Sociopathic patriotism

March 15, 2014 § 109 Comments

In order to be patriotic in America (that is, loyal to the particular patriarchy under which we live) it is frequently suggested that we must be liberals: we must be loyal believers in political freedom and equal rights as fundamental goods.

The “patriotism” of a liberal is a very ironic thing, to say the least. It isn’t loyalty to his particular congenital patriarchy. It is just loyalty to himself and his liberal ideology: loyalty to the free and equal superman: loyalty to an arid and inhuman abstraction, not a concrete people and country. It is quite precisely a permanent disloyalty, as expressed by none other than Thomas Jefferson:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

And of course the classic:

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.”

Under liberal modernity there is no such thing as real patriotism because hierarchy – morally compulsory loyalty to crown, blood, soil, and cross – isn’t allowed. So once again we have a situation where, because real patriotism (morally compulsory loyalty to a particular authoritative discriminatory patriarchy) is not allowed by liberalism, a sociopathic patriotism emerges.

§ 109 Responses to Sociopathic patriotism

  • Mike T says:

    I don’t know any conservatives who would agree with you in the least here, except for the sort of tradcons who yearn for an absolute monarchy and to return to feudalism. American patriotism has always been a democratic patriotism of loyalty to the people and culture, not the government. It was arguably the first real form of nationalist patriotism in modern times.

    As to the first quote, it’s a true statement about human nature. When the government knows the citizenry are a bunch of herbivores that’ll passively suffer any abuse, any privation because fighting back is unthinkable lo and behold within a generation at the most you’ll have more wickedness in the government than you know what to do with.

  • Thank you for serving as an illustration of Zippy’s post, Mike T.

  • Latias says:

    I do not know if this would be considered “liberal patriotism” , but one can consider the Vietcong and FARC as patriots in a sense because they believe they are a form of oppressive authority quite valiantly despite being a strategically disadvantageous position. I think it would be an injustice to suggest that only though with conservative/traditionalist/reactionary values can be considered patriots. I do agree that one can deprecate modern liberals for essentially being politically and morally nihilist, and this nihilism is what prevents one from have any commitment to any higher form of values extending beyond one’s material welfare or attachment to one’s country.

    Also, the Japanese commander whom I sympathize immensely is Takeo Kurita a rather controversial military figure because he retreated after his Central Force, with the battleship Yamato, was harassed by Taffy 3, a task force containing only destroyers and escort carriers near Leyte Gulf. He does not exemplify any extraordinary martial virtues such as valor and commitment to his duty, but he did have a commitment to the lives of his men that compelled him to retreat since he did not want to sacrifice their lives in a vain effort (and this is quite different from cowardice since it does not suggest that Kurita was unwilling to endanger his life to accomplish a military objective with some significance). One can say that Kurita’s actions were a display of the cardinal virtue of prudence:

    In his later years, Kurita told a young naval officer that the mysterious telegram had been sent by an old naval academy classmate, Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, the commander of Southwest Fleet stationed in Manila. By telling him about the enemy carrier fleet to the north, Mikawa was giving Kurita a last “glorious chance to die” against a worthy foe, Kurita explained. Then, just before he died in 1978, he told an old schoolmate from his home town of Mito that he had turned around for a less glorious but more common-sense reason: because he did not think it was worth sacrificing the lives of his men.

    This could be the real explanation for the “Mysterious Retreat.” The Japanese have a strong sense of obligation. The highest duty (cho) is supposed to be to the Emperor. But in this case, Kurita felt a higher obligation to his men. He chose not to sacrifice tens of thousands of sailors in a futile suicide mission. It was a humane choice, though unthinkable to the hard-line militarists who got Japan into the war.

    http://www.ww2hc.org/articles/kuritaschoice.pdf

    Kurita and Achilles could be contrasted: Kurita wanted to spare the lives of his men, while Achilles did not mind dying to achieve Kleos (although fighting for Kleos is different than patriotism). Kurita got no nostos or kleos for his service.

  • Cane Caldo says:

    @Latias

    Also, the Japanese commander whom I sympathize immensely is Takeo Kurita

    Funny you should bring this up. I had teriyaki chicken for lunch.

    …What?

  • Mike T says:

    Thank you for serving as an illustration of Zippy’s post, Mike T.

    Doesn’t mean he’s right. In fact I can think of plenty of patriotic people I know who prove him wrong. May be a southern thing, though.

  • Mike T says:

    It would probably also help if Zippy were not making up his own definitions to make himself right, emphasis mine…

    If I understand this correctly, you are suggesting that in order to be patriotic in America (that is, loyal to the particular patriarchy under which we live) we must be liberals.

    Merriam-Webster: having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.

    I guess the Roman Senate was a bunch of unpatriotic liberals when they drove out Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.

  • sunshinemary says:

    loyalty to an arid and inhuman abstraction, not a concrete people and country

    We have just now returned from the local children’s theater, which we very much like, where today we saw a play entitled “Coming to America“. The play told the stories of four different children who immigrated to America with their families. It was fine, so far as such things go, but at the end the cast all came out and sang a joyous song, “Welcome to America” in which the salient (and much repeated) lyrics were, “Welcome to America, welcome to democracy!”

    Clearly our loyalty is supposed to be to democracy, not to a country or a people.

  • Scott W. says:

    The Ultimate Patriot apparently. All it needs is a caption from the libertarian, who told us in all seriousness, “MY holy book is the U.S. Constitution!”

  • Mike T says:

    Since this thread is a continuation of the last one, I’ll reraise an issue here since the tradcons didn’t respond to it. That is, aside from the right to live, precisely what rights do the right-wing, authoritarian states respect any better than their left-wing counterparts?

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    I don’t know any conservatives who would agree with you in the least here, except for the sort of tradcons who yearn for an absolute monarchy and to return to feudalism.

    Are you sure about that? I seriously doubt Alasdair Macintyre or Patrick Deneen pine for “absolute monarchy” or a “return to feudalism”.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T is just doing the usual thing that liberals do: responding to criticism of liberalism with tu quoque referencing a stereotype that liberals have of tradcons as oppressors. Frankly he usually has more interesting (and less obviously fallacious) things to say than that. He is under the illusion that classical liberalism provides a consistent anti-authoritarian conception of politics, such that anything else is oppressive by comparison.

    Of course in reality, for reasons I’ve explained time and time again, there is no such thing as anti-authoritarian politics. There is only politics that is self-aware enough to know that it is authoritarian and politics that lacks self-awareness. Even anarchism proposes to impose its vision of the good on everyone.

  • Latias says:

    Mike:

    The neo-reactionaries are able to expound upon the corruption of liberal democracy in their disquisitions . Not that trad cons are neo-reactionaries…

    —-

    My example of Takeo Kurita is supposed to question the value of patriotism or loyalty to one’s country or ideology when one is pressed on to persist in a futile endeavor as opposed to preserving the lives of men. One can see his decision to retreat is ultimate a moral judgment about the value of the lives of his men while disregarding duty and honor over continuing on in his mission to attack the transports at Leyte Gulf while being inevitably destroyed

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    My view is not based upon a stereotype, but rather what tradcons often say they would rather have. Someone who pines for a pre-modern monarchy with its tenuous rule of law, hardened class structure and minimalist conception of the limits of state power over the public has no credibility with me when they say their instincts aren’t authoritarian in the oppressive connotation of that word. This thread is a good example of why I don’t trust most tradcons with power, especially Catholic tradcons. I will not accept as countrymen those who would reduce me to a dhimmi, especially those Catholic immigrants whose familial claim to being Americans is far less solid than mine (over 300 years and counting).

    In the previous thread, I made it clear that most of my objection to the British monarchy was based on its due process and military abuse while the tradcons including you sidestepped those issues to lampoon the tax issue. I can only assume that most of the tradcons agreed with the monarchy on those actions based on that behavior.

    Again, I see no reason to take most tradcons as honest when they say they consider political freedom a good because most of them denigrate it or focus on the duty to obey authority because it’s authority.

  • Mike T says:

    * Do I think you are like that? No. Perhaps not even most of your commenters, but the more tradcons I read the more they sound like Dominionists. While such movements don’t particularly concern me in any practical sense, I see no reason to regard them well to say the least.

  • King Richard says:

    Above a comparison between left-wing authoritarian states and right-wing authoritarian states is being made and an seeming defender of the left-wing demands to know what “rights” a right-wing authoritarian state would respect/defend/support/etc. ‘better’ than a left wing authoritarian state. What I find fascinating is the admission that left-wing authoritarian states have much less respect for life than do right-wing authoritarian states.
    How fascinating is that little phrase ‘aside from the right to live’! What triumph of Leftist thought is so great that it overshadows the right to live?

  • King Richard says:

    A ‘pre-modern monarchy’? ‘tenuous grasp of the rule of law’? ‘minimalist conceptions of the limits of state power’? Sir, I am not sure to whom you are referring, but it is not any monarchist I know. And I am also not sure what monarchies you are referring to with their above listed traits plus a ‘hardened class structure’ .
    You are aware, I hope, that the nations of Europe consistently rated as ‘most free’ (even by such shallow thinkers as the Cato Institute) and that have the greatest average wealth per citizen, lowest levels of corruption, etc. are the 3 surviving monarchies that are not merely figureheads?
    And such nativism! On the one hand you decry a ‘hardened class structure’ and on the other you state you believe Catholics aren’t nearly American enough because their families have not been there long enough!
    What is more of a hardened class structure, sir? An aristocracy (to which any family may be raised) or seniority of tenure (which no family may change)?
    And singling out Catholics! On your deathbed will you state ‘at least I die a true American’?
    A staunch supporter of monarchism known to me is of a family that has been in America since the 1600’s. An ancestor served under George Washington in the Seven Years War and was later a Colonel in the revolutionary forces. His family home is on the national historical register. Members of his family have been officers in every war fought by America since the Seven Years War. The US Navy has a ship named after a member of his family.
    He is Catholic and monarchist. Tell me, sir, who is more American? Thee or he?

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    Unless you are going to read that thread I linked to, you have absolutely no idea what I am referring to. Suffice it to say, you proved that. Since you don’t seem inclined to read it, I’ll summarize it to you. It’s a post by conservative Catholics about tradcons who openly sympathize with, among other things, killing others for their beliefs.

    an seeming defender of the left-wing demands to know what “rights”

    I am not defending them. In fact, I have long supported the idea of purging every member of the Communist Party as a legitimate program for any state that frees itself from Communism. What I was directing at you and others is a simple question, other than deciding to not murder people precisely what rights do many of the regimes you cited have over their left-wing counterparts? As I pointed out, even Pinochet’s Chile would have been a basketcase like Venezuela is today were it not for Pinochet finally going through with Friedman’s proposals–which according to Friedman he was initially inclined to not do (being Godless Capitalism and all that).

    Regarding the monarchies, I would be curious to know precisely which states rate that high today because the only freeish economies in Europe that come to mind are Ireland, Switzerland and Italy all three of which are republics.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    So you openly concede that you have no substantive objection to what I wrote, but you find some other thread involving other people somewhere else on the Internet scary?

