December 22, 2002


When I was a little kid, I asked my dad about an image I had seen of really huge numbers of prisoners being marched to their execution in a forest clearing, guarded by perhaps five or ten men with rifles. I wanted to know why they didn't just rush the guards. I mean, it's one thing if they were heading to another miserable day at work camp, but these people were being led off to be killed, and they knew it. I mean, for God's sake, what did they have to lose?

I was six. My dad looked at me. He had served in the latter days of WW2 in Europe as a U.S. Army intelligence officer. No parachuting onto the decks of enemy U-Boats at night to steal Enigma machines -- just unexceptional, unheroic, 2nd Lieutenant grunt work. He'd been to the camps though, seen some horrible things. When I asked him why they didn't fight back or run for the woods, he said, without any arrogance or contempt or jingoism, "I don't know Billy, I can't figure that one out myself." Then there was a long moment. "But I can't imagine Americans just walking off like that, either."

Now when he said he couldn't imagine Americans marching off to their deaths, he meant, obviously, Americans like the ones he knew. Kids who grew up hunting, kids who got a BB gun for their fifth birthday -- tough, adventurous, American kids whose mom's never gave a second thought to them shooting their eye out with a Red Ryder air rifle.

Now before we go any further, I want to be crystal clear about something: I don’t believe for an instant in any genetic nonsense about slave races or nations of pure-bred heroes. That’s a deadly trap, and the end result of such thinking is a place on the watchtower machine-gunning starving prisoners. But humans are the most successful species this planet has seen, not for being ferocious or fast or strong or even intelligent, but for their malleability. Humans can, and do, adapt to anything. It is their culture that determines what is in their hearts.

Consider the case of Jews in Germany, during the 1930s. Here was a people who had been so tormented and persecuted and psychologically beaten down that they had come to believe the outrageous slander that they were guests in their own country. Behind their shuttered doors at night, they created cocoons of astonishing culture and beauty, a symphony of violins and cellos and poetry and literature. They were far over-represented in occupations we rightly esteem as among the most noble of our species: surgeons, musicians, teachers and scientists.

By any measure of human decency, these were the people that should have been helping to lead a ravaged Germany back to respect and prosperity. Yet they were massacred in their millions by brutes and sadists who sent millions to their deaths while listening to symphonies.

If it is possible to write a clearer lesson on human nature, then I cannot imagine it, nor can I imagine the amount of blood it will take to convince people unwilling to look reality in the face; that reality being that compassion, culture, law and philosophy are precious, rare and acquired habits that must be defended with force against people who understand nothing but force. The great failure and staggering tragedy of European Jews is that they could not accept that some of their neighbors were not as decent, humane and educated as they were. A culture that learned to survive by turning inward simply never was willing to face the reality of what they were up against; namely, that hoping for compassion and humanity from the likes of the Nazis was akin to reading poetry to a hurricane. This denial -- and that is the only word for it -- is, in the final horrible analysis, a form of arrogance, almost: the refusal to see things for what they are. A people of astonishing internal beauty simply could not look into the face of such ugliness without turning away. And now they are dead.

And there are many intelligent, enlightened, gentle and good-hearted people today who believe exactly the same thing. If we let this moral blindness continue to gain ground, then they will get us all killed, too. And then who will put their boot on humanity’s neck for the next thousand years?

I recently visited a website that featured a picture of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, with the caption: My hero! Someone who thinks his way out of trouble! The implication, of course, is that force and violence are universally to be rejected and despised as unworthy of thinking people (or Vulcans).

Well bucko, Spock carried a phaser as well as a tricorder, and he used it when he had to. If the Star Trek future represents a hope for our species at its most reasonable and open-minded best, it would be well to remember that the Enterprise carried a hell of a lot of photon torpedoes because the cause of human decency cannot be advanced if all the decent humans lie dead.

To the many who scorn the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution as the dangerous plaything of illiterate, mindless oafs who enjoy loud noises, let me simply refer you to that great unbiased and incorruptible teacher: History.

Ask yourselves why intellectual elites so love totalitarian states where people are unarmed and dependent sheep. Look at the examples of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Saddam, and the horrors they have inflicted at will on their own people. And when contemplating your ever-so-sophisticated foreign policy, ask yourselves what compassionate and non-violent options you are left with when facing a determined, heartless bastard like Hitler, Napoleon, Ghengis Khan or Attila.

Some say that the time for real evil like that has finally gone. I hope you are right, I really do. I don't want to go fight those bastards; I'd rather barbeque and watch the Gators. I'm sure the Jews in 1930 Germany thought such things could never happen again, not in the heart of European culture and civilization. I'm sure every bound and beaten musician, surgeon, philosopher and painter being lined up at the side of a ditch thought exactly that.

Freedom is preserved by free people. Our 40th President wrote that “no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

I believe gun ownership is the truest form of freedom, and here's why: It says you are your own person, responsible for your own actions. You are, in other words, expected to behave as an adult. It says, furthermore, that you should not be collectively punished for the misdeeds of others. In fact, those that abuse this freedom by committing crimes are thought of and dealt with much more harshly by gun owners, as a rule, than Hollywood celebrities, precisely because a free person understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.

This, to my mind, is the fundamental difference between the Europeans and the U.S.: We trust the people. We fought wars and lost untold husbands and brothers and sons because of this single most basic belief: Trust the people. Trust them with freedom. Trust them to spend their own money. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust them to defend themselves. To the degree that government can help, great -- but TRUST THE PEOPLE.

We as a nation suffer an appalling number of handgun-related deaths each year -- perhaps 11,000 of them. The number is not important; each is a personal tragedy and those lives can never be replaced.

If we attempt to reduce this horrible number by banning handguns, we are taking away the property of a person who has broken no laws, by a government whose legitimacy is determined by a document that specifically allows that property, namely guns.

Destroy that trust by punishing the innocent, by pulling a plank from the Bill of Rights, and the contract between the government and the people falls apart. Once the Second Amendment goes, the First will soon follow, because if some unelected elite determines that the people can't be trusted with dangerous guns, then it's just a matter of time until they decide they can't be trusted with dangerous ideas, either. Dangerous ideas have killed many millions more people than dangerous handguns -- listen to the voices from the Gulag, the death camps, and all the blood-soaked killing fields through history.

The Framers, in their wisdom, put the 2nd Amendment there to give teeth to the revolutionary, unheard-of idea that the power rests with We The People. They did not depend on good will or promises. They made sure that when push came to shove, we'd be the ones doing the pushing and shoving, not the folks in Washington. And by the way, gun rights supporters are frequently mocked when they say it deters foreign invasion -- after all, come on, grow up, be realistic: Who's nuts enough to invade America? Exactly. It's unthinkable. Good. 2nd Amendment Mission 1 accomplished.

But back to the undeniable domestic cost: when confronted with the idea of banning handguns to reduce this horrible toll, many handgun defenders are tempted to point to the numbers killed on the highways each year -- perhaps four times that number -- and ask why we don’t ban cars as well.

The logical response is that bans on travel -- cars, airplanes, etc. -- are a false analogy compared to banning guns, because cars have a clear benefit while guns don't do anything other than kill what they are aimed at.

While that is exactly true, I think it misses the point, which to me is simply this: we'd never ban automobile travel to avoid thousands of highway deaths. It's clearly not worth it in both economic and personal freedom terms. We choose, reluctantly, and with many a lost loved one in mind, to keep on driving.

Here is my dry-eyed, cold-hearted, sad conclusion: I believe that the freedom, convenience and economic viability provided by the automobile is worth the 40,000 lives we lose to automotive deaths each year -- a number made more horrible by the fact that perhaps 40% are related to drunk driving and are therefore preventable.

By the same calculation, I accept that the freedoms entrusted to the people of the United States are worth the 11,000 lives we lose to gun violence each year.

I wish I could make both those numbers go away. I will support any reasonable campaign to make them as low as possible.

But understand this: 11,000 handgun deaths a year, over four years is very roughly 50,000 killed. In Nazi Germany, an unarmed population was unable to resist the abduction and murder of 6,000,000 people in a similar period: a number 120 times higher. Throw in the midnight murders of the Soviets, the Chinese, the various and sundry African and South American genocides and purges and political assassinations and that number grows to many hundreds, if not several thousand times more killings in unarmed populations.

Visualize this to fully appreciate the point. Imagine the Superbowl. Every player on the field is a handgun victim. All the people in the stands are the victims who were unable to resist with handguns. Those are historical facts.

I, myself, am willing to pay that price as a society -– knowing full well that I or a loved one may be part of that terrible invoice. I wish it was lower. Obviously, I wish it didn’t exist at all. But any rational look into the world shows us places where the numbers of innocents murdered by their own governments in unarmed nations are far, far higher.

Of course, many societies have far lower numbers. Japan is a fine example. I'm sure if the United States had 2000 years of a culture whose prize assets were conformity and submission, then our numbers would be a lot lower. Alas, we are not that society. Thank God, we are not that society.

It is abundantly clear that the rate of handgun murders in the United States is not uniform. Very large murder rates can be observed in small, exceedingly violent populations of every race in this country, and these rates seem to be more related to issues of income, education and living conditions. Certainly guns are freely available in areas where our murder rates are appallingly high. They are also found in very large numbers in communities where handgun crime is virtually nonexistent.

Doesn’t that tell us that there is something deeper at work here? Could it be, perhaps, that the problem is not with the number of guns in this country but rather in the hearts of those who we allow to wield them, repeatedly? Could it really be as simple as apprehending, and punishing, those that would do harm to innocents and to civilization? Rather than banning guns, should we not attack the moral rot that infests these small, violent populations of every color who put such horrible numbers at our feet?

Assume for a moment you could vaporize every gun on the planet. Would crime go away? Or would ruthless, physically strong gangs of young men be essentially able to roam free and predate at will?

The history of civilization shows time and time again how decent, sophisticated city dwellers amass wealth through cooperation and the division of labor -- only to be victimized by ruthless gangs of raping, looting cutthroats who couldn't make a fruit basket, sweeping down on them, murdering them and carting away the loot, to return a few years later, forever, ad infinitum. Vikings, Mongols, desperadoes of every stripe -- they are a cancer on humanity, but there they are and there they have always been.

If civilization is worth having -- and it is -- then it has to be defended, because the restraining virtues of justice, compassion and respect for laws are products of that civilizing force and completely unknown to those who would do it harm.

Therefore, since I believe in this civilization, in its laws, science, art and medicine, I believe we must be prepared to defend it against what I feel no embarrassment for calling the Forces of Darkness. Those forces could be raiders on horseback, jackbooted Nazi murderers, ecstatic human bombs, or some kid blowing away a shopkeeper.

