It is difficult to write a good dystopian novel. George Orwell, Ray Bradbury and the rest set the bar high. I can’t even say that I know what makes it good. Perhaps the fact that Orwell’s protagonist in 1984 ultimately fails lends his book some credibility. It’s possible that Bradbury’s ability to create such a different world (predicting reality TV and iPods–not bad!) made his dystopia a little more engaging. Glenn Beck’s attempt, The Overton Window, sadly, fell far short of the mark. Again, I can’t really say what Beck missed. The book simply didn’t work.
I worried, as I began Liberty Gulch by A. G. Fredericks, that I was reading nothing more than another Overton Window–that the climax (spoiler alert) would feature the protagonist saving himself from death by electrocution by reciting poetry to his father. Quite the contrary.
Fredericks’ novel is a 200-page examination of a possible end to our tyrannical civilization. It addresses issues that libertarians like the author are passionate about. We see the dangers of a police-state in a late-night raid as well as the inefficiency of the same when the riots begin. We see bank runs, gas and food shortages, and life without electricity.
Fredericks’ character is not a libertarian, but rather an average American who moves to the country for a better life. This proves effective as we aren’t treated to the author’s views through long-winded monologues. Instead of writing the message in the characters’ thoughts, the author shows us through various events. The importance of arming one’s self is emphasized by the absence of a weapon, instead of a room full of AR-15s. This is a more effective approach and is far more interesting to read.
Throughout the narrative, we find ourselves asking how we would react to the situations it portrays. We finish the book contemplating whether we are prepared for such a challenge and how we might better prepare.
Fredericks has successfully written a good dystopian novel. Liberty Gulch effectively communicates his message through relatable examples. This novel can be a useful tool as libertarian ideas have become famous for how abstract they are. In Liberty Gulch we have a concrete argument with examples that bring the libertarian position to life in a way not often observed.
A. G. Fredericks is also the author of The Troy Standard.
I love a good book or film that defends liberty. 1984 by Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Braveheart by Wallace (The book really is better!). I love the anti-war sentiments shared by Hawkeye in M*A*S*H. Sadly, he was also anti-gun and anti-keeping it in his pants. I guess you can’t have ‘em all. The latest Star Trek installment made me cheer in my seat when it soundly reinforced due-process for even the most vile of criminals. Even Man of Steel had its moments–my favorite was definitely the smashing of the drone.
Ron Maxwell has turned out such films as Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. Each bore the astonishing feature of not demonizing the Southern generals and soldiers. Instead, it showed the human side of each side and offered insights into the unique view points of North and South. God and religion are spoken of freely. One scene even features a Southern general praying that the slaves be freed.
You can imagine, then, my excitement at Maxwell’s latest endeavor, Copperhead. This new film tells the story of Abner Beech, a New York dairy farmer and Copperhead, a political term referring to his opposition to the war between the states. As with his other works on that period, Maxwell largely withholds his judgement of Abner’s ideals. Instead, the film promotes acceptance of political opinions, even when those opinions are anti-war.
We see Abner defend the marginalized democrat party and oppose the war between the states. He stands by his principles. These are opinions that, regardless of their merit, deserve to be examined more often. It is the mark of poor scholarship to assume that everyone in the North was pro-Lincoln and backed him all the way in the war effort. You don’t think Lincoln jailed all those journalists for misspelling “they’re,” do you? This film takes on an issue that has been overlooked by most. In that, it is classic Ron Maxwell.
As a film, I’m afraid it doesn’t quite meet the standard set by its predecessors, Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. The message often seems forced. Abner is an introvert who doesn’t like to push his philosophy on his neighbors. Therefore, any real articulation of his beliefs must be coaxed out of him by others in the town.
However, none of this changes that there is tremendous value in Copperhead’s message. We will not likely ever see a film that treats this issue so fairly. Instead, we will watch countless films fill the screens which glorify Lincoln and paint the war between the states as a crusade against slavery and a righteous struggle to preserve the greatest country on Earth. Maxwell will remain among the few who is willing to give voice to the Copperheads and to those of the South who fought for their sovereignty as states. I look forward to seeing Ron Maxwell’s next project.