    I can’t reassure liberals that there will be no tyranny if liberalism is rejected. But I can guarantee that tyranny and worse will continue if liberalism is not rejected.

    Furthermore this has not much to do with the OP, which merely points out that the liberal inversion of language has deep roots in America: the founder-rebels ironically labeled themselves “patriots” because of their disloyalty to King and country. As with everything that smacks of natural hierarchy and authority, of loyalty to blood soil and cross, liberalism tars and feathers genuine patriots. So the only patriotism that emerges under liberalism is sociopathic patriotism.

  • Mike T says:

    I concede nothing regarding your definition of patriotism because I maintain that the definition I cited is the correct one. It also has nothing to do with loyalty to a particular patriarchy.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I guess liberalism “wins” by definition. Where have we heard that before?

  • Zippy says:

    (You do realize that “patriotism” derives etymologically from fatherhood, right?)

  • Zippy says:

    I suppose we are also to believe that “founding fathers” isn’t a transparent linguistic gambit to direct the natural affections for one’s own patriotarchy toward the liberalism which triumphed in rebellion.

  • Mike T says:

    Our perhaps it’s no more liberal than generations of Roman citizens venerating the Roman Senate which deposed the king and established the Republic.

  • Mike T says:

    FWIW, I’m not nearly as liberal as you probably think. Most of my “liberalism” is merely the “principle of least privilege” applied to authority. I don’t dispute natural authority, I dispute its legitimacy when applied to things which don’t correspond to essential functions of the authority. For example, I don’t believe that a ruling authority can ever licitly execute a general disarmament of the law-abiding public because it is simply not required to execute God’s purpose in government. There is no good reason necessary to the execution of government to do so therefore such an exercise is intrinsically illicit.

    I also add that one thing that eludes me is how one it can be justifiable in any case for one authority to simply overthrown another for anything short of a humanitarian reason. For example, how can it be justified for the Austrians to conquer the Venetians because they wish to aggrandize the Austrian state? How is the king of Austria overthrowing La Serenisima Republic any morally better than a mob killing the king for little reason?

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I think conquest could only be justified under the Just War doctrine. Suppose country A attacks country B. B defends itself and conquers A. If it is necessary in order to keep the peace, B may govern A. Most actual conquests are immoral though.

    However, this shows the problem with your disarmament-as-intrinsically-immoral thesis, because in order to govern the conquered population it might be necessary and prudent to disarm them. And given that it can be necessary and prudent in some circumstances, it might conceivably be in others too.

    That does not however make it necessary and prudent in all circumstances: a point I’ve made on this blog many times is that prudential judgement is not some subjective assertion of the will that can never be objectively wrong.

  • […] seem like the sort of person who, rather than inspiring a sense of patriotism of the kind Zippy describes as morally compulsory loyalty to crown, blood, soil, and cross, instead makes one feel sort of […]

  • […] there is no such thing as anti-authoritarian politics.  As I’ve suggested before, there is only politics that is self-aware enough to know that it discriminates authoritatively in […]

  • Mike T says:

    The right to live (contingent upon not committing a capital crime) is nothing more than the ultimate right that sits on top of all other rights in the natural ordering of rights. You’ve already established that at no time and place can a state make a prudential judgment to simply slaughter likely-to-be noncombatants to impose a peace. Therefore it can be reasonable to assert that similarly, a state has no right to indiscriminately target the public’s natural. Even in martial law declarations, it is understood that while petty violence can be elevated to a capital crime that it is still murder to carry out a punishment under martial law for an action that is not a crime of any sort. I see no justification by which a state can systematically disarm an entire nation as that goes beyond disarming its government, those reasonably believed to be trying to maintain hostility, etc. It inflicts a wartime punishment on people who simply cannot reasonably be shown to be engaging in hostilities.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I try not to use rights-talk at all (other than to critique it) because I think the term “right” hypnotizes the modern mind and makes people lose their capacity to think rationally. They think “right” means something different from a specific discriminating authority that imposes obligations on people and restricts their freedom to do what they want; but rights just are specific discriminating authorities that impose obligations on people and restrict their freedom to do what they want.

    So I’ll talk about this in terms of authority, which tends to help clear away all the thick cobwebs of liberal modernity.

    The government doesn’t have the legitimate authority to kill you unless you are a threat and/or have done something that warrants death as punishment.

    But it simply doesn’t follow from that – at all – that the government has no authority to regulate the possession, sale, ownership, etc of weapons. A categorial lack-of-authority to kill the innocent isn’t in any way connected to a categorical lack-of-authority to regulate weapons.

    That is in principle, of course. Whether it is objectively prudent for a modern liberal tyrannotolerant state to strongly regulate weapons is another question entirely. But prudence is the proper realm for that debate.

    I tend toward thinking that it isn’t prudent. But regulating weapons imprudently is so far down on the list of atrocities committed by modern liberalism that I have a hard time getting too worked up about it.

  • Mike T says:

    I think you should post something on tyranny and to what extent moral obligations can exist under a state of tyranny. My instinct is that tyranny, being an abuse of authority, cannot confer an obligation to obedience in most cases. The only time I can imagine a duty to obey an act of tyranny would be when the disruption from rebellion would be worse than the harm inflicted by the tyrannical act.

    By the way, contrary to TUW’s assertion, there is a long history in Anglo culture and at various points in Western history of permitting state agents to face the consequences of their actions if they break the law. My dad was a local officer for a few years and was trained (1970s) that if he executed an unlawful arrest (law wasn’t on his side or he used excessive force) that the arrested party could inflict violence upon him lawfully in self-defense. That went all the way up to deadly force depending on the severity of the officer’s conduct.

    It is rather telling that this more “civilized era” in which it is culturally unacceptable to not meekly submit and “settle it in court” has resulted in an explosion of corruption in the use of force and a total loss in prudential wisdom among the armed agents of the state.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Why is killing the innocent wrong? Because there is nothing in their conduct that can carry the just execution of a capital punishment. Thus it is in principle their innocence which makes killing them murder, not a legitimate act of the state. It is one thing to regulate weapons for reasonable, prudent causes. It is quite another to simply disarm the objectively innocent parties. That’s why I said that if you can believe that country B can disarm a citizen of country A shown to have no hostile designs upon country B, then you can justify country B killing him just to make an example.

  • Mike T says:

    But I used very specific language. I never said country B couldn’t regulate, what I said was systematically disarm. It may be necessary to protect the peace to infringe upon transfer rights and such to verify that rebels and criminals don’t buy weapons. It is, however, I think quite beyond the natural authority of country B to just pick a law-abiding home in country A, kick the door in and seize the weapon meant for nothing more than hunting and protecting the family.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    My instinct is that tyranny, being an abuse of authority, cannot confer an obligation to obedience in most cases.

    The problem I think is that people overgeneralize. Specific prudential cases have to be evaluated as specific prudential cases: by definition prudential cases depend on all the facts and circumstances on the ground. A specific act of tyranny by otherwise legitimate authority has to be dealt with as that specific case only, and short of satisfying the just war criteria never translates in to a general license to rebel.

    There is no immediate obligation to obey a specific unjust command (there cannot be even in principle: the very concept of an obligation to do wrong is self-contradictory). This would seem to include cases where one is being commanded to commit an injustice against onesself.

    However, mediate obligations can arise precisely because we all have a general obligation to act prudently. So the question of whether the demand is unjust only against me personally or also against others for whom I am responsible comes into play.

    But is is impossible to give general answers to inherently specific questions of how to act prudently in specific situations.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    That’s why I said that if you can believe that country B can disarm a citizen of country A shown to have no hostile designs upon country B, then you can justify country B killing him just to make an example.

    No matter how many times it is repeated, though, disarming someone is, morally, a radically different proposition from murdering him.

  • Mike T, I haven’t asserted anything in this thread, although if I had, I would not commit the error of defining “a long history” of anything as starting in the 1970s.

  • Mike T says:

    TUW, you just committed the reading comprehension error of saying that I said it started in the 1970s.

  • Mike T says:

    No matter how many times it is repeated, though, disarming someone is, morally, a radically different proposition from murdering him.

    True, but it is the principle of it. Can you infringe upon the person and dignity of someone who is factually or reasonably construed to be innocent with a level of infringement that is not reasonably necessary for a higher purpose? As I said, it is one thing to subject the public to certain regulations of their weapon ownership necessary to ensure that a growing class of criminals and rebels cannot more effectively arm themselves. It’s quite another to simply declare it expedient to disarm everyone and disarm people who are factually or reasonably believed to be no threat to the public order. Such an act is by definition an abuse of authority due to it serving no objective good toward a legitimate public purpose.

    So I’ll repeat again, I’m not debating whether or not some prudent regulations can be imposed but whether the state may justly wipe out the right of private weapon ownership even among those it knows are factually innocent of any serious crime and/or harbor no designs of violence against the public order. If it can do simply revoke a right so intimately tied to the right to live, while acknowledging most of the targets are innocent people, you’ve agreed that innocent people can be subjected to grave intrusions upon their liberties and dignity for no public purpose.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Such an act is by definition an abuse of authority due to it serving no objective good toward a legitimate public purpose.

    If we push this line of argument far enough we can just overtly beg the question by saying that if it harms the common good to do X and the sovereign knows that it harms the common good to do X and it is not unjust for the sovereign to refrain from doing X then the sovereign shouldn’t do X.

    The sovereign shouldn’t do what the sovereign shouldn’t do.

    By definition.

    We’ve already established that under some circumstances a comprehensive disarmament of the population could be a legitimate sovereign act. Now we are just haggling over the price, and the price always involves all of the specific facts on the ground.

    On the other hand it is never legitimate to kill the innocent on purpose, no matter what circumstances obtain.

  • King Richard says:

    As much as I am loathe to respond to you, Mike, after your (false) assumption that I had not read the link issued earlier, this is an interesting point.
    I would first need to see it demonstrated that being ‘disarmed’ ‘infringes on the person or dignity’ of a citizen, innocent or not. While each person has the right and even duty to protect themselves and others from harm it does not follow that they therefore have an innate “right” to, say, firearms.
    The use of violence is properly restricted because such use has moral implications that, except in emergencies, require the application of not just moral decision making but legitimate authority. For example, a mother ‘swatting’ her disobedient child is in a very important way an exercise of the legitimate authority of a parent over their own child. A stranger on the street doing the same is improper and even immoral because they lack the proper authority to do so.
    Because certain things, generally known as ‘armaments’ or ‘arms’ in the West, have generally no other use but violence they are properly associated with the exercise of authority. The sword is associated with the knight because it was inherently a symbol not just of might, or of status, but his very real authority. Military officers and the restrictions of the wearing of (first) swords and (later) pistols is similarly a symbol of their authority.
    So we can see it is arguably legitimate for a ruler or government to restrict certain arms to only people who have the authority to initiate violence. This would not include the average citizen so doing so would not infringe upon them or their dignity nor their ‘rights’.

