Another Clover Autopsy

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Another Clover (my term for people who reflexively defend anything and everything government does – because it’s government that’s doing it) recently sent me the following in response to something I’d written on the subject of the Second Amendment:

“What was the 2nd Amendment about? Oh well the right to acquire antique guns and hang them up on a wall so you can admire them. “

Beyond its illiterate construction, the evasions and package-dealing contained in the Clover’s statement are interesting – in the same way that cancer is interesting to a pathologist. Here’s my lab report:

Dear Clover –

The Second Amendment articulated the natural right of free people to possess arms for self-defense. A right  – not a privilege conferred by government; a right that the state is morally bound to respect.

Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deliberately trying to suppress the clear intent of the authors of the Constitution. To try to claim that the 2A was written to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms is evil nonsense. I realize that ignorant people will stamp their feet and point to the phrase, “well-regulated” and then to the word, “militia” to try to argue the opposite. But this merely touts their ignorance – of what those terms meant in the 18th century – as evidenced by the context of those times, when virtually every private citizen did in fact possess arms, without restriction or regulation of any sort. Hence, if the authors of the 2A had intended to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms then you have to come up with an explanation for why there was no “gun control” of any sort from 1789 (the date of the Constitution’s ratification) onward, until more than 100 years had passed… .

This fact cannot be gotten around.

There is also the fact of what the authors of the founding documents wrote and said on the subject.

For example, Thomas Jefferson:

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson Papers, p. 33.)

And George Washington:

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”

And Alexander Hamilton:

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” (Federalist Papers, pp. 184-188)

And Patrick Henry:

“Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence be the *real* object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” (June 9, 1788)

And George Mason:

“To disarm the people… was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (June 14, 1788)

And Samuel Adams:

“That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United states who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms…” (Phila. Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789.)

Just a sampling. The roster of quotes is impressive – and uniform in their defense of free people – private citizens – to possess arms. Period. Free of control or regulation of any sort. It is not possible to find even one quote from a founding father advocating that the private possession of arms be restricted. Not one! Of course, this omission – this devastating silence – is never brought up by Clovers. It is a truth they simply cannot confront.

Modern advocates of “gun control” (that is, proponents of disarming innocent, non-criminal civilians) can argue many things – that “times have changed,” that free people should be denied their rights because of some “greater good,” as they define it – but it is facile and fatuous for them to argue that the 2A was written for any other reason than to define and protect the right of private citizens to possess arms without qualification or restriction.

And so ended my response to my Cloveronian correspondent. I neglected to add the following quotes from historical figures who may share his beliefs about restricting or denying the right of free people to possess arms:

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”

-Adolf Hitler, April 11, 1942

“The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings.”

– Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Shogun, August 1588

And finally, I wish I had closed my letter with the following:

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

– Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

But I suspect none of the foregoing will register, much less make an impression. A Clover “just knows” that guns are bad and feels they must be “controlled” – and will never comprehend – or perhaps, care to admit  – that what he in fact advocates is controlling people.

And there we come to the fork in the road; the difference between people who understand liberty and value it – and those who either do not understand it or, much worse, don’t value it.

And therefore work to destroy it.

PS: My apologies for posting another not-car column – but responding to Clovers, disabusing them of their nonsense – or rather pointing out to others how nonsensical Clovers are – has become as important to me as writing about cars and bikes. Because if we lose our liberties for failure to defend them, writing about cars – or driving them – won’t be something I or any of you out there reading this will have to worry much about.

Throw it in the Woods?

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Eric, your last line needs no apology. For it is so true. Keep up the non-car columns, much as our pollies keep up their right to interfere and remove your civil rights.

  2. A conversation I had with a brown shirt Clover. It’s starts where I’m explaining why I don’t resist the income tax by refusing to pay:

    me: ‎”rail against the infringements on your freedom.”

