms is not compatible with the notion that we have a right TO housing, jobs or health care; or a right to someone else's podium. The right to arms depends upon a certain view of reality. It depends on particular view of the means to knowledge (which itself depends on the view of reality). It depends on a unique view of ethics and man's nature (which, again, depends upon all of the above). Finally, the right to arms is a part of a specific social system that arises out of all of the above.
Whenever you find yourself trying to balance the conflicting rights of two individuals, look deeper into the issue; somewhere you will find an invalid concept of rights.
So long as you understand that the right to arms arises from man's nature and his means of survival, then we, as gun rights advocates, do ourselves no service or honor by abandoning the very concepts upon which the right to arms rests. Sarah Brady, despite her National Socialist views, has a right to present her ideas without violation.
Ultimately, the traditionalist's concern about what the "Founding fathers" meant when they wrote the Second Amendment is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The courts and the media have smeared their intentions to the point that the Second Amendment has become a sorely eroded levee holding back a swollen tributary of totalitarianism. While the Second Amendment can buy us time, it should not be the focus of a defense of firearms. We should seek, instead, to prevent the excess runoff at its source by defeating the anti-reason philosophy that underlies gun control.
Drug prohibition is one of the gravest threats to man's rights. Unfortunately, every major gun organization supports this dangerous invasion into the lives of everyone. And since the war on drugs effectively subverts the concept "rights," the gun lobbies have justifiably been reluctant and unable to employ a defense of the right to bear arms based upon man's rights. Their evasion leads them to openly embrace any conceivable defense: "Sporting Use," the Second Amendment as primary, crime rates, and even our frontier tradition.
The war on drugs necessarily requires the violation of man's rights to have the slightest hope of being effective. Since the purpose of government is to protect against the initiation of force, this purpose is undercut when there are no victims. When a drug dealer sells to a willing buyer without any coercion there is no initiation of force for the government to concern itself with. This makes the enforcement of drug laws particularly difficult, leading to radical violations of man's rights in an attempt to enforce the drug laws.
Drug prohibition leads to helicopters buzzing overhead spying into your backyard, confiscation of property, illegal searches, Gestapo type Drug enforcement squads, and ultimately intrusions into our right to bear arms. Intrusions "justified" on the basis of disarming the drug lords. U.S. News and World Report made the connection: "The main catalyst for the [gun control] debate are the nameless drug lords whose feral deeds fill the news every day." 6.21
A public opinion poll shows the horrible philosophical damage done to American high school students because of the drug war. The poll, within the context of the issue of the war on drugs, asked if it was acceptable for the bill of rights to be suspended on occasion in order to facilitate the war on drugs--77% gave their sanction for such an action.
William Bennett, who appropriately enough is called the Drug Czar, suggested that the war on drugs may necessitate the suspension of Constitutional rights. Bennett tries to justify his position by saying "People don't trust themselves. In many ways, people want government to step in and help them discipline themselves."
Bennett, schooled in philosophy (Plato), at least claims a moral foundation. He believes that drug use is immoral (which, so long as it incapacitates or destroys rationality, it is) and therefore the government should prohibit drugs. Bennett's failing is that he does not understand the purpose of government, which is to defend man's rights from assault. Government involvement in anything other than the protection of rights will work to displace or destroy the concept of rights. It is no accident that Bennett`s first action as Drug Czar was a ban on imported "assault" rifles and an attempt to use federal agents to assist in the Washington, D.C. crack wars.
This isn't the first time gun control has been tied to government prohibitions. In 1934 Congress, in response to the violence of prohibition, passed the National Firearms Act that taxed machine guns, silencers, bombs, grenades, and bazookas.
The issue is not that drug relegalization will reduce criminal violence (though as much as half of all murders are a result of drug prohibition), the issue is not that drug relegalization will improve the efficacy of our criminal justice dollars, the issue is not that drug use will decline, the issue is not that drug relegalization will put drug lords out of business, and the issue is not a matter of police safety; the reason that drugs must be relegalized is that we must restrict government to protecting man's rights or else government will turn to destroying man's rights.
Drug abuse will not be appreciably reduced by making America a police state. Drug abuse will not even be fundamentally affected by "drug education" programs in the public schools. What is needed is Education, period! Instead of stifling the minds of our children, they must discover reason as the only "oracle of man," they must know that reality is what it is, and they must be rationally concerned with their own self-interest, which entails a long range view of life.
A loss in any of these areas intellectually subsidizes drug use. A man who believes himself a sacrificial animal will turn to drugs to escape. A man who abandons reason will turn to drugs as a means of attaining mystical knowledge. A short range mentality will take a thrill today at the cost of his life tomorrow or the next hour.
Just as totalitarianism gathered its strength in Hitler Germany by scapegoating all problems to the Jews, today many societal ills are scapegoated to drug users. And for the "defenders" of the right to bear arms to attempt to deflect an irrational gun control mob by pointing in the direction of some pot smoker will only succeed in saving their skins for the moment (if that) while abandoning their only means of defending themselves tomorrow.
The National Rifle Association and Handgun Control, Inc., both, expend great efforts in lining up policemen and police chiefs to testify in favor of their agendas.
There is nothing wrong with having some representatives from law enforcement support the right to bear arms, but it is dangerous if most of our efforts are aimed at securing the sanction of the police. Seeking police approval tends to hide or ignore the real purpose of the right to keep and bear arms: possible defense against even our own police and military.
Massad Ayoob, a highly regarded expert on self-defense, noted that Police should not be considered experts in the field of gun control because:
Any hard-working cop would like to see wiretapping, universal fingerprinting, compulsory testimony, search without warrant, self-incrimination, and detention without bail made legal. It would make his hard, underpaid, dangerous, and often heroic job much easier. 6.22
Seeking police as experts on gun control is analogous to seeking King George's testimony on the "divine right of kings."
The Jews during the holocaust under the Nazi regime in Germany had the right to resist with force the efforts of the SS police who came to take their property, imprison and kill them. "That may be true," retort the gun controllers, "but that cannot happen in America."
In a limited perceptual sense the Nazi type of totalitarianism with all of its particular militaristic pageantry would not hypnotize Americans. But they are ready to fall under the spell of an appropriately dressed, smiling bureaucrat who assures the people he is acting wholly in their interest for the attainment of a "kinder, gentler nation"; a bureaucrat who keeps his guns discretely hidden.
Can't happen here? Daryl Gates, police chief of Los Angeles, responding to a question about where gun control is heading said "I don't want to go for confiscation, but that is where we are going. And those who object to gun control had better pay attention because we in law enforcement are facing up to this every single day..."
Daryl Gates and his Los Angeles City Police are facing up to "this" quite well as shown in the video tape of the Rodney King beating. What would Daryl Gates and his ilk like to do to us if they succeed in disarming America? No one can be sure of anything except that we will be unable to refuse any of their royal decrees.
Daryl Gates is hardly alone, Leroy Martin, a police superintendent in Chicago agrees with his fellow statist. Martin believes that "it might be useful in some circumstances to suspend Constitutional rights." 6.23 Martin felt that removing the prohibition against random searches would help police do a better job. Perhaps the source of his ideology was a trip to Red China where he jealously observed the efficiency of the Communist "Criminal Justice" system.
Martin even exposed a hint of his admiration for Nazi Germany when a reporter questioned him about the parallels between his ideas and Hitler's, he enviously noted that the Nazi's did have a very low crime rate.
Lee Brown, President of the International Chiefs of Police and Police Commissioner of New York City, has teamed up with New York City Mayor David Dinkins in demanding that any New York City residents caught with illegal guns should face a mandatory minimum of one year in jail. It sounds like Lee Brown has learned much from his police chief colleagues around the world particularly from his ICP counterparts in Nicaragua, China, Russia, and Cuba. While Dinkins, himself, has few worries since he is surrounded by Uzi submachine gun equipped guards.
It speaks volumes about the integrity and intelligence of American policemen and police chiefs that most of them currently support the right to keep and bear arms along with our other rights. American police realize, however vaguely, that their purpose is the protection of man's rights. But this is a windfall that we cannot continue to count on.
As more policemen graduate from the colleges controlled by Platonism, faith, self-sacrifice and Marxism we can expect this support to wither. Police will abandon protecting man's rights in favor of protecting the state and its invasive laws from the people.
We cannot evade that it may be our own police forces that we, someday, must literally fight to defend our rights. I hope that tomorrow's police will understand that their duty is the protection of man's rights, and if they are ever expected to enforce evil laws, that they will, at the least, resign.
Police testimony must not be the basis of the gun rights movement. If the Police Departments do start clamoring for gun control and other violations of our rights, then it is time that we started cutting their budgets--it is better to be without the police and have the means of self-defense than be with them at their mercy. Gun rights should be defended from a man's rights philosophy and not from the recommendations of benevolent policemen.
Religion, because it is explicit about its metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, differs from the movements mentioned above. Religion arose as a proto-philosophy finding its beginnings in early man's attempts to understand the world.
Ancient man saw lightening and made attempts to understand its nature. Ancient man noticed the tides of the oceans and tried to understand the causes. Ancient man was aware of the stars and wondered about their movement. But because he had not yet developed his reasoning ability and did not have a sufficient knowledge context to understand the causes, he grasped at the idea that there are gods who, like man, act with purpose.
This proto-philosophy "matured" into dogmas that served purposes far from the innocent attempts to understand the universe. These dogmas eventually became radically opposed to science, i.e., any logical pursuit of knowledge. An example of this hostility is the clash between the Inquisition and Galileo over the movement of the earth about the sun.
It was at the point that proto-philosophy abandoned the pursuit of truth for the sake of dogma that religion arose. Religion abandoned early forms of reason for faith, religion dropped the metaphysics of reality for supernaturalism, which led to religion ultimately adopting the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice.
Basically the gods of the proto-philosophy pre-religion were just another natural phenomenon to be studied and explored. Religion differed dramatically in that the God of religion (any western or eastern version) is a supernatural being. Meaning a being outside the confines of reality.
Because this God is supernatural, he cannot be comprehended by means of reason. If reason were capable of conceiving of and understanding such a being, then God would no longer be supernatural. Therefore religion is, fundamentally, founded on an epistemology of faith. As Leonard Peikoff put it: "A god susceptible to proof would wreck religion. Such a God would just be another datum for scientist." 6.24
Since man's rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, are founded upon reality, reason and self-interest, religion is the complete destruction of everything that the concept "rights" requires.
Religious supporters of America then jump up screaming "But America was founded on a religious basis...the founding fathers were all religious men." But this view is wrong. Most of the founding fathers did profess a belief in a god, but their "religion" was more akin to that proto-philosophy view that if there are gods, they could be proved by reason. Furthermore most of these men maintained what might be called a vestigial religious view called Deism. They believed in a creator god who created existence and then sat back to watch the universe unfold. In other words a non-interventionist god, a god who does not answer prayers, a god who does not violate the laws of the universe; a god irrelevant to man.
Religion as we know it today and as it was known during the medieval dark ages is only a distant relative of the "religion" that was espoused and virtually ignored by our founding fathers.
Religion subverts, destroys and annihilates every major premise of the right to bear arms. Religion subverts those bible thumping defenders of the right to arms by implying that the concept "rights" is based upon an epistemology of faith. The idea that people are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," when carried into today's fundamentalist context, implies that logic is on the side of those who oppose "rights" and firearms.
A Time magazine article, "Under Fire," outlined this danger:
The NRA has gone further, putting firearms at the center of a faith so fierce that the ordinary terms of political belief--words like "conviction" and "position"-may not be sufficient to grasp it. Says NRA Executive Vice President J. Warren Cassidy: "You would get a far better understanding if you approached us as if you were approaching one of the great religions of the world." 6.25
During the Russian Communist revolution the Whites who opposed the Communist Reds sought the moral foundation for their battle in these "God and Country" ideas. They basically granted the communist the philosophical advantage of being advocates of reason. The Communist takeover demonstrates the force of granting such a premise to one's opponents; a victory that evil could not gain by its own powers.
Modern neo-conservatives have adopted the same dangerous religious basis for their attempt to save capitalism, and unless they switch to a rational philosophical basis, they will suffer the same consequences as the Whites in Russia, which includes the same commensurate loss of the right to keep arms.
The ultimate consequence of religion's epistemology of faith is the "politics of tyranny." When man abandons his only means of resolving disagreements, reason; then the only means left is force and violence. This is why Ayn Rand said "faith and force are corollaries." Gun control is one symptom of the "faith and force" of the "Politics of Tyranny."
Faith sets the stage for force in many ways. When faith displaces reason, the standards of judging are lost and society dissolves into a subjectivist puddle. How is it that Protestant believers reject the Islamic religions? Or any other variant of even the Christian religion? They have no standards by which to evaluate opposing religions, politics and gun control laws except by their own subjective feelings.
Religion demolishes man as the standard of value by means of the concept "original sin." And then the idea of life after death further deprecates the value of human life on earth (the bumper sticker religion: "Kill 'em all, Let God sort 'em out"). Without the foundation of man as the standard of value, the ethics of self-interest is decapitated. Without the ethics of self-interest, the right to firearms is left floundering in neo-conservative rationalizations.
Fortunately for the right to arms, the gun controllers are equally irrational and haven't yet assumed, fully, the appearance of being advocates of reason that neo-conservatives are ready to surrender. U.S. Representative Charles Schumer gave moral support to James and Sarah Brady just as his subcommittee on Crime and Justice was to convene a public hearing on the Brady Bill [a gun control bill]. Schumer said to the Bradys "You're doing God's work, Jim and Sarah." Well if God's work is the demand that man accept his edicts and existence on faith, then the Bradys and Schumer are all doing "God's work." Jim and Sarah both lobby for Handgun Control, Inc., which engages in emotionalist and irrational arguments for gun control.
Schumer's Subcommittee hearing on the Brady Bill was described as a "media circus" by Gun Owners of America. It seems that Schumer believed a hearing should only allow those victims of crime who support the Brady Bill the right to testify while attempting to hide from TV cameras victims who opposed the Brady Bill and weren't allowed to testify at all. While a flock of Brady Bill supporters were allowed to testify before TV cameras, only a representative from the NRA was allowed to testify against the Brady Bill and only after the TV Cameras had left. That, too, sounds like "God's work," i.e., evading the truth.
Religion is primarily a refuge for cowards. It allows those who are afraid to do intellectual battle in the real world to engage in fighting "higher" cloistered tower battles for God. Religion gives institutional justification for those who have abandoned their own mind in favor of the minds of others. To believe in God and religion, one must have abandoned one's mind. The road to abandoning one's mind is the feeling that others possess some means of gaining knowledge that oneself lacks; that others are superior. Religion with its foundation in the supernatural, faith and self-sacrifice axis leads its adherents to be followers. It creates a people who desire and demand a leader, dictator or tyrant. With no means to know for themselves, their only hope is to find those who claim to know and follow them.
Emanuel Kapelsohn, Director of the Firearms Coalition, understood that the people are searching for authority figures when he urged the 1990 Gun Rights Policy Conference to gather up pro-gun policemen because "People and the media want to see police in uniform testifying." In other words the "people and media" want to surrender their minds in favor of the authority of Fuhrers and saviors.
But religion does more than just "simply" destroy the foundations of rights, religion is very explicit about what is required in practice. The ultimate symbol of Christianity is the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. Christianity upholds as virtue the sacrifice of its ideal, Jesus; for the sake of sinners, the evil. Jesus, the good, was sacrificed for man, the evil. By the ethics of Christianity all virtue can be summed up in sacrificing good for evil which means that all sin can be reduced to self-defense. An ethics that demands man's surrender of his mind in favor of "god," cannot be reconciled with the idea that one should defend one's own life.
