Friday, March 26, 2010

Why learning History is Important

When I was a kid, I sure could not appreciate the importance of learning History.  After all, it was old stuff that had already happened.  I was more interested in the "new" stuff.  The value of history is wasted on youth.  We never realized that life is a circle and although times, clothes, appliances, transportation and a vast array of other "things" change, the minds and hearts of men do not.  There is always the urge to suppress, rule, dictate and totally control the masses.

I believe we are at a crossroad right now.  Over the years our federal government has grown into something the framers of the Constitution were very concerned about avoiding.  Slowly, one small Constitutional perversion at a time, the federal government has violated the limitations placed upon it by the enumerated powers listed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  And, as we all know, the more a thief steals unabated, the more brazen he becomes.  

Today we are faced with a Marxist/Socialist as president and two chambers of Congress dominated by leftist "progressive" democrats.  The mandates and imposed sanctions for a failure to comply are now law, as evidenced in the latest "Health Care Reform" bill.  Sadly, this is only the beginning of the Obamanation and if we, as a nation, do not realize that our liberty and freedoms are at stake, we will soon lose them.  

I have listed many of my favorite quotes below.  They are from very different eras and very different people.  However, they all warn of the same thing.  Read these...I mean REALLY read these words and take the time to think about them.  As you are thinking, watch your children play and think of your responsibility to assure their freedom, security and liberty in the future.  

In the military, there is an old slogan, "You fight like you train."  If you are unwilling to take action to protect your liberties now by legal, politically active means; when your liberty is finally taken away you will surely not have the will to fight to get it back.

History is unfolding right in front of your face right now.  Will you simply stand there and watch as Lady Liberty is raped at your feet?  Will you look the other way as Uncle Sam is pummeled by leftist members of Congress that are pushing a statist agenda?  Are you a "moderate" live and let live kind of person?  If you are any of the aforementioned, you do not deserve the God given liberties bestowed upon you.  Our liberty is not the fruit of "moderate" forefathers.  The Founding Fathers of this country were not "moderate" by any means.  They risked their lives and property to create a country free of the bonds of an oppressive government. 

Well, the free ride is over and now we must face the enemy of freedom that is no longer at the gate.  The enemy is in the White House, in the chambers of Congress and in the Attorney General's office.    


"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle!

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."  -Frederick Douglass, August 4, 1857.

"There are always a few, better endowed than others, who feel the weight of the yoke and cannot restrain themselves from attempting to shake it off: these are the men who never become tamed under subjection and who always, like Ulysses on land and sea constantly seeking the smoke of his chimney, cannot prevent themselves from peering about for their natural privileges and from remembering their ancestors and their former ways.

"These are in fact the men who, possessed of clear minds and far-sighted spirit, are not satisfied, like the brutish mass, to see only what is at their feet, but rather look about them, behind and before, and even recall the things of the past in order to judge those of the future, and compare both with their present condition.  These are the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further trained them by study and learning.  Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised."  -  Etienne de La Boetie, in "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude", 1548.

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the right of resistance? Let them take arms ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."  - Thomas Jefferson.

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." -       Noah Webster.

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." -Ayn Rand

"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery."  -Thomas Jefferson.

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." -Marcus Tullius Cicero, 42 BC.

"Human nature is full of riddles; one of those riddles is: how is it that people who have been crushed by the sheer weight of slavery and cast to the bottom of the pit can nevertheless find strength in themselves to rise up and free themselves first in spirit and then in body while those who soar unhampered over the peaks of freedom suddenly lose the taste of freedom, lose the will to defend it, and, hopelessly confused and lost, almost begin to crave slavery?” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. -Samuel Adams.

"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." -Thomas Jefferson.

“Tyranny is the exercise of Power beyond Right, which no Body can have a Right to. And this is making use of the Power any one has in his hands; not for the good of those, who are under it, but for his own private separate Advantage. ... For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.” - John Locke Two Treatise of Government (1698) Book II,  Chapter XVIII, § 199.

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice.

"If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; And the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains around the necks of our fellow sufferers; And this is the tendency of all human governments.

A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on 'til the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering... And the forehorse of this frightful team is public debt.  Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." -Thomas Jefferson.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." - James Madison, Federalist Papers No. 47.

Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

I see right through your thin disguise,
your alligator tears, and your crooked smiles.
You bite with stolen teeth; speak in false tongues,
indoctrinate people when they are young,
with the lie that crawls out of your mouth:

I, The State, am The People.

You say "there's nothing greater than I,
the ordering finger of God, am I."
You roar and the sheep kneel.
But you can't affect anyone who feels
the lie that crawls out of your mouth:

I, The State, am The People.

