Why the Right is Right

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I love Greg Gutfeld.

Very sharp quick mind and he is a savagely creative sarcastic prick in an argument.

I even check in once in a while with The Five to watch 5 or 10 minutes of great repartee by him.

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Prager University has grown into quite a phenomenon. It's presently the largest producer of Conservative media on Youtube. It's a brilliant cutting edge way to teach millions of people about American values. Their motto is:

"We teach what isn't taught."

Their videos are the antidote to the poison of government education.


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Here is an interesting twist on the right to bear arms, that appeared on Kirez Korgan’s Atlantis. I am not sure if I have shared the thread on OL previously. Closed up tor brevity and some misspellings fixed. Peter

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: from knives to guns to bombs Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 19:28:01 -0600

Barbara Branden wrote: "Dennis, I find myself slightly appalled by your post on the right of individuals to own weapons of mass destruction. Appalled, but, as of now, although I need to think about it further, unable to argue against you. Your arguments make sense to me, particularly your statement: <<The question becomes who do you trust more, the individual or the state.>>"

Many thousands of individuals in the United States already own weapons of mass destruction or their components but are largely unaware of that fact. What people associate with the term "weapon of mass destruction" are things which compose only a very small percentage of things which can function as weapons of mass destruction.  Many accidents in history involved weapons of mass destruction which we can recognize as such in hindsight.  Spreading small pox and various diseases, large industrial accidents (I once guarded an exploded grain elevator complex while in college), and of course everyone's favorite: fires.

My point is that the potential exists everywhere if you are clever enough to recognize it.  Do we eliminate unrealized potentials and those who recognize them?  A one horse town machine shop with half a dozen employees can turn out a few hundred low quality sub-machine guns a day starting from basic raw materials.  Do we shut down all machine shops and those who have the high school level of mechanical skills to make machineguns.  Crude grenades are 400+ year old technology but I can't own one, of course making one is easier than programming a VCR.

Barbara Branden wrote: "One of the things that disturbs me is that today, it appears that most of the individuals -- specifically terrorists -- who own or want such weapons do intend to use them against innocent people. Another is the possibility of accidents if weapons of mass destruction were in the hands even of well-meaning people who may simply not know enough to keep their weapons from causing massive destruction; I would be extremely nervous if my neighbor had an atom bomb in his garage. Please address such issues. They do not necessarily negate the point of your post, but they are troublesome."

Lining up people along a ditch and shooting them killed more people than atomic bombs in WWII. More people were killed with machetes in one week in Africa (a couple years ago) than all the Americans who killed in the American Revolution, The War Between the States, Korea, and Vietnam put together.  Natural preventable diseases kill more people every year than all those ever killed by chemical and biological warfare agents.  Banning DDT has killed more people through malaria than WWII did.  The list of comparisons go on and on but in general the proof comes from observing history. Statists and their policies kill people en masse. Clever individuals have always had the ability to release weapons of mass destruction but little has come of it.  It will be the clever individual who can target weapons to take the head of the serpent without large civilian casualties. Every tyranny you destroy today saves millions in the long run.

With objective law and property rights those who are wealthy enough to produce atomic weapons have a financial vested interest to store them carefully and in areas to minimize their financial exposure.  If I had my own little shop making experimental nukes I wouldn't locate it near a population center full well knowing the legal exposure an accident would involve.  I would instead locate it in a remote area and use security and safety precautions necessary to the task as you would in any industrial setting.  I do not know for a fact but highly suspect that all major cities are swept for nuclear devices on a regular basis in any case.  It has been variously reported that the Soviets had/have approximately 100 nuclear weapons stored on American soil in remote areas of the country.  I'm sure they realized the ease of discovery if stored in urban areas.Remember the TV program "Prey" where a new species starts to replace human beings? The new species dug up disease victims from 100 years ago to use the disease as a modern biological weapon.  Just another one of those thousands of "weapons of mass destruction" out there anyone, including rogue states, can use.

I worry more about rogue cops than I do burglars.  I worry more about sleepy drivers, teenagers, and old people on the road than I do drunk drivers.  I worry more about Bill and Hillary Clinton than I do Saddam Hussein. It depends on weighing the percentages.

I consider John McCain to be one of the most dangerous men in the world.  Not because of his intellect, his access to weapons, his connections, his intent, or his skills in any area.  He is dangerous because he is like a drunk scaring the cow who kicks over a lantern and starts the Chicago fire.  He and people like him need to be recognized as the great danger they represent.  I would feel much safer with a nuke in my basement than John McCain getting his way on much of anything.

To those who want to find a way to rationally debate those who are anti-gun or wish to have some kind of rational gun control I find such talk laughable from a military point of view. I consider Peikoff's position I heard on tapes of his radio show to be entirely consistent with a fascist state's fondest wishes. We are already effectively disarmed and you want to give up more?  The vast unwashed public is so clueless about how defenseless we are that a few more kids pushed over the edge by the piss poor educational system in our nation may convince people to elect the next Hitler who will make things all better. Dennis May

From: "J. Gregory Wharton" To: atlantis Subject: RE: ATL: from knives to guns to bombs to WoMD Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 07:30:30 -0800. You know, just when I'm about to go and unsubscribe ATL again, somebody comes up with another interesting topic.

To wit, Joe Duarte wrote: >1. The human right to defend oneself is absolute, eternal, and essential to our survival. No other rights can exist if we cannot defend ourselves against force and predation. We can't speak freely, practice a religion (like we would want to anyway!), or hold property without a clear license to answer initiatory force with defensive force.

No argument.  This is very nearly tautological, and is essential to the objectivist ethics.

 > 2. In a free society we defer the use of defensive force to the government, placing it under objective control, employing the due process of objective law to mete it.

More precisely, members of a rights-protecting society delegate some (not all, and not exclusively) of their prerogatives of the use of defensive force to an organization which (at least nominally) is supposed to ensure justice and look out for everyone's rights.  Typically, we call such organizations "governments," but there are those here who might quibble with that, so I prefer to be more generally definitive.

 >3. Because emergency situations can arise, wherein our lives or property may be in jeopardy, we retain the right of _immediate_ self-defense. This means defending oneself from predation as that predation is ocurring, not after the fact (vigilantism).

Certainly.  One important part of the delegation of the use of defensive force is that, should the government fail for some reason or be unable to act immediately to defend you, you still retain your full right to defend yourself and can exercise that right at will (given a certain set of circumstances).  It's YOUR right, not the government's.  They can act on your behalf, but that does not prejudice your right to act on your own behalf.  If someone attacks you, you are well within your rights to defend yourself with force in kind.

 >4. So we have, by default, the right to own any and all arms that can reasonably be used for self-defense in the context of our time. The principle is constant - the technological details may change.

The ownership is derivative of the right to USE whatever means you choose to defend yourself, so long as the means are appropriate to the situation.  In order to employ those means, it is often necessary that they be owned by you, or at least in your current possession, though this again is not necessarily the case.

Basically, I think we can establish that in any case where you could be construed to have the right to use some sort of force to defend yourself, then you can by extension be construed to have the right to own/possess the means to exercise that force.  This is an important, and general principle.

> 5. Rocket launchers, grenades, nuclear bombs cannot be reasonably used for self-defense in the context of our time. This context is informed by the nature of the crimes we can expect to face.

I disagree strongly here, and part of our dispute relates to a matter of simple strategy and practical effectiveness.  As I've mentioned before, power is simply the ability to get others to follow your will.  In the case of defending oneself against the initiation of force, the best defense is to neutralize a threat before it has even fully manifested itself.

Obviously it is not legitimate to initiate force yourself on the premise that you are "neutralizing" a potential threat which might manifest in the future.  Rather, what I mean by this is two-fold:

1. Deterrence: "Peace through strength," is more than just the motto of a certain branch of the US government.  It is a truism of strategy.  The individual who is strong and manifestly able to use that strength to defend himself, deters transgressions against him pre-emptively but peacefully.

2. Simultaneous Counterattack (or, the Stop Hit):  In martial arts, a high level of awareness and skill in fighting technique often results in an ability to execute a counterattack at nearly the exact instant an opponent begins an attack.  In the two particular arts I study, western-style fencing and Kendo, it can often be very difficult to tell which of two combatants initiated an attack and which counterattacked.  The instant a combatant begins to execute an attack, the opponent will often have already begun the counterattack.  This sometimes gives the impression that the counter attacker is actually the attacker--unless you know what to look for.

In the case of deterrence, the existence of an ability and/or great strength is enough to deter the initiator from attacking in the first place.  In the case of the Simultaneous Counterattack, a high level of alertness allows the defender to respond as soon as the first attacking action begins.

Note that neither of these two cases involves a pre-emptive use of force, which would in itself be an initiation, and thus immoral.  Rather, through deterrence, we pre-emptively suppress the initiation of force by simple ~possession~ of the ability to defend ourselves well.  We do not need to ~use~ this ability pre-emptively, we merely need to ~possess~ it and make sure potential bad guys ~know~ we possess it.

Through a high level of alertness and skill in counterattack, we are able to respond instantly and overwhelmingly to an initiation as soon as it is initiated.  With proper alertness and response speed, the counterattack should simultaneously coincide with the attack itself.  Even though to the untrained observer, it might appear that the counterattack was pre-emptive, and not responsive, the Simultaneous Counterattack is triggered by definite action toward the initiation of force, not a mere potential.  This is an important distinction, allows us to morally defend ourselves with swift and overwhelming counterstrikes when we are threatened. Where does this leave us with respect to military weapons and weapons of mass destruction (WoMD--which, despite arguments to the contrary, are not actually military weapons, but strategic ones: for instance, nukes have practically no military value, but lots of strategic value)?

We'll start with the tough one: WoMD. Because of their enormous deterrence value, WoMD have defense value for individuals versus massive, organized opposition.  If an individual is in possession of a 1-kiloton tactical nuke (a device which could easily fit inside a briefcase), then that individual has the ~ability~ to do significant damage to lots of people and lots of property.  Public possession of such an ability would be a significant deterrent to initiation of force by large, well-armed, well-organized groups who might seek to initiate force against that individual.  Indeed, even whole societies and governments would be required by prudence to treat such individuals with a great deal of deference and respect, and also to watch them like hawks, because:

A person in possession of a WoMD who shows any action toward using that weapon in an initiation of force is a tremendous danger to large numbers of individuals (to say the least).  The defensive posture against such persons must be one of hyper-alertness--unwavering and total vigilance--so that a counterattack can be swift, neutralizing and devastating as soon as the smallest initiative action is taken with such a weapon.


o, I think there is a legitimate basis for arguing that individuals have the right to possess weapons of mass destruction (although I still see some avenues of attack for arguing against this position).  At the same time, any person who possesses such a weapon would become the target of such complete and intrusive monitoring by any person who would potentially be threatened by that WoMD (which would be a whole lot of people), and would be subject to overwhelming counterattack at the smallest initiative action associated with that WoMD, that the cost of ownership would far outweigh the benefit for all but a select few--typically governments and other powerful organizations with broad strategic interests.