Christianity is based upon an ethics of self-sacrifice; therefore it makes no difference how many references you can find in the Bible about how proper it is for man to defend himself, a morality of self-sacrifice is fundamentally opposed to the right to self-defense.
The Christian idea of sacrificing the good for the sake of the evil is the opposite of the man who neither sacrifices others to himself nor allows himself to be sacrificed for others. Whereas the cross represents the ethics of sacrifice, the handgun and the dollar collectively represent the ethics of rational self-interest.
Religion is "the deepest of all possible oppositions to human life" and it is " false on the grandest scale imaginabl." said John Ridpath during his lectures titled "Religion versus Man." 6.26 But that is not to say that the Gun rights movement must purge itself of all religious people. However, we must not allow religion to be offered as the philosophical foundation for the right to firearms.
Would it be practical to offer a "Christian" justification for the right to firearms in order to capture "Moral Majority" types? For example: "If a thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed." Exodus 22:2. Couldn't religion be used, on strategic grounds, to promote the right to arms? No, not unless we are prepared to surrender the title "rational" to the gun control crowd and thereby subvert the concept of "rights."
Alfred North Whitehead called religion the "last refuge of savagery." More generally religion is the last refuge of irrationalism. Which means that, ultimately, religion will be the last refuge of gun control.
This chapter is an exercise in applied philosophy aimed at exhibiting how collectivist movements oppose the right to keep and bear arms at a very fundamental level. But some of these Enemies, traitors and subversives are more dangerous than others.
The most immediate threat comes from the "War on Drugs." It is the War on Drugs that has given the gun controllers the courage and sanction they needed to press their agenda.
The second most pressing threat to firearms comes from Environmentalism. Environmentalism could easily couple with the Drug War to elevate some smiling totalitarian bureaucrat into achieving an American democratic dictatorship.
However, the ultimate and greatest overall threat to firearms comes from religion. Religion displaces all the legitimate philosophical principles required to defend firearms. Religion is widely accepted, is experiencing a resurgence in America and is the most damaging because of its assertions in the three primary branches of philosophy. Religion not only undercuts the valid concept of "rights," but undermines even the capacity of integrated, rational thought necessary to discover the concept.
The right to keep and bear arms is incompatible with the ideas of all forms of collectivism, the peace movement, racism, animal rights, environmentalism, consumer's rights, feminism, drug prohibition, and religion. The right to firearms is not strengthened by the hunting lobby, traditionalist, or the police. The right to keep and bear arms depends instead upon a philosophy of reality, reason, and rational self-interest. "Nothing else and nothing less will save your guns."
6.1 Peter Schwartz. Foreign Policy and the Morality of Self-Interest
6.2 Peter Schwartz. Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty. Included in Ayn Rand's The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought edited by Leonard Peikoff.
6.3 Sheila Weller. "Women of the Year: Sarah Brady." Ms. January/February 1989.
6.4 Pat Windsor. "Denver priest urges members to set aside their weapons." National Catholic Reporter December 9, 1988.
6.5 "Do Animals Have Rights? A Debate: Dr. E. Locke vs. Dr. S. Sapontzis
6.7 David M. Graber. Los Angeles Times book review of Bill Mckibben's The End of Nature. Quoted in George Reisman's The Toxicity of Environmentalism.
6.8 Also quoted in Dixy Lee Ray's Trashing the Planet
6.9 "Scientist consider terraforming Mars." Cincinnati Enquirer August 11, 1991. Knight News Service.
6.12 USA Weekend. August 9-11, 1991
6.13 Discover. October 1989.
6.14 Betty Friedan. The Second Stage.
6.19 Sheila Weller. "Women of the Year: Sarah Brady." Ms. January/February 1989.
6.20 Richard Lacayo. Time January 29, 1990. "Under Fire."
6.21 U.S. News & World Report. May 8, 1989. "Guns"
6.22 Massad Ayoob. Gun magazine August 1990. "Crimes Against Women on Campus: Should Your Daughter Carry a Gun?"
6.23 San Jose Mercury News July, 31, 1991.
6.24 Leonard Peikoff's audio cassette lecture "Religion versus America":
6.25 Richard Lacayo. Time January 29, 1990. "Under Fire."
6.26 John Ridpath. "Religion versus Man" audio lecture series.
It is not that hindsight is better than foresight. It is that the entire foundation for foresight simply does not exist in the field of the humanities in our culture. 7.1
In the last chapter we examined some of the ideological movements that are, by philosophical nature, hostile to the right to keep and bear arms. This chapter is devoted to exposing, in total, the Gun Control movement that is by definition hostile to the right to keep and bear arms.
The philosophy of Gun Control parallels many of the other movements that undercut man's rights. The gun control movement is rife with subjectivism and irrationalism in the form of non sequiturs, stolen concepts, emotionalism, insinuation, ad hominem, rationalizations, evasions, false alternatives and lies.
Most of this chapter consists of exposing the irrational ideas of Gun Control proponents as expressed in their words and deeds. But keep in mind until the end of this chapter that the two basic underlying assumptions of Gun Control are: Gun Control saves lives and Government has the right to implement gun control measures. I will come back to these premises after we have some fun at the expense of Gun Control advocates.
A Non Sequitur simply means that a conclusion does not follow from the evidence or argument given in support of the conclusion.
The fountainhead of the gun control movement is Handgun Control, Inc.; and the leading spokesman for HCI is Sarah Brady. Therefore, Sarah deserves the honor of illustrating the practical use of the Non Sequitur. Sarah complained in her editorial "Who Will Stop the Massacre?" that "The gunmen in Stockton, Louisville and Killeen all took their own lives after their shooting sprees. Whom can we punish? Whom can we jail? We must take preventative action."
Actually this is not an explicit non sequitur. Given that these kind of gunmen usually take their own lives, we can't punish them, therefore we should take preventive action. However, the non sequitur comes when we consider what Sarah means by "preventative action"--Gun Control. Gun control is not the logical result of the preceding argument, in fact the only logical solution to suicidal crimes is for possible victims to be capable of defending themselves--the preventive action should be citizens carrying the means to protect themselves from aggressors.
Or perhaps we should take her at face value and conclude that she wants to punish all gun owners for the actions of a few. That is preemptive punishment, guilt by association, guilt before being proven guilty. What a shambles such ideas will ultimately make of our already floundering Criminal Justice system.
Sarah provides another example of a non sequitur in the same editorial: "...most states limit ammunition clips for hunting to six or seven rounds, we protect our game better than we protect our citizens." I can sense that Sarah was quite delighted with this concoction and probably gave off a squeal of delight after penning it. However, she completely ignored the context of magazine limits for hunters. Perhaps they are required so that a hunter doesn't hit multiple targets before he can recognize the first target as being a kill and therefore avoid exceeding his bag limit. There might be many other reasons for magazine limits for hunters or maybe magazine limits for hunters might, themselves, be unjustified. The limits might be government enforced "sportsmanship" to make hunting more challenging. Anyhow the more "logical" conclusion, to paraphrase her's, is "we allow our game to preserve the means of defending itself better than we allow our citizens the means of protecting themselves."
While my phraseology gives me a smug feeling of satisfaction and the urge to squeal with delight, it doesn't really follow from the foundational statement either. There is no justifiable conclusion to be drawn. Game animals do not possess rights, only reasoning beings do. Since the concept "rights" does not apply to animals, we cannot draw any conclusions about the rights of man by studying only our relationship to the animal kingdom.
Wendy Brown, somewhat closer to the feminist movement than Sarah, complains in her article, "Guns, Cowboys, Philadelphia Mayors and Civic Republicanism," that the most routine victims of this "right" are outside both discourses: urban black men between the ages of sixteen and thirty-four, for whom homicide is the leading cause of death, and women, one of whom is raped every six minutes, one out of three at gunpoint or knifepoint. 7.2
First lets ignore for now her claim that "this 'right'" results in victims. The right to possess arms and defend one's life does not lead to victims. Perhaps she should consider what does. But most intriguing is her arguing for gun control because women and blacks are victims of crime. How can she come to the conclusion that gun control is the answer to eliminating their victimization; especially when it is that blacks and women who are not as likely to be armed as white males. Could it be that they are victims because they refuse to take measures to ensure their own safety?
Wendy closes her article with a personal anecdote about her meeting an NRA member in the Sierra Nevadas who helped her start her automobile. Though she solicited his help in getting her car running, she feared this man.
...if I had run into him in those woods without my friends or a common project for us to work on, I would have been seized with one great and appropriate fear: rape. ...it was his gun that could have made the difference between an assault that my hard-won skills in self-defense could have fended off and one against which they were useless. 7.3
The way I see it, this whole anecdote contradicts her approval of gun control. The way for her to avoid becoming a rape victim is to be capable of defending oneself--of being armed. In an unarmed struggle with a male aggressor, a woman is rarely going to be able to overcome or match the strength difference between the sexes. Whereas the firearm puts them both on equal standing; both equally able to resist aggression.
Wendy ends the article with the question "Is his right my violation?" To answer her question I must consider the meaning of "right" that she means since, by her article, she could mean his right to bear arms or his right to rape her; perhaps she hoped to blur the distinction.
The right TO have sex with an attractive woman is ideologically more compatible with the liberal left's Right TO "rights." And for the same reasons that there cannot be any right TO the efforts or property of another, this right cannot legitimately exist.
If she meant his right to defend his life and property, then there are no victims. Surely she wouldn't consider her own "hard-won skills in self-defense" to violate the rights of others and justifiably so. Self-defense does not create victims, it only ensures that those who seek victims are forced to destroy the only person they have a right to destroy: themselves.
I don't want to give the impression that only gun controlling feminist argue by means of non sequiturs. This irrationalism permeates even (or especially) Congress.
U.S. Representative Leon Panetta of California speaking for the Brady Bill said:
We live in a very high stress Nation where millions of people are known to lack healthy coping skills and thousands turn to guns for solutions to their problems, to use against themselves or others.
I have to agree that many people lack coping skills. Rationality is the coping skill that is nearly absent today, especially in Congress. The solution is not gun control, but abandoning an education system that appears to be designed to destroy the conceptual faculty.
Thousands do turn to guns to solve their problems, in fact nearly 600,000 per year use guns to solve the problem of repelling an aggressor. Of the 20,000 gun related deaths per year, usually over half are suicides--suicide can be the result of a rational choice not to continue living, or the irrational self-destruction caused by the irrational epistemology and ethics promoted by the churches and schools.
In any case the logical conclusion is not the knee jerk demand for gun control, but an ethics of rational self-interest. An ethics that does not glorify being a victim nor, at the same time, aid the aggressor by disarming their targets.
But lets not confine ourselves to softheaded feminist or unprincipled politicians, irrationality extends even into the profession long recognized as the hallmark of rationality: The medical profession.
The American Medical News reports that:
Even critics must acknowledge that firearms--particularly handguns--are a significant health hazard. The medical profession and society must address the issue in the same manner they have dealt with other health hazards in the past. Improved medical techniques have made it possible to save many lives of people injured by handguns, but the real cure for the epidemic is to eliminate its cause. 7.4
Firearms are meant to be a health hazard, but for whom are they meant to be a hazard? Any robber, rapist or murderer. Any tyrant seeking to be master of a collectivist slave pen. But this is not the context they meant for the last sentence refers to this health hazard, handguns, as an epidemic; not a word you use to refer to something desirable. This article tries to dance around the issue by avoiding the word "ban," but what the authors meant was that firearms are dangerous and therefore should be eliminated (or to use the word they might prefer: quarantined) from society. There is no justification for eliminating firearms because they are dangerous; firearms, by the nature of their purpose, must be dangerous.
Pete Shields, Chairman of HCI writes in his book:
The NRA contends that the waiting period required for police checks would be an onerous infringement on the freedoms of law-abiding citizens. This is almost ludicrous when one considers how often the average citizen is subjected to a credit verification when buying something with a credit card; only when the clerk has made sure you name is not on a list of known deadbeats will he or she approve your purchase. Does the NRA think this is an unfair infringement of the freedom of law-abiding citizens? Consider all the constraints on hunting (such as licenses, restricted time periods, bag limits, etc.) which the NRA does not oppose. I think the real reason the NRA opposes verification procedures is that they simply don't trust our law-enforcement community, our government, or even the judgement of the American people. I wonder if they trust in democracy itself. 7.5
Pete wants to equate a background check by police before one may purchase firearms to the credit check made when you make a credit card purchase as evidence that gun controls are acceptable. He ignores the fact that it is not the police who do the credit card check. Furthermore, firearms ownership is meant to protect oneself from not only criminals, but a tyrannical government and its police, too. Within this context a police background check would be like permitting Soviet Russia the power to determine whether or not America needs arms.
I find the last part about trusting "our law-enforcement community, our government" particularly interesting. Are we supposed to trust the government, it seems to me the Constitution and our nations founding is based on an explicit distrust of government. Is there any justification for us to have faith when CIA retiree Edwin Welles was the principle founder of both major Gun Control organizations (HCI and the National Coalition to Ban Handguns-NCBH)? Edwin left the CIA during the Nixon administration just months after liberals were circulating concerns that Nixon was ready to establish a dictatorship. Furthermore, Nixon appointed CIA Director, William Colby, has even hosted NCBH fundraisers in his home.
As Neal Knox noted:
if someone within the White House or the CIA had given serious thought to a "bloodless coup," and been thwarted by the existence of an armed populace, would they perhaps have tried to do something about removing that roadblock? 7.6
Pete Shields goes on to voice discouragement over such a lack of faith in government:
Such people have, I am afraid, very little faith in the American People and in American democracy. If I were afraid of a takeover, I'd worry more about the armed right-wing extremist than anyone else.
We'll Mr. Shields, perhaps you are justified in being worried about a right-wing takeover. Furthermore, perhaps You are playing into the hands of some form of dictatorial takeover--right or left--by throwing away our means to prevent such a takeover.
Pete Shields goes on to call for a halt to the domestic manufacture of semi-automatics:
If it was responsible (in 1968) for Congress with the concurrence of our handgun industry and the pistol lobby, to stop the importation of this primary weapon of street crime, it is just as responsible to stop domestic production and sale of these handguns.
Assuming for the moment that it was responsible for Congress to stop the importation of "Non-sporting" handguns, it still does not follow that one should ban their domestic manufacture. There could be many other reasons for stopping the importation of weapons. It could have been enacted as a primarily protectionist measure 7.7, in which case domestic manufacturers would stand to gain no benefits nor "create new jobs" by banning domestic manufacture. Or perhaps the concession in 1968 was an ill-conceived attempt by the Gun Lobby to compromise with one's adversary in the hopes of forestalling further depredations.
Fundamentally, there is no and can be no justification for the Gun Control Act of 1968. Congress was acting irresponsibly therefore Pete Shield's claim that it would be responsible for Congress to ban the domestic manufacture of "non-sporting" handguns is totally unfounded.
The following quote, which I found in the Media Research Center's bi-weekly Notable Quotables, caught me initially off guard. My reaction to it was, initially, one of agreement.
The shootings in Killeen are the latest tragedy highlighting the success of the gun lobby at fighting gun control. 7.8
Now from my perspective, the "gun lobby" has been painfully unsuccessful at resisting assaults by HCI. I initially thought "Right, if only we had been successful in passing legislation that wold have allowed Texans to carry handguns, many, if not all, of those people would be alive today."
Then, after reading the quotation a second time, I saw the person quoted: Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News. Obviously what he meant was that if only more stringent legislation was in place, those people would have been spared.
Of course, just because I attempted to force the non sequitur into a rational statement, doesn't discredit it. Dan Rather refused to recognize that it is already illegal to carry a handgun in Texas and the killer refused to acknowledge that decree. While all of those in Luby's Cafeteria were disarmed--the patrons by legislation, the employees by company policy.