As I have talked with others in the liberty movement, I have discovered the great variety of each person’s resources. When I discuss the different writers and speakers and researchers that I learn from, I find that, oftentimes, though we have arrived at very similar conclusions, we have benefited from the knowledge of very different theorists. My friends within the liberty movement and I can learn, not only by sharing ideas, but also by sharing our sources.
One of my newest favorite scholars is Jeffrey Tucker. Listening to his speeches and reading his articles is exciting because of his enthusiasm for liberty and his practical approach to freedom. I have broadened my horizons significantly as I have studied his work.
Because Mr. Tucker works with the Mises Institute, he is primarily concerned with the market economy as the freest society. I don’t know that I have ever seen anyone get so excited about the workings of the free market as Jeffrey Tucker. You will hear history lessons retold as he shows the great good entrepreneurs of the world have done. You may think you understand what the free market is. There is a fair chance he will open your eyes even more to what freedom in the marketplace really means. Admittedly, I am still struggling to fully understand his position on intellectual property.
Jeffrey Tucker approaches liberty somewhat differently than most. He is extremely practical. Rather than spend all his time explaining to people why he should be free, he explains freedom and then finds ways to exercise as many of his rights as possible. Where the government has regulated a product into uselessness, he hacks it. He shares ideas on how to give your children a real education through entrepreneurship. He provides access to ebooks through his business, Laissez Faire Club.
I have grown to admire Jeffrey Tucker as I have studied his work. I am also trying to figure out how he makes that bow tie look so good. Who is your favorite scholar in the liberty movement?
Lately, there has been some talk about the purity of some libertarians and debates about wether or not certain public figures, such as Glenn Beck or Rand Paul, can actually be considered libertarians. Especially in the case of Beck, the argument that he isn’t libertarian was met with retorts about “litmus tests” and purity tests. Just how libertarian do you have to be before you get to join the club?
While I do not believe in litmus tests, I do think that there is a fairly concrete definition of libertarianism the ideology. This is different from libertarianism the party which is influenced by politicians. The ideology of libertarianism is the result of a single principle applied to every area of our lives. So, while it is unfair to expect someone to agree with you on every issue before they join the club, it is totally objective to say that there are different levels of libertarianism and newer arrivals are usually found in the lower levels.
First, what is the principle upon which libertarianism is based? It’s called the “non-aggression principle.” This principle states that everyone may engage in any activity they like, so long as it does not interfere with the rights of another. For great definition of rights, review this short chapter from Michael Badnarik’s book, Good to be King. As you will see in his explanation, our rights come directly from our property. I have the right to paint my car any color I want, because I own it. I have the right to decide how I will treat my body since I own it. With these rights come related responsibilities. Since I have the right to put junk in my body, I alone am responsible for the consequences.
The non-aggression principle is simple enough in that light, but what does it tell us about government? It is here that the different levels of libertarianism are thrown in sharp relief. Some apply the principle to government only part-way. Perhaps they oppose welfare, excessive government agencies, or the Federal Reserve. Such people are usually new to the non-aggression principle and are uneasy about applying it to all government activity. Gradually, many of them will continue to notice areas where they feel confident applying the principle where before they had not. For instance, one day a new libertarian realizes that taxation is out and out theft. Necessary or not, taking money by force cannot be defined any other way.
This is probably where Glenn Beck stands. From what I have heard from him, he’s still in the beginning stages. It’s fantastic that he realizes this and I cheer him on in his journey.
At the other end of the libertarian spectrum are those who are totally committed to the non-aggression principle. In most cases, it took them a long time to get there. They generally believe that every aspect of the government can at least be privatized and some are better completely done away with. Gerard Casey wrote an excellent book on this theory called Libertarian Anarchy. He describes the feasibility of such a theory. I highly recommend this read.
Again, libertarianism is a concrete principle that can be defined. Differences among libertarians are often differences of degree, not of kind. In this movement, it’s not so important who is promoting liberty. They’re promoting liberty. Don’t discourage them! It can be frustrating to those who apply the non-aggression principle more liberally, but be patient with new arrivals. Also, thanks to all those who were and are patient with me.