For the gun-ban argument to be convincing, you'd have to show me a time before shopkeepers were blown away, hacked away, pelted away or whatever the case may be. You would have to show me a time in history before the invention of the firearm, when crime and raiding and looting did not exist, when murders and rapes did not exist. We may lose 11,000 people to handguns a year. How many would we lose without any handguns, if murderers and rapists roamed free of fear, ignoring reprisal from citizens or police? I don't know. You don't know either. Maybe it's a lot fewer people, and maybe, in a world where strength and ruthlessness trump all, it would be a far higher one.

You may argue that only the police should be allowed to carry guns. Consider this carefully. Do we really want to create an unelected subculture that views itself as so elite and virtuous as to be the only ones worthy of such power, trust and authority? Have we not clearly seen the type of people drawn to such exclusive positions of authority, and the attitudes and arrogance it promotes?

Furthermore, I can't see any moral distinction between a policeman and a law-abiding citizen. Policemen are drawn from the ranks of law-abiding citizens. They are not bred in hydroponics tanks. They are expected to show restraint and use their weapon as a last resort. Millions upon millions of citizens, a crowd more vast than entire armies of police, do exactly this every day.

If all of these horrors had sprung up as a result of the invention of the handgun I'd be right there beside those calling for their destruction.

But clearly, this is not the case. In our cowboy past we used to say that "God created Man, but Sam Colt made them equal." This is simple enough to understand. It means that a villager, let's say a schoolteacher, can defeat a human predator who may have spent his entire life practicing the art of war. Firearms are what tipped the balance toward civilization by eliminating a lifetime spent studying swordplay or spear play or pointed-stick play. The bad guys have always used weapons and they always will. The simple truth about guns is that they are damn effective and even easier to operate. They level the playing field to the point where a woman has a chance against a gang of thugs or a police officer can control a brawl.

I don't see how vaporizing all the guns in the world would remove crime or violence -- history shows these have always been with us and show no signs of responding favorably to well-reasoned arguments or harsh language. I wish it were not true. I wish the IRS did not exist either, but there it is.

Criminals, and criminal regimes ranging from The Brow-Ridged Hairy People That Live Among the Distant Mountains all the way through history to the Nazis and the Soviets, have and will conspire to take by force what they cannot produce on their own. These people must be stopped. The genius of the 2nd Amendment is that it realizes that these people could be anybody -- including the U.S. Army. That is why this power, like the other powers, is vested in the people. Nowhere else in the world is this the case. You can make a solid argument that the United States is, by almost any measure, the most prosperous, successful nation in history. I'm not claiming this is because every American sleeps with a gun under the pillow -- the vast majority do not. I do claim it is the result of a document that puts faith and trust in the people -- trusts them with government, with freedom, and with the means of self-defense. You cannot remove that lynchpin of trust without collapsing the entire structure. Many observers of America never fully understand what we believe in our bones, namely, that the government doesn't tell us what we can do -- WE tell THOSE bastards just how far they can go.

Of course, all of this is completely whimsical, because, like nuclear weapons, guns are HERE and they are not going to go away. You cannot just vaporize them. Honest people might be compelled to turn in their weapons; criminals clearly will not. So what do you propose? Forget the moral high ground of gun ownership. Again a simple truth, often maligned but demonstrably dead-on accurate: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

The American Revolution surely is unique in the sense that its ringleaders -- Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, etc -- were men of property, wealth and prestige; in other words, men with something to lose. Compare this to any other revolution in history, where the ringleaders were outsiders; plotters staring in through the windows of prosperity, powerless. The Russian Revolution, French Revolution, etc -- these were joined by desperate people fighting mind-numbing poverty and severe political repression.

And yet the Founding Fathers were men who were as well-off as any men on earth at the time, and furthermore, any of them could have been (and were) political leaders under His Majesty's government. The average colonial farmer likewise led a life far more comfortable than those of his cousins in Europe, to say nothing of Asia or Africa.

For all practical intents and purposes, these people had absolutely nothing to gain, and everything in the world to lose, by taking on the greatest military force the world had ever known. Why would they do this? What possible motivation could well-off, comfortable people have? Militarily, they seemed certain to lose, and they knew before they started -- and Patrick Henry made that abundantly clear -- that they would be hanged as common criminals if they failed.

Of course, the answer is, they did it to be free. And they did it to make the rest of their nation -- the poor, the disenfranchised -- free as well. And it is clear as crystal from their collective writings that they took that risk to make Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore and the rest of us in their unseen posterity free, too. They could look down the dim, moonlit riverbanks of the future and see a society worthy of their sacrifice and determination. They knew that God, (or for me, chance perhaps) had put them together in a time and place where bold, courageous action, followed by much suffering, doubt, blood and fear could, perhaps, unleash in mankind an energy source the likes of which they could not imagine.

So for me, a child of that bet -- that guess, that commitment, that roll of the dice -- for me, I owe them the defense of that freedom, and I will do my poor mite to pass it on as best I can. These men pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor. They pledged that to me. I owe them. I do not have the right to take away someone else's freedom and property -- it is offensive to me to even contemplate it. Of course, if someone breaks the freedom/responsibility covenant by committing a crime, then all bets are off. To that extent, I view handgun murderers not just as criminals, but as traitors as well.

I hate seeing our kids get shot on the street, I hate it, I hate it. But that is the cost of freedom. People get horribly killed on Spring Break road trips to Florida at age 18. They're driving drunk. We could prevent them from going. We would save lives. Enron and MCI steal like the worst characters from Dickens, taking people's Christmas dinners so they can have gold plated faucets. We could regulate more, make things harder for the millions of honest businesses that build and trade honorably each day. The day may come when someone flies a Cessna into a stadium. We can ban the airplanes. Ditto for pleasure boats. We can ban and confiscate and regulate to our hearts content, and we will undoubtedly save many, many innocent lives by doing so. All for the price of a little freedom.

I believe we should punish the perpetrators. I will not agree to restrict the freedoms of the vast numbers of people who abide by the concomitant responsibility and live lives of honesty and decency.

And there is more than the physical restriction of freedoms: There is the slow erosion of self-reliance, self-confidence and self-determination among a nation. The more your government restricts your options, the more you psychologically look to government to keep you safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained.

There is a word for people who are fed, clothed, housed and sustained fully by others, and that word is SLAVES.

If Congress were occupied by angels and Michael sat in a throne of glory in the Oval Office, I would listen to what they said for my own greater good. But I have noticed that no government is made of angels, and that many seem to be exclusively staffed by members of the opposite persuasion. So who determines how much freedom we trade for how much security? People do. People are not unknown to place their own interests above those of others. There is even a vanishing remote chance that Jean Cretien has at some point perhaps put personal interest above those of his constituents.

The real genius of the Founding Fathers was that these great and good men had the foresight and the courage to look into their own darker motives, and construct a system that prevents the accumulation of power.

The Constitution they created could only be torn up by force of arms. And that is why the Founders left that power in the hands of the people, who together can never be cowed by relatively small numbers of thugs holding the only guns.

As PJ O'Rourke points out, the U.S. Constitution is less than a quarter the length of the owner's manual for a 1998 Toyota Camry, and yet it has managed to keep 300 million of the world's most unruly, passionate and energetic people safe, prosperous and free. Smarter people than me may disagree with that document -- I'm for not touching a comma.

So as a proud son of those brave men, I'll take freedom -- all of it -- and because I accept the benefits of those freedoms, I'll solemnly take the responsibilities as well. I may someday lose a child on a trip to Spring Break, but I'll never lock them in the basement to keep them safe. And I'll accept the fact that living in Los Angeles puts me at risk for being shot to death because I feel the freedom is worth it. I breathe that freedom every day, and hey, we all gotta go sometime. I'll continue to fly experimental airplanes because I am careful, meticulous, precise and responsible, and yet the day may come when I am out of altitude, out of airspeed, and out of ideas all at the same time. Oh well. I have seen and done things up there that you cannot imagine and I cannot describe. Freedom.

Our failures and disgraces cruelly remind us that we, like every other government, are composed of fallible men and women with no divine ability to read the future or foresee all outcomes. But these failures are failures of action, action borne of confidence and a belief in our way of life, and come all the more painful for their contrast to the everyday standards to which we hold ourselves as a people and a nation. For it is an undeniable fact that no great nation in history has held a shadow of our measure of power, and yet exercised it with such restraint, nor does any time in the bloody history of warfare reflect a people so magnanimous in victory against enemies sworn to their murder and destruction. From our first hour, we have been, and remain, the beacon of hope and freedom for a world desperate and longing for such an example, and we can measure our success in building such a place by the numbers of those who are literally dying in an attempt to come and be part of it.

Our ancestors made their choice and here we are. I respect anyone’s right to choose differently. I only speak up to defend the choice we Americans made as a deeply spiritual one, borne of reflection and danger and a spectacular triumph against all odds. I cannot stand idly by to hear people denounce our freedoms as the dimwitted macho posturing of a mob of illiterate uncultured idiots who are so vulgar and uncouth as to still believe in Hollywood myths manufactured for our simple, complacent, unsophisticated nature.

From the Revolution until today, the choice for full freedom with all its accompanying excesses and failures is a profoundly well-reasoned, moral and ethical choice, and the result has been national and personal success unparalleled in the history of this world.

I am deeply proud to be a member of such a magnificent group of people. I hope to God I can give back as much as I owe.

Posted by Proteus at December 22, 2002 9:47 PM

Welcome to the Eject! Eject! Eject! commenter community. Please read and understand the following:

1. This is not a public square. This is a dinner party on personal property. Good conversation is not only tolerated but celebrated here. But the host understands the difference between dissent and disrespect, even if you do not. Louts will be ignored until the bouncers can show them the door.

2. This is a voluntary online community. Your posting of any material, whether in comments or otherwise, grants to William A. Whittle, Aurora Aerospace, Inc. and their affiliates, a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, sublicense, reproduce or incorporate into other material all or any portion of the material posted, for commercial or other use.

3. If a comment does find its way into a main page essay, print, or other media, every effort will be made to credit the individual making the comment. So chose your screen name accordingly,!

Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!


An excellent piece. And, another bookmark for my browser.

Very nicely written. And I really liked the "Honor" post when Steven Den Beste put it on his site for you a while back as well. I'll be adding you to my links as well.

Brilliant, simply brilliant. And I don't just mean intellectually. Brilliant in terms of the light it sheds on freedom.

Thank you! You go right into my "Essential Reading" bookmarks. Can't wait to digest the rest of your site.

Excellent post. I'm going to mention one quibble, though.

You contrast stupid, ignorant NAZIs with their cultured, learned victims, and while there's some (large) truth to that, it's also true that university students and graduates were among the typical followers of NAZI ideology (while others were Communists) - many NAZIs were well read people, just as cultured as their victims.

IMO it's important to remember that, lest people come under the misimpression that the threat to civilization and freedom comes mainly from the boorish and ignorant "barbarians", when in fact if one looks at the range of crimes against freedom and civilization throughout the 20th century, the people leading the way have more often been highly educated than not.

(This is also not a slam at being a well-educated person and a paen to the simple wisdom of the uneducated, being knowledgable oneself - even if a bad speller - is the best early defense mechanism against the schemes and vision of the intelligencia).

