Gun Control as Castration

by Michael Enoch

Note: Interesting view on victim disarmament from outside the libertarian movement. SIG

Is there really any rational basis for the idea of gun control? Or is it just a desperate grasping for some kind of symbolic control after an outbreak of mass violence? Or is it something even deeper? On its face the idea of gun control is ridiculous. Conservatives, libertarians and gun enthusiasts have been making the same basic points for years whenever the issue comes up in response to whatever the latest mass shooting incident happens to be. The fact that there will be such incidents is a social inevitability at this point.

The simple argument is that whatever the latest mass murder happens to be, it was the act of a deranged or vengeful criminal and law abiding folks ought not be deprived of their means of recreation and self defense for the crimes of another. Such shooting rampages inevitably happen in areas where the shooter is the only armed individual and thus faces no resistance. Criminals, and particularly those driven enough to carry out such a rampage, will find a way to arm themselves one way or the other no matter what the law may be. Gun restrictions would only leave the law abiding defenseless against such psychopaths. Some even assert that the proper response ought to be putting more guns in more hands rather than vice-versa.

Some of these points have merit, and some may be stretching it, but the fact remains that gun control is just damned impractical. It cannot actually be done with anything close to the degree of effectiveness that the liberal fanatics would wish. There are hundreds of millions of firearms in private hands in the US. The culture of gun ownership is a part of the fabric of society in areas outside of the liberal havens of the northeast. Any attempt to ban or restrict guns will inevitably lead to far more social unrest and potential violence than it would ever solve. Even if one finds this distasteful, it is the only conclusion that can be drawn based on a sober assessment of reality.

Yet the issue is still pushed with religious fervor by the true believers and social crusaders. Gun rights groups and gun owners are cast as evil accomplices to murder by these do-gooders merely for engaging in pro-gun advocacy. Such was the case earlier today when members of the women’s protest group “Code Pink” – a sort of liberal, feminist version of the Westboro Baptist Church — interrupted an NRA press conference by screaming slogans and unfurling a banner accusing the NRA of guilt by proxy in the recent school killings.

How to explain this? Why such hysterics over the NRA, a fairly moderate and mainstream group by most standards? Do these women really think that they can stop such outbreaks of violence merely by passing some petty bureaucratic measures, all the while continuing to hide their heads in the sand about the real social roots of the “mass shooter” phenomenon?

The answer is that killings and violence are not really the issue as far as the deeper impulses and desires these women have to ban or restrict access to firearms. The fact that it was a feminist group protesting the NRA is not an accident. Gun control is an issue that has historically been pushed by feminist and women’s groups. It comes down to the psychological roots of feminism and the desperate need of such women to control, manage and limit male agency. Essentially gun control is an attempt to perform a symbolic castration of all men in society, in particular those men that would outwardly manifest strength and a will to power by owning a gun, being committed to self defense and engaging in hunting or sportsmanship with firearms.

A gun is an obvious symbol of male power, sexuality and virility. This is the real reason why the gun issue is such an emotional flashpoint for feminists and prompts them to frantic outbursts such as the one at the NRA press conference. Unfortunately as our society gets ever more feminized, as masculinity is ever more marginalized and the traditional male virtues of strength, agency and vitality are ever more demonized, a growing number of virtually cuckolded liberal beta males can be expected to fall in line with this agenda and willingly castrate themselves on the altar of feminism. And of course in a democracy politicians are all too willing to indulge this sort of movement in exchange for power.

In a 1994 research paper titled “Sex and Guns: Is Gun Control Male Control?” Canadian sociologist H. Taylor Buckner documented three surveys he conducted of his undergraduate students concerning their attitudes on guns and gun control. He concluded that:

…students who were pro gun control were also pro homosexual, pro censorship of pornography, and not experienced with guns.

and that:

…men and women have different patterns of motivation for being pro gun control. The men who favor gun control are those who reject traditional male roles and behavior. They are opposed to hunting, are pro homosexual, do not have any experience with or knowledge of guns and tend to have “politically correct” attitudes. The women who support gun control do so in the context of controlling male violence and sexuality. Gun control is thus symbolic of a realignment of the relation between the sexes.

One of the exercises in the survey invited students to do a sentence completion exercise to express in their own words their feelings on guns, gun owners, gun clubs and hunting The responses are revealing:

When I think of Gun Clubs, I think… (female, unfavorable)

People who seek power/control… Boys trying to prove their value… No guns whatsoever should be allowed anywhere… I am totally against those clubs, first of all guns should not exist, only purpose is killing people and animals… Violent men with a violent pastime… Men collected there to show off their strength and women who go along with it… Of heartless men and wonder about why they attend those clubs; I hate gun clubs… Fear, unacceptable activity… Men who have something to prove by acting “macho.” They are dangerous to society and to themselves… Masochistic people who have to live their lives behind a gun in fear… Kinky, weird people… Ignorance, uneducated… Power through sick minds. Violence.

The psychology here should be apparent. The idea of powerful males or males expressing some sort of dominance, even if only in imagination, is clearly distressing to these women. Their immediate response is to want to control it and shut it down, to appeal to a higher power to enforce the rules on those naughty men and boys. The general hostility and suspicion with which feminists regard male only or “boys club” type social spaces is also at play.

