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U.N. Conference Ending, Freedom Winning!!

As of 6 p.m. eastern time, the word from the United Nations small arms conference is that the conference is concluding with NO final document, and NO plans for any follow-up conference. It was the latter issue that prevented an agreement about a final document. The officials who had been charged by the conference chair with drafting the conference document presented a final take-it-or-leave it document a little while ago; that draft document eliminated various provisions that the U.S. delegation had found objectionable, but also declared that there would be at least two more conferences. The U.S. delegation refused to assent, and so the conference ended with no consensus agreement, and no plans for future conferences. The back-up plan of the international gun prohibition movement, and their many allies within the U.N. and national U.N. delegations, was to give up on significant progress in 2006, but to keep the game going with future conferences, when a more pliant U.S. administration might welcome an international gun control program.

If a few hundred votes had changed in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different. There would now be a legally binding international treaty creating an international legal norm against civilian gun ownership, a prohibition on the transfer of firearms to "non-state actors" (such as groups resisting tyrants), and a new newspeak international human rights standard requiring restrictive licensing of gun owners. With a Presidential signature on such a treaty (even if the treaty were never brought to the Senate floor for ratification), the principles of the anti-gun treaty would be eroding the Second Amendment, through Executive Orders, and through the inclination of some courts to use unratified treaties as guidance in interpretting the U.S. Constitution.

At the domestic level, the Bush administration has been close to neutral on the gun issue — doing very little to promote or oppose gun control in Congress. One rare exception was that the Ashcroft Department of Justice returned to the historic (pre-LBJ) DOJ position that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right. And of course President Bush has signed all the pro-Second Amendment legislation which Congress has sent him, most importantly the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

At the United Nations, however, the Bush administration has twice rescued our right to keep and bear arms from destruction.

There are plenty of issues on which pro-Constitution Americans can legitimately complain that the Bush administration has continued or worsened bad policies from previous administrations — such as federal interference in education, erosion of the Fourth Amendment, and allowing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ignore statutory controls on its behavior. But in regards to the United Nations assault on the Second Amendment, the Bush administration, including John Bolton (in 2001 as Undersecretary of State, and in 2006 as U.N. Ambassador) has performed magnificently. The gun rights activists whose hard work in 2000 and 2004 was the sine qua non of Bush's narrow electoral victories can take satisfaction that their work has, literally, saved the Second Amendment.

Today's victory is extremely important, but it should not be mistaken for a final victory in the international arena. The international gun prohibition lobbies are already looking towards other international fora where they can advance their goals, including their ultimate prize--a binding treaty requiring severe restriction of citizen gun possession. The various U.N. departments which have been providing funding and propaganda for gun prohibition and confiscation will almost certainly continue to do so.

For now, everyone who cares about the right to arms has much to celebrate.

Two of the most important, but less-known heroes of today's victory are Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen, Senior Fellows at the Independence Institute. They have worked relentlessly to give a voice to the victims around the world for whom gun confiscation really was the crucial step to the destruction of all their other rights, or the destruction of life itself — in places such as Bouganville, Uganda, Kenya, Bosnia, and Zimbabwe. Today, the world is a better, freer place because of Paul and Joanne.

Brett Bellmore:

And of course President Bush has signed all the pro-Second Amendment legislation which Congress has sent him,


A stopped clock might be right twice a day, but scarcely deserves any credit for that "accuracy". Bush signs everything sent his way, without exception, as you well know. And actually asked for the opportunity to sign several anti-gun bills, which we may be thankful Congress didn't give him.

Bush looks good next to the UN only because the UN is so very, very bad.
7.7.2006 8:41pm
Waldensian (mail):
From the first moment the NRA started carping about this UN stuff, I've been entirely unimpressed.

The idea that the actions of the UN could have any real effect on my right to keep and bear arms in the Commonwealth of Virginia strikes me as completely, utterly absurd.

The UN is a joke. Sudan is a member of the Commission on Human Rights, for crying out loud.

Has any action by a UN committee ever had a meaningful effect on individual rights in the U.S.? Has any such action ever curtailed a constitutionally protected freedom?
7.7.2006 8:45pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
Waldensian,

I'm not aware of a good example of the UN successfully curtailing individual freedom in the US, although they have better luck abroad.

But if your conception of "freedom" includes the right to democratically choose what laws to live under, then the answer is unquestionably yes. Their pronouncements, and "international" pronouncements generally, are certianly influential enough to get mentioned as support for such things as a constitutional right of sodomy and a ban on executions for crimes committed by minors (even if you like the results, they were undemocratic and showed that the will of foreign elites mattered more to the Supreme Court than the will of the voters). At least a couple of SC justices have said we shouldn't deviate from international "norms" for some reason they never make clear.

And there is a goodly chunk of our political class that reveres the UN and treaties that come out of its conferences. I'm thinking here of people who complain, for instance, that the US hasn't signed the women's rights treaty--which Saudi Arabia has signed, for all the good it has done.

A joke, yes. But not one that we can ignore.
7.7.2006 9:26pm
Brett Bellmore:
It's a serious threat: Treaties stand just below the Constitution itself in precidence, and trump mere legislation. So long at the courts do not admit that the Constitution, by virtue of the 2nd amendment, guarantees our right to own firearms, a treaty can, in one fell swoop, blast aside every statute and state constitutional provision standing in the way of confiscation.
7.7.2006 9:42pm
Bob Loblaw (www):

If a few hundred votes had changed in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different.
But I bet everything else would be largely the same.
7.7.2006 10:09pm
Closet Libertarian (www):
I thought the rhetoric from the NRA was a little extreme and off base about the UN until I started reading the UN materials and statements. It turns out the NRA was actully right. The UN isn't very effective, but on this issue their intent is clear: only repressive over taxing nanny states should have guns.
7.7.2006 10:48pm
TIZReporter (mail) (www):
The anti-gunners will not likely give up, just as gun owners will never give up.

The difference is that I think the anti-gunners will likely re-group after this 'loss' and figure out how to take 'smaller bites' from the apple of freedoms.

Remaining vigilant and being pro-active is critical.

What the anti-gun groups will do is focus on weak sister nations, like Canada where the new Conservative government appears willing to talk like Conservatives in public and act like anti-gun Liberals in private.