If the Killer had attempted such a slaughter in Kennesaw, GA, where gun ownership is encouraged; the outcome would have been much different. Dan Rather, by means of a non sequitur, attempts to "frame" the gun lobby, but when reviewing the incident within its complete context, the proper conclusion is that it is the Gun Control movement that should be held accountable for the deaths of all those disarmed victims; the Gun Control movement along with any purveyors of altruist ethics who convinced any one of those victims that personal disarmament is a virtue.
Non sequiturs without a quotation from a representative of the institution that foisted upon an unsuspecting public the non sequitur "The world exists, therefore so, too, must a creator-God," would be amiss.
Father Robert F. Drinan in his article "The Good Outweighs the Evil," insists that "If stringent gun control laws were enforced, there would be a general decline in the availability of firearms to violence-prone individuals and groups." 7.9 I must wonder if he is familiar with the "general decline in the availability" of cocaine.
Father Drinan's attempt to rationalize this assertion makes refuting it a little more fun than just condemning him for making an unsupported assertion. He continues:
In the absence of any firearms controls...the Ku Klux Klan and other such groups would obtain and, of greater importance, actually would use guns to a far greater extent than the normally nonviolent desenters.
I think the point he is trying to make is that if guns are available, bad guys will use guns for many more evil deeds than good people will use them for good. To use his example of the KKK; there is no reason to simply encourage them to return to the rope and more importantly there is no justification for disarming their victims. There are numerous instances of blacks warding off lynch mobs with shotguns within America's racist history. What is needed is not pie-in-the-sky attempts to disarm the bad guys, but the love of life that leads good men to protect and defend their lives.
Ayn Rand showed how faith and force are corollaries and so it is that Father Drinan and his ally Senator Howard Metzenbaum are corollaries. Senator Metzenbaum during a debate with Gun Owners of America Executive Director, Larry Pratt; claimed that the Farmer Case is proof that the Second Amendment doesn't guarantee an individual right. As Larry Pratt pointed out, the Farmer Case wasn't heard by the Supreme Court and only a few out of the hundreds of cases brought to its attention are heard. Hardly cause to interpret the Court's actions as hostile to Second Amendment defenses of the right to arms.
Senator Metzenbaum, in the debate, also expresses displeasure with the fact that Senators, in general, oppose gun control although a majority of the public supports it. Ignoring the purpose of the Senate, to prevent majority/mob rule, i.e., to act as the Congress of principle.
Returning to the other house, the House of Representatives, i.e., the House of Mob Rule, I quote California U.S. Representative Tom J. Campbell's contribution to the debate on the Brady Bill:
the Supreme Court told us that phrase, "A well regulated militia," was not put in there for excessive verbiage, that the right was explicit to the creation and regulation of the militia.
Representative Campbell then concludes that anything goes:
As a result, the court upheld this body's decision to outlaw sawed-off shotguns. I put to you that if the second amendment is the issue on the basis of which some of our colleagues are holding back, you ought not.
The Congressman is referring to the U.S. vs. Miller case in which the Supreme Court upheld a sawed-off shotgun ban BECAUSE it was not shown to be a militia firearm. In other words, it is ok to ban weapons that are not used by the militia. Furthermore, the Supreme Court rendered this decision without any arguments offered or even attendance by Miller. If Miller had presented arguments showing that a sawed-off shotgun is a militia firearm then, presumably, the Court would have protected his right to possess it--assuming that the Court didn't seek some other rationalization in support of the sawed-off shotgun ban.
Father Robert F. Drinan writing in The Christian Century was more devious:
It [The Second Amendment] was designed to ensure the survival of state militias and to prevent the establishment of a federal standing army--a great fear of the people in the 13 colonies who ratified it. The Second Amendment has not been definitively interpreted, but the Supreme Court did use it to uphold a ban on sawed-off shotguns in 1934. 7.10
It is hard to imagine that such a smooth attempt at deception is unpracticed. The lead in with the statement that the Second Amendment relates only to State Militias then followed by the statement that the Supreme Court used the Second Amendment (the intent being to also reference State Militias) to uphold a weapons ban, is a carefully crafted piece of deception.
The implication is that the Supreme Court interpreted the Militia clause as referring to the State Militia and not individuals. But that was not at all the case. The Court ruled only that Miller was not permitted to have a sawed-off shotgun because no evidence was offered that such a weapon is a militia arm. If the Court wanted to rule that Miller wasn't allowed to have a sawed-off shotgun because he wasn't a member of the State Militia, then the suitability of a shotgun as a militia arm would have been irrelevant.
In early September, 1990, the Watkins family from Provo, Utah had to face the reality that Gun Control advocates seek to evade. In the city that has some of the most invasive gun control laws in the nation, the Watkins family discovered the result when good men cannot defend themselves. A gang of robber thugs accosted the family and held them up at knifepoint in a New York Subway. When Brian Watkins' mother screamed in distress and was pushed to the ground by one of the thugs, Brian went to his mothers rescue only to be murdered--a knife thrust into his chest. Perhaps if an altruist morality was not so dominant or perhaps if the Watkins family was not prohibited the means of self-defense; Brian would still be in this world and some street thug would have seen the only blood he had a right to see spilled; his own, pouring across the subway concrete.
If this wasn't tragedy enough New York City Mayor David Dinkins had the audacity, in responding to a reporter's query concerning about what should be done to make the city safer, to demand stricter gun control. Brian's killer used a knife. Brian and his family were disarmed by either New York's draconian laws or by their own altruist ethics. And Mayor Dinkins' knee jerk response to this tragedy is: more gun control.
My final example of Gun Control non sequiturs comes from Pete Shields' book, Guns Don't Die--People Do. I have saved this quotation for last not only because it is such a compelling example of the non sequitur, but it also gives us some insight into the mentality of the Gun Controller. Pete wrote in support of gun control: "Parents keep poison, knives, and matches out of the reach of two-year olds because of the high probability of injury or death." And therefore the government should keep guns out of hands of private citizens.
It does not follow that since parents keep poison out of the reach of children, that the state is justified in keeping guns out of the reach of citizens. This quotation gives sickening justification to the concerns of a government grown beyond a servant of the people to a paternalistic, overbearing, big-brother kind of state. I think it is safe to say that Pete Shields does not consider himself among those "two-year olds" who must be looked after. This elitist attitude parallels that of Edwin Welles, founder of both HCI and NCBH, who reportedly has two handguns stashed away for his own protection while lobbying to disarm everyone else.
When you consider the full context of the valid relationship between the individual and government, a totally different conclusion than the one given by Pete Shields is implied. If "parents keep poison, knives, and matches out of the reach of two-year olds," then perhaps the people should consider keeping dangerous commodities and law making capability out of the hands of government (perhaps a 15 year waiting period before enactment of new laws)
Whenever you tear an idea from its context and treat it as though it were a self-sufficient, independent item, you invalidate the thought process involved. If you omit the context, or even a crucial aspect of it, then no matter what you say it will not be valid. 7.11
The Stolen Concept is the attempt to use a concept while simultaneously denying its necessary roots. This error is destructive of the valid concept "rights" by means of the proliferating number of right TO "rights."
To use a concrete, "real world" example of this error of evasion consider the complaint written to Ann Landers by a Vietnam refugee now living in the U.S.
I came to the United States from Vietnam in 1977. I love this country and am very grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded me here. I graduated from high school as valedictorian and am now a student at Stanford University.
Newspapers are my hobby and I read several every day. I go to the library three times a week and read papers from all over the United States. What I have read about guns and killing is very distressing. I cannot understand why the citizens don't demand that the selling of guns be halted.
My first question is why didn't she stay in Vietnam if she wants gun sales halted. Then I'd like to know what it is that she likes about the U.S. Is it the fact that she owns herself? That she can earn a life of happiness through her own efforts and learning? That it is less likely that government officials will come drag her from her home to face non-objective laws? Is it that the government cannot force her into silence? Is it that she can freely read any newspapers she wishes without government interference? Is it that she may freely enter or leave this country? Is it that she lives in a society that enjoys unparalleled wealth and, therefore, opportunities for study?
For every yes answer, she must then ask herself what made ALL of the above possible. What philosophy? What politics? What ethics? Why is it that towering skyscrapers dominate the skylines of every major American city while every collectivist country gives, in contrast, the distinct appearance that the uppermost part of the city has been reduced to the common level of a hovel?
What is the linchpin of all these advantages? The skyscrapers and the wealth they represent are made possible by capitalism, a political system whereby economics and state are kept separate, i.e., no political interference in production. The many newspapers and private newsletters are the result of both private property and its intellectual ally, freedom of speech and "religion" (meaning encompassing all ideas not just the supernaturalist ones). Free emigration and immigration are the political implementation of the right of self-ownership. Fundamentally, in this country (comparatively speaking) you own yourself--the government doesn't own you. But the linchpin of every concept of man's rights is the right to defend and protect your life and your rights. Many countries have constitutions that "guarantee" their citizens' rights...nearly every right but one--the right to keep and bear arms. The right to self-defense and arms is THE linchpin of all other rights without which all of those other rights are only so many words on a piece of paper.
Yes, my dear new American, the killing is distressing, but banning guns is not the answer. The number of murders is not even the standard. 100,000 murders per year or 1, the cost of being unarmed is far greater. That cost being all of industrial civilization. A source of much of the killing is prohibitionist government actions. The source of most killings, however, is to be found in the disintegration of the ideas upon which man's rights depend.
That feeling of bursting excitement, of limitless unobstructed vision, and fearlessness you felt when reaching the "land of the free," was the result of knowing that no one has a claim to your life. And THAT depends on your, or at least most of us, having the means to resist any such claims.
The stolen concept is that you revere and cherish the accomplishments of America, while at the same time advocate the destruction of its foundation: Man's rights and their means of implementation, the right to self-defense and arms.
I suspect that even most Gun Controllers recognize the efficacy of possessing the means of self-defense. I think that while they enjoy the positive social benefits of an armed populace (less crime and freedom), they also want to believe themselves moral beings. And since they have adopted an altruist morality, they feel pious when they believe themselves above guns and self-defense.
Imagine that instead of voting for blanket gun control, that the government, instead, published a directory that listed each individual as either armed or a Gun Control pacifist who refuses to be armed. This Directory of Gun-Free Individuals (the application of the Nuclear-Free Zone concept applied to the smallest minority) is made readily available throughout the U.S. and in libraries.
What then happens to those remaining Gun Control advocates who stick by their ethics? Whose homes are burglarized? Who is most likely to be raped? Who will suffer the most murders? More importantly, who surrendered their pious anti-gun stand in the interest of protecting their lives?
Such a proposal would show that Gun Controllers want to enjoy the protective umbrella afforded by firearms, while at the same time denying firearms so that they can, by their ethics, maintain a feeling of moral superiority.
As they feed on stolen protection in body, so they feed on stolen concepts in mind (to paraphrase Ayn Rand). Gun controllers and their intellectual comrades "proclaim that honesty consists of refusing to know that one is stealing. As they use effects while denying causes, so they use our concepts while denying the roots and the existence of the concepts they are using." 7.12
Gun controllers and their statist partners frequently introduce the anti-concept that can fundamentally be reduced to the idea of collective rights. Collective rights shows up in many forms: State's rights, gay rights, women's rights, consumer's rights, etc. There is only one valid form of rights: Man's rights. The collective or group has no more rights than those rights that each individual possess.
Within the context of the right to arms, the anti-concept of collective rights that attempts to undermine firearms is State rights. This assault takes the form of the assertion that the Second Amendment is aimed at protecting the rights of State governments to maintain a state militia. While it may be true that State governments have the right to maintain a force to counterbalance federal forces, from where does the right to such protection arise? It arises from individual rights. Neither the Federal government or the State governments possess any rights over and above their individual citizens. Even if the Second Amendment was written to protect State militias (which it is not), such a "State right" has as its foundation and necessary implication the rights of man.
One of the most pervasive arguments offered by the Gun Control movement concerning the Second Amendment, summed up by Dennis Henigan, is that:
the necessity of maintaining effective state militias is, by the language itself, the only concern of the Amendment, and the right to keep and bear arms exists only to the extent necessary to meet that concern. 7.13
The Second Amendment says: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
The "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is, however, assumed. The Second Amendment says that this right must not be infringed in the interest of preserving the militia. The right doesn't depend on the necessity of the militia, it precedes it as a one of the rights of man.
Moreover, Gun Controllers assume that "well regulated militia" means government regulation of the armed people. This reaction is so typical of today's mentality; the attitude that "regulation" must come from the government. However, within the context of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the intent was diametrically opposite. The Second Amendments meant that the citizens must be able to regulate (control or dominate, if you will) the government and its forces...by means of arms if necessary!
David Steinberg writes that "the individual's right to have a gun must be shown to be essential to the formation of an effective militia."
If, as now and indeed ever since Congress in 1903 established state militias known as the National Guard, the arms used by the state militias are entirely provided by the government, the right of the people to keep and bear arms appears to lose whatever meaning it once had as an individual right protected by the Constitution.
This quotation captures both mistakes. First it asserts that the right comes from the governments need of an effective militia. This ignores the whole foundation of the right to arms. The right of the government to arms must be shown as essential to the efficacy of protecting the individual and not the right of the individual as being essential to the security of the state.
The claim that since we now have a National Guard the right to arms becomes unnecessary, totally ignores the intent of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment would impel us to further arm the citizenry to provide for the "well regulation" of proliferating government forces--since we must now counter and regulate both Federal and State forces.
Furthermore, why would states adopt the Second Amendment, verbatim, in their own constitutions. By the gun controllers logic, these states are seeking to protect the state's right to arms from its own interference.
Steinberg continues his diatribe:
There is nothing absolute about the freedoms in our own Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech is not freedom to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is not freedom to have multiple spouses, or sacrifice a lamb in the local park, as religiously sanctioned practices. Similarly, whatever right the Second Amendment protects regarding the private possession of guns, for whatever definition of "militia," is not an absolute right. It must serve the overall public interest, including (from the preamble of the US Constitution) the need to "insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare." 7.14
Steinberg drops the whole context of the concept of "rights." Rights are absolute, but you cannot sever them from their foundation. You have a right to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre, if the theatre owner agrees to permit it. You don't if the theatre owner prohibits it. You may, if certain conditions (for example, if there IS a fire) exist. There is no conflict here when viewed within the complete context. Contrary to Steinberg, you do have the right to have multiple spouses if you can get the spouses to agree to the terms of such a volatile arrangement. You do have the right to "sacrifice a lamb in the local park" if the park owner agrees to it. Which implies that the park must not be state owned.
And most emphatically, rights are not created to serve the undefinable concept of "public interest." Rights are a concept directed specifically at resisting the mob of democracy and all others claiming the mystical justification: "public interest." Rights are the barrier to any such democratic concepts.
That the government uses its guns to take away our guns dissociates it from the concept of man's rights. The only philosophical foundation for such an action is the metaphysics of supernaturalism and epistemology of faith. Supernaturalism in that the concepts "State" and "People" must be viewed as being above the reason and rights of the individual. The state is the paternalistic god that rules us. The people have some superior collective insight above its individual members. That is the only way gun control advocates can claim that the government has the power and right to initiate the disarmament of the citizenry. For if we adopt a valid philosophy grounded in reality, reason, self-interest and capitalism, then the government gets its power from the rights of the individuals, from the consent of the governed. In such case the people have a right to disarm the government, but the government has no right to disarm the people. Waiting periods can be forced on Congress by the people, but Congress cannot force waiting periods on the people.
In other words, government arises as necessary for protecting the individual; the individual doesn't arise as a necessity for government.