To further hammer home the point that the desire for gun control is essentially irrational and not based on any facts or real world knowledge Buckner tested the students on their own personal knowledge and experience with guns and then correlated those results with their attitudes on gun control. He found:

Less than 1% knew that there is a five year penalty for an unregistered handgun (the most frequent guess was a $500 fine). Only 6% knew that handguns account for less than 20% of the murders in Canada (most guessed that it was around two-thirds, as in the U.S.). Only 11% knew the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. Thirty-two percent knew that the magazine of a gun does not have a trigger. Figure 5 shows, knowledge of the subject is not widespread. Pro gun control attitudes do not appear to depend on knowledge or rationality.

Figure 6 The less knowledge of and experience with guns a student has the more pro gun control they are. In fact, the more experience and knowledge one has of guns the lower the support for gun control.

It is clear from these results that the gun control attitude is not an informed opinion that one comes to after sober reflection and analysis. Rather is a product of ignorance, irrational fear and the desire to control and manage what is perceived as the threat of out of control male sexuality and agency. Gun control is castration.

44 responses to “Gun Control as Castration

  1. This is why it’s a waste of time trying to use rational argument on the victim disarmament crowd.

    • No, you must argue properly at all times. The function of argument is less to convince an opponent than to bring over observers of a debate.

  2. My Mrs. wont let me play with guns and she’s castrated me.Bitch

  3. No problem–if there is a gunfight send your Missus.

  4. How, then, to explain the Pink Pistols? (Yes, sorry…they’re also Pink.) This is a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender version of the NRA, with chapters all over the United States. When I could afford, I sometimes went to the range with my local chapter.

    Their mottoes? “Armed gays don’t get bashed” and “pick on someone of your own caliber.”

    As an Arizonan, who can still (at least at the moment) legally own guns, I have everything from a .38 to a (Lady Smith) .357 magnum.

    A growing number of American women are coming to realize we must be armed to defend ourselves against violence. As are at least some gays. Please don’t tell us we’re “castrating” anybody by trying to defend ourselves.

  5. Lori, I think you’re missing the crux of the argument. My guess would be, based on the research referred to in the article, that pro gun LGBT folk are considerably less hostile to traditional masculinity than the stereotypical anti gun feminist. Look at your own reaction to the erroneous notion that you are being accused of “castrating” somebody: you plainly lack the hostility to traditional maleness that certain strands of feminism embrace.

    • I don’t suppose I even consider myself a “feminist” in the sense the word is usually now used. I don’t see the best interests of men and those of women as necessarily in competition. I believe they are mutually-achievable.

      One of the aspects of libertarian philosophy I find appealing is that it stresses that actual rights and best interests are not exclusive to one group or another.

  6. I noticed this when I debate antigunners. They are either liars who have malevolent intentions towards the taxpayer or complete and total ignoramuses who spout nonsense like “assault guns”, and “repeating bullets”.

  7. Well the Sisters of the Second Amendment (and so on) often call themselves femminists – but perhaps they define “femmism” differently. After all there are Marxist femminists (such as Code Pink), libertarian femmisits (who go back to J. Butler and so on), and so on.

    Anyway the leaders of the “gun control” movement in the United States (and, as far as I know, in most other countries) have been male.

    Although there may stll be something in this pop psychology stuff. Perhaps I am just biased because the Frankfurt School Marxists (Max Horkheimer, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and hangers on like Herbert McClosky, the young Lionel Trilling, and Richard Hofstadter) were fond of smearing the foes of social justice as somehow victims of a psychosis.

    Explaining away other people’s political opinions as a the result of a “personality type” (or some such stuff) does indeed invite the same level of response.

    However, after the ritual exchange “you are crazy” – “no you are crazy” we are exactly were we were before
    Still – some of this stuff is vlle.

    For example the Daily Mail smearing Nancy Lanza (yes Nancy – not Adam) as a “gun nut” and “paranoid”. Actually everyone who actually knew Nancy Lanza states that she was a kind and sane women – although worn down by the burden of careing for her demented son.

    They were spitting and urinating on the memory of this women before her body was cold.

    It is not only the left (such as the Code Pink types) who are vile – there are plenty of scumbags on the statist “right” also.

  8. Well, I agree with the article, at least in general. I think it makes an extremely good point.

    As regards feminism, we need to be a little cautious about the word; like most words describing abstracts, it is hard to find a true consensus as to what it means as it means differnet things to different people- see also- liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc etc.

    My own view is that we can usefully divide feminism into “core feminism” and “broad feminism”. This can be done with many movements, in fact. Broad feminism is, literally, a very broad term. It can be used to define anybody with attitudes favourable towards women, any writer who writes from the female point of view, or in support of women, or on womens issues, and so on. Virtually everyone is, these days, a “broad” feminist. Under the broad aegis, for instance, the activist porn star Nina Hartley describes herself as a feminist, although her views on women and society are virtually antipodal to the Core Feminists who control the “Womens Movement” such as NOW, who would have her thrown in jail for betraying women.

    My argument is that the Core Feminist movement is represented by the two waves- the first wave that covers from Hannah More to the suffragettes, Josephine Butler and Jane Addams, the Pankhursts, Frances Willard, and so on, and then the Second Wave that arose in the 1960s from Friedan onwards. Core Feminism is defined by its hostility to masculinity and maleness and to a desire to (in the mind of the Feminist) replace a “masculine” hegemony with a “feminine” one. One problem here is that Feminist theory is itself however not rational, and does not even attempt to correctly understand either masculinity or femininity. So that, in this issue for instance, it assigns “violent” to men and “non-violent” to women, and thus any feminist must be against any violence or the tools thereof (unless it’s the violence of the State legal system, persecuting violators of authoritarian laws. That’s fine).