TIZReporter
7.7.2006 11:01pm
Truth Seeker:
The plan is for international treaties to eventually overrule individual nations' constitutions and all we need is 5 left-wing SC justices to do it here.
7.7.2006 11:02pm
Closet Libertarian (www):
PS here is a link for UN material
http://www.irinnews.org/webspecials/small-arms/ Small-Arms-IRIN%20In-Depth.pdf
My personal highlights:

Guns are never once mentioned in a positive light (as in self defense)

They don't even trust police to carry off duty

They discourage peopole taking the law into their own hands by defending themselves
7.7.2006 11:09pm
K Parker (mail):
They discourage people taking the law into their own hands by defending themselves


It's not good that they do so, but it's also bad that we let them horse around with the terminology. Defending oneself is not "taking the law into one's own hands", at least not in civilized places like where I life. Here (in Washington State, USA) the law specifically allows for the use of deadly force, if necessary for self-defense.
7.7.2006 11:22pm
plunge (mail):
I'm not really celebrating. As usual, there are some real problems with the international gun trade (to terrorists, genodical militias) that need serious international answers. And, as usual, the UN fucked it up by focusing on insane and loony provisions that did nothing but get gun rights advocates dead-set against against them doing anything at all. Meanwhile, all these problems go unaddressed. Taking the guns away from the victims of the warlords is an insane and counter-productive solution, but no solution at all to illegal arms traifficing isn't anything to celebrate either.
7.7.2006 11:41pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
plunge,

I sort of agree (although machetes turn out to be good instruments of mass slaughter, too). But of course the international arms trade is a fine source of cash for governments, because only they have the power to control the flow of huge numbers of guns, so they can take taxes and bribes on the manufacture and distribution.

Now, the UN is a collection of governments. What are the chances they'll cut off revenue for some of their own? What are the odds they'll endorse pro-freedom rebellions or resistance to genocidal tyranny?

All they can do is attack civilian gun ownership, which conveniently enough for them lets them bash the US, too. It's a fundamental structural problem that simply can't be solved.
7.8.2006 12:08am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Taking the guns away from the victims of the warlords is an insane and counter-productive solution, but no solution at all to illegal arms traifficing isn't anything to celebrate either.

In which cases do the bad guys not have a govt (their own or another) helping? If the bad guys always have a govt helping, is it reasonable to think that the UN will do anything?
7.8.2006 12:28am
Truth Seeker:
Closet Libertarian:
They don't even trust police to carry off duty

Hey in Britain they don't even trust the police to carry guns on duty!
7.8.2006 12:32am
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
I would suggest that a reasonable measure to ensure that future potential Democratic administrations don't trojan horse their way into a gun ban treat, would be for congress to pass a bill making it a treasonous offense, via breach of his oath of office, for any US President to negotiate or sign any treaty with any foreign government, sovereign, or NGO, that would limit or ban the 2nd Amendment, with a mandatory sentence of death.

I would call it the LIVE FREE OR DIE Act.
7.8.2006 12:53am
Mark H.:

The difference is that I think the anti-gunners will likely re-group after this 'loss' and figure out how to take 'smaller bites' from the apple of freedoms.



That's not just likely, it's certain. The real irony, TIZReporter, will come to pass if they're ever successful in getting gun bans passed -- that's when they bring out their own, supposedly reviled, guns to enforce it...
7.8.2006 1:18am
CNS (www):
It's a serious threat: Treaties stand just below the Constitution itself in precidence, and trump mere legislation. So long at the courts do not admit that the Constitution, by virtue of the 2nd amendment, guarantees our right to own firearms, a treaty can, in one fell swoop, blast aside every statute and state constitutional provision standing in the way of confiscation.


While reading this post, a simple but maybe not-so-obvious solution to this struck me.

Add an Amendment specifically guaranteeing a right for private citizens to own and bear arms.

Could it pass? i think so--I think a majority of citizens in a majority of states would gladly get behind/vote for such a thing if they knew what was going on, what's at stake, and how close to the edge things may be.

I believe the Second Amendment protects my rights to keep and bear arms (certain federal rules aside...), but I know there are those in the judiciary, aside from anti-gun activists, that don't. Oh, how sweet a to-the-point Amendment would be...
7.8.2006 1:55am
Waldensian (mail):

The plan is for international treaties to eventually overrule individual nations' constitutions and all we need is 5 left-wing SC justices to do it here.

Ah, of course -- "the plan." How could I have been so naive? Is Jane Fonda involved? The Pentavirate? Are they riding in black helicopters?

I will take this "UN is going to take our guns" thing seriously when someone comes up with a plausible description of how, exactly, a bunch of coffee-clutching soccer-watching Eurotrash UN bureaucrats are going to cagily convince US law enforcement to confiscate my XD-40.

Step 1: Pass weird UN resolution, while continuing to thumb nose at parking tickets.

Step 2: ??

Step 3: Blue-helmeted shock troops pry my smoking Makarov from my cold dead fingers, in a scene eerily reminiscent of Red Dawn.

At this point, the whole thing reminds me of the plan of the Underpants Gnomes on South Park. Step two is conspicuously absent.

There is no way the UN can bypass the US political process on this issue. There is no way they can "overrule" our constitution. Their efforts to affect the US political process regarding gun ownership, if any, are far, far more likely to backfire than to have any meaningful impact.

In fact, it's fairly clear to me that backfiring has already happened.

Okay, I've said my piece, so now I'm going to go back to restoring my latest Mosin Nagant. Those of you without 03 FFLs, you are missing out. WWII surplus rifles mailed to your door dirt cheap! Suitable for foiling the UN's plan of world domination!! Really, you should spend less time worrying and more time shooting. But I digress.
7.8.2006 3:45am
big dirigible (mail) (www):
This can't be a serious comment - "There is no way the UN can bypass the US political process on this issue."

The bloody obvious point is - the UN doesn't have to. All it has to do is establish a good progressive nanny-state "norm" and wait for some good progressive US judges to think that adhering to an international "norm" is more important than adhering to those stone-age founding documents of ours.