Another assertion made by Gun Controllers is that gun control saves lives. An assertion since there is no empirical evidence and none is therefore offered that such is the case. This assertion begs the question since even "saving lives" is not sufficient justification for government control of firearms.
The "Saves Lives" theme runs throughout the Gun Control movement; a theme that is never proved, demonstrated or validated.
U.S. Representative Leon Panetta of California made it clear that he preferred to evade such proof during the debate on the Brady Bill. He asked:
"Does it have to come down to the sick coldness of having to estimate how many people will die in those three to five years to make people vote for the Brady Bill and against the Stagger's smokescreen substitute."
In other words do we have to prove that the Brady Bill will save lives?
Gun Control's irrationalist ally, Father Robert Drinan wrote in The Christian Century:
President Bush has to be embarrassed that Washington is more and more perceived to be the city where violence, narcotics and guns dominate. It is not impossible that a national outcry against guns would persuade him to support that Brady Amendment and related measures. 7.15
Father Drinan's unsupported assumption is that gun control would save lives and reduce the level of violence in that city. That Father Drinan is capable of making such an assumption that flies in the face of all evidence is not surprising considering his philosophy. The fact that Washington, D.C already has a handgun ban and some of the most draconian laws against firearms in the country. The fact that after banning handguns justifiable homicide fell by 2/3s while Washington jumped from sixth to being the leading murder city in the U.S. In other words those people who made up the 2/3s were disarmed and therefore defenseless to prevent themselves from becoming a part of that "embarrassing" statistic that launched Washington into being the murder capital of the United States.
Since I wouldn't argue for the right to arms based on the "saves lives" basis, I am willing to give the Gun Controllers this: In spite of the many people who were unable to prevent themselves from becoming victims in Washington, perhaps there were some lives saved in a particular population. There are some people in Washington who are well defended either through special permits to carry or armed guards: politicians. Since politicians in government disarmed the population, thugs can redirect their efforts from the armed and protected political elite to the disarmed citizenry. So, from this viewpoint, it might be said that gun control does save "important" lives, though probably at the expense of many more "unimportant" ones.
An example of this mentality comes from Pete Shields of HCI:
If America had a tough National handgun control law my son Nick might be alive today. Senator Robert F. Kennedy might still be making America a better place to live. Dr. Halberstam would still be saving lives. And John Lennon might still be urging us to "Give Peace a chance."
Basically this is a non sequitur since Pete Shields hasn't bothered to give us any evidence that gun control could have saved any of these lives. It is far more likely that they would be alive today if the bearing of arms was not viewed with such hostility. Even if these particular individuals were not, themselves, bearing arms, they would have enjoyed the umbrella of protection afforded by the fact that criminals would not be able to know who is and who isn't armed. Perhaps an armed citizenry would have prevented the random murder of Pete's son, Nick.
Dr. Michael Halberstam's murder provides some empirical evidence. Dr. Halberstam was an outspoken advocate of gun control and decried the evil of gun ownership on many an occasion. In other words he vocally joined the "Gun Free Zone" directory, thus giving assurance to his attackers that he was without the means of self protection. Most disturbing is the fact that he may have discovered his own error on that evening when he interrupted a burglar and was fatally shot. As his own blood was pouring from his wound, he jumped into his car and ran down his attacker. Dr. Halberstam, who in his dying moments probably desperately desired a handgun, discovered, too late, the morality of protecting one's life and the anger of facing those who would destroy one's life.
Pete Shields sums up his position:
The basic difference in the relative positions of Handgun Control, Inc. and those of the NRA is that the NRA believes in prevention only through punishment; we believe in prevention and punishment. They are not the same at all.
If I judge the context of this statement correctly, then I would have to say that Mr. Shields is wrong. HCI does not believe in prevention for the most efficacious form of prevention is an armed population. Perhaps he meant that HCI believes in preventing people from defending their lives and punishing those who do.
"There is one point about handgun violence" Pete Shields continues "that eventually reaches anyone whose mind is even partially open, and that is that they, or theirs, could be next. No one can get a guarantee that it won't happen to them or their loved ones."
No, there are no guarantees. One does not have omniscient powers to look into the minds of others. No one can predict with absolute certainty what actions a volitional being will take; but one can be prepared to deal with aggressors. One can adopt a philosophy that asserts one's right to live. You can choose to carry a handgun to protect your life from murderers.
The "Saves Lives" argument dominates the debates on Capitol Hill. U.S. Representative John F. Reed of Rhode Island concludes his support for the Brady bill's 7-day waiting period "The Brady bill is a very modest, reasonable measure. I don't think 7 days is too long to wait to save a life."
Perhaps his argument should be rephrased, in light of the evidence, to say "I don't think the cost of a few lives is too much for a seven day waiting period."
U.S. Representative Rohrabacher pointed out the subjectivity of their claims that waiting periods save lives:
States that have imposed waiting periods on the purchase of a firearm have already had an effect--they have cost innocent lives. Deborah Randall of Virginia, Bonnie Elmasri of Wisconsin, and Igor Hutorsky of Brooklyn, NY, have all lost their lives waiting for the firearms they needed to defend themselves.
U.S. Representative Barbara Vucanovich reported:
Look at the case of Bonnie Elmasri, of Wisconsin, whose husband repeatedly threatened to kill her. She secured a restraining order. But because of the severity of her husbands threats, Bonnie didn't feel this was enough. She tried to purchase a firearm for self-defense, but was told there was a 2-day waiting period. The next day, Bonnie and her two sons, aged 17 and 3 were murdered by her husband.
So While Gun Control advocates may have encouraged the deaths of those who wouldn't carry arms by destroying the umbrella of protection afforded by those who do carry; they have also denied those who hunger to live, who want to protect their highest values, the means of self-defense.
An article in the Oakland Tribune quotes Oakland Police Sergeant Rob Stewart:
...you become a police officer and civil servant to protect and serve a community. To have the ability to be involved in creating and passing such legislation [semi-automatic ban] in order to protect the citizens throughout the state is a good legacy to leave behind. 7.16
Implicit in this statement is the assumption that such a ban will "save lives" and furthermore, the state has the right to initiate the ban on this basis. Sergeant Stewart's paternalistic attitude is a disturbing undercurrent in the mentality of too many gun controlling police officers. Their motto should be "To protect people from themselves, to serve the statist bureaucrats, and to disarm opposition."
The "Saves Lives" argument believes that you can take everything as it is and change one thing without having any effect on the context. In other words, they believe by banning guns that the only effect will be a reduction in access to guns and therefore a reduction in suicides, accidents and murders. They ignore the role firearms play in deterring these crimes by assuming that the firearm's protective effect will continue after eliminating guns.
Just as Henry Hazlitt in his pathbreaking book, Economics in One Lesson, demonstrated how Keynesian economists evade the "unseen" effects of an economic interventionist policy; so do the Gun Controllers ignore the "unseen" effects of their agenda.
You will sometimes hear the Gun Controllers say that 20,000 people per year die of firearms while only a few hundred criminals are killed by citizens in justifiable homicide each year. First off, they ignore that over half these are suicides, i.e., the "victim" decided, for whatever reasons good or bad, that life is no longer worth living. Their second error lies in equating killing an aggressor with an aggressor killing his victim. This is not just some war where the winner will be determined by body-bag counts. In most cases good men need only brandish the gun to prevent their becoming a victim. In fact, the law is dangerously conservative about when a prospective victim may resist with deadly force--only when one's life is threatened. Criminals do not bind themselves to such an "ethic" so they can hardly be counted on to use deadly force only when their lives are "threatened."
For now I will save the conclusion of "Saves Lives" until the end of this chapter.
The argument by authority and the argument by majority both are essentially the same. The only difference being that the argument by majority specifies what it considers THE authority, i.e., the majority.
The argument by authority can be the assertion of a Catholic priest that God says "Guns are evil." It can be the assertion of the modern day liberal/democratic socialist that the People feel that "Guns are evil."
The fallacy could even apply to myself if I were to quote Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff as an authority, i.e., not as a cohesive argument. A mistake that I have tried scrupulously to avoid, but would be easy to do in trying to cover only the critical points necessary. I don't want to just repeat too much of what has already been written, far more eloquently and thoroughly, by Rand and Peikoff; but neither do I want to so condense the philosophical framework to the point where you are being asked to accept anything just because they or I said it.
When you think of the argument by authority the first thing that should come to mind is frequent references to a "higher authority" made by those in religion. With their practice in accepting arguments on authority, they frequently use this method.
Father Robert F. Drinan in his article "The Good Outweighs the Evil," made several appeals:
Atlanta Public Safety Commissioner A. Reginald Eaves recently told a congressional committee that 'three out of four deaths could have been prevented, were a handgun not available.' Boston Police Commissioner Robert diGrazia added that 'the unavailability of handguns would lead to the noncommission of many crimes.'
Two appeals in one paragraph! Both "authorities" are making brazen assertions without offering any evidence whatsoever for their statements. But for the person who takes the "They Say" as proof of the truth of a statement, the lack of supporting evidence is unimportant.
Another paragraph by Father Drinan in the same article is worth reading:
Patrick B. Murphy, president of the Police Foundation and former police commissioner of New York City, stated: 'I've always recommended to shopkeepers that they not have guns because, in my experience, what happens more often than not, is that violence begets violence. When we look at the total picture, I think that shopkeepers are killed more often or injured more often when they draw a gun...I think you're safer as a small store owner not to have a gun.'
Father Drinan's willingness to simply accept this as the gospel on the matter is to be expected when considering his epistemology of faith. But this example is stunning and bears repeating: "When we look at the total picture, I think that shopkeepers are killed more often or injured more often when they draw a gun...I think you're safer as a small store owner not to have a gun."
The "total picture" evidence on this matter shows that victims who resist criminals with a firearm are several times more likely to emerge unscathed than any other option: submitting, forcibly resisting by any other means, persuasion or running.
U.S. Representative William J. Coyne of Pennsylvania adopts authority in support of his agenda: The Brady Bill "has been endorsed by a large number of public and private groups and individuals, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the American Medical Association, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and former President Ronald Reagan." In other words, "if the Brady Bill is good enough for a bunch of committees, its good enough for me."
This argument also carries over into accepting "World Opinion" as the authority.
Father Robert Drinan writes in his National Catholic Reporter column: "Virtually every other nation has stringent laws regulating firearms." He then extends his demand that the majority may and should overrule rights in:
the Second Amendment does not prevent government from regulating the distribution of firearms. Provisions similar to the Second Amendment that appear in the constitutions of 37 states have never been construed to prevent the regulation of guns. 7.17
Is he suggesting that the U.S. should emulate "Virtually every other nation?" While no other nation has anything more than a superficial understanding of the concept and foundation of man's rights, we should accept their totalitarian practices as worthy of a free nation. The same thing applies to the second statement, just because many states have usurped power away from their citizens, is not an argument for the validity of his position.
Pete Shields begs us to obey our Collectivist neighbors: "The rest of the civilized world looks with horror at the lack of gun controls in the United States" 7.18 which he follows with a cross-section of the world press' negative reaction to our right to arms.
Shields goes on to complain: "Doesn't it strike you as rather strange that both of our neighbors--Canada and Mexico--have far more stringent handgun laws than we do?"
Frankly, it does not surprise me. The more a country adopts collectivist ideas, the less concerned it is with the rights of man.
Richard Hofstadter in his article "America as a Gun Culture" carries the argument into the realms of psychology:
It is still argued by some defenders of our gun culture...that the gun cannot and will not be given up because it is a basic symbol of masculinity. But the trouble with all such glib Freudian generalities is that they do not explain cultural variations: they do not tell us why men elsewhere have not found the gun essential to their masculinity. 7.19
Neither can you dismiss the right to arms by tying them to the popularly discredited concept of masculinity. It is true that the people of most countries don't demand the right to arms as a matter of "masculinity." But Mr. Hostadter has subsumed two radically different concepts under the common heading "masculinity." In most countries of the world "masculinity" is earned in service to the state. One's whole psyche is tied up in the power of the state. These people attempt to gain self-esteem by the method of the "second hander" (Identified by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead), i.e., gain pride in the power or ability of others--in this case their leaders or masters in government.
The American concept of masculinity is vastly different and while it is not fully integrated, it does possess many of the fundamental virtues outlined by Objectivism. Masculinity to the American includes being independent, i.e., oriented to reality and not other men's opinion of him. American masculinity includes the virtue of integrity, i.e., sticking to one's principles. It includes being just, i.e., judging other men ruthlessly and basing one's actions when confronted with evil or good men appropriately. It includes being proud of one's ability to produce and supply one's own needs.
Fundamentally, American masculinity means being rational and acting on one's rationality. It means accepting no bureaucrat's opinion above one's own. It means preferring the continuation of one's life over that of an aggressor. It means earning and protecting that which one creates. Firearms are the means to all these rational ends. American masculinity does require firearms; the rest of the world, that attempts to get subservience to masquerade as masculinity, does not.
Hofstadter continues his theme:
In all societies the presence of small groups of uncontrolled and unauthorized men in unregulated possession of arms is recognized to be dangerous. A query therefore must ring in our heads: Why is it that in all other modern democratic societies those endangered ask to have such men disarmed, while in the United States alone they insist on arming themselves.
In all collectivist societies arms are controlled. In all modern democratic societies, only those who profess subservience may be authorized to have arms. These societies ARE threatened by men who have the means to resist government predations. While in the United States, alone, men insist that they do not have to ask for authorization or permission from government, but government has to operate within the concept of individual rights.
After reviewing many anti-gun articles, Congressional testimonies and Senatorial speeches it became painfully clear that there is a consistent underlying authoritarian theme. An authoritarian theme not just in the political sense, but, more importantly, in the epistemological sense. If one writer makes an assertion, the rest accept it as proven and use it. If HCI makes an assertion, it quickly redounds throughout the movement and continues to be used long after Pro Gun writers have soundly refuted it. In other words, they are more concerned with the high sounding phraseology of others than the truth.
The false alternative is the attempt to ignore or evade other relevant possibilities. It frequently involves the attempt to make the reader choose between the argument of the author or some other unsavory alternative while excluding the possibility of better solutions; or it might leave one with the choice between two options that might not be mutually exclusive, i.e., one might be able to choose both. For example, "Do you want a clean environment or an industrial society?" Or "Should America become a left wing dictatorship or a right wing dictatorship?" The first assumes that a healthy environment and industrial society are mutually exclusive. The second assumes that your choice is restricted between two different forms of dictatorship and ignores the alternative of a Laissez Faire Capitalist society.
U.S. Representative Raymond McGrath of California said "legitimate gun owners--target shooters and collectors among them--should not object either [to the Brady Bill's waiting period], because buying a weapon is hardly a matter of urgency."
First off this quotation by Congressman McGrath asserts that buying a weapon "is hardly a matter of urgency" which in itself unjustifiably eliminates the possibility that it very well may be a matter of urgency. The reason Congressman McGrath is able to give this assertion any credibility at all is that he uses the crafty modifying phrase "target shooters and collectors among them" to vaguely delimit "legitimate gun owners." In other words he tries to hint that only "target shooters and collectors" are legitimate gun owners. He does surreptitiously say that they are among the larger group of legitimate gun owners, but it is only if one ignores this "among," that one can conclude that "buying a weapon is hardly a matter of urgency."
If Congressman McGrath was to include "gun ownership for defensive uses" among his modification of "legitimate gun ownership," then his conclusion would be explicitly ludicrous. This quotation implicitly relies upon the false alternative of including only "target shooters and collectors" as the definition of "legitimate gun owners."