I wish every high school age person would read this post. They might then understand what freedom truly is, and how to keep it for their kids, and not get totally caught up in the leftist mind meld of the typical college envirnoment.

Excellent piece Mr. Whittle. I'll be linking to it and adding you to my blogroll, AND I'll have my 14 year old son read it. He is one kid who is not going to grow up ignorant of what America is all about and why we fight to save our freedoms.

My 3 year old and 1 year old are probably not so interested yet! ;^)

Thanks again.

I'm going to echo what the others have said. These two posts are going to be exceptionally hard for you to better. I look forward to your further writings. Well done and bookmarked!

Thank you all for the many kind words.

I did want to specifically address porphyrogenitus' comments to say that I agree with him so completely that I now wish I had included more of this in the essay.

He is exactly correct. Traditionally, these bloodbaths start when dispossed intellectual elites lather up the street muscle and begin their dark mischief. Without the intellectual ringleaders the Nazis would have been a mob of beer hall brawlers. It took a thoroughly evil and well-organized group of intellectuals to hammer them into a movement, then an army, then a state and finally a cautionary tale.

Excellent point, porphyrogenitus (and thank god for cut and paste)

Exceptional article.

I have you tabbed in my browser, right next to Steven Den Beste and Rachel Lucas.

Good luck on the future.


Your post really captures the appeal of American-style freedom well.

What explains the appeal of the socialist model? Or the dictatorship? Goodness knows, it's not envy: we're not enforcing a copyright on our founding documents. Why aren't other countries noticing how well our principles work, and adopting them as their own?

I guarantee the first country to photocopy our Constitution and pencil in their own name would be the recipient of more affection and aid from us than the Europeans got through the Marshall Plan.

We'd be so flattered, we couldn't help but um... help. Frankly I'm surprized it hasn't happened already. Why not?

P.S., Outstanding web log, Bill. Are you related to Sir Frank?

Bill, I first ran across your thoughts at Rachel's place and the piece quite impressed me. Congratulations on putting it up on your own! With your kind permission, I'd like to link to it for my buddies on various gun and shooting boards.


It is reading thoughts and words such as these that I despair of ever being in the same league as Bill Whittle and the other plain, no-nonsense people who are making their voices heard in these trying and fearful times. I cannot help but marvel that reason and facts, as mustered by the likes of Bill Whittle, always outshine the rants, posturings, lies and obfuscations of the so-called liberal elites who have nothing but contempt for the USA, her history, her society her values. There are not enough words to describe my shame that I once believed the distortions and false premises of the so-called liberal mindset. I cannot begin to tell you how much I wish I could today wear the uniform of one of our branches of armed forces and rise to the call of duty for my country and for my fellow Americans. I once agreed with Samuel Johnson's remark that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. But I no longer see the evil in loving one's homeland and the honor of fighting and perhaps dying for one's freedom. This should be required reading for every school-age child and for every school teacher. As long as we have voices like this, we will prevail over the forces of darkness and evil. I sincerely hope and I pray that the continued popularity of these voices chokes the enemy within our borders and that there will be much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands by those who would sell America's soul for a wee bit of world opinion.

Dear Mr. Whittle: Thank you for what you wrote on Rachel's blog, and thank you for what you are writing on this, your own, blog now. Thank you for defending my freedom and the honor of my country. You embody what is great about America, which is now the heart of our Western civilization. Thank you.

Wow. I saw this at Rachael's site and reread it here when it was condensed into a single essay. I wish I had the ability to write so coherently in posts. Even in school, it took many many hours and rewrites to get something even 10% as convincing as this. Thank you.

Also as a side note, you quote the figure of 11,000 annual gun deaths in the US. Someone at another blog did some research (I believe it was Glen Reynolds, but I read so many I am probably wrong) and noted that 4,000 of those are suicides. Without guns, they probably would have found another way to do themselves in, and IMO, should not be counted in the statistic of what some would call "deaths that would be avoided if guns were outlawed".

Simply amazing. This should be required reading for the WHOLE WORLD. I sent the link to friends and family with the subject line, "Starts good, just gets better." So true. My thanks to you.

Speaking of aerospace...I grew up in Bakersfield in the mid- to late Sixties. You know what I miss? Sonic booms.

Mr. Whittle:

I'm afraid you may be "preaching to the choir," here...but, lord, what sweet music it is! I sincerely hope this gets spread far and wide, AND that you continue to write such powerful essays. I've never read better.

TJ, it's amazing but the government has Done Something Right!

Visit the website This is the US Centers for Disease Control Injury Mortality Reports. Simple to use. (Their numbers are good; how they interpret them is sometimes less good.)

Firearm suicides numbered about 16,500 per year in 1999 and 2000, homicides between 10,000 and 11,000. Absolute numbers are too coarse a measure - they don't adjust for population. 1,000 deaths in Great Britain are much more serious than 1,000 in the US, which is much more serious than 1,000 in China.

The US rate of firearm homicides for 1999 and 2000 was about 3.9/100,000 people in each year, down from 7.08 in 1993.

Also look at, which documents crimes reported to the police; some reporting agencies don't do a very good job, and other research indicates the percentage of crimes reported to police varies by crime.

Copies of this should be sent to all the students who had to listen to Patty Murray's speech about that philanthropist, Usama Bin Laden, the other day.

"Amendment II

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."

IMHO, the portion of the 2nd Amendment that deals with "A well regulated militia" muddies the waters. I would amend it to read:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. No law regarding rate of fire, magazine capacity or caliber of the weapon shall be passed, except that the weapon must be hand-held, fireable from a standing position, and the user must be able to carry it, without assistance."

You need to be able to diagram sentences, and understand context to understand the 2nd amendment. It states that "the right... shall not be infringed." This is directly consistent with the idea stated that we have inalienable rights, not ones granted by the government by by the Creator. Governments can restrict/infirnge upon rights, they cannot grant them.

Also it implies the idea that some rights may be restricted for the Greater Good, but since a free state needs a militia, this is not one of them. The need for a militia is subordinate to the rights of free men to protect themselves, not vice versa.

I may be able to shed some light on "why aren't we copied?" I work with two Indians, ans we discuss politics, economics, etc., fairly often. Part of it is pride. "We had a magnificent cilivization while your ancestors were painting themselves blue and drinking the blood of the dead." True. The caste system makes our philosophy of equality before the law repugnant or even immoral. Fear. India has followed a socialist path so long that there is a large body of people who are now dependent on those subsisies. To compete economicly, India knows it will have to adapt to Capitalisms create detruction, there is great resistance. Lastly, thee is the fear, compounded of all the above and much more, that they do not want to "become America".

Superb essay. A couple of suggestions:

If you want to do more than "preaching to the choir" as your wicked "mission statement" front page implies, you should return to this essay in a month or so and condense it, bring it down to perhaps one third the current size. You might also find worthwhile to restructure into several parts, since there are several inseparable themes that *may* not need to be so intertwined in your prose (I’m not sure).

It may not be worth the effort: a tighter essay might convince a handful more people, and may focus the attention of the many who share our sentiments but haven’t through it through yet, but it's pretty obvious to me that the sheep of this country will be no more convinced than the disarmed victims you discuss until they and theirs are being herded into concentration camps, if then. In their minds, they’re already disarmed….

The other point, previously touched upon, is that if you aren't going to have new content every day or two, you MUST set up an announcement system of some sort (another blogger or three, a mailing list or whatever), because otherwise we'll just forget to check every few weeks in the crush of modern life.

Anyway, thanks for the essay; there's little particularly new in it, but very few have put it all together and said it so well.

"Trust the people. Trust them with freedom. Trust them to spend their own money. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust them to defend themselves."

This has been the difference between our version of government and all others. Monarchies, dictatorships (modern usage, not Roman), socialism, Communism, theocracies —— all proclaim that a self-selected elite, preferably with succession-by-blood-tie, must be trusted to do best for "the people" with whose lives they only interact in the form of servant-slave and paper production quotas.

I quite simply cannot follow the arguments that say the 2nd Amendment limits "arms" to the government. Whyever would our founders, who came to power by using arms not controlled by government and who explicitly stated that the government they were establishing should itself be subject to overthrow, fearfully propose control/confiscation of weapons? And the idea that the National Guard is a "state militia" is just silly, it is a Federal asset loaned to the states. Also, the courts have been quite consistent in pointing out that police forces cannot be held responsible for protecting citizens before-the-fact: in this, at least, they show sense, and it may be hoped that they will recognize that the means of self-defense must then remain available and upheld.

As it happens, I have never owned a firearm and do not expect to. But I most certainly do not want that right abrogated (at least on a universal basis, I do think someone who has committed pre-meditated murder should at least be potentially barred from ownership) and am grateful for those of my neighbors who have them and are willing to at least call 911 if they hear me screaming.

Also I believe the "slippery slope" argument against registering guns. Pre-WWI Britain did not register guns, and London bobbies who found themselves in need usually could borrow one from the citizen-on-the-street. After the war, some politicians feared veterans might become violent and started a registry and restrictions on carry rights. After WWII, the restrictions were expanded as was the registration requirement. Always sounded at least somewhat reasonable, and always accompanied with the disclaimer that the registry would never be used for confiscation. Then a school incident similar to our Columbine prompted mass anti-gun hysteria - and registered guns were confiscated. Canada's current problems are also instructive, eg should the unregistered gun left to you by grandpa be registered? If so, some groups are faced with defying the law or starving to death... Not to mention the administrative costs, which were so outrageous when merely glanced at that the government forbade the further investigation of related costs.

I've gotten a bit long-winded, haven't I? Ah, well. Let me close with my favorite quote, which shows that the problem of a populace fearful of private weaponry is hardly new:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the younger", ca. 4 BC - 65 AD:
"Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."
("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool in the killer's hands.")

Well done. Please allow me to suggest that the greatest significance of the RKBA is spiritual. You are entirely correct in holding that it is militarily significant, as we have heard that it was considered by the Japanese as a deterrent to invasion, but its moral impact surpasses the material, as Napoleon said, by ten to one. Point-fire capability can make a difference in battle as at Saratoga, New Orleans, Sharpsburg, Belleau Wood, and beyond, but the real importance is one of attitude. This difference in attitude extends to civilians as well. As was demonstrated on 9-11 to anyone who did not already know it, we are not safe in our homes and workplaces. How we respond to the threat is a function of our attitude concerning force and self-defense. A nation of people who know the gun will respond very differently from one in which the people are wholly dependent on the state for their safety.

If guns are responsible for shooting deaths, then why aren't any guns ever arrested, put on trial and thrown in jail? - maybe for the same reason that a car is not arrested and jailed when a drunk driver kills someone.

I'm pretty much an anti-gun person, but I really enjoyed your thoughts. They were very well written.