And that process has already begun to pop up here and there, as all you SCOTUS watchers know.
7.8.2006 5:29am
BT:
Isn't that what Anthony Kennedy's "evolving international standards" are for? (that quote may not be exact). For those who think the UN is a paper tiger, it is anything but. With guys like Kennedy, Breyer, etc., on the SCOTUS, who think that foreign judicial rulings, etc., are fair game in order to interpret US law, you can bet they will be paying attention to what the UN and other states like GB do as far as guns are concerned. The gun grabbers will be back, you can bet on it.
7.8.2006 5:54am
Brett Bellmore:

Add an Amendment specifically guaranteeing a right for private citizens to own and bear arms.


While I believe such an amendment could be ratified, (Look at how many states have such amendments in their state constitutions!) getting it out of Congress without serious poison pills would not be feasible at the moment. Especially since members of Congress are seriously alergic to anything that might limit their own power in any way.

It would take a constitutional convention, of that I'm sure.
7.8.2006 8:13am
bpuharic (mail):
No one has ever explained to me how gun ownership protects individual rights from govt. tyranny. A bunch of beer swilling pot bellied NRA members doesn't have the power to oppose the US Army. The 2nd amendment was obolete shortly after it was written in the same way the telegraph was made obsolete by satellites. Kopel and the gun crowd assume, as a matter of faith, that their arguments are valid. Lack of examination and thought is not a good way to buttress one's position.
7.8.2006 11:43am
Tito:
Does anyone really think that a Gore or Kerry Administration would have handled this situation differently? I certainly don't think so. For one, the electoral defeat of the Dems in 1994 was due, in part, to gun control legislation. Does it seem likely that the Dems would do something like that again? Right now? When the electorate is so evenly split?
7.8.2006 11:58am
BT:
bpuharic
Are Cuban's allowed to own guns? No. What was one of the first things that Hitler did when taking office? Disarmed the Jews. Lenin disarmed the bourgeoise inorder to assume more complete power, as he thought them a threat to his revolution. They were then eliminated. It is also not an accident that slaves in this country were not allowed to own firearms, gee wonder why? Chances are no amount of historical facts will sway your views that guys like me should be at the mercy of the enlightened such as yourself. I don't want to take that chance.
7.8.2006 12:01pm
Aric (www):
bpuharic: No one has ever explained to me how gun ownership protects individual rights from govt.

Basically, things like the Holocaust are a lot harder if your targets are armed. Over the course of the 20th century, depending on how you count it, somewhere between 20 and 50 million Europeans were murdered by their own government. In that same time frame, almost no Americans were. Even if we assume that every murder in the United States during that time was caused by the US's laxer gun laws (a point I think most people here wouldn't concede), that still adds up to lax gun laws in the US causing an extra one million (10,000 per year?) or so murders.

If widespread European gun ownership had resulted in that 20-50 million number being reduced by a mere 5%, even at the cost of a million American-style murders, Europe would still have come out ahead on the deal.
7.8.2006 12:13pm
Allen Asch (mail) (www):

the Bush administration has twice rescued our right to keep and bear arms from destruction

Did the Bush Administration really save the RKBA from "destruction" here? Was this really a narrow defeat for a "a legally binding international treaty creating an international legal norm against civilian gun ownership?" For a devastating parody of this alarmist position (including contradicting quotes), see this link: Colbert Report: Cold, Dead Fingers
7.8.2006 12:21pm
Enoch:
Does it seem likely that the Dems would do something like that again? Right now? When the electorate is so evenly split?

In a word, yes. There are a lot of ways they could move to the center, but they're sticking to a more liberal position, so why should we think they'd take a more centrist position on guns?

A bunch of beer swilling pot bellied NRA members doesn't have the power to oppose the US Army.

A bunch of rice-eating, barefoot Vietnamese peasants with rifles didn't have the power to oppose the US Army. A bunch of khat-chewing, raggedy-ass Somalians with rifles didn't have the power to oppose the US Army. A bunch of black-clad, scarf-wearing Iraqis with rifles doesn't have the power to oppose the US Army. Don't these primitive idiots know any better? They can't beat us! Oh wait...
7.8.2006 12:49pm
Ken Arromdee:
Their efforts to affect the US political process regarding gun ownership, if any, are far, far more likely to backfire than to have any meaningful impact.

The reason their efforts backfired is that people took them seriously.

Arguing that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they backfired is, well, reverse circular reasoning.
7.8.2006 12:49pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Are Cuban's allowed to own guns? No. What was one of the first things that Hitler did when taking office? Disarmed the Jews. Lenin disarmed the bourgeoise inorder to assume more complete power, as he thought them a threat to his revolution.

Well gee, let's look at it through another lense. What happens when a fanatical minority bent on seizing power has easy access to firearms--they are able to seize power, especially when they are opposed by a weak and fractious central government. Oppression and mass slaughter ensues, with or without gun control. Let's see--the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions, most countries in South America and Africa, sometimes muliple times, Indonesia in 1964, the Taliban, Cambodia, Iraq with the Baathists (and even with Saddam in power, everybody still had an AK-47, fat lot of good it did them to overthrow him). I could go on and on.

Your misreading of history is breathtaking. The assertion that Lenin disarmed his opponents without a fight is just absurd. The Russian Civil War is probably one of the most viscious and bloody civil wars fought in the history of man, probably surpassed only by the Chinese Civil War that ousted the Nationalists from the mainland.
7.8.2006 12:51pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
If widespread European gun ownership had resulted in that 20-50 million number being reduced by a mere 5%, even at the cost of a million American-style murders, Europe would still have come out ahead on the deal.

But it is also true that as warfare spreads from regular, uniformed troops, to irregular partisans and un-uniformed and undisciplined guerrilla groups incidents of war crimes and barbarism increase on both sides including random killings and reprisals against civilians. This was true in World War II and is true in every war. So the number of deaths might actually increase.
7.8.2006 12:57pm
markm (mail):
Defending oneself is not "taking the law into one's own hands".

Yes, we need to keep making that point. Shooting a man who breaks into your house is not taking the law into your own hands, it is simply defending yourself. "Taking the law into one's own hands" is chasing his partner down the street and shooting him in the back.
7.8.2006 1:02pm
Waldensian (mail):
Big Dirigible (paging Dr. Freud...) notes:

This can't be a serious comment - "There is no way the UN can bypass the US political process on this issue."

The bloody obvious point is - the UN doesn't have to. All it has to do is establish a good progressive nanny-state "norm" and wait for some good progressive US judges to think that adhering to an international "norm" is more important than adhering to those stone-age founding documents of ours.

