Tag Archive | The Power Gap

People Sometimes Do Bad Things

No one (least of all libertarians) wants mass shootings to happen. In fact, libertarians are among the loudest of the people who speak out and condemn violence, whether it’s orchestrated by random lunatics, police officers, or soldiers within the military. The libertarian position has decades of consistency and history that reveals itself to be loudly and explicitly pro-defense and anti-aggression. The means by which a person commits aggression, and the means by which a person exercises their right to self-defense, are not terribly important, as long as the Defender has weapons equal or greater to the weapons held by the attacker.

One day, that attacker will be the United States Government, and the more we allow them to disarm us, the sooner that day will come. When the Germans surrendered their weapons to the Nazi Regime, they did not expect that their government would ever turn so viciously against them, and this has been the case repeatedly throughout history: very shortly after a population has been disarmed, the illusion of government benevolence is wiped away, revealing a nightmarish, brutish totalitarian thug underneath.

In an era when Nazis are marching, when leftists ransack businesses, when the police murder more than a thousand people every year, it is lunacy to surrender our guns. Don’t the people who suggest this say that Trump is a fascist? Why in the name of all that is good would anyone surrender their means of defense to a fascist regime? It’s certainly true that a shotgun or 9mm pistol is not going to do a lot of good against the true might of the military, once it comes to that, but one stands a much better chance with even a 9mm than one does with a baseball bat. Just because you’re unlikely to defeat Mike Tyson if you step into a ring with him is no reason to have your hands cut off.

I wrote The Power Gap about exactly this reality–when push comes to shove, it’s true: we won’t have much chance against the military. They’ve already effectively gutted our defensive capabilities, and we let them do it in full violation of the Constitution. The Second Amendment protects your right to own claymore mines, drones, cluster bombs, and, yes, even nuclear weapons; it makes absolutely no distinction between one type of weapon and another type of weapon. Further, contrary to popular belief, there was a range of weapon power back then–if the founders had intended We the People to own guns of lesser power than those held by the government, that could have been achieved even in 1787. They didn’t ban cannons from the public, which had already existed for centuries, though, because they never intended the government to possess weapons that the people didn’t. To do so would defeat the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.

Imagine if, today, We the People were still under British rule and sought our independence. Would our shotguns, AR-15s, and revolvers do much good against the awesome power of the UK’s military? No. Our rebellion would be crushed, decimated within minutes as jets we couldn’t even see soared high overhead and dropped bombs on the location of our forces. Whisper, Signal, Wire, the Onion network, cryptocurrencies–even these are not yet enough to allow us to successfully circumvent their awesome technological might, not if push came to shove, because these technologies rely upon satellites that they could (and would) blast from the sky, or simply shut down. EMPs would wipe out our laptops and other communication equipment while we resorted to primitivism and what would be recognized as “terrorism” by most people, because those would be the only tactics left available against such a juggernaut. And we would ultimately be unable to do much damage to the behemoth, just as Al-Queda, ISIS, Boko Harram, and other terrorist groups have been unable to do much damage to American military power.

I’ll even cede, at this point, to let the American government regulate who can and can’t acquire things like fighter jets, nuclear weapons, cluster bombs, and the like–but to have them banned entirely makes us infants before Mike Tyson. But none of this is my point, not really. I’m just explaining my position, and the importance of having weapons capable of truly defending ourselves against the government. Our entire nation was founded by people who did exactly that. And now you want to throw away our ability to do so?

No One Wants Mass Shootings

The question isn’t, “What should we ban?” Anyone who thinks that is the question is being disingenuous. The question is “How can we stop mass shootings?” The answer is difficult to hear, but it’s one that people have to face:

You can’t.

Today, four people in China killed 29 people and injured 130. They didn’t use guns to do this. They used knives. Could it have been worse, if those four people have had guns? Certainly. But you know what else? This little incident wouldn’t have happened if the citizens of China had owned their own military-grade weapons:

It’s simply a part of the human condition. Sometimes, people do bad things. There’s never a way to know beforehand that an otherwise ordinary person is about to do something horrific and evil. Even though I’ve warned extensively about the dangers of data mining and putting every bit of information about ourselves out there into the open, because this can lead to terrifyingly accurate predictions, no predictive algorithm will ever be 100% accurate. We’re already at a point where algorithms can predict whether a person will turn out to be gay, or whether they are on drugs, and they do this with accuracy better than human intuition, but they’ll never be accurate enough. Chasing after the red herring of preventing some Ordinary Joe from losing his mind one day with 100% success will result in each and every single one of us being watched, monitored, probed, and explored by the government at all times. What you’re asking for is, and I hate to pull up the cliche, Orwellian.