Drones. Congratulations to Senator Paul on his filibuster. This question, does the President have the right to kill a U.S. citizen without due process, needed to be addressed. The senator did just that and he not only stood up for the right to due process, but also directed public attention to the issue.
To anyone even somewhat familiar with the principles of liberty and the Constitution, this was a no-brainer. The President of the United States does not have the right to kill an American citizen even if that citizen is suspected of terrorism. Every one of us deserves a fair trial. Even Saddam Hussein got due process! Like I said, it’s a no-brainer.
However, there is a similar issue. Many, though they condemn the killing of Americans without due process, hardly give the waging of war a second thought. Self defense is an important part of liberty and everyone has that right. However, it is vital that we realize that if lethal force is not defense, instead it is murder. This is why, I believe, many people underestimate the gravity of the war question. At bottom, war is lethal force and if that amount of lethal force cannot be called defense, it can only be called mass murder.
Hopefully, many of my readers will see this point as obvious enough, but there is more. It is the practice of far too many Americans to support the war waging of their country because they support the troops, or because of what the U.S. government has said about the government they are attacking, or simply because it is their definition of patriotism to support their country in war. I understand that mentality. I used to be just the same. During the latest Iraq war as well of the attack on Afghanistan, I was eagerly supportive. Because of that, I also supported the Patriot Act. Even thinking that I used to support such a destructive piece of legislation makes me sick.
If you still feel you have to support every military action taken by your nation in order to be a good American, you need not read any further. I will not be addressing that condition here. The reason being, I understand there is nothing I can say that will sway you if you still believe that the pentagon can do no wrong and everything our soldiers do is heroic. Instead, let us look to those who support military action against other countries because of what our government tells us about their enemies.
First, it is important to understand that any government has a conflict of interest wherever war is concerned. During the Civil war, President Lincoln suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus. This means that, if he felt someone needed to be locked up, he locked them up. A ridiculous amount of reporters and newspaper owners where arrested and held indefinitely and many newspapers were shut down for writing against President Lincoln’s war. Ever heard of Indefinite Detention? The Patriot Act? Lincoln did virtually the same thing long before either George W. Bush or Barack Obama was ever born. Why were any of these presidents allowed to get away with this? One word: WAR. During war, government involvement grows drastically as the citizens wish to support their country. The drone program, income tax, and the increased TSA security measures are three more excellent examples of this phenomenon. Again, the government has a vested interest in going to war.
Second, because of this incentive the government has to take the country to war, it is important to take any reasons the government gives for going to war with another country with a grain of salt. War is enough of an advantage for the government, that it will sometimes fabricate conditions that will garner support for military action. I do not know whether the September 11th attacks are an example of this. Neither can I confirm that Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen so that Americans would support U.S. entry into World War II. I only know that others have raised suspicion on these incidents. What we do know for sure is that, in the 60s, there was a plan advocated by our military leaders that, “included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.” This plan to start a war with Cuba “had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” but were, thankfully, never fulfilled. So, even though we don’t know for sure the details of the September 11th attacks, this account we do have ought to raise even more suspicion about the government’s claims about the imminent threats of other nations.
I do not attempt to say that war is never justified. I only plead with my readers to consider their government’s interests in war before giving their support to military action.
Big government, its influence over an increasing percentage of our private activities, is a grave concern for those of us involved in the liberty movement. We the people do not intend to live under the constant control of the political class. We the people will not be ruled. It is for this reason that we should make ourselves aware of Agenda 21, or the agenda for the 21st century.
You probably haven’t heard the name Agenda 21 on the news. You didn’t hear it during the presidential debates. However, knowing what it is will be important for understanding the actions of our increasingly tyrannical government. I will not attempt to give a full description here. There is far too much for me to cover. Instead, I will give you an introduction.
Agenda 21, as described on the United Nation’s own website, “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” From the site you can download a PDF of the plan, or even order the hard copy.
This plan was adopted by most of the countries in the world at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janerio, Brazil in 1992. It is a plan for what is referred to as “sustainable development.” To achieve sustainable development, Agenda 21 calls for the management of all land and most human activity by the governments of the world. President George H. W. Bush signed the treaty on our behalf.