This quotation flows from the common belief among Gun Controllers that the only proper justification for firearms is "sporting use." For example the claim that "Assault rifles have no legitimate sporting use and, therefore, should be banned." Well, even if we ignore that these firearms ARE used in many sporting competitions, since when did "sporting use" become the only legitimate justification for arms? Since an altruist ethics became dominant in America. For if it is selfish to protect oneself, then defensive uses of arms cannot be justified. But within the foundation of an ethics of rational self-interest one cannot drop the context of man's rights and his right to defend his rights.
Pete Shields further illustrates the fallacy of the false alternative:
As long as the rural areas do not have high crime rates, then the people living there see no sense in taking any chance of losing their guns, which would mean the loss of a favorite rural pastime, hunting. 7.20
The false alternative is that he implies that rural people only cherish their firearms for hunting. He conveniently ignores that perhaps they cherish them, too, for how secure they make living in rural areas. Perhaps they don't want to lose their guns so that they don't suffer those high crime rates that are the hallmark of the gun control cities.
Unfortunately one of the most poisonous instances of the false alternative comes from the National Rifle Association. This quotation compliments of U.S. Representative Constance A. Morella of Maryland in support of the Staggers substitute for the Brady bill:
Acknowledging the prevailing national mood, the NRA no longer argues that background checks would be unconstitutional. In fact, the NRA now supports the Staggers [instant check] substitute as a legislative alternative to the Brady bill; both require background checks. The question which Congress will face is which would be more effective.
In other words "Gun Supporters" and Gun Controllers are in a race to see who can provide the most efficacious controls. The question is no longer whether government has the right to control arms, but who can control them the best. The choice is no longer between freedom and tyranny, but in seeing who can outline the best, most efficient dictatorship. Congress did not face only the choice of an instantaneousness background check or a seven day waiting period/background check. Their other principled option included rejection of both options.
Gun Control is sometimes offered as a measure aimed at preventing Anarchism, i.e., as a measure keeping government intact. What is meant is that your choice is between a totalitarian government or no government. Dictatorship or Anarchy. . Man does require a government to protect against aggressors and to provide a peaceful, final means of resolving disputes. Man requires such a government as the groundwork for an industrial civilization. But between the choice of slavery and lawlessness, the latter is vastly preferable--at least it leaves man free to defend himself if he is so able.
While I do believe that Anarchy is better than slavery, these are not the only alternatives available. The choice is not between lawlessness in the people and lawlessness in government, but between lawlessness in general and a government of objective law. Gun ownership is not a repudiation of government, per se. It is a means of subordinating government to lawfulness. Gun ownership is not aimed at overturning a just government, but in making sure it remains as such.
If you abandon reason as your means of evaluation and persuasion, then you are left with unexamined emotions as your means of cognition and emotionalist testimony as your means of persuasion.
Pete Shields of Handgun Control, Inc. embraced emotionalism and testimonials as the means furthering HCI's agenda. He called it their "Victims Strategy."
It is the emotional appeal of the victim's story which best assures communication, attention, and an emotional involvement on the part of those who are already known to be sympathetic on an intellectual level. Using victims is the most effective way, we believe, to conduct an educational campaign that will result in a constituency willing to vote on the basis of this issue. 7.21
Since they either do not understand how to make an intellectual argument or they realize that such an argument for their position is not possible, they resort to bloody, photos of contorted victims of violence. Since they cannot make a philosophical case for their cause, they resort to an emotionalist one.
Josh Sugarman, formerly of NCBH and now with the Violence Policy Center, argued for applying the same emotionalist tactic to semi-automatic weapons:
The [assault] weapon's menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons--anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun--can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. 7.22
Emotions are not a means of apprehending reality, they are but a physiological response that is a result of your values, conclusions or thought. Leonard Peikoff clarifies the point by asking you to consider the emotional responses of several different individuals to similar situations.
Consider three people: One is a baby lying in his crib happily babbling away--If you were to point a loaded pistol at his head it is unlikely that the child would show any significant emotional response. Because the baby does not recognize that a threat to his life exists.
A second person loves his life, loves creating values, loves being with the people he loves and desperately desires to live. If you were to point a gun at this person's head, the response would be radically different. This person would experience fear. This person would experience a most justifiable anger. This person would feel the emotional result that is the sum and conclusion of all of his basic premises; and if the means are available, he would do whatever is required to defend his life.
A third person who, for whatever reason good or bad, has thoroughly concluded that life is no longer worth living will react quite differently. A gun pointed at his head might be met with indifference or he might even welcome the discharge of the firearm. Each person experiences a different emotion based upon his evaluation of his life and an understanding of what a handgun pointed at a vital organ forbodes for that life.
HCI and their allies have not confined themselves to the "Victims Strategy"; they have also adopted another emotionalist tool: ad hominem, i.e., name calling. Ad hominem is the attempt to discredit the arguments of one's opponents by means of discrediting them as individuals.
HCI used this disgraceful technique in one of their newspaper ads in 1990. The ad featured a hooded KKK clansman carrying a Colt AR15 rifle with the subtitle: "Why is the NRA allowing him easy access to assault weapons?"
This was a near slanderous attempt to equate or establish some kind of ties between the NRA and a racist organization like the KKK. Nevertheless, even clansmen have rights. They have the same rights that all of us have. They have the right to express their views (no matter how distasteful). They have the right to bear arms (which might be needed to preserve their rights in the face of equally irrational attacks on them). Of course, they do not have the right to attack, assault or kill other people. In fact, so long as the clan exists blacks desperately need the means to defend THEMSELVES. It doesn't make a great difference to a black man if he is hanged or shot. These are not the only choices confronting blacks--they can take measures to make sure that they not are victims period. Measures like a shotgun in the home to ward of white-robed hoods at night. And a carry handgun to protect them from the same hoods when leaving the home.
HCI's fundamental emotionalist battle against reason, logic and reality was eloquently demonstrated when they found it necessary to counter the Justice Department's report. The Justice Department found that neither an instantaneous background check nor a Brady style seven day waiting period would have any significant effect on criminals getting arms. This carefully reasoned study forced HCI to counter with their best--the emotionalist testimony of wheelchair-bound James Brady. HCI sought to counter reason with the emotions of pity and sorrow for the tragedy that James Brady has suffered.
Hollywood got into the emotionalist act by creating the TV movie Without Warning: The James Brady Story. A whole movie that sought to redirect the pity one feels when confronted with a tragedy like Brady's to creating support for gun control. Tom Shales, in a Washington Post review, made clear that the intent of this movie is to get people involved in gun control. It wasn't enough that he recommended the movie, but he also had to get in an ad hominem jab at George Bush: "It [the Brady Bill] still has to get past a veto from the scowling and snarling George Bush." 7.23
I can think of many reasons to despise George Bush without getting into the gnashing of teeth kind of thing.
The Hollywood mentality also brought us a TV expose titled Guns. I don't want to dwell on it much, but you should get a copy from your local video store to experience this expose that has the intellectual style of a big-foot documentary.
Michael J. Farrell in the National Catholic Reporter continues this ad hominem attack in his column titled "The NRA--Drug Thug Constitution Connection." 7.24 While the title says enough, the whole column is devoted to an ad hominem dialog tying the NRA to every liberal bogeyman while also deprecating any references to the Constitution.
The Gun Control movement makes no serious attempt to develop a philosophical defense of their position choosing instead to promote the emotionalist "victims strategy." It is a movement that resorts to the frequent "I believe..." or "I feel..." as a means of argumentation. It is a movement that tries to turn the NRA into a Nazi-style scapegoat by calling them Gun Zealots.
However, in spite of HCI's trespasses the problem is not so much their emotionalist methods. The problem is an "emotionalist republic" that has lost its means to distinguish truth from falsehood. We will return to what is required to immunize Americans against these fallacies in the chapter 9, "The Field of Battle."
Gun control is not achieved in a vacuum. Once any level of controls are in place, more controls are soon necessitated.
For example, New York City has banned private possession of handguns. What happens? Handguns are smuggled in from outside areas, therefore Gun Control advocates soon demand federal regulations to "stem the flow" of guns into New York City. Next, small machine shops start turning out bootleg guns which will lead Gun Controllers to demand regulation of machine tools and high grade steel. Then, perhaps, small bootleg recycling facilities are discovered supplying the bootleg gun makers with steel, it may even happen that regular steel thefts occur, too; leading Gun Controllers to demand strict regulation of this potentially dangerous commodity. Of course it soon comes to their attention that there are many books published that show how "anyone" can get raw materials, work with basic tools and feature detailed plans of how to make almost any type of firearm. Of course, somewhere in there, strict regulation of bullet manufacturing comes into play.
The theme continues in other directions, too. At some point air rifles will be come the "Silent stealth weapons of choice" along with "Rambo" knives that have no other purpose but to "Kill human beings." Then, if society isn't in complete ruins, they will discover that some people expend enormous effort in developing their strength by working out. These people also learn about deadly arts like karate or judo, thus requiring background checks on anyone desiring to improve their physique. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Dumbbells will soon be raiding homes suspected of possessing weight training equipment or the means and intent of making barbells out of raw materials.
Naturally, while gun ownership was still permitted, there would be mandatory drug testing of gun owners, and like current proposals in California, there will be bounties offered for providing law enforcement with leads that result in the arrest of illegal gun owners.
Each action is promoted as a "good first step." The Brady bill has been hailed as a "good first step." Canada which already has extensive gun control laws is experiencing its "good first steps," too, with legislation seeking to extend the waiting period to 28 days and require applicants to provide two guarantor signators from doctors, ministers or other professionals.
Every stage in the escalating battle is precipitated by the appropriate propaganda. Just as we have faced the "Assault Rifle" and "Cop Killer Bullet" hysteria, so will we soon hear of hunting rifles and their "Sniper Accuracy." In fact, Jeff Klopotic of the Quicksilver Coalition has discovered some early articles in the news media that appear to be aimed at making hunting rifles the next target of gun control. An article that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, on an assassination attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev, first mixed "hunting rifle" into the report and then after admitting that the weapon was actually a shotgun and noted that a shotgun would not be likely to succeed in assassinating Gorbachev it was added that "with a hunting rifle, however, a marksman could make an accurate shot at that distance."
No doubt government control of hunting rifles will be hailed as a "good first step" in reducing the "rash of sniper modeled killings in the U.S."
Men do not accept a catch phrase by a process of thought, they seize upon a catch phrase--any catch phrase--because it fits their emotions. Such men do not judge the truth of a statement by its correspondence to reality--they judge reality by its correspondence to their feelings. 7.25
Gun Control advocates attempt to maintain their own unacknowledged subjective views by rationalizing "floating abstraction" support underneath their views, evading any evidence contradicting their views and lying to themselves and others about the validity of their views.
Congressman Rodino demonstrates this self-imposed blindness: "The direct relationship between handgun availability and increased violent crime in America cannot be denied." At least it cannot be denied so long as one keeps his mind purposefully blinded.
Pete Shields rationalizes his position with the Utilitarian evasion: "But like all complex issues in a complex society, solutions must weigh the benefits versus the cost to both the individual and society." 7.26 As if that is the proper purpose of government. Assuming government may be permitted to do this, then what about the rash of baseball bat murders in Chicago of 1988--more people were killed by baseball bats than rifles? What about automobile travel that leads to the deaths of tens of thousands every year?
Pete Shields also wants to abandon any semblance of objective law or procedures of conviction: "I think it [the Kennedy-Rodino handgun control bill] should be amended to exclude from handgun ownership anyone with a record of using a potentially deadly violence against another person, even though such violence did not result in a conviction." 7.27
U.S. Representative Marge Roukema summarized her support for the Brady Bill with the glib comment "Anyone who needs a gun right now needs a waiting period." Ignoring those who need a gun "right now" to defend their lives.
Congressman Charles Schumer, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, kept his pet irrationalism--gun control-- safe from reality by evading the testimony of all pro gun organizations except the NRA. He refused to permit Jacquie Miller an opportunity to testify against the Brady Bill. Jacquie was a victim of the Joseph Wesbecker shooting spree at Louisville. Schumer even had two policemen placed in front of Jacquie Miller so that she would not be seen by the TV cameras.
The media was put in a troubling spot when the tape of the girl who called 911 as her father was being assaulted by a burglar became nationwide news. The media could not ignore the drama of such an event, but they also had to ignore the means to an efficacious end to the assault. The assault wasn't ended when police finally arrived. It ended when her 14 year old brother, who also suffered injuries at the hands of the burglar, got his dad's .22 rifle and shot the intruder. The media could not let pass the distressed voice of the little girl crying "He's killing him, he's killing him.", but they were willing to evade the fact that the family's lives were probably saved because they had a gun.
This ability of Gun Control advocates to readily accept any assertion that supports their own subjective opinion while ignoring any argument that contradicts their subjective opinion is extremely common.
U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York reinforces her subjective view of firearms "Because of a waiting period, more than 10,000 convicted felons have been caught trying to purchase handguns in New Jersey."
U.S. Representative Frank Annunzio parrots the same rationalization:
In states such as California, New Jersey, and Illinois, existing handgun waiting period laws have kept guns out of the hands of thousands of potential killers without denying law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves.
Woman's Day, too, passes on the same HCI big, self-deceiving lie in an article titled "One Nation Under Arms":
Still, there is some hard evidence that waiting periods and background checks do work. According to Handgun Control, Inc., in the 23 states where waiting periods and background checks are enforced for handgun purchases, thousands of weapons are kept out of the hands of convicted felons each year. In Maryland, with a seven-day waiting period, 1,515 sales were stopped during that same time period; in the 20 years since New Jersey enacted a background-check requirement, 10,000 felons have been stopped from buying guns--legally, at least." 7.28
U.S. Representative Pete Geren of Texas pulled the plug on this mass deception:
All I have heard cited are figures about permit denial, at a rate incidentally of only about one-half of 1 percent, and this, ladies and gentlemen, does not equate to crime reduction. In fact, the proponents of this measure fail to tell you that in States that have waiting periods, roughly 80 percent of the small number who are initially denied are law-abiding citizens, denied due to faulty information.
Further evidence of the Gun Controller's selective evasion of countering evidence is contained in their dredging up the Supreme Court's decision in U.S. vs. Cruikshank.
A number of blacks in Louisiana held a meeting to establish a protective organization to put a halt to the predations of white hoodlums. The white hoods busted up the meeting, took away their guns and, before it was all over, attacked and murdered some of the blacks.
The Federal government, in an attempt to punish the perpetrators, charged that these white hoods violated the blacks' right to assembly and bear arms.
The Supreme Court, in a (to borrow Leonard Peikoff's style) "three step waltz of clashing contradictions," ruled that the Enforcement Acts didn't apply since the right to assemble and the right to bear arms, both, are inalienable rights that precede the Constitution whereas the Enforcement Acts only protect rights granted by the Constitution.
Gun Controllers, thereby, have adopted one of the most racist Supreme Court rulings in American history. Gun Controllers have, further, ignored that Cruikshank "established" that these rights preceded the Constitution, i.e., that they are rights possessed by all men whether or not constitutional provisions guarantee them.
Perhaps some or many of these evasions are subconscious in nature or simply are a result of ignorance, but some evasions are outright lies.
During the "assault" weapon hysteria, the Los Angeles Police Department was demonstrating the power of firearms by shooting watermellons with a semi-automatic "assault" rifle. The shots from the rifle made tiny, clean holes in the watermellon. Then an LAPD officer shot the watermellon using 9mm hollowpoint bullets which caused the watermellon to explode. When the film was shown that evening on the news the viewers saw a police officer shoot the semi-automatic rifle followed by the explosion of a watermellon (a cut to the handgun's shot) all while the newscaster warmed of the "devestating power" of assault weapons.