[Note also, as an extension of this line of reasoning that possession of WoMD in secret (i.e. not as public knowledge) diminishes the usefulness of such devices in inverse proportion to the number of people who know about them.  Since one of the main reasons for possessing WoMD for defensive purposes is large-scale deterrence, secrecy could be construed under many circumstances to be initiative.]

Taking this down a notch, the same argument applies, in lesser degree to the more destructive sorts of military hardware.  Possession of a fuel-air bomb (a "conventional nuke," as it were) would have many of the same advantages and drawbacks as possession of chemical weapons and/or an actual nuke.

Possession of a battle tank would have a certain, still large but more limited, deterrence value.  A tank would also give its possessor certain defensive advantages against certain sorts of well-armed aggressors. A fully automatic firearm similarly imparts deterrence power and strong defensive ability within a certain context. And so on, down the line to kitchen knives, chopsticks and your bare hands.

Note that this reasoning also applies upward to weapons of power beyond any of our technology's current capacities.  A planet-busting bomb or a high-output continuous-beam X-ray laser would be weapons capable of far more destructive power than mere nukes or nerve gas.  Yet, under certain circumstances, individual possession of such weapons for defensive reasons could easily be justified, remembering that the drawbacks would be proportionally great.

 > 6. As the above-mentioned weapons have specific purposes not congruent with personal self-defense, but congruent with war, mass killings, and terrorism, personal ownership of them can be justly barred in a free society. Call this the principle of pre-emptive retaliatory force. A similar application of this principle would be laws against drunk driving (but not arbitrarily low blood-alcohol regs) wherein a drunk person drives on the roadways and threatens to kill or maim others. He hasn't actually struck anyone _yet_, but the nature of his drunken driving poses a clear danger and he should be forcibly removed from the road and charged with reckless endangerment. Another, macro, example would be a nation like Israel launching a pre-emptive strike against the Arab powers when they observed that an invasion was imminent (The Six-Day War).

Joe appears to be making a distinction here between individuals defending themselves with small-scale weapons versus large-scale weapons (i.e. a distinction by degree).  He then makes an explicit call for the sanctioned initiation of force against any person possessing such large-scale weapons on the mere fact of possession (taking possession itself to be an initiation of force in some manner).

First, this distinction he is drawing is arbitrary.  There is no "bright line" between these various weapons.  Four hundred years ago, a semi-automatic handgun with a high-capacity magazine would have been considered a weapon of mass destruction.  Now such things are considered basic personal-defense weapons by a great many people.  Where does the line get drawn, logically?  I think any line we try to draw as a matter of degree in this issue is going to be fundamentally arbitrary.

Even if we leave out the substantial grey area and focus on the well-defined cases (say, kitchen knives versus nukes), Joe's argument still provides no justification for his positions.  Joe states categorically that he thinks nukes cannot possibly be considered defensive weapons because of their capacity for mass killing (i.e. their great destructive power).  My argument above and the history of the cold war suggest otherwise.  If WoMD can be used defensively and legitimately by governments (which they can and have), then by extension they can also be used the same way by individuals. Governments do not have any rights or powers which do not ultimately derive from individuals.  Also, Dennis May's points on the wide availability of WoMD are well-taken and relevant here.

We arrest a drunk driver not because he ~might~ initiate force, but because he already ~has~.  Operating a dangerous weapon (in this case a car) with greatly diminished faculties of reason and self-control is an act of preliminary initiation of force.  We are well within our rights to proportionately defend ourselves against such actions.  Likewise, if someone pulls a gun and starts waving it around in a crowd, this too is a preliminary act of initiation of force--an overt threat--and we can respond legitimately with defensive force.

These are fundamentally dis-analogous to simple weapon ownership.  Owning a nuclear weapon, even carrying it around on your person, cannot in itself be construed to be an initiation of force, and we therefore cannot legitimately use force against that person for that simple fact alone.  We can, however, watch them very closely and use defensive force the instant they make an initiative move. And, as for wars between nations, that is subject for another discussion, and is probably outside the scope of this missive.  As it stands, I've made my views clear on that score previously. ciao, ~g

From: "Dennis May" <determinism To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: from knives to guns to bombs Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 20:23:52 -0600

Julio Inatia wrote: <Should the right to bear arms as put forth by the founding fathers be disregarded because the government escalates arms technology? Does technology negate rights? What principle has changed?

Julio hits it right on the head. Most of my military career was spent designing weapons.  I have also designed several small arms both before and after my military years.  My grandfather, his brother, and one of his cousins were also gun designers.

The right of people to defend themselves defines freedom.  The United States is not a free country by any stretch of the imagination.  We are continually fooled by parasites into giving up rights and transferring more control of our daily lives to those who tax us by force.

The second amendment is clear to those who can still think.  It was drafted in order to keep the individual on an even footing with those who would enslave the individual.  The state of the art in military terms during the time the constitution was written could be purchased by any free man.  This included ships, cannon, rockets, guns, powder, ball, burning tars, wagons, horses, etc. By the time of the civil war repeating rifles, Gatling guns, artillery, and repeating handguns were available.  Any free man could still buy these. WWI brought aircraft, advanced machineguns, chemical warfare, tanks, submarines, high speed land transport, hand held rockets, well made grenades, and a host of other innovations.

It would be safe to say that sometime after the dust settled following WWI the individual or any group of individuals were no longer on an even footing with the state.  It now required great wealth to compete with the military prowess of the state and more and more regulations came into effect in the English speaking western nations preventing the ownership of weapons of one kind or another.  Great Britain has not been a free nation for a very long time.  Australia and Canada are also very poor cousins of freedom. Kill a burglar in Great Britain and you will be charged with murder.  Crime is out of sight in Australia.

The retards running the NRA don't understand what the GOA (Gun Owners of America) have always known: you can't compromise on freedom. The most basic infantryman in any modern military operation has access to machineguns, grenades, grenade launchers, night vision scopes, advanced communication equipment, armor piercing bullets, incendiary devices, and a whole host of other devices depending on his specialty.  If the average man in the United States cannot purchase the arms used by the average infantryman, freedom is forfeit.  Local police can buy machineguns but I can't (I'm not grandfather-claused in as some gun owners are).  Local police, state patrols, SWAT teams, a host of federal agencies, and the military are all allowed to own things the individual is not allowed to own.

Over a million crimes are prevented every year in the United States by private gun ownership.  More children are injured and die playing football than those injured or killed with guns in schools.  The enemies of freedom use their dupes in the Democratic Party controlled mass media to feed crap into the minds of the gullible.

Now consider the future: There are many firearms in the United States right now but the vast majority are useless against military weapons.  Many cities and the entire state of California have gone to war against the individual and are confiscating guns and sending people to prison by the droves.  The Midwest, Northwest, and South plus one or two small states in the Northeast are the only places Second Amendment rights are not being lost at an alarming rate. I would expect the next Democratic president to press for full gun confiscation. As the only large semi-free nation in the world there will be no one to come save us when the parasites have complete control.  Make no mistake those who would disarm us are Fascists no better than the worst of Hitler's crew.  They need to be treated as such.

In the future you can expect the arms race to continue.  The individual will always be outgunned by a modern military state.  The freedom of the individual can only be guaranteed when many individuals banding together have the ability to seriously resist the aggression of statist parasites.

What do I support in the future: In a state of freedom I see no problem with the individual ownership of most all common military items.  Weapons of mass destruction (as poorly defined as that is) can be easily made by individuals with a little know how.  The question becomes who do you trust more, the individual or the state.  Collectivist states have killed hundreds of millions of people and crippled the lives of billions.  If the next Democratic president decides to declare martial law who will the lovers of freedom turn to except those "outlaws" who saw the danger and stockpiled forbidden weapons or have the know-how to make them when needed.  I can assure you that you will not fight a modern fascist state and win unless you are willing to use weapons of mass destruction, the larger the weapon the better. Anyone who thinks grandpa with his trusty ole shotgun and dad with his hunting rifle are going to put up a realistic fight against fascists in the street are living about 6-7 wars ago.

In the more distant future: When man moves into space an H-bomb becomes an industrial tool and a pop gun compared to the types of energy and scale of things which can be used as weapons.  If we can't even get legal sub-machineguns to combat corrupt police and fascist federal agents can you imagine industrial operations in space and the red tape needed to use common industrial use H-Bombs.  You can just forget man's bright future in any setting if we can't protect the obvious requirements of freedom needed today. If your stupid, like the NRA, you will draw a line in the sand and say we will compromise no further. Of course they compromise again and continue dealing with those who keep moving the line in the sand.  Compromising with fascists is a loss every time.

Fear not weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a free people, fear the state which takes freedom from people.  The state has always been and continues to be the dispenser of mass death and destruction. If you had a fraction of your stolen tax money you could purchase freedom insurance in the form of a quality machine gun or two, a few grenades, a couple anti-tank weapons, a few mines, an anti-aircraft missile, and perhaps an armored RV to protect against those particularly nasty federal agents who can't seem to read the Constitution (beyond their grade level of comprehension apparently). When the populace cannot resist tyranny it is guaranteed to arrive. Dennis May

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" > Subject: ATL: Re: from knives to guns to bombs Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 12:01:45 -0600

Dennis May wrote: "In a state of freedom I see no problem with the individual ownership of most all common military items.  Weapons of mass destruction (as poorly defined as that is) can be easily made by individuals with a little know how.  The question becomes who do you trust more, the individual or the state.  Collectivist states have killed hundreds of millions of people and crippled the lives of billions.  If the next Democratic president decides to declare martial law who will the lovers of freedom turn to except those "outlaws" who saw the danger and stockpiled forbidden weapons or have the know-how to make them when needed.  I can assure you that you will not fight a modern fascist state and win unless you are willing to use weapons of mass destruction, the larger the weapon the better. Anyone who thinks grandpa with his trusty ole shotgun and dad with his hunting rifle are going to put up a realistic fight against fascists in the street are living about 6-7 wars ago."

