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"No freeman shall ever be de barred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson
Welcome to my collection of mostly firearms information. I hope you find this archive useful for educating yourself and others about the issues, for writing letters to the editor and your legislators, and for finding out how to get involved in defending your freedom. Remember that the battle for our freedom is won at the voting booth and in the hearts and minds of the undecided. I also hope that you will work on election campaigns and get your friends and family registered and out to vote; this is how we won November 1994.See action/top-action for my top firearms-rights action item. Get involved and save your own firearms rights!
Be sure to check out some of the highlights of my archive. (Includes a link to my Guide to Internet Firearms Information Resources.) Use the Topics to look around the archive generally; there's lots of good stuff.
I have not built indices for every topic, but with WWW, viewing files is easy so browse around. Hopefully, descriptive file names and reasonable organization will help you find things. If you have questions or comments, email me.
Pacifism is often upheld as being ethically superior to self-defense, as if forceful resistance to crime or tyranny lowers oneself to the level of the attacker. This presupposes that all use of force is equally unethical, but this is incorrect. If offensive force is unethical, then defensive force must be ethical because:
P. S. A translation of the ten commandments that says "you shall not kill" is incorrect. In Hebrew, the Bible says "you shall not murder." The two meanings are crucially different. The latter proscribes attack. It does not proscribe potentially lethal defense against attack.
A common way to differentiate negative from positive rights is that negative rights belong to you and can't be taken away, while positive rights require some resources to be (taken away from someone else in order for them to be) provided for you. Negative rights don't have a direct cost to the government/collective. In contrast paying for resources needed to provide for positive rights could come from the value of resources extracted from the earth, taxes that you pay, or taxes on your time such as forced labor in government owned farms or factories under communism or socialism.
Negative rights are fundamentally different from positive rights. Negative rights are restrictions on government power. Positive rights are government power exercised as reduction in everyones' freedom in order to redistribute wealth, e.g., socialism.
Under some systems of thought, such as English enlightenment which underpins America's founding, or most forms of libertarianism which arguably also underpins America's idealogical origins, positive rights aren't rights at all since they require using the (threat of) force of government power to take resources from people in order to pay for providing those rights. It can be argued that such use of force is fundamentally incompatible with a free society. Certainly it is incompatible with libertarianism which proscribes the initiation of force as unethical.
In practical terms, it's nearly possible to work in some rural or suburban areas without a personally owned automobile. Does this mean car repair is a fundamental right? Should you be forced to pay for my car repairs so that I can work? To me car repair is a service that you pay for, just like health care is a service that you pay for. I have no right to use the force of government to take your money to pay for either. Positive rights are no rights without the threat of force against you. Negative rights, in restraining government power, do not entail initiating force against others. They protect inalienable human rights you have, including the right to not have force used against you to pay for someone else's positive rights.
As a more concrete example, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions both positive and negative rights; it presupposes socialism. The Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America recognizes pre-existing, God-given (Natural) negative rights. The Bill of Right is a set of restrictions on government power. It does not mention any positive rights because they are fundamentally incompatible with freedom.
All of the major genocides of the 20th century were executed by governments with an effective and deliberate monopoly on force. As George Mason said in the debates about the U.S. Constitution: "to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." As we've seen from the 20th century, it also turns out to be the most effective way to genocide them. All the major dictators of the 20th century who murdered tens of millions of people systematically disarmed them first.
The occasion was flying into Germany for a trade conference. A left-leaning acquaintance of German-American ancestry posed the question of how Germany went from a good ruler such as Frederick the Great to a bad one such as Hitler in the span of not many generations. I didn't have a good answer for her at the time, but as a libertarian, the answer should have been more obvious: putting faith in great leaders instead of the people.
By most accounts Frederick the Great lived up to his reputation and was a truly great leader. When he invaded other countries, the great warrior personally led his armies, and he shared the conquered wealth with his people. He was a very good musician, excellent composer of music and talented artist. He was tolerant of and protected minorities such as Jews. He was a scholar of multiple topics. He significantly supported and advanced education, the arts, science and engineering, helping make Germany a world leader in them. He certainly fed into the idea that a "great leader" could improve the lives of his people and the destiny of his nation.