A "study" done by Gun Controllers resulted in the conclusion that guns are not an efficacious means of defending oneself. Their study was based upon Chicago area robberies and the data was manipulatively combined so that they concluded that "a victim is more than eight times as likely to be killed when using a self-protective measure than not." 7.29 What they don't tell you is that they lumped many different actions under the heading "self-protective measure." It included hitting, using a knife or club, and guns. If you separated out guns, what is found is that they are THE best response to robbery if you want to prevent completion of the crime and avoid serious injury or death. In fact the gun, as a means of protection, is 2-3 times better than any other response. Imagine the explicit evasion that occurred for these "researchers" to conjure up the concept "self-protective measure" in order to discredit gun ownership as inefficacious.
This evasion closely parallels the Gun Controllers assertion that a gun in the home is "six times more likely to be used in a deliberate or accidental homicide involving a relative or a friend than against a burglar or unlawful intruder." 7.30 This evasion assumes that if you defend yourself from someone you know, it cannot be a justifiable homicide.
The final example of the subjectivism of Gun Controllers I offer for advanced students of Objectivism since I did not cover the theory in my brief discussion on epistemology. B. Bruce-Biggs wrote in "The Great American Gun War" that:
Because it is impossible to define a "Saturday Night Special" precisely, the NRA claims that the concept is fraudulent-but any definition in practice or law is necessarily arbitrary.
This quotation basically grew from a subjectivist view of the nature of concepts, the complete discussion of which is beyond the scope of this book. I include it for those readers already familiar with Objectivism. For details I refer you to Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.
Gun Control advocates are first cousins to those people who "cannot stand to know that someone, somewhere is happy." These people are all members of the Altruist family. Gun controllers "cannot stand to know that someone, somewhere is capable of defending themselves." Both groups, believing that the ethical purpose of one's life is service to others, want to sacrifice all human values. The first group wants to sacrifice happiness to duty; the second wants to sacrifice the lives of good men to aggressors.
Gun Control advocates envy those who are happy and willing to defend their lives for they recognize that these are people able to deal with the world. In other words, that which they view as evil they believe to be efficacious.
The envy they feel leads them not to seek similar abilities for themselves, but to bring the target of their envy down to their level. They don't want to be as able at self-defense as you, they want you to be rendered as defenseless as they. Basically they harbor a fundamental hatred of life, which translates into an unwillingness to permit others the right to self-defense. They recognize protection as a value for human life, but they are the ones who do not value human life as such; therefore their hostility to handguns, for protecting human life; and industry, for supporting human life.
Gun Controllers wear the mask of a concern for humanity, but their basic premises leave them no alternative but to hate and dispise humanity. Their view is, in essence, that if men are allowed the means to defend themselves, that they will do corrupt and evil things with that means.
Gun Controllers fear guns for two basic reasons. By their ethical standard (altruism) guns are evil because they are meant for preventing the sacrifice of the individual. Furthermore, they fear guns because they consider the evil to be powerful. They fear guns as being powerful and evil. If you put a handgun into their hands, they will actually tremble with fear, for it seems omnisciently powerful while being, at the same time, wicked. This is a corollary of the "hedging on principles" mentioned in the chapter on politics and ethics except in this case the right to self-defense is so contrary to their ethics that they can neither permit themsleves to "hedge on principles" nor ignore the "evil-type-of-power" that the gun represents. The Gun Controller's irrational fear is a result of coming face to face with evil and, furthermore, believing that it is all powerful.
Others fear guns because the presence of a gun brings them to face the means of forcing their whims on others. These are the modern day Hitlers that haven't the courage to identify the means of their goals. They want to keep the means, guns as weapons of initiatory violence, discretely hidden from sight. These are the smiling bureaucrats, the ones flanked by armed thugs; who, when physically confronted with firearms as one of the tools of subjugation, is forced to see and recognize their own adopted but hidden means. They are unable to maintain the illusion within their own mind, they can no longer evade the fact that firearms represent to them not a means of defending man's rights but of violating them. They fear the firearm because it forces them to acknowledge their evasions.
Most of this chapter has been a polemic against gun control. I have used quotes from a number of gun control sources and I have worked to be sure that I used those quotes within the context that their author surrounded them. But fundamentally there are only two basic arguments offered for gun control, the means of attempting to validate these two arguments may differ, but there are only two offered.
First they attempt to argue that gun control will save lives. They do it by means of quoting the off-hand remarks of authorities, making brazen assertions with no attempt at supporting their claim, they manipulate statistical data by creating unnecessary concepts like "self-protective measure," they adopt non sequiturs, and they resort to emotionalist "victims strategies." They have been unable to show that gun control saves lives, because the evidence, both theoretical and empirical, suggest otherwise.
Secondly, even if they could show that gun controls might save some lives they still must prove that government has a right to impose such controls. While the "Saves Lives" question depends upon the actions of volitional beings and is therefore primabily a matter of empirical study, determining whether or not government may be permitted to control guns is, however, a philosophical question.
Since government gets it power from the consent and rights of individuals, it may not interfere with those rights and if it does, it has invalidated its right to exist by undercutting its source of power. The government may not disarm the people since it is but a servant of them; but the people may demand the disarming or dismantling of the government because it is they who possess the rights, not government. And in order to disarm or dismantle the government the people must have the means, guns, to accomplish it. Perhaps the Second Amendment should have been written "A well regulated government being necessary to the security of man's rights, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
7.1 Your Children's Future volume 2, #1.
7.2 Wendy Brown. The Yale Law Journal 99 December 1989. "Guns Cowboys, Philadelphia Mayors, and Civic Republicanism: On Sanford Levinson's The Embarassing Second Amendment."
7.4 American Medical News May 20, 1991. "Brady bill has medicine's support."
7.5 Pete Shields. Guns Don't Die--People Do.
7.6 Neal Knox. "Cia-NCBH Connection?"
7.7 Itself an irresponsible act of Congress--see Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and The Government Against the Economy by George Reisman
7.8 Dan Rather, October 23 CBS Evening News.
7.9 Father Robert F. Drinan. The Civil Liberties Review August/September 1976. "Gun Control: The Good Outweighs the Evil."
7.10 Father Robert F. Drinan. The Christian Century April 12, 1989. "Is the NRA Being Shot Down?"
7.11 Leonard Peikoff. In his audio tape lecture "The Philosophy of Objectivism."
7.12 John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
7.13 Dennis Henigan. San Francisco Barrister December 1989. "The Right to Be Armed: A Constitutional Illusion."
7.14 David J. Steinburg. "Does the Second Amendment Mean What it Says?" in "Other Views of the Second Amendment" in the Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Ninety-Seventh Congress.
7.15 Father Robert F. Drinan. The Christian Century April 12, 1989. "Is the NRA Being Shot Down?"
7.16 Larry Spears. Oakland Tribune April 16, 1989. "Police Can't Match Giant Firepower of Assault-Type Guns."
7.17 Father Robert F. Drinan. National Catholic Reporter May 24, 1991. "America needs gun control if it is to call itself a 'civilized society.'"
7.18 Pete Shields. Guns Don't Die--People Do.
7.19 Richard Hofstadter. "America as a Gun Culture" from American Violence: A Documentary History edited by Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace.
7.20 Pete Shields. Guns Don't Die--People Do.
7.21 Pete Shields. Guns Don't Die--People Do.
7.22 "George Bush: Will Waiting Period Be His Revenge for 1980?" The Gun Owners December 1991.
7.23 Tom Shales. The Washington Post June 6, 1991. "The James Brady Story; On HBO, The Incomplete, Inspiring 'Without Warning.'"
7.24 Michael J. Farrell. National Catholic Reporter April 7, 1989. "The NRA--drug thug Constitution connection."
7.25 Ayn Rand's article "Philosophical Detection" in Philosophy: Who Needs It.
7.26 Pete Shields. Guns Don't Die--People Do.
7.28 Woman's Day October 3, 1989.
7.29 Mathew G. Yeager with Joseph D. Alviani and NancyLoving. U.S. Conference of Mayors. "How Well Does the Handgun Protect You and Your Family?"
7.30 Father Robert F. Drinan in "The Good Outweighs the Evil," The Civil Liberties Review August/September 1976. Republished in The Gun Control Debate edited by Lee Nisbet.
Any theory that propounds an opposition between the logical and the empirical, represents a failure to grasp the nature of logic and its role in human cognition. Man's knowledge is not acquired by logic apart from experience or by experience apart from logic, but by the application of logic to experience. All truths are the product of a logical identification of the facts of experience. 8.1
"That's all very well, in theory, but we have to live in the real world; a world where 20-30,000 people are killed with firearms every year in the United States. Man's rights sound nice and all, but we have to be pragmatic and impose some controls for the sake of all of us."
So will be the ultimate response of gun controllers; a response that ignores that observation is perceiving reality, logic is the cognitive parallel of existence's non-contradictory nature, concepts are objective identifications of and groupings of existents, man has volition and requires the freedom to think and act to survive, and that since government is force it can only be used against those who initiate the use of force.
When they attempt to discredit a philosophical system because it is "only principle and we must be practical," that which they wish to accommodate are their whims, emotions, and subjective desires.
Subjective desires that they believe they can just insert into the context of a free America and have no effects upon that context. They believe that you can modify one of the pillars of an industrial society, an armed populace, and have no effect other than a reduction in suicides, accidents and murders. They evade the fact that an industrial society depends upon the right of each and every individual to defend his life, property and liberty; a right that necessitates the right to the means of effecting this defense.
The "real world" results of gun control are not practical. Gun control results in threatened women being murdered while they await government approval to possess the means of defending their lives. Women like Bonnie Elmasri who was murdered along with her two sons while waiting the two days required in Wisconsin for a handgun. Like Deborah Randall and Igor Hutorsky who were also killed while waiting for the government's clearance.
The "real world" results of gun ownership are suggested by its efficacy in preventing rape. In Orlando, Florida, when 2,500 women were instructed in the use of handguns during a highly publicized program by the Orlando Police Department, the results were dramatic; in the following year rape decreased by 88 percent. Or the case of Catherine Latta who sought a police handgun permit after being assaulted and raped by her ex-boyfriend. After being told that she would have to wait about two to four weeks for the paperwork to clear and fearing for her life, Catherine bought a "black" market (read free market) gun on the street. That very evening she used the "illegal" handgun to shoot her attacker.
The "real world" results of gun control are laid bare during tragedies like the George Hennard massacre in Killeen, Texas. State legislators had just defeated a bill that would have allowed Texans to easily get a permit to carry a gun.
The result was a cafeteria of defenseless people, 22 of whom were killed and another 20 injured. Suzanna Gratia, one of the survivors of the rampage, lost her parents to the killer. Her only regret was "that myself or some other reasonably sane person didn't have a gun." 8.2
The "real world" results of gun ownership countered only a few months later in a Shoney's cafeteria in Anniston, Alabama. Three men took twenty people hostage and held the restaurant's manager at gunpoint. Unlike the patrons at Luby's in Killeen, Texas, there was one citizen armed with a .45 handgun hiding under a table. One of the robbers, who spotted him, began shooting at the citizen. The armed citizen then returned fire killing one robber and injuring another. None of the patrons or restaurant employees were injured or killed.
The "real world" results of gun control are summed up by the situation in Washington, D.C. where stringent gun laws led this city to become the murder capitol of the nation while at the same time seeing justifiable homicide decrease by two thirds.
The "real world" results of gun ownership is demonstrated by Kennesaw, Georgia which passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their homes. The following months saw a decrease in burglaries of 89 percent.
But Gun Controllers while evading principle, also admit that their agenda has little to do with accomplishing anything in the real world. Pete Shields, HCI's spokesman has confessed:
...the local laws, regardless of how tough they are, or how modest, have a very low probability of working, if you define "working" as reducing gun violence in our society. 8.3
Make no mistake about it, Gun Controllers are not concerned with reality. They have abandoned the means of apprehending reality. They have abandoned reality as being the final arbiter of what is true. What they haven't abandoned is their subjective desire to impose an altruist ethics upon the rest of America. An ethics that demands the sacrifice of the good to the evil.
Just as an individual cannot survive by his own effort while evading reality, so do nations.
A nation cannot survive by force alone. It cannot survive by philosophy alone. The first culminates in simple random acts of violence. The second nation is consumed by the hordes of looters, killers and tyrants attracted to a criminal banquet.
The United States became the greatest, most productive, i.e., the most practical, nation in history because it was based upon a good political philosophy and had an armed populace. America was founded on the ideas of John Locke; resulting in a political system based on reality, reason, and rational self-interest. America could have never been created if John Locke's philosophy had stood alone to resist the tyrants, kings and looters. Likewise, guns without the philosophy would have simply created a "New World" tyranny. The right to bear arms must be coupled with the philosophy of rights. Neither can exist without the other, i.e., firearms must be paired with principles; principles based upon and rooted in reality.
8.1 Leonard Peikoff. "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy". Originally published in The Objectivist May-September 1967. Republished in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand. Second edition edited by Leonard Peikoff and Harry Binswanger.
8.2 The Gun Owners December 1991. "Killeen Shooting Shows Danger of Gun Control."
8.3 Pete Sheilds as quoted in the Chicago Tribune January 23, 1982.
There actually is no political solution in a situation where the truth has become politically lethal. 9.1
When most gun owners think of protecting their right to bear arms, they usually think of the NRA or one of the other gun rights organizations. But the battle for the right to bear arms is not primarily a battle shoring up the Second Amendment. The battle for the right to arms is going to be won or lost in the battle for reason, rational self-interest, man's rights and capitalism.
The Gun Rights organizations' purpose is to protect "the flanks," so to speak, while we reassert America's philosophy. They are the fingers plugging the holes in the dike while we work on redirecting the flow of the water.
The National Rifle Association is the most visible defender of the right to arms. As an organization seeking a broad based consensus in support of the right to arms, the NRA seems somewhat fearful of being called "extremist"; they are ready to coddle leftist ideologues so long as they mouth support for the right to arms. This causes the NRA, though it is the most powerful political gun lobby, to be one of the weakest in the area of philosophic principles. You cannot promote the "extreme" man's rights defense of the right to arms, while "hedging on principles" to accommodate some members' views. Though they do, mainly, support republican candidates; the NRA is willing to promote leftist candidates so long as they mouth support for the right to arms, thus evading the fact that the basic philosophy of the leftist is hostile guns.
Gun Owners of America is one of the most philosophically effective gun rights organizations in America. GOA does not make any serious attempt to make gun rights a sporting use issue, they do not sanction any government control of the right to arms. GOA defends the right to arms primarily from a man's right position. When the NRA was promoting the Staggers (instant background check) substitute for the Brady Bill (7 day waiting period/background check), Gun Owners of America was one of a very few gun organizations to oppose the measure on the grounds that the government has no right to control firearms.
The American Pistol and Rifle Association is one of the few Gun Rights organizations that identifies that there are more fundamental issues that precede the right to arms. Though this organization is infused with religious justification for their position, they do identify that the battle is fundamentally one of individualism versus collectivism. If the day ever comes that political lobbying fails and the battle actually moves into the streets, it is the APRA that will be at the forefront of some kind of guerrilla movement defending the right to arms.
Second only to the NRA in political penetration is the Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The CCRKBA, in many ways, resembles the NRA but without the emphasis on the sporting aspects of firearms. This makes them philosophically better than the NRA But, like the NRA, they have not integrated the right to arms, fully, with man's rights.
Jews for the Preservation of the Second Amendment is fundamentally the Jewish equivalent of the APRA. Like the APRA, JPFO focuses on the necessity of an armed citizenry to prevent and dispose of tyranny.
Although most Gun Rights organizations are not philosophically integrated with the whole concept of man's rights, it is not their job to be initiators of a philosophical revolution. The Gun Rights organizations are not in a position to really affect America's basic philosophy, but only to engage in a holding action until the philosophical calvary arrives.