I am largely in agreement with Dennis on this, and I applaud his excellent post. Every government in this history of humankind has engaged in the systematic violation of human rights, whereas in the case of individuals this is true only of a relatively small minority. To therefore assert that we are somehow safer if "weapons of mass destruction" (which, as Peter points out, is an ambiguous label) should be available to governments but not to individuals has everything backwards. If the prohibition of such weapons to individuals seems plausible, this is largely because they are rarely used by governments against their own peoples. (This is not always true, of course, as we saw in the case of Iraq, but their indiscriminate killing power makes this highly problematic, and it tends to destroy the "legitimacy" which even the most ruthless dictatorships must rely upon to some extent.) Thus, since we assume that the American government would never use such weapons against Americans, we tend to feel safe. But any use of use of these weapons against another country would result in the deaths of untold numbers of innocent people, and I for don't happen to believe I possess any more natural rights than other people just because I happen to live in this country.

There raises some serious ethical problems. For example, to what extent and under what circumstances can we knowingly cause the death of many innocent people in the name of self-defense, such as by using nuclear weapons against an aggressive government which we know will wipe out millions of people who are not responsible for the aggression in question? This is where I might take issue with Dennis's argument – for how could an oppressed citizenry use weapons of mass destruction against their native tyrants without also killing many innocents in the process? I don't think we should adopt the methods of tyranny in the name of opposing tyranny. Granted, this moral constraint may put us at a tactical disadvantage, but no one ever said defending freedom would be easy. The defense of a free society will ultimately succeed or fail in the realm of ideas and values. In any case, it is one thing to defend a right and quite another thing to defend the exercise of that right. It is quite possible for an action to be at once just and immoral. Ghs

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Who can be reasoned with? (was guns and knives) Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 17:54:47 -0600

Dave Thomas wrote: <I'll explain a bit of my position here: I don't want some crackpot conspiracy theorist who believes that the government is evil to own nuclear weapons because a crackpot like that is just the kind of person who might go ahead and use nuclear weapons even if he/she has to kill millions of people in the process.  There are a lot of doomsday people out there right now who would prefer an all-out revolution.... I don't want those people deciding for me.

You don't want people deciding things for you, but you’re perfectly willing to decide things for other people.  You have decided that governments can be trusted to control certain weapons but individuals cannot. You identify a particular type of individual who might misuse weapons if they are allowed to own them.  Can we now discuss particular kinds of governments which might misuse weapons if they are allowed to own them? But of course if the populace is already disarmed the discussion is pointless, the government will continue to control the weapons in any case.  What is the average lifetime of governments which support freedom? A difficult question to answer since they are a modern phenomenon with a few lessons from the Greeks as well.  In my view after about 3-4 generations free nations begin to sour from a lack of understanding of how they became free.  The less feedback there is maintaining freedom the quicker the slip back to collectivism occurs.  I don't trust governments to maintain an acceptable amount of freedom without a populace which is able to reclaim their freedom once threatened.  Without an ability to respond in kind simple feedback will always drive governments to collectivist policies.  These policies have in fact killed hundreds of millions of people.  It is not a hypothetical situation, it is a fact which has repeated itself time and time again.  All of these governments had one thing in common: a disarmed population unable to resist the boot of government.

Dave is right some people are irresponsible and bear close watching.  I consider it a fact only waiting to happen: if our government disarms the populace tens or hundreds of millions of Americans will die as they always do when collectivists rule without hindrance.


onsider the problem from another angle. Who is allowed to develop the future of energy in this nation?  In the case of nuclear energy it is the government alone. Not only the government but a very small portion of the government which does not even allow qualified people from other parts of the government to participate. You’re not talking only about weapons staying out of the hands of crackpots, you are talking about stifling every Edison who comes along in this and nearly every area of human endeavor.  What government controls, government destroys. We started out arguing whether or not individuals should be allowed to own 3 pounds of metal in the form of a gun.  We use about a quarter million pounds of metal a year where I work and it is a fairly small operation. In my last post I discussed the specific weapon of mass destruction "nuclear bombs".  The problem is you can't discuss the bomb aspect without discussing all aspects of things nuclear.  The umbrella of state security encompasses all things nuclear.  That is where we threw out the baby with the bath water.

Unless you spent many hours in the physics library in the late 80's and early 90's you probably didn't hear that that the energy "crisis" has already been solved for all times.  You likely didn't hear about it because the government interests and individual interests are not one in the same.  Edward Teller and company developed the framework for hybrid fission/fusion reactors.  Breeder reactors are already capable of providing clean nuclear energy for the foreseeable future but the fission/fusion hybrid reactor allows for a trillion years-worth of electricity using materials common and native to Earth.


asically you have a fission core, the products coming out are used to generate fusion reactions, which in turn creates products used to generate more fissionable material. You can tune the net reaction to be nearly the same as a pure fusion reactor.  The benefits include: tuning the process to produce whatever useful byproducts you want, no unknown or yet to be realized physics is involved, no exotic processes requiring new materials sciences, and the ability to burn up left-overs from previous nuclear power plants.

Let’s not forget nuclear rockets as well.  Nuclear rockets have been tested and they work.  Nixon cancelled all further research and here we are thirty some years later talking about a trip to Mars taking years.  It doesn't take but a month to go to Pluto much less Mars. The secondary consequences of keeping everyone safe from every imaginable bad outcome has kept us from technology worth more than all the oil in the Middle East and more useful than everything done in the space programs since man walked on the moon.  Governments do not have the brains to accomplish what comes naturally to individuals.  Cut the shackles off and the universe is ours.  Leave the shackles on and man will die a miserable little death on a planet representing a mere dust speck of what can be accomplished.  A natural progression for those wishing to keep that 3 pounds of metal out of individual hands so everyone can feel safe.  Ideas have consequences. Dennis May


From: Victor Levis To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Getting somewhere:  (Emotional truths - can't let stand either) Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 07:22:20 -0500

At 07:02 PM 3/16/2001 -0800, Mary-Ann A. wrote:  >[Victor] said: Geez, Mary Ann, how come it is violating your *absolute* right to self-defense if a government agent disarms you, but legitimate self-defense (in some circumstances) when you personally disarm somebody else??  How come HIS rights aren't as absolute as yours? You are completely dropping the context here.  I never alluded that I would use my gun to get someone else to put down theirs as a blanket, context-less proposition.  We were discussing the *specific* situation of imminent threat to my person by an individual I could identify by dint of his aggression toward me.  The principle here is, ~of course~ -first grade- that:  An individual who initiates force *forfeits* his rights, INCLUDING his Right to Life;  I am equally constrained from initiating force, but I can respond to it.


Well, then, perhaps your position is not that far from mine, after all.  I have NEVER actively advocated gun control; all I was doing was trying to understand what makes the average Joe who is not part of the NWO conspiracy accept it. I identified the root concern:  that innocent people might be badly harmed.

No individual has the right to get totally disarm others in a 'blanket' way as you put it. I agree. In fact, one of the reasons we believe that is that WE fear harm to innocent persons.  We have a possible BOND that is shared with some gun control supporters.  Remember, if we look at the types of situations where it IS (or can be) moral for an individual to disarm another, then we have simultaneously identified the types of situations where a GROUP of individuals (i.e. a government) might morally disarm others, or control some aspect(s) of their use of weapons.

This thread started with discussion of grenades and atomic bombs.  More than one person here felt that one could NOT claim a blanket right to wield atomic weapons, and that their use should indeed be controlled.  Others pointed out that convicted violent felons may be disarmed temporarily or permanently.  Others have agreed that an untrained, incompetent person need not be trusted completely in public with a dangerous weapon. To sum up, I agree with you, Mary Ann, that context is crucial.  Looking at context honestly and uncritically may allow for a meaningful dialogue with Joe Q. Public, who is not prepared to respect the rights of anyone and everyone to wield any and every weapon WITHOUT examining the context. In this light, many of the egregious forms of gun control are revealed as violations of individual rights, and we could get a lot more support for resisting them, or repealing them where they exist.   I think we can agree that if we wish to fight gun control, we need not marry our position completely to one of support for unlimited personal possession of nuclear weapons.  I'm just suggesting that we can go a bit further in taking into account the reasoning of our fellow citizens who, just like us, fear farm being done to innocent people.

 >You ended your post in a gentlemanly way -- I noticed and appreciated it.

I am pleased to see a mutual improvement in the tone of our discussion. Victor Levis

From: "J. Gregory Wharton" To: <atlantis Subject: ATL: RE: Additional on Nukes Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 08:08:52 -0800

Dennis, another very interesting post. At the moment, I'm preparing to serve up another volley, this time about retaliatory force vs. defensive force, but I wanted to make a few more comments about some items that Dennis brought up.

Dennis May wrote:  > Unless you spent many hours in the physics library in the late 80's and early 90's you probably didn't hear that that the energy "crisis" has already been solved for all times.  You likely didn't hear about it because the government interests and individual interests are not one in the same.  Edward Teller and company developed the framework for hybrid fission/fusion reactors.  Breeder reactors are already capable of providing clean nuclear energy for the foreseeable future but the fission/fusion hybrid reactor allows for a trillion years-worth of electricity using materials common and native to Earth.

The Fast Flux Test Facility at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was being developed as a next-generation breeder reactor when it was shut down as part of the Hanford "clean-up."  The only research which now takes place at the Reservation is related to waste disposal.  This, in itself, can be very interesting, but it's a shame that the promising power generation projects out there have all been canceled.

Fission-fusion reactors are very, very efficient producers of power, and are much, much cleaner than standard fission reactors.  They also happen to be a great deal safer.  Also, you may have heard that WA State's governor, Gary Locke ("Mini-Al"), is in the other Washington right now bitching about Californians' taking all of our power to ease their shortage without A) paying for it, and, B) giving any assurances that they will live up to their end of the agreement and provide us with power this summer.

Most (like 85%) power production in WA State is now hydroelectric.  When we have droughts (which we are right now) we can expect to have a power shortage when summer comes unless we begin conserving and/or increasing capacity.  Of course, the environmentalists are also busy breaching the dams to make way for the salmon, but that's a separate issue... ;-) Yet, back in the 1980’s the state of Washington built a huge number nuclear power facilities.  These reactors were commissioned and immediately mothballed on the same day.  This resulted in a tremendous political boondoggle (called "WPPSS"--as in "whoops!"--to commemorate the quasi-public entity that built the reactors using financing obtained in the bond market. The bond investors were left with nothing except a piece of paper and a bad headache.)  To this day, WA State has enough mothballed power production capacity to let every household on the west coast use as much power as they care to.  Does Gov. Locke suggest that we recommission the WPPSS plants? No.  Instead, he wants a bailout from the Feds.  Typical.

> Lets not forget nuclear rockets as well.  Nuclear rockets have been tested and they work.  Nixon cancelled all further research and here we are thirty some years later talking about a trip to Mars taking years.  It doesn't take but a month to go to Pluto much less Mars.