Just a side note: Have you ever heard of the New World Order? If you did, you probably dismissed it and haven’t thought about it since. I remember being followed down a street in Florida by a man who hadn’t seen the inside of a shower in weeks and was loudly proclaiming that the new world order was coming. Understandably, I didn’t take hime very seriously. However, if you’re curious as to where that phrase came from, I’ll tell you. President George H. W. Bush had returned from the Earth Summit in Rio and said this:
Shortly after the Earth Summit, Bill Clinton issued executive order #12852, establishing the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, or PCSD. This council was given 10 goals on which to counsel the president. This council presumes to manage everything from the economy to the environment to education. Perhaps the most openly sinister sounding goal is number eight: population. The description of this goal reads, “Move toward stabilization of U.S. population.”
Currently, the driving force for Agenda 21 is an organization called ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives). Working under ICLEI are over 3,000 non-government organizations, commonly referred to as NGOs. Because these organizations are not filled with democratically elected members, they are free to support Agenda 21 without answering to the people.
Like I mentioned above, there is a lot to talk about and I’m far from an expert on most of it. The rest of this article will deal with two major issues related to Agenda 21, its effect on education and on private property.
Remember that one of the PCSD’s goals was to manage education. In their own words it is to: “Ensure that all Americans have equal access to education and lifelong learning opportunities that will prepare them for meaningful work, a high quality of life, and an understanding of the concepts involved in sustainable development.” It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, if education were any of the federal government’s business, it would sound a lot better, but it isn’t. Education is a personal question. It’s up to the families. Most families have, in effect, delegated that responsibility to their local public school and it is completely legitimate under the Constitution for the state or local governments to be involved. However, management of the education system is not a power given to the federal government in the Constitution.
Nevertheless, the federal government is heavily involved in education and it’s about to get worse. After the utter failure of No Child Left Behind, most states in the union are adopting a program called Common Core. Common Core measures standards by, not only federal, but international benchmarks. The justification is that Americans have fallen behind the rest of the world in educational achievement. This sounds pretty good, but Indiana has implemented the standards and is already trying to back out. According to an article from the Heritage Foundation, Common Core is more about control than achievement. South Dakota state representative Jim Bolan is quoted saying:
“One of the founding principles of American education is that states and local citizens will determine how their schools are going to be run and what will be taught in each local entity. The Common Core Standards movement is an attempt to circumvent this long-standing tradition of American education.”
Because Agenda 21 is pushed ahead largely by NGOs, it is difficult to say wether this is a result of Agenda 21 or ICLEI or just another big government power grab. However, as education management is a goal of the PCSD, the former conclusion would not be unreasonable.
Of all the areas Agenda 21 will affect, private property takes, by far, the biggest hit. Most of PCSD deals in some way with the environment. As the government and other organizations have striven to realize the goals set forth in Agenda 21 and PCSD, we can see the pattern.
Several years ago, I was on Mt. Graham in Safford, Arizona at a Boy Scout camp. I don’t remember a lot that happened at that particular camp, but I do remember walking down a trail and observing areas of land that had been blocked off with a ribbon. I was told that the penalty for crossing those lines was several thousand dollars. The reason? Mt. Graham is home to an endangered species called the red squirrel. For this purpose, areas have been blocked of for their use and bridges have been constructed so the squirrels can cross the road without engaging traffic. No word yet on how the squirrels are to be trained in the proper use of such bridges, nor contained in their assigned habitats.
It is becoming more and more common for people to be forced off their land for the well-being of some endangered animal, or for the type of land they own. A couple in Idaho, the Sacketts, were preparing their land to build a house when the EPA came in and stopped everything. Because the EPA suspected the land contained wetlands, the Sacketts could not use their own land as they wished.
In New Mexico, a rancher named Walt Anderson had a somewhat similar experience with the BLM. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Anderson last year and wrote an article telling his story.