    Thus, a woman who approves of gun ownership and self defence cannot be a Core Feminist. She is acting “male”. She can describe herself as a Feminist in the broad sense- but as I said, that covers virtually everybody. Broad feminism is so general as to be meaingless. So in my view, we should only use the term to describe Core Feminists, and either think up another word to describe people who want a society which is free and equal for men and women alike, or not even bother with a special term for such people.

    Or, to quote Lori in the comment above-

    ” I don’t see the best interests of men and those of women as necessarily in competition. I believe they are mutually-achievable.”

    If you think that way, you can’t be a Feminist in the Core sense. Feminism is predicated on a class war in which the male and female classes have conflicted class interests, and thus one must win and one must lose.

  9. Ian – on “core feminism”

    Was Josephine Butler really that hostile to men?

    Or was it just men who abused women that J. Butler was hostile to?

    Still you may be correct – and, if so, then “libertarian feminists” are in a diffcult position. As, eventually, they will have to choose between their feminism and their libertarianism.

  10. Julie near Chicago

    Feminist scheminist. You might as well call yourself a “blackist” or a “whitist.” (Both being specific types of racist.) I think Ian B is 110% correct in his closing sentence. Well said, Ian.

    Well said, too, Lori. Agree completely.

  11. On rereading the above, I think that Ian’s distinction between “broad feminist” and “core feminist” is important.

    Although I think that J. Butler might be better described as a “broad feminist” than as a “core feminist”.

  12. This article does libertarians no favours, and does a general disservice to the pro-gun movement*. The best gun legislation arguments should be put forth and, pardon the pun, shot down and the real reasons behind most ‘liberal’s’ anti-gun (or at least anti-assault rifle) stance shown to the wider community.

    Engaging in psychobable like this simply paints people as nuts and means that when a real anti-gun argument is put forth the counter argument suggested here (you’re anti-man or whatever) fails, and fails miserably.

    And what you may ask, is a reasonable anti-gun argument? Well the fact is that there are 10,000 gun-related deaths (including accidents and suicides) in the US and in other industrialised nations the rate is a tiny fraction of that. A reduction in the number of guns in households in the US would undoubtedly save American lives. Whether this reduction in freedom is worth the decrease in lives lost is for US voters and politicians to decide, but to deny that the argument or trade-off exists is disingenuous and self-defeating to the side ostensibly supported by the author.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone with half a brain can come up with dozens of ways to kill more people than Lanza did, and possibly get away with it, but that doesn’t seem to happen in other countries where guns are not readily available.

    Perhaps America should decide what it wants its guns for, is it for self-defence or for defence against tyranny, domestic or foreign, because these two options require a whole different arsenal.

    * I happen to reside on the fence on this issue. “If you can own a gun then I can own a nuke” seems the only logical position, but I’m pretty sure there are lots of people I’d rather not see having nukes. I’d also like to see the police disarm first, as a show of good faith…

  13. “A reduction in the number of guns in households would undoubtedly save lives”.

    Then why was the British murder rate LOWER than it is now when firearms were legal (and very common) here?

    And why is the murder rate in America LOWEST in the least “gun control” States – where legal firearm ownership is the most common?

    Sorry keddau – but, if your argument was correct, then gun control New York City should have had a lower murder rate than no gun control London before the First World War (New York City has strict gun control from 1911).

    Yet the London murder rate in 1911, 1912 and 1913 is vastly LOWER than the murder rate in New York (I repeat – legal firearms were very common in London in the period).

    Why does gun control Chicago (the most gun control city in the United States) have such a VAST murder rate?

    Why do Swiss cities (where legal firearm ownership is almost univeral) have such a low murder rate?

    Lastly why do towns that cross the Texas-Mexican border (about equally hispanic on both sides) have a murder rate some TEN TIMES HIGHER on the noble gun control Mexican side, than on the evil right to arms Texan side?

  14. The murder of two volunteer firemen in up State New York should give even the most fanatical gun control person pause for thought.

    The muderer had murdered before – he beat his mother to death.

    Rather than being executed, he was set free after 17 years in prison. The murderer was prevented by noble gun control regulations from owning firearms.

    Yet he still got them in his “household” (illegally).

    The only people that “gun control” managed to keep from weapons were his victims.

    Gun control regulations will “save lives”.


    Utter bullshit.

  15. Paul, I’ll assume your first caps was meant to read higher.

    There are two rather major issues with your first post:

    1. You are comparing apples and oranges (London circa 1900 was a very different animal to London 1995 when figures peaked, or NYC at any time)*. Likewise comparing Wyoming to California is not necessarily a fair comparison*.

    2. Who was talking about murders? “A reduction in the number of guns in households in the US would undoubtedly save American lives.” This is just a basic household safety feature. Like filling in all pools would reduce the number of drownings. There would be a reduction in accidental deaths and suicides as well as a probable reduction in homicides.

    Like I said, whether the Americans think this is a worthwhile reduction in liberty (like mandatory seat belts or being groped at airports) is their call, I am on the fence on the issue.

    Lastly, don’t go comparing border towns with US states. There are obvious probable causes and it is beneath you to ignore them.

    * Population density tends to have an impact on homicide rate.

  16. Paul, I meant to remove the line where I thought you had said lower rather than higher. You said what you meant and I read it too fast and clicked post too soon.