    I wouldn’t be of much use in a cage. Also, taking money by force is an act of violence, regardless of the reason. I’m sure you aren’t too supportive of the HC mandate. me: neither. Using a third party to do for you what you yourself would never do is wrong. If you feel the need to support Israel, or whoever, in their efforts, feel free to pool resources with other like minded individuals. Demanding that I participate at the point of a gun is immoral.

    me: BTW, Doug, I used to believe that Health Care was a right.

    Brown Shirt Clover: and now?

    me: I believe using the force of government to coerce Brown Shirt Clover , and everyone else, to purchase HC is immoral.

    Brown Shirt Clover: i don’t judge the morality of it, i do judge it’s Constitutionality, and that is HIGHLY suspect.

    me: So if it is upheld by SCOTUS, you’d comply?

    Brown Shirt Clover: i would. i would also work diligently to elect persons that would promise to overturn the law.

    Brown Shirt Clover: ‎…as i am now

    me: Really? Let’s go back to 1857 and the Dred Scott decision. If you were living back then, would you have sent an escaped slave back to a life of misery, with the intention of ‘working within the system’ to change the injustice that is slavery?

    Brown Shirt Clover: yes. i am not a revolutionary. i work w/i the framework of the Constitution. that docume:nt must be restored to full power.

    …and before you attempt it. that does NOT mean repealing the Amendments that eliminates slavery or takes away votes, etc.

    i am in favor of repealing the 16th and 17th amendments to restore balance to Congress and free the citizenry from a flawed and corrupted taxation system.

    me: ‎”16th and 17th amendments”

    That’s a beautiful thing. Now if you were living back in 1857, would you have sent an escaped slave back to a life of misery, with the intention of ‘working within the system’ to change the injustice that is slavery?

    Brown Shirt Clover: yes…then again i would also, no doubt have the mid-19th century mindset as to the level of humanity of the slaves, the need for white ‘care’ for the black race, and other social mores of the time.

    —————-

    So there you have it. I believe this is the predominant mentality in this country (work within the systems, damn the morality)

    • Interesting dissection!

      Notice, especially, the total lack of reliance upon or even reference to principles. Just a mechanistic – almost robotic – recitation of “the rules.” This is the mentality that will help shove people into cattle cars and possibly even to the ovens. “The Law” compels them! I must obey!

      • Here is how he introduced himself:

        i am an unabashed American Exceptionalist. i believe that this nation is the only thing holding back a very long, dark night. i am also a realist. this is a cold nasty world. you can think in hearts and flowers and hope that it changes, but it won’t. learn to live with it. learn to live within it.

        i don’t care if the people we kill are brown, white, yellow or fuscia…but not the chartreuse ones, they’re hot…as long as we kill the ones who are working to harm us. yes, children die. yes, the US military has killed them. yes, shit happens. you wanna run a PC war, try it, you WILL lose.

        i believe that we should support Isreal, they are the only democratically based republic in the middle east, the vast majority of the rest are feudal monarchies…not a hard choice.

        am i statist…sure, but show me the realistic options.

        i state all of this proudly, i know who i am, and what i’m about. you are free to post. i may engage, i may not, i will censor. don’t like it, don’t post.

        • Such an isolated and frightened person. Him and all those like him. A real childish view of the world. And I mean that. The last time I thought that other people in different countries were a threat or evil or anything else was when I was a child trying to make sense of the news. People like that need to grow (cursing deleted) up.

          I’ve met people from just about every corner of the planet in my life. Worked with them. Went to school with them. Ate with them. Drank with them. Online the numbers just skyrocket. People are people everywhere. Church is church everywhere. It’s all so very much the same under the cosmetic details.

          One video I like to point to is from some Iranian teenagers behaving irresponsibly on the roadways of Tehran. Perhaps some people don’t like it much thinking it a negative because of the behavior. I don’t. To me, it means that people are the same everywhere. It cuts right through the BS of mainstream media.

          Hate america? Bah. They didn’t preserve those cars for close to 40 years and illegally import (against US law) newer ones because they hate the people who built them.

          ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-aVhitpxAc )

          All conflict IMO stems from the control freaks and the clovers that follow them. They should all find another planet where they can fight each other to the death and not bother the rest of us.
          The rest of us can get along with each other just fine without them.

          • Amen! I think the Russians have a few rockets that can be used for the mission. NASA will need to build more rockets to send the rest to space, where no man has gone before.

            All conflict IMO stems from the control freaks and the clovers that follow them. They should all find another planet where they can fight each other to the death and not bother the rest of us.
            The rest of us can get along with each other just fine without them.

        • Yep, I know the type – I have an ex-friend who would say the same things – which is why we’re no longer friends, I guess. (Major moral disagreements will do that.)

          Israel uber alles – a function of this guy’s (my former friend’s) evangelical Christianity and “rapture lust.” I’ve asked him why America should be in the business of bankrolling any foreign country – a concept that ought to be anathema to a “conservative” (as he likes to style himself) and even more so to an aggressive, Apartheid-like theocratic-socialist foreign country… which brings forth the charge that I am anti-Semitic.

          “Someone’s gotta be in charge” – he likes to say that often, in defense of American authoritarianism. I ask how domineering over others and aggressive violence comports with either Christianity or “conservatism.” I receive in reply convoluted rationalizations that make my head hurt; it’s like arguing with a barking dog.

          And so on…

          Until there is a general enlightenment that violence except in self-defense is perhaps the true “original sin,” there is no hope for the world or the future.

          • Dear Eric,

            “I receive in reply convoluted rationalizations that make my head hurt… ”

            Ditto.

            Nearly everyone in the political mainstream sorta, kinda knows that liberty ought to be the highest value. That’s why they all obediently pay ritual lip service to it. They know they’re supposed to. PC, you know.

            But they have never really actually believed liberty is the highest value.

            You know how you can tell when a mainstream clover or sheeple really doesn’t believe liberty is the highest value?

            Listen for the word “but.” It’s always “Of course we must be free, but… ”

            It will always come up, without fail. If it doesn’t then you’re talking to a genuine champion of liberty.

            Whatever comes after the “but” is actually the establishment clover or sheeple’s highest value.

            With conservatives it’s “law and order.” With liberals it’s “social justice.”

            The “but” always negates any and all pro forma lip service to liberty that came before it.

          • Bevin,

            No but about it. 😉

            Thinking critically and being consistent is not always easy. It is easier in the short term to make believe everything will work out in the end.

            When one is given a counterexample, it should give one a moment to reconsider what one thought was valid and true.

            Sticking one’s head in the sand is what a child might do, but an “adult” should be responsible enough to “face the music”.

          • Dear Mith,

            Re: childishness and maturity

            Clovers and sheeple flatter themselves. They depict their own cavalier willingness to abrogate the NAP, as mature pragmatism.

            They mock uncompromisingm principled champions of the NAP as childishly dogmatic.

            In fact of course, they are the one who lack maturity, both emotional and intellectual. They are the ones who fail to understand that “ideas have consequences.”

            “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy.”
            — P. J. O’Rourke

  3. Owning weapons and quoting our forefathers is all well and good. But one also needs to get some fundamental training, and to practice, and to maintain these devices at least as well as you do your car. Stay well provisioned with ammo too. A firearm without ammo is like a car without gas.

    • Sure! As with any tool, it’s important to know how to properly care for and handle it before you get a gun. That’s good common sense. But (just to be clear) neither the 2A nor the concept it articulates put any condition on the possession of guns. A great marksman has no more right to own a gun than Joe Blow – the right applies equally.

      That said, I am also just as strong an advocate for severe punishment in the event a person uses a gun for evil purposes. Want to end “gun violence”? Establish a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison, hard time, no possibility of parole, for any use or threatened use of a gun during a criminal act – in addition to the sentence for the criminal act itself (such as robbery).

