The Atlanta Declaration
by L. Neil Smith
Atlanta,Georgia, September 1987
Future of Freedom Conference,
Culver City, California November, 1987
Every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual,
civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry,
openly or concealed, any weapon -- rifle, shotgun, handgun,
machinegun, anything -- any time, any place, without asking
Someday to demonstrate that principle -- before I'm lying on my
deathbed in a hospital with green plastic tubes up my nose, before
arthritis sets in and I have to do it on crutches -- I intend to
walk the length of Manhattan Island with a handgun openly on my hip,
unmolested by any freelance or official parasite.
The question is, how do I get there from here?
In the 80s we are witnessing the rise of a New Victorianism (the sort
of mindset which prefers the word "limbs" to "legs") aimed not so much
at human sexuality this time around (although that's happening, too)
as the human capacity for violence.
Victorian times weren't characterized by sexual abstinence. Many
of today's kinkier turn-ons originated in that era of repression,
hypocrisy, sublimation, and guilt. Whenever any basic human function
is repressed, behavioral distortions arise.
The claim today is that weapons are evil, that anyone dumb enough to
try protecting himself will come to a bad end, that violence is always
wrong, that non-violence is always and unquestionably right. Never
was the persecution of a minority more persistent than that of gun
owners, nor more hypocritical. Like any other law, gun control is
enforced at gun point. Those preaching non-violence are lobbying
to license thugs for the purpose of imposing their views on others,
unleashing against innocent people the deadliest weapon ever devised:
Repression never helps. Violence, like sexuality, is a morally
neutral, perfectly natural capacity, linked with the survival of the
species and the individual. A pseudo-morality of non-violence only
serves the interests of established authority and other criminals
by disarming the decent and making them helpless victims of evil.
Charles Manson was a product of this pseudo-morality. So was Jim
Jones. The only way to create a less violent society is to face the
phenomenon honestly and openly, just as courageous thinkers like
Havelock Ellis once did with sex.
History's most revolutionary ideas seldom blow bugles announcing
their arrival. The work of Gregor Mendel, the first geneticist, went
unnoticed for decades. And even otherwise well-educated individuals
have trouble pointing to the time, place, and party responsible for
the invention of the Scientific Method.
Likewise, another intellectual revolution has occurred in recent years
that Dan Rather never told you about: the Non-Aggression Principle, a
product of honest, open, courageous Libertarian thinking about ethics,
states that "no one has the right, under any circumstances,
to initiate force against another human being." This is all
Libertarianism consists of, no more, no less. It's the most important
thought ever generated by the mind of man. Those who act consistently
with it are Libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who
fail to act consistently with it are not Libertarians, regardless of
what they may claim.
Recorded human history and what we can infer from archaeology goes
back some eight thousand years. In all of those eighty centuries, the
one question we see being fought over most bitterly and killed over
most brutally and died over most horribly has always been "who shall
have the power to tell others what to do?" To me, the answer has
always been self-evident. Yet for me, growing up has largely consisted
of becoming convinced that this was just one more way in which I
differed from the people among whom I had to do that growing up.
From Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom, I first learned to
confront an unplesant fact that no child of 20th century America is
encouraged to find out for himself: the universe is a savage place
where every natural force -- and most man-made ones -- are out to
obliterate you. As Robert A. Heinlein pointed out, an unprotected
human being, on the balmiest day of the kindliest season, standing
unprotected in the temperate zone of the planet to which he was
adapted by billions of years of evolution by natural selection,
will die of sunstroke or hypothermia within hours. In addition
to hailstorms, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanos,
meteor-strikes, poison oak, poison ivy, burning oleander leaves, the
odd dire-wolf, cave bear, or saber-toothed timber rattler, Homo
sapiens himself has proved capable of piling up a mountain-range of
corpses to rival the Himalayas. Sixty million people died in World
War II alone.
There never was any Garden of Eden. The legend (and its persistence
is revealing in and of itself) is a transparent attempt to evade a
profound and inescapable truth: that in the midst of a great and
terrifying darkness, any little fuzzy- edged pools of light and warmth
and love and hope that happen to appear in this horror-filled universe
are purely artificial, established where they are, usually at an
unspeakable cost, by the minds and hands of individual human beings.
Until you've absorbed this at the gut level, you'll never understand
the rest of what I'm trying to convey, nor anything important about
your own life or those of your fellow naked apes: in the midst of
a great and terrifying darkness, any little fuzzy-edged pools of
light and warmth and love and hope that happen to appear in this
horror-filled universe are purely artificial, established where
they are, usually at an unspeakable cost, by the minds and hands
of individual human beings.