Modern leaders who have created significant improvements for their people such as Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore also feed into this idea. Like Frederick the Great, Lee could be considered a "benevolent dictator." While it's true that under some circumstances a "great leader" can do some remarkably good things, it's also true that creating a system of government that concentrates too much power in the hands of one person can be dangerous.
If Frederick the Great in any way led people to putting their faith in "great leaders," then he may have at least indirectly helped pave the way for Hitler by planting the idea that a leader could guide and benefit a nation and its people from a position of strength and great power. Frederick created a prototype that is seldom filled so well, but that in contrast has led to mass murder on unprecedented scales by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, and unfortunately many others in the past century. Hitler actively and publically likened himself to Frederick the Great, and took comfort in his writings during the last days of his life in his bunker under Berlin.
The great leader principle is also a premise of the left, which presupposes that if at least competent leaders and bureaucrats ran the government and economy, for example under communism, then things like justice and the economy would work optimally and Karl Marx's promise of paradise would be achieved. In practice this almost never seems to work out well for the left, and it's the people who suffer, while the leaders collect riches and consolidate power further.
Similar arguments are made for more government control of our economic and private lives in modern democracies, particularly in the left's desire to control the economy and regulate and restrict private enterprise, but also in the right's desire to control private lives. A wise leader and her army of bureaucrats will serve public interests better than individuals and private organizations can. They're smarter and know what's best for you better than you do. It's why they deserve to be in control over your life. They are your betters. They are your deserved masters.
Remember Thomas Jefferson's riddle about representative democracy in his First Inaugural Address: "Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." It seems that history has answered the question prevailingly and repeatedly in the negative, but we seem not to have noticed or cared.The Foundation for Economic Education has a scathing indictment of the Great Man Theory and its linkage with growing government power via authoritarianism and indeed fascism.
Some material here is included with the express permission of the author or publisher. Often it is stipulated for non-commercial use. That means do not sell the information here, for example on a CDROM, unless you contact the publisher or edit each article enough to qualify for fair use. For more information on copyright issues please see the copyright faqs from the Usenet Newsgroup news.answers .
I've rationalized filenames from BBSes. In particular, text files end in .txt instead of .ext and other bizarre endings. WordPerfect files end in .wp? Some file names are also changed. For example, gunsall.zip from GunTalk BBS is rkba-faq.zip. The contained zipfile is changed from gun.faq to rkba.faq I was reluctant to change names because doing so de-references them to the original, but I think my names are much more descriptive. The contents are not changed.
Zip files are compressed in either Zip 1.x or Zip 2.x format. http://rkba.org/bin/pkz204g.exe is a self-extracting DOS version of Zip 2.x Other versions of zip exist, including for UNIX; ask your system administrator or check comp.sources.* newsgroups. For DOS text files see dos2unix and unix2dos UNIX text file converters.
Note that I do not automatically expire files. If you have any updates or corrections, please send them to me.
Files here are presented as is. I make every reasonable attempt to check and verify information, but I cannot guarantee the accuracy of every piece of information. It is always wise and a good practice to independently verify any facts you plan to use.
There are occasional references in some of the files here and elsewhere to the web/ftp site when it was at Portal. The Portal site no longer exists. The correct URL for this site is now: http://rkba.org/
Thanks to Dave Stine, James A. Donald and others for encouraging me to check out WWW several years ago. Thanks also to those who build and use the Web and the 'Net, for bringing the world closer to freedom and enlightenment. In practical terms WWW is a tremendous advance in making use of the Internet; it's also a tremendous advance in making the Internet useful to the world.
I hope the information here will encourage you to make your feelings known to your representatives, the media and the people around you. Educating the people around you is the only way we're going to keep our rights.I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.
Jeff Chan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Copyright (C) 1996-2003 Jeff Chan