Not Mainstream, Just Consistent

Column by Alex R. Knight III.

Exclusive to STR

An article from April of last year that just came to my attention is one that I find both astonishing and encouraging in scope. It was published by no less than Forbes magazine, and its author, Lawrence Hunter, according to the accompanying bio, was a “former staff director of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, former vice president and chief economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former Reagan White House adviser.”

When you’ve had a chance to read the piece for yourself, you might then appreciate why I find such so amazing. There’s even a quote, appropriately hyperlinked, from Stefan Molyneaux, in addition to ones from Mencken and von Mises. Hunter does stop short of calling Market Anarchy by name outright, but you get the feeling that perhaps this might’ve been a bit much for Forbes’ editorship to condone. Indeed, it seems Hunter recently had another article dropped by Forbes, linking the use of various psychiatric drugs to instances of gun violence. Such, it would seem, is the conduct expected of those who wish to enjoy the perks and “respectability” of remaining “mainstream.”

But Hunter seems to be at least one person who has been inner sanctum “mainstream” firsthand – and has decided he didn’t at all like what he saw. Or what he’s seeing now. Here’s a little bit of “mainstream” from 2008 right here. And of course, Obama, like all politicians and bureaucrats, has since proven himself to be a liar. No big surprise there.

What baffles me is how anyone continues to believe that it is correct or legitimate for any other person, under any circumstances, to publicly proclaim that they will not take your shotgun, your rifle, your handgun – and actually have the perceived authority to back that up. In other words, why should such an individual’s claim to even contemplate such a decision be tolerated, ever?

If we knew the definitive answer to that, through and through, essays such as this one would scarcely be necessary. Social conditioning, indoctrination, lack of critical thinking . . . valid analyses, all. Yet, let’s tackle this monster from a different angle.

With regard to guns, we have seen an extremely robust outpouring of quite correctly indignant, often enraged, protest at the Obama/Democrat-fueled assaults on personal liberty. So much so that, other than in the already benighted statist dungeon called New York, almost all of these efforts have already been projected to fail.

Of course, this is no time and there is no reason to be lackadaisical. While I do not endorse or recommend voting, I do still believe in making a hell of a lot of well-projected and cogent noise when what few freedoms I have remaining are threatened, and so if you are of a like mind, you might just consider joining these good folks here, and here, and here. Being located in Vermont myself, where virtually any gun control in any form is absolutely verboten and non-grata, I am active with these fine people as well. (If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the largest and most well known of these organizations, then I invite you to read a prior STR piece published here. And that’s not the only reason by far in the nearly five years since I wrote it.)

This is all admirable, and gives me hope. What irks me, however, is that there is no uniformity with regard to the underlying principles involved here. In short, why is there no such similar animation, outrage, and resistance when it comes to taxationa massive imposition of absolute injustice upon one and all at the hands of the pestilential disease known as government?

The list of State-imposed tyrannies, both small and large, obscure and in-your-face, could go on ad infinitum, and do. And yes, it is true that any caveman knows he is better off with a club or a spear than without one, while not necessarily possessing the same level of insight when it comes to something he believes to be part of some “social contract” or “civic duty.” Were that introspection achieved, and appropriate action to follow on as massive of a scale as we have seen of late regarding gun ownership, government would be disbanded in short order and true individual liberty – not license – would prevail, as Hunter alludes to above.

Gun owners have flexed their muscles and their wills of late, and it’s paying off. How about being consistent, and going the rest of the way?

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 113

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales, including Tales from Dark 7.  He has also written and published poetry; non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues; and is former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  In 1998, he was awarded Activist of the Year for that organization.  He now lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University, and looks forward to living in a governmentless society of liberty.

Comments

Jim Davies's picture

Indeed, Alex, that's quite a find you found. To read such choice words as "No, the virtue of a true federalism has nothing to do with the virtue, competence, or trustworthiness of local officials and the parasites they nurture but everything to do with the ability of people to escape their grimy little reach" in such an Establishment journal as Forbes is amazing.
 
So author Lawrence Hunter is pretty darn close to grasping the problem. Like everyone else (except one set) he still fails to spot the solution. It's not "true federalism" or even "exit - voting with one's feet," but so re-educating every member of society that nobody will work for government. For as long as the parasites exist, their "reach" will be ever longer, excape from it ever less feasible. It's not a question of "throwing off... federal tyranny" but of throwing off the lot of it.
 
Recently Becky Akers proposed a neat name for that tyranny: Fedcoats. A nice link between today's monstrosity and yesterday's universal enemy, with but a single letter change. Alas, it's not nearly enough - and Hunter knows it, for his own "Postulate" notes that "the closer one gets to the individual, the more oppressive government becomes."

Alex R. Knight III's picture

Jim:  As stated, I almost get the feeling Hunter felt the "A word" would get his piece rejected by the editor -- indeed, I'm amazed he was able to get what he did published; an encouraging sign!  However, you raise an excellent point in that Hunter seems to have overlooked the need for attrition in government employ numbers.  Still, he's close enough to Ground Zero to earn a Blue Ribbon from me.  :-)

GeoffreyTransom's picture

Great piece Mr Knight.

The Molyneux quote in the article is superb, and is why I am a 'fan' of Mr Molyneux: it encapsulates perfectly the dynamic problems that are introduced when States are brought into being - and about which Public Finance is relatively silent given the profound nature of the dynamic consequences of the State... the supposed 'consequentialist' aspect of utilitarianism (used to buttress the case FOR the State as ameliorator-of-externalities) is highly selective as to which consequences it examines.

The recent death of James Buchanan caused me to revisit some of his work (material I have not re-read since the early 90s): I have long held that although his contribution to economics was inestimable, his rejection of anarchism as 'utopian' was a flaw-in-reasoning that cast a pall over everything else. In some sense, that mirrors the pall (for me) over Rothbard, for his early flirtation with the Socialists and then - GACK! - Rand and her clique of salon dilettanti.

{Sidebar: I am constantly having to remind myself that anybody who averages better than "80% right" in any field of endeavour is a superlative individual. Woe betide me if I was judged by my own lights!}

Glock27's picture

Alex,
I’ll be jumping into a hornets nest here because most of what I have read I have not grasped, and I skimmed most of it. I will get back to it, but there was a point you brought out that I could not let go. Are you aware that Wyoming, Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida and a few other states are crafting legislation to make it illegal for a federal government agent to come into their jurisdiction and try to enforce any of the gun ban laws they will attempt. I find this encouraging that states are beginning to take some initiative against the federal government. I have read a number of other articles where Sheriffs have written to the V.P. informing him, they will not permit any federal employee, FBI. ATFE, homeland security or other federal agency to crosses into their counties to arrest people or to stop the sales of semi-automatic firearms. I find this encouraging also. It will be a facinating event unravel and see what the results will amount to in the months to come.
Are states beginning to recognize that they have power and rights the federal government does not have over them? Could true freedom be on the edge of erupting?

Paul's picture

Glock27 makes a good point. If there is one issue that can break the chains the feds have placed on the states, it is firearms - provided the feds actually do pass something draconian. That may happen some day, but is not too likely at the moment.

There is another reason firearms are a special issue even above such things as taxation. Without firearms, the enslavement is complete. Any other outrage can be sucessfully imposed on us, because we will no longer have the tools to resist. That is not true of any other issue. So it's not such a bad thing that that the author's outrage was not uniformly directed.