Enjoying a strong, hot cup of chocolate and cream-laced coffee with
an English professor friend a while back, someone who knows and
understands my work, teaches my books, and has followed my career from
the start, I recently discovered yet another respect in which I differ
from my fellow naked apes. With the preparation of this speech
in mind, I stated the above thesis, which, although soft-pedaled at
the preference of my first publisher, has always constituted the
foundation for my stories. My friend was shocked: this was a grim,
depressing world-view he hadn't discerned before. What surprised me
was that he'd attempt to evaluate it in those terms. He couldn't
challenge its validity; he'd be refuted by any history book, any
newspaper, any TV show about nature and survival. The truth isn't
anything you're entitled to form an opinion about.
My work and outlook are not grim and depressing at all, but
optimistic. No less respected and generous a colleague than F. Paul
Wilson has praised my books for their "positive sense of life", and I
suspect that this is why other people read them, as well. Ayn Rand
was pointing out a much-neglected but encouraging truth when she
insisted that civilization isn't a natural feature of the universe,
something that "just grew". In spite of the multitude of forces
arrayed against them, those fuzzy-edged little pools of light and
warmth and love and hope exist. They're what civilization -- and
life itself -- are all about.
Of course they come in all shapes and sizes, and they're dynamic in
nature, not static. They arise, grow, diminish, and wink out of
existence because -- created as they are for the most part by
unsystematic primitives -- the conditions which must be satisfied to
maintain them often fail to be met over a continuous range of time.
It's pleasant in the center of the pool of light and warmth and love
and hope, enjoying a strong, hot cup of chocolate and cream-laced
coffee with a friend. It's easy to imagine that the center is all
that exists. Americans are brought up to believe it. In their minds,
the world's a giant theme park where they can pretend the edges of the
pool don't exist, and they can safely ignore the dangers lurking out
there. The edges, however, are the places that a rational individual
watches. They're abstract in nature (a common mistake is to believe
that they're geographic), but the entities slithering through the murk
along the borders aren't. That's where bogey-things dwell: hail-
storms, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanos, meteor-strikes,
poison oak, poison ivy, oleander leaves, dire-wolves, cave bears,
saber-toothed rattlers, Huns, Tatars, Vikings, Communists, Nazis,
Klansmen, burglars, muggers, and rapists.
I once heard the head of the Internal Revenue Service claim that taxes
are the price we pay for civilization. In fact, it's the other way
around -- civilization is the price we pay, what we are required to
sacrifice, in order to have taxes -- and this creature of the outer
cold and darkness wouldn't know what civilization is if it walked up
and told him his fly was open. Among the slimiest and most voracious
of the living nightmares at the pool-edge, he nourishes himself on the
light and warmth and love and hope that others have created, steadily
diminishing its circumference and intensity. He's the very reason
that civilizations, having risen, fall. He may not be aware of his
place in the order of things, but I intend to make certain that his
Built right into that age-old question of who shall have the power to
tell others what to do is the more fundamental and disturbing question
of violence. Throughout history people have been offered only two
alternatives. They could become pool-edge denizens themselves --
muggers and IRS agents -- or they could follow the pacifists and
prophets whose advice, after their followers have run out of cheeks to
turn, leaves them stripped naked, used for a humiliating purpose, and
disposed of. Given the choice between becoming an animal or a victim,
any rational individual will start looking for a third alternative.
I did. I began with the Non-Aggression Principle, one of those
simple, seminal concepts, like Evolution by Natural Selection or
Scientific Method, which will echo down the ages. The Non-Aggression
Principle holds that no one has the right, under any circumstances,
to initiate force against another person.
Without claiming that it proves anything, I've always thought it
was a good sign that an individual can arrive at the Non-Aggression
Principle from many different directions and accept it at many
different levels. Some see it as a direct consequence or corollary of
physical law. Others adopt it as a workable idea. Some assert it as
an axiom, an arbitrary starting-point, or a metaphysical irreducible.
Others carefully derive it from a variety of "first principles"
ranging from Christianity to Objectivism. The encouraging thing is
that, on an everyday basis, it doesn't seem to matter. Before I
learned to call myself Libertarian, my orientation was scientific and
science-fictional. I still sift new information through screens of
evolutionary theory, physical anthropology, and the works -- always
taken with a grain of salt, of course -- of thinkers like Louis Leaky,
Robert Ardrey, Desmond Morris, and, yes, Elaine Morgan.