Nerva-K (nuclear fission) rockets showed a tremendous amount of promise before the program was scrapped.  I've seen the demonstration tapes where a Nerva-K rocket lifted off, and it's an awe-inspiring sight--totally unlike the sight of a chemical rocket in flight.

Of course, there are lots of other spaceflight technologies that were either never fully developed (like Orion--Old Bang Bang--perhaps the simplest alternate propulsion system yet developed) or actively suppressed.  Before this gets to sounding too much like an X-files episode, all I mean by "suppressed" is that government control of spaceflight technology (through NASA) has retarded progress in this area dramatically in two ways:

1) Diversion of resources to obsolete technologies

2) Criteria Setting to exclude outsiders (such as the "man-rating" system NASA uses)

As much as I am a Space Nut (TM), I loathe NASA and want to see them dissolved and privatized.

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Comfort Level Quiz (was Nukes...) Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 22:53:20 -0600

The socialists among us do not want the youth of this nation to become familiar with guns.  Familiarity breeds understanding and they want you to believe what they tell you, not what you have experienced yourself.  As every generation becomes more removed from familiarity with firearms the more likely it is that socialists will succeed in disarming America.  This same analysis applies to other defensive technology ranging from knowledge of aircraft, to explosives, and more.

I have been exposed to much more than your average member of Atlantis. Let’s see how much exposure you have to weapons and the comfort level you have as a result.  Remove the mystery by exposure.  Without mystery all that remains is a tool.  If you score a ten your most likely informed enough to have become comfortable.  If you score only a one or two you might be comfortable in theory but I doubt you really know for sure. If you score a zero go get the experience to become a one or two.

I don't expect many people to get a 10 on this scale. I had a 10 by age 23, my father had at least a 9 going. Many of my relatives used dynamite on their farms, and various other explosives in coal mines as a normal part of everyday life.  Machine guns were no big deal to them.  A stick of dynamite used to be 50 cents and you could purchase them at several places in the local area.  Now you need a permit from a sheriff and a law officer to watch if you can demonstrate a need to use one (permits are never in fact issued to anyone but construction companies).  50 cents and five minutes to blow out a stump can now be an all day job. Score one point for each yes.

1. Have you ever fired a handgun?

2. Do you own a handgun?

3. Do you know the difference between a semi-automatic and fully automatic weapon?

4. Have you ever been around or known people who own machineguns?

5. Have you known people who use high explosives as part of their jobs?

6. Have you seen high explosives used?

7. Have you seen common military weapons of mass destruction tested?

8. Have you yourself designed weapons of mass destruction?

9. Have you known people who design nuclear weapons or have tested them?

10. Do you or did you have relatives who worked on the Manhattan project or know people who dropped the A-bomb on Japan?

It is almost an alien world to me when I see people cringe at the thought of a handgun. My mother was afraid of guns, I understand those who fear them.  I do however take issue with them having anything to say about whether or not I am allowed to own weapons.  My mother had no say in the matter and neither should the nanny state. Dennis May

From: "James Koontz" To: atlantis Subject: Galt's Gulch Returns Fire (was Re: ATL: from knives to guns to bombs) Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 21:29:29

Joe Duarte: >2. In a free society we defer the use of defensive force to the government, placing it under objective control, employing the due process of objective law to mete it. 3. Because emergency situations can arise, wherein our lives or property may be in jeopardy, we retain the right of _immediate_ self-defense.... 4. So we have, by default, the right to own any and all arms that can reasonably be used for self-defense in the context of our time. The principle is constant - the technological details may change. 5. Rocket launchers, grenades, nuclear bombs cannot be reasonably used for self-defense in the context of our time.

To play devil's advocate for a moment-Isn't one of the key aspects of the right to bear arms the ability of American citizens to protect themselves against tyranny from our own government?

If President Bush were to declare martial law in the U.S. [and likely order the immediate extermination of all whim-worshiping volitionists, anyone who has ever uttered the words "Buridan's Ass," anyone who has ever debated the philosophical implications of "-1," and most importantly, anyone who ever- in any way, shape, or form- improperly used or omitted a smiley face in an e-mail message], would not rocket launchers, grenades, cruise missiles, and the like, be the only way the American people could fight back effectively?

This admittedly gets into an Objectivist PR problem. Take the example of Galt's Gulch. There were numerous real and potential illegal activities going on there. Their trade and production would have been subject to income taxes on the value of the bartered goods and/or gold exchanged. In today's regulatory environment, there would almost certainly be some zoning regulations and power distribution regulations violated as well.


Would it have been OK to set-up a fortified Galt's Gulch and shoot down the National Guard helicopters sent in to arrest its population for refusing to pay taxes? If full scale war were then waged on this Galt's Gulch by the U.S. government- would it be OK for Ragnar to launch a ballistic missile strike against Washington, D.C.?


That's one of the more unpleasant things we have to be able to answer if we are really consistent in our application of Objectivist principles. The hypothetical Galt's Gulch really occurs on an almost daily basis in places such as crack houses, employers using illegal immigrants, and the like. These places are not doing things Objectivists believe should be illegal (superficially, anyway), so should we say they can morally defend themselves against government tyranny by whatever means necessary?

Not advocating in any way (I'm about the most pacifistic male you'll ever meet), just taking our arguments to their logical, and distinctly uncomfortable, conclusions to spark debate. James Koontz

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: from knives to guns to bombs to WoMD Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 04:54:19 -0600

Joe Duarte wrote: <Me: I haven't been able to figure out how Wharton imagines individuals using nuclear weapons, tanks, fuel-air bombs, etc. in self-defense.  ...There is no crime or incident I can imagine in which a tank, nuclear bomb, or surface-to-air missile would save the day - ...No one in their right mind will want such a weapon for self-defense. Intent in all such cases can be construed as murderous, thus creating a conspiracy to commit murder, which must be met by pre-emptive retaliatory force. Nuclear weapons and the like are legitimate means of self-defense for nations, because of the nature of the threat and combat. Aggregate combat is not the same as individual combat.

The second amendment was not created to keep purse snatchers at bay.  It was created to deter foreign aggressors, provide a basis for the populace to resist government coercion, and allow an armed populace to be called up in times of a national or state crisis.  Being armed is not simply a mono-e-mono self defense issue between you and a burglar.  It is the fundamental issue separating freedom from tyranny.

Having been raised on the great plains of Nebraska where many people live ten miles or more from their nearest neighbor (who is likely 70-80 years old) I can assure you that having even an automatic rifle is like pissing in the wind when you can see for 40 miles in every direction with no cover of any kind. You are entirely defenseless against any kind of organized aggression by even a handful of would be purse snatchers.

<How do you define a "preliminary act of initiation of force"? Is it the same as conspiracy to commit? Is seems ownership or construction of a bomb is certainly a preliminary act.

Owning a bottle of Everclear is ok unless you have a rag and a lighter nearby?

<Now, keep in mind context again. I am assuming a free society. I am not saying that people have no right to procure heavy-duty firepower and take up arms against an oppressive regime. They do, although war is bad strategy against a democratically-established regime (use the system). In a tyranny, all bets are off.

In the most elementary level of understanding of modern warfare whoever is poorly armed at the beginning of the conflict has already lost. There will be no buildup of arms over a period of months or years.  WWII has been over for 56 years.  The idea that you can wait to arm yourself after tyranny has surfaced was obsolete even before WWII.

Read your Constitution we are NOT a democracy. Democracies always decay into tyrannies of the majority. The P.C. Police are just the beginning.

<I don't know where the line is drawn exactly. ...I know the line falls somewhere to either side of fully automatic firearms, probably inclusive of them.

The line used to include fully automatic weapons, grenades, cannons, and every other weapon in existence prior to WWI and most of them after WWI.  Do you have some insight as to why there was no problem until FDR said there was a problem. Could the tyranny FDR attempted to construct make him nervous that the peasants might rebel? My military instructors at Squadron Officers School made it very clear that FDR was in fact very close to being removed by a military coup prior to the onset of WWII.  The highest ranking military officers of this nation considered him to be a threat to the safety and security of this nation. No wonder he wanted to disarm the populace.

I wrote: >Let’s not forget nuclear rockets as well.  Nuclear rockets have been tested and they work.  Nixon cancelled all further research and here we are thirty some years later talking about a trip to Mars taking years.  It doesn't take but a month to go to Pluto much less Mars.

Dave Thomas wrote: <This is hard to believe.  Any suggestions for a way for someone to verify the veracity of this claim?  Just curious.

My source was the university course "The Philosophy of Space Exploration" as taught by Dr. John Kasher Professor of Physics University of Nebraska-Omaha. I had the course while a junior majoring in physics (1982 or 1983).

We explored the NASA design and used their numbers to show various flight times to various locations using the standard rocket equations.  A nuclear rocket starts from low Earth orbit and fires nearly continuously during the flight.  Liquid hydrogen is superheated by the fission file and ejected at much higher velocities than chemical rockets are capable of.  No big mystery involved.  It is a tradeoff between the high thrust/low efficiency of chemical rockets and the low thrust/high efficiency of Ion rockets.  The nuclear rocket is the best design yet for exploring the solar system in time spans reasonable for the inclusion of human passengers.  Luckily modern astronomical theory suggests the space between stars is littered with various dark stars, ice planets, comet bodies, and other material allowing travel between the stars to occur in stages rather than one sudden leap.

I'm not sure where to look for more information. The issue was cut and dried during the course. The head of the Space Shuttle program at the time Dr. Jesco Von Puttkommer (Spelling?) came and lectured to us a couple times during the course.  He was getting close to retirement and was clearly upset that more progress had not been made in single stage to orbit vehicles (Like the just now cancelled X-33) which are the obvious mate to the nuclear rocket program. Dennis May

P.S. - Set off the largest fuel air explosive ever devised in Cherry County Nebraska.  The neighbors will think it was lightning or you just trying to burn off some brush.  It would take thousands of them to defend against armored vehicles moving through the area.  Guess what the United Stated doesn't have enough aircraft or bombs to do the job. We have enough aircraft and spares to defend the United States for no more than a week of all out combat.  The lead time to procure new aircraft is a couple years after the war is over.  Uncle Sam has fallen down on the job.

From: Russell Madden To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Needing guns Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 09:22:08 -0600 To me, the whole discussion of whether any particular person "needs" a gun or not is tangential at best to the whole question. Indeed, many anti-self-defense people harp on that very issue: no one "needs" a 15-shot or 40-shot clip; no one "needs" a so-called "assault rifle" (the weapon they mean is, of course, _not_ an a.r.); no one "needs" X amount of ammo or Y amount of guns; etc. etc.

