Friday, July 28, 2017


     No, this won’t be a technical discourse on firearms of any kind. My knowledge of such things is far less than that of many others who blog frequently and knowledgeably on the subject. But my knowledge of one thing about guns – the most important thing, in my admittedly un-humble opinion – is absolute.

     Take a deep breath before reading on.

     “They got the guns. We got the numbers.” – Jim Morrison

     Just now we have a bad case of runaway government, the very worst this country has ever suffered. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency was a desperate gamble on a complete outsider who refuses to subscribe to the norms of the political class. He said the right things, and he said them in a fashion that persuaded us not only that he meant them but that he would act on them with the full power of the presidency. So, even though other men who’d said the right things in a convincing fashion, once we’d given them the offices they sought, had let us down, we said “What the hell, one more try,” and put him in the White House.

     He’s trying, folks. Though I was dubious of him before the election and voted for him with trepidation, my admiration for him has grown great. He was serious, he is serious, and he’s trying his best. He clearly loves this country: an attribute that, as we learned from his predecessor, is indispensable in our chief executive. But he’s being thwarted on a great many fronts.

     He’s being thwarted by the immense Washington political establishment and the millions of faceless bureaudrones that serve its aggregate will. Every day those bureaudrones sally forth on their mission: not Trump’s mission, theirs. They do so with the full power of the federal government at their backs. Their mission is overtly antithetical to freedom, prosperity, and public order and safety. And they get their way damned nearly 100% of the time.

     Why? How? Guns.

     As you read this, Nicolas Maduro is reducing Venezuela to a totalitarian dictatorship. As much of a hellhole as it’s already become, Venezuela is poised to sink to still lower levels of poverty and violence. Maduro’s enforcers roam the country, inflicting themselves where and on whom they will. Private Venezuelans are unable to do anything about them or him.

     Kim Jong-un is perhaps the only North Korean guaranteed to be well-fed. His intimates probably eat well. His troops eat satisfactorily. But the ordinary North Korean gets by – if he does – on a ration that wouldn’t sustain an American for three days.

     The warlords who exercise de facto control of Somalia, and who quietly fund and encourage the notorious pirate gangs of the waters off east Africa, reign absolutely within their demesnes as the ordinary Somalians they dominate suffer and starve. Black Hawk Down dramatized their rule, its instruments, and its consequences. Now that American armed forces have left their theater, their control is unchallenged.

     All over Europe, Middle Eastern Muslim savages are rampaging, raping women, brutalizing native born Europeans, and sometimes murdering. Those they prey upon are largely helpless to resist them...yet the governments of the nations they afflict allow more to pour across their borders every day.

     And of course, right here in the good old U.S. of A, a policeman recently shot dead a woman who’d called the police to report a possible sexual assault, and a man who’d committed no physical or other harm to anyone will end his life in prison for helping to oppose the arbitrary and dictatorial actions of a federal bureaucracy.

     Why? How? Guns.

     “Before all else, be armed! -- Niccolo de Macchiavelli

     There’s no substitute for being armed and ready. Nations have learned this, often to their sorrow. Private persons don’t always grasp the lesson.

     In any given situation, he who controls the preponderance of armament and has a sufficient number of men willing to use it can just about always get his way. This is an important aspect of the dynamic of power. When Friedrich Hayek wrote, in The Road To Serfdom, the chapter titled “Why The Worst Get On Top,” he was primarily concerned with the type of man who will rise through a power hierarchy. Yet there’s a component to Hayek’s personality-and-character-based analysis that appears only by implication: given two power-lusters equally ruthless and avid for power, the one more likely to prevail is the one with a preponderance of force at his command.

     Today, that force is instrumented with guns and implemented by agents of The State who carry them.

     The Second Amendment has been called the guarantor of all the rest. While that’s true in theory, in practice matters are somewhat different. The ability to concentrate force at a decision point ahead of other competing forces will almost always be decisive.

     The Cliven Bundy standoff was hailed as a demonstration of the willingness of Americans to resist an unjust government action by the force in our possession: our ownership of private firearms. To the best of my knowledge, no shots were fired during the faceoff between federal bureaucrats and private citizens. After a time, the bureaucrats, aware that public opinion was solidly against them, backed down...but as the arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing of Gregory Burleson – for making those bureaucrats feel fear, a pure novelty in the history of American jurisprudence – illustrates, they were hardly willing to let the matter stand that way.

     How did they get their way? Why is Burleson likely to die in prison? Guns. No one is about to assault a federal government bastion for the sake of freeing him. The odds are too greatly in the government’s favor. So there he will remain.

     “Government gunpower is the argument that always wins.” – Robert Ringer.

     My point is not that we should never surrender our right to keep and bear arms. That’s been established innumerable times already, by commentators far more eloquent than I. My point is that we’ve allowed government -- all the 88,000 governments that infest this government-hagridden land – to amass too much coercive force: too much gunpower. As a practical matter, under current circumstances The State always wins. That condition will remain unaffected by the identities and convictions of the men we put into elective office.

     Changes to the laws are all very well. Changes to the correlation of forces between The State and The People are far more vital.

     Government is too large.
     It commands far too much force.
     It will not surrender that force voluntarily.

     Is the moral as obvious to you, Gentle Reader, as it is to me, or have I not yet had enough coffee?

     More anon, perhaps.

     (For a fictional coda, see this short story.)

1 comment:

Kye said...