Because that’s what it takes to identify which of the 60,000,000 Americans who own a gun is about to lose their mind and shoot someone–and to be sure that everyone who has a gun is registered with the government. Because…

Gun Control Requires Closed Borders

It’s not just people coming across our borders, and that’s a fact. Drugs and guns also come across our borders. If you want to control guns in the United States, the only way to do this is by ensuring that each and every gun in the nation is registered with the government, and this means preventing any new guns from coming across our borders. This is why the UK has been more successful with gun control than other nations–they’re reasonably isolated, with water on all sides. The only way to get in is through an airplane or a ship, and both of those will involve metal detectors at some point. This isn’t the case in the United States–we have lengthy borders to the north and south, and there are many ways into countries on the other side of those borders without passing through such screening processes. To control guns in the United States, you must both control the borders absolutely (again, a red herring) to ensure that no guns get across, and you must have a reasonably tough, watchful eyes on all countries in North and South America.

How effective is this? Not very. We can’t even keep guns and drugs out of our tightly controlled prisons, which are much smaller and much more contained than “the entire country.” But the prison system is the only one even theoretically capable of achieving this task, so we must turn the entire country into a prison to achieve gun control. Once this is done, you might be more successful at keeping guns out, but you won’t be successful enough to justify having imprisoned yourself and everyone in the country.

3D Printing

And even if you manage to do all of that, you have to carefully monitor anyone who is even capable of making a gun. My grandfather has made guns. Even if someone lacks that level of expertise, in modern times all they need is a 3D Printer, some aluminum, and the blueprints. This, while expensive, allows them to create their own totally untraceable gun. How do you aim to stop that? By banning 3D printers? In a world that has P2P networks and the Onion network, it’s not possible to round up and eliminate every copy of the plans to “print” a gun.

In purely logistic terms, the idea of gun control is ludicrous and impossible. It can’t be done. It’s not government regulations that are keeping nuclear weapons out of citizens’ hands–it’s how damned expensive they are. Even so, there are rumors that there are, in fact, nuclear weapons loose within the borders of the United States. We know that the U.S. government has lost some nuclear weapons. Yes, lost. As in, misplaced. Or, far more likely, sold to Pakistan or stolen.

Back to the Question

If gun control isn’t the answer, then what is? Well, as I said, there really isn’t one. People sometimes do bad things, and if they don’t have a gun, they’ll use a knife. The 9/11 hijackers, after all, did not have guns. They had airliners that they improvised into weapons by smashing them into buildings. Even Paddock had improvised explosives that he intended to use. Several people in recent years have used automobiles as the means of mass murder–are we going to ban automobiles because some lunatics notice that they can be used to murder people?

No. That’s insanity. That some lunatic used their vehicle to drive through a crowd and murder people doesn’t in any way suggest that vehicles are the problem. There’s a much larger problem, and one that we would be ignoring if we attempted to ban automobiles: humans sometimes do bad things.

The Power Gap

In the world of intellectual property, I no longer own this essay–even though I wrote it. When I submitted it to the editor who compiled V2: The Voluntary Voice, I asked about using it, and he stated that he considered them donations. That’s fine, and all, but there was never a Volume 2, and I’ve now sent three emails to [the editor in question] about getting permission to use this essay, and none of them have received a reply. Given that, and given that I reject Intellectual Property anyway, I’m going to post it here in full. If you like the essay, you can buy it from Amazon as paperback or eBook as “V2: The Voluntary Voice.” It contains works from several other anarchists and voluntaryists, so it’s worth purchasing if that sort of thing appeals to you. However, seeing so much talk about revolution against Trump makes this essay more important than it was when I wrote it, and I don’t want to just retread the same ground and basically write the essay again. I am making some changes throughout; the changes will be placed in brackets.

Lol. My years of experience as an editor with Cubed3 are making it hard to keep changes minimal.

The Power Gap

The Second Amendment is a strange part of the Bill of Rights, [primarily because its antiquated wording leaves modern readers confused about its literal meaning,] and there are numerous ways in which it can be interpreted. Strictly speaking, the Second Amendment reads as: “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 most obvious problem with interpreting this amendment as protecting the right of individual citizens to have guns is the part about the “well-regulated militia.” It is hard to argue with the interpretation that the Second Amendment ensures that militias have the right to own guns, but that the right resides in the militia, not the individuals [which comprise the militia]. Many go further and state that the Second Amendment protects government-sponsored militias such as the National Guard, but this argument is nonsensical, [basically saying]: The Armed Forces of the Government have the right to own guns and to protect the Free People from the Armed Forces of the Government.