  • King Richard says:

    [let me be clear on something from that last post]
    Emergencies do not eliminate the requirements for authority, they simply make authority more broad. The moral duty of a person who is not in a position of authority to, say, prevent the rape of a woman would have the authority to (for example) knock out the would-be rapist from general moral authority combined with the situation.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I disagree with your contention that it “has been established” that there exist situations where the sovereign may indiscriminately disarm the public without regard for hostility, criminality, etc. I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public. Certainly, it may not be the only logical, hypothetical possibility but as a matter of observed reality it is effectively the norm if not the norm. As the saying goes, “Let reason be silent when experience gainsays its conclusions.”

    King Richard,

    You cannot assert that you have an obligation to defend yourself and then assert that a lawful authority may impose measures designed to take from you the effective means of executing that obligation. That is by definition a classic form of tyranny of the sort wherein Pharaoh said to the Jews that he would take away their straw for making bricks just to make their lot harder.

    As for your view about the link above, by your response you indicated no familiarity with the linked article. I would think that my comment would make sense to you in that context. Namely that I take grave exception to some bloody Catholic whose family has probably been here for no more than 100 years thinking in his tyranny-addled tradcon mind that he can s#$% all over the constitutional republic my ancestors helped found and defend and turn me into a dhimmi in my own ancestral homeland.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    You keep painting a false dichotomy. Not having access to a gun does not mean you are incapable of defending yourself in an emergency anymore than not having a tank renders you defenseless. Your struggle seems to be an inability to realize that the statements ‘yes, a person can defend themselves’ and ‘no, that doesn’t mean everyone gets a machine gun’ are not mutually exclusive.
    ” I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public.”
    This is unsupportable. Is Australia now a mass prison camp, its citizens in queues awaiting extermination?
    No? Well, if your ‘almost perfect correlation’ were *true* then now, almost 2 decades after the government heavily restricted gun ownership for Australians, they should be gripped with “tyranny”, shouldn’t they?
    But they aren’t.
    Nor is Japan, with some of the strictest laws on carrying arms, a tyrannical hellhole. Indeed, they are ranked by Heritage as having better property rights, more fiscal freedom, and less government corruption than the US.
    Japan even tightly restricts access to *swords*.
    So an ‘almost perfect’ correlation between a disarmed public and tyranny can quite reasonably be doubted. Just look at Japan, Australia, etc.

    Now that that is out of the way.

    As for the link – may I gently point out that I directly addressed the points you made? I replied in great detail to your now-repeated statements on a Catholic of short tenure in my comment which you dismissed out of hand.This seems to indicate that either you did not read my full comment then or now or you simply cannot comprehend what I wrote.
    Especially since you repeat your claim against ‘some bloody Catholic whose family has probably been here for no more than 100 years’ when I already wrote this;

    “What is more of a hardened class structure, sir? An aristocracy (to which any family may be raised) or seniority of tenure (which no family may change)?
    And singling out Catholics! On your deathbed will you state ‘at least I die a true American’?
    A staunch supporter of monarchism known to me is of a family that has been in America since the 1600′s. An ancestor served under George Washington in the Seven Years War and was later a Colonel in the revolutionary forces. His family home is on the national historical register. Members of his family have been officers in every war fought by America since the Seven Years War. The US Navy has a ship named after a member of his family.
    He is Catholic and monarchist. Tell me, sir, who is more American? Thee or he?”

    Well? If being a ‘true American’ is about having a family in America a long time who is a ‘more true American’ – you or the Catholic monarchist I described?
    Of course he is real; you can even skype with him if you like. Remember! A Catholic signed the Declaration of Independence!

    Now that that is also out of the way.

    Do you have any comments about authority and the use of violence?

  • Mike T says:

    Now that that is out of the way.

    Hardly. Because you can cite two examples, one of which is an almost perfectly racially and culturally homogenous, very high trust society whereas one can point to how the vast majority of the developing world has similar restrictions and is nearly bled dry by corruption and violence by comparison.

    Your struggle seems to be an inability to realize that the statements ‘yes, a person can defend themselves’ and ‘no, that doesn’t mean everyone gets a machine gun’ are not mutually exclusive.

    A machine gun is not a civilian weapon. You’re verging on trolling here by bringing the issue of machine guns into a discussion about personal arms since they are not weapons that have any purpose in civil life. Police have no more of a legitimate use for them than a homeowner does.

    Well? If being a ‘true American’ is about having a family in America a long time who is a ‘more true American’ – you or the Catholic monarchist I described

    You are reading too much into this. My issue with them is that they, relatively recent arrivals arrive in the land of my ancestors, spit on its founding, its traditional culture and think that their religion is sufficiently superior that they are entitled to turn me into a dhimmi in my own land. It is about on par with someone who is a guest coming into their host’s home and saying how things shall be.

  • Mike T says:

    And about Australia, it’s worth noting that violent crime is up significantly there as it is in Britain. Murder is still lower per capita than the US, but all other forms of violent crime are up signficantly on a nation-to-nation comparison. Turning your country into a Stalinist gulag isn’t the only form of police state there is, King Richard. Another is turning your society into one wherein the criminal has much freer reign to ply his trade without fear of forceful response.

    Societies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are not good counterarguments because the first three are so demographically homogenous, have high trust/high respect for authority cultures and the latter is a benevolent dictatorship that routinely uses punishments that are unthinkable in polite Western society (including the Catholic Church today).

  • Mike T says:

    For a good sci fi example of the other form of police state, see A Clockwork Orange. Modern Britain is increasingly starting to look like the relationship between the droogs and the police.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    In order to disagree with me, you have to first correctly paraphrase me.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    “Because you can cite two examples”
    Those two examples were in response to your quote,
    ” I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public. ”
    Do you know what ‘almost perfect correlation’ actually means, or did you toss it in to sound authoritative? Your addition of a ton of caveats (‘homogeneous’, ‘high trust’, etc.) seems to indicate that you know your position in untenable but you are unwilling to relinquish it.
    Besides, how many more nations with strict gun laws and a lack of ‘tyranny’ or ‘harm to its people’ will we need before the ‘ almost perfect correlation’ goes away? There are plenty of European nations I didn’t mention! Or are they too ‘homogeneous’ to count, or something?
    “A machine gun is not a civilian weapon”
    Hmmm. This seems to leave a few elephants roaming about, doesn’t it? What does ‘civilian weapon’ mean, really? A weapon that does not denote innate authority, perhaps? Who determines and defines ‘civilian weapons’? Would that be the government? If a lawfully elected Democratic government under pressure from voters passed a law that redefined ‘civilian weapon’ in a more restrictive sense would that be legitimate? Sounds a bit like what happened in Australia, the UK, and such, doesn’t it?
    So this little sentence you reveal a great deal. And it gets better!
    “[machine guns] are not weapons that have any purpose in civil life”
    Agreed! But does a handgun have any purpose in civilian life? Remember! Any argument you use will be applied to, oh, the Beretta 93R!
    What you seem to miss is that several people and governments have argued that the risks of handguns for personal defense are so far outweighed by the risks that the net cost to civil life is a negative and have classed them as not being ‘civilian weapons’ (see above). Indeed, in most of the world the majority of people agree with that outlook. That is why many nations have disarmed their populations to varying degrees without voting pushback.
    So, *as I said* your claim that ‘… it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public.’
    Is obviously false.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    “My issue with them is that they, relatively recent arrivals arrive in the land of my ancestors, spit on its founding, its traditional culture and think that their religion is sufficiently superior that they are entitled to turn me into a dhimmi in my own land. It is about on par with someone who is a guest coming into their host’s home and saying how things shall be.”
    So – Catholics aren’t Americans.
    No, that *is* what you said.
    Are you a full-blooded American Indian? If you aren’t than the ‘land of your ancestors’ is probably shared with the lands of the ancestors of the Catholics you are speaking of. And if they are American citizens they aren’t “guests”.

  • Zippy says:

    I’m actually (according to family lore, at any rate) related to Betsy Ross; my grandfather played cards with Harry Truman when Truman was a haberdasher, and rode the mail run with Lindbergh once or twice.

    But hey, if I don’t agree that gun control is in the same moral category as state sponsored murder I must be an entryist.

    Frankly I start out pretty sympathetic, as a practical matter, when it comes to personal weapons. But that sympathy starts to evaporate when the so-called “right to bear arms” takes on the whiff of liberal rebellion, and there is no doubt that the American founders saw bearing arms as facilitating rebellion against established authority. The second amendment is to right-liberals what universal suffrage is to left-liberals: a quasi-sacramental outward sign of the inward commitment to “equal inviolable rights” as the dominant politico-moral principle that trumps all else and spits on the very idea of authority, of any moral imperative to bend the knee to another man.

  • King Richard says:

    “…violent crime is up significantly there…Turning your country into a Stalinist gulag isn’t the only form of police state there is”
    True. But you seem to not understand what “police state” means.
    A nation with high levels of violence (and Australia has not just 1/5th the murder rate per capita of the US, it has a lower rate of violent crime per capita Oh, violent crime is down *PER CAPITA*, Yes, really. The population of Australia increases 20% in 20 years since they restricted guns but total violent crime only increased by 12%. The ‘surge in violent crime’ stat depends upon the increase in sexual assaults but that has as much to doi with the broadening of the definition of sexual assault in a 2001 law).) is NOT a ‘police state’.
    ‘Police state’ means ‘a totalitarian state controlled by a political police force that secretly supervises the citizens’ activities.’
    See the difference? EVEN IF crime increased per capita in Australia it isn’t because the Stasi are hustling people off to re-education camps, it is because criminals are committing crimes.
    “Another is turning your society into one wherein the criminal has much freer reign to ply his trade without fear of forceful response.”
    Well, as I pointed out, that isn’t a ‘police state’, that is just a pesthole. And, of course, the Australian government has focused heavily on crime. With their aggressive policing, broader definitions of crimes (see above), etc. we see that, as I mentioned, per capita crime is *down*. And their prison population is up! 40% growth in just the first decade of the 21st Century!
    Sorry: the facts on the ground, the statistics, the voting patterns, and your own admissions [“machine guns aren’t civilian weapons”; ‘all of those countries with really, really strict gun control laws and low crime and decent government DON’T COUNT!’; ‘I am going to appeal to a science fiction movie as evidence’] demonstrate, very clearly a simple fact.
    Your claim,
    ” I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public.”
    Is false.
    What I really enjoy about this exchange, Mike, is the original premise of Zippy; that without ‘crown, blood, soil, and cross’ the patriotism of America is inherently corrupt seems well demonstrated by you in this exchange.
    Zippy; thank you very much for indulging me in your comments.
    Mike, thank you very much for this exchange, as well.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    Yes – as I said, I am close to a man whose family arrived in Virginia in the late 1600’s, a family home on the national historical register because it was surveyed by his ancestor’s good friend George Washington, and that same ancestor fought in the Seven Years and Revolutionary Wars; 10 generations of military veterans before him; a US Navy destroyer named for a great uncle; and years of military service and a number of medals earned in combat for the US military.
    But since he is a Catholic and a monarchist apparently he is a ‘guest’ in America and Mike is his host who gets to tell him how to live.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    How can you expect me to take you seriously when I explicitly made it clear to you that I am hostile to a certain strain of Catholicism and you insist upon taking that in the direction of antagonism toward Catholics generally? Furthermore, the definition of a civilian weapon is rather commonly understood among people who know firearms. It’s not a subjective opinion, and the only people who find it subjective are those who cannot differentiate between a weapon with a civil purpose and one that has only a valid use as a weapon of war. Or those committed to blurring the lines or the sake of argument.

