3/07 Transfer Of Wealth

Transfer Of Wealth

Larry Pratt

In a just society, wealth is transferred in exchange for money, for service or by gift. Unjust forms of transferring wealth occur by means of the thug on the street or the bureaucrat who takes one’s property. Examples of the latter would even include zoning regulations intended to keep property from being developed by the owner for his profit.

Conversely, a bureaucrat may arbitrarily decide that a developer will use the land more efficiently (and produce more taxes) than some widow in her old house, and thus, she’ll find that her property is stolen under the banner of “eminent domain.”

The Fourth Amendment was designed to protect us against unreasonable seizures. In our day, the devil is in the detail of “reasonableness.” Who decides what is reasonable?

At bottom, the issue turns on the question of sovereignty. “Who is in charge?” would be a way to define sovereignty. In America, sovereignty was seen as flowing from the people, as in We the People — the phrase that begins our Constitution. The people were individuals acting collectively. For there to be individual sovereigns, there must be self-governance.

John Longenecker argues in his book, Transfer of Wealth: The Case for Nationwide Concealed Carry, that the way for Americans to regain the sovereignty that has slipped unconstitutionally into the hands of our rulers, is for Americans to once again carry guns.

How can encouraging people to walking around with six-shooters reverse the unceasing growth of government in the U.S.? As Longenecker points out, “the Second Amendment isn’t about guns — It’s about SELF-GOVERNANCE…. [S]elf-governance is backed by force. Not the force of law enforcement or even the Military, but the lethal and lawful force of the individual citizens.” (page 2)

In other words, a sovereign without the ability (and willingness) to use force is not a sovereign. He is a subject.

The sovereign individual must be able to use force if he is to preserve not only his own independence, but preserve his household. “Personal independence in running your household the way you want to run it [is] the seat of America’s sovereignty.” (page 2)

What is the unintended consequence of disarming the citizenry? An increase in crime. Not only is there an immediate transfer of wealth into the grubby hands of the thug, but there are increased costs starting with more police, then more courts, more jails and more government generally. We are impoverished by keeping guns out of the hands of all but the government. Of course, the criminals are never disarmed.

One of the more biased and dishonest words hurled about by the civilian disarmers is labeling self-defense as “taking the law into one’s own hands.” Since the police power flows from the sovereign, it is a logical impossibility for a sovereign to take the law into his own hands when acting to stop or prevent a crime. As Longenecker put it, “[A]n individual does not take the law into his own hands, but takes the situation into his own hands under his legal authority in the absence of police.” (page 66)

The anti-gun crowd’s pejorative view of self defense is meant to condition us for unilateral disarmament. Once more Longenecker: “The way to attack a free society is to disarm it first. Disarming takes the form of not only taking weapons, but of taking authority.” (page 77)

Longenecker has made a significant contribution to understanding and articulating what it means to be free. Guns are as important for what they enable us to do (self-defense) as for what they represent — authority.

(Longenecker was interviewed on Live Fire about his book.)