That is totally irrelevant in any _general_ discussion of the right to self-defense. That's strictly a personal decision that merely muddies the waters if brought into the debate.

Further, having a gun with you is often more an issue analogous to insurance. If one examined the _actual_ risk involved in, say, buying house/fire insurance, one might well say, gee, the risk is so minute that why bother? The risk is higher for car insurance, but many people go their entire lives and never get into an accident.

So, are these folks "wasting" their money on insurance they don't "need"? Of course not! The potential loss of having even tiny, random (or not so random) odds go against you would be devastating. Having insurance protects against that life-altering or -ending threat and also provides a certain peace of mind even if you never file a claim.

Similarly, one may never actually _need_ a gun in the sense of being actually confronted with a criminal face-to-face. But the potential loss of your life makes it worth the effort for many people. And many other people (such as myself) who don't carry a gun would if it were not illegal or practically so. You just never know when something bad might pop up and bite you on the *ss. As the old saying goes, far better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it. Russ Madden

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: McVeigh Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 18:12:44 -0500

Barbara Branden wrote: < is not the solution to a government run amok, although revolution might one day be the solution...

When will that time be, after the citizens are disarmed and a revolution cannot possibly succeed? Should the citizens wait until they are so poorly armed that the loss of innocent life becomes astronomical? A real revolution fought, once poorly armed, will certainly involve tens or hundreds of millions of Americans losing their lives as well as the direct and indirect loss of hundreds of millions or billions of innocent lives in other nations.

The cleanest war ever fought was the Gulf War.  It was fought with all the expensive toys brought to bear upon the easiest terrain ever fought from the air.  Many tens of thousands of innocent draftee Iraqi's lost their lives, hundreds of civilians were killed, yet the dictator was spared and remains in power to this day.  The kind of war Barbara wants has never existed and certainly cannot be fought by those who are disarmed.  A citizenry armed to the teeth with the highest tech weapons and plenty of cash might be able to discriminate who they are at war with but such a citizenry would not need to rebel in the first place, they would be free.

Unless Objectivists and Libertarians define how they intend to conduct their revolution if need be, all I hear is pipe dreams of how the innocent should never fall victim in a war.  The innocent are always the largest causalities in real wars.  The percentage of innocents dying increases as the level of sophistication of weapons declines.  The American people are nearly disarmed.  When we get to the level of single shot rifles, shotguns, and handguns only, the time of futility is at hand and hundreds of millions will die trying to stop tyranny.  Real fighting requires at minimum weapons already banned for new purchases.  One more generation and we will be entirely at the mercy of any thug in Washington. Dennis May

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One more thread on the right to bear arms. This one is shorter. It has some Rand quotes and an interesting group of respondents. Peter

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Gun question(s) Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 21:52:41 -0500

Andrew Taranto wrote: >- Kinds of guns and their suitability for different types of people.

Different people will prefer different types of guns so there is no perfect rule for what you should get. If you are going to get a handgun you should find out if you are someone who can handle a revolver versus a semi-automatic pistol.  If you are inexperienced with guns and will likely fire it a few times then leave it in a drawer for years I would recommend a revolver.  It is a no-brainer: point and pull trigger.  Loading is generally simple and five or six shots will take care of 99% of the situations you are likely to encounter.  For ultimate reliability and perfection of the art you might try a Glock 40 caliber [More expensive too].  It is a simple to use gun but you will need to practice and have someone show you how to clean it (do not use a heavy oil or it will have problems if ever fired when in cold weather).  My father was an expert marksman with .38 police revolvers.  The best handgun I've ever shot is a single action Ruger Blackhawk .44 magnum with at least a 5 1/2" barrel [use low loaded .44 special shells for less kick].  It is a heavy gun but with low loads you will hit whatever you point at.  It is a large intimidating gun for any would be prowler to look at.  The Ruger Redhawk is about the same thing in a double action revolver which more people would be comfortable with in a tense situation.  Both are available in stainless steel to reduce corrosion problems.

>- The best way to get a gun and learn how to shoot - Storage, maintenance, etc.

That depends entirely on where you live.  If you are in a large city it may not be possible to buy it or practice in the local area.  If you are not familiar with guns I would suggest buying the gun new, order it from a Wal-Mart or buy it at a local gun shop. Find someone who is familiar with the gun whether it is a friend or someone at a gun range and shoot the gun for at least half a box of shells.  Then either clean it yourself or have someone who knows how clean it for you.  Store in a dry area away from children or idiots.  There is no real maintenance unless you are going to shoot it a great deal. Clean it with Hoppes solvent after each use and reload, then store.  An unloaded gun is a club, nothing more.

>- Any other issues that I as a prospective gun owner should be aware of.

You will have to do paperwork to obtain a handgun legally and wait before you can get it.  In some places you cannot legally own one at all.

>Since my purpose is self-defense, it seems like the choice would be between a shotgun and a handgun. I think I'd prefer a handgun, partly because compactness would go well with my relatively small apartment, partly because I figure it would be less of an ordeal to fire, if it came to that.

If you get a shotgun get a 12 gauge pump or semi-automatic.  Again you may be legally limited on what you can buy depending on where you are.  Double Ott buckshot is the typical man-stopper load used.  Some shotguns are single shot, some 3 shot, some five or more. Be sure you think you are getting one which you feel you can handle in your apartment.

For the ladies:  if you don't feel you can handle one of these larger guns they do make .32 revolvers, .22 revolvers, .380 auto, and .25 auto pistols.  The price is generally indicative of the reliability.  In these smaller guns you should stay with name brand guns. [except Smith and Wesson, the traitors] Good names include: Ruger, Glock, Heckler & Koch, Browning, Remington, Colt, and H & R.  If you find a stainless Bauer .25 automatic made in Frazier Michigan buy it.  I used to own one and it was a fine little gun.  Berettas seem to do well in 9 mm but not so well in .25 caliber.

I used to know a great deal about guns but haven't kept up for a number of years. On the other hand the changes in the state of the art have little to do with what most people would be buying in any case.

You might also consider a .22 rifle with a large tube magazine or a .22 Ruger with a detachable magazine.  They aren't quite as reliable as some other guns but you won't miss and you can shoot a great many times rapidly without noticeable recoil.  The price is right too.  You are considerably less likely to end up the victim of the anti-gun police and legal system if you defended yourself with an $80 .22 tube magazine rifle than you are with any handgun or a shotgun using double ott buckshot.  You can defend yourself from further away with a .22 rifle than a handgun or shotgun.  If you buy a cheap .22 rifle with a tube magazine I would shoot it some to get used to it then sit it in the closet. A minimal barrel cleaning is good enough for it [not a prized possession to hand down to the grandkids]. Dennis May

From: "Peter Taylor" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Gun question(s) Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 15:31:18 +0000

Dennis May wrote: “If you are inexperienced with guns and will likely fire it a few times then leave it in a drawer for years I would recommend a revolver.  It is a no-brainer: point and pull trigger.” End quote

Great advice, Dennis. For those of you not familiar with the term “revolver” it is simply the pistol you see in Westerns, with a round chamber that spins, where the bullets fit. If, in the unlikely event that one bullet should misfire, you just pull the trigger again.

Dennis recommended for home defense within your house: “If you get a shotgun get a 12 gauge pump or semi-automatic.  For the ladies:  if you don't feel you can handle one of these larger guns they do make .32 revolvers, .22 revolvers, .380 auto, and .25 auto pistols.” End quote

I would suggest a small 410 single shot, shotgun loaded with birdshot to spread the “hit zone” and to keep rounds from going through walls and hitting other family members (as with double ought buck or pumpkin balls in a twelve gauge; you might even hit the neighbors in their houses.) The 410 shotgun has much less recoil and produces much less noise and can be handled by a woman with ease. The small semi-automatic 22 loaded with “short” rounds is an excellent choice, Dennis, for men or women. I have fired the old plastic Apache model 22 rifle and it was fantastic – round after round hitting a target, even when fired from the hip, with no noticeable recoil and very little noise compared to larger rounds. It just makes a cracking sound, not a boom. For a novice or woman, I would not worry so much about “stopping power.” Hitting the home-invader with one small round should be sufficient (to make them cry and run :O) and even the noise of firing will drive them off.  Of course for myself, I have a 9mm semi-automatic pistol because I will hit what I aim at and I want to stop what I hit. I have been firing pistols and rifles since I was about six years old. Live long and prosper, Peter Taylor

From: Matthew Gaylor To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Origins Of Objectivist Gun Control? Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 01:49:23 -0400 Does anyone know what are the Objectivist origins of gun control? I've read that Ayn Rand gave a taped interview in the Raymond Newman Journal on the topic of gun control where her response included this quote: "I have given it no thought at all and off-hand I would say no the government shouldn't control guns except in very marginal forms, I don't think its very important because I don't think it is in physical terms that the decisions and the fate of this country will be determined.  If this country falls altogether, if the government collapses bankrupt, your having a handgun in your pocket isn't going to save your life.  What you would need is ideas and other people who share those ideas and fighting towards a proper civilized government and not handguns for personal protection." Does anyone know if this quote is accurate?


ask in part due to never having received a very satisfactory answer on why governmental restrictions on firearms are moral.   I attended a talk given by Harry Binswanger in the mid 80s where I asked him about the gun issue during the Q&A.  His response included his opinion that semi-auto firearms should be banned as nobody had a legitimate use for such weapons.

Any information or background on the topic would be appreciated. Regards, Matt Gaylor-

From: "Dennis May" To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Re: Origins Of Objectivist Gun Control? Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 17:57:53 -0500

Matthew Gaylor wrote: >I've read that Ayn Rand gave a taped interview in the Raymond Newman Journal on the topic of gun control where her response included this quote: "I have given it no thought at all and ...

She should have stopped right there since she had given it no thought at all.

 >...I attended a talk given by Harry Binswanger in the mid 80s where I asked him about the gun issue during the Q&A.  His response included his opinion that semi-auto firearms should be banned as nobody had a legitimate use for such weapons.

Binswanger's opinion sounds much like Peikoff during his Radio show [on tape] discussing Militias.  It is clear to me that Peikoff's opinion is the result of Political Correctness saturation from living in the Anti-Gun states of New York and California. His statements betray a total ignorance of the history of gun ownership in relation to freedom. Not all Objectivists are as poorly informed as Rand, Binswanger, and Peikoff.  You might look at the archives of Atlantis where gun ownership was recently discussed.