And that process has already begun to pop up here and there, as all you SCOTUS watchers know.

No, the bloody obvious point is that you've made my point for me.

Like it or not, the SCOTUS, which you identify as the critical link in the parade of horribles beginning with a UN vote and ending with me minus my Citori, is the US political process. Further, the idea that some "UN norm" is going to somehow drive or enable them to ban gun ownership in a way that they couldn't or wouldn't before is, well, totally freakin' absurd. Believe me, if they really had that desire, they could find something else to footnote to achieve the same result. Along those lines, the "international standards" bit from the 8th amendment case that got everyone in this tizzy was totally, completely irrelevant to the outcome, it was a toss-in.

Meanwhile, you may not have noticed this, but the SCOTUS doesn't actually have the last word on American government. If they get antsy, you could say, amend the Constitution.

I'm still waiting for somebody to identify an instance in which the UN has adversely affected, much less destroyed, the individual rights of US citizens.

The UN is dangerous to many things: New York's parking situtation and common sense come to mind. But they are way, way down my list when it comes to things I have to worry about on the gun control front. The NRA looks quite silly in this episode. Although they still have a ways to go before they look as silly as the UN itself.
7.8.2006 1:13pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
"If a few hundred votes had changed [or been counted] in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed [or been allowed to be cast] in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different."

Of course, torture and indefinite detention without charges would not be instruments of U.S. government policy, and we would not have invaded Iraq. And, the government would not have run up quite such large budget deficits. And, and, and.

But, hey, you win some, you lose some. U.N. recommendations on guns are the really, really critical issue.
7.8.2006 1:21pm
Waldensian (mail):

Arguing that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they backfired is, well, reverse circular reasoning.

Okay, I'll give you that. Hey, it was late. In the spirit of the conspiracy, I will try again:

They shouldn't be taken seriously because they can't do anything, and certainly this latest hubub amounts to nothing.

If the UN did manage to cobble something together that would even approach an actual threat to US liberties -- and I have a hard time imagining what that could be, maybe we miss a security council vote and they decide to land blue-helmets in Omaha? -- they have zero, repeat zero, chance of succeeding.

When has the UN ever done anything that affected individual liberties in the US? I think the answer is never. So why should I be up in arms about that prospect now? I think the answer is, I shouldn't. Those numbnuts are the original gang that couldn't shoot straight.
7.8.2006 1:24pm
Hamilton Lovecraft (mail):
If a few hundred votes had changed in Florida in 2000, or if 60,000 votes had changed in Ohio in 2004, the results of the 2001 and 2006 U.N. gun control conferences would have been entirely different.

Do you have links to anything I could read to support this remarkable assertion?
7.8.2006 2:33pm
Prof (mail):
"here would now be a legally binding international treaty creating an international legal norm against civilian gun ownership,"

This post is just so intellectually dishonest: there is no serious proposal on the table for an international treaty that bans civilian gun ownership nor would it have been if Gore had won. This type of UN paranoia reminds me of the conservative opposition to CEDAW, labeling it the "anti-Mother's day treaty" even if the thing wasn't even remotely related to Mother's day. This rubbish doesn't belong on a blog that proclaims to be serious.
7.8.2006 3:14pm
Waldensian (mail):

there is no serious proposal on the table for an international treaty that bans civilian gun ownership nor would it have been if Gore had won. This type of UN paranoia reminds me of the conservative opposition to CEDAW, labeling it the "anti-Mother's day treaty" even if the thing wasn't even remotely related to Mother's day.

Agreed. I support the right to keep and bear arms in this country. But many Americans who think the same way tend to be a little, shall we say, over the top.

This entire "UN wants to ban our guns" episode has been sort of like a homeowner going out into his yard and shooting an ant with a shotgun. He justifies it by saying "we need to keep ants out of the house." Afterwards he celebrates his huge victory over insect infestation. But his neighbors watching the spectacle just think he's paranoid and strange, and, well, they're right.

To get a real feel for the divergent personalities that make up the pro-gun crowd in the country, I highly recommend attending a gun show. I'll be at this one tomorrow if anyone wants to buy a nice 1943 Long Branch Enfield.
7.8.2006 3:57pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
there is no serious proposal on the table for an international treaty that bans civilian gun ownership nor would it have been if Gore had won.

You might be right about Gore (can't say for sure), but Rebecca Peters and IANSA certainly support the ban in England and were big on supporting the (failed) ban in Brazil.

Besides, isn't it possible that the reason there is no such proposal is vigorous US opposition?

This type of UN paranoia reminds me of the conservative opposition to CEDAW

If CEDAW has no domestic effects, then what, pray tell, is the point of signing it? If it is just about, I don't know, the non-discriminatory treatment of female pirates captured on the high seas, who cares? The point of CEDAW is to bind the US to a particular vision of relations between the sexes. That vision may be highly desireable, but if so, then it should be enacted by Congress and the state legislatures of their own free will. The UN and the Pakistani Minister for Diversity or whoever shouldn't get any say at all.

In any case, the Saudis are on board with CEDAW and I'm sure its doing wonders for their population.

it is also true that as warfare spreads from regular, uniformed troops, to irregular partisans...incidents of war crimes and barbarism increase...This was true in World War II and is true in every war.

Indeed, the French Resistance, along with the Finnish and Philipine militias, were much worse than the Red Army, Wehrmacht, and Japanese army. And those farmers at Lexington and Concord were just terrible compared to U.S. Cavalry punitive raids on the Indians. Heaven forfend that anyone without a government patch on his arm touch a firearm, lest he lower himself to the level of the Norwegian underground.

Besides, who says you don't have the right to resist just because you're not lucky enough to have your own state (Hmong, Kurds, American Indians etc.)

A bunch of beer swilling pot bellied NRA members doesn't have the power to oppose the US Army.

Charming liberal tolerance for "alternative lifestyles" on display. But seriously, the goal isn't to defeat the Army in tactically, which is of course impossible. But there are other elements to warfare: objectives, strategy, morale, and logistics.

