Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Weapon Shops of Isher

 "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free"

That is the theme from a book by A.E. van Vogt, ca 1941.

A.E. van Vogt wrote a series of short stories (or almost novelettes) starting in 1941, and eventually all three were compiled into this single novel:

Here's a blurb from AMAZON website:

With the publication, in the July 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, of the story Seesaw, van Vogt began unfolding the complex tale of the oppressive Empire of Isher and the mysterious Weapon Shops. This volume, The Weapon Shops of Isher, includes the first three parts of the saga and introduces perhaps the most famous political slogan of science fiction: The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to Be Free. 
Born at the height of Nazi conquest, the Isher stories suggested that an oppressive government could never completely subjugate its own citizens if they were well armed. The audience appeal was immediate and has endured long beyond other stories of alien invasion, global conflict and post war nuclear angst.
Bear that in mind, as you read this segment from President Abraham Lincoln's immortal 1863 Gettysburg Address:
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
Unfortunately, the world (and America) have forgotten "... what they did here ...".

And we have largely forgotten why those men dedicated their lives to either preserve the union, or to divide it.

The Gettysburg Address begins: "Four-score and Seven years ago ...", referring to the number of years (87) between the Declaration of Independence (1776) and his current date (1863).  

Van Vogt wrote his seminal novel starting in 1941 ... only days before the beginning of the Pearl Harbor Attack on December 07, which initiated America's entry in what became World War II.  In Lincoln's parlance, that would be "three score and 15 years ago"; not quite as impressive as Lincoln's reference to the gap between the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Gettysburg (1863), but still it is a significant period between 'then' and 'now'.

If Americans had not thought about "Defense" since The Great War (WWI .... 1914-1918), they were certainly beginning to think about it after Pearl Harbor.   Perhaps Van Vogt's novel, which detailed the value of 'personal responsibility' and 'personal defense' found a more receptive audience than it might otherwise have received.

Now we find our country divided again.  Amazingly, the issue now is much the same; what vision for our country must we support?  The Constitution, or appeasement of those who would undermine our rights?

And if Americans cannot find the energy to consider whether their current political climate might be the precursor to Tyranny, they might pay more attention to the Party of Exclusiveness which is striving to infringe upon our Constitutional Rights ... now, more than ever.

"... Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta feared “blowback” from their own supporters if they pushed gun control in Arizona".

Regardless, the book has been hailed as a classic for decades,   Not just because of its timeliness, not just because it's well-crafted, but because it delves into the heart of the America Experience.

 "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free"

The next time someone asks you "Why would ANYONE want to buy a [name the currently least politically correct firearm]", you might consider using those eleven words.  
It's easier to remember, and much shorter than an extended dialogue with a gun-grabber.

(And ...yes, I DO have a paperback copy of this book, somewhere in a box in a shelf.  I'll have to dig it out and read it again.  As I recall, it's well worth the read.)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kudos for a great article.