  17. keddaw – if there is anyone worse with a keyboard (or pen) in this world than myself I have yet to meet them. By hands appear to be designed to use a club – and I am quick to passion and have poor attention to neatness.

    So betting I have made a typing mistake is going to be correct – at least nine times out of ten.

    Why is comparing London to New York in 1912 (and so on) unacceptable?

    Both were vast cities – with people from all over the world (for example my father’s family from Russia and Holland, and my maternal grandfather’s family from Ireland).

    As for New Hampshire (a classic anti gun control State) – Manchester New Hampshire has a population of over one hundred thousand people.

    That sounds like an urban area to me.

    And what of the Swiss cities – some much bigger (and with almost universal firearms).

    And what of the towns on the Texas-Mexican border? The ones that cross the border (and are about equally hispanic on both sides).

    Why is the noble gun control Mexican side of town so much WORSE than the evil Texan right to arms side of town?

    By the way the Mexican Consitution (1917) also has a right of self defence (with firearms) in it.

    Yet, since the 1960s, the Mexican government has subverted that right.

    Now there is one legal gun shop left – in Mexico City inside a military base.

    Go there – past all the armed soldiers looking for some excuse to arrest you, fill in a big form (what was the inside leg meausement of your cousin – three times removed) and your freedom can be exercised.

    This is the sort “Nudge” subversion of freedom that, Obama crony, Dr Cass Sustein would love to do in the United States (of course David Cameron loves “Nudge”).

  18. In a Mexican town if armed crimianals come to your home (an all too common event) you can not defend your family. They will be raped and tortured to death (for fun) in front of you – before you join them in death (a death that, by that time, you will welcome).

    And honest people from other houses (who obey the gun control regulations) can not come to defend you either – they would just be killed along side you. And the police? Let me put in this way – those used to the Chicago police (the armed thugs of the Chicago Democrat Machine) would understand local Mexican police forces.

    That is the situation that Barack Obama and so on want in the United States.

  19. Paul, NYC was a city of immigrants and massive immigration, London was a wealthy, established city. That’s not to say there isn’t evidence to be had by comparing them, but I’d be very wary about reading too much into it. The comparisons with Switzerland and Canada today are much better, for reasons I hope you can see are completely different than the Texas/Mexico border town reasons.

    Again, I agree the state will take any powers it can, but it is for the American people to decide (ideally using a Constitutional Amendment) whether this right is worth the lives it costs. And the point you are missing, rather making the point of my original post, is that there is a virtually unarguable link between the number of guns in US households and the number of avoidable DEATHS, whether this be homicide, suicide, or accident.

    On the other hand, if the US people with guns would use the political power their weapons give them to stand up for their other rights, they’d have an infinitely better argument than ‘sports shooting, hunting and home protection’.

  20. Actually the poverty in London before the First World War was just as bad as it was in New York.

    “SuperMac” (that leftist pretending to be Conservative) may have believed that American poverty was worse (he thought British troops would be physically larger and stronger because of “50 years of Social Reform”) – but he was wrong (as he was wrong about just about everything).

    And what about my Tex/Mex example and all the other examples?

    “The lives it costs”.

    You have just accepted media propaganda.

    You have producesd no evidence what-so-ever that passing more gun control regulations would reduce the number of murders (it never has in Britain).

    Why should a murderer respect a gun control regulation?

    “I want to murder someone, but I can not – because it would involve buyiing a gun and that would be illegal”..

    Is that the level of logic you are operating on?

    Do not keep saying “the lives it costs” when you produce no evidence that more gun control regulations would achieve anything at all. Other than to disarm honest people and thus INCEASE the number of murders.

    What are you doing is presenting knee-jerk statism – without any evidence your proposed additional regulations would achieve the results you claim (indeed just assume) they would

    Gun control regulations do not “save lives”,

    They COST LIVES.

    Want to save lives?

    Then REPEAL the “Gun Free School” Act of 1990 – which actively encourages schools to be “gun free zones”,

    I.E. groups of unarmed victims in a confined space (with limited exits) – waiting for the next “I may be crazy, but I am not stupid” killer or killers to strike.

    Every State that has legalised “concealed carry” (and otherwise ROLLED BACK “gun control”) has seen the murder rate DROP.

    But you just carry on with this “gun control regulations would save lives” assumption like some msm person.

  21. Most of the numbers being used here and elsewhere are either false or skewed to suit an agenda. Let’s deal with actual statistics, not emotional opinions.
    Maybe the US isn’t as violent as we think?
    ( via Townhall) Does the US really have fewer violent crimes per capita than the UK, Austria, Belgium, Holland, and even Sweden? Data reported in the Telegraph say it does (h/t Tom Hanna): [V]iolent crime in the UK … increased from 652,974 offences in 1998 to more than 1.15 million crimes in 2007. It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe. Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland.By comparison, America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000 population.

  22. The key point here is, I believe, not whether Americans are more violent than other people (perhaps they are, perhaps they are not – and perhaps it depends who one means by “Americans”, Scots Irish? Irish Irish? English? African Americans? Who?)

    The key point of the enemy argument (although “assumption” would be a better word than “argument”) is that more gun control regulations would mean a lower murder rate.

    This has never been the case in the United Kingdom, and I have seen no evidence that it is or would be the case in the United States.

    All the evidence that I have seen indicates that (if anything) more gun control regulations lead to a higher murder rate, and rolling back the gun control regulations leads to a lower murder rate.

