Urbin Report

Monday, June 30, 2003

Useful Idiots By The Hunter

At one of the hearings up in Concord I attended last year in order to stand on politician's feet, grab their lapels, and yell up their nostrils, a doddering old WW2 veteran got up to testify. The fellow must have been in his 80s; his voice wasn't that strong, and he had trouble walking. He apologized for how long it took him to get up the steps to the podium, and for his frequent pauses to catch his breath while he was speaking. He told us he wasn't going to go into all the other arguments being covered by others that day about why gun rights were so important. He thought they were doing a better job than he could anyway. He had a warning to he wanted to deliver. It turned out to be utterly different than anybody expected.

He explained that he helped liberate some of the concentration camps in Europe back in 1945. He fought his way through occupied France and Germany, along the way seeing firsthand some of the fruits of a totalitarian society. He said ever since then he had been something of an amateur historian. But he had an unusual focus - he wanted to know how such an atrocity could come to be. He had come to know the German people while he was "over there", and individually they were decent, honorable people. So how had they come to allow such horrible atrocities in their midst? Over the years, he told us, he thought he had come to understand it pretty well.

He read several passages from a couple of books he had with him into the record, detailing what had happened in several different totalitarian regimes right after whichever nasty faction history remembers came to power. Without exception, within months of seizing power, ALL of them had liquidated the people Lenin called "useful idiots" who had supported them. Teachers, low-to-middle level politicians and bureaucrats, civil administrators - the list went on and on. In place after place, through many different periods of history, and in the service of many different ideologies, ordinary working people had paid the ultimate price for what they thought was "doing the right thing".

Representative's Hall was absolutely silent as he concluded that the people pushing so hard and openly these days for a socialist consolidation of power in America should think long and hard about what it was going to end up costing them personally. I'm pretty sure that old man got the biggest round of applause of all the hundreds of people who spoke out in support of gun rights that day, and he never mentioned guns or unalienable rights once the whole time he talked.

That old veteran's message is well worth thinking about for anyone who supports one band or another of the statists trying to grab power in America these days. It is a necessary part of the consolidation of tyrannical power that the local leaders who are the heart, brains, and conscience of the community be liquidated. A stark warning well worth keeping in mind no matter your political leanings. Even IF your side wins, you might be in dire trouble. Which is why I long ago concluded that the only people who had it right were the libertarians and the members of the founding generation, who argued that government as an entity is far too dangerous to be tolerated any more than absolutely necessary. The more I see of life the more I have come to believe that "necessary" function of government is damn near if not indeed zero.

Hunter's Sixteenth Rule: There is a time to argue passionately
for what you believe in... but there is also a time to gnaw off a leg in a desperate attempt to save your sanity.

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