I was so disgusted by Peikoff's flippant comments regarding guns that I quit buying his radio tapes. The Anti-Gun stance combined with other poor decision making by Peikoff and ARI lead me to join  Dennis May

From: "Jason Walker"  To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Knives Out Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 00:41:55 -0400

Everyone, I've just written a new article for publication.  If you're interested, here it is in all its pre-edited glory.  It's called "Knives Out" and concerns a freedom-based solution to the problem of airline security.  I'd enjoy and greatly appreciate feedback if you have any you'd like to share.  The published version should appear in about a week. Cheers, Jason

"Knives Out" Teaser - "Legalize knives on all flights, and see how far would-be hijackers would get in the face of an armed group of passengers."

In the wake of the 9/11 massacres, big-government politicians have revived all manner of proposals to solidify the security of the nation by giving more authority to the federal government, on the dubious basis that the surrender of liberty can provide security.  (See Ben Franklin's truism about people who would make such a Faustian bargain).  And given the terrorists' manner of attack, the one industry that will no doubt suffer the most from government intervention in the near future will be the airline industry. Already, proposals to federalize the security of the airlines are on the table, and some voices in Congress have even gone as far as to advocate nationalizing the entire industry, so that the airlines will be able to offer the same sense of security and peace of mind as other government-operated monopolies such as the postal service.  Only Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former Libertarian candidate for President, has offered a solution that would strengthen security by taking government out of the picture at least partially by allowing pilots to carry handguns.

The sense of this proposal is manifest, particularly in light of offers by the NRA and other groups to train pilots in the use of these weapons free of charge.  So while Paul's proposal deserves full support, I argue that we can do better.  Bluntly stated, we can save time, energy, resources, lives and preserve liberty if we allow all passengers to carry knives and swords on board all flights.

  Counter-intuitive?  You betcha.  Insane?  Perhaps, but only if you are of the mindset that civilians should not be trusted to defend themselves. Consider that the terrorists who struck on 9/11 succeeded in hijacking four planes, with passengers outnumbering them by more than 10:1 ratios, with little more than box cutters.  The passengers, pilots, and crew had no means of defending themselves.  Only the passengers of Flight 93 successfully overpowered the terrorists with their bare hands.  As heroic as these people were, consider how clumsy the struggle must have been against opponents armed with blades, and how despite their best efforts to wrest back control of the plane, they succeeded only in preventing the use of the plane as a missile.  They still all lost their own lives.  We can do better than this. Armed passengers is but one way.

  The proper question here is not, should the government allow passengers to carry knives, but rather, can the government be justified in preventing it? I am relying on some social contract theory here.  My basic premise is the most basic human liberty is the right of self-defense.  Even Thomas Hobbes, who believed in government-as-Leviathan incarnate, recognized that if the King's men were dispatched to execute you, you possessed the right to defend your own life.  This is a right that exists pre-social contract; no State may justly deprive it from you.

  In principle, therefore, the government must in all cases recognize not only your right to carry knives, but also your right to carry arms as well, unless you've been convicted of a crime.  But while the government may not prevent passengers from carrying guns, private airlines may, for practical considerations, restrict such weaponry based on the exercise of their property and liberty of contract rights.  (Advocates of federal take-over of the airlines take note: private airlines, because they are private, can exercise discretion over decisions like these.  A federalized airline would have no such right, any more than they would have rights to prohibit the exercise of free speech or conduct searches and seizures on your body or your personal effects without a warrant).


There are practical reasons why airlines might want to prohibit their passengers from carrying guns into the cabin.  For one thing, the pilots, air marshals and flight attendants should always be better armed than the passengers.  For another, consider the consequences if a gun is fired in the wrong direction, ricochets, or hits a window: decompression.  This would not be good.  Proper handling of a gun requires training in a way that knives do not.


The positive effects of allowing knives on board would be tremendous. Imagine how much in the way of resources and government funding would be saved if new schemes and technologies being developed to detect even the tiniest of box-cutters were not necessary.  Also consider the deterrence value.  Terrorists who wished to recreate the attack of 9/11 would have to think twice knowing that if even a fraction of passengers were armed, they would most likely be outnumbered.


By all means, I don't suggest this should be all that is done.  Air marshals (preferably hired privately by airliners rather than provided by the State) should be on every flight, pilots should be allowed to be armed (with the special guns they've developed for planes so as to reduce the risk of decompression), and flight attendants should be given stun guns, or if they request, guns and the requisite training.  But the strongest defense of all would be the deterrence value offered by armed passengers.  Even if a terrorist or other crook tries something stupid, they would not get far.

This solution offers the unique advantage, in that of all ideas that are on the table, allowing knives would provide the greatest degree of security, be the cheapest to implement, and best of all, would be by far the friendliest to our liberty by not involving the State and by restoring our basic right of self defense. -end

From: Ross Barlow To: objectivism Subject: Re: OWL: Objectivists and guns Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 20:37:36 -0400

Larry Sechrest has called attention to something that has been on my mind for quite a while, i.e., the apparent tolerance of some Objectivists for gun control and their widespread unfamiliarity with guns.  I agree with his explanations of this.  Ayn Rand's fictional heroes could be armed in self defense, but she seemed to be personally alienated from firearms.  I wonder if she ever fired a gun in her life.   Larry also notes that "many Objectivists have come from urban areas where they have had little or no exposure to a 'gun culture'."


Since the terrorist attack on American soil, many citizens are thinking for the first time about the unpredictability of modern life and about acquiring a gun for self defense.  Many of these people are unfamiliar with firearms.  They are hesitant and don't know where to start.

  I want to propose that Objectivists take up the exquisite sport of shooting.  (Consider it Assertiveness Training for Rational Minds, if you will.)  It is fun, it can be a family sport, and, when you become proficient at safely and naturally handling a firearm, your confidence in your ability to defend yourself rises incredibly.  Women quite often find, to their delight, that they are naturally talented with the handgun, frequently shooting better than the men.

  Even urban dwellers can usually find a place to safely and legally shoot.  Firing ranges are nearly everywhere.  You can get beginners' instruction and advanced self defense training at many places.  You may be surprised to find some very fine individuals at the ranges, rather than the proverbial "gun nut."  Quality control for safety and professionalism is great.

  I urge Objectivists to become gun owners and, in accordance with your state and local laws, to learn how to safely and competently handle the firearm.  Find out whether or not your locality allows you to get a concealed carry protection permit.  If possible, get the permit.  You may never elect to carry a gun, but, if you ever decide that you need to, you can do so without fear of breaking the law. See

  Above all, Objectivists must educate themselves on the historic American rights of keeping and bearing arms.  And, they must engage in the political battle to keep these rights from being eroded any further.  The private ownership of arms is a basic pillar of freedom.  One excellent historical review is Stephen P.  Halbrook's book, "That Every Man Be Armed:  the evolution of a constitutional right" (Independent Institute).  Halbrook leaves no doubt:  the Second Amendment's "well-regulated militia" is made up of private citizens, with privately owned arms, as the last line of defense protecting the public from abusive Government.  Radical, indeed.


Now is the time to seek to enlarge our sphere of rights.  If your state, county, or city is going through a political debate about whether or not to grant concealed carry permits to lawful citizens, please support this right.  Research strongly suggests that it brings down the violent crime rate when criminals suspect their victims may be armed.  (See John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime.")


But, most of all, I believe that you will find shooting enjoyable and relaxing.  It may even become the Objectivist sport of choice (that is, other than competing for the "I'm a more righteous Objectivist than thou" crown, which is a perennial favorite).  Try to envision for the future an annual WeTheLiving shooting competition in Galt's Gulch with Kirez as the Range Master.  Imagine the odd assortment of individualists drifting into town to shoot for the Ragnar Cup Finals.  The bad guys had better stay far, far away.  ;-) Safe and happy shooting. -Ross Barlow. NRA Firearms Instructor life member:  Gun Owners of America

From: "Drew Liberty" To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Objections to objectivism. Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 01:37:24 +0000


Ayn Rand was anti-anarchy and anti-faith and pro-abortion and on these accounts I think her philosophy suffers when confronted with cold-blooded reality.

I speak from experience. If you live in a "society" like Belfast Northern Ireland, where the whole concept of individual is nonexistent.  For you to say "I exist" does not require anyone to accept your statement. You can be treated as just part of another group. You can be killed, period. This is why the idea of self-defense and gun ownership exists.  To be treated like an individual, you must be allowed to own your own actions, to own the responsibility of your own actions and often the only way to do so is with a gun and asserting "HERE I AM!". For everyone to have a gun, does not translate into everyone firing their gun or everyone being a murderer.

I think her rejection of anarchy, that is freedom of association, as a possibility, ignores the fact the REAL state of the world is anarchy. There is no global person in control and government controls are often illusionary. The idea of law is illusionary, there is only a social contract to agree to abide by it, to associate with the law in a lawful way. She dismisses God, but perhaps she should dismiss God as an anarchist. God permits everything from genocide to salvation. Did God ever stop anything? To throw her into a tantrum, the Amish are anarchists but they certainly do a lot trade and freedom of association.

Rand faces the same problem with abortion. By merely stating a person is pregnant, is to concede there is already a child inside and not a cancer. Lost is the fact that abortion forces a prenatal infant to die at the force of another person.  Rand steps aside of these landmines and tries to shelf them under false presumptions but what of the cold reality showing her ideas wrong? For Liberty, Andrew Sullivan Omaha, Nebraska


rom: "Dennis May To: atlantis Subject: ATL: WoMD Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 19:27:31 -0600

Let me outline some premises.

A.  Individuals have a right to self defense.

B.  The right of self defense includes the right to rebel against government.  One reason to rebel is if a government attempts to curtail the right of self defense.

C.  The rights of self defense and therefore rebellion includes the right to possess weapons suitable for that purpose.

Governments are not all created equal.  An Objectivist government formed under an ARI/Peikoff regime would fail on B & C whereas the present U.S. government passes with a solid D-.  Peikoff and Bingswanger have both indicated that individuals have no legitimate reason for owning semi-automatic guns.  More than a few seasoned military types have expressed their opinion that it is unreasonable to expect a civilian population to regain control over a government gone astray using anything less than semi-automatic rifles of calibers comparable to those used by infantry.  At this point in time any government eliminating such semi-automatic rifles has crossed the line and is in fair-game rebellion territory.  Many Leftist media types in this country think this line in the sand can be safely crossed in the near future.  They are incorrect.  The waters have been tested in anti-gun states and in the cities but that has nothing to do with the rest of the nation.

[Weapons of Mass Destruction] WoMD form a continuum of weapons with no clear definition.  What weapon is appropriate for what task is entirely context dependent.  Think in terms of correct tool usage. The present debate within the United States has moved to the teetering edge of the elimination of semi-automatic guns.  If that were to occur the logical response would be for civilians to arm themselves with even larger weapons in expectation of a coming dictatorship.  This would necessarily mean stockpiling WoMD to fight whatever forces the government intends to muster against its citizens who have been stripped of their rights.  In such a situation I see no appropriate limitations. It would be revolution and all bets are off.