      • I understand where you’re coming from with a mandatory sentence for “criminal misuse of a firearm”. At first glance it looks good. The problem with this concept, just like capital punishment, is that the criminal justice system is broken. We have too many overly zealous cops, ambitious prosecutors and politically motivated judges engaged in populating the prisons in Amerika. We have a higher incarceration rate than China and a lot of those people were doing nothing more than walking around with a weed that grows wild all over Oklahoma and Kansas.

        I’ve always believed that when you have an irrefutable case of brutal, premeditated murder witnessed by impartial observers, we should give the perpetrator a shot and put him to sleep like a mad dog. But there have been too many cases where people on death row or serving long sentences have been exonerated based on DNA evidence many years after their conviction. It’s better for ten guilty men to walk free than for one innocent man to suffer death or imprisonment.

        That’ why we have (or used to) the standard in our courts of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The trouble is strictly following that standard doesn’t get a prosecutor the conviction rate he needs to make a name for himself. How’s he going to become your next Congressman or Senator without that notoriety? That scenario is not likely to change any time soon either. With handpicked juries that are, for the most part, ignorant of their true purpose and often looking for blood themselves, I don’t like the odds of more onerous laws.

        What happens when your wife is coming home alone one night, two thugs attempt to force her to pull over and she shows them her gun? Do they get on their sail fawn, call the cops and have her arrested? With two witnesses against her, an ambitious Commonwealth’s Attorney and a gun hating judge, how’s that going to play out? Even a sympathetic judge will now have his hands tied; 25 years in the state pen minimum for “threatening with a firearm”. “Sorry ma’am, my hands are tied. It’s the law.”

        I remember the NRA pushing Project Exile in Richmond, Virginia during the Clinton administration and I even supported the idea at the time. The basic premise was that if you were dealing drugs or had prior felony convictions and got caught in possession of a firearm, you went to federal prison for a mandatory 10 years; therefore gun violence would drop. Sounds good, right? As I recall gang related gun violence actually dropped more in Norfolk where this wasn’t implemented than it did in Richmond. It did result in a high federal incarceration rate for people whose only crime was being in possession of an inanimate object. At this point, I think we have more than enough ineffective, misapplied laws to combat “gun violence.”

        Now if we’re really serious about curtailing violent crime then we need to eliminate practically every gun control law on the books. Then educate and train polite society that it’s okay to be armed and encourage them to actively defend themselves against violent crime. Back in the early 80’s the Wright-Rossi Study conducted by two anti-gun researchers at the behest of one Sen. Edward Kennedy proved the fact that career criminals are far more afraid of armed citizens than they are of the police (that’s why Teddy tried to bury it). In fact their interviews with 1,874 inmates from penal institutions in 10 different states even changed the researchers’ outlook on firearms ownership and violent crime. The best approach is to make the odds of getting shot while committing a crime against a person or property so high that the immediate risk becomes unacceptable. Mandatory sentences cannot and will not do that. What they will do is fill more rooms down at the Hotel Graybar that we will all have to foot the bill for.

        • Agree completely. I should have been more clear: In cases of clear, criminal misuse (not “statutory” but actually criminal; as in, using a gun to threaten or commit gratuitous violence; not defensive use, etc.). That’s what I meant to convey! I also support eliminating all “gun control” – and adding legal protections for the legitimate use of a gun, such as the Castle Doctrine. But when someone does use a gun to commit a violent crime, fuck them. They have crossed the most important line there is. Throw them away. If not forever, then for long enough that they’ll be too damn old to physically do it again when released.

    • Which is another thing government acts to deprive people of. Places to learn and practice. Gun shops and other gun related businesses are often driven out of areas and put under considerable political pressure. Not to mention actual law-enforcement and bureaucracy based harassment.

      To put conditions of training and practice on fire arm ownership would allow the government to create effective bans. Much like they did with pot. Just get a tax stamp that is never issued…. Drive hundreds of miles to get that training/practice. Run afoul of other laws in the process… All too easy.

      Eric, be careful, government has been known simply to make defending ones self, family, and/or property to be a crime. Especially when done with a firearm.