    As for your arguments about tyranny, one of the points I’ve long made to Zippy and his former colleagues at W4 is that the level of government intrusion tolerated today would probably be widely considered tyranny by those actually living in one of the old regimes you wish would return. To a large extent, the modern mind including those who self-style as anti-moderns is inured to a level of intrusion that would have gotten most monarchs decapitated in pre-modern times by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of traditionalists.

    But even in the case of Europe, most European populations are not generally disarmed. Even those with low rates of gun ownership also tend to have an extremely small security apparatus all things considered. As for your contention that all is well in Australia in terms of crime, others would beg to differ. Britain is even worse off. In fact, if I remember correctly, Britain has one of if not the worst rate of violent crime in all of Western Europe now.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    To a large extent, the modern mind including those who self-style as anti-moderns is inured to a level of intrusion that would have gotten most monarchs decapitated in pre-modern times by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of traditionalists.

    That’s probably true enough. Many things about modern life are simply unprecedented.

  • Mike T says:

    all of those countries with really, really strict gun control laws and low crime and decent government DON’T COUNT!’;

    And how about all of those countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and southern Asia that have really strict gun laws, terrible crime rates, corrupt and abusive government. I guess those don’t count either because a few special snowflakes that are the remnants of advanced, peaceful very old Christian societies that represent a minority of the human race must make up for the majority of mankind’s demonstrated behavior.

  • Mike T says:

    And let us not forget China and North Korea, which are also vehemently opposed to private ownership of weapons and that have also engaged in mass slaughter. But you’re right, King Richard. It’s just stupid to believe that there is a very powerful correlation between a desire to disarm a people and a desire to harm them.

  • Mike T says:

    That’s probably true enough. Many things about modern life are simply unprecedented.

    So it should cause self-styled anti-moderns to consider that even some of their most basic assumption about tyranny, justice, mercy, etc. may be subtly wrong in very dangerous ways. I can’t imagine a pre-modern king thinking it his right to just disarm his subjects, and if one tried I can easily imagine the aristocracy committing tyrannicide because the idea of leaving the common man and nobleman alike bereft of a means to defend his wife and children would likely have struck them as a rather pernicious tyranny. There’s a reason I used Pharaoh and the bricks as a parallel. Taking a man’s ability to effectively execute a duty away and then charging him to fulfill it is not unlike kicking out the crutches of a cripple and demanding him soldier on. It’s merely less cruel, but in a similar vein of unjust treatment.

    But then this is similar to our own weird modern concepts of justice and mercy. I have noted on many occasions the irony that we won’t give a clean death to a man who is a recidivist raper of 5 year olds, but are fine with strapping a GPS monitor on him, condemning him to live under a bridge and arresting him if he accidentally strays within 2500 feet of one of a dozen (or more) types of places statutorally forbidden to him (often including church). Or the way many modern thinkers find it unjust to let unrepentant sinners not get the handout the so greatly claim to deserve, but I digress now.

  • Zippy says:

    Firearms, though, are a feature of modern life.

  • Mike T says:

    Sort of. Beretta was making firearms back in the 1520s. It would probably be more accurate to say that firearms came of age in modern times.

    Regarding your point about right-librals and the RTKBA, while I think your sense is true for many, I think there is an important distinction. What the right liberal is demanding is a right that has been generally unconstested since primordial times–the right of a man to have an effective means to defend his life and that of his family. There is also much value even to authoritarian-minded people in the RTKB as a fundamental right almost as inviolable as the right to life (with appropriate contingencies, yada yada yada). An authority dealing with subordinates who have an effective means of self-defense is just less likely all things considered to become a tyrant. Human self-preservation innately causes most quasi-rational people to show greater respect toward those who can fight back than those who are defenseless.

    By the way, I don’t claim to be a firearms expert, but it’s sort of amazing that someone who argued pretty well here like King Richard would explode into a litany of ignorant leftist rubbish about different classes of firearms. To use weapons like M60s as a talking point against semi-automatic weapons like most handguns, hunting rifles and small caliber assault rifles is just appalling. That’s about like saying that we might restrict someone in NYC’s right to drive their own private greyhound bus to work as an excuse for why they can’t drive a small Honda or Ford.

    Oh and if either of you have seen A Clockwork Orange, you’ll notice a shocking similarity between the relationship between the droogs and police and many complaints in British papers about how the police side with young hoodlums against law-abiding citizens who stand up for themselves.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    ” the definition of a civilian weapon is rather commonly understood among people who know firearms. It’s not a subjective opinion, and the only people who find it subjective are those who cannot differentiate between a weapon with a civil purpose and one that has only a valid use as a weapon of war.”
    Much like your earlier claim of a ‘near perfect correlation’ this is false. After all, the differences between a ‘civilian weapon’ and a ‘restricted/military weapon’ vary widely from nation to nation and can change over time. Which was my point.
    I also note that you have simply stopped talking about the entire ‘the only reason a government would disarm citizens’ bit and are now saying ‘China is bad, China disarms its citizens, therefore disarming citizens is bad’. Rather a different statement and obviously countered by the exact same examples.
    As an aside, you had made the claim that the lack of tyranny from the disarmament of Australia, etc., was at least partially because of the ‘homogeneous’ nature of those nations. Considering that North Korea is arguably the most homogeneous culture on earth (and that a number of nations that have stronger laws than the US have much more homogeneous cultures) how do you explain that?
    And I explained that the UK and Australia report violent crimes differently because both of those nations, especially the UK, have much broader definitions of ‘violent crime’. The UK has even published an article on this because of bits like your link – in the UK calling your wife a bitch in a cafe is, technically, a ‘violent crime’ (simple verbal assault in a public space) as is telling a coworker she smells nice today (all forms of sexual infractions, including all levels of harassment, are ‘violent crimes’ in the UK).
    Mike, I think that you might be onto something here, but your use of rather extreme language (‘near perfect correlation’; ‘that is not a subjective opinion’; etc.) makes it very hard to see your point.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    I dispute that my language is extreme, but let’s both tone things down a bit (and please, start using HTML to format your responses; it’ll be easier on the eyes for both of us)

    A few things to consider:

    1. The definition of a weapon of war is actually not strongly disputed around the world. No country I know of except those regimes that are enthusiastic about total disarment like North Korea would embarass themselves by suggesting that a semi-automatic 9mm handgun is related to M60 in terms of normal use. A weapon of war is a personal arm that has literally no capacity to be used by a reasonable person for anything other than causing death on a battlefield. A machine gun is exactly such a weapon. You cannot defend hearth and home with it, you cannot hunt with it, you cannot even licitly use it on a civilian crowd in a time of chaos because it is a weapon intended for slaughter.

    Now here’s where it gets fun. In the US, we don’t call an AR15 a weapon of war but in Britain they would. It’s a weapon that can be used on the battlefield as it is the civilian version of the M16, but it lacks selective fire capability and .223 is frankly not the deadliest round you could fire from a semi-automatic rifle. This is the only area where there is subjectivity on definitions. Trying to call a bolt action rifle, typical handgun, pump action shotgun or small caliber semi-automatic rifles (Ex a 10/22, .17) or pistol caliber-chambered rifles a weapon of war is just… bull#$%^. It’s like calling a large SUV used to haul rebels an armored personnel carrier.

    2. Most states are very restrictive. Restrictive != disarmament. That should be obvious. Furthermore, given the trends in the EU with civil unrest due to the economy and immigration one can expect the population there to move in a similar direction of rearmament as is happening in increasingly poor and “vibrant” America.

    3. Regarding murder rates in the UK:

    “Since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction”

    Similar to how the US is the only industrial society that includes the death of premature babies in its infant fatalities. Lies, damn lies and statistics…

    4. The point about homogenous society was made about Japan, not Australia. If North Korea were to be rejoined with the South tomorrow, it would likely be as peaceful as South Korea because Korea is even more homogenous than Japan, as far as I know.

    With regard to homogeneity, the important factor there is that it often leads to a high trust society. A high trust society is, well, one in which there is a greater trust between strangers because they are part of the same ethnicity which goes a long way toward social cohesion. However, that must be combined with a higher respect for authority which is why Japan is so much stronger than Australia. Australia is a much more heterogenous society than Japan and its respect for authority is considerably lower than Japan’s culture.

    5. The point about China is that for every society that you would feel is reasonably not tyrannical and that heavily restricts or eliminates gun ownership rights, I can probably find you at least two that you would never want to call home. Virtually every part of Latin America is significantly more restrictive than the US and about on par with Australia. Would you want to send your daughter on vacation alone in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela or a non-Gringo-filled part of Mexico? No. Because there is a significantly higher chance of your child being the victim of a violent crime compared to the “gun-toting US.” How about South Africa? South Africa is still more or less a first world state. It’s also one of the most violent crime-riddled societies on Earth.

    6. The reason I referenced A Clockwork Orange is that the relationship between the criminals and the state it depicted is something we are seeing come to pass in the West. It’s not a science fiction movie unless you adopt a minimalist definition wherein anything set “vaguely in the future” as science fiction. As I said, one need not look too hard in British papers to find many examples of the police coming down harder on the pensioner who yelled at or chased a chav off their lawn to see that depicted relationship coming to pass in Britain. It’s rather telling that one of the biggest controversies on crime in Britain in recent times required the Prime Minister to affirm that the British still have a right to use reasonble force to stop a home invasion.

  • Mike T says:

    As for tyrannical societies, one of the peculiar things about modern times is that the leve of wealth combined with technology has made things sufficiently pleasant that we probably don’t mind a high degree of intrusion into our lives. That’s likely due to both it having an opiate effect and that it enables sufficient freedom in areas that bore the government that most people don’t find their lives controlled on balance. Yet take the wealth away and shrink the choices they have, and it remains to be seen just how happy so many people would be with that intrusiveness.