The scenario that comes to my mind from reading your work is not one of citizens fighting off invading armies with handguns, but one of them fighting off their own police forces and armies, the "unelected sub-culture" that you speak of.

Hopefully, a scenario never to be seen, but I'm onside with the feeling that we have seen the enemy...and it is us.

Excellent article.
Thank you Mr. Whittle.
One reason so many have trouble understanding the American government is because they have been taught an incomplete "Constitutional model". Articles I, II and III establish the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. What isn't being taught is the importance of Amendments IX and X.
The American government is actually composed of four branches; the fourth is "The People", and they wield more power than individual states, or either of the three service branches.


I'm sure you've seen that I already called this an amazing article on Rachel's site, so I won't repeat the praise I gave for this incredible document.

However, I do only have one small criticism. "Canada is free of many of the foreign policy disasters and failures of vision that the United States has been correctly charged with, but they are free too of the satisfaction and pride of being history’s singular bulwark of freedom and prosperity, and the eternal, unintimidated scourge of tyrants and murderers from the Barbary pirates, through the armed might of the 20th Century’s parade of totalitarians and right up to Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and the criminal lunatics that run North Korea."

Canada made huge sacifices in WWII and the Korean War. Our factories were as strong as any American facility, and our troops were equally powerful. Now, even in the darkest days of the Canadian military, other nations, including and especially the USA, respect the might and the valour of our troops. Another war game where Canada defeats American units, another American soldier registering extra pride at evading Canadian anti- submarine screens, another successful campaign in slaying Al- Qaeda forces- it adds up. You can make many criticisms of Canada, but the armed might of our country cannot be denied.

Personally, I feel that if America ever DID lose the will to fight (God Forbid) as the British did, Canada would probably have to pick up the slack. We've never lost a conflict, and have never stopped fighting, even for staggering per capita casualty figures that would have given America pause. If it was up purely to us, Brian Mulroney (one of the most undeservedly maligned PM's in Canada's history) would have defeated Saddam Hussein as soundly as Bush 41. So in future criticisms of those who do not fight as hard as America, please do not include Canada. :) Our future as guardian of the world may be better than America's, it may be worse, but you'll never see the Canadian military fall in battle.

Great article. The only thing i see to nitpick is the number of people rounded up and killed by the Nazis, that you mentioned. 6,000,000 were only the Jews, there were about 7,000,000 others also.

Dear Trevalyan,

Certainly anyone who has the most rudimentary knowledge of military history also has enormous respect for the quality of Canadian troops. The Black Watch, Vimy Ridge, endless engagements in WW2 right up to your exemplary Special Forces work in Afghanistan -- no one, least of all me, can cast doubt on the morale, spirit and quality of Canadian troops. Furthermore, your patriotic rallying to the defense of you nation is something I can well attest to.

What I and many other Americans would like to know is, what happend to Canadians like you? What happened to those stalwart allies who we knew would watch our back -- or our front, for that matter?

I read that shortly after WW2, Canada had the 4th largest Navy in the world. I'm not sure that your great country has a single operational warship left afloat. Similar horrific cuts in weapons, readiness and manpower seem to have been made across the board.

While this has been happening, the shrillness of Canadian government and news media criticisms of the US has only grown.

I deeply respect and admre your country, especially men such as yourself. Try to understand what it means to us, however, to look across the world and see our best friends cutting their defenses to almost zero, expecting us to pay the cost in blood and treasure for their defense. When you add in the number of vehemous, really mind-boggling charges of US imperialism, militarism and outright stupidity, you may perhaps forgive us for looking around and wondering where the hell our friends went.

It is my fervent hope that patriotic Canadians such as yourself will try to turn around these recent policies. At the very least I would hope you could start a blog and put your passionate, rational voice out there. We need more people like you.

Just a fasincating article, thank you
Dave raise a great point

Obviously sincere, heart-felt, and thoughtful. Moreover, it's generally intelligently expressed. But 1) Why such scorn for other cultures and denigration of their decisions? (which shouldn't/can't necessarily mirror ours, and which sounds a lot like the jingoism Hitler preached to his brown shirts) 2) Going to the moon is preferable to universal health care? C'mon! Anyway, thanks for a good exposition.

Oh, we're still here. I'm sorry to say that indoctrination on the parts of the media, especially the government controlled media, has caused way too many people to believe in the Liberal- cult that will seemingly rule this country in perpetuity. Our opposition, the Alliance (coolest party name EVER! ^__^ ) is actually making inroads, though, and I have a strong suspicion that if they fail after the endless scandal that has dogged the Chretien government, including and especially the constant reports from our Senate on the dessication of the Canadian military, that you'll see a number of new exiles fleeing across the border. We'll do our best to keep the queue orderly. :)

As for the warships: while we don't have a LOT of operational warships, and not even one carrier, that doesn't mean we don't have them. Already, a number of modernized ships are patrolling Afghanistan, and the Pashtun- speakers (former refugees, as I recall ;) ) in the Canadian military are interrogating terrorist escapers with striking proficiency. To say nothing of the fact that our ships, save for the Sea King helicopters so embarassingly decrepit their very existence is the ultimate testament to the skill of Canadian repair teams, are perfectly interchangeable with ships assigned to American nuclear carrier groups. :) If that can occur under the CHRETIEN government, it should be painfully evident that nothing can stop us.

You also forgot the Princess Patricia's (the last person who called them "Pat's" got a beating) Canadian Light Infantry. Their Coyote recon vehicles are so good the American goverment has put in orders for them, our snipers got Bronze Stars from the United States for performing even better than the snipers of the 101st, and Stogran's forces have contributed more than any other regular infantry, save America's, to the decimation of the Taliban. Again, this is the state of power when we're at our darkest days!

I'm not saying that our problems aren't at hellish levels. And it depresses the hell out of me that no one seems to do anything about it. But trust us: no slackers or negative hackers are going to "conscientiously object" BEFORE the war. I'm sorry we put our troops through all the crap they put up with, but be assured that these are the single most DEDICATED regular forces the West will see outside the United States Marine Corps. The only reason anyone sane would join the Canadian military is for their country, PERIOD. And our best- of- both- worlds training style combines American and British traditions. The flesh is weak, but the bones are strong. Mulroney revitalized the military almost twenty years ago, and they still have formidable combat achievements. Give us a few billion dollars, the technology that America has always graciously provided for us (a major factor in our success), the backup of the American friends who help us slay enemies with the grace and fury of their predecessors... we could rule this world as father and son, if we ever tipped that way. ^__^

And I already have a blog. Just click on the name. :)

Donald, Bill doesn't necessarily denigrate cultures: I'm sure none of us has a problem with the decline of German militarism. ;) It IS a question of them not understanding our culture, so blinded by their own vaunted elitism and unable to see the lessons of history, that causes us to have a problem. America's "cultural imperialism" should not be able to destroy hundreds of years of culture. Can it? Europe seems to believe we live by Mcdonald's and Baywatch, and that those who think like Americans are ignorant cowboys. Yet I think our realism and power will defend Europe. That's how it IS: if America behaved like the Soviets, and the Iron Curtain were two juggernauts "grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rotteness" (a pint for the man who gets the reference first. ;) ), who HONESTLY believes any of the European powers, even Churchill himself, could have stopped America, as opposed to slavish appeasement, or even dying nobly on America's bayonets? Europe is "cultured": but this does not translate into gratitude for those who take up the burden they refuse, and does not equal actual understanding of American and Arab cultures, as opposed to soppy sentimentalist FEELINGS. So does their choice of culture make them a better nation, without mortal flaws that MUST be criticised? Just ask the Iranians. :)

"Kick down 100 doors of self-proclaimed French pacifists, grab the women and kids, and haul them away. Then try again in Texas, with 100 NRA members. Collate, or rather, have a surviving relative collate the results. Extrapolate the abductors' rates of casualties to determine the total number of murdering swine needed. See what percentage of jackbooted thugs have a suicide wish and then determine the number of men you will need to disarm, kidnap and murder 50 million armed people."


I'd suggest that instead of picking 100 French pacifists, you pick (say) 100 members of the French Resistance circa WWII. Or, perhaps, you could ask that question of the Finns of the same era. (Who fought on the wrong side; but it's not as if we came to defend them when the Soviet Union invaded their country.)

America is a great country. We have no monopoly on greatness.


Thanks for the detailed links. Always good to update my facts.


"It would take an army --- not an army of celebrities or trial lawyers, an actual SHOOTING ARMY --- to forcibly disarm this nation. Who will do the dirty work? Volunteer citizen soldiers, that's who - and the first guns they'd have to turn in would be their own.

"See, we don't have shock troops here, boyo. No Republican Guards, Special or otherwise; no Hussars, no Cossacks, no SS; we lack Praetorian elites, Napoleonic bodyguard units - any of that ideologically inculcated poison. Just kids serving their country, making some money for college. You think those people would fire on a crowd of American citizens fighting to preserve the Constitution, when they themselves have taken the same oath? Think again."

Well... we do have shock troops. We have special forces. They are a force with a deliberately inculcated sense of their own elitism. It's not clear that this is de facto a bad thing -- but let's not pretend they don't exist.

What really matters is the first paragraph above: the attitudes of the forces we have. It doesn't matter if we have Praetorian elites if they'd refuse to fire on US citizens.

History says they will.

Our Japanese citizens were not encouraged to bring weapons to the interment camps during World War II. The National Guard did fire on unarmed students at Kent State. We are not safe from our own military, if that military is under the command of those who wish to take away our liberties.

This is one reason why I am so very uncomfortable with those who would marginalize and demonize those who disagree with them politically. History shows that the best way to convince US troops to take hostile action against US citizens is to convince them that said citizens are somehow different. "They're Japanese. They're hippies. They don't think right."

We can't afford that kind of exclusionary mentality. It is a precondition for dangerous behavior. We also can't make it illegal: we are not a country dedicated to thought control. That's a good thing. But we can damned well educate as to why it's a bad idea, and we can work to avoid it in ourselves.

Very well said. A must read for all. I have added this page to my favorites, and will send this link to everyone in my address book.

God Bless America, and Americans willing to stand up for what they believe in.

In JESUS' Name

As a Brit this was the best case for the right to carry arms I have seen. It would only work for the US though because it's been a right from inception. I can understand the opposition to any administration that would deny that right.

Pity about the homicides though. Inevitable I suppose. Here in the UK we have never had that right and we don't need it - as long as we have democracy. If the police don't carry arms they can call on a special armed team within minutes of an incident. That works quite well.

Now, of course we have armed criminal gangs from The Balkans who don't have the same values. They will kill another human without thought. We need armed police to eliminate those scumbags.


Just want to stand up for the Balkans for a moment. Plenty of people with guns in London are neither from that region, nor have their violent values come from anywhere else but the UK.

The Balkans have a bad name for violence that comes largely from the way the West depicted the Balkan Wars of the 19th Century and the ones of the 1990s. 'Long standing ethnic hatreds' and the like are by and large fictions, fictions that were manipulated and adopted in the regions themselves for people's own pragmatic, often greed-motivated, political reasons.