      • Yep, see my reply to Boothe. I should have taken time to make clear that there is a huge moral distinction between using a gun in self-defense and misuse of a gun to commit an act of gratuitous violence. When someone has done the latter, the law should come down like a ton of bricks – but in the case of the former, it ought to be a shield, protecting the would-have-been-victim from such things as the currently common civil lawsuit brought by the dirtbag’s fambly after a morally/lawfully righteous defensive shooting.

  4. The language of the constitution has been distorted and selectively ignored to the point that there effectively is not one.

    The real problem is like it is with every subject. The vast majority does not look things up for themselves. They do not investigate matters. They simply accept what authority tells them. So when authority, a government school teacher, an elected office holder, whomever tells them the constitution means X, it means X to them. Anyone who says it means Y is a crackpot. He will -never- read the constitution for himself, never read the records of the debates, never read the quotes. He can be pointed to it. It can be put in his face. He still won’t accept it. He’s invested in the lie authority told him. Those that present the evidence are still misguided crackpots or worse.

    The same is true with government employees. Show them the actual laws and they will not listen or read. They may become angry. The law is what their bosses told them it was or what they say it is. It is not what is -written-. What is written is not relevant to the social systems we live in. (there’s no law against me keeping an unused car in my driveway so long as it’s condition is kept up, but the police and administrative courts think there is, so I can’t do so without penalty)

    Human society has been in many ways pushed back to the time of oral tradition. Or perhaps that old trait is exploited. In either case we live in a society where the written, fixed law does not matter… except for when authority can exploit it.

    • While it is true that many have become accustomed to believing everything someone in authority says regarding the constitution, many are actually hostile to it. I have seen many say that regardless of what the constitution says, that it does not take into account present circumstances, and therefore we should just discard it when convenient.

      Like me, many of the men and women who live today have no idea what a life without a social security number, the federal reserve, or any of the numerous restrictions on freedom is like. We have been raised in an era were freedom is on the decline, and this is now the new norm. Therefore when we raise our objections to the declining state of human freedom, most simply don’t care. I think that it is a mistake to believe that the rapidly declining level of freedom in this country is predominately due to ignorance of history or failure to adhere to a few words written on a piece of paper.

      There are reasons too numerous to mention here for why we are losing freedom at an exponential rate. Even if the entire populace of the US were to learn about the true history of this country and the ideas that help to establish it, I seriously doubt that it would change the minds of enough people to get us back to a state of freedom. There is a reason that the 20th century was defined by communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism, and not a move towards human freedom. It is because people deep down simply don’t want to be free. The fact that the United States even attempted to establish a free society is an aberration in the history of the human race.

      Freedom can be achieve on a limited basis, but it won’t come from changing the hearts and minds of the many. Freedom will come simply because statism sows the seeds of its own demise. The tax feeders and the moochers can only live at the expense of the productive for so long before the productive are exhausted. Once the productive have been drained of everything, the present system will fall and another erected in its place. The replacement will simply lack the resources of the former and small pockets of free men and women will flourish. For how long is anybodies guess.

      • Many in authority have said exactly that about the constitution. GWB: ‘it’s just a g–damn piece of paper’. Many others have felt the same way. Not to mention probably a fair number of government school teachers these days. Each generation is built upon the last. Each class of children conditioned for a little less freedom.

        I’ve seen it over and over again in other discussion groups I’ve participated in. Adults lamenting the loss of childhood freedom and a life free of the safety culture. Meanwhile modern children don’t even know what they are missing. But hopefully they’ll hear enough stories. The more people that (rightfully) feel cheated out of freedom the better the chances for freedom in the future.

        The ‘system’, the institutions that currently have power are breaking promises. They are exposing themselves as the scams they are. More people are feeling cheated. The question is, will then end the cheating or go for cheating others for their benefit?

      • Agree.

        I am indebted to Ayn Rand (her many flaws notwithstanding) for articulating what she called “the anti-conceptual mentality” – by which she meant, people who are not capable of (or unwilling to) think in terms of principles. Instead, they are “pragmatic” – they have no conscious philosophy, no system of ethics to guide them. They feel and they emote.