    So I think it behooves us to strongly consider the possibility that our perception of what is tyranny is rather off. The behavior of law enforcement in the US today would be considered tyranny by the standard of even 50 years ago. The average British subject of 1776 would be abjectly appalled by the level of regulation of their speech, religion, gun rights, property rights, etc. that the modern Brit nonchalantly tolerates. And now that the world is waking up to the reality that modern communications are heavily, systematically monitored and privacy is dead and rotting it’s probably only a matter of time before “Generation Z” finds all of this a normal state of affairs and scoffs at the notion of it being tyranny.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    “… the level of government intrusion tolerated today would probably be widely considered tyranny by those actually living in one of the old regimes you wish would return.”
    Hmmmm. I don’t wish to ‘return’ anywhere. One of my biggest issues with the neoreaction crowd is their apparent desire to ‘go back’ to somewhere. My oldest says,
    “The ones who wish it were 1100 are bad enough, but the ones wishing it was 1750 are creepy”
    I think you will agree.
    As for your main point here-
    The level of not just government intrusion but rigid conformity are staggering! And yes, most neoreactionaries and fad monarchists have no idea that a regnant king would never wish (or dare, for that matter) to have the incredibly granular control assumed by modern Democracies.
    ” I can’t imagine a pre-modern king thinking it his right to just disarm his subjects,”
    That – is complicated. As I mentioned above arms are not just tools of defense they are very literally the tools of justice and representations of civil authority. As you yourself tacitly acknowledge above civilians [from ‘civilis’ or citizen, used to denote someone who is not a soldier or aristocrat] the average citizen has no right to weapons that are ‘above’ him and the definition of what is needed for self-defense can vary wildly.
    So most pre-modern kings did, indeed, have pretty serious restrictions on the weapons a civilian could use [‘and no man may enter into a city with a knife larger than the one displayed at each gate and at the city hall’; ‘no person who is not armigerous may own or carry a sword, a lance, nor armor other than a jack’; etc.] . On the other hand, they were often much more lenient about the force people did use to defend themselves.
    Bans and restrictions on who could own firearms, when, where, what types, etc. went back and forth for some time all across Europe and Asia. This uncertainty was why the rebels of the American Revolution did as they did even though most of the pre-Enlightenment period was not marked by wide-spread tyranny even in those times and places with strict control of weapons.
    Sumptuary laws are another interesting case; restrictions on the cloth, color, trim, and cut of clothing based upon social class were very common all over the world. Granted, this was largely a form of trade restriction that was hard for smugglers to avoid (no matter how easy it is to smuggle in silk selling it is hard when no one can wear it) and to maintain class distinctions it was also seen as a way to avoid the poor going into debt over fashion [“… the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen, otherwise serviceable, and others seeking by show of apparel to be esteemed as gentlemen, who, allured by the vain show of those things, do not only consume themselves, their goods, and lands which their parents left unto them, but also run into such debts and shifts as they cannot live out of danger of laws without attempting unlawful acts, whereby they are not any ways serviceable to their country as otherwise they might be”]. And England had some fun ones, such as the order that on Sundays and holidays all men over the age of 6 who were not nobles must wear a woolen hat or face a stiff fine. The law was short lived, but gave us the flat cap.
    So in general people since at least 1,000 B.C. are used to being told what they can and can’t wear and what sort of weapons they may or may not have. In the modern era if you were to tell Americans women can’t show cleavage, men can’t wear heels over 3″, and no one can wear purple there might be riots. Toss in that a ban on magazines over 8 rounds and it would be the end of the world!
    But at the same time there *were* riots in England, big ones, over putting turnpikes through villages, the restriction of peasants from eating oranges, and the attempt to impose an income tax (of a sort).
    So, again; it is complicated. Nobody remarked on the fact that nations had centuries-old laws strictly limiting the width of cart and wagon axles but a village of 800 rose up in bloody rebellion when a local duke tried to collect 60 apples from the common orchard of his own village. Why? His great-great-grandfather had planted the originals for the people of the village and had promised his household would not take them. The city of Genoa didn’t bat an eye when women were forbidden to have a low neckline or high hemline, men were forbidden to wear feathers in their caps or gold buckles anywhere; when the churches were ordered to pay a silver penny a year to the city and all men were ordered to record their names and time of departure and return from the city gates – bam! revolt.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
      I am actually a combat veteran (US and FFL). And I love how I am spouting ‘ignorant leftist rubbish’ and such. Especially when you edge up on admitting that it is all pretty damn subjective.
      Is an M1 Garand a non-military weapon? How about a bolt action .243 Winchester rifle? While I hope you say ‘yes’ to the first the US doesn’t class it as such. The second is a sniper rifle in use with UK forces. Germany has a .223 bolt action sniper rifle, as well. Is it ‘bulls&^%’ to call these sniper rifles in use by armies ‘military weapons’?
      And we are getting far afield; the core contention whether or not governments may restrict weapons to citizens. We all agree that they can we are just arguing about how far.
      In the modern world what if a government were to, oh, subsidize burglar alarms, issue personal alert systems to women and children, allow the use of tasers, stun guns, and pepper spray  to civilians, and limited civilians to .25 calibre pistols with 6 round magazines and only glaser rounds were permitted? At the same time police patrols are increased and quick-response teams are prepared for rapid reaction to home and personal alarms. Hunting rifles (bolt action .30 calibre only, 3 round capacity max.) and shotguns (.410 or 12 gauge mas, 3 round capacity max) are permitted.
       The average person can easily defend themselves; the various non-lethal devices allow the old, the young, the small, and the weak to still defend themselves.  Do you think this would cause tyranny? That any government that did this would do so only to harm its own people?

    [let’s try some HTML]

  • CJ says:

    I can’t imagine a pre-modern king thinking it his right to just disarm his subjects, and if one tried I can easily imagine the aristocracy committing tyrannicide because the idea of leaving the common man and nobleman alike bereft of a means to defend his wife and children would likely have struck them as a rather pernicious tyranny.

    I’m reading Walter Kaegi’s Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests. He says that one of the reasons the Byzantines in the Levant couldn’t mount any resistance after the armies were beaten is that weapons ownership was tightly controlled and there was no tradition of any sort of militia.

    Now, that’s different from disarming a previously armed population, but it does seem to indicate that an unarmed citizenry was just a way of life.

  • King Richard says:

    The point about China is that for every society that you would feel is reasonably not tyrannical and that heavily restricts or eliminates gun ownership rights, I can probably find you at least two that you would never want to call home. 

      But my reply was in response not to your example, but to your claim. You claimed,

    ” I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public. “

      That is simply not true. Just as you said earlier [paraphrase] ‘restrictions aren’t confiscation’ and I say ‘and confiscation is not tyranny’.

      Of course the question arises – what is the actual issue? Why would the peasants of France allow the law to tell them what they could and could not wear and eat? The specific dimensions of their vehicle, where they could live, even what jobs they could do? The French Revolution was not the first peasant revolt in France and certainly not the first in Europe; why didn’t they rebel earlier?

      I would say it is much more related to what Zippy is talking about than what you think. In these societies there was a relationship between the ruled and the ruler; an explicit set of oaths, not an implied social contract. When the citizenry felt that this oath was being honored they honored it; when they felt it was broken they rejected it. Wagon rules? Make the roads work. Sumptuary laws? Well, Sally won’t bother to ask for the silver hair comb and I can tell where I stand with anyone I meet. I can’t own a sword or armor? The local baron has sworn to protect me and mine and I have a stout club and neighbors. The baron takes 1/4th of my crops? Yes, and last famine his granaries were full because of it.

      You get the idea – that trust you were talking about wasn’t a side effect of accidents, it was meant to be built into the system of governance. What we now call ‘Feudal’ was, at heart, about mutual trust and assistance; those who work fed all; those who pray saved all; those who fight protected all. This family-like foundation was meant to build into a web of personal obligations, etc. Even marshals and such were selected from the citizenry, typically, and had to live with them.

      Not perfect, no.

      But in a modern egalitarian Democracy where does this come from? Personal relationship with the mayor? How? I’e never met him, can’t get a meeting with him, and he’ll be gone in a year or three. The church? well, I didn’t like the music at the last one and the one before that didn’t condemn that politician who never got elected, so I go to a new one. Don’t know too many people there, yet. We don’t have nobles…. I think the Smith family down the street has a son in the army. Never met him, though. Don’t know where he is fighting, or if he is. I have no idea if the police some through here and if they do it might be town, county, I don’t know.

      But I am very patriotic!

  • Zippy says:

    KR:
    The biggest advantage of a modern firearm over a feudal baron is that you don’t have to bend your knee to the former, nor maintain bonds of mutual trust.

  • Zippy says:

    (At the risk of returning to the subject of the OP).

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    The biggest advantage of a modern firearm over a feudal baron is that you don’t have to bend your knee to the former, nor maintain bonds of mutual trust.

    If you want to be snarky about it, that’s true. On the other hand, the advent of firearms also put a level of destructive force into the hands of the baron that superceded the capacity he had with the crossbow which felled many knights. That is to say, the advent of firearms increased the level of destruction authority could mete out upon the masses in a dispute.

    The advantage of widespread ownership of civilian weapons is that it ensures the same power disparity as existed in that era. Sure, the US military in a totalitarian dystopian America could slaughter an entire city with conventional weapons in a matter of hours. But a population with hunting rifles, shotguns and semi-automatic handguns could also wage a just rebellion. Where today, one well-trained career infantryman could likely slaughter several dozen rebels in a one-on-many fight if he had some distance and they had nothing more than clubs and knives.

    King Richard,

    Regarding the military weapon issue, I don’t dispute that a M1 is a weapon used by militaries. So is the model 1911. Big deal. The M1 has a valid range of civilian uses. A M60, M249, etc. do not. I would even agree that it’s not tyrannical to ban weapons like any flavor of .50 rifle as there is no civilian use for one unless one intends to economically slaughter half a dozen cattle per shot by firing into a herd.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    And without bonds of mutual trust? All must be ready to be warlords or to bend their knee to any man with a gun. If you want to see what a perfectly equal society with widespread gun ownership looks like we have many examples.
    Somalia springs to mind. No central government for many, many years; widespread gun ownership. I think most men would prefer something else, don’t you?
    [back to the original post]
    hierarchy is a fact of life no matter how hard some might wish it away. We know, fairly well, what it takes to harness the hierarchy so that it is constructive and protective rather than destructive and exploitative.
    Hint: it isn’t universal suffrage, egalitarianism, free markets, or everyone being heavily armed.

  • Zippy says:

    Firearms are the universal suffrage of violence.

  • Mike T says:

    And yet the most heavily armed society per capita on Earth (Switzerland) is one of the most peaceful, has one of the lowest crime rates and has been a stable society for several hundred years. What separates Somalia from Switzerland is a chasm almost as pronounced as that between Hell and Heaven in terms of culture.

  • Mike T says:

    Firearms are the universal suffrage of violence.

    Yes because it’s a real pitty that there exist weapons that let frail old men wipe the floor with strapping young thugs wishing to do them harm. Truly, it’s a pitty that there exists such a great equalizer that lets the mouse roar and bite off the clawed foot of the cat trying to eat it.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    That’s how the gun egalitarian narrative goes, yes. Egalitarian sacramentals (democracy, firearms) are unmitigated goods because they inherently defend the (presumed to be) oppressed victims from the (presumed to be) oppressor-untermensch.

    Treated as a practical question, as I said, I have sympathies with an armed citizenry loyal to the sovereign. Treated as a liberal sacramental, though, I have no gun-libertarian sympathies whatsoever.

  • Scott W. says:

    Do you mind deleting these last three (including this) comments? They were made in haste while my son was eating his morning snack.