Once we recognize the Gun Rights organizations as engaged in, mainly, a holding action then we can ask "where do we find recruits for the philosophical calvary?"
To rearm America philosophically we must retake the philosophy departments of America's colleges and universities. To retake the philosophy departments we don't need to dominate, but only get enlightenment ideas heard. If we can get just a few courses taught in the colleges, the battle will be won. If Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is studied in a literature course, if David Kelley's The Art of Reasoning is the textbook of a course in logic, if George Reisman's The Government Against the Economy and Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is studied in one economics course, if Leonard Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels is reviewed in a history course, and if Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand is taught in one philosophy course; then we will soon have the intellectual defenders of the right to arms and all of man's rights.
These ideas can win even if they are only granted a minimal hearing, because they don't require the constant repetition of "big lie" concepts. The truth does not require such sloganeering and media repetition, it only needs to be heard.
There are two ways to get these ideas represented on America's college campuses. One is the top down approach whereby corporations and individuals contributing to colleges demand that such courses are offered. The other is to create students that demand an opportunity to hear these courses.
The fundamental barricade to filling the colleges with thinking students is the modern, state run school system. To flood the colleges with students of reason we must eliminate government involvement in education. Under the government's rein, schools have been transformed into statist indoctrination centers where students are inculcated by means of the out of context study of topical issues.
The battle for the right to arms is far easier and far more difficult than most people realize. It is easier in that once we win the battle in the philosophy departments the right to arms falls into our laps, and the victory is not so transient as our "victories" are today. Today's victories that require that we prepare for the next wave of gun control irrationalisms; a wave engulfing us the following year, the following month, the following week and even the following day.
The battle is far more difficult in that we must think long range, we must penetrate the leftist stranglehold on the college philosophy departments, and we must get government out of education.
However, the rewards are far greater than just regaining the right to keep your means of self-defense. The rewards include the whole; the rights of man complete. The whole will mean a civilization that achieves prosperity on a level undreamed of; a civilization of life enhancing wealth and glorious art.
Yes your guns are worth fighting for, but there is much more at stake. You are not just fighting for the means of self-defense, you are fighting for your happiness, too; happiness that can only be achieved in freedom. There is no other battle more noble and no other battle easier to win, the weapon to achieving it, say the Objectivists, is thinking.
Just as the Gun Rights organizations are engaged in a holding action against gun control legislation, media watch organizations are covering our flanks in the news media and entertainment industry.
The two leading media watch organizations are Accuracy in Media (AIM) and the Media Research Center. These two organizations are important allies in preventing and countering the rabid anti-gun media bias. But these organizations, themselves, cannot turn the media around. The media's bias is really just a poisonous symptom of the real, but deeper, problem. The question that must be asked is "why is the news media able to get away with 'advocacy journalism?'"
The reason that there is such a proliferation of junk "National Enquirer" type of papers and the plummeting decline in the standards of the major news dailies is that American readers have lost the means of critically evaluating what they read, they have traded reason for emotionalism. American readers have adopted emotions as their tool of cognition so that is the kind of "arguments" that the media offers them; emotionalist arguments.
Perhaps we could "take control" of the media and engage in "advocacy journalism" of the right, but we would still be dealing with a populace that cannot judge whether an assertion is true or false. Therefore our "victories" would be hollow, insubstantial "victories"; victories that count on duping the public into chanting our slogans and catch phrases.
AIM and the Media Research Center can work to stave off the most egregious assaults on reason in the media, but they cannot have any significant effect upon a public that is so gullible as to accept "advocacy journalism" as news.
The basic problem is that reality has been exchanged for supernaturalism, reason abandoned for emotionalism, self-interest dropped in favor of "public interest," and capitalism has given way to the modern socialist welfare state. Within this context, rational arguments are beyond comprehension.
Therefore, while the media watch groups can contain some of the damage of the news media, the real solution is to get the philosophical weapons into the minds of Americans so that all irrationalisms are left unattended. This means a resurgence of Aristotelian philosophy, which requires a victory in the philosophy departments of America's colleges.
The movies and entertainment media follow a similar parallel. Movies are not a creator of a culture's values, but a reflection of it. It makes little sense to try to eliminate or censor today's movies, they are not the cause of a declining culture, but only its symptom. Once a return to a rational philosophy is accomplished, movies will return to the magnificent style of the early years of movie making.
Some gun rights proponents attempt to deflect Gun Controllers by pointing at the violence in our movies as the problem. Guns are not the cause of violence in America nor are violent movies the cause; the cause is a philosophy opposed to man's rights. Movies do not create violent killers anymore than guns do. It is the adoption of wicked philosophies that create and encourage violent killers; displace that philosophy with a philosophy of man's rights and there will be no ethical nourishment of the criminal mentality.
As an individual, you may help protect the flanks and hold off the worst of today's irrationalism. Simple things like writing principled letters to the editor, boycotting the worst of those companies that promote irrationalist ideas (or, if you must have their product, contribute a "matching fund" to organizations countering those ideas), Subscribe to private press publications like The Intellectual Activist, and take advantage of the modern electronic "private press," the electronic bulletin board systems, via a home computer and modem. There are many powerful information systems like CompuServe, Genie, American Online and thousands of other smaller systems. The BBS is one of the battlefields in the war of ideas along with being a powerful source of information.
But, whatever you do, don't kid yourself into thinking that these actions will reverse the tide. These are only holding actions; defensive actions holding back the irrationalist hordes until the calvary arrives from the philosophy departments.
Frankly, I believe that by the beginning of the 21st century the right to arms will be non-existent in America. That is a setback we must be prepared for, but if we begin laying the groundwork for retaking the philosophy departments, today, perhaps we can look forward to regaining the right to arms sometime in the second or third decade of the 21st century.
Though short range battles are important in keeping the loses to a minimum, the right to arms will not be defended by engaging in just short range battles. To win we must think long range. America is plumeting into a dark, foul tunnel, but if we plan now we can decide where than tunnel exits. Will Americans find themselves helplessly derailed in the totalitarian socialist/fascist hell or in the fast moving, shining bright world of a free America.
9.1 A Time for Truth by William E. Simon.
I wrote this book with two audiences in mind. Primarily it is an advertisement for the philosophy of Objectivism aimed at gun owners. I wanted to introduce the ideas that are implied and required for the right to arms to exist, i.e., the ideas of Objectivism. I also wanted to introduce gun owners to the arena in which, ultimately, the battle for the right to arms will be fought.
I also wrote this book hoping to convince Objectivist of the morality of arms and self-defense. Objectivists do understand the morality of self-defense, but some are halting in their advocacy of being armed.
Few dangers instill as much fear in me as the thought of losing the philosophical leaders of objectivism to some murdering thugs of our big cities. Once you understand the importance of winning the philosophical battle for man's rights, then you can gauge the importance of protecting Objectivist philosophers from attack. The thought of leading Objectivist philosophers walking the streets fully exposed to the thugs and criminals on those streets and without the means of protecting their valuable lives makes me cringe.
If this book has introduced the typical gun owner to Ayn Rand's philosophy or if it has introduced an Objectivist to the full implications of the morality of self-defense, then, regardless of any areas in which I have failed, I must consider my efforts worthwhile.
An important point that I wanted to make in this book is that the right to arms cannot be justified or exist within the context of fundamentally antithetical philosophies. An autobiographical, confessional anecdote illustrates the folly of attempting to adopt certain higher level concepts while denying or evading their roots.
I was a freshman in high school when I first discovered Ayn Rand. My discovery primarily consisted of reading Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. I had been drawn to her works to settle my own debate between religion and atheism. Though I greatly admired Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, I didn't, at this time, study Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead; I was looking for answers and wasn't interested in wasting my time on fiction. Nor was I interested in metaphysics and epistemology; the very words terrified me, especially metaphysics that, to me, sounded so disgustingly mystical; therefore I did not pursue Ayn Rand's ideas in these areas.
Basically I had accepted that no one had the right to initiate the use of force against another, but without understanding the metaphysical, epistemological or ethical basis of this view I soon saw its meaning dreadfully twisted.
My first college course in philosophy, which was an Immanuel Kant promotion, left me totally bewildered. It seemed to me that philosophy had absolutely nothing to do with the living of human life and everything to do with being obscure for obscurity's sake. This experience validated my earlier avoidance of basic philosophy.
Although I accepted reason as my only means of knowledge and became a young atheist, I didn't reject the ethics of religion. Basically I had secularized religion. Though I rejected emotions as tools of cognition and the morality of sacrificing for the sake of God, I still held the unchallenged view that ethics meant sacrifice for the sake of others, i.e., society. I continued the same ethics but I substituted society for God.
With an altruist ethics piled upon an epistemology of reason, I soon consumed the extensive works of Bertrand Russell, the atheist humanist philosopher.
After an intermediary smattering of other philosophers, I soon joined the B. F. Skinner behaviorist camp. Behaviorism seemed suited to a strict adherence to reason and causality because it claims that our behavior is a result of external causal environmental forces; that our behavior is determined. Furthermore, the Walden Two kind of "individualist" collectivism reinforced my own unintegrated individualism. This novel by Skinner advocated that by modifying the environment we could create, to use today's term, a politically correct population. By so arranging society we could create a people who lived by the ethics of altruism.
Though I reject a behaviorist ethics and politics, I do believe these psychologists have something worthwhile to say; not about human beings, however, but about sub-humans. The basic choice that is entailed by volition is the choice to focus or remain unfocused, the choice to think or drift. Once an individual has chosen the latter he is not truly living as a human and behaviorism has a lot to say about this person for this person is determined by his environment. In other words, behaviorism is the science of programming unthinking sub-human beings.
I read all of Skinner's works even the lengthy Verbal Behavior, his magnum opus. I began a masters program at the University of Texas and soon decided that I was more familiar with behaviorism than my professors and therefore decided to transfer to one of the leading behaviorist schools in the nation, the University of West Virginia.
To pay my way through a masters program at UWV, I found a job with the West Virginia Citizen's Action Group (WVCAG). This, I thought, was perfect; I was going to study behaviorism under renown professors and pay for it by working for social justice with WVCAG. My job at WVCAG was to get people to donate to WVCAG to help us lobby for social programs, environmental cleanups, and a withdrawal of American forces from countries like Nicaragua--a country held in very high esteem by WVCAG members.
I finally did get an education in Morgantown, West Virginia, but it was not a degree in behavioral psychology. The first hint of a personal renaissance was at WVCAG. I remember one of our little group meetings where we were discussing toxic dump cleanups, union support, minimum wage laws, Nicaragua, gun control and a host of other liberal issues; and I suddenly identified something seriously amiss. This agenda we were to be promoting certainly did not coincide with my feelings about individual rights. Within days I knew that I could no longer sanction the WVCAG's ideas. Though I didn't understand fully, I did feel that something was evil about WVCAG.
Now I was without a job and I found myself trying to get by on less and less. With no job, school was impossible. With no job, I attempted to learn how to live on less. Soon I discovered a book by Mel Tappan, Tappan on Survival, which I thought might help me "survive" the mess I had gotten myself into. Tappan's book discussed ideas that I hadn't seen since reading Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal in high school. I, being more concerned with my moral stature, virtually ignored my worsening financial state and began studying these ideas. The real turnaround occurred, however, as a result of one of Tappan's recommended books.
Mel Tappan wrote about Atlas Shrugged: "If you haven't read this prophetic work, do so. Ayn Rand wrote it in 1957 and twenty-three years later her vision of the future has, for the most part, become reality." 10.1
It was also about this time that I had dinner with my medical student neighbor. This handsome Dr. Zhivago styled gentleman and his attractive wife were both "good Christians." One night after enjoying a dinner and video, this fellow proudly brought out his "baby"; a stainless steel .357 magnum handgun. I tried to conceal my fear of this gun, but when I discovered that it was loaded my hands grew cold with nervous perspiration and I grew a little faint. In my cold hands was this burning mass of pure evil.
How is it that today I have a government model .45 resting on my desk? How is it that, just inches from my head, lies another in my bed's headboard? How is it that today a handgun comfortably fits my hand? The difference is a matter of philosophy. A philosophy of reality as opposed to supernaturalism. A philosophy of reason versus emotionalism. The philosophy created by volitional beings and not the sub-human tissue of behaviorism. A philosophy of rational self-interest as opposed to the self-destructive ideas of altruism. A philosophy of man's right instead of the totalitarian wasteland. In summary, the philosophy of self-defense; the philosophy opposed to self-immolation. Specifically: Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
10.1 Tappan on Survival by Mel Tappan.
This book offers only a very broad summary of the philosophy of Objectivism. In order to keep the length to an acceptable level, I had to skip over many important topics. Basically I only presented the bare essentials needed to address the issue of the right to arms. To get the proper full scope understanding you must read at least two other books. I have listed many other books useful in integrating your understanding with many other topics, too, but the fundamentals are the most important.
Works available from Second Renaissance Books are followed with a 2RB, works available from The Foundation for Economic Education are designated by FEE ,and works available from Laissez Faire Books are represented by LFB. See addresses at the end of the Bibliography.
Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff. This book is the most important book of our century if not millennium. It is a complete presentation of the Objectivist philosophy. It starts by discussing reality and concludes with the purpose of art. No other writer has so clearly and so rationally presented a complete philosophical system as Professor Peikoff. Nothing else comes close. If there is to be a second renaissance, Leonard Peikoff is its father. 2RB, LFB
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. If Leonard Peikoff is the father or Aristotle of the second renaissance, then Ayn Rand is its Michelangelo. This book is the literature of the second renaissance. Once you have read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, this book will give you this whole philosophy as one concrete. This is the most important, most philosophical, most rational and most thrilling novel you will have ever read. 2RB, LFB and all major bookstores.
The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff. If you are interested in Hitler's rise to power and Nazism, then this book is a must. No other book on the subject has penetrated the Nazi phenomenon to its ultimate source like Professor Peikoff's. But it is much more than just a detailed study of Nazism, it is an unparalleled study in philosophy applied to history. 2RB, LFB
The Ditko Collection by Steve Ditko. The comics coupled with Objectivist philosophy. Art, plot, story, and uncompromising heros; currently out of print but well worth the effort and expense of locating old copies. An unparalleled accomplishment in the field of comics.
The Government Against the Economy by George Reisman. Partly a polemic against price controls and regulation of the oil industry, this book also eloquently presents the case for capitalism. If you want to intelligently discuss economics this book is a must. If you want to better manage and understand personal investing, this book will give you the foundations in economics to succeed. 2RB, LFB
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. The clearest, most enjoyable book on economics. This book, like The Government Against the Economy, is must reading for anyone wanting to preserve and expand their nest egg. 2RB, LFB
A Time for Truth by William E. Simon. A detailed warning from former Secretary of the Treasury, William E. Simon. An insiders view of the rampant irrationalism in government.