Sorry. Just wanted to stand up for Yugoslavia for one moment.

If guns are responsible for shooting deaths, then why aren't any guns ever arrested, put on trial and thrown in jail? - maybe for the same reason that a car is not arrested and jailed when a drunk driver kills someone.

They are. Forfiture laws.


If guns *aren't* responsible for *shooting* deaths, then why is it if you lock two gunless people in a room and they each want to kill the other, whatever happens there won't be a *shooting* death????

The Assyrians, scourge of ancient Mesopotamia -- how many guns did they have? Do rapists need guns? A man was _stabbed_ to death in a subway in New York City -- and Mayor "Dumb---" Dinkins called for more _gun_ control. Brilliant. (That was sarcastic.) The Federal Building in Oklahoma City was blown up with a _bomb_ -- and the media blamed, continue to blame, the atrocity on all _gun_ owners.

If guns *aren't* responsible for *shooting* deaths, then why is it if you lock two gunless people in a room and they each want to kill the other, whatever happens there won't be a *shooting* death????

And if you put any number of people together in a room filled with loaded guns and those people do not want to kill one another, there will be no killing.

It's no laughing matter, but killing depends primarily on the desire to kill, not on the available means.

I think we, as Americans, at least the non-"go along to get along" portion of the populace, can face the FACT that the National Guard did not exist when the 2nd Amendment and The Constitution were written and passed as The Law of The Land. And, second only to the Holy Bible, it is an excellent example of how to live a worthwhile existance in this quagmire we call Earth. Many other nations could, if they would, follow the example. Just how far advanced, technologically or morally, would the world be at present if not for The Holy Bible and America?

Face a fact Wannabe... guns don't kill people, people kill people... even if a gun is used, it still boils down to the fact::: people kill people... more often than not, caused by the advances made by the left in our society... a society where the individual matters less and less, a society where the mob/masses are all important... a damn mindless society...

Bill, I've read and re-read this essay a couple dozen times or so since the "first draft" appeared on Rachel's blog. Each time I find new inspiration in it. I've pasted the link everywhere from emails and comments on other blogs to old computer BBS message boards. I've printed out copies (leaving all indicia of the website and your name attached, of course) and passed them around. My parents made copies of their copy and passed them around. Your words have struck a chord - you've written down what so many people know and believe and feel in their hearts but didn't have the skills to express as fluently as you. This essay is truth and it cannot be denied.

Keep up the great work.

while i disagree with certain bits here and there, as well as some of your conclusions, you make a strong argument for your position.

i am anti guns, but would never dream of suggesting that the american public should be disarmed, because that is guaranteeing a civil war. and i also accept the logic that the constitution's Bill of Rights should be treated as sacrosanct, or we risk losing them all.

i however emphatically *do not* accept that 11,000 gun murders a year are a price worth paying to maintain gun ownership. if you factor in accidental shootings & suicides, that number nearly doubles. the number may be less important than the principle, but that cannot be an absolute. what if it were 110,000?

Well, Paul... What if it were 1,100,000 gun deaths a year? YES, you guessed it, that would still be less than what the socialists and communists have shown they can kill and have killed in a year when the citizens are deprived of their natural right to defend themselves(the police cannot and WILL NOT protect me or YOU, they will take notes after you are dead)... and we would still be free... what price freedom? freedom has cost a lot of lives over the years... BUT, not nearly as many as subjugation... our political machines are proof that America cannot remain free if dis-armed...

then there are the cockaroaches(abortionists) that murder more than a million babies a year... do you support their right to "choice", ie: murder babies? "fetus"--- Latin for "baby"

Something, for all Americans who value their freedoms and their rights, to read... US Supreme Court decisions regarding the 2nd Amendment

The price of freedom is high, if you are not willing to pay that price, you will be a slave...

You are one heck of a writer. Keep on keepin' on. Even us Democrats can appreciate you!

Great essay. :O) It should be required reading for schoolkids. (fat chance, I know, given the state of teaching right now).
Some of the nit-picking comments are interesting, too.....some folks just don't seem to get it--that freedom is worth paying ANY price. Period.
Those that don't believe it should maybe try living for a year in the Velvet Gulag--New Zealand. Nanny will look after 'em.And in the process will turn them into uncomplaining sheep.

Wannabe Dadaist said:
If guns *aren't* responsible for *shooting* deaths, then why is it if you lock two gunless people in a room and they each want to kill the other, whatever happens there won't be a *shooting* death????

No, but if two gunless people in a closed room have a serious disagreement, one or both may die a really slow cruel death.

The worst death I can imagine is that of married lesbian couple nagging at each other in a closed gunless room.

> then there are the cockaroaches(abortionists) that murder more than a million babies a year... do you support their right to "choice", ie: murder babies? "fetus"--- Latin for "baby"

Thank you for injecting one of your pet political peeves into an unrelated discussion. One of the marks of the fanatic (any fanatic) is that they cannot distinguish between an appropriate time and place to discuss something and an inappropriate one... to them, every time is the right time.

Indeed, this essay is exactly the wrong place for any argument saying the government needs to ban more things. This essay is not about the excercise of government power of any form whatsoever. Got it?

Trust the people. Trust them with freedom. Trust them to spend their own money. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust them to defend themselves.

Weather or not a fetus is a human with rights (yet) is a ethical question. You would trust women with the capability to instantly kill the already-born, but you don't trust them to make proper (in your view) ethical choices? What hipocracy is this?

How can you possibly agree with Bill's "Trust the people" and simultaneously claim that a vast chunk of them would choose to kill or abet killing for simple convienence?


Well Mr Waxx

That was just for comparison: aborted(ie:murdered) babies vs. gun deaths(yep, some of them are indeed murders). Ethical? NO, ethics mean little when a human is killed. You may as well say it is an economical question... or a question of whether or not they want to be bothered with raising their get... and gun ownership is still a basic human right.

Many problems in human experience result from a false and
and inaccurate definition of humankind - premised in man-made
religions and humanistic philosophies. Definitions, for better
or worse, rule in the minds, behaviors, and institutions of
mankind. It is therefore essential to perceive and specify that
distinction which naturally and most uniquely defines the human
being. We can be confident that delineating and communicating
that quality which will assist the process of resolution and the
courageous ascension to which we humans are called. As Americans
of the 21st century we are obliged and privileged to join our
forebears and participate in its continuing proclamation.

By James Fletcher Baxter
(c) 2003 All Rights Reserved

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe. The
balance is a vast void of our human ignorance. Human reason
cannot fully function in such a void, thus the intellect can
rise no higher than the criteria by which it perceives and
measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure, however, as
with all measuring systems, a standard must be greater than the
value measured. Based on preponderant ignorance and an ego-
centric carnal nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appetites,
desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the
humanist lacks a predictive capability. Without transcendent
criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with foresight for
progression and survival. Lacking foresight, man is blind to
potential consequence and is unwittingly committed to the
redundant wreckage of expensive hindsight: averages, mediocrity,
and regression - and worse. Humanistic opinion is therefore an
inadequate and unworthy resource.

In the realm of the physical universe, only statistical
conglomerates pay tribute to deterministic forces.
Singularities do not and are therefore random and unpredict-
able, and in this sense, uncaused. Thus, the finest contribu-
tion inanimate reality is capable of making toward choice,
without its own selective agencies, is this continuing opportu-
nity as the pre-condition to choice it defers to living forms.

Biological science affirms that each level of life, single-cell
to man himself, possesses attributes of sensitivity, discrim-
ination, and selectivity, and in the unique nature of each
diverse life form.

The survival and progression of life forms has all too often
been dependent upon an ever-present potential and undetermin-
ative appearance of one unique individual organism within the
whole spectrum of a given species. Only the uniquely equipped
individual organism is, like the Golden Wedge of Ophir, capable
of traversing the causal-gap to survival and progression.
Mere reproductive determinacy would have rendered life forms
incapable of such potential. Only a moving universe of
opportunity plus choice enables the present reality.

The human being possesses a unique, highly developed and
sensitive perception of diversity. Thus aware, man is endowed
with a natural capability for enacting an internal mental and
external physical selectivity. Quantitative and qualitative
choice-making thus lends itself as the superior basis of an
active intelligence.

Man is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes his definitive
and typifying characteristic. Recall that his other features
are but vehicles of experience intent on the development of
perceptive awareness and the following acts of decision. Note
that the products of mankind cannot define them for they are
the fruit of the discerning choicemaking process and include
the cognition of self, the utility of experience, the develop-
ment of value-measuring systems and language, and the accul-
turation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits, customs,
and traditions, are the creative harvest of his perceptive and
selective powers. His articles, constructs, and commodities,
however marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idolatry,
for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own highest expression
of the creative process.

Man is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and significant act
of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean fulcrum upon which
humans lever and direct the forces of cause and effect to an
elected level of quality and variety. Further, it orients him
toward environmental opportunity, freedom, and bestows earth's
title, The Choicemaker, on his singular and plural brow.

"Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the
way he chooses." Psalm 25:12 Man is earth's Choicemaker. He is
by nature and nature's God a creature of choice and of criteria.
Psalm 119:30,173. His unique and definitive characteristic is,
and of Right ought to be, the natural foundation of his environ-
ments, institutions, and respectful relations to his fellow-man.
Thus, he is oriented to a freedom whose roots are in the Order
of the universe.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with a
functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the foot-
dragging growth of human knowledge and behavior. Faith, initia-
ted by the Creator and revealed and validated in His Word, the
Bible, brings a transcendent standard to earth's choice-maker.
Other philosophies and religions are man-made, and thereby lack
what only the Bible has: transcendent criteria and fulfilled
prophetic validation. The vision of faith in God and His Word
is survival equipment for today and the future.

Deterministic systems, ideological symbols of oppression and
abdication by humans from their natural role as earth's
Choicemaker, degenerate into collectivism: the negation of
individual value, they become a conglomerate plural-based system
of measuring human value. Blunting an awareness of diversity,
blurring alternatives, and delimiting the selective creative
process, they are self-relegated to a circular and passive

Tampering with man's selective nature endangers his survival,
for such attempts render him impotent and obsolete by denying
the tools of diversity, individuality, perception, criteria,
selectivity, and progress. Oppressive and coercive attempts
produce revulsion, for such acts are contrary to an indetermin-
ate nature and nature's indeterminate off-spring, man the

Until the oppressors discover that wisdom only just begins with
a respectful acknowledgement of the Creator, the Creation, and
the Choicemaker, they will be ever learning but never coming to
a knowledge of the truth. The rejection of Creator-initiated
standards relegates the mind of man to its own empirical,
primitive, and delimited devices. It is thus that the human
intellect cannot ascend and function at any level higher than
its criteria.