In truth, the Second Amendment’s main purpose is to protect the People from the Armed Forces of the Government. In theory, the Second Amendment allows for the creation of local militias [that] are to be regulated by the Government but not owned and operated by the Government. The Constitution places a clear distinction between the Government’s Army and the People’s Army while acquiescing that the Government has the right to regulate—but not control—the People’s Army.

This is what the Second Amendment protects: our right to form an armed militia to protect ourselves from the armed forces of the Federal Government.

Arms regulation is all over the news these days, and the [Obama Administration] has recently said that the regulation of guns is going to be a hot topic for them in coming months. This isn’t surprising; it has never been a secret that the [Obama Administration] wants more regulation of guns. This issue [consists largely of two opposed sides].

The first side is the Pro-Regulation crowd. Their arguments are wide and varied, ranging from the belief that there is no reason an ordinary citizen would need an assault rifle to [the] less ambitious argument that large-capacity clips are unnecessary. The second side is the Pro-Gun crowd, and [it saddens me to observe] that the majority of pro-gun arguments revolve around the question of hunting.

I want to make something very clear. At the time the Second Amendment was written, people lived in homes that they built themselves. [We] had just fought for our liberty against Imperial Britain, and we were starting to seriously antagonize the Native Americans, a hostility [that] only increased. [When the Second Amendment was conceived], families were largely self-sufficient: they grew their own food, built their own homes, and they hunted their own food.

In the late 18th century, there was no Central Heating. There were no refrigerators, no freezers, [few]* preservatives, and no Wal-Mart. In the late 18th century, when winter struck, families had to survive the cold months by eating food they had preserved, and by hunting. Without the ability to hunt during these winter months, families would have starved en masse. The idea that the Government would try to take away the guns from individual citizens was, to be frank, beyond the wildest dreams of even the most imaginative Founding Father. Guns were necessary to life in those days. [Nearly] every free man in the entire country owned at least one gun. Guns were simply a part of life in the late 18th century, and not Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, nor Thomas Paine, could ever have imagined a time in which the right of Individuals to own guns would come into question. This is why there is no amendment in the Bill of Rights that protects the right of Individuals to own guns.

The idea that the Government would one day attempt to confiscate or restrict gun ownership was beyond the Founding Fathers. There were no assault weapons, there were no tanks, there were no bombers, UAVs, or anything else. There were rifles, cannons, shotguns, and pistols, and there really wasn’t a lot of variation with these weapons within their categories until much later during the Civil War. In the late 18th century, though, a technological gap between the weapons used by the armies of the Government and the weapons used by individuals for hunting was non-existent. Generally speaking, the same gun a man used for hunting would have been the same gun he used to fight the British[**].

Technology progressed, though, and we invented refrigerators, central heating, and preservatives, and we invented a lot of new kinds of weapons. Pistols became secondary weapons, if they were used at all, in the military, while the public at large still found great value in pistols. At this point, the gap in technology came into existence. At this point, the gap in power came into existence.

Cannons evolved into tanks, and tanks were so expensive that the average person could never afford one. The Government had bombers, fighter jets, cargo planes, land mines, and all sorts of other weapons that were simply too expensive to be owned by the average person. Whether or not an average citizen had any business owning a fighter jet or land mine isn’t the question, because the Constitution makes no distinction between powerful weapons and less-powerful weapons. The Constitution does not say that the Federal Government can have nuclear weapons, but the People can’t have them*^.

Our human desire to kill each other has created a very dangerous world. The Founding Fathers could not have fathomed the nuclear weapon; they could not have fathomed a weapon that could, in seconds, annihilate 30 square miles of human beings. They could not fathom that the Military Industrial Complex would one day eat hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars every year in an attempt to make bigger, better, and more efficient weapons of mass destruction. The Founding Fathers could not fathom that the gap between “Weapons owned by Individuals” and “Weapons owned by the Government” could ever become so great.

The gap did become enormous, though. The Federal Government now has hundreds of versions of the most destructive weapon ever invented by humans. The Federal Government conducts research into biological and chemical weapons [that] would devastate entire populations. The Federal Government has satellites and supercomputers that can crack into every email, text-message, and phone call across the entire world and unlock its contents, and thanks to George W. Bush, a warrant is no longer required for the Federal Government to do so.^^

We have come to a point where the Federal Government could literally wipe out every single American citizen in mere minutes. If an American version of Adolph Hitler rose to power in the modern United States, there would not be a thing the citizens of the United States could do to stop him. If President Obama decided to declare himself “President for life” and started abolishing what is left of the tattered and torn Bill of Rights, and had the support of the U.S. military, then there wouldn’t be a thing that We the People could do about it.