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought. A collection of Ayn Rand's essays on objectivism. Includes additional essays by Leonard Peikoff and Peter Schwartz. Topics ranging from the Apollo 11 moon shot to socialist medicine. Includes an excellent commentary on the Vietnam conflict: "The Lessons of Vietnam." 2RB, LFB
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand. Expanded Second Edition edited by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. If the first four chapters in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand catch your interest this book is the next step. The second edition is worth the price of admission solely for Leonard Peikoff's essay The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. 2RB, LFB
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand. Essays covering topics ranging from "The Property Status of Airwaves" and "Antitrust" to "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government." 2RB, LFB
The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand. If you accept reality and reason, but have a hard time abandoning your long held ethics of altruism, this is the book you must read. Second only to her theory of concepts, I believe the development of an ethics of rational self-interest is Ayn Rand's greatest philosophical accomplishment. 2RB, LFB
The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution by Ayn Rand. If you want to thoroughly understand the mentality of the Gun Controller, there isn't a better place to start than here. 2RB, LFB
Textbook of Americanism (booklet) by Ayn Rand. The most concise presentation of the basic opposition between collectivism and individualism. This booklet is must reading for all gun rights activists. 2RB
The Art of Reasoning by David Kelley. An excellent college-level textbook on concepts and logic. This book can help you be consistent and help you uncover the fallacies offered up by others. LFB
The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority by Rose Wilder Lane. This book is an elegant review of the history of freedom, an opportunity to place the struggle for the right to arms within the appropriate long range context. LFB
Trashing The Planet by Dixy Lee Ray. The book that exposes much of the irrationalism and deceptions practiced by the environmental movement. She covers the "greenhouse effect," acid rain, alar, asbestos, nuclear power and much more. 2RB, LFB
The Toxicity of Environmentalism (a booklet) by George Reisman. An extended essay on the man hating nature of environmentalism. 2RB
Foreign Policy and the Morality of Self-interest (a booklet) by Peter Schwartz. A powerful essay showing that a rational foreign policy requires a foreign policy pursuing America's own interest. 2RB
Does Government Protection Protect? (booklet) by Robert LeFevre. An essay showing how self-protection is the most efficacious kind of protection. Contact Freeland Press, Box 26044, Santa Ana, CA 92799
Human Action by Ludwig von Mises. This is the most comprehensive treatise on free market economics. If you are involved in "high-stakes" investing, this knowledge is a must. It is a long and sometimes difficult book, but most people will find it worthwhile. 2RB, LFB, FEE
The Great Deceit published by the Veritas Foundation. Though this book is difficult no other work outlines the overt scheming of the leaders of the socialist movement like this book. How they took over the educational system, media and entertainment industry. Contact Veritas Foundation, West Sayville, NY
Organized Against Whom?: The Labor Union in America by Dr. Clarence B. Carson. This book covers one of the philosophical enemies of the right to arms: unions. If you think unionism can be joined with the right to arms, I recommend that you review this book. FEE
Less Than Words Can Say by Richard Mitchell. I have learned much and will learn much more about writing from Richard Mitchell. If you want to write with clarity, consistency, and purpose; this book is the best introduction to the written word, get it. More importantly, it shows the importance of understanding language if you want to avoid irrationalism. 2RB
That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right by Stephen P. Halbrook. A comprehensive, scholarly examination of the context of the Second Amendment. The best work for establishing the intentions of our founding fathers. This book should be in the library of every gun owner.
Firearms and Violence edited by Don B. Kates, Jr. This collection of studies provides the empirical ammunition in support of the right to arms. Though many of the authors adopt a utilitarian approach to validating the right to arms, those who defend the right to arms from principle will find lots of useful numbers, statistics and information here.
The Rights of Gun Owners by Alan M. Gottlieb. A good compilation of all the relevant state and federal legislation concerning firearms. Also covers the dangerous invasions perpetrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).
The Gun Control Debate edited by Lee Nisbet. A collection of essays from both sides of the battle. Useful not only in studying the irrationality of Gun Controllers, but even the irrationality of many Gun Rights defenders. Highly recommended.
Armed and Female by Paxton Quigley. A good introduction to firearms for self-defense. Written by a one time self-professed anti-gunner.
Dial 911 and Die. (a paper) The government is not responsible for protecting us as individuals. Video is also available, but not nearly as good, nor consistent, as the printed report. Published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 2872 So. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207.
Survival Guns by Mel Tappan. This book doesn't really touch on the right to arms issue, but it is an excellent introduction to the many different types of firearms and their uses.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. The "Second Hander" presented in literature. You will find many characters that capture the essence of those leading the Gun Control movement in this novel. Don't pass this one by. There is also a movie version featuring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. 2RB, LFB
We The Living by Ayn Rand. A novel showing the impact of collectivism on the "soul" of man. An Italian movie version with English subtitles is available. 2RB, LFB
Why Johnny Can't: Run Swim, Pull, Dig, Slither, Etc. by Jason Alexander. A rational fairytale done in the man glorifying style of the great romanticists. A fine piece of literature demonstrating the difference between man's means of survival versus that of the animals. Available from Sitnalta Press, 1881 Sutter Street, #103, San Francisco, CA 94115.
Tom Paine Maru by L. Neil Smith. This book is just one of many radically pro-gun science fiction novels done by L. Neil Smith. If you love science fiction and value your guns, this is one writer you will thoroughly enjoy. Also be sure to check out his "Lever Action" collection of essays available on some electronic bulletin boards.
The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman. Upon accepting the 1984 Prometheus Award, J. Neil Schulman said: "I wrote The Rainbow Cadenza to destroy an idea by reducing it to absurdity. The idea is: the rights of the individual should be sacrificed when the greatest good for the greatest number demands it. This idea is the justification for every violation of human rights on this planet today." That quote is justification enough to recommend this book. LFB
The Jehovah Contract by Victor Koman. A droll blend of science fiction, detective potboiler, and atheistic mysticism. When you need a hilarious break, pick up a copy of this book. Very fun!
Solomon's Knife by Victor Koman. A thrilling, but serious look at the abortion issue. Very good.
Country of the Heart by Kay Nolte Smith. An astounding study of the psychological effect of collectivism. This book and her many others are highly recommended. LFB
Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A real page turning global disaster novel. What would be needed to reestablish civilization?
The Freeman by Jerry Ahern and Sharon Ahern. Fiction that borders on prophecy. How will the American's regain their freedoms, including the right to bear arms. A study of the role firearms will play in that revolution.
Red Planet and the many other books by Robert Heinlein. Few other writers can spin a tale and at the same time blend in real philosophical issues as well as the "father of modern science fiction."
Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo. One of Ayn Rand's favorites, I had some difficulty getting around the french names and occasional french phrases, but in spite of this no other novel has left me so emotionally spent as this one. I highly recommend working through the difficult parts, it really is worth the effort. I suspect that if you are familiar with the french language and the history of France, you will find this book particularly enjoyable. 2RB
The Philosophic Basis of Capitalism and The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff. Most Objectivist speakers achieve a level of excellence because of the rational nature of objectivism. Professor Peikoff not only presents his topics clearly and with rigorous rationality, but he does it with the flourish available only to one who knows his subject completely.
The first tape does for the politics of capitalism what I want this book to do for firearms: it gives capitalism the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical foundation that a political system requires. This tape, that is addressed to a largely conservative audience, zeroes in on many of the basic issues that concern gun owners, too. This is one lecture tape you will want to frequently replay, be sure to get Philosophy of Capitalism--Q&A, too.
The second tape, The Ominous Parallels, illustrates, via the history of Nazi Germany, that philosophy is the force that moves the world. This tape is a lecture summary of the thesis of his book, The Ominous Parallels. Get either the book or the tape, and I guarantee that you will soon want the other. 2RB
The Philosophy of Education by Leonard Peikoff. If you are a teacher, a parent or want to present your ideas clearly and logically; this series of tapes will prove indispensable. 2RB
Capitalism vs. "Democratic Socialism": A Debate. Harry Binswanger and John Ridpath, Objectivist philosophers, defend capitalism against Jim Chapin and Jack Clark, American Socialist. The Objectivist make the case for capitalism and for philosophy in general while smashing the assertions of the socialists. Highly recommended. Also available in video. 2RB
Religion versus Man by John Ridpath. A thorough study of both eastern and western religions. If you still believe that religion and the right to arms can be reconciled, this is the lecture that needs your immediate attention. 2RB
The Objectivist Virtue of Selfishness by Peter Schwartz. Why altruism is the ethics destroying man and how only an ethics of rational self-interest can save mankind. 2RB
The Great Depression by Hans F. Sennholz. This lecture, by one of the leading free market economists, shatters the many myths about the causes of the Great Depression. Also available in video. FEE
The Assault on Capital by Robert G. Anderson. The philosophy of gun control is at the basis of a massive assault on wealth. The envy and search for "security" ideology is not only after our arms, but our happiness, too. FEE
The Assault on Semi-Automatic Firearms. An excellent video about the role of the semi-automatic "assault" rifle in a free society. Available from Gun Owners of America
Eternal Vigilance, Charlton Heston's address at the National Rifle Associations 118th Annual Members' Banquet. An eloquent presentation of the conservative position on the right to arms. Available from the National Rifle Association.
Doctor Zhivago. The kind of movie that is not possible in today's cultural atmosphere. Set during the Russian revolution, this epic movie captures the "sense of life" of collectivism.
We The Living. The movie based upon Ayn Rand's novel. The history of the movie itself is quite a drama--get a copy of the August 17, 1988 issue of The Intellectual Activist for the background. This film passionately portrays the results of the idea that one's moral duty is to live for others, the collective, or the state; not just the "physical starvation," but its destruction of man's soul. If your video store doesn't have this movie, buy it. It is fully worth the price of admission. 2RB, LFB
Cyrano de Bergerac. The movie based upon the play by Edmond Rostand. The story of the proud, heroic swordsman who is an outspoken opponent of "second handedness." An outspoken poet who CAN be outspoken because he is such a skilled swordsman.
Cinema Paradiso. An Italian film that came with the highest recommendation by the editor of The Neo-Tech Report. This movie is unrelated to the topic of firearms, but it would be a crime if I were to neglect an opportunity to plug this movie--"The Best Film of This Century."
The Intellectual Activist: An Objectivist Review. Features articles by Peter Schwartz, Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger and many other leading Objectivist thinkers. These writers, by applying Objectivist principles, bring a level of analysis to any political issue that you will not find in the mass media. If I had to choose only one periodical out of all the newspapers, magazines and newsletters; this is the one I'd select. Published by TIA Publications, Inc., PO Box 262, Lincroft, NJ 07738-0262
The Underground Grammarian. While many newsletters require no more attention than eating a Twinkie, this publication is the equivalent of a gourmet croissant. When this newsletter arrives it gets set aside until I can devote complete attention to it and nothing else. This is such rich and yet sometimes subtle reading that you should not just try to squeeze it in on the subway, The Underground Grammarian requires a focused mind. If you like Richard Mitchell's Less Than Words Can Say, you will want his newsletter, too. This is writing at its best, both in content and in style. A real treat.
Your Children's Future. If you have children this newsletter is an absolute must. Even if you don't have children, I highly recommend Your Children's Future. YCF is really made up of three newsletters: one emphasizing the important dates in history for family celebrations, another written for children, and the main letter for the "parent." Published by George and Elizabeth Stoll who operated a private school for many years on two large sailing ships. If it means that you have to eat plain millet for a month, get a subscription to YCF. Anything less and you are surrendering your children, and probably yourself, to today's mediocrity. 4R's Academic Method, Inc., P.O. Box 5809, Sarasota, FL 33579.
The Neo Tech Report. Neo-Tech Publishing Company, 850 South Boulder Highway, Henderson, NV 89015-7564.
The FIJActivist. Published by FIJA an organization dedicated to informing juries of their right to judge not only the evidence, but the law itself. FIJA is the Fully Informed Jury Amendment aimed at requiring juries to be informed of the right to nullify bad laws. FIJA is an ally in nullifying the draconian gun control laws in many cities. FIJA National, P.O. Box 59, Helmville, MT 59843-9989.
The Freeman. A monthly magazine chock full of free market articles produced by one of the oldest and most respected free market organizations, The Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, NY 10533
The Free Market. A monthly newsletter with articles on many topics from a capitalist perspective by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, AL 36849-5301.
Reason. A monthly magazine covering topics from a libertarian perspective. Reason, 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034.
Freedom Daily. A Day-Timer-styled pocket calendar featuring a freedom quote for each day along with two or more essays. Published by The Future of Freedom Foundation, P.O. Box 9752, Denver, CO 80209.
Conservative Chronicle. A weekly tabloid featuring the columns of most of America's leading syndicated conservative columnists and cartoonists. Conservative Chronicle, Box 11297, Des Moines, IA 50340-1297.
The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism. Seeks to get Objectivism into the colleges and universities. Sponsors student clubs, essay contest and research fellowships. Offers lectures, seminars, and teaching aids. This is the most important organization in our battle to preserve the right to arms. The Ayn Rand Institute is the organization seeking to create the philosophical calvary that will reverse the trend toward statism; this organization is laying the philosophical groundwork necessary for a successful renaissance early in the 21st century. The Ayn Rand Institute, 4640 Admiralty Way, Suite 715., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292.
Institute for Objectivist Studies. Established by David Kelley to do research and education in the philosophy of Objectivism. Offers seminars and publishes a journal. Institute for Objectivist Studies, Box 143, Verbank, NY 12585.
The Gun Owners. The most principled of the Gun Rights advocacy press. Published by Gun Owners of America, Inc., Suite 102, 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151.
Point Blank. Published by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, 12500 N.E. Tenth Place, Bellevue, WA 98005.
APRA News. Excellent commentary from a Conservative Christian perpsective. Published by The American Pistol and Rifle Association, Box USA, Benton, TN 37307.
Maccabbee. Published by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, 2872 So. Wentworth Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207.
The New Gun Week. Excellent gun issue news writting and commentary. Published by the Second Amendment Foundation, P.O. Box 488, Station C, Buffalo, NY 14209.
Women and Guns. An elegant magazine with a skilled editorial staff_For all individuals, not just women. This magazine dedicates much of its space to women in the shooting sports and helping women become comfortable with firearms, but when it directs its editorial strength on the right to arms issues, it is philosophically the best gun magazine. Their writers take the basic philosophical issues seriously. It has been said that in mankind's infancy the men went out on the hunt to ward off starvation short term, while women, with the luxury to think long-term, created agriculture. If this magazine is any indication, it may be women, who once again think long-term, giving the right to arms its full philosophical defense; while men, working on the range of the moment, lobby Washington to stave off immediate disaster. Published by the Second Amendment Foundation, P.O. Box 488, Station C, Buffalo, NY 14209.
American Rifleman. One of the two monthly magazines the NRA publishes (the other, American Hunter, being oriented to sportsman's issues). National Rifle Association, 1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.
Electronic Bulletin Boards are information services available via a computer and modem. A modem dramatically extends the range of a computer system's usefulness by allowing you to download files and programs. To learn about this technology get Alfred Glossbrenner's The Complete Handbook of Personal Computer Communications. A list of pro-gun BBS's follows:
Note: This document was written quite a while ago, and as such, many of the following BBS's may no longer be in operation. You may want to place a voice call to any number listed below to check for a modem tone before attempting to connect to it with your computer. -[email@example.com 4.8.97]
Combat Arms. Sysop Richard Bash. A good source of both pro-gun and anti-gun editorials. Hundreds of articles on the right to arms along with articles concerning technical aspects of firearms. A good starting point for researchers. BBS line (510)537-1777.
Bullet'n Board. BBS line (703)971-4491
Firearms Education Institute (FEI). Sysop Mike Loving. Lots of original articles on the right to arms. BBS line (213)546-3032
Paul Revere BBS. Sysop Leroy Pyle. BBS line (408)947-7800
Softserv. Sysop J. Neil Schulman. Primarily a BBS devoted to marketing novels via computer modem. Features an area dedicated to firearms issues. Aggressively Defends the right to arms from a libertarian tradition. BBS line (213)827-3160Other BBS's that are pro gun: Booksellers The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., Irvington-on-Hudson, NY 10533. Phone (914) 591-7230. Laissez Faire Books, 942 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone (800) 326-0996. Second Renaissance Books, 110 Copperwood Way/P.O. Box 4625, Oceanside, CA 92052. Phone (800) 729-6149. The Objectivist bookseller. Their book catalog is essential.
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