  23. 1. Calm down.
    2. I have never said I was for any form of gun control (although it is self-evidently true that banning psychopathic killers from owning/accessing weapons will reduce deaths – i.e. no-one is actually for ZERO restrictions).
    3. NY was a city of immigrants, many of whom were of the criminal class being deported, hence it would be expected that crime be higher in NY at that time.
    4. Tex/Mex? You seriously need me to explain to you how a militarised police force, a para-military DEA and a massive black-ops assault on the cartels from any public outrage about large numbers of US deaths on US soil makes the number of deaths on US soil much likely to be lesser than the number of deaths on the Mexican side where the cartels routinely kill police, DAs and public officials who stand up to them?
    5. “Gun control regulations do not “save lives”” In the main I agree (, however, if there were no LEGAL guns in the US murders may or may not rise but suicides and accidental deaths would fall.
    56% of male suicides in the US are using firearms (only 30% of women)
    while the US’s rate is not a particular stand-out (similar to Ireland, but twice the UK’s) there is evidence of a link between firearms in the house and suicides (especially in children and adolescents). How many of the 15,000 suicides using firearms could be prevented? There are also around 140 children killed each year from gun-related accidents, most of which would be avoided.
    6. Your fixation on murder is rather telling. Instead of accepting that there are more non-homicide gun-related deaths and that reducing the number of those deaths might actually be a consequence of restricting gun ownership you, like the sensationalist media, focus on the killings – albeit in a different way. This is not the argument I am putting forth, I am simply saying that this argument exists and is a hell of a lot better than ‘guns are virility and women want to remove our manhood’ that was proposed originally.
    7. Concealed carry works in a nation with guns. Why not expand it? It reduces gun deaths but the people who want to ban guns to save lives are apparently not willing to allow concealed carry to save lives. Hypocrisy abound.
    8. Children are hormonal, emotional beasties, I do not want children with loaded weapons all together in one building… I don’t have kids so don’t really care, but it seems that it would encourage more shootings.
    9. Make your argument by asking questions. Shouting about murder rates in various places will lead to a stat fight where you will talk past each other. Murder rates are good to point out, but note that they will have firearm deaths rather than murders in mind (knife deaths are fine, but bullets are awful). e.g.
    10. Be very careful when debating with a pedant…

    All the best.

  24. Yes Paul, that certainly works here in Wyoming. Unfortunately, it might not make a lot of difference if the people are not truly willing to defend themselves, and spend the necessary time, money and effort to make themselves able to do so.

    Far, far too many people have allowed themselves to become helpless and truly believe they have no responsibility for it. The entitlement mentality alone is going to keep an awful lot of people demanding that they be “kept safe” without any participation on their part. And the screwy ideas of the gun grabbers certainly play nicely into that.

    The freedom to own and carry a gun won’t help much in that case, of course. Self ownership, self responsibility and a dedication to a life of non-aggression and integrity… People who adopt that way of life will survive and prosper. And they will always have enemies among the slaveholders and controllers.

  25. Incidentally, regardless of where you sit on the weapon* liberty spectrum, the NRA and US conservatives and pro-gun talking heads on US media are really not making the case well at all. Where are the facts? Where is a robust defence of freedom? Where is Norway vs Sweden vs Finland? Where is the pro-concealed carry argument?

    * It’s not just guns!!!

  26. Keddow “calm down” – then stop claiming, without evidence, that gun control regulations would reduce the murder rate (as for accidental deaths – criminals have accidents as well you know).. Although admittedly I have made my old mistake concerning this site .

    Mamaliberty – turning from the specific point of the right to keep and bear arms (as part of the general right to defend one’s self and, contra Thomas Hobbes, DEFEND OTHER PEOPLE), to the general point of the decline of pro freedom ideas and attitudes.

    I believe the key indeological mistake was made in the 19th century – when the mainstream of political thought (there had always been some people in favour of the idea I am about to mention) became in favour of mass state education.

    One can not even say that collectivist attitudes were an unintended consequence of this development – as the people who pushed hardest for mass state education (such as H.Mann of Mass) actually wanted this change of attitudes to come to pass.

    They did not deny that people would learn to read and write (and so on) without statism (the idea that, without statism, their would be mass inablity to read, write, add up…… and so on, was put about later), they wanted to educate people in the correct (i.e. collectivist) attitudes.

    Although the dream of the collectivists was held up (for example by locally elected school boards), with the professionalisation of eduction (teacher training and so on) and its centralisation (under States and then the Federal government) they have largely been successful.

    Today, for example, even farmers (once proundly independent – indeed Aristotle noted their independent spirit) look to the state automatically, to deal with all their problems.

    This change in attitudes has not been accident – it was intentional.

    A collectivist dominated education system (which influences the private schools also) produces an collectivist dominated media – and so on.

    The only weakness in the collectivist plan – is that their ideas do not work.

    They achieve X (for example turning Detroit into the model city for their plans – as was declared in the early 1960s) and then everything falls apart around them.

    Increasing the scale of the “Progressive” project (from city, to State [such as Califoria] to nation, or to world) does NOT avoid the problem that collectivism does not work,

    I repeat that this is the only flaw in the enemy plan (tatcially they run rings around their “capitalist reactonary” foes) – but it is a rather serious flaw.

  27. keddaw.

    Agreed on the NRA – it is perhaps the least pro liberty (at least in its national leadership) of all the pro right to keep and bear arms organisations.

    Its national leadership appear to have the dreaded “Beltway sickness” – an illness contracted by people who work within the Washington D.C. Beltway road (trying to influence the Federal government).

