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Because they live on the unstable surface of a planet with an energetic atmosphere and an even more energetic interior, human beings sometimes find their circumstances violently altered by things like hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hailstorms, volcanos, and meteoric impacts.
For thousands of years, survivors of such catastrophes simply got back to their feet, shook off the dust, mud, and debris, gathered what was left of their property and loved ones, and moved on. Sometimes, as with the Black Death, it took centuries, but sometimes recovery only took a few weeks. Sometimes there was help -- in America the Red Cross has mostly been a good thing -- sometimes there wasn't. And sometimes "help" has arrived in the form of government agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency that make calamities worse than they were to begin with.
Government has a long, sorry history of mismanaging catastrophes. If global warming were a real phenomenon -- sorry, but it's not -- the next major manifestation we might expect, in the summer of 2008 or the summer after that, is a catastrophic drought in the midwest. An event exactly like that occurred in what was actually the hottest decade of the 20th century -- the 1930s -- and we still remember it as the Dustbowl. Government's reaction then was insanely inappropriate -- destroying crops and livestock when a 100 million people were going hungry -- and saddled us, for the first time, with an American welfare state that never went away, although the drought itself eventually did.
In the hottest year of the century, 1934, government even found an excuse to outlaw fully automatic weapons, the very tools that are most useful for keeping government under the firm control of taxpayers and voters.
And then there are the more recent disasters.
Everyone has a favorite Katrina horror story. Government's first, instinctive reaction, after rounding up as many people as possible in a makeshift concentration camp -- the Louisiana Superdome, which will haunt the nightmares of thousands of innocents for decades -- was to insanely shove every other priority aside, and use the opportunity to try to steal everybody else's guns. Although the courts subsequently ruled against this action and ordered the guns returned, individual victims are still vainly trying to get their property back and being stonewalled.
Which is why the late Karl Hess called it "The Lawless State".
But as far back as the Loma Prieta earthquake (that collapsed a double decker highway in the Bay Area and interrupted the 1989 World Series) I was hearing from my friends inside the San Francisco Police Department that the presence of FEMA -- and its interference with local emergency services -- was a worse disaster than the earthquake itself.
More recently, somebody flew a couple of stolen airplanes into the sides of New York buildings and government decided to suspend the Bill of Rights and do its all-out damnedest to turn the whole country into a prison culture that requires government permission to board a plane, and hopes eventually that you'll need its permission to go anywhere at all, by any means at all, exactly like the "good old days" in Soviet Russia.
What will it be like when "The Big One" finally happens and half of California suddenly leaps fifty feet northward, as most geologists expect it to do any day now, or a hunk of space-rock slams into the middle of Ohio, creating a new Great Lake (we're 15,000 years overdue for that one)? How about a real plague of some kind, rather than the the phony ones government minions keep making up in their restless and insatiably power-hungry imaginations? After their first, instinctive reaction -- another attempt to take everybody's guns away -- will they make us all wear handcuffs, belly-chains, and leg irons, or simply GPS anklet bracelets like the ones worn today by prisoners who are out on bail?
It's time to ask: what catastrophic event will ultimately bring Americans to the realization that they must stop relying on government -- in emergencies as well as in everyday life -- and become their own assurance of safety and survival? While government neglects real solutions to likely problems a year, five years, a century from now, its notion of planning for the future is to build a string of bigger concentration camps http://tinyurl.com/32jxd4 (apologies - this appears to be a dead link - webmaster) across the nation where, if it suddenly feels a need, it can herd hundreds of thousands of victims.
Or political dissenters.
We must rid ourselves, once and for all, of the idiotic notion -- unchallenged for six thousand years -- that the appropriate thing to do in an emergency is to deprive individuals of their freedom, when freedom is the very thing they need to cope with whatever happens. With freedom, anything is possible; without it, nothing is possible at all.
If I were looking for somebody to vote for, I would reject any candidate who won't sign a pledge to expose those concentration camps to full public view and abolish them -- raffling the land off to private parties to make sure it can't be used for some other evil purpose.
Clearly, as Robert LeFevre used to say, "Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure". There is no disaster, however tragic, that it can't -- and won't -- make worse, because its interests don't run parallel to yours. You and government have completely different agendas.
You want to survive, prosper, and flourish. And because it wants all the same things -- for itself, along with unlimited growth -- it wants to control your life, and all the products of your life, right down to the microscopic level, from the instant you are conceived, to the instant that you are buried. And beyond that, if you try to leave any money behind for your family. Of the five basic human needs -- food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and self-defense -- those that government controls most (of course it has its claws into each of them to some degree) are those that are the most "fouled up beyond all recognition".
Government wants you helpless -- stripped of any effective means of defense against it -- so that you can't resist it when it decides to "help" you. Government wants you out of your car, and out of your home. It wants utter and complete control over your children so it can transform them into a generation of mindlessly obedient police state zombies.
If you're too old or stubborn for "reeducation", then it wants you penned up, preferably with your Social Security number branded on your forearm.
Who knows what will happen then?
After Waco, Ruby Ridge, Abu Graib, Guantanamo, and the Louisiana Superdome, most of us have a reasonably accurate idea. For those who still do not, get out your Ouija Board and ask six million murdered Jews. --
A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.
Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.
© Copyright Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership 2012.