Some of my readers, Easterners, recoil in horror whenever they
discover that I'm a gory-handed murderer of gentle, limpid-eyed Bambi
and Thumper. I believe they could learn important things about
themselves, their species, and the nature of reality, the first time
they found themselves standing over the half-dressed carcass of an
animal their own size, with blood up to their armpits and the cloying
scent of warm viscera in their nostrils. For me, it's crucial to
recognize my natural identity as a killer-ape, not simply to accept
it, but to rejoice in it. The alternatives are to spend your life
trying, like the lion who choked on a head of cabbage in Mark
Twain's Letters from the Earth, to deny nature or, out of a sense of cosmic
embarrassment, to commit seppuku. Recognize it or not, accept it or
not, rejoice in it or not, we are killer-apes.
Given my interests in evolution, anthropology, and hunting, my first
appreciation of the Non-Aggression Principle was as one way that
killer-apes might be able to live together without killing each other;
individuals who agreed on nothing else could exchange values to their
mutual benefit and perhaps even be friends. The Non-Aggression
Principle was the most powerful tool ever forged for creating more and
larger pools of light and warmth and love and hope -- a discriminator
not simply defining, in a categorical and succinct manner, the
circumstances in which violence is wrong, but those in which it's
This was the third alternative I'd been seeking. I purposed to
explore it no matter where it took me, and that's how my first novel, The
Probability Broach got written.
The examination of violence within the context of the Non-Aggression
Principle has occupied most of my professional time and energy
ever since, but it hasn't won me many friends. Setting aside the
predictable reactions of liberals and conservatives, within the
Libertarian movement itself plenty of individuals -- otherwise highly
principled but with certain phobias about accepting the responsibility
for their own physical safety which contradict not just their
political beliefs, but reality itself, haven't much liked the results.
But as Galileo, Darwin, or even Captain Kirk would tell you, personal
integrity requires not letting others influence your search for
something resembling the truth. Those years of inquiry have brought
me to conclusions that I struggled against every step of the way. I
was a limited statist when I began, and often wrote about the wonders
of private security. However like going to the bathroom, breathing,
eating, sleeping, or making love, it turns out that self-defense is a
bodily function one cannot safely or effectively delegate to a second
party. The more I studied the proposition, the sillier it appeared.
Look: the police are like parents. They don't care about justice,
all they want is quiet. They resent anyone disturbing what they
conceive to be the peace, regardless of the reason. Anyone who reads
newspapers or watches television knows that the one offense more
serious than assaulting somebody is defending yourself. Numerous
court cases over a period of time and a variety of jurisdictions have
established that the police have no obligation to defend your life,
liberty, or property. Individuals injured by criminals may not
recover from the government for non-performance, whatever promises
it may have made.
Perhaps that's just as well. According to civil rights attorney Don
B. Kates, writing in the Wall Street Journal of January 10, 1986,
civilians are attacked three times as often as police officers. Yet
civilians are twenty-two percent more likely to succeed in driving off
or wounding their attackers, and only one fifth as likely to injure
or kill the wrong person. Kates, a self-described liberal, validly
concludes that civilians are more capable of maintaining their own
well-being than the police are, and that this capability shouldn't be
interfered with. But he spoils it with a contradictory non-sequitur
to the effect that the capability should be regulated by
government -- rather like suggesting that the American Nazi
Party should regulate the Jewish Defense League.
To me, it seems much less ridiculous to demand for the sake of public
safety that a police officer at the scene of a crime be required
to hand his gun over to the first civilian who happens along. The
power of government agents to carry weapons at all derives from the
individual right of self-defense, and is inferior to it.
Nor should the government be allowed to possess or use any weapon it
forbids to civilians.
The police have no obligation to defend your life, liberty, or
property. Aside from obvious questions raised by the government's
refusal to guarantee services they collected for at gunpoint, there's
more profound consideration: in New York, to name a random location,
the government has no obligation to protect you and at the same time
it forbids you the means to protect yourself. In short, you're
legally required to allow criminals to victimize you. Which
explains why Ed Koch and Robert Morganthau were determined to get
Bernie Goetz at any cost.