    The latest antics of the NRA leadership include trying to throw the First Amendment under the bus, in order to save the Second Amendment.

    This mirrors the mistake of such organisations as the ACLU on the left – who also do not understand that the First and Second stand or fall togther.

    After all nations which decide that honest citizens can not be trusted with firearms soon also make the assumption that can not be allowed to express their opinions either – after all they might have racist opinions (and so on).

    In this way freedom of speech died in such nations as Britain and Australia – not “just” the right of effective self defence (and the defence of others – against crimnals and arbitrary government).

  28. “This change in attitudes has not been accident – it was intentional.”

    Absolutely. :) And the change back to individual integrity and self ownership/responsibility will have to be intentional as well.

    Just will never be the intention of the controllers and slaveholders, obviously.

    Oh, and you are so right… the greatest enemy of the controllers is the fact that their methods simply don’t “work.” The unintended consequences are unavoidable.

  29. Paul: “then stop claiming, without evidence, that gun control regulations would reduce the murder rate”

    I never did. Not once. Again, I caution you about debating a pedant and, more importantly, about addressing what people say not what you think they mean. As someone willing to look at the facts I see that murders and gun ownership are, in all but the most extreme ends of the spectrum, loosely negatively related*, we are actually more in agreement than you think and I appreciate your constant attempts to bring facts into the discussion (not that we’re actually arguing, but still) but you have to be aware of what people say. look at the Guardian article I linked to, it lists homicides by firearm in a supposedly impartial gun article but not homicides – both are relevant in any informed discussion!

    Basically you have brought up some good points (Scandanavian countries, concealed carry, murder rates across states/counties compared to gun laws) and some dumb ones (Tex/Mex, complete ignorance/ignoring of non-homicide gun deaths, misrepresenting your “opponent’s” argument [homicide vs deaths]). You have good points and you argue forcefully. Stick to the good points, listen to your opponents and crush their mistakes while trying to avoid any of your own. And, most importantly, fight for what you believe in (and can prove)!

    My concern is that without a line on what people can own (and I can’t see a logical line, simply a pragmatic one) then there is no legitimate reason why everyone couldn’t own a Doomsday device, and I know enough about human nature to be sure that someone would use it. And without a logical place to draw the line between pistol and Doomsday device I’m playing the same game as those trying to remove all guns from citizens and I can’t do that. Hence I’m still trying to work out what my stance really should be.

    * Whether this is statistically relevant or not would require more analysis than I care to give this. (Journalists, is this not your job?)

  30. Keddaw.

    So you do not think that more gun control regulations would reduce the number of murders – silly me for thinking that is what you had implied (again and again).

    Still I am glad we are in agreement that more gun control regulations would not reduce the murder rate.

    Are we also in agreement that more gun control regulations in the United States would INCREASE the murder rate?

    After all that is what the evidence (both in various American cities and States, and in the Unted Kingdom) suggests.

  31. “…then there is no legitimate reason why everyone couldn’t own a Doomsday device, and I know enough about human nature to be sure that someone would use it.”

    Just exactly like some people will use a gun, or a pen, or a chainsaw. It is not the “device” that is the problem… it is the people. No “law” can actually prevent those people so inclined from using ANY device they wish… for any purpose they wish.

    The truth is that the vast majority of people do NOT use these things to harm others, no matter how easily available they may be. And any attempt by some people to limit what OTHER people can obtain, whether it is rice or nukes, simply feeds the tyranny all around them and contributes nothing to peace and prosperity. Why do so many people seem to think that such WMDs could never be trusted in the hands of any individual… but are perfectly safe in the hands of the tyrants who have murdered vast millions of innocents in just the last century?

    And if you doubt any of that, answer the question I ask of those who still think drug prohibition is necessary. If all the “laws” against the use of any substance, food or chemical were repealed, would YOU run out and buy the most toxic things and indulge in them until you died? If it is only the “law” that protects you, why not?

  32. There is no reason why any device should not be in private ownership – if its use does not violate property rights (human rights are property rights – as Rothbard rightly pointed out).

    For example if someone is millions of milies away in space (for example mining some space rock) I see no reason they should not have atomic devices.

    This is not the same thing as someone seeking to explode an atomic bomb in his back yard (with only the picket fence between his backyard and next doof). Nor is an atomic bomb the only thing.

    For example, if I store a large amount of gun power in my home (many wagons load) ) then the people in the next door houses have a right to expect that I will store the gunpowder safely (it is no good sueing me after the explosion – because we will all be dead then). I must not put their property at risk by my negligence. Property covenants would build that into the property at the point of sale (more on that later).

    As for a madman demanding the return of his axe (that one has borrowed) the old Plato question….

    If one reason to believe the person tend to use the axe to voilate the property of others (for example by cutting off their heads), then one should NOT return the axe.

    This does NOT mean that justice is not “to each what is owning”, it just means that property rights can not be use an excuse to violate others.

    On the question of “who should decide”.

    The locals should (after all it is their property at risk).

    No State (let alone the Federal government) can hope to regulate questions of such difficulty and complexity.

    Only locals (who understand local circumstances) can decide.

    Property rights are most likely the best way..

    Covenants – on what can be stored and what can not be stored on a property (as with light and air and so on).

    One should know the conditions in advance and decide whether or not buy.

    Convenants are part of the bundle of things that “property” actually is in practice.

    When people are selling sections of land for high density housing covenants (on the storage of gun power and so on – or anything that might damage the property of others) are sensible.

