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Barry Goldwater




  "Those who seek absolute power,
   even though they seek it to do what
   they regard as good, are simply
   demanding the right to enforce their
   own version of heaven on earth.
   And let me remind you, they are the
   very ones who always create the
   most hellish tyrannies. Absolute
   power does corrupt, and those who
   seek it must be suspect and must
   be opposed."

MYTHS


1. Armed resistance to tyranny is immoral.

If you think defending the essential human rights of your fellow citizens, including the right of children not to be murdered with machetes, pushed into gas chambers, thrown down wells or incinerated is not worth fighting for then what would you fight for? We find the idea of using deadly force against human beings abhorrent, but the greater evil is to do nothing while violent criminals commit evil acts. Good Samaritans must be armed in order to stop such acts, and in so doing deterring crimes against humanity.

2. Widespread gun ownership does not deter tyranny.

Anti-gun groups (often run by pacifists or closet fascists) heap ridicule upon anyone who suggests that civilians armed with small arms offer any kind of credible deterrent to tyranny, but if many ordinary people are armed with rifles suited to military use (millions in populace nations like the US or Germany) we believe they pose a very effective deterrent to tyranny, especially if members of an organized military force like a Home Guard style militia; a fact confirmed by the actions of numerous prospective tyrants who went to great lengths to disarm their victims and the general population before ending democracy. In 1958 a few thousand rebels led by Fidel Castro (a brilliant strategist) defeated the demoralized Cuban army (effectively the private army of a murderous military dictator) as they had the support of the general population whose elected government had been overthrown in a military coup.

3. Tyranny is inconceivable in my country.

One needs to realize that history does not stop and events have a way of repeating themselves due to traits inherent to human beings. One needs to think on the scale of centuries and millennium, not years or even decades. One then finds certain patterns emerge, namely the tendency of elites to centralize power to shore up their position in society. It is perfectly natural to empower oneself, but people who place their self-interest above the public interest can damage society - a common phenomenon among elites who wish to disempower (hence disarm) people who have less power and status than themselves.

4. Only government employees should have guns.

In a democracy legitimate power stems from the People; not an elite in the form of politicians, clerics, aristocrats or the rich. Thus it follows that the People should reserve the power of the sword to protect their essential rights as a last resort, which will in most instances serve to deter tyranny and atrocities. History is littered with the corpses of failed democracies and minorities who were subsequently killed as a result of the centralization of power into the hands of an unaccountable minority that controls the government. Civilian disarmament endangers life and liberty by removing a crucial deterrent to tyranny and crimes against humanity. Free adults have a social duty to own the practical means with which to defend themselves, their loved ones, vulnerable minorities and their democracy against common criminals, terrorists, an invading army, a military coup, or a government gone bad.

5. Defending my nation's freedoms is not my concern.

We believe able citizens have social a duty to participate in the defense of their collective freedoms; ideally by joining a Home Guard style public militia. If your nation is controlled by an elitist regime which does not allow citizens to join a state run or approved militia then the burden you face may be onerous, as this anti-democratic policy endangers your community and must not be allowed to stop you becoming a fully equipped member of a public militia (like Militie Zonder Grenzen). It is not enough that individuals have militia type equipment; they must also be a member of a public militia. United we stand, divided we fall.

6. The army can be relied on to stop mass murder.

Some soldiers prefer not to defend victims if outnumbered or are the very people committing the murders, as in the Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Union and Ukraine (Holomodor), Nazi occupied Europe (Holocaust), China, Uganda, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda and Syria. At Srebrenica in 1995 Dutch peacekeepers handed over more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys they were supposed to be protecting to Serb troops who promptly murdered them. That year Australian soldiers (armed medical detachment) stood by as Tutsi soldiers murdered thousands of Hutu civilians. In the 1994 Rwandan genocide Belgian peacekeepers watched as a group of fellow soldiers were murdered by Hutu extremists because they were not authorized to intervene.

7. Citizens do not have a duty to prevent genocide.

The United Nations 'Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide' requires all UN member nations to actively work to prevent and stop genocide. Sadly, little or nothing is often done as governments usually decide the cost of intervention is too high, thus the need for potential victims and their friends in the wider community to arm themselves to deter this crime against humanity. History has shown us that a genocide can occur unexpectedly and quickly while victims cannot rely on outside help, as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda amply illustrated, where the corpses were literally piling up for all to see and the governments of the world collectively looked the other way. It is therefore up to a nation's citizens to ensure that they are capable of stopping genocide, and in doing so deterring this crime against humanity.

8. Militia members are extremists.

Characterizing people who wish to join a nation's armed forces as extremists strikes us as a little extreme. No doubt a few extremists join police, army and militia organizations, but they are a tiny minority that do not represent the true face of these organizations. A tiny minority of self-described Christians blow up abortion clinics, but it would be wrong to condemn Christianity and Christians because of the actions of a few misfits who do not represent the ideals of the group to which they claim to belong. People who take up arms in defense of their neighbors are Good Samaritans, not extremists.