In the context of fighting terrorists in Afghanistan appropriate tool usage has been demonstrated so far.  Cluster bombs, bunker busters, carpet bombing using dumb bombs, smart weapons, flame throwers, its all appropriate.  The Northern Alliance has fewer men than could be mustered from veterans in one St. Louis suburb.  Until the enemy is reduced to very small numbers expect correct tool usage to continue.

It is just as important to attempt to keep the government aware their deeds at home will be under a microscope.  Cross the line and it won't be just a foreign war, the government hired to protect us will be the enemy.  Many view the government as already having crossed the line. Military experts say the military line must be drawn at semi-automatic weapons.  This is the line from which there can be no return regardless of all other lines.  Our allies have all crossed the line, when our government crosses it [and us] there will be no one left but the citizens themselves to defend themselves. Dennis May

From: Jimmy Wales To: objectivism Subject: Re: OWL: Gun Proliferation is not an answer Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 16:52:15 -0600

Ted Hordeski wrote: >I think a license implies a privilege granted and limited by the state.  Gun ownership should not be considered a privilege, which the state, upon it's whim, is within its right to suspend.

It is true that a license tends to imply a privilege granted and limited by the state.  But there are important subtle distinctions that can and should be made as we work to advocate practical changes to existing laws.

A big trend in the 1990s was for states to change their laws pertaining to the carry of concealed weapons to liberalize the granting of permits.  33 states are now "shall issue" states – in these states, the government _must issue_ a permit to people who meet certain minimal conditions.  Usually the conditions are: a background check to make sure you haven't committed violent crimes or felonies, the successful completion of a training course (usually 4-8 hours of training), and being 21 or older.  There are minor variations from state to state, of course, just as there are with drivers licenses.


Only a few states completely ban the carrying of concealed weapons. Most of the remaining states have "discretionary issue".  In California, for example, to get a permit requires you to show "good cause", which can vary from county to county depending on the views of the local Sheriff and/or Police Chief.

Vermont has no laws regulating the carry of concealed weapons at all.

So while it is true that only in Vermont to people really have a legal _right_ to carry a concealed weapon, the situation in the 33 shall-issue states isn't all that bad, especially when compared to the situation before, which was mostly "discretionary issue".

>Though you may not 'feel' your freedom being diminished by having to apply for a license, it is the presumption upon which licensing is based that can, and ultimately will, come back to bite you.

This is true, but we can and should remember that "shall issue" laws are a lot different from "discretionary issue" laws, and be grateful that the trend here has been strongly in the right direction. --Jimbo

From: Russell Madden  To: objectivism Subject: OWL: The right to self-defense is not granted by the State Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 09:23:27 -0600

I find it difficult to believe my eyes when I read people presumably in accord w/ Objectivism meekly accepting the outlandish notion that it is OK for the _State_ to decide which peaceful, non-rights violating individuals may or may not purchase, own, or carry weapons, whether those be guns, knives, mace, Tasers or any other personal defense weapons.

It matters not a whit if you do not "feel" your freedom is being violated. Good grief. Since when do your "feelings" determine what is right or wrong? I'm sure many citizens in statist governments do not "feel" inconvenienced by the laws, regulations, and restrictions they are subject to.  After all, "I didn't complain when they came for the Jews because I was not a Jew..."

Believe it: _Freedom is not an issue of convenience_. Indeed, freedom can result in all kinds of "inconveniences." Golly, you actually have to make choices for yourself and accept the consequences, plus or minus, without someone _making the decisions for you_. _That_ is what a license or permit is: someone else is _deciding for you_. _This_ is compatible with freedom???? A "right" granted by the State?

Go to and check out their "tattoo" poster. Would those of you who think gun licenses and permits are "no big deal" feel the same if the State applied the same criteria to your freedom of speech or press? What if your "right" to read were conditional on being approved by the State only for certain books, a certain number of books per month, and you had to show your license every time you wanted to check out or buy a book?

What if you needed a license to own a printing press or copier machine? A computer? To put up a website? To post emails?

Haven't you people ever read Rand? Don't you know that once you've ceded the smallest bit of control to the State as "proper" that in a fundamental sense that freedom/right ceases to exist? After that, it's all a matter of degree? Ditto driver's licenses. Gads. Beam me up, Scotty. There are no freedom lovers here. Russ Madden

From: "William Dwyer" To: objectivism Subject: OWL: RE: Gov's use of force in retaliation vs. protection Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 14:28:39 -0800

TanTrung LeTran wrote, "Rand thinks that the government of a free society should have the monopoly on the use of physical force, and it should use that force in retaliation only.


I think of the puzzle of a neighbor putting together an atomic bomb. Should the government have the right to inspect his property, i.e., infringing his privacy/property rights, to protect the people living around him? According to Rand, apparently not; the government should wait until the bomb explodes, then can punish this guy in retaliation - if he's still alive."

I am confident that this is not Rand's position.  She would say that the bomb represents a "clear and present danger," and that the builder should therefore be disarmed on the grounds that he poses an imminent threat to those around him. If a man points a gun at you in a menacing fashion, then you have a right to disarm or incapacitate him before he actually fires the weapon. Your right to do so falls under the right of self-defense.  By "retaliatory force," Rand was speaking broadly to include all forms of legitimate self-defense. In other words, by "retaliation," she simply meant an appropriately forceful response to the initiation of force.  Anyone who brandishes a weapon (and this would include the builder of the bomb) is, in effect, initiating force, because he is giving you a sufficient reason to believe that he will discharge the weapon.  Pre-emptive force is, in this respect, retaliatory. The right of retaliation exists for the sake of self-protection.  It is the need of self-protection that determines what kind of force is appropriately retaliatory.  To argue that the right of retaliation requires that one wait until someone actually uses violence before responding defeats the purpose of such a right, because it abandons the right of self-protection. Bill Dwyer

From: "Dennis May" To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Re: Gov's use of force in retaliation vs. protection Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 20:26:56 -0600

TanTrung LeTran wrote: >There is one problem in Ayn Rand's concept of government that I find tough to apply in real-life. ... I think of the puzzle of a neighbor putting together an atomic bomb. Should the government have the right to inspect his property, i.e., infringing his privacy/property rights, to protect the people living around him? According to Rand, apparently not; the government should wait until the bomb explodes, then can punish this guy in retaliation - if he's still alive.

Rand admitted she had not thought about the issue of private gun ownership.  It is safe to say Weapons of Mass Destruction [WoMD] were not thought about either.  Many have attempted to interpret Objectivism's position on private gun ownership without success.  Since we have no agreement on the level of guns it is all too obvious that Rand had formulated no consistent position concerning weapons in general.

The question you raise is one I have discussed on both OWL and ATL as have several others. It is my belief that solutions to this problem change with the continually changing context. People need weapons equal to those they face from government in order to keep the government in check.  A disarmed populace is soon to live under tyranny.  On the other hand weapons of mass destruction change the entire equation of what a civilization can consist of and still survive.  More and more WoMD are on the way and it is not obvious centralized civilization can deal with them.  I am certain more freedom and de-centralization is the correct means to diffuse the problem.  I am equally certain big government will take the opposite tact and increase intrusiveness and further centralize civilization all the better to keep an eye on everyone.  At some juncture WoMD will escape the clutches of big government and cause greater damage than they would have otherwise because of the centralization forced upon us.


he problem increases by magnitudes as man moves into space.  Any individual could be in the position to produce untold havoc upon targets of a highly centralized nature. My Observation: Objectivism has no solution to offer other than general principles of how government should operate in principle. Objectivists and Libertarians have not yet formulated an answer concerning WoMD. Their failure to provide an answer is part of why Libertarians continue to do poorly at the voting both.


My Solution:  Increased freedom will lead to de-centralization and reduce the dangers inherent in WoMD.  Insurance will not be available to those who make a target of themselves and a freedom oriented government would be stripped of its ability to be the insurer of last resort.  Government makes bad decisions private insurance companies would likely not embrace.  Every time Big Government rescues those who have done stupid things they guarantee that stupid things will continue to happen.  The problem with WoMD is just another example of this in action.  If we allow Big Government to continue like it is, the A-Bomb in Uncle Ted's basement won't be the problem, it will be the permits needed to have an LP BBQ grill which could be turned into a WoMD.  Let's not forget owning plastics which if heated under the proper conditions produce nerve gas.  Permits to own plastic spoons and forks and home inspections to count your Tupperware.  WoMD are all around you.  If you let Big Government loose to control them, freedom is totally forfeit.

If you think I am exaggerating, the "War on Drugs" made me produce an ID showing I was over 18 in order to buy enamel paint at Wal-Mart when I was 35 years old some four years ago.  Nearly every local store has a list of items with limits on purchase and requirements to call the police if someone attempts to exceed them. The "War on Terrorism" will likely evolve into a "War on WoMD" which will be just one more excuse to control every action of every individual.  For the vast majority of people the government will be the greater danger, not Uncle Ted and his homemade A-Bomb.

There are many legitimate means to deal with WoMD without forfeiting our freedoms in the process.  Most WoMD produce signatures which can be detected non-invasively.  If a neighbor is concerned about Crazy Uncle Ted and has proof obtained without violating Uncle Ted's freedom let the busy-body neighbor present a case under objective law.  If Uncle Ted has violated some objective law or contract signed in order to live in that particular housing project let legitimate law deal with it.  If Uncle Ted owns 10,000 acres, is ten miles from his nearest neighbor, has a PhD in physics and wants to sell the A-Bomb design as part of a private asteroid mining project let the nosey neighbors and Big Government stay out of it.  Contexts evolve, Big Government just grows and consumes all.  I am not worried about Crazy Uncle Ted, I am worried about the endless civil servants who will eat out our substance. Dennis May

From: Jimmy Wales To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Kinds of weapons Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 13:40:00 -0600

What kinds of weapons ownership is consistent with individual rights? Although it is of course not philosophically conclusive in any way, it may be instructive to review the terms of the recent Circuit Court decision that held that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: "We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the Second Amendment.  We hold, consistent with Miller, that it protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms, such as the pistol involved here, that are suitable as personal, individual weapons and are not of the genera kind or type excluded by Miller."

So, according to this court, Americans have a broad right to own weapons that are "suitable as personal, individual weapons and are not of the general kind or type excluded by Miller".  (Miller refers to a Supreme Court decision of 1939.)