    Locals would expect them.

  33. Paul, “silly me for thinking that is what you had implied (again and again)”. Yes. Silly you indeed. Not only did I never say that gun regulations would reduce murders, I pointed out several times that I was referring to deaths, mentioned that your fixation on murder was telling and even, in spite of my strong objections to the practice, used caps.

    “Are we also in agreement that more gun control regulations in the United States would INCREASE the murder rate?”
    No. I’m not saying it would or would not, simply that I haven’t seen evidence compelling enough to make me decide. It would also depend on what the regs were, since ineffectual regulations could have zero impact.

    “On the question of “who should decide”.

    The locals should (after all it is their property at risk).”

    Wow. Just, wow. The locals are (effectively) the local government. As the amount of ‘gunpowder’ you have the locals become more and more (to the size of the nation, or even planet). You have unwittingly made the case for not only government but an invasive government at that – else how do we check that you are sticking to your covenant on gunpowder storage?

    Mamaliberty: “Just exactly like some people will use a gun”
    Yes, but a pen or a gun does not, in a single event, end all of humanity. That’s a power I’d like to prevent anyone from having. Including, perhaps even especially, states. Whether I’d do that personally or employ the power of the state to stop people is the question.

    • Keddaw you have produced no evidence that more gun control regulations would reduce accidental deaths.

      Street gang members in Gun Control Chicago (and so on) are not well known for their safe practices with firearms – they do not even understand that firearms and drugs (or booze) do not mix well.

      As for your confusion of property covenants with local government. Or your belief that only government can check on these things.

      Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

      I can only assume (if your words mean anything) that you do not actually care that honest people in places like Chicago are de facto forbidden (in defiance of court judgements – including a Supreme Court judgement) to defend themsleves and others. And are left defenceless victims of the gangs.

      If I am mistaken – then please correct me.

      But speak clearly – no more games.

      Say what you mean – and say it plain.

      What I want to know is WHAT SIDE YOU ARE ON.

      No more song-and-dance.

      One of the reasons I despise Kevin Carson (as oppose to regarding him as just another soicalist – of whom there are millions) is he calls himself a “libertarian” – he plays games, pretending to be the very thing he wants to exterminate. And people like Sean Gabb actually help play his games – cover up for him and denounce any person who tries to tell the truth.

      I do not hate socialists – as long as they are open about what they are.

      Only if there is deceptiion involved (fancy language – game playing) do I despise them.

      Choose your side and stand your ground – to the death.

      That is all I ask of anyone.

  34. “The locals are (effectively) the local government”.

    How can anyone write something like that?

    It is difficult not to despair.

    But I am too prone to despair – it is a vice (and a sin) of mine.

    I must struggle against despair.

  35. “you have produced no evidence that more gun control regulations would reduce accidental deaths.”

    Extreme gun control laws would obviously reduce the number of accidental gun deaths.
    Check out:
    which shows an almost uniform decrease in accidental gun deaths for countries with increasingly strict regulations.
    N.B. Huff-Po is misleading, only 1,000-3,000 firearm deaths were accidents, the majority were suicides which the author seems to conflate with accidental!

    This is not a policy recommendation, merely facts.


    I haven’t got one yet. I am against people telling me, and anyone who hasn’t, and is not obviously likely to, commit harm, what we can and can’t own/make/buy, but I am also against the very concept of anyone owning a doomsday device. This means I am for some kind of limit but it would appear to be for pragmatic reasons rather than ideological ones and that sounds a bit like hypocrisy to me.

    So, I’m looking for good pro-weapons arguments (and trying to keep those making them, like you, honest) while also debating anti-gun people and trying to keep their arguments honest too (they lie more, see the Huff-Po piece).

    “How can anyone write something like that?”
    Because the principle of government of the people is that it is by the people, for the people. That we have a bloated, self-serving, rights-gobbling monster at present is neither here nor there when discussing the general principle.

  36. “Extreme gun laws would obviously reduce accidental deaths”.


    Not the case in Chicago.

    Not the case in Mexico.

    And you produce your “international comparisons” – again, having said that mine are not valid.

    Birtian had a vastly lower murder rate that United States (and a lower accidental gun death rate) when firearms were prefectly legal (and common).

    “The general principle” that local government is “by the people”

    Well at least you are not doing a Lincoln and pretending the FEDERAL government is government “of the people” “by the people”. How he managed to say that (with a straight face) is astonishing.

    As Lincoln knew well (as he had been involved in State politics) State government is not “by the people” either.

    But, of course, local government is not either (and never was – or could be, at least not if the principle of “representation” is accepted).

    Other than (perhaps) in some New Hampshire townships (although even here the “select men” have taken more and more power over the years – as have PAID OFFICIALS). And a couple of Swiss Cantons that still have the aunnual gathering.

    Of course even when the people are involved it runs into the “majority rule is not individual consent” problem. As Gough (when Oriel Oxford was still in its great days) points out (in his work on John Locke) this distinction was well understood even in the Middle Ages – so people (such as John Locke) who slide from individual consent to majority consent (hoping that no one will notice the shift) are being dishonest (the move from majority consent to a policy to “represenation” is, of course, a second dishonest move – unless it is openly declared)

    The point of a Constitution is to limit what politicians can do – even though they do it in the name of “the people” (and are “elected by the people”). In relation to limiting what the locals (the people) can do. Both indiviudally and by voluntary association (based upon property rights).