Somewhere there are still peoples, and herds.
But where we live, we live among turds.
You mean the death of those who believe,
who fail to realise, who fail to perceive,
the lie that crawls out of your mouth:

I, The State, am The People.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The NRA is to the 2nd Amendment as H & R Block is to the 16th. — A March 12, 2002 news item got me thinking. It was titled "Gun Violence Prevention Groups Claim Victory as H&R Block Severs Ties with National Rifle Association." It wasn't the article itself, or what the article was about that was significant. It was the title that used the names "NRA" and "H & R Block" in the same sentence. Seeing those two names together reminded me of something too many people in the pro 2nd Amendment movement either don't see or refuse to recognize, the effect of self-interest.
We live in a time characterized by far broader concerns over issues of liberty and unconstitutional encroachment upon liberty by government than just those centered on the Second Amendment. Over the last quarter century or so (a period concurrent with the gun control vs. 2nd Amendment battle) we have also seen the rise of an ever-growing anti-income tax movement. And, just as the gun control battle orbits a Constitutional amendment so too does the battle over the income tax. We've all seen serious and well-researched assertions that the 16th Amendment that created the income tax was never legally ratified. We're also seeing the government refusing to address the issue.
So, what's all this got to do with the NRA and H & R Block? Plenty! Why? Because of a fact of life far too many of us in the pro 2nd Amendment movement either fail to see or refuse to acknowledge. That fact of life centers on the economic self-interest of an organization and its leadership.
Expecting the NRA to support the position that "shall not be infringed" means just that -- no permits can be required if it's a "right" and not a "privilege" -- is a lot like expecting H & R Block to support the position that the 16th Amendment was never legally ratified.
If the 16th Amendment and the income tax are thrown out, H & R Block is out of business. That much is pretty obvious, but Block does not hold itself out to be opposed to the income tax. The situation is very different where the NRA is concerned, and this is what gives rise to the dichotomy of opinion about the NRA within the pro 2nd Amendment movement.
We all need to become more aware of what the NRA is and has been historically. We then need to take a really hard look at what the strongest supporters and members of the NRA do for a living. Looking at it this way reveals one likely reason why the NRA refuses to support the position that no permits or registrations should be required if firearms ownership is a "right" that "shall not be infringed."
The NRA is, and has historically been, the single strongest advocate (and provider) of firearms use and safety training. Think about this for a minute. How many firearm use and safety course instructors do you know of who are NOT NRA certified? According the the NRA's own website, there are currently some 38,000 NRA Certified Instructors throughout the United States. The NRA may not be the only organization that certifies gun use and safety instructors, but it is certainly the single biggest one. 38,000 NRA Certified Instructors averages 760 per state. The numbers alone prove the NRA virtually owns the firearms instruction certification market in this country. Now there's nothing wrong with this. The NRA does a wonderful job teaching gun safety and certifying instructors. It's what they're really good at and I fully approve of what they do in this regard. Personally, I think every gun owner should take at least one gun use and safety course from an NRA certified instructor. I don't think any governmental body should require it though.
Now take a look around the country. Most states have now become "shall issue" states and in every one of them (that I know of) the "issue" of the "permit" requires two things:
1.  A clean criminal record 2.  Attending and passing some form of firearms use and safety course
Where do you think the instructors for these courses come from? Wouldn't you have to assume that with 38,000 NRA certified firearm safety instructors in the U.S. that most (if not nearly all) of the people who teach the courses required for CCW permits are among those 38,000? I would. Now ask yourself this: How many of these NRA certified instructors, whose economic life depends upon a steady stream of course attendees, are likely to support the position that it is illegal and unconstitutional for any level of government to REQUIRE gun permits and gun safety courses? While you're at it, take a look at the NRA as a national organization. What do they sell and profit from? It is the sponsorship of gun training and gun safety courses and teaching materials. Furthermore, this is what the NRA has been doing for over a hundred years. It is their core business. Do you REALLY expect them to support the position that gun permits (and the training required by them) are unconstitutional? If you do, I've got a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn I'll sell you cheap.
Gun control isn't like being pregnant. Being pregnant is a binary state. Someone either IS or ISN'T pregnant. But gun control exists on a continuum. You can have total gun control, such as outright bans, or only a little gun control, such as permits.
The mistake too many in the pro 2nd Amendment movement make is the assumption that the NRA is opposed to gun control. This assumption is false. The NRA is, always has been, and will continue to be a PRO GUN CONTROL ORGANIZATION! They will always support requirements for permits and attendance at gun safety and training classes because teaching these classes is what the economic life of so many of the NRA's strongest supporters, depends upon. Any assertion that the NRA does not virtually "own" the firearms and gun safety instructor training and certification market in this country is like making the assertion that Microsoft does not virtually "own" the computer operating system market. Both are obvious on their face.
It is because of this that I do not belong to, nor support the NRA in any way. Supporting the NRA is supporting (a form of) gun control and I am opposed to ALL forms of gun control... unless you define "gun control" as being capable of putting a .30 round through an enemy of the Constitution's left eye at 300 yards.
Gary Clark is a writer, small business owner and staunch defender of the right of every individual to own, bear and use ANY type of weapon that can be carried on the person. He lives in Las Vegas and can be reached by e-mail at

by Gary Clark