The carnal-ego rejects criteria and self-discipline for such
instruments are tools of the mind and attitude. The appetites
of the flesh have no respect for standards, for at the point
of contention, standards are perceived as alien, restrictive,
and inhibiting. Yet, the very survival of our physical nature
itself depends upon a maintained sovereignty of the mind - and
of the spirit.

As long as some choose to abdicate their personal reality and
submit to the delusions of man-made collectivism, just so long
will they be subject and reacting only, to be tossed by every
impulse emanating from others. Those who choose such a path of
abdication may, in perfect justice, find themselves weighed in
the balances of their own choosing.

It is worthy to recall that the principles of Biblical
scripture are still today the foundation under Western Civil-
ization and the American way of life. That human institution
which is structured on the principle, "...all men are endowed
by their Creator with...Liberty..," is a system with its roots
in the natural Order of the universe. The opponents of such a
system are necessarily engaged in a losing contest with "nature
and nature's God." To the advent of a new Season we commend the
present generation and its "...multitudes in the valley of
decision." The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

"Above all, I see an ability to choose the better from the
worse that has made possible life's progress."
Charles Lindbergh

"WHAT IS MAN...?" Earth's Choicemaker

"I should think that if there is one thing that man has
learned about himself it is that he is a creature of
choice." Richard M. Weaver

"Man is a being capable of subduing his emotions and
impulses; he can rationalize his behavior. He arranges
his wishes into a scale, he chooses; in short, he acts.
What distinguishes man from beasts is precisely that he
adjusts his behavior deliberately." Ludwig von Mises

"To make any sense of the idea of morality, it must be
presumed that the human being is responsible for his
actions and responsibility cannot be understood apart
from the presumption of freedom of choice."
John Chamberlain

"The advocate of liberty believes that it is complemen-
tary of the orderly laws of cause and effect, of
probability and of chance, of which man is not completely
informed. It is complementary of them because it rests in
part upon the faith that each individual is endowed by
his Creator with the power of individual choice."
Wendell J. Brown

"Our Founding Fathers believed that we live in an ordered
universe. They believed themselves to be a part of the
universal order of things. Stated another way, they
believed in God. They believed that every man must find
his own place in a world where a place has been made for
him. They sought independence for their nation but, more
importantly, they sought freedom for individuals to think
and act for themselves. They established a republic
dedicated to one purpose above all others - the preserva-
tion of individual liberty..." Ralph W. Husted

"We have the gift of an inner liberty so far-reaching
that we can choose either to accept or reject the God
who gave it to us, and it would seem to follow that the
Author of a liberty so radical wills that we should be
equally free in our relationships with other men.
Spiritual liberty logically demands conditions of outer
and social freedom for its completion." Edmund A. Opitz

"Above all I see an ability to choose the better from the
worse that has made possible life's progress."
Charles Lindbergh

"Freedom is the Right to Choose, the Right to create for
oneself the alternatives of Choice. Without the possibil-
ity of Choice, and the exercise of Choice, a man is not
a man but a member, an instrument, a thing."
Thomas Jefferson

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son
of man that You visit him." Psalm 8:4
A: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

Q: "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?" Psalm
A: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other
side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Q: "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is
born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14
A: "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He
teach in the way he chooses." Psalm 25:12

Q: "What is man, that You should magnify him, that You
should set Your heart on him?" Job 7:17
A: "Do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his
ways." Proverbs 3:31

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son
of man that You take care of him?" Hebrews 2:6
A: "I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have
laid before me." Psalm 119:30 Let Your hand become my
help, for I have chosen Your precepts." Psalm 119:173

Genesis 3:3,6 Deuteronomy 11:26-28; 30:19 Job 5:23
Isaiah 7:14-15; 13:12; 61:1 Amos 7:8 Joel 3:14
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Sir Isaac Newton
The greatest scientist in human history
a Bible-Believing Christian
an authority on the Bible's Book of Daniel
committed to individual value
and individual liberty

Daniel 9:25-26 Habakkuk 2:2-3 KJV selah

"What is man...?" Earth's Choicemaker JOEL 3:14 KJV

"Me, personally, I'll take the spirit, ingenuity and passion that can plant the American flag on the moon over pre-paid health care. I can buy health care."

Believe me, if you were a laid-off worker without health care, you would trade your gun and your moonflag for some decent, affordable medical care.

>"Me, personally, I'll take the spirit, ingenuity and passion that can plant the American flag on the moon over pre-paid health care. I can buy health care."

>Believe me, if you were a laid-off worker without health care, you would trade your gun and your moonflag for some decent, affordable medical care.

You might even accept slavery in trade for health care. Or the disruption of your family. Or a host of things. People have throughout history traded their rights for security.

No one says differently. We're just saying that while anyone can buy health care (it's a problem of income and prices), only the confident can put a man on the moon.

Shame we walked away from that because we're focused on aspirin.

No, I would not trade my gun and my pride in the moonflag for decent, affordable healthcare. I have been a laid-off worker more than once. I found other ways to survive in this great nation. I am free! I will NOT give it up, not for health care, not for a guaranteed job, not for the sake of conformity. I am FREE! And it is that very freedom for everyone that has created the greatest economic engine and unheard of prosperity that ever graced this earth. You really believe I would give this up for health care?

Mr. Whittle, I stand awed and humbled before a great writer. With your permission, I would like to print out your essays and let my children read them. My 19 year old is joining the Marines next week, and I'd like him to know what he will be fighting for.

I just found your site yesterday through Cold Fury, and between you and Mr. Den Beste, I could spend my entire day reading and educating myself. If I could write with a fraction of your talent and passion, I would give up my day job in a second and write for a living. God bless you, sir, and keep up the good work!!

Personnaly if I wanted to destroy Texas I would bomb it first...

Brillant. I will keep returning for more essays. Thank You Bill for writing what many of us have always wanted to say.

You wrote: "The great failure and staggering tragedy of European Jews is that they could not accept that some of their neighbors were not as decent, humane and educated as they were...... A people of astonishing internal beauty simply could not look into the face of such ugliness without turning away. And now they are dead."

And I have to point out that you are not correct. It doesn't really negate your major point, but a respect for human freedom also demands that you do not stereotype large groups. European Jews are not all dead -- I'm pretty damned sure of it, seeing as some of them were my grandparents and I'm not typing this from the astral plane. Some of them, including my ancestors, realized what was happening in time to get out, anywhere from two generations to a year ahead of Kristallnacht. Some of them faced up to horror in the camps but also saw or remembered that little bit of beauty that inspired them to hang on. Some of them were rescued because in fact there were other decent people, all over Europe. (Read the wartime history of Denmark; I defy you to keep dry eyes.) And some of them, as you said yourself, rose up in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising -- those did die, but they died free.

Tragically, I also have to quibble, three months after you wrote this, with your claim that the US government trusts the people. America as a nation does, yes. I keep seeing more and more evidence in the news (i.e. the so-called Patriot Act) that the current regime does not. Though thankfully, things like the NW legislature's resolve not to follow that act restores my own faith in the freedom in our hearts.

"And now they are dead."
. . . . Funny, I didn't see the words 'ALL dead.' You miss the salient point of just how much good WAS lost.

"Tragically, I also have to quibble, three months after you wrote this, with your claim that the US government trusts the people."

. . . . Trust is a two way street. Perhaps a more recent examination may be helpful:
(and this from an ex-inner-circle Clintonite)

(Posted by: Bryant on December 26, 2002 02:11 PM)


This experiment, as described by Bill is set in the HERE AND NOW, among CIVILIANS. I'm sorry to throw a bucket of water on your match, but the number of true Freedom Forces in France prime is ZERO. France is "freed". No more freedom fighters. I would have GLADLY FOUGHT AND DIED SIDE BY SIDE WITH DEGAULLE'S FORCES. But sadly, they have faded to the dust of history book archives.

Today I would gladly stand and die AGAIN by French Forces. They are willing to die for the country that truly hates them for doing so. I can't say the same for the "countrymen". Bill is correct. They are pacifists. Yet if duGaulle had been in power, Saddam would have been toast, say '95.

I personally believe French courage is a mere Shadow of the heroes they once had. The freedom forces to 1945 were exactly that-1945. Fifty years is a long time for change.

Just as young Americans have no right to inherit "heroism" from the WWII generation, the French have no right to duGaulle's. TO EVEN CLAIM SO INSULTS DUGAULLE AND HIS MEN'S BRAVERY.
Nowadays, I assure much of that is gone. It was the people, Bryant, that elected this cowardly man. And cowardly he is.

The French at this time do not deserve the services of their brave few, proud marines. I salute them. I don't salute Chiraq (mispelling intentional).

I just have to wonder of all the French Armed services cheated of their chance to fight. Isn't that why they sign up?

And more Bryant:

Just to prove a point: French soldiers have been periodically harassed. A friend of mine went on a trip to France for a vacation, and just happen to pass by a military base (where, she wouldn't say, cuz it may just be fake). In passing the base, a young trooper on base patrol right out side the base got a rock to the head by some "rambunctious" kid. He was knocked out. She helped him. Nothing came of it.

There are some pro-bravery people left there. They're just too humble to speak up. So,
I beg you, please support the French Armed Forces, but not those who would take a away their rights to their glory.

I recently learned that despite being less than a quarter our size, they have a half the troops, army specifically. If France sees no threat in the world, why the heII do they have such a military? They almost NEVER use it! (WWII is too far in the past people!) Not Falkland Islands? But what, those Exocets were Argentinan.

The French Armed Forces deserves a more supportive France.

ok dokie

Log Cabin Chronicles Tribute to Canada featureLog Cabin Chronicles

Doing good, quietly
POSTED 05.08.02
This tribute to Canada, a modest, self-effacing country in world of
national brashness and boasting, was published recently in The Telegraph,
one of the largest dailies in the United Kingdom.
LONDON | Until the deaths last week of four Canadian soldiers accidentally
killed by a U.S. warplane in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside
their home country had been aware that Canadian troops were deployed in
the region.
And as always, Canada will now bury its dead, just as the rest of the
world as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets
nearly everything Canada ever does.
It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid
both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis
is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower
that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask
her for a dance.
A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow
dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired
and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while
those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely
neglecting her yet again.
That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent
with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two
global conflicts.
For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions:
It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new
one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the
gratitude it deserved.
Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world
wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy.
Almost 10 percent of Canada's entire population of seven million people
served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000
The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops,
perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.
Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its
unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as
somehow or other the work of the "British."
The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war
with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the
Atlantic against U-boat attack.
More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings,
during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada
finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth-largest air
force in the world.
The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the
previous time.
Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was
necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the
United States had clearly not participated -- a touching scrupulousness
which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a
separate Canadian identity.
So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood
keep their nationality -- unless, that is, they are Canadian.
Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox,
William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Dan Aykroyd have in
the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British.
It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be
Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as
a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find
any takers.
Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of
its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of
The Canadians proudly say of themselves -- and are unheard by anyone else
-- that 1 percent of the world's population has provided 10 percent of the
world's peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century
have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth -- in 39 missions on UN
mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East
Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.
Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular non- Canadian
imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of- control
paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators.
Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace -- a uniquely Canadian act
of self- abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no
international credit.
So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless
friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan?
Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things
for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains
something of a figure of fun.
It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such
honour comes at a high cost.
This week, four more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too
tragically well.
Passed along by Jim Austin of Putney, Vermont.

