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The First One's Free

Free to Kill, but Not to Party

So Murka's ban on assault weapons was allowed to lapse earlier this week. Though shocking, it's hardly surprising.

It seems that "freedom", as defined by the mythologies of doublethinking Murka, means that any idiot is entitled to own their own personal WMDs, but I can't smoke crack or hire shemale hookers if I want. Basically, allowing people to own a tool whose entire purpose is to maim and kill others is ok, but it's not permissible for me to partake of the things I find pleasurable that don't hurt anyone else. Arming potential killers ok, victimless "crimes" not ok. Killing good, pleasure bad.

So let's see: I just want to be crystal clear on this concept, so I'm going to try it again.

We've got a pig-ignorant populace, permitted to buy their own personal WMDs, who worship a God of Love and Forgiveness, who consider other populations inferior to themselves, who drive to their local Wallmarts in their Hummers, who extol Murka as the Land of Freedom! — but only so long as people don't do drugs, don't marry a person they love, don't protest, don't question government policy, etc.

Freedom to provide tools that kill others: OK
Freedom to pursue sensual pleasure for self: NOT OK

Stopping power: GOOD
Sensual activities between consenting people: BAD

Potential to take away an innocent life: DESIRABLE
Potential to expand one's consciousness with psychotropics: NOT DESIRABLE

Free to Kill, but Not to Party. Got it.

Apparently it's ok for any dumb fuck to get a gun, but it's not okay to smoke a joint or marry the person you love if they happen to be the same gender as you. It's ok to have a tool whose only purpose is to kill (too bad if they're completely innocent); but it's not ok to decide to expand your own consciousness with organic drugs you don't get from big Pharma.

Seems parents would rather give their kids guns than condoms. How fucked-up is that? ("Here, son. This is a Glock 37 .45 GAP. It's tough, accurate, user-friendly, and has lots of stopping power. But remember, this isn't a toy! Now, when it comes to sex — don't have any!") It's somehow more acceptable to give kids guns and ammo than to provide them with the means to safely enjoy themselves. The message is: here's something you can kill others with (but don't); but it's not okay to protect yourself from STDs or unwanted pregnancies when you're having an orgasm. (And hell, orgasm itself is a terror to be avoided.)

Who Benefits?

The vital question to ask when it comes to any policy is "Who benefits?"

You will almost never find the answer to be "everyone". The answer will almost always practically be "someone with a vested interest." So you need to determine who that is, and what form the benefit takes.

In the case of making weapons freely available the answer isn't immediately obvious, but, like a palimpsest, once you remove the obvious picture you see the one beneath.

Question: Who tends to profit the most during goldrushes? The one who supplies the tools to the miners. Who tends to profit the most from the hordes of people who dream of being famous artists or photographers? The art and photography suppliers.

And who benefits the most from distributing guns? Well, obviously the industry that manufactures and supplies them. As one side kills another the other side is going to want to even the score. This creates a steady stream of buyers for your product. Thus the notion of "defense" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as more and more guns are purchased to "protect" yourself from the enemy as you try to revenge-kill them at them same time. There are vast sectors of society that have no desire to see groups engaged in internecine gun battles reach a reconciliation. In fact, these sectors want nothing more than to instigate and maintain feuds between Hatfields and McCoys. Situations such as that between Israel and Palestine, gang warfare in America's urban jungles, police vs favela kids in Rio de Janeiro, etc., are goldmines for weapons industries.

But who else benefits? It can't just be weapons makers, otherwise it would be a severely restricted industry, like the tobacco industry. What use does society derive from having their populace become a bunch of gun nuts?

Well, as we've seen with the Pavlovian success of the DHS's alert system, a society that lives in fear is a malleable society. The more people are afraid, the more easily they can be controlled as they look to "authorities" to help protect them. If you channel people away from things that are life-fulfilling and life-enhancing and move them towards living in isolated states of fear they become increasingly irrational and will seek guidance from "leaders" and "experts" to protect them.

Fear is a powerful tool for social control. The ultimate practical purpose of the american myth of "rugged individualism" is that it functions as an extremely effective "divide and conquer" strategy: it's a red-herring that can be used to blame victims for their own victimhood, rather than looking for systemic causes of inequality and injustice; it's used to promote distrust of others and to prevent communities from forming and sharing goods (a serious no-no for capitalism); it promotes disconnection and disassociation, and thus easily channels longing and desire into solipsistic consumerism. By reducing a sense of community and belonging it turns people into islands, reduces our sense of shared humanity, and increases our fear of the "other".

The truth is, once armaments are introduced into a society it's almost impossible to remove them. Once undesirable elements enter a society with weapons — say by massacring peaceful people living their daily lives — it becomes incumbent on that society to protect themselves. And perhaps this is the worst form of addiction that any society can face — because once weapons enter a society's bloodstream it remains there for the life of the host, requiring new and steady hits from the munition pushers.

Throw too many rats in a crowded cage, intermittently send a few volts through the floor, and they'll become so stressed out and angry that they will lash out and attack each other to the death; give one of them a gun, and pretty soon you've got a booming market addicted to fear and death clamoring to purchase your product.

There is no need for guns in heaven — but hell is littered with them.

The censors say they're protecting the family unit in America, when the reality is, if you suck a tit, you're an X, but if you cut it off with a sword, you're a PG."
   —Jack Nicholson

Babylon hates it when anyone actually enjoys life, rather than merely spends money in a vain attempt to buy the illusion of enjoyment. Dissipation, gluttony, bulimic overconsumption — these are not only legal but mandatory. If you don't waste yourself on the emptiness of commodities, you are obviously queer and must by definition be breaking some law. True pleasure in this society is more dangerous than bank robbery. At least bank robbers share Massa's respect for Massa's money.
   —Hakim Bey

We get the sense of how "barbarous" these Indians were when, in the 1880s, Congress prepared legislation to break up the communal lands in which Indians still lived, into small private possessions, what today some people would call admiringly, "privatization." Senator Henry Dawes, author of this legislation, visited the Cherokee Nation, and described what he found: "...there was not a family in the whole nation that had not a home of it's own. There was not a pauper in the nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar...it built its own schools and its hospitals. Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They have got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common...there is not enterprise to make your home any better than that of your neighbors. There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization."
   —Howard Zinn