The Miller case is specifically about a sawed-off shotgun, but the "general kind or type" excluded by Miller would be weapons which are "not part of the ordinary military equipment" nor such "that its use could contribute to the common defense."  However, notice that the 1934 act upheld in Miller involves a tax and regulations on machine guns, which are of course part of the ordinary military equipment and are suitable as personal, individual weapons. One school of thought says that the 2nd Amendment protects the type of weapon that can be carried and usefully employed by a single soldier, and does not protect "crew served" weapons.  I'm not sure that this distinction is particularly useful, except as a contemporary convenience. Without personally taking a very strong position on the issue, I would say that it does seem reasonable to me that the "line" should be drawn at such a level that the people, acting as a militia in a time of crisis, could fight effectively against a tyrannical government. --Jimbo

From: RogerEBissell To: PinkCrash7 Subject: Re: ATL: The Inalienable Right to Self-Defense Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 04:15:19 EST

Debbie Clark wrote: >Ayn Rand held that the source of a government's authority is "the consent of the governed" and that "the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens" which "has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens."  She did not believe, as Aristotle did, that the state is  prior to the individual, but that the individual is prior to the state. She wrote, "There is only one basic principle to which an individual must consent if he wishes to live in a free, civilized society: the principle of  renouncing the use of physical force and delegating to the government his  right of physical self-defense, for the purpose of an orderly, objective, legally defined enforcement."  ("The Nature of Government" in VOS)

>A sharp critic of Ayn Rand's philosophy, John W. Robbins (a Christian who thinks that the spokesmen for Christianity have been fatally infected with irrationalism) raised an interesting point in his book, "Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System."  (I don't align myself with Robbins,  btw, though I do think he makes some valid points which I think Objectivists should confront and deal with.) He wrote, "Our first question must be, If government is merely the right of self-defense externalized and objectified, how can men delegate their inalienable rights to government?  Natural rights are by definition inalienable; and if English words mean anything, inalienable rights cannot be alienated.

My natural right to property is inalienable, but my right in regard to any specific piece of property ~can~ be alienated, by selling it or giving it to another. Also, by harming another in a way that incurs damages that can be monetarily quantified, I can alienate myself from that amount of my property necessary to give reparation to the person I have harmed. Further, I may for some reason ~delegate~ to another the right to exercise my property right to a given item, while still ~reserving~ the right to re-assume direct control over my property. In so doing, I do not ~alienate~ myself from that property; I merely agree to ~stand aside~ and allow another to exercise my right over it for some agreed period of time and purpose.

The same is true of my right to self defense. I agree that it is to my self-interest to delegate this right to the government, to stand aside and allow the government to exercise my right to self defense. (Actually, as Locke noted, we do not completely forego exercising our right to self defense; we simply delegate to government the power to regulate that exercise.) I have not thereby alienated or given up my claim to that right; I am morally entitled to reclaim it at ~any~ time that the government ceases to exercise that right on my behalf and acts instead to violate it. Whether I ~act~ on that moral entitlement (by beginning to act in my own self defense in disregard of the government's regulations of that exercise) is a matter of ~practicality~. As both Locke and Jefferson (in the Declaration) noted, people might put up with a long train of abuses of their rights, before deciding that the time is ripe for changing the government to a better one.

>Second, if government is merely the right of self-defense externalized, are men under any moral obligation to delegate their rights to the state? How did this moral obligation arise?  Unlike Plato and Aristotle, who taught that the state is prior to individual, Rand taught that the individual is prior to the state.  The priority may not be temporal, but it is logical and moral.  Why, then, should individuals surrender their rights to an external agency?"

If they choose to live by an objective standard, human beings are morally obligated to act in their own self-preservation. They have the power to act in this way, even without government to aid them, but the preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates are "very unsafe, very unsecure...very uncertain, and constantly exposed to the Invasion of others." (Locke, para. 123) Consequently, you could argue that human beings have a further moral obligation to join together to seek their mutual self-preservation, that being a more secure way to provide for it than by their individual efforts. However, Locke required that such joining together be on the basis of consent.

>In an interesting footnote, Robbins quotes Gordon H. Clark from "An Introduction to Christian Philosophy", as follows, "The phrase, the consent of the governed, makes a good slogan; but, if it means that no government rules by right unless it has been established by a unanimous vote – and Locke as well Rousseau required a unanimous vote -- the consequence is that no actual government is justified.  No government rules, nor has any been initiated by unanimous consent."

This is not an accurate description of Locke's view. Locke clearly states (para. 95-96, Second Treatise) that government is not required to have been formed by ~all~ the people in a given area, because it is something that "any number of Men may do, because it injures not the Freedom of the rest; they are left as they were in the Liberty of the State of Nature." The great historical error has been for governments to forcibly absorb the non-consenters in their midst and to forcibly annex the non-consenters who live in neighboring areas. It is those individuals, and ~only~ those individuals, who consent -- by definition, unanimously – who have established the government. In succeeding paragraphs, Locke explains how the unanimous consent that established government is "next to impossible" to be had in passing laws, etc., and that the ~majority~ of the community is all that can reasonably be required for such purposes (unless a greater number is expressly agreed upon at the time the government is established)


>The point is, it seems to me that to be logically consistent, Objectivists would have to concede that there is, in fact, no legitimate government without the unanimous consent of all individuals involved since the power of government is derived from the individual delegation of the inalienable right to self-defense.  Prior to government, there is the individual right to self-defense and that is an inalienable right which an individual is under no moral obligation to give up and which no government can morally take from the individual without initiating aggression against him.

True, and in his discussion of consent and establishing government, Locke makes it clear that those who do not want to consent to delegating their right of self-defense to government remain in a "state of nature" with regard to their fellow human beings. But to not be ~morally obliged~ to ~give up~ this right, does not mean that one cannot ~in fact~ ~delegate~ this right to government.

>Thus, all governments which have ever existed are actually based on the initiation of aggression against the individual, not on the defense of individual rights.

No, they are not ~based on~ the initiation of aggression against the individual. Even though there has been aggression against some individuals in the formation of government, that aggression was ~not essential~ to the formation of those governments. Those governments could have been formed ~without~ that aggression. They were formed in a process that ~included~ such aggression, but such aggression was not necessary to the successful formation of government. (Governments which were essentially outlaw or criminal governments from the outset are an obvious exception.)

Comments and questions are welcome, though I hope that those interested in delving into this issue will take the opportunity to read (or re-read) Locke's enormously influential essay, which had its tricentennial right about the same time that Ayn Rand passed away. Best to all, Roger Bissell

"...the preservation of Property being the end of Government, and that for which Men enter into Society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the People should ~have Property~, without which they must be suppos'd to lose that by entering into Society, which was the end for which they entered into it, too gross an absurdity for any Man to own...I truly have no ~Property~ in that, which another can by right take from me, when he pleases, against my consent. Hence it is a mistake to think, that the Supream or ~Legislative Power~ of any Commonwealth, can do what it will, and dispos e of the Estates of the Subject ~arbitrarily~, or take any part of them at pleasure." (John Locke, 2nd Treatise, paragraph 138)

From: wayne simmons To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Ross Levatter vs. Ayn Rand Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 19:25:51 -0400

At 05:53 PM 8/16/02 -0400, I wrote: >The strategy is to NOT let evil have any where to hide from justice.

Ross Levatter's quote(which has nothing to do with me): The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." -- Justice Louis Brandeis

Since Ross has decided to answer me with a quote I thought I would do the same. At least in my case, Ross, the quote is relevant.

Ford Hall Forum 1976: "The Moral Factor"

"Q: Assume a war of aggression was started by the Soviet Union; assume also that within the Soviet Union, there were many that opposed the aggressive work of the ruling group there. How would you handle that type of problem?

AR: This question is so blatantly wrong that I cannot understand how anyone can entertain it seriously. It assumes that an individual inside a country can be made secure from the social system under which he lives and which he accepts (because he hasn't left the country). It is the idea that others must surrender to aggression—in other words, be goddamned pacifists, who won't fight, even when attacked, because they might kill innocent people.

In Soviet Russia, there aren't very many innocent ones—and they're mainly in concentration camps.

If you could have a life independent of the system, so that you wouldn't be drawn into an unjust war, you would not need to be concerned about politics. But we should care about having the right social system, because our lives are dependent on it—because a political system, good or bad, is established in our name, and we bear the responsibility for it.

Nobody has to put up with aggression and surrender his right of self-defense for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent. When someone comes at you with a gun, if you have one ounce of self-esteem, you Will answer him by force, never mind who he is or who is behind him. If he is out to destroy you, that is what you owe to the sanctity of your own life."  Wayne Simmons

From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Miracle Weapons! Get Yours Now! Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 21:42:52 -0500

Russell Madden wrote: >Accurate shooting at 1760 yards. And damage (wonder how much?) at 7040 yards!

A good friend of mine made a 1000 yard freestanding [fatal] shot in Vietnam with a 30-06.  An Air Force film I watched at SOS showed an Air Force sniper make a 1000 yd head shot through a helmet in Panama using a .223.  A good quality 50 caliber military ball ammo rifle has a 3" group at 3000 yds.  I once heard of experimental sniper rifles using 20 mm ammo which would greatly exceed the 50 cal. accuracy.  The large recoil would require gas shock absorbers, a tripod, and other equipment.

The politicians wishing to ban guns are just whittling where there have not whittled before.  After whittling at enough areas the tree of freedom will die.

Register your nail guns, hide your laser transits, ban electric motors that might power a Gatling gun.  In fact why don't we ban all technology and go back to the days when only the kings soldiers had swords and armor and the peasants were at their mercy.  Thank the blacksmith who came up with crossbows and changed the balance of power.  The blacksmith's cannon brought down the castles so the tyrants were not safe in their own homes.

The day we can't effectively fight back the end has come.

If I had the bucks to spare I would buy a fine 50 caliber and join the 50 caliber club in Macon Missouri.  Such rifles have gone up in price about 500% in the last 15 years or so.  Why pay the big, big bucks when for about 1/4 the price you can buy a much faster flatter shooting lightweight portable rifle.  The finest shooting rifles are presently in private hands, not the military.  We are all safer for that fact. As our freedoms become precarious it would be wise for all freedom loving people to be able to shoot a dime at 75 yds, not a difficult feat.  It was supposed to have been Swiss sniper training that kept Hitler out of Switzerland.  A Russian woman killed 500 Nazi's using the same kind of rifle I bought surplus for $40.  The old tried and true 7.62 X 54 Russian.

In 1865 60 Caliber Gatling guns broke cavalry charges from huge distances away.  Our politicians want us to disarm to sometime prior to the Civil War and I suspect prior to the Revolutionary War.  Damn those war mongering rebels in the colonies anyway. Dennis May

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