Home | Stories | Features

Copyright © 2002 John Mahoney/Log Cabin Chronicles 05.02

I have a Question for everybody out there. Do You know why people try to tale over the world because i dont and i want to know so if you have an answer please E-Mail Me At
Thank you


Another absolute treasure, I always find myself in awe of your gift with the pen. You can rest assured that when I can afford them, I will be armed, and I will draw that line in the sand to any jackbooted prick of any stripe to come and get my freedom, but to prepare to meet his maker in the process. I found myself laughing out loud at your little "sociological experiment"...simply priceless. That is precisely why it is unthinkable to attack America in conventional means...because we as a populace are armed to the teeth, and there is no combination of nations on Earth that could raise enough thugs to kill us all. Good work sir, God Bless you, and keep up the good fight!

Absolutely brilliant, Bill.
You are entirely right. People forget all too easily that nobody just gave us our freedom. Over more than two centuries, people have fought, bled and died so that we could have it, and more people will have to fight, bleed and die so that we can keep it.
My language skills are generally not that good, but were I an orator, yours are exactly the words I would have chosen for this particular subject.

While I find your essay compelling and agree with most of what you've said here, you do make one false assumption about gun ownership preventing despotic control in a world with modern weapons.

You wrote:
"Kick down 100 doors of self-proclaimed French pacifists, grab the women and kids, and haul them away. Then try again in Texas, with 100 NRA members. Collate, or rather, have a surviving relative collate the results. Extrapolate the abductors' rates of casualties to determine the total number of murdering swine needed. See what percentage of jackbooted thugs have a suicide wish and then determine the number of men you will need to disarm, kidnap and murder 50 million armed people."

Unfortunatly what a despot trying to control a resistence group would do (Actually what Sadam Hussein DID in essence with the Kurds) is to say, "That Texas is a hotbed of resistence. Glass it." Ok, maybe he wouldn't try to glass the entier thing, but a couple of fair sized cities would make quite a demonstration.

An armed populace can't properly defend itself against such an attack. The choice would be back down and wait for another chance, or die without even a hope of fighting.

Major governments now have power to eliminate resistence with very little effort.

Alcohol prohibition related violence doubled the homicide rate in America.

Is it possible that drug prohibition related violence has doubled the murder rate in America?

Milton Friedman says so.

Ending prohibition would be the easiest way to reduce gun murders. You have to wonder why none of the anti-violence people ever suggest it.


In America I don't think that wiping out a city would end resistance. It would just change it's form.

Like US Grant America don't scare worth a damn.

An excellent article! Well worth the time to read it.

There is a point - that is not completely lost, but that I find most compelling about the 2nd ammendment. It provides a different perspective to our culture. We are willing to fight and potentially die for our freedoms.

The 9/11 case of flight 93 is a perfect example of what the 2nd ammendment has brought to our country. When those _citizens_ realized the purpose of the hijacking was not to land, demand, and drag out for the media - they took action. They gave their lives so that others would survive. In doing so, they have _forever_ changed the way passengers deal with hijackers. Look at the case of the shoe bomber - foiled by passengers. Look at the cases of numerous individuals who have attempted to get into cockpits since 9/11 - all stopped by a passenger police force - willing to risk injury or worse so that the potential hijackers would be stopped.

The audacity to react to an attack like this is part-and-parcel of the legacy of the 2nd ammendment. It is the assumption that "the people will defend their freedom - even at the cost of their own lives". And it is _this_ assumption that secures our country, not our ownership of individual weapons. The weapons are simply the tools necessary to make that defense far less costly for us than for the aggressors. But even if we didn't have those tools; if we maintained the conviction that defending our freedom was worth our lives - we would still be the most formidable opponent of any despot or tyrant who came to take our most valuable treasure. So in the end, individual ownership of "guns" (sic) is only a mechanism to assure that defending our freedom doesn't have to cost _all_ of us our lives before we can cast of the oppressors. But I dare say, that truly free individuals would willingly struggle against any despot with their bare hands and alone - if there were no other options. As you note in the article - Sam Colt made us "equals"...

One other note - to those who stand on the "well regulated militia" verbiage in the 2nd. From the time this wording was concieved, it has _always_ been intended that individuals would be allowed to own and use weapons - so that they would "know how to use them" if called upon to fight for their freedoms. The "militia" is not described as an organization - rather as "citizens of fighting age". Moreover, "well regulated" simply means "trained in the use of weapons". The entire purpose of this statement is to back up the rationale for not taking away the rights of "individuals" in owning weapons - that is, if they don't own weapons - they won't know how to use them. It is not some vast statement requiring participation in some organization in order to own a weapon - in fact, it is exactly the opposite - a statement that "personal ownership allows you to be useful when called upon to defend freedom". If anything, the 2nd ammendment is suggesting (strongly) that _EVERYONE_ should be required to own and know how to use a weapon.

i was looking up information for writing a persuasive paper in english class when i came upon this website. i agree with everything that you have said in this essay and i thank you.


P.S. Texas rules

"But humans are the most successful species this planet has seen not for being ferocious or fast or strong or even intelligent, but for their malleability."

That is I think a lie.

We are not the most successful species. Insects are.
I like humans. I don't always like insects. But if our 'most succesful' species was to get all rubbishy and simultaneously press the Nuclear Buttons for Defense, hasn't it been shown that the most likely survivors of such a blast would be the enormously adaptive and creepily lowly cockroach?

We are also responsible for the most extinctions (I believe) in the last millon years. How does that (objectively) make us so succesful in a world where biodiversity = success/health/life?

For adaptability, insects can live pretty much anywhere on earth that does or doesn't support human life.

Remember when you call someone an 'insect' in an attempt to make them sound irritating and lowly. Humans are more responsible than insects for destroying life. Just a point of truth.

Small point, but truth! About 90% of all animals are insects. Why does that make them less succesful than humans? Which means your point is to create a lie because subjectively humans are 'better' (because you are a human, undoubtedly)

Objective truth please.


PS God Bless The World.

I think plants are successful too. They can grow through concrete. If you put me under concrete, I would not grow through. Does that mean you or I are better?

In truth


PS: Philosophy and politics don't mix unless the politician has something to gain by employing philosophy? Discuss.

Thankyou for a well written critique. While I do not agree with everything that has been put forward, I must say that it has been a very enlightening and insightful read. I will not quibble or argue against any of the points put forward that I disagree with, as it would not change the heart of Your (Bill's) argument - that being that firearm ownership is a freedom and a right of American citizens and is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

However, there is one comment that I must object very strongly to, and feel the need to address here..

Who's nuts enough to invade America? Exactly. It's unthinkable. Good. 2nd Amendment Mission 1 accomplished.

America has one of (if not THE) largest military in the world. It also has one of (if not THE) largest nuclear capacity in the world. If has some of (if not THE) most economical capacity and clout in the world. It has some of (if not THE) biggest political clout in the world stage. It has a massive industrial capacity, including weapons manafucturing. It also has a constutution protecting the right for citizens to own and bear arms.

And you are suggesing here that in the face of the possible military, nuclear, economic, political, and allied response any potential invader of America would face; that it is the 2nd amendment that is the deterrant against invasion? I think not.

--Matt Sk

September 23, 2002....

it was 57 years since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light- hearted "peaceniks" and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that "Peace is not a cause - it is an effect."

In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..." Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice- making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound.

Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature's pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for
all, but especially for the people of Japan.

When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I'm sure, my own.

Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, "conventional" warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous "rights" purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

At best, these fakers demonstrate a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth's latest model tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth's choicemaker, it is our identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear or envy the oppressor nor
choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not that you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis

James F. Baxter
WW II and Korea

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40

Bucketspoon, the more of your posts I read, the more like crazy rantings they sound.
Did bugs ever EVOLVE mentally, like we did? Did they find ways to neutralize their predators and cure their illnesses like we did? Did they ever come up with ways to better their societies?
Plants can grow through concrete?
No. BETWEEN concrete, yes-between two slices of concrete, because they're small enough to do that. Set the two sheets far apart enough, I can do that too.
I also have the unique capacity to THINK my way around obstacles. Do not assume that the entire human race conforms to your inability to reach this intellectual level.

Bill, excellent post. Beautifully thought out. Beautifully written. I agree with nearly all of it, and those portions I do not agree with are nit-picking, at most.
To the person who added the comment about the literary reference, and offerd a pint for the first to recognize it. It was from "The Lord Of The Rings", of course. Specifically, volume 2, "The Two Towers"

Rereading this essay I wonder if you have been exposed to the historical words Molon Labe
Seems to fit with this essay.
Heres a start if you want to look in to it

Great article, Bill.

I wanted to address your recurring comment that the French--and several other European nations--like to accuse us of "simplisme." It's a nice vague term which seems to accuse us of *being* simple as well as making things overly simple, and its unstated obverse is that sophisticated folk recognize that life is filled with nuance, neither simple nor easy.

Once upon a time, this attitude rubbed me the wrong way. I was annoyed at the hubris of Germany, France and Russia when they would not join us in going to war against a common enemy, believing that the entire effort would come to naught without their token assistance. I was bothered by Jacques Chirac, who in a petulant fit snubbed our Commander-in-Chief by refusing to call and congratulate him on his re-election for a full week after the event. M. Chirac further grated on me by showing his historical ignorance and deep ingratitude by pointing out to Prime Minister Blair that England had "gained nothing" by its loyalty to the United States in this war. (How soon, simple Monsieur le President, we have forgotten the Ardenne Forest and the beaches of Normandy. I do hope your nuanced view of the world accepts of such concepts as "debt of gratitude.")

But I have come to a point where I no longer rankle at Europe's high-minded tendency to treat our nation as an ill-behaved, headstrong child. The thing that caused me to change my mind was, oddly enough, the recent death of my grandfather. I had some time to think about the particulars of his life, and it turned out to be quite illuminating.

Grandpa was born in Sweden in 1922. He was an unwanted child, handed around from relative to relative until his teen years, when he became apprenticed to a butcher and delicatessen owner. There he learned the fine art of food preparation and became a talented cook. But he did not stay in Sweden to ply his trade; the butcher warned his teenage apprentice that the National Socialists were rising to power in Germany--and that Scandinavia likely would not lift a finger to stop them. So, on the wise advice of his boss, he went to America.