Many years ago, in my college psychology classes (which is no
guarantee of anything, of course) I was told that police officers and
career criminals display identical personality profiles. At about the
same time, I heard Paul Harvey cite a study (once again, no guarantee
of anything) demonstrating that Russian plumbers seem to get along
better with American plumbers, despite the Cold War and the language
barrier, than either do with their non-plumbing countrymen.
This makes perfect sense to me. We do tend to identify with those who
earn their living the same way we do. It would make sense even if we
didn't know that whenever a member of the American productive class
stumbles -- often through an innocent act of self-defense -- into a
system of "justice" which is in fact a homely burrow to both parasitic
classes, they wind up being treated worse than the professional
criminals with whom lawyers and judges (who also live on stolen money
and the misfortune of others) naturally identify and sympathize.
Just to name a single example, the doctrine -- which is utterly
without basis in physical or ethical reality -- that there are
"degrees of force", is simply another trap for unwary self-defenders.
Its proponents are responsible for rendering the productive class
helpless against predation. Once physical force has been initiated,
a qualitative barrier has been breached, and there is no going back -- except,
perhaps, as an act of mercy, which, as Ayn Rand pointed out,
is not the same as justice, but, in some respects, its precise opposite.
All of this was borne out beyond the remotest shadow of a doubt when
Koch began screaming for Goetz's hide. Koch, after all, "earns" his
living in exactly the same way Goetz's so-called "victims" did. We
thieves must stick together. How dare Goetz resist and injure the
Mayor's screwdriver-wielding proteges!
Anyone who needs more evidence regarding the intelligence of
relying on government protection should refer to the November,
1986 Voluntaryist, reprinting an article about Amnesty International from
the Wall Street Journal. What convinced me, as a young person,
that the only limited government is an abolished government,
was Operation Keelhaul at the end of World War II, when, under an
agreement made at Yalta, two and a half million Russian refugees were
rounded up all over Europe and sent back in boxcars to Stalin and
certain death -- by the "civilized" government of the United States of
America. The Voluntaryist underlines this by stating that, during
the 20th century, while twenty-two people out of every ten thousand
died as a result of war, three hundred forty-nine -- fifteen times
as many -- died as a result of "other" government activity, meaning
death camps, extermination marches, and artificial famines.
Now, remember that war itself is a government activity, and the grand
average comes to three hundred seventy-one: well over a hundred
million murdered human beings. In the 60s, the Berkeley Free Speech
Movement asserted that the only proper function for government is
cleaning the streets. I'd add that it's a function for which the
venal scum polluting our legislatures and council chambers are
underqualified. Justice is a thin, spotty film floating atop a
cesspool of rule-by-coercion, and government is a greater danger -- fifteen
times greater -- than anything it claims (and then denies) it protects us from.
The sad fact about private security is that it's forced to pay the
very agency it competes with and (partly as a result) mostly hires
minimum-wage employees. More than that, you have to understand the
level of self-interest involved. Self-defense expert Jeff Cooper
argues that bodyguards are subject to bribery and extortion, whereas
you, presumably, are not. It was agreed by all sides of the Vietnam
controversy that ten conventional soldiers must be fielded for every
native guerilla. Robert Ardrey or Desmond Morris, I forget which,
says that an animal defending its own territory is twice as effective
as any aggressor. You're out to save your own life. Your bodyguard's
out to collect a paycheck. The latter is an acceptable motivation,
but it pales by comparison to the former.
But wouldn't chaos result if everyone defended himself? Aren't spouse
murders are the most frequent kind? Isn't there a ninety percent
chance that a gun in the home will be used on a member of the
household rather than an intruder?
Years ago, firearms manufacturer Bill Ruger appeared on television
with a pack of gun-controllers making claims like that. He challenged
them to name their source again and again, but they couldn't. The
show went on. Now and then, Ruger would ask whether they'd remembered
where they'd acquired their "facts" and they'd shy off. Like Carl
Bakal's earlier self-admitted fiction that some eight hundred thousand
Americans had died by gunshot since 1900, they'd made up another lie
in a cause they considered virtuous, with the idea of concluding
grandly that we're all potential murderers who need constant
supervision and control -- only to be caught at it by someone
willing to make a scene.
In this connection, Second Amendment activist Neal Knox reports a
study on the mythical "Wild West" that bears repeating. American
cities of the 19th century East and West were paired by population and
demographics. The macho one-industry whaling town of New Bedford,
Massachussetts, for example, was compared with the macho one-industry
mining town of Leadville, Colorado, both with populations of around
ten thousand people. A decade of records from the height of the
cattle-drive era shows that the only difference between them (and this
was true of other paired cities, as well) was that nearly everyone
in Leadville kept a gun, which was not true in New Bedford, and that
murder and other violent crimes in New Bedford outnumbered those in
Leadville by a hundred to one!
