AOH :: LEVER14.TXT|
More anti gun control by Neil Smith
The Atlanta Declaration: Every man, woman, and responsible child has a
natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and
Constitutional right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed,
any weapon -- handgun, shotgun, rifle, machinegun, \anything\ -- any
time, anywhere, without asking anyone's permission.
L. NEIL SMITH'S \LEVER ACTION\ LETTER NUMBER 14
==A NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT POLITICS: THE "I" IN THE PYRAMID==
Thoughtful individuals have known for a long time that there's something
wrong with the traditional right-left "political spectrum", a one-dimensional
scale by means of which TV pundits and political science professors try to
calculate and explain, as the old limerick puts it, exactly who's doing
what and with which and to whom.
I remember hearing a lecture in my sophomore or junior year about how
some individuals and groups don't fit on this conventional right-left
spectrum -- so what we do is throw 'em out to avoid confusion. (The Gallup
Poll equivalent is to mark you down as having "No Opinion" when you say
you're neither voting Republican \nor\ Democrat.
One trouble with this, aside from the fundamental stupidity of hammering
and filing reality down to fit non-working theory, was that I happened to
belong to such a group, those who enjoy the novels of philosopher Ayn Rand.
I even knew some members of another, latter-day admirers of l9th Century
"single-tax" advocate Henry George. Today, my professor would throw out
followers of Lyndon Larouche, who seem to be either left wing fascists or
right wing socialists. The interesting thing is that \none of these groups
has anything in common except that they don't fit on the traditional spectrum\.
Later on, a wiser teacher, Robert LeFevre, showed me that you don't have
to be a political scientist (and since that's a contradiction, it probably
helps if you aren't) to see that the spectrum other problems. Right, left,
center, each comes equipped with a set of reasonable-sounding excuses for
depriving the individual of his life, liberty, and property. Conservatives
justify their many and frequent trespasses against personal freedom in the
name of the family or national security. Liberals deny economic freedom and
the right to own and carry weapons in the name of safety, welfare, or social
justice. Nowhere is there a place for those to whom no excuse, no matter
how reasonable-sounding, can justify violations of basic human rights.
There are more difficulties: Joseph Stalin, theoretically a
Marxist-Leninist, often seemed to out-fascist even Adolf Hitler. Hitler was
supposed to be as far to the right as you can get, but "Nazi" happens to be
short for "national socialist workers' party". Some people handle this by
saying, "I don't believe in labels". But labels are words, the software
of the mind; just because they (or their users) sometimes fail to identify
reality correctly, that's no reason to give them up. Or to give up thinking.
"Sophisticates" say that it all goes around in a circle. Get "extreme"
enough and there's no difference between socialism and fascism. There may
be some truth in this rather Zennish hypothesis. Surely it doesn't matter
to the victim whether his firing squad leans to the right or to the left.
But if we want to keep either extreme from ruining our lives \before\ we
get to that point, it's important to know which one we're dealing with.
Each uses different code-words to warn what it plans for us. Each employs
different strategy and tactics. Each requires different preventive measures.
A proper substitute for the traditional spectrum would describe the
real world and offer clues for defeating any threat to liberty. The base
in the diagram below is the traditional spectrum with some changes in
emphasis. To account for all observed political phenomena, it's necessary
to add two lines, converting it into a triangle.
See why the old form is inadequate and dangerous. Most Americans would
place themselves in the middle at the bottom, but that represents sort of
an invisible region (which some analysts call "populist") where \neither\
personal liberty nor economic freedom is tolerable. Because it's invisible,
and because advocates at either end unwittingly contribute to its power by
striving to achieve power for themselves, it's an easy place to end up. It
seems to be where America is headed today.
Take a hard look at this diagram -- you may not belong where you always
thought you did -- and see whether it doesn't answer all kinds of questions
my old political science professor (probably yours, as well) would rather
have thrown out than consider.
INDIVIDUALISM (also, Libertarianism) Nobody tells anybody what to do.
Future-oriented, rational. Adult, hands-off attitude toward others.
Asserts individual self-ownership. Favors personal liberty and
economic freedom. People, neither stupid nor evil, must be left alone.
Typical slogan: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MAJORITARIANISM Left-collectivism. AUTHORITARIANISM Right-collectivism
Everybody tells everybody else what One man tells everyone else what to
to do. Present-oriented, irrational. do. Tradition-oriented, mystical.
Maternal, protective attitude toward Paternal, punitive attitude toward
others. Claims to favor personal others. Claims to favor economic
liberty, opposes economic freedom. freedom, opposes personal liberty.
Asserts that the individual is the Asserts that the individual is the
property of his fellow beings and/or property of God, his family, and/or
the State. People are all a little the State. People are all a little
stupid and must be "helped". Typical evil and must be \watched\. Typical
slogan: "Dream the impossible dream." slogan: "My country, right or wrong."
L. NEIL SMITH'S \LEVER ACTION\ LETTER NUMBER 14
111 EAST DRAKE ROAD SUITE 7032
FORT COLLINS, COLORADO U.S.A. 80525
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 16 novels including
\Henry Martyn, The Crystal Empire, BrightSuit MacBear, Taflak Lysandra,
The Probability Broach,\ and the forthcoming FORGE OF THE ELDERS
trilogy, beginning with CONTACT AND COMMUNE.
Your contributions to this effort, while extremely welcome, are not
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