    Aww leave them. It’s getting interesting now that we are stumbling close to neo-reactionary race-realism territory. 🙂

  • Mike T says:

    That might be interesting, but those comments would not have been a good introduction of that line of discussion. I will say that regarding Somalia, literally the only people I see using Somalia as a point of argument the way King Richard used it are leftists. Usually it’s “if you think low taxes and unlimited gun rights are great, Somalia is a great place for you.”

    The fact of the matter is that there are complicated reasons why Somalia is not Switzerland. Authority and the lack of respect thereof is probably not one of them. Both Somalia and Switzerland would probably rank very high in different forms of respect for authority. The issue here is that the nature of that respect and the cultures are vastly different.

    Trying to use Somalia as a narrative about liberalism is just bullshit. There is probably not an ounce of liberalism in that culture. Applying liberalism there is about like trying to industrialize a recently discovered tribe found in the Amazon.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Mike T,

    I will say that regarding Somalia, literally the only people I see using Somalia as a point of argument the way King Richard used it are leftists.

    You’re wrong:

    http://mises.org/daily/2066

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    The NRA and the so-called “conservatives” who support them should just come out and adopt the slogan “safe, legal and rare” when addressing gun violence.

  • King Richard says:

    “Trying to use Somalia as a narrative about liberalism is just bullshit. ”

    Liberalism – “political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics” [Encyclopedia Britannica].

    Somalia has no king, no parliament, and no market regulations. It is, in the end, a land of individual liberty free of overweening government.

    Switzerland is a nation with very strict laws, a powerful central government, and very comprehensive legislation.

    Ita beat me to a link for the very effective argument made that Somalia is, yes, a wonderful example of a true Liberal society in action from someone who is not a leftist.

    Of course, it helps to have an accurate understanding of words like ‘Liberal’ and ;Right wing’.

    In point of fact Switzerland is a nation with a very strong understanding of authority and respect for the same. For example, the statistic that you quote that Switzerland has ‘one of the most heavily armed societies on Earth’ neglect to mention that an overwhelming majority of those weapons (and their ammunition) is stored at government-controlled armories and are only released to (trained) citizens in the event of an emergency. Does every able-bodied adult male have a gun? Yes – under government lock and key and not in their home.

    Does this sound very ‘Liberal’?

    Yes, they have a rich tradition of gun ownership – and a powerful lobby working to restrict guns. Switzerland has strict permit rules and a strong registration system for non-government issued firearms; all sales of ammunition are registered; all sales or exchanges of guns or ammunition that are not within a family that lives together require registration, a permit or both.

    Is that more ‘Liberal’ than Somalia?

    Switzerland and Somalia are very different places, but to claim that Switzerland is more Liberal that Somalia is a joke.

    Now, again, let’s circle back to Zippy’s point. Notice how the acceptance of authority leads to a better society than the rejection of authority?

    Since Liberalism (as per its actual definition) is about rejecting authority, can it lead to a better society?

  • Mike T says:

    Somalia has a history of extremely corrupt government. Much of Africa is better off without Western style, highly centralized government because it lacks the cultural support for it. Both of you (Ita and King Richard) are ignoring the fact that Africa is simply not culturally comparable to Europe or East Asia. A society whose highest level of indigenous social organization is stuck at a tribal or clan level simply doesn’t have the cultural capital to deal with a powerful central state without the attendant corruption and violence that comes from tribal politics played out with modern toys.

    The NRA and the so-called “conservatives” who support them should just come out and adopt the slogan “safe, legal and rare” when addressing gun violence.

    Gun violence in the US is actually not a common phenomenon. If you exclude criminal on criminal and especially if you focus only on whites and asians, the US looks a lot more like continental Europe or East Asia than what you depict. You’ll have to excuse me if, frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about criminals killing one another. By walking in the paths of wicked and violent men, they fell victim to violence. Their choice, their sad outcome. Not society’s concern.

    And as for you, King Richard, you have been attempting a bait and switch this entire thread and I’ve finally had enough of it. From the very beginning, I’ve made it clear that systematic disarmament or functional disarmament of the population is what I consider unjust. You have attempted at every turn to mix and match societies where there is restriction with those that are effectively or formally disarmed to make your points. You know damn well that Switzerland does not fit your argument, but rather mine, since Switzerland is a society that is:

    1) Not heavily disarmed.
    2) In which there is a legal process to get private weapons generally accessible to the common man.
    3) The Swiss government does not make one jump through flaming hoops like a trained seal to acquire said weapons.

    Furthermore, Switzerland does not have a “powerful central government.” Rather, their federal government is in fact substantially weaker relative to the cantons than ours is relative to the states.

  • Mike T says:

    Something like 2/3 to 3/4 of all gun violence in the US is suicide or criminal on criminal. Most “child victims” are in fact at least 15 years old and belong to criminal gangs. No one to the right of the Brady Campaign disputes those things anymore. No one to the right them or their family wants public policy tailored to keep the criminal class safe from gun violence.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Regarding your sympathies, I would suggest that you consider a different angle. That is what my quasi-pacifist pastor said about gun violence in a recent sermon: “murder is a matter of the heart and attacking guns is missing the point.” The same is true of rebellion. I think it is generally imprudent to attack the inanimate thing being used. That’s a very left-liberal mentality. They are the ones who look at urban violence and think the same thugs shooting each other would get along fine if all of those nasty guns disappeared. They wouldn’t. If they had no guns, they’d likely find other ways to hurt each other.

    I think the case for widespread, legal ownership by law-abiding citizens is compelling on multiple levels. First you have the fact that contrary to King Richard, there are weapons that are both effective and not a public menace. A 9mm handgun is a reasonable weapon for concealed carry. A shotgun or .223 rifle is reasonable for home defense. Most “military weapons” are reasonable hunting weapons. Contrary to his assertion of subjectivity, there are relatively few firearms that a prudent magistrate cannot differentiate legitimate civilian uses. A prudent magistrate can arrest someone for using a .243 “sniper rifle” in public while also arresting the same person for hunting big game with a caliber too small to likely give a merciful killing. We already do both in most of the US.

    As I said above, a “weapon of war” is easily distinguished as it is a weapon that has no civilian application. King Richard can call it subjective, but my definition clearly included the fact that there exists no civilian use for some weapons. A machine gun is exactly that. You cannot defend yourself licitly or your home or community with it. Likewise, there is no case for the civil authorities to have such weapons either. All likely uses by the police would include foreseeable and preventable shedding of innocent blood. Again, not hard to differentiate if you take the time to ask yourself what use cases a weapon can be used for.

    Also, Swiss weapons are not all under lock and key. The militia system requires the male militia members (19-34 year olds) to keep their weapons at home.

  • Mike T says:

    Other reasons for widespread ownership that come to mind:

    1. The authorities usually, not rarely, cannot respond in time to prevent violent crime. This is compounded in places like the US where it’s formal law that you have no right to state protection by the police even if you report a crime in progress against you.

    2. Ensures that there is a culture with exposure and competene with weapons in the event of a major military mobilization.

    3. Ensures the possibility of a just rebellion in the face of a systemically unjust authority. A people disarmed of firearms have minimal chances of winning a rebellion, no matter how just.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Again it isn’t that I disagree with gun libertarians on every practical point. The person I disagree with on every practical point probably doesn’t exist.

    The larger issue is that compromise with liberals isn’t possible.

    Consider voting, which includes an endorsement of the legitimacy of whomever the winner turns out to be: those who voted against Obama at the same time endorsed his legitimacy as winner and the whole ideological system under which we are governed. You can’t vote at all without voting for more liberalism.

    The same sort of thing applies here. Compromise with liberals is not possible as long as liberalism dominates the Overton window. Compromise just is capitulation.

    That includes compromise with gun libertarianism.

  • Mike T says:

    I think you need to take a step back and reevaluate the narrative here. There is a strong tendency among the philosophically inclined to knit together things the way you did with voting and gun rights into a larger political narrative that frankly, I don’t see playing out in the real world. I see plenty of people who are apathetic about voting and who would rather a non-democratic government that respects their dignity and leaves them the f#$% alone on a daily basis but who will not even budge on gun rights because it speaks to a very primal part of them. That is, they will not trust their daily self-defense to a police officer who may just as easily beat the tar out of them as enforce the law properly. This is even prudent in a society where the leadership is claiming a right to commit murder by UAV.

    Democracy and liberalism may go hand in hand, but gun rights are pre-political because they are, at this level of technology, attached at the hip with practical self-defense. A strapping young thug armed with a blunt instrument or knife is bad enough, but one with a gun is even worse. There is practically speaking, nothing a weaker party can do to stop him. Increasingly, people who were apathetic about guns are beginning to realize that there is no avoiding this fact.

    One area of this I find intriguing is that interest in gun rights are surging in India due to some of the spectacularly violent crimes in the last few years and the general corruption and incompetence of the police. The interest there is not about revolution or rebellion, but a realization that these people cannot and will not protect you, especially you the Indian female who has half a dozen men trying to brutally gang rape her.

    So that’s why King Ricard’s talk about weapons as symbols of authority falls on deaf ears with me. The right of armed self-defense predates political authority as it goes back to Ug in the tiny tribal community living on the savannah. That’s well before the polis was even conceived. Along with property rights and familial authority, the right to reasonable armed defense is sufficiently primordial that the burden is on the authorities to intercede against it.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    “Both of you (Ita and King Richard) are ignoring the fact that Africa is simply not culturally comparable to Europe or East Asia”
    Actually, that cultural difference is my point!
    Let me repeat that – my core point to refute your initial claim by demonstrating that culture matters so much that stating things like ‘the only reason a government has to restrict weapons ownership is tyranny’ is unsupportable.
    Let me say this again in a different way; far from me ‘ignoring the point’ you are actually agreeing with me without realizing you are agreeing with me.
    “And as for you, King Richard, you have been attempting a bait and switch this entire thread and I’ve finally had enough of it”
    This is funny on its face and more funny when you re-read your statements.
    Did you claim that ‘…there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public’ but have been forced to admit this simply isn’t true. Did that change your stance?
    Of course not! No, we just have to only talk about Somalia (which IS NOT a Liberal place, you insist) and Switzerland (which, well, *does* have very strict gun laws) and not mention Australia or the UK, both nations that did, yes, largely disarm their public and are not police states decades after the disarmament.
    All you do now is speak of ‘different cultures’ and make exceptions when my *POINT* is that your stance doesn’t make any sense because you *MUST* make huge exceptions and sort by culture!
    As an aside: I personally love how you point out that America doesn’t have very much gun violence. Well, not very much gun violence once you *exclude crime*! Oh, and Blacks. And the poor. If you focus on middle class Whites that don’t commit crime then gun violence is only about on par with Europe. Considering the European gun violence stats *include* crime and minorities I don’t find that compelling.
    So to make sure you get it – I am not baiting and switching, you just don’t seem to understand what my point is.
    Let me say that another way – I suspect you don’t grasp the implications of your own statement well enough to recognize a refutation when you *agree* with it.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    I have to laugh at the attempt to dismiss my view as “philosophically inclined”. I think you are studiously avoiding paying any attention to the bumper stickers, organizations, and rhetoric of the gun rights movement, which is libertarian to the core.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    Culture does matter, but we disagree on how and why I think. So yes, it was wrong to say that there is no reason to restrict weapon ownership, but that is a point that I actually conceded unintentionally early on.