    That is not just true of the United States Consitution – it is also true of State Constitutions (such as that of New Hampshire in 1784 – with its right of revolution against the elected represenatives, as well as any other form of government).

    As it was true of the great charters – whether that of 1215 or 1100. Or that of France in 877 (repeating the “old right” that not even a King of France could take a fief of land from one family and give it to another – or himself). Government (even by a King educated from birth to rule – let alone by some elected polticians) is limited in what it can do – and it must keep to those limits (or suffer the consequences).

    Or the other great European Charters of the so called Middle Ages. All based on the assumption that fundemental law trumped state orders (the resverse of the Roman assumption – which accepted the existance of both natural law and custom-tradition but held that positive orders trumped both) and that, if the ruler or rulers decided to break their sacred oaths (the oath, before God, to obey the fundemental laws – the laws that Kings did NOT make) then it was the right, indeed the duty, of freemen (of course under the leadership of the leading people of the realm, the principle land holders) to oppose them in arms.

    “I am looking for honest arguments”.

    No you are not – as I have offered them (and you have rejected them – indeed expressed contempt).

    “And trying to keep you honest”

    That is a direct insult – as you are implying I am not being honest.

    “I do not have a side”;

    That appears to be counterfactual statement.

    Otherwise – when I mentioned Chicago (where the local government ILLEGALLY prevent honest people from having firearms – thus leaving defenceless against the gangs, sorry against the local “community leaders” and “community actitvists) you would have expressed an interest.

    You did not express an interest.

    I told you of the HUNDREDS OF MURDERS this year in Gun Control Chicago – and you did not bat an eyelid (you gave no sign of interest).

    You suggested no policy for dealing with this.

    Allowing honest people to own firearms (especially allowing concealed carry – banned in the State concerned, indeed it the only State in the Union that totally bans it) would reduce the power of the gangs and local govenrment (which, these days, are part of the same Democrat polticial Machine although different factions of it fight from time to time).

    But you are not interested.

    At least you appear not to be interested.

    If I have fundementally misunderstood you then I apologise.

  37. Paul, if you think gun laws in Chicago are “extreme” as compared to the rest of the western world then you’re crazy.

    I’m perfectly willing to accept the possibility that gun laws go on a curve where initial sensible laws (e.g. not allowing registered psychopaths guns) reduces homicides but as laws get more restrictive homicides rise as the law abiding populace can no longer defend themselves.

    “And you produce your “international comparisons””
    Because we have to work on actual data, otherwise we’re pissing into the wind.

    Britain’s murder rate was approx. half that of the US when guns were perfectly legal. The lower accidental death rate, and murder rate, between then and now would, at least in part, have to do with the change in the weapons, no?

    “That is a direct insult – as you are implying I am not being honest.”
    It was not intended, but let me make it explicit, when you consistently ignored my claims about deaths to focus on homicides (over half of all gun deaths in the US are suicides) you are being dishonest. When you attempt to compare towns on either side of the TexMex border you are being, if not dishonest then at least exceedingly naive, to attempt to explain the difference in murder rates as being caused by the difference in gun laws (if the laws were the same, would the murder rate be the same? If not, why not?) When you say “then stop claiming, without evidence, that gun control regulations would reduce the murder rate” you are being dishonest as I never claimed that at all.

    “You suggested no policy for dealing with this.”
    Correct. However, as a placeholder here’s what I’d suggest in the short term:
    Gun legislation should be loosened to allow all licensed people to own guns. To obtain a license one would have to go through a psychological evaluation to show no dangerous mental illness (psychopathy and schizophrenia would be the two I’d be most worried about, but this isn’t my field) and a physical to show that you are physically able to shoot. I’d then have a secondary training program to ensure people were knowledgeable about guns, could shoot accurately and knew how to store guns safely in the home to prevent accidental deaths and minimise the dangers of people casually stealing the guns. Once someone has gone through that they should be allowed whatever they want. If you are a competent gun owner then you should be allowed a concealed carry permit. Business owners should be allowed to deny entry to people with guns should they so choose.

    That’s my proposal for the US where guns are prevalent. I have no idea if that is a good suggestion for other countries where guns are rare. And I don’t want to make it my general principle as I still haven’t worked that out yet, but it is my pragmatic suggestion for the US.

  38. keddow – so I am “crazy” and so on.

    But later in your post – you come out AGAINST Chicago and Mexico style rules.

    So you must be “crazy” also.

    Have a nice day.

  39. No, my friend, I said if you think the Chicago rules are “extreme” you’re crazy. I didn’t say I was for them or that they were not disproportionate or ineffectual or counter-productive.

  40. Well you did warn me that you were a “pedant” (your word).

    However, if you are claiming that the (unlawful) rules and practices of the Chicago Machine (which keep honest people disarmed – so they can be slaughtered by the gngs) are not “extreme” then I do not agree with you.

    Are we at least agreed that Mexico is “extreme”?

    “Of course you can exercise your Constitutional Right (the 1917 Consitution) to defend your home with firearms – here is the one legal gun shop in all of Mexico, it is in a miliaty base in Mexico City, just go past the armed guards (who may arrest you and throw you in prison for…. – well for any nonreason they feel like) and fill in all these forms…..”

    Sounds rather extreme to me.

    No wonder that towns (that exist on both sides of the border and are about equally hispanic on both sides of town) have a murder rate some ten times higher on the noble Mexican Gun Control side, than on the evil Texan right to keep and bear arms side of town.

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