So much for the wild, wild west.
As the National Rifle Association points out on its "Armed Citizen"
page every month, the presence of a gun is enough to deter
aggression seventy-five percent of the time.
Very well, then. If all the facts and logic martial themselves on the
side of individual self-defense, and you know who the enemy is, where
do you look for friends? Forget the American Civil Liberties Union,
whose historic committment to the totality of individual rights is, in
the most charitable interpretation, "flexible". Founded and financed
by socialists, the ACLU says that your life is the property of society,
and that you have no fundamental or inalienable right to remain
unmolested by gun laws or any other expression of the collective need.
Most pro-gun, pro-self-defense groups are politically conservative
and practice typical conservative self-sabotage. They build their
argument on the shifting sands of the politics of the day and social
utility, rather than the rock of moral philosophy. Instead of pursuing
productive strategies, they've been fighting a purely defensive holding
action virtually since Wyatt Earp invented gun control.
Prolonged holding actions are doomed to failure.
Experience teaches us that there are natural Rebels and natural Tories.
The latter defend the Establishment -- whatever it happens to
be -- against the interests of the individual. All other things being
equal, the former make better friends and are the kind of people our
times and circumstances cry out for.
The sad fact is that gun people have never been able to distinguish
very well between their friends and their enemies. They demonstrate a
consistent, disheartening proclivity to fawn over the police and the
military. At least half of their magazine writers are active or
retired enforcers of victimless crime laws identical in structure to
the very legislation that threatens them. They've forgotten that the
Second Amendment was written to intimidate the government.
They have other skeletons in their closet, as well. Teddy Kennedy,
for example, is America's greatest sporting goods salesman. Every
time he opens his dissolute, cretinous mouth to push another gun law,
uncounted thousands of individuals go out and buy a gun for the first
time, just as I did, "before it's too late". Before 1968, I doubt
that there were six million handguns in the whole country. The old
rifle farts who dominated the shooting fraternity in those days
regarded my passion for these "inaccurate toys" as perverse. Now,
that many handguns get sold every year -- thanks to Teddy. If he
really wanted to reduce the number of handguns made and sold, all
he'd have to do is shut up.
He knows it.
Both sides know it.
Nobody ever talks about it.
Too bad, because a fact like that might be used to silence anti-gunners
Even more embarrassing is the average gun enthusiast's ignorance
of the free market system -- as manifested by a recent "patriotic"
flap over the advertising of Chinese guns in the pages of certain
magazines. There's also a strong inclination in the field to try
to limit the market, to disadvantage competition through regulation,
because -- just like automobile manufacturers who appear to believe
that whining about Japan is an adequate substitute for honest goods
at honest prices -- so-called "stocking firearm dealers" believe they
have a right to a profit whether they earn it or not. They abominate
"basement" licensees who sell guns to their friends at cost, and would
like to put them out of business through increased fees. They loathe
the discount houses even more -- Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart -- but
haven't yet thought of a way to deal with them.
Maybe worst of all, most firearms publications ooze editorial
sanctimony over topics like weapons concealment, blathering that
this holster featured in an article, or that gun, is -- of
course -- suitable only for duly franchised citizen hoplites, when they know
perfectly well their readers respect gun laws the same way they do
speed limits. Their policies on national defense, land-use, and
conservation are undiluted socialist crap. To avoid the political
heat they used to talk a lot about the "legitimate sporting uses" of
firearms, hunting and target-shooting, and have only recently taken
a stance rooted in the individual right to self-defense. Even that
remains disappointingly passive.
Thus, from this moment onward, we must begin to measure all persons
and groups who claim to support our individual, civil, Constitutional,
and human rights, not in terms of how well they defend those
rights, but in terms of how well they advance them. If existing
organizations won't take the offensive, then like any individuals with
strong opinions and stronger principles, we've no choice but to adopt
the most radical personal stance possible consistent with those
principles, one that will compel others to disavow our position or
follow along behind us.
At the barest acceptable minimum, principle demands unequivocal
assertion of the following points:
The individual right to self-defense is not collective in character,
but an absolute inherent in the nature of each human being,
indispensible to the individual right to life itself.