It may be unlikely that President Obama would declare himself “President for life.” It may unlikely that the next President, whoever he or she will be, would declare himself or herself “President for life.” I wouldn’t dare to even attempt to predict when this would happen or who would do it, but a precise prediction isn’t necessary.

Friedrich Hayek explained in detail in his book, “The Road to Serfdom,” that it was not some quirky character defect of the German People that allowed them to follow Hitler. The same is true for those people who followed Stalin, Mao, Caesar, and Napoleon. It was not a character defect of the American People that allowed them to firmly stand behind George Bush as he invaded not one but two sovereign nations and the results of our invasions—the mass slaughter of men, women, and children—were flashed all over non-American news networks.

Most importantly, though, is that it was not a fundamental flaw in the morality of the German People that allowed them to elect Hitler and follow him even as he became a dictator. The morality of a nation’s people really has nothing, as Hayek explained, [to do] with the rise of a dictator. There are other factors that lead to central planning and dictatorship, and over and over throughout human history, every nation that has fallen to a dictator has shown these warning signs beforehand.

These warning signs are rampant in the United States today [emphasis added]. Hayek’s deepest fear was that Great Britain and the United States were on the fast track to despotism themselves. Nearly 70 years have since passed, and those original signs are still present. Those original signs are also accompanied by several new signs, several clearer signs, and now, as all the conditions appear ripe for the rise of an American dictator, the Federal Government is pushing the idea of Gun Control.

It’s not a question of “who” will be the dictator to rise, and it’s not a question of “if” a dictator will rise. It’s a question of “when.” History is clear. History does not lie. Worse yet, History has an annoying and lamentable tendency to repeat itself. Life in the modern United States is virtually indistinguishable from life in Nazi Germany just before the outbreak of World War 2 and the beginning of the Holocaust. I’m in no way saying that this will happen in the next few years; I’m saying that it will happen.

No one knows when an American Dictator will rise to power by promising us a Utopia created by the “wonderful” central planning of the leviathan in Washington. One thing, however, is certain. In ancient Rome, the Romans never suspected that Caesar would become a dictator and crucify the Republic. The ancient Romans would have said, “That will never happen to us—we have laws in place to prevent just that.” Similarly, the Germans would have insisted, “That will never happen to us—we have laws in place to prevent just that. We’re a peaceful, Liberty-loving people! We’d never allow that to happen!” The Russians undoubtedly said the same before Stalin; the Italians undoubtedly said the same before Mussolini; the Chinese undoubtedly said the same before Mao.

We are in a worse position than any of these other nations that have fallen to a despotic totalitarianism, [because] we could not fight against our Government if our Government attempted policies similar to what the Nazis pursued. We could not fight against our Government if our Government, like Stalin did with Russian Christian farmers, decided to start rounding up and slaughtering us for any amount of dissent. This is the problem with gun control.

It is absolutely certain that we will one day face an American Hitler/Caesar/Stalin. History has shown time and time again that laws will not prevent the rise of a despotic dictator. History has shown time and time again that the “goodness” of a People will not prevent the rise of a despotic dictator. History has shown time and time again that the good intentions of a People, when combined with their fear and belief that they need more security, will produce a despotic dictator. Whether we look at Obamacare, the Patriot Act, the FEMA Act, the NDAA, welfare programs, or somewhere else, we clearly find two things in the United States today.

First, we find that there is a clear and overwhelming desire by the American People to have the Federal Government do benevolent things. This is how we got the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare)—the People desired the Federal Government to step into the health care field and benevolently ensure that each American has “the right” to health care. Many Americans are now afraid of the potential disasters that can be created by automatic weapons and large-capacity clips and are asking the Federal Government to step in and benevolently restrict or outlaw the ownership of these things.

Secondly, we find that there is a predominant fear across the United States [that has fluctuated some but remains a factor] since the 9/11 attacks. The [attack on our Libyan Embassy] caused indignation and anger, but not fear. Fear is still present, though, as the recent renewal of the Patriot Act clearly shows—the main argument presented in Congress in support of renewing the Patriot Act was that the “terrorists are still out there.” The recent shootings are causing fear such that Americans are now ready to surrender the ability to own automatic weapons.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If that’s the case, then the road to Totalitarianism is paved with fear. We have surrendered a lot of our Liberty since September 11, 2001 so that the Federal Government could “better protect us” from the terrorists, and once we surrendered one Liberty, we jumped onto a spiral that will only end when every Liberty is taken from us.

