I recently wondered what had happened to the Spirit of ’76, the American desire for freedom best displayed in the Declaration of Independence.
(By the way, for cheap amusement, compare the two versions of the event put forth by the Washington Times, linked above, and the Washington Post, linked here. Can you tell which paper tends toward liberty, and which towards statism? Hmm).
As it turns out, the final deal was in line with the American position. Even so, the comments reported in the Washington Times sound like it was a deal with the Devil:
“It is important that the conference be inclusive, and that we remember this problem is a long-term process,” said Raimund Kunz, who heads the Swiss delegation.
“What is important is that the action plan is implemented,” he said, acknowledging that every country, including his own, has legitimate interests to protect.
As the Times also reports,
The European Union, Japan, Mozambique and other nations have been advocating strong controls that would restrict the manufacture, civilian possession and international transfer of weapons. Major arms manufacturers, including the United States, Russia and China, have been advocating strong export controls, but will brook no interference in domestic laws.
Mozambique? And when did the European Union become a “nation”?
At any rate, note that politics makes strange bedfellows — so soon after nearly coming to a shooting war (well…maybe) over the American spy plane, the US and China have allied themselves on small arms.
On the down side, the US agreed to tracing and marking weapons. On the bright side, the agreement is not binding. If only every government plan were non-binding.
Finally, the Times adds that
Organizers have stressed they do not seek to take from civilians firearms legally acquired under national law. However, the conference has generated strong opposition from American gun enthusiasts concerned about their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Shouldn’t even those who are afraid of guns be concerned about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms? Or is it acceptable to destroy some constitutional rights?
Memo to those who hate guns: once the Second Amendment is destroyed, the First Amendment — and political speech and nude dancing — will not be far behind. Indeed, it appears that the Bill of Rights is being shredded in reverse order. The 10th and 9th Amendments are pretty much ignored today. Liberty is all of a piece.
Those who love liberty have reason to celebrate, and reason to continue working. The UN Disarmament Conference has come and gone, and it doesn’t appear to have been too bad. The fight continues. Eternal vigilance and all that.
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2001 David Dieteman