        Reason is unknown to them.

        It is not a question of intelligence or education. There are millions of “bright” and “educated” people who fall into this category. They may be professional people and have acquired a high level of technical skill in a given area. But they don’t think in a philosophical (especially metaphysical and ethical) sense. It is why there are so many people who can’t understand – or rather, prefer not to think too hard about how it is that (as an example) theft by an individual is wrong but theft by a group is ok, when the group votes to do it.

        I agree with Brent and others here who have laid a great portion of the blame at the feet of the government education system, which is designed precisely to stifle the sort of thought that was typical of educated people (classically educated) prior to the dawn of the 20th century, when to be educated meant one had learned how to think vs. memorizing random facts by rote and acquiring a “skill.”

        That is the true function of government schooling: Stifle or cripple the conceptual faculty, the capacity to reason in the abstract, while imparting reverence toward authority and sufficient skill for the end product to be good machine-minders and obedient Clovers.

      • Edward, what you describe in your second paragraph is a shifting baseline. When your childhood freedom has been restricted, “for your own safety” of course, you have no real benchmark to measure your oppression in adulthood against. As Eric reiterated, the government schools have been and yet remain instrumental in this.

        Although I see your point in your third paragraph, I contend this: it’s not so much that people don’t want to be free, it’s that true liberty requires more effort than “belonging” to an oppressive system. Most people will take advantage of others, follow the lines of least resistance and settle for the maximum amount of comfort and security they can achieve with the lowest level of personal output. I believe this is what leads many people to join those organizations, whether they be clubs, religions, corporations and even governments, that they believe will give them the maximum advantage. This is why we now see so many people among us that consider unscrupulous and dishonest behavior the new norm in business, education and government.

        Fortunately, as you point out in your last paragraph, this condition is temporary. Man’s social and political systems are always cyclical, not linear. The ancients knew this as the seasons of man. We have forgotten it to our peril despite the fact that the signs are all around us. The next crisis is nigh upon us and it simply remains to be seen what will rise from the ashes. I have hope that wisdom, liberty and compassion will prevail.

  5. Thank you for another excellent analysis, Eric. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. In the past, I’ve had many people decry my “single issue” voter stance and status. The argument usually follows the lines of “there are more important issues than you keeping your huntung rifle”, “I’ve never seen any need for handguns” or “if we could just get rid of ALL guns, the world would be a better place.” They fail to realize that only pro-gun representatives have the people’s interest at heart.

    I do not agree with many of the pro-gun pols on all their policies (especially the pro-war camp). But I do know what always follows general disarmament of the population: oppression. There was a reason that Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Mao and a host of others have systematically disarmed their populations prior to wholesale democide. If not, the task would have been sufficiently difficult and dangerous to their state costumed actors as to render it impractical if not impossible. Once the people’s right to arms is gone, their choices become silent submission or imprisonment and death (often preceded by torture).

    We have recently seen the “repeal” of the Fifth Amendment by executive decree to murder a U.S. citizen without due process of law. Regardless of that man’s status, the constitution specifically says no PERSON shall “be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” We have now reached the point in U.S. history where it will become imperative for the government to disarm the people to accomplish their goals. It will be interesting to see how many “clovers” also get caught up in this net. The one thing that still stands in the way of the totalitarians is the potential for a popular uprising. Remove the privately held arms and it’s “Game Over” for this Constitutional Republic.

    The powers that be have already taken our money (Federal Reserve notes are trash, not treasure), our land (try not paying property taxes and see how long you keep it), our freedom to travel (try walking through the TSA gate at any air port without stopping) and the minds of our young (see what writing to the US Dept of Education about their national curricula gets you). Our guns (although strictly limited and regulated) are about all we have left of our original Liberty. This is a concept that clovers cannot and will not accept. After all, Big Brother will protect them. Ignorance is strength.

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