“In New Mexico, the BLM attempted to acquire a massive amount of land, some of which belonged to rancher Walt Anderson. Before they could have it, though, they had to designate it ACEC (area of critical environmental concern). It’s a clever process. First, they send out what is known as a scoping letter. It gives the land owners a period of time (usually 30 days) to submit any questions, or comments regarding the redesignation before it happens. Most people, upon receiving such a letter don’t understand its importance until the time expires. At that point, there is little the landowners can do about it. If the landowners ask no questions and raise no concerns about it, BLM proceeds to designate the land ACEC. This restricts what landowners can use their own property for. In Mr. Anderson’s case, they intended to manage the land as “roadless.” He said that this would, in effect, classify the land a wilderness, making it unusable as a ranch. At this point, if landowners had refused to sell to BLM, they would have no choice. It would be useless to them and they would have to take whatever price the Bureau offered. Once the land is designated ACEC, selling to private entities is out of the question.”
Anderson was able to keep his land and hopefully his luck will hold out. He was very fortunate.
Interestingly enough, this move toward forcing owners off their land (often by making it useless to them as in the stories above) falls directly in line with a concept called “rewilding.” Rewilding is part of the Convention on Biological Diversity which is found several times in the text of Agenda 21. Critics of rewilding refer to it as the “Wildlands Project.”
At rewilding.org, a thorough definition is readily available. (http://rewilding.org/rewildit/what-is-rewilding/) Here, the author tells us that huge portions of land must be set aside as wilderness–implicitly off-limits to humans. However, it isn’t enough that these wildlands be vast. They must also be connected with other massive wildlands in case a species is killed off in one portion. Here, you can view a map that proposes just how much land ought to be converted to wilderness.
Agenda 21 is real. I keep a copy of it on my iPad. It’s not just a nutty conspiracy theory. It is already a part of local governments all over the country. Our responsibility is to be involved in the preservation of private property and individual liberty. Once we lose those, nothing the Constitution says means a thing.
This is a book I never thought I would be reading. When I began my study of of the Constitution, which would lead me to study libertarianism and Austrian economics, I would not have given this book a second look. Well, apparently things have changed. Tom Woods posted a video on his blog some time ago in which Gerard Casey of Ireland described his new book: Libertarian Anarchy Against the State.
Casey wrote his book in an effort to answer once and for all the most common objections to anarchy. As you might guess, there are a lot of those!
The book goes beyond answering the classic, “Who will build the roads?” question. The hardest questions about libertarian anarchy are explained such as where would law come from, how would the justice system work, and (in the back of everyone’s mind) isn’t anarchy characterized by chaos and violence?
If you are imagining a book full of abstract philosophy but few real-world examples, think again. Casey is able to draw on a great deal of historical information that drives his point home.
The sum of all these elements is a book that refutes the idea that most take for granted: that the state is provides the most peaceful and prosperous scenario. In fact, Casey rejects the notion that the state has the right to exist and thereby subsist on the labors of those within its supposed borders.
If you already believe in libertarian principles, Libertarian Anarchy Against the State will offer a fresh look at those ideas and their application. On the other hand, if you can’t believe that anarchy could ever work, or would even be a good idea if it could, Casey will cause you to consider points you hadn’t thought of, yet.
Libertarian Anarchy Against the State is a worthwhile read for anyone concerned for their country. You may not agree with everything inside, but his defense of individual liberty will give you more to use against tyranny.
Not that this should surprise you, or anything, but the FBI is unveiling their new toy and it’s–guess!–another surveillance program. (Watch the report here.) We have the drones, the nude scanners, the touchy-feely TSA, and now the facial recognition program. It’s running them–sorry, I mean you and me–$1 billion. It runs your image, a scan of your iris, and other identifying characteristics past those of “known criminals” to better, uh…”weed out the bad guys.”
The FBI is careful to specify that the pilot programs have only included the information of those with a criminal record. Well it’s a good thing the government is so good about denying the temptation of power. It’s a good thing drones haven’t been used to kill innocents and peaceful travelers aren’t constantly groped and examined beneath their clothes in airports. I’m sure we can trust the FBI to use this technology responsibly, right?
In 2008, I enthusiastically supported Mitt Romney in his presidential bid. Pretending I understood the issues, I declared that he had the qualifications we needed in the White House.