The individual right to self-defense cannot be granted or denied by
kings or constitutions, nor by any legislative or judicial act,
neither is it subject to regulation or to the democratic process.
The individual right to self-defense implies free access to, and
uncoerced choice of, the physical means of self-defense: an unlimited
right to obtain, own, and carry weapons of any kind.
The individual right to self-defense especially includes the right of
self-defense against government; power exercised by government derives
from the individual right to self-defense and is inferior to it;
any attempt on the part of government to deny or limit this right
represents a conflict of interest.
The individual right to self-defense demands the immediate repeal of
any law which: requires the licensing or registration of weapons,
manufacturers, gunsmiths, dealers, or owners; levies taxes on the
ownership or transfer of weapons, parts, accessories, ammunition, or
components; denies free individual choice concerning manufacture,
price, acquisition, carrying, concealment or concealability, "social
acceptibility", caliber, power or form of ammunition, design or
configuration, "quality" or "safety", magazine capacity, or rate
or mode of operation; interferes in personal, local, interstate,
or international trade, transport, or transfer of any weapon or
associated item; restricts the use of gas, electric, jointed, or edged
weapons, impact-resistant clothing, or any other self-protective
device; or permits the government or its employees to seize, retain,
sell, or destroy weapons belonging to non-aggressive individuals.
The individual right to self-defense requires that agencies
responsible for the enforcement of such laws be abolished, their
records destroyed, anyone ever arrested, under indictment, or
convicted under such laws be granted immediate, unconditional release,
with full restitution to all previous rights and property, and
employees of such agencies, rather than taxpayers compelled to support
their activities involuntarily, be held responsible for such restitution.
Groups like the NRA, claiming to support the Second Amendment, who
fail to endorse this minimal position should declare themselves
morally bankrupt and shut up. Their approach has been a drawn-out
failure because it addressed the basic concept of individual rights in
the same piecemeal, contradictory, "flexible" manner as the
ACLU -- often threatening the very groups (gays and recreational drug users
for example) who might have been our allies. In the wake of this
failure an inevitable rot has set in as corrupt leaders struggle over
the power and wealth of an otherwise pointless organization. The real
question is, are honest reformers -- like Neal Knox -- willing to
acknowledge that failure, abandon their defensive posture, and try the
Libertarian way, recognizing that the rights of others may be just as
important to them as ours are to us?
The next time you have an opportunity to discuss these issues with
your conservative friends, try putting it to them this way: "How much
do you want to keep your guns?
"Would you agree to allow adults to pursue their own sexual
preferences, homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, and to buy, sell,
read, write, make, listen to, or watch any films, books, magazines,
records, tapes, or live performances they want, no matter how
pornographic, if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
"Would you agree to leave others alone, perhaps to ruin their lives
with alcohol, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, and other
substances, if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
"Would you agree to respect the rights of anyone, no matter what their
race or national origin, and to tolerate their practice of atheism,
Buddhism, Islam, Scientology, Unitarianism, even Satanism, if they
agreed to let you keep your guns?
"Would you agree to let women control their own bodies and
reproductive processes -- even to have abortions at their own
expense -- if they agreed to let you keep your guns?
How much do you want to keep your guns?
No sane being would sacrifice the rights he considers most precious,
just for the sake of imposing his tastes or opinions on others. And
yet it seems that each of us disapproves of, and wants to outlaw, some
one little thing that somebody else wants.
Little things add up.
With over 240 million of us, all working for some kind of Prohibition
or another, it's no wonder that government controls seem to ratchet
tighter around our lives every day. Until now, it's been strictly
a one-way process, with everyone winding up the loser except for
politicians, bureaucrats, and lawyers.
We can reverse the process with a committment to respect each other's
rights no matter how much we personally disapprove of any particular
exercise of them. The one limit is an obligation never to initiate
force. Change the way we think about freedom and we can eliminate
the power of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, and Prohibitionists,
to control the way we live, which means that every man, woman, and
responsible child will be free to obtain, own, and carry, openly
or concealed, any weapon -- rifle, shotgun, handgun,
machinegun, anything -- any time, any place, without asking
I challenge everyone interested in the Second Amendment to undertake
that committment. Before I'm lying in a hospital bed with green tubes
up my nose, before arthritis sets in and I have to do it on crutches,
I intend to walk the length of Manhattan with a handgun on my hip,
unmolested by parasites.
I will not settle for less.
Come along with me.
Permission to redistribute this article is herewith granted by the
author -- provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and
appropriate credit given.
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