    As an aside: I personally love how you point out that America doesn’t have very much gun violence. Well, not very much gun violence once you *exclude crime*! Oh, and Blacks. And the poor. If you focus on middle class Whites that don’t commit crime then gun violence is only about on par with Europe. Considering the European gun violence stats *include* crime and minorities I don’t find that compelling.

    Actually, it’s not “the poor.” Appalachia, which is overwhelmingly poor white, has a very low crime rate. Citation:

    There’s a great deal of drug use, welfare fraud, and the like, but the overall crime rate throughout Appalachia is about two thirds the national average, and the rate of violent crime is half the national average.

    Bubba in the boonies is significantly less likely to prey upon you than Tyrone in the hood. That’s a fact of life. Furthermore, the US is significantly more racially diverse than most of Europe so that is a factor that must be considered. So it is only fair to judge America both in terms of real population and in terms of population most similar to Europe.

    But then you’ve also tried to swat away anything I’ve said in opposition to your assertions that the UK and Australia are peaceful, safe societies. So there’s no point in continuing this. You keep asserting that “I don’t understand you” when in fact I do. I merely disagree with your entire worldview here.

    I would not call the UK or Australia generally free socities anymore. The UK much more so than Australia. The UK is probably the least free English-speaking nation today. As I said, the level of government intrusion today is such that a pre-modern king would have been subjected to a swift tyrannicide just a few centuries ago.

  • Mike T says:

    I have to laugh at the attempt to dismiss my view as “philosophically inclined”. I think you are studiously avoiding paying any attention to the bumper stickers, organizations, and rhetoric of the gun rights movement, which is libertarian to the core.

    I’m not attempting to dismiss anything. I don’t even disagree with your point here. I simply don’t think it has practical importance on judging the right to keep and bear arms because that right is a corrolary to a very primordial right. I don’t see the relevance of these people being involved since it’s a right that is very fundamentally attached to practical self-defense in modern society.

  • Mike T says:

    For the record, I’ll concede that my tendency toward hyperbole got the best of me with respect to “near perfect correlation and such.” That said, I do not concede the larger issue which is that there is a correlation between bad government and general disarmament.

    I don’t think there’s much of a point of continuing this because King Richard won’t even acknowledge any points where I prove him wrong such as his assertions about Switzerland. According to him, most of their guns are locked up in armories when in fact that is not true. Under their militia system, the militia is required to keep their federal-issued weapons at home. It’s not just Wikipedia saying that; I have a friend who is half Swiss and has seen his own male relatives’ militia-issued weapons lawfully stored at home. So make of that what you will.

    There is another conservative angle at play here which is that the cat is already out of the bag. The direction of technology is going to make acquisition of weapons easier, not more difficult. 3D printing will destroy gun control as a practical public policy. We’re probably only 10-15 years away from being able to print a Glock from plastic and metal; metal 3d printers are already in existence. So either you deal with the reality that guns are here to stay and ensure that good people aren’t disarmed or you ensure that only the state and criminals (or in many places, warlords and others like them). For better or for worse, all of those barbarians in places like Somalia have guns and that won’t change. Taking guns away from some (which is all a gun confiscation that doesn’t resort to illicit methods could accomplish) is just guaranteeing some will be harmed.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
      Please refer to the change in Swiss gun laws issued in 2007; in 2007 the Swiss federal government forbid the storing of ammunition for issued weapons in homes and required all such ammunition to be stored in armories (militia must therefore report to their armories to get all ammo) – this law also greatly strengthened the requirements that all ammunition exchanges and purchases be registered;this law also outlawed all forms of automatic weapons, a number of semi-automatic weapons, pump-action shotguns, and some large-capacity handguns.
      According to the Swiss military the majority of Swiss militia men keep their issued weapons at the local armory. Why? They have to pass regular inspections and it is far less hassle to simply keep them where the inspectors are.
      No, go re-read what I actually wrote, not what you think I wrote. You know what? Let me quote it,

      “…an overwhelming majority of those weapons (and their ammunition) is stored at government-controlled armories and are only released to (trained) citizens in the event of an emergency. “

      *You claimed I said all Swiss weapons are under lock and key, what I actually said was a majority of militia weapons are stored at armories. Sure, I was a little unclear that the ammo stored there is for emergencies (Swiss must buy their own for target practice).
      See, what I wrote is accurate; what you think I wrote is wrong.
      In other words the reason I didn’t acknowledge an error about Swiss guns is because I wasn’t wrong, you just read what you wanted to read/leapt to conclusions/I have no idea.
      Let’s look at some of the things you said;

      “The Swiss government does not make one jump through flaming hoops like a trained seal to acquire said weapons.”

      False: actually Switzerland requires full background checks for the purchase of all firearms; all firearms are centrally registered by the federal government; all transactions, public or private, must be fully registered; all ammunition sales are registered; a permit to *purchase* a gun must be issued by local cantons before any purchase or sale can be made and the permit must be kept current; In the absence of a separate carry permit no one may transport a weapon and ammo together – these permits are issued once a person demonstrates specific need, passes a test on gun handling, passes a test on gun laws, and passes a full background check (misdemeanors usually make you ineligible), and permits must be renewed every few years; permits like this are required for hunters, etc. and handgun permits are very rare.
      In other words, you do have to pass through ‘flaming hoops’ to get and use a gun in Switzerland, at least compared to the US.
      What I find interesting, Mike, is this arc-
      Let’s do a quote or three,

      1) ” I would also say that it’s been established beyond a reasonable doubt by now that there is an almost perfect correlation between a government that disarms the public generally and a government that intends to do harm to the public”

      2) “I dispute that my language is extreme…”

      3) ” I’ll concede that my tendency toward hyperbole got the best of me…”

      This is a very interesting series of statements. Similar to how I mention ‘a majority of issued guns are stored in armories’ and you think I wrote ‘all guns are under lock and key’.
      Another interesting point. You wrote,

      “You’ve tried to swat away anything I’ve said in opposition to your assertion that the US and UK are peaceful, safe societies”

      You are probably referring to me pointing out that the definition of ‘violent crime’ in the UK and Australia is broader than in the US, but this does lead to an interesting point. Mike, the UK and Australia are peaceful, safe societies. Yes, really. Australia’s murder rate is about 1 per 100,000 citizens, the UK’s is about 1.3. The US’s is about 4.8. So there is 1/4th the murder rate in the UK and almost 1/5th in Australia compared to the US. That is, I feel I must point out, safe. When looking at rape the numbers are about the same – the UK has 1/4th the per capita of rapes, Australia almost 1/5th. That is safe.
      Yes, yes, I know, you want to talk about ‘government intrusion’ and such, but that is moving the goal posts on your own topic! Australia was effectively disarmed and, no matter how much you speak of ‘unfree’ the UK has 1/4th the murder and rape of the US; Australia was disarmed by its government and it has 1/5th or so the incidence of murder and rape. They are both safer places to live than the US and neither is a tyranny (unless they suspended elections and no one told anyone).
     Continued in a minute.

  • Zippy says:

    I disclaim any real knowledge, but Switzerland seems more like an example of every man having a sword pledged to the sovereign than of every man having a “right” to arms independent of – and indeed specifically to be used as a check against, as most of the second amendment types would have it – the sovereign.

  • King Richard says:

    [continued]
       Considering Zippy’s actual point,

     “Under liberal modernity there is no such thing as real patriotism because hierarchy – morally compulsory loyalty to crown, blood, soil, and cross – isn’t allowed. “

       Now, since America is a Liberal nation what we see is the authoritarian Liberals (‘Progressives’) and anarcho-Liberals (‘Libertarians’). The Progressives’ loyalty/patriotism resides in and with the collective – individual rights are only truly meaningful as a tool for the group and its goals. Any form of independence (of person or of thought) is bad because it is disloyalty to the group, which is paramount. Those who disagree with the group are ‘traitors’. Because of this rather odd setup the members of the Progressive camp must constantly engage in cognitive dissonance, to wit,

      “The only way to prevent racial discrimination is to discriminate based on race. The only way to be inclusive is to exclude dissenting opinion. “

      Libertarians, on the other hand, pin their loyalty not on themselves but upon the idea of individual liberty. Group concerns and rights are only meaningful in relationship to advancing their own agenda. Interestingly, any independence of thought is bad because it is disloyalty to ‘individual liberty’, which is paramount. Those who disagree with the general consensus are ‘unpatriotic’. Because of this odd setup the Libertarian camp must constantly engage in cognitive dissonance, like,

      “Democracy is the only legitimate form of government unless the democratic process passes laws I don’t like, then it is illegitimate. A well-armed society is a polite society, except for Africa, South America, the Middle East, South Asia, and North America.”

      By why is this so? Because despite the cries of ‘traitor’, ‘unpatriotic’, ‘statist’, and ‘fascist’ since both stances are Liberal they ultimately rest upon the rejection of authority. This makes them susceptible to amoral but charismatic leaders, ‘faddish’ thinking, and internal strife.Thise is also why it is so easy for both sides to say things like ‘this isn’t my America’ or ‘we must take Britain back’ or such – the nation-state is ancillary to their patriotism!

      Thoughts?

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    I really want to stop talking about guns and get back to talking about sovereignty and authority; please forgive the long side trek

  • Zippy says:

    KR:
    If nothing else the digression gave me “firearms are the universal suffrage of violence”. “Power to the people” and all that.

    Of course one of the ironies of modern life is that anything that helps one resist the liberal hegemony has a certain appeal to the “natural” conservative. So liberalism uses things like universal suffrage and gun libertarianism to make friends out of natural enemies. The paradox of official anti-authoritarianism is incredibly resilient, as long as, like any good semiconductor, it is doped with just the right amount of impurities (unprincipled exceptions).

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Switzerland’s government and culture seem to be the exception that proves the rule. It is interesting that the American revolutionaries, early on explicitly modeled the American Confederation on the Swiss model. The Swiss had the Alps and we had the Atlantic. Alas things are not that simple. The US even in its late its late 18th century form was an expanse of territory vastly larger than Switzerland. Nor did all Americans necessarily have the same kind of national character the Swiss had.

    It is also interesting that some of the great Utopian political ideologues spent time among the Swiss. Rousseau comes to mind as the best example, was his notion of the “general will” influenced by Swiss democratic traditions? Vladimir Lenin also spent considerable time in Switzerland. Seeing how neat and well functioning the Swiss characteristically are coupled with their historically democratic ways I sometimes wonder if Lenin thought a post-world revolution communist society would look like Switzerland on a grand scale?

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    I concede ignorance of the 2007 changes, but still, this?