The goal is to force patriotic officers to order young recruits to pull the trigger on Americans, which is not likely to be a popular choice with either one. But frankly, it's not likely to ever be necessary precisely because nobody wants find out what would happen.
7.8.2006 4:44pm
therut:
Yea I am glad the stupid conference is OVER. But they will be back just as the lefty gun banners in this country will always be around.. I just hope some day they get put in their place by the USSC. That is my hope. Then they can change their silly group to Banning Fat in food or other silliness.
7.8.2006 5:29pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Indeed, the French Resistance, along with the Finnish and Philipine militias, were much worse than the Red Army, Wehrmacht, and Japanese army. And those farmers at Lexington and Concord were just terrible compared to U.S. Cavalry punitive raids on the Indians. Heaven forfend that anyone without a government patch on his arm touch a firearm, lest he lower himself to the level of the Norwegian underground.

The contention was that when citizens are armed during wars, less people die. I pointed out that when warfare spreads to irregular forces, the death toll increases, not decreases as the prevailing power tends to take more draconian actions to quell partisan activities and partisans can (but not always) resort to random and criminal acts of violence against perceived collaborators.

I notice you pick the most noble of the World War II partisan groups as an example. Why not defend the partisans that operated for either the Russians or the Germans in Eastern Europe? Weren't they pargons of virtue?

As for what happened to the American Indian, many atrocities were carried out against them by armed citizens as well as the U.S. military. I don't understand how it strengthens your argument in that if the Indians had been been better armed, the end result would have been the same or probably worse for them (complete annhilation would have probably been seriously contemplated), only the casulty rate of settlers and U.S. military would have been higher.
7.8.2006 5:55pm
Prof (mail):
"That vision may be highly desireable, but if so, then it should be enacted by Congress and the state legislatures of their own free will. The UN and the Pakistani Minister for Diversity or whoever shouldn't get any say at all."

Last time I checked the Senate still has to ratify treaties and does not hand over sovereignty to Pakistan when doing so. The point is not that these treaties are always wonderful and effective but that our position towards them should be pragmatic, rather than over-the-top black helicopter logic.
7.8.2006 6:05pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
Why not defend the partisans that operated for either the Russians or the Germans in Eastern Europe? Weren't they pargons of virtue?

Were they worse than the regular armed forces of those countries? I don't know, as it turns out. It is certain that both armies behaved beatially towards each other and the unarmed civilian population.

Really, would the casualty rate of German Jews have been higher if they had been widely armed? Could have been too much higher? Pretty much everyone at the Warsaw Ghetto perished. But that's true of pretty much everyone at any ghetto when it was liquidated.

My point wasn't about outcomes (who knows what might have happened?), it was simply that partisans are not automatically worse than uniformed forces, even (speaking historically) US uniformed forces. And I'm inclined to thinking that being armed is better than unarmed--you can always choose not to shoot, after all.

Last time I checked the Senate still has to ratify treaties and does not hand over sovereignty to Pakistan when doing so. The point is not that these treaties are always wonderful and effective but that our position towards them should be pragmatic

Fine. Pragmatically speaking, the mere existence of treaties that the US hasn't even signed has been cited by SCOTUS as persuasive authority on the interpretation of the Constitution (WTF?). That is, shall we say, not the attitude I'd like to see them take towards the 2nd A.

Pragmatically speaking, we have a large contingent of our political elites who regard "international law" (defined as "What Swedish NGOs want") as binding on the US, or at the very least think it terribly embarassing that we don't hew to such standards on the death penalty, non-use of military force, gun ownership, health care, "hate speech," etc.

Pragmatically speaking, virtually any document that could have come out of this conference would, in the coming years, be declared "customary international law" by people (in the US and out) who want the US to adopt it, and we would have faced constant criticism for supposedly being responsible for the vast numbers of, um, used Ruger Mk II .22 pistols flowing directly from gun shows in Kansas to Marxist African governments.

Pragmatically speaking, every political movement is weak at its inception. How many abolitionists, or communists, or suffragettes, or Nazis, or whatever were there when those movements were founded? Besides, this one is weak only in the US, not in Europe or Asia or even Canada or Mexico. The better to fight it when its weak than when its strong.

Is some of the NRA rhetoric overheated? Sure. But you can't beat something you don't fight.
7.8.2006 6:59pm
rocinante:
Here's a thought: Let's set aside the utilitarian arguments for an armed populace aside for a moment. They're fun (anecdote! isolated statistic! rhetorical question? snarky rejoinder!) but I don't know if they'll settle anything.

If, as several commenters have said "self-defense is not taking the law into one's own hands", what is self-defense? Is it a right? Perhaps even a moral imperative?

If it is my right - or even my obligation - to defend myself, then the criminal or negligent misuse of firearms by others should have no moral or legal bearing on my legal posession and justified use of the means of self-defense, i.e., firearms.

The fact that a mugger might use a handgun should be no justification for keeping me from having one. The crimes of a genocidal militia should be no justification for depriving any group of the means to resist that very same genocide.
7.8.2006 7:02pm
rocinante (mail):
Here's another thought: While there are genuine disagreements, I think a lot of the conference delegates are talking past each other.

Most of the nations and groups represented subscribe to the European (hock, spit) notion that the State (or it's duly authorized representative)is the only legitimate user of physical force. You may not defend yourself; the State will defend you and the pain, suffering, disposession or death of a citizen the State fails to protect is beside the point. A specific failure of the State does not alter the general principle or legitimize individual action.

Americans (and until recently, other members of the Anglosphere) have a long political and cultural tradition of both individual and collective self-defense.

Remember, the UN is an organization of states; it could really care less about individuals or individual rights. (Conservative estimates of the number of civilians killed by their own governments in the XXth century dwarfs the military and civilian casualties inflicted in wars between state actors.)

Any number of UN treaties, conventions, position papers, etc., assert sweeping rights for individuals, but always subordinate said rights to the interests of the states.

Of course states don't want civilians to have small arms; whether you're Canada or Cuba, armed civilians make things more difficult, to one degree or another, for the State.
7.8.2006 7:16pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
I pointed out that when warfare spreads to irregular forces, the death toll increases, not decreases as the prevailing power tends to take more draconian actions to quell partisan activities

The more I think about this, the more it seems nuts to me. Basically, the logic is "just submit and obey, and the nice men with the guns who just invaded your country won't hurt you." That might be true some of the time, but it hardly seems like enough of a univeral truth that we should write big permanent treaties around it. Certainly WWII is one huge string of counterexamples running from Biscay to Leyte.