9. Gun ownership is highly dangerous.

Statistically gun ownership is a low risk activity. So long as firearms are properly handled and stored the risk is negligible. Most gun deaths are suicides, which can be a substantial number of people each year in nations with high gun ownership rates, but a United Nations study (E/CN.15/1997/4) found no correlation between a nation's gun density rate and murder or suicide rates, as these deaths are primarily caused by socioeconomic factors, not inanimate objects like guns. Firearm ownership and being a member of your nation's armed forces via a public militia is not a risk free activity (especially without government approval), but some risks are worth bearing for the greater good. Widespread gun ownership deters home invasion type crimes and reduces the overall murder rate and violent crime rate, primarily through deterrence ('More Guns, Less Crime', John R. Lott).

10. Guns are not effective defensive weapons.

If this is the case why do police officers, security guards, bodyguards and soldiers use guns for defensive use? Anti-gun groups don't want ordinary people owning guns for a number of reasons unrelated to public safety and create propaganda to service their authoritarian agenda which (at the very least) misrepresents the facts. These groups are supported by the power hungry elites who control many media organizations and political parties. These power hungry individuals have psychopathic tendencies, thus naturally want to control people who have less power and status than themselves. These elites are willing to facilitate the kidnapping, rape, torture, mutilation and murder of their fellow human beings to service their desires. Ordinary people cannot afford to hire armed bodyguards or appoint themselves armed bodyguards as do government politicians (at taxpayer's expense). Criminals have little trouble getting hold of banned guns just as they have little trouble getting hold of banned drugs, and wholeheartedly support laws that would disarm their law-abiding victims.

11. Citizens do not have a duty to be militia members.

Just as citizens have a social duty to uphold the law by defending themselves against violent criminals, and a legal duty to protect dependants under their care, citizens have a social duty to help protect their neighbors and their democracy by being armed members of a public militia (state or non-state) in order to deter and if necessary stop tyranny and crimes against humanity. Laws which unreasonably infringe on these key social duties by outlawing the ownership of the weapons needed to fulfill these duties (notably rifles and handguns suited to militia use) are null and void as these duties have primacy over them. Laws that stop competent adults of good character owning guns for said purposes are incompatible with democracy and your natural rights and duties.

12. Citizens do not have a right to revolt.

In political philosophy the 'right to revolution' (or 'right of rebellion' or 'right to resistance') was first articulated by the Monarchomachs in the context of the French Wars of Religion, and is essentially the natural right of preservation. It was later taken up by John Locke in 'Two Treatises of Government' as part of his social contract theory. Locke wrote that the people could instigate a revolution against the government when it acted against the interests of citizens and replace it with another. The right to revolution was cited in the US Declaration of Independence:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.


The right to revolution helps explain the purpose of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of "the People" to bear arms as part of a well regulated militia. It follows that if the people have a right to overthrow a despotic government then they have a right to possess the practical means to do so. The great advantage of a well armed and regulated militia is the deterrent effect, which greatly reduces the likelihood that the people will ever need to exercise their right to revolution, thus preserving liberty without bloodshed.

Like Locke and Thoreau, Gandhi believed that the quest for freedom incurs an obligation to oppose an oppressive government, which he called the "duty of disloyalty", when the state fails to represent the people's interests and needs: "Disobedience of the law of an evil state is therefore a duty". Gandhi moved beyond Thoreau by contending that the freedom struggle demands active participation in community action to stop said evil, primarily through non-violent action as he believed citizens had a duty to preserve order and peace to prevent bloodshed. Outside the chambers where India's new federal constitution was being written, Gandhi spoke urgently to his "brothers and sisters":

What I am about to tell you today [June 28, 1947] will be something very special, I hope you will hear me with attention and try to digest what I say. When someone does something good he makes the whole world partake the good. When someone does something bad, though he cannot make the world share his action he can certainly cause harm. The Constituent Assembly is discussing the rights of the citizen. As a matter of fact the proper question is not what the rights of a citizen are, but rather what constitutes the duties of the citizen. Fundamental rights can only be those rights the exercise of which is not only in the interest of the citizen but that of the whole world. Today, everyone wants so know what his rights are, but if a man learns to discharge his duties. . . if from childhood we learn what our dharma [sacred duty] is and try to follow it our rights look after themselves. . . The beauty of it is that the very performance of a duty secures us our rights. Rights cannot be divorced from duties. This is how satyagraha [non-violent political action] was born, for I was always striving to decide what my duty was.

Gandhi believed violence should only be used as a last resort in cases of legitimate self-defense, such as when the state committed crimes against humanity like politicide and genocide, and was well aware of the danger to life and liberty that civilian disarmament posed: "Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." He also stated that rights should be earned through the fulfillment of civic responsibility, which includes the duty of the majority to protect minorities. This was in stark contrast to the view of some fellow Hindus who justified the oppression of Muslims by arguing that in their newfound democracy a majority had the right to do as it pleased, as this is what popular sovereignty meant; a view that resulted in a brutal civil war in which over a million Hindus and Muslims were murdered.


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"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!"  – Barry Goldwater




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