    Australia was effectively disarmed and, no matter how much you speak of ‘unfree’ the UK has 1/4th the murder and rape of the US; Australia was disarmed by its government and it has 1/5th or so the incidence of murder and rape. They are both safer places to live than the US and neither is a tyranny (unless they suspended elections and no one told anyone).

    Keep asserting that all you want, but I’m not going to believe the guy aligned with left-wing gun grabbers (“oh my motives are different, I swear they are!”) when every stat coming out of non-leftwing rags contradicts this. Furthermore, the US’s violent crime rate has been steadily declining despite having increasing ethnic diversity and gun ownership. The US is today significantly more racially diverse (72% white) versus Australia (92% white) so that is a factor in our defense as blacks and hispanics account for the majority of serious crime in the US. But again, let’s pretend that there are no differences in demographics complicating things here.

    Zippy,

    I disclaim any real knowledge, but Switzerland seems more like an example of every man having a sword pledged to the sovereign than of every man having a “right” to arms independent of – and indeed specifically to be used as a check against, as most of the second amendment types would have it – the sovereign.

    There is no inherent contradiction between arms being pledged and arms being used as a check. You once said that all oaths implicitly contain the clause “within the limits of morality.” Furthermore, the Swiss are not generally disarmed in a private capacity.

    By the way, your buddy slumlord put it rather well what tyranny in the UK and Australia looks like:

    The late Christopher Dawson, taught me a lot about tyranny. Everyone imagines the Soviet Gulags or the Nazi Concentration camps, but Dawson recognised that even tyranny has a certain cultural flavour and Anglo tyranny will be unlike anything else. There will be no slaughters or death camps (though a few notable individuals may be sacrificed as examples) rather, there will the progressive ostracism of any individual who doesn’t follow the party line. Loss of job, loss of status, exclusion from cultural institutions, forced education and so on. Imagine being a Catholic in Georgian Ireland and you’ll get the picture.

    Sure, the UK and Australia won’t arrest you for questioning their stance on foreign policy. But they most certainly will arrest and prosecute you for saying anything construed as racist, sexist, anti-homosexual, anti-semetic, xenophobic, anti-transgander, etc. Express disgust at sharing the streets of London with too few of your countrymen relative to foreigners and you too could end up under criminal investigation as happened to a woman whose stray words on a bus, captured on YouTube, put her through a hell not legally possible in the US.

    But King Richard is right, no tyranny to see there. I mean China is one of the most economically free countries in the industrialized world. Just don’t run afoul of the authorities in the process of enjoying your economic rights as they won’t hesitate to kill you. So YMMV on what constitutes tyranny.

  • Mike T says:


    “Democracy is the only legitimate form of government unless the democratic process passes laws I don’t like, then it is illegitimate. A well-armed society is a polite society, except for Africa, South America, the Middle East, South Asia, and North America.

    South America is not well armed, but does indeed have a murder problem. One of the amusing points about the guns per 100 people stat is that it is probably skewed more toward the upper middle and upper classes there as South America’s law-abiding poor cannot afford firearms in most cases. That is not the case with Americans. Even someone working minimum wage can afford a Ruger 10/22 if they save a little here and there.

    It’s also ironic that you call Southern Asia well-armed despite the fact that India is almost completely disarmed and you have mostly authoritarian or communist regimes in that region. Also, food for thought, perusing the Wikipedia page on the topic shows no shortage of “strictly regulated in ” those same countries. So it might bear some consideration that guns aren’t the issue, and indeed it might be as gun rights activists have said all along that the only real issue is that the law-abiding public is the one most affected. That being because they’re the only ones willing to turn in their weapons leaving the criminals and the government the only ones armed. Or as in the case of much of Africa and other areas, the criminals, rebels, warlords and nominal government.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    You have some splainin to do

    Early polls in the midst of what was a heated and contentious campaign predicted victory for the anti-gun lobby, but on Sunday, 56.3% of voters rejected the proposal to ban army rifles from homes.

    And

    With the exception of a few thousand of the 120,000 soldiers in Switzerland’s militia army who keep their cartridges at home, all army ammunition will have to be stored in central arsenals. Army guns can still be kept at home.

    The House of Representatives on Thursday followed the Senate in backing a motion that will allow around 2,000 specialist troops, such as those guarding airports and other important installations, to continue to store their ammo in their cellars and attics.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy, post something new. I’m about done here…

  • Zippy says:

    Hah! There are 16 posts newer than this one. But my blog output is regularly irregular, depending as it does on me thinking I have something new to say and having the time to say it. Stomach bug isn’t helping much.

  • Mike T says:

    You need something new. Not much to say on your latest since we already knew you’re an awesome anti-christ [reactionary papist authoritarian {feel free to add more here}]

    I’m done here unless King Richard has a good explanation. When I did a Google search for that 2007 initiative that supposedly shipped all those guns off to registries, the articles I found showed Swiss conservatives soundly defeating it. So unless he can show me something authoritative contradicting those news sites, I’m going to write him off completely on this issue.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike,
    So you both wish to state that you don’t trust crime stats coming out of Australia AND assume they are lower because Australia is majority White?
    Which is it? If the murder rate is higher than claimed your argument based on race is refuted; if it is lower your racialist argument is supported but your core contention that ‘government taking guns = unarmed innocents = less safe society” is refuted.
    In other words, you are refuting yourself one way or the other.
    I love the link to the Forbes article, BTW. Did you actually look at the cited studies?
    No?
    Brazil, for example, has 9 million registered firearms (the numbers that are used in the Guardian report that Forbes cites) but Brazil itself estimates that there are an additional 8 million unregistered guns in Brazil, meaning that the actual firearm possession rate in Brazil is almost double the number used in that graphic.
    I’m sure you knew that, right?
    Guess what the illegal level of gun ownership is in the rest of those nations?
    As for ‘explaining’ I suggest that you, again, re-read what I actually WROTE not what you keep THINKING I wrote. I never said the law *requires* issued guns be kept in the armories (go check) I said the law requires all *ammunition* be kept in armories and that the majority of citizens with issued gun store them in the armories for *convenience*.
    I have said this multiple times yet you keep repeating ‘but the Swiss can keep them in their homes’ as if it matters to what I said.
    As for not finding the 2007 law, care to tell me when the law switched to forcing the ammo to be stored in armories? You know, the law change that you, yourself, quoted? BTW, try the rather intuitive google search of ‘Swiaa gun laws 2007’; 847,000 results. There are statements from the Swiss government on the first page. Yeah, the ban on keeping issued weapons at home was defeated but the restrictions *I actually mentioned* were passed.

    Mike, you have demonstrated that you are unable to understand simple, direct statements even if they are repeated. You use extreme language, try to defend it, deny you used it, then admit that you did and were incorrect to do so. You have tacitly admitted that your initial statements are wrong but have changed nothing on your position. You repeated contradict yourself and in obvious ways. You refuse to discuss the actual issues raised by Zippy and repeatedly returned to by me in order to return to the same statements again and again.
    Bluntly, I am beginning to conclude you are either dim or dishonest.

    That being the case I decline to continue to discuss how some of the richest, safest nations on earth – which hold regular, open elections and have wildly varied political parties! – are really horrible tyrannies because reasons.

    Since you are pumping your fist and declaring victory after admitting you don’t know how to use google, allow me to congratulate you on your stunning victory and wish you well.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    So you both wish to state that you don’t trust crime stats coming out of Australia AND assume they are lower because Australia is majority White?
    Which is it?

    As just one example of why talking to you as pointless, I highlight this. There is no dichotomy here because I asserted:

    1. I don’t believe your stats.
    2. An explanation contrary to your preferred reasoning why your own stats, if true, might be true. That is to say that far from being a matter of gun safety, it’s that Australia could be generally safe because it’s majority white European in lineage and culture with most immigrants being from East Asia (probably) a similarly stable region. The same is not true of the US; Vox Day loves to point out that Minnesota is now teeming with Somali immigrants who are adding a delightful vibrancy to that region which Australia has largely avoided. They’re hardly the only state facing that.

    Since you are pumping your fist and declaring victory after admitting you don’t know how to use google, allow me to congratulate you on your stunning victory and wish you well.

    You mean the same Google that showed me several articles showing that your “gun reforms” were in fact rejected by the Swiss in a plebicite and which weren’t nearly as radical in the Swiss legislature? I’d rather be considered dim than proved dishonest, especially before someone who is extending enough courtesy to trust the other commenter enough to not Google all of their claims.

    That being the case I decline to continue to discuss how some of the richest, safest nations on earth – which hold regular, open elections and have wildly varied political parties! – are really horrible tyrannies because reasons.

    Rich, open elections and varied political parties are not synonymous with freedom. Try calling for the mass deportation of Pakistanis in the UK on a public street vs doing the same in th US. In the latter, the worst you’ll get is a ticket for disturbing the peace if you’re too loud.

  • King Richard says:

    Who knew that an attempt to discuss sovereignty would lead to such extremes?
    Today for at least the second time Mike T has brought this thread up (on another blog*, each time mis-characterizing what I said.Both times I had to use google search because I had forgotten the conversation.
    I am unsure why this is; is Mike trying to ‘win’ something? Is he really still so emotionally distraught that he waits for a chance to rehash the events?
    The interesting thing is, I do my best to simply never read his comments – Is he doing the same in other places I am not aware of?

  • Mike T says:

    1000 lulz to me.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    I gave some consideration to what Jeff said at W4, and I think he is correct. I apologize for jumping on your case WRT to the comment he quoted. My choice of words were quite poor, and contributed quite heavily to that misunderstanding between us.

    And heck, in the spirit of Christian charity, I apologize for the half-hearted trolling.

  • […] is not even conceivable without liberalism itself disappearing.  Perpetual violent revolution is inevitable under liberalism, even when liberalism is universally […]

  • TomD says:

    Has any civilian revolution been directly triggered by weapon confiscation? All else being the same, it seems that when weapons are confiscated people give them up. And if people won’t go into armed rebellion against weapon confiscation, then the whole “weapons will save us” is manifestly false.

    Now I would say that the authority to have weapons comes from the other side – a family needs the authority necessary to protect itself, which means that the father (and any sons) should not be unjustly prevented from having the tools necessary for that – whether it is weapons or no. And the sovereign has the authority to call upon the citizen to defend the country, and therefore has authority to provide the tools necessary for that. No authority should be overstepped unless for a good cause, so the father can take a weapon away from a son for the good of the family, just as the sovereign can take a weapon away from a citizen.

    None of this is to say that a particular decision by the authority is the correct one, but it does offer a way for the relatively common ownership of weapons to exist in an illiberal society.

    (Anyway, if the second amendment is to protect against tyranny then it should be nothing but military weapons – and perhaps this was the idea, that the only army would be the citizens so that by definition the army couldn’t be used against the people. Also, fully automatic weapons were not illegal (and technically remain legal) until 1986. There are even 12 gatling guns legal for civilian ownership – $600k a pop.)

    Also, thinking of the “rights become requirements” argument seen elsewhere, the argument for populace arming quickly becomes a requirement that the population be armed; lest all the people voluntarily give up their weapons.

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