Besides, what's wrong with a higher death toll if it includes a goodly number of the invaders? As it turns out, there are worse things than death. Or so Americans are purported to believe.
7.8.2006 7:17pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
That might be true some of the time, but it hardly seems like enough of a univeral truth that we should write big permanent treaties around it. Certainly WWII is one huge string of counterexamples running from Biscay to Leyte.

No, but David Kopel's argument, that "more guns mean less genocide" or something like that is even more absurd. Of course I am not arguing about the legitimacy or right of partisan resistance, just that the consequences can be truly horrific and lead to governments that are even more horrific than the ones they originally rose up to vanquish. Look at the Taliban, they were cheered because they threw out the drug warlords who had turned Afghanistan into a lawless narco-organized crime state. Turns out they were even worse.

And then there is the sad tale of eastern Europe in World War II. Innocent civilians who were suspected of collaborating with either Russian or German partisans were killed the next time partisans from the other side came through.

David thinks arming the refugees in Darfur is the solution to the crisis there. Of course he never indicates who will arm them or train them (they certainly can't afford to actually buy guns) in the use of the arms or what happens when the Sudanese government uses the constant "attacks" against "peaceful" arabs and aid workers in Darfur as an excuse for full scale war against the black residents of Darfur and complete slaughter ensues.
7.8.2006 8:09pm
Mr. Wizard:
I'm still waiting for somebody to identify an instance in which the UN has adversely affected, much less destroyed, the individual rights of US citizens.

The UN specifically, or will any international treaty do?

Try the Migratory Bird Act, which gave the federal government a power it never had before -- the power to control the taking of game that might cross country boundaries.

For that matter, 100 years ago, the federal government realized it had no power to prohibit alcohol without amending the constitution, remember? So how are "illegal" drugs prohibited by the federal government today with no amendment? Right -- international treaty.

There's the highway to hell: sign a treaty, delegate a new power to the feds.


[DK: Of course you're right about the Migratory Bird Act. The case, well-known to any law student after a semester of constitutional law, is Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920). The case holds that, even though there is no enumerated power in the Constitution that gives Congress authority regarding migratory birds, Congress can exercise such authority because the Senate ratified the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918. Unfortunately, a troll has asserted that your statement of well-settled law is "nonsense. Under the common law, the government has always claimed a right to regulate the taking of game animals." The troll apparently does not understand that the the common law government power over game animals was a power that belonged to state and local governments, and was not one of the powers which the people granted to the federal government. (At least that was the theory by which states were objecting to federal controls of migratory species, and evading those objections was precisely why the purpose for which the federal government entered into the the Treaty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_v._Holland) Moreover, the troll does not understand that the migratory bird treaty applies to many species which are not game animals. http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/intrnltr/mbta/mbtandx.html I find it suprising that someone who attended law school would be entirely unaware of Missouri v. Holland.


Elsewhere in the comments, an ill-informed and rude commenter writes about "conservative opposition to CEDAW, labeling it the "anti-Mother's day treaty" even if the thing wasn't even remotely related to Mother's day."


In fact, the United Nations Association of the United States of America admits that the U.N. told Belarus that the U.N. was "concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers' Day and a Mothers' Award, which it sees as encouraging women's traditional roles." http://www.unausa.org/site/pp.asp?c=fvKRI8MPJpF&b=337341. The UNAUSA, a fervently pro-UN group, argues that the UN was merely concerned about Belarus mothers' day for its emphasis on "traditional roles" and was not objecting to mothers' day in general. Whether or not you agree with UNAUSA's argument, it's indisputable that, according to UN enforcement of CEDAW, CEDAW directly imposes a requirement that mothers' day not be celebrated in certain ways. Accordingly, the commenter's assertion that "the thing wasn't even remotely related to Mother's day" was extremely ignorant; all you have to do to find about the controversy is to run "CEDAW mother's day" through a search engine, and you will immediately find out about the Belarus controversy. Commenters who won't bother to take even elementary steps to have a clue what they're talking about before unleashing ugly invective against other people don't have a place on this weblog; future violations may lead to IP bans.]
7.8.2006 11:01pm
Mr. Wizard:
Forgot to mention: international treaties are also the foundation for the feds' "undelegated" power to tell you what you can or cannot do with your own real estate if it happens to have anything from a lake to a seasonal damp patch on it. I'd say that adversely affects (if not destroys) the individual property rights of a whole bunch of citizens.
7.8.2006 11:05pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
FF,

I don't know the answer to Darfur. (Well, I do: it's those Executive Outcomes fellows. But that's not going to happen). But since the specialty of the Army's Special Forces (AKA the green berets) is training and leading indigenous forces, I suppose they could do a lot of good. They certain have proven effective in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan.

That, of course, requires more committment then we're prepared to make.

I'm quite sure that air drops of AK-47s won't solve the problem, but it isn't obvious to me that they'll make it any worse. You ask for instances when civilian gun ownership has prevented genocide; that's tought to prove because of course the genocide didn't happen. I'd like to pose the parallel question to you: can you show an instance where widespread civilian gun ownership has made things worse? Partisans don't count; they're armed and supported by their parent governments. Sure, the Germans engaged in collective punishment when people resisted, but maybe that's a fair price for killing some German officers or blowing up a rail junction. The answer isn't obvious to me. Bloodshed is bad, but peace at the price of slavery is also bad.

It doesn't seem to me that the current Sudanese government (whatever that means) really needs much of an excuse for slaughter. Nor that any government which is evil enough to slaughter civilians deliberately really needs an excuse.

As I said, a gun owner can always choose not to shoot if he wants.
7.8.2006 11:34pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
This post is just so intellectually dishonest: there is no serious proposal on the table for an international treaty that bans civilian gun ownership nor would it have been if Gore had won. This type of UN paranoia reminds me of the conservative opposition to CEDAW, labeling it the "anti-Mother's day treaty" even if the thing wasn't even remotely related to Mother's day. This rubbish doesn't belong on a blog that proclaims to be serious.
What's weird is that leftists complain when conservatives suggest that the U.S. should ignore the U.N. and not take it seriously... and leftists complain when conservatives take the U.N. seriously.
7.9.2006 1:32am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I pointed out that when warfare spreads to irregular forces, the death toll increases, not decreases as the prevailing power tends to take more draconian actions to quell partisan activities
You didn't "point out" that at all, Freder. You claimed it -- as you always do -- without evidence.