Sometime in 2010, I realized that I had no basis for the political beliefs I had passionately argued ever since I received a subscription to the Limbaugh Letter as a birthday gift. Confronted with apposing views, I had no other recourse than compare my opponents to communists and declare them “un-American.” I saw the world in a sea of red and blue, republican and democrat. Unbeknownst to me, there was a word for condition: Neo-conservative. Then, between the 2008 election and today’s, I learned about the principles the Founding Fathers had in mind while drafting the Constitution. Most importantly, there was a paradigm shift and I stopped taking for granted what he Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh and others told me was right for the country. For the first time, I began to form my own opinions, each backed up by principle. Finally, I discovered a man named Ron Paul. When it came to my attention that he was running for president this year, I learned more about him, read his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, and found that I agreed with nearly everything he said.
Soon, the Republican primary campaigns went into full swing. After a few times of hearing Ron Paul say the word “Keynesian economists” a few times and thinking he was referring to Herman Cain, I decided that that didn’t make sense and I looked it up. After that, Austrian (free market) economics was my favorite subject to study.
By this time, it was clear that Romney was intended to be the front runner. Armed with my understanding of rights that are derived from property, the proper role of government, and Austrian economics, I felt quite different about Romney than I had just a few years prior. While Ron Paul gave specifics on how to fix the economy (Get the government out of it and end the fed!) Romney seemed to have little to say. To his credit, he had a record he could refer to, but as I studied the specifics, even that failed to impress. Romney’s rather hawkish foreign policy sounded reckless next to Ron Paul’s “Golden Rule” that got booed in South Carolina.
Romney was also booed in the debates, but here he stood for the NDAA that Obama had signed on New Years Eve. It allowed him the power to “indefinitely detain” US citizens for suspected terrorism. Romney stated in no uncertain terms that he did feel it appropriate that the president have that power.
The final debate between Romney and Obama failed to reveal any substantive difference between the two on Foreign Policy. As military spending is one of the largest threats to our economy, it is not encouraging to see Romney echo Obama on so many issues.
For some time, I struggled to find a reason I could cast a vote for Romney and feel that I had not compromised my principles. That endeavor failed miserably.
It is not my purpose to smear Romney as a wicked individual. I still feel that he is a good man. He is a good man who doesn’t know the first thing about small government, or the proper role of government, or the golden rule as applied to foreign policy. He is a good man who has lost my vote and that is why.
We in America like to insist that ours is the most free nation on Earth. While it is true that our current government was founded on an unprecedented level of freedom, most of the principles within our founding document are no more than words on a page–eloquent, but ineffectual. Of those words, few are more important than are contained in the second amendment. Indeed, it was George Washington who stated, ”Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” Here, as with most of our freedoms, we have allowed our government to remove those teeth.
Meanwhile, another country enjoys far more freedom with guns than the vaunted “land of the free” and “home of the brave.” In Switzerland, carrying rifles around in public is common. Shooting is a longstanding tradition in which men, women and children participate. Switzerland, therefore has extremely low crime rates as any potential victim could have a 9mm on their hip, or an assault rifle dangling from their shoulder.
Turning to the subject of foreign policy, the Swiss are even more impressive. Bill Walker writes about this in “How the Swiss Opted Out of War.” Swiss males are issued assault rifles as part of the militia. You might remember hearing about a militia in the US Constitution, but you will fail to recall the use of the word even once in the last presidential debate. In fact, the US Constitution provides for a militia but forbids a standing army (article 1, section 8)! This same section prescribes the militia, not the army to “repel invasions.” Switzerland has done exactly this and remained a neutral and peaceful nation 1815. When the Nazis planned an attack on the Swiss, they had to scrap the operation. As Walker puts it,
…no matter how they drew the lines, they couldn’t overcome the reality that there were no critical central targets for mechanized blitzkrieg to disrupt. Every house in Switzerland was a center of resistance. The Wehrmacht paratroopers couldn’t beat a defense that covered every square centimeter of the country with accurate rifle fire, and they knew it.
Walker continues to cite Swiss defense during the Cold War. With the possibility of a nuclear strike, they built shelters “every home, school, and business in Switzerland.” These measures also protect against modern terrorist strikes. A cost-benefit analysis would show the utter pointlessness of terrorism against a heavily-armed populace to whom a bomb shelter is readily available.
Switzerland is safe. They also stand as an example of how the second amendment and article 1, section 8 of the US Constitution really can work. If America ever learns to take her own advice, perhaps she really will be the most free nation on Earth.