The Constitution was the line in the sand between our Liberties and the Government’s Power. When we allowed the Patriot Act to demolish the Fourth Amendment, this line in the sand was erased and moved closer to Tyranny and further from Liberty. We have set the precedent and the Government knows it. The Federal Government knows now that when we are afraid, we are more than willing to surrender Liberty in exchange to feel safe. It’s now obvious that we’re never going to get the Fourth Amendment back. If the argument last year for renewing the Patriot Act was that “the terrorists are still out there,” then the Patriot Act is going to be in effect until the end of time. The terrorists will always be out there. We will never rid the world of what our Government defines as “terrorism.”

Now we have the NDAA (and numerous other bills), which handed over to the Federal Government the power to arrest, detain, and imprison American Citizens indefinitely without a trial. Since no trial is needed, no cause is needed. If a person never gets a trial, then they will never be found Not Guilty. If a person never gets a trial, then there is no requirement to even have a justifiable reason in arresting a person. It really doesn’t matter whether or not the Federal Government has indefinitely detained any American Citizens, nor does it matter whether they are likely to do this any time soon. The fact is that the Federal Government can arrest you for no reason at all and imprison you for the rest of your life without ever giving you a trial or telling you why you were arrested.

The Federal Government already has this kind of power, and we’re still discussing whether or not an American Hitler is going to rise? It’s abundantly clear. The United States Government is brazenly passing laws which legalize their committing actions which were the reason why we hated Hitler in the first place. The United States Government is doing it in the open, in broad daylight, without any fear of repercussion from the American People—Hitler would have loved nothing more than to do in Germany what the American Government is now giving itself the power to do to us.

The Federal Government, though, has no concern at all that we’re going to do anything about the NDAA or the Patriot Act. The Federal Government gave itself the power to indefinitely detain American Citizens with total impunity because there is already nothing we can do to stop them. There is nothing we could do that would repeal the NDAA. The same power-loving, war-mongering, naïve puppets that passed the NDAA will be the same power-loving, war-mongering, naïve puppets who renew the NDAA, and Public Opinion will make no difference at all. Public Opinion didn’t matter to the Patriot Act’s renewal, after all.

Systematically replacing our Senators and Representatives with honest people of integrity who would vote against and repeal all infringements of our Liberty is an impossible task. Since the only option, without replacing each and every Congressman who is not exclusively Libertarian, left is revolution, the Federal Government is left smoking its cigars and drinking its champagne in celebration of their newly-acquired power.

If events came to a head—if the Federal Government started exercising this power, for example—and a revolution was necessary to avoid the rising American Hitler, then the American People would not stand a chance. The United States Military, which will predominantly support the Federal Government and not a revolution against it, has UAVs, automated and robotic soldiers, tanks, jets, cluster bombs, and all sorts of things that the American People do not have. And if the White House gets its way, the American People will be left with single-shot shotguns and single-shot rifles to defend themselves against the tanks destroying their homes.

I don’t have a solution. The situation is bleak and there is precious little hope that Liberty is going to prevail and that the rise of an American Dictator can be prevented. I couldn’t begin to postulate a way to prevent President Obama, if he decided to, from declaring himself “President for life.” My goal here isn’t to present a solution; my goal here is to present the problem, because Americans seem to be unaware of it.

We are already in a situation which renders us nearly powerless to prevent any President from declaring himself a life-long dictator. We are already in a situation which renders us nearly powerless to defend ourselves against the weapons of the Federal Government. The situation is dire, and the power gap is only going to increase if we remain ignorant of it. We must spread the facts; we must spread the true gravity of the situation in which we’ve found ourselves. We must work toward a solution; we must work toward the restoration of Liberty and the Balance of Power between the Federal Government and the People. Before we can do these things, however, we must understand the problem… and the problem is much more severe than we realize.

* Fact-checking fail. Salt is a preservative and definitely existed then.

** The Kentucky Long Rifle, invented by a greatx17ish grandfather. 😀

*^ I would imagine that it’s this line that caused one of the critics to call me a Constitutionalist, which showed a large misunderstanding of Constitutionalism on the critic’s part. Simply referring to the Constitution in a society where the Constitution is, presumably, the highest law of the land does not qualify someone as a Constitutionalist. I hate the Constitution. But it’s there right now–it literally exists. Any discussion about the state of our rights according to the state will necessarily begin at the Constitution, even if the discussion doesn’t end there.

^^ Predating the Snowden leak by at least 4 years! XD