The AR-15, a weapon that women and children
can employ to defend themselves as easily as
any adult man, and we will not surrender ours
to any foreign invader, to you, or to Congress.
A Thought Experiment Involving Guns
by Paul Bonneau
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I’ve noticed a lot of confusion lately, about what factor is responsible for keeping us armed. This article is intended to clear that point up, if possible.
Imagine two societies, roughly similar.
Society A has a fine constitution which includes explicit protection of the right to bear arms (RKBA). It has a government with at least some attachment to the society at large. It has fine, stately courts backed by centuries of tradition and precedent. It has other fine supporting institutions like police forces and schooling for everyone. It even has communication between citizens, unhindered by government regulation.
Society B might have the same sorts of things listed for Society A; or it might not have at least some of them. The one thing Society B certainly does have—missing in Society A—is a determination among a significant fraction of gun owners, say 10%, to kill anyone attempting to confiscate their guns. They pass this determination to later generations as well. Society A, on the other hand, has an insignificant percentage of such individuals even though the same fraction in the society are gun owners. They could not imagine taking a human life to prevent their institutions from removing a mere tool, like a gun.
Now the question in our thought experiment: In 50 or 100 years, which society is more likely to remain armed?
It’s clear, if you think about it at all, that the answer is Society B. It doesn’t matter if Society B has a constitutional provision protecting RKBA or not, or even any constitution at all. It doesn’t matter what laws about guns are on the books of Society B, or whether the population supports those laws or not. It doesn’t matter what judges are on Society B’s courts, or what decisions those courts have made. About the only other factor that really has any bearing, other than the determination present in Society B’s gun owners to kill confiscators, is the presence of communication or not.
Society A is England. Society B is America.
What prompts this article are some strange postings on Gab.ai. There is post after post saying we really have to turn out to vote R in the 2018 elections, to save RKBA. It does not seem to matter that R’s in Congress and Trump have just got done stabbing gun owners in the back. Apparently, there are a lot of people there who still think RKBA depends on the status of all these institutions, rather than on something internal to themselves, such as personal determination and will. They frantically work to keep influencing these institutions, that are filled with evil bastards who don’t give a rat’s ass what the people think.
By the way, that other factor I mentioned bearing on RKBA—communication between individuals—is itself protected by RKBA. People who are armed won’t tolerate being told what to say, or being thrown in jail for saying the "wrong" thing. Thus in disarmed England, the people can only dream of being able to speak their minds like Americans do. RKBA and free speech support each other. When one is gone, the other is not long for this world.
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