(Still waiting for you to explain how British support for Arab independence in WWI was about oil when oil hadn't even been discovered there at the time. I think you may want to look up the old saying, "Often wrong, but never in doubt.")
7.9.2006 1:49am
BT:
Freder, what is "breathtaking" is your inability to comprehend simple English as has been noted time and again on various threads on this blog. I never said that the Russian Revolution wasn't violent or that Lennin diarmed anyone without bloodshed or a fight, or that an armed determined minority wasn't a problem for the ruling government. What my point is is simple, history poves that if a government, including the US government, decides to disarm a minority, that it does not work out well for that group, time and again. If you disagree with that point, fine. If there are instances where that has happended and nothing bad happened to that group, fine. If my examples are wrong and for instance, the Jews under Hitler, prospered in a way that they never would have, without being disarmed by Hitler, please englighten me. Note: I am not going to be able to resond to you as I must catch a plane and I won't have access to the internet for the next several days. Life has its disappointments.
7.9.2006 7:11am
PersonFromPorlock:
bpuharic:

No one has ever explained to me how gun ownership protects individual rights from govt. tyranny.

It's implicit in gun control that you can't be trusted with physical power but government can. That makes government the facilitator of your rights, and you can bet government's 'take' on those rights will favor its own convenience.
7.9.2006 8:43am
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
It's implicit in gun control that you can't be trusted with physical power but government can.

Doesn't a standing army with fighter jets, tanks, and nuclear bombs imply the same thing?
7.9.2006 8:53am
markm (mail):
But seriously, the goal isn't to defeat the Army in tactically, which is of course impossible. But there are other elements to warfare: objectives, strategy, morale, and logistics.

The goal is to force patriotic officers to order young recruits to pull the trigger on Americans, which is not likely to be a popular choice with either one. But frankly, it's not likely to ever be necessary precisely because nobody wants find out what would happen.

That covers the morale side of it. The logistics side might be even more critical. It's very difficult for a modern military to function when its supplies have to be purchased from the very people it is fighting. Armies can become very good at theft, but that doesn't work well for an army with modern or even WWI-technology equipment. They need a continuing supply of fuel and of parts made specifically for their tanks and aircraft, and no one's going to run a factory making those parts so you can come steal them repeatedly.

A modern army also needs to haul an amazing amount of supplies to the front-line troops. Iraq shows how just a few guerillas hidden among a generally friendly to neutral civilian population can make it very costly to keep the roads open and protect the supply convoys. When most of the people are hostile, things will be much worse - and American commanders aren't stupid enough to order their troops to use Nazi/Soviet/Mongol methods of controlling the people.
7.9.2006 10:08am
Freder Frederson (mail):
(Still waiting for you to explain how British support for Arab independence in WWI was about oil when oil hadn't even been discovered there at the time. I think you may want to look up the old saying, "Often wrong, but never in doubt.")

Now, I don't want to hijack the thread on an unrelated subject, but I can't let this snarky comment go. So here are some links to show that you are the one who is wrong and Basra (that the British are once again fighting and dying in ninety years later) was a vital port for Iranian oil and one of the sites of the earliests battles against the Turks. And that the later campaigns were undertaken for the express purpose of securing the potentially rich oil supplies of the middle east.

I never said that the Russian Revolution wasn't violent or that Lennin diarmed anyone without bloodshed or a fight, or that an armed determined minority wasn't a problem for the ruling government. What my point is is simple, history poves that if a government, including the US government, decides to disarm a minority, that it does not work out well for that group, time and again.

No, but you did imply it. And my point, which you are talking past, is that your armed minority can just as easily be a viscious, dictatorial, bloodthirsty, faction bent on absolute dominance. The Bolsheviks, at best, enjoyed the support of five percent of the population, yet were able to exert total control over the country. Giving everybody a gun doesn't solve that problem, it just increases the possibility that such a thing will happen.

Try the Migratory Bird Act, which gave the federal government a power it never had before -- the power to control the taking of game that might cross country boundaries.

This of course is nonsense. Under the common law, the government has always claimed a right to regulate the taking of game animals. Game animals belong to all the people, not individual land owners over whose land they pass.

international treaties are also the foundation for the feds' "undelegated" power to tell you what you can or cannot do with your own real estate if it happens to have anything from a lake to a seasonal damp patch on it. I'd say that adversely affects (if not destroys) the individual property rights of a whole bunch of citizens.

No they're not, that comes from the commerce clause, not international treaties.

Both these examples may be federalism issues, whether the states or federal governments should be controlling the wetlands or taking of game animals (and yes there is an international treaty on migratory birds, but the right to control game animals is undoubtedly a government right), but they are not international treaties encroaching on our rights.
7.9.2006 10:33am
Voolfie (mail) (www):
I don't know if others have made this point, so I'll apologize in advance if I'm rehashing:

One press release noted that certain other 'states' were not necessarily happy with the way the conference was going because it might interfere with a nation/regime's 'right' to sell or buy weapons.

Some reflection causes me to recognize that many of the states involved would have solemnly signed any agreement produced and then blissfully ignored it when their own interests were inconvenienced.

Therefore, even if Charles Schumer were President and Sarah Brady our U.N. representative, I don't think this thing would have been anything close to a 'slam dunk' for Rebecca Peters etc.

At the end of the day, I believe that any agreement ratified would have been largely ignored by most. That's not to say that we're better off with a U.N. convention on small arms. Any global conference that starts off by talking about the 'rights of states' sends the hair on the back of my neck right up.

While I do see strong reasons to worry that we're well on our way down the slippery slope, I fear that the NRA's constant crying of 'Wolf! will work against them (and us) eventually.
7.9.2006 11:40am
RKV (mail):
Based on prior performance please be aware that the poster here with the initials FF is a troll. No amount of logic or history will penetrate his intellect, and no amount of patient recitation of facts will ever persuade him to conceed a point which has been proven to the satisfaction of everyone else here. As Dave Kopel has noted about him before on another thread - "Don't feed the trolls."
7.9.2006 11:44am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Yeah, I'm a troll and there are posters here throwing in everything from the Migratory Bird Act and wetlands regulations to show how evil the UN along with claiming that the US was saved from the mass slaughter that Europe experienced in the twentieth century only because we had guns.
7.9.2006 11:51am
Freder Frederson (mail):
I'd like to pose the parallel question to you: can you show an instance where widespread civilian gun ownership has made things worse?

