June 06, 2007

Changing the world

(Note from Brian on January 19, 2009: As any current reader will notice, the activism links are gone. "Meandering", remember? I've meandered off in another direction, as always.)

I've decided the time has come to add a special link section for sites devoted to personal activism. Now, at first glance, it probably seems really odd to have Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the National Rifle Association all in the same list.

Good! Now ask yourself why you find it strange.

The real issue is neither gun control nor civil rights. The real issue, and the real problem, is how far you as an individual are willing to go to insure that your rights as well as the rights of everyone around you are protected to the greatest extent possible.

You have a right to your personal value system and you have the right to expect your government to go to great lengths to protect your ability to live according to your personal values. The only way that can ever happen is if you are also willing to extend that same priviledge to people you disagree with. It does no good to demand your personal rights be preserved at the expense of those who disagree with you. If you pursue your personal agenda at the expense of those who oppose you then you have taken upon yourself the same kind of oppressive quality as those who seek to deny you the freedom to live life as you choose.

There is no rational reason to assume we cannot preserve our natural world (as Greenpeace seeks to do) while at the same allowing nature to be enjoyed by sport hunters and sport fishers. True, their activities must not be allowed to destroy the delicate balance of our natural world, at the same time, it is important to recognize that in almost every single case their activities can enhance the balance of our natural world.

Take another example, Darfur. Genocide is always ugly, and the presence of guns makes genocide very simple for those who seek to bring it about. Keep in mind, however, that one of the worst episodes of genocide in modern history (BBC article on Rwanda) was conducted almost entirely with machetes, farm tools and wooden clubs.

So then, I'm starting my new Personal Activism list with five links, two dedicated to conservation, two dedicated to peace, and one dedicated to personal ownership of rifles, shotguns, handguns, and even assault weapons. For the record, I do not agree with the NRA position on assault weapons. No one who is not directly employed by the armed forces or law enforcement needs a working machinegun, no matter how badly they might want one.