It didn't take Grandpa long after he got here to sign up for military service. As a champion skier who held several ski jumping records in his home province, he was placed with the ski troops. He came home alive, but missing a leg and riddled with cancer. Doctors gave him six months to live; miraculously, the cancer went into full remission and those six months turned into some 60 years. Rarely did he speak of the war, preferring to focus on work, family and sailing. It wasn't until some 50 years later that his military files were declassified and he was free to talk about precisely what he had done in World War II. But he always recognized that his service, however horrific, was necessary to keep the rest of the world safe and free.

Europeans would probably have called my grandfather simplisme. They would regard him, an unwanted child from a backwater province of an unimportant country, as "the wretched refuse of [their] teeming shore." But Grandpa had some special qualities within him, even as a teenager: intelligence, ability, a drive to succeed, and the willingness to relocate to a land that would foster his success.

A generation ago, there were still people like this in Europe. In America, we usually refer to them as "immigrants."

I maintain that much of Europe despises America not because of our simplisme, but because of our strength as a people. And to be honest, we have them to thank for it. Certainly in these days, more immigrants come to the U.S. from outside Europe than from within it--but in previous generations, the overwhelming majority of new Americans came from the Old World. Any Europeans who displayed a trace of gumption, drive, or desire to succeed packed up, moved and became Americans. Their determination and zest for life enriched our national can-do spirit, and their love for their adopted country boosted our natural patriotism. Modern Europeans, on the other hand, are the direct descendants of those individuals with little or no natural drive--those who stayed behind. Their anemic bloodlines show in their indolent unwillingness to act in their own best interests, like an old dog covered with bloodsucking ticks who is too lazy even to scratch at them.

My grandfather loved Sweden. He kept a Swedish flag, cooked Swedish food, and on occasions when he returned to visit Sweden, the tears would well up in his eyes. Sweden was the nation of his birth. But America was the nation of his choice. This was the nation that harnessed his desire to fight evil in the world, supported his desire to make something of his life, and provided him with safety and peace in his old age. This unwanted child of Europe became something fine and wonderful in America--and his story was not at all unusual. His immigrant experience was solidly typical of the experience of millions of new Americans.

And if you don't think the Europeans are jealous of us, then you really are simple.

Brief response to the pro-freedom article which defines complete freedom as including the right to bear arms:

One of the opening quotes of the paper is the following:

But humans are the most successful species this planet has seen not for being ferocious or fast or strong or even intelligent, but for their malleability. Humans can, and do, adapt to anything. It is their culture that determines what is in their hearts.

Humans are the most successful species on this planet, but what sets us apart from other species is indeed our intelligence, not our “malleability.” Put a suburbanite in a South American jungle and see how malleable he or she is. It is the intelligence of humans that has allowed them to mold the environment around them to one in which they can thrive, not their malleability allowing them to simply take whatever comes at them.
Moving on the main issue at hand, however, the second amendment to our Constitution of the United States says the following:

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.

This amendment, just as the first is often misused, is very often taken out of context. To many American minds, the second amendment is simply “the right to bear arms.” The first half of that statement, however, includes “a well regulated Militia.” This is a militia that is maintained by order and discipline, not one which may inadvertently exist through an invisible network of individuals who have nothing in common except that they are Americans who own guns. America has a militia. America has the strongest militia in the world, one composed of 5 groups: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. These individuals are “well regulated” and are serving with the goal of protecting our freedom. However, I do understand that it may be argued that government supported military forces cannot qualify as the type of Militia permitted by the second amendment. If this argument is considered, where is the “well regulated Militia”? Individuals fighting to maintain their freedoms by owning a gun ought not quote this amendment too heavily, because any well regulated and organized militia being currently necessary to our own security certainly does not seem to be in the making. Further, I interpret this amendment as permitting Arms in order that “a free State” might be secured, not that an individual may protect him/her self.
The virtue of resisting without violence is not a virtue to be either easily understood, nor easily dismissed. After delineating the artistically vibrant and intelligent lives of the Jews who were persecuted by Hitler’s Nazi Party, and detailing the tragedy of their genocide, the author brings his point home, saying that he cannot imagine a “clearer lesson on human nature.” Nor can he “imagine the amount of blood it will take to convince people unwilling to look reality in the face; that reality being that compassion, culture, law and philosophy are precious, rare and acquired habits that must be defended with force against people who understand nothing but force.” The author is poorly mistaken in reducing our enemies to people who understand nothing but force. The grouping of all people of their religion and race together as offenders based on a few extremists is entirely unfair. Dr. King’s non-violent methods were highly successful in the 1960s when his fighters managed to gain the compassion of those around them because of the violence done against them. I am by no means arguing that we must be made to look like victims in order to defeat our enemies or to gain the support of other nations. But, leaving global issues out of the present discussion, any oppression that may come upon any segment of the American people can be overcome by non-violent measures. There are, in fact, oppressed people today seeking equality (homosexuals, minorities, pregnant women) who are fighting for their cause without the use of violence. Perhaps it can be credited to the compassion, law and philosophy of the United States that non-violence has thus far been the case. And further, should violent force be used against them, appropriate measures have been, and will be, taken to protect them. (I would like to add that culture is hardly a “rare and acquired habit,” as the author says. Every human who grows up in a society experiences a culture of his/her own.)
I do not wish to argue against gun ownership. I simply feel that the reasons presented by this author are ill formed and may be considered offensive by many.

I believe gun ownership is the truest form of freedom, and here's why: It says you
are your own person, responsible for your own actions. You are not willing to be collectively punished for the misdeeds of others. In fact, those that abuse this freedom by committing crimes are thought of and dealt with much more harshly by gun owners, as a rule, than Hollywood celebrities, precisely because a free person understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.

As I understand our constitution, a free person is every citizen of the United States until some circumstance has been proven in which his/her rights must be revoked, not one who “understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.” If the author feels safe having guns on the street because he believes everyone around him who is free understands his responsibility in acting on that freedom, he has far more faith in the general people than I. It is among these general people that we have an astoundingly high crime rate; about half of these general people will not agree with you on their political stance; probably far more than half are rushing through their days on-edge and stressed-out, the extreme one’s creating instances of road rage and other random acts. Not judging the goodness or badness of our general people, but simply making some basic observations about the general people around me, I do not believe that all of our free citizens will act responsibly because of their freedom all the time. I do not “believe gun ownership is the truest form of freedom,” nor that it says that I am my own person. Rather, I am able to say myself that I am my own person, I am able to act my own person, worship as my own person, and protest as my own person all because of our first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I am not particularly excited about choosing my favorite amendment, but if I had to select one that has the strongest impact on my daily life, it would be the first amendment. That I can choose not to worship anything without being persecuted and that I can protest the incumbent president affect me in a far more profound way than whether or not I can have a gun under my mattress or in my purse. However, I will refrain from discussing further what I may feel as the “truest form of freedom.”
The author also puts force and intelligence against each other:

I recently visited a website that featured a picture of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, with the caption: My hero! Someone who thinks his way out of trouble! The implication, of course, is that force and violence are universally to be rejected and despised as unworthy of thinking people (or Vulcans).

Perhaps the two do not need to be pitted against each other, but can be combined. Anyone who has trained in some form of martial arts will know that intellect plays a key role in defending oneself with effective tactics. Thinking your way out of trouble is likely to result in less trouble in the end, but if force becomes necessary, think then too, so as to minimize your damage. Furthermore, I would advise against pitting yourself against intelligence— knowledge is still highly valued by many Americans and you may inadvertently alienate yourself and your cause.

Ask yourselves why intellectual elites so love totalitarian states where people are unarmed and dependant sheep. Look at the examples of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Saddam, and the horrors they have inflicted at will on their own people. And when contemplating your ever-so-sophisticated foreign policy, ask yourselves what compassionate and non-violent options you are left with when facing a determined, heartless bastard like Hitler, Napoleon, Ghengis Khan or Attila.

I would like to ask you what enemy are we facing that is in any way comparable to Hitler? Our government is currently doing what it thinks best to protect its people. We are not facing a genocide. If anything, we are currently playing the role of one which other nations may feel the need to protect themselves from. (If I may have one immature jest, this argument for lax gun laws is usually conservative, so I am assuming the author is a republican, so, I have to ask, your man is in office, what’s your problem? Why do you feel so threatened?) What intellectual elites are desiring that we become “unarmed and dependant sheep”? Perhaps they are seeking safer streets, slightly less dangerous jobs for law enforcement officials . . . but like I said earlier, careful on putting yourself against the intellectuals, they’re notorious for being able to defend their position.
Finally, the cost of sacrificing a freedom.

And there is more than the physical restriction of freedoms: There is the slow erosion of self-reliance, self-confidence and self-determination among a nation. The more your government restricts your options, the more you psychologically look to government to keep you safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained.

There is a word for people who are fed, clothed, housed and sustained fully by others, and that word is SLAVES.

The workings of democracy are dependent on the sacrifice of freedoms. You cannot simply do as you please, there are laws that you must abide by in order to be a citizen. In some situations, the cost of losing a freedom is less than the cost of maintaining it. Take murder, for example. In the United States, it is illegal to murder. No one has the right to kill another human being. This is a cost most are happy to pay, because in return they are protected from being murdered (ideally). Thus, the benefits out-weigh the costs. So, in America, we are not people with endless freedoms. We are people enjoying the protection of those freedoms which our founding fathers saw as providing the most benefit for the cost of the infringements they may incur. The creation of a meaning of “slave” here is very fascinating, but I doubt any American today, even those who are not privileged by their race, gender, or class, feel that they are a slave to this government. Further, some groups of people may take offence to such a comparison.
I would like to leave you with one final thought: many of the arguments of the author have been centered on maintaining freedoms. Yet, the only freedoms he is concerned about maintaining are those included in the constitution. Is it not possible that there are freedoms that are not protected by the Constitution, but that you still enjoy? And vice versa, do you not think it possible that some of your freedoms are infringed upon by the Constitution? It is the work of slave-owning, money-loving, cigarette-smoking, meat-eating, women-dominating men—not gods. The constitution they created has indeed proven to be filled with wisdom years ahead of its time, but we humans are, after all, exceptional because of brains.

A great post. I happened across it accidentally when I typed in a search request for a coffee table book.

It's encouraging to see other rational voices out there. Are you an Objectivist?

Joe Kane
Chief, USN

I am glad I found your site.
Are you familiar with the writings of Robert A. Heinlein?

As a "thoughtful and intelligent Canadian" I'd like to thank you for a truly eye-opening essay. For the most part, we (the Canadians) do strongly disagree with ownership of handguns. That's because we've never been invaded (except by you guys..), the British were quite nice to us, and our own Government has been too inept to be anything but benign. I guess we think we don't need guns, because we've never need them before (not a good argument, I know).

Your essay made me see the issue from outside the safety of my country. What if the Tutsis of Rwanda has owned hand guns? Nazis existed way before my time (I'm only 30), but Rwanda happened in my time, and I watched as no one did anything for 100 days, and 1 million defenseless civilians were killed.

I just nevered asked the simple question: "What if they had been able to defend themselves?"

I understand now why you keep your guns. Thank-you.