Hmm, can't think of any off the bat. But I could pose a hypothetical.

Assume for the sake of argument that a large nation invaded a country to depose a brutal dictator. Now what if that country had three fractious ethnic and religious groups that had been kept in check by the former dictators iron fist. Now what if the country already had a large armed population and much of the male population had military training and combat experience because of the aggressive nature of the former regime. Assume further that the invading nation, ignoring the advice of the professional military, made really boneheaded decisions early in the war and invaded with insufficient troops to secure the country's arsenal and impose security and allowed the large enemy military to melt back into the civilaian population with their personal weapons and then disbanded the large standing army completely.

Under such ridiculous circumstances (and admittedly, I can't imagine any Western Nation undertaking such a risky invasion or, if it did, making such boneheaded mistakes), the easy availability of arms and explosives might lead to the rise of an armed insurgency, bordering on civil war, and be a serious hinderance to the development of a functioning democratic government.
7.9.2006 12:35pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
"Often wrong, but never in doubt.")

BTW, I am waiting for you to admit you were wrong.
7.9.2006 12:49pm
Robert Lyman (mail):
FF,

You completely dodged the question, of course. I didn't ask about guns guaranteeing democracy, which of course they can't. The goal is preventing genocide of a minority, so you'll need to point to a minority that was worse off being armed than unarmed. I think we can safely agree that the "insurgents" in Iraq consider themselves better off armed, even if that means far more of them will be killed. They value other things more highly than life.

I would certainly be nice for the US (and the Iraqi government) if nobody had unauthorized guns in Iraq. But it would not be better for the Islamist nutters who want to take over the country.

In the case of a less benign invader and a more virtuous resistance movement, it seems to me that peace probably should not be purchased at any price.

(As an aside, given that Iran and Syria are supplying the insurgency, many of their fighters are foreign, and many of their weapons are captured artilery shells rather than small arms, they are not perhaps the best example of an indigenous minority and more closely resemble partisans than a real militia)

While I agree guns can't always stop genocide (See: Montagnards), it doesn't seem to me that they're guaranteed or even likely to make it worse.
7.9.2006 2:09pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The troll apparently does not understand that the the common law government power over game animals was a power that belonged to state and local governments, and was not one of the powers which the people granted to the federal government. (At least that was the theory by which states were objecting to federal controls of migratory species, and evading those objections was precisely why the purpose for which the federal government entered into the the Treaty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_v._Holland) Moreover, the troll does not understand that the migratory bird treaty applies to many species which are not game animals.

The false accusations of me being a troll aside (and the hilarious fact that you have become a troll on your own site), the point is that under the common law, wild animals have always belonged to the people, not individual landowners. And I clearly stated that the issue was one of federalism, not international treaty. And since migratory birds cross state and national borders, it is kind of ridiculous to argue that the management of such animals is not a concern of the Federal government.

You are descending into O'Reilly territory here, referring to me as "the Troll" rather than my chosen alias.
7.9.2006 3:04pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Shakira "No fighting No fighting"
7.9.2006 4:09pm
RKV (mail):
"Commenters who won't bother to take even elementary steps to have a clue what they're talking about before unleashing ugly invective against other people don't have a place on this weblog; future violations may lead to IP bans." Thanks David, you have a nice blog. Do what you need to do, I and others here fully support your decisions.
7.9.2006 11:58pm
Waldensian (mail):
The Migratory Bird Act?!?

To repeat my point using boldface for the crucial bits:

I'm still waiting for somebody to identify an instance in which the UN has adversely affected, much less destroyed, the individual rights of US citizens.

Frankly I don't see what the Migratory Bird Act has to do with that debate. It deals with, um, ducks and such.

Maybe it's just me.

Look, unlike some who are ridiculing the NRA at this point, I'm a strong proponent of the right to keep and bear arms. If the blue helmets or their lackeys (U.S. law enforcement?) ever come to seize my weapons, they had better bring a tractor trailer and a good supply of body bags.

Couldn't resist the Rambo reference there.

But please. The NRA's alarmist apocalyptic UN black helicopter bullhonkey is making RKBA defenders look like complete idiots.

Which we ain't.
7.10.2006 12:53am
TheFaz (mail):
I don't have an instance where the UN has adversely affected the rights of US citizens, but I can give you a Brazilian example. That Brazilian gun-ban referendum which failed last year was directly funded by UN organizations, including UNICEF. They weren't the only funders, but they were a part of it.

And for Mr. Waldensian and all those lovers of milsurp weapons (as am I), it is UN policies and funds that have resulted in the destruction of many of these weapons in various countries rather than allow them to be sold to us here in the US. Fortunately many countries still ignore these UN recommendations and sell us lots of neat, historical stuff, but this conference was designed to prevent that from happening in the future.
7.10.2006 12:22pm
Robert Pinkerton (mail):
To reiterate ocinante's point in his of 8 July 06/1816: "Remember, the UN is an organization of states; it could really care less about individuals or individual rights. (Conservative estimates of the number of civilians killed by their own governments in the XXth century dwarfs the military and civilian casualties inflicted in wars between state actors.)"

Specifically, the United Nations is an organization of *governments:* State executive personnel plus the socio-economic *elite* of any given member country. As such, it has an unspoken but urgent vested interest in the supremacy of governments over their respective Peoples. Too, in all too many countries, the socio-economic elite of the country looks upon the People not as (Latin) "populus," with its particular political connotations, but rather as (again, Latin) "vulgus," with the particular political connotations of that term; which is to say that the elite are accustomed to looking down on the People as from a great height, and condescending to them; all the while, simultaneously fearing and loathing its respective People. How many governments currently in the United Nations, would still be in power, if they recognized their People's right to keep and bear arms?

Whether or not the United Nations currently has the *power* to effect indecent designs upon the liberties of individual commoners, I say one should trust that it is possessed of the will to do so. I say further that that will should be kept IMpotent, by taking that organization finally seriously and fighting it tooth and nail.
7.11.2006 1:06pm