Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Guns, Abortion, the Second Amendment ... Logic

            The argument on gun control is like the one on abortion: going 'round and 'round because the two major sets of arguments proceed from very different premises or even worldviews. In the case of abortion, the major disagreement is on the nature of the universe and the nature of human beings, which is about as major a disagreement as I can think of offhand. If a human being is essentially (literally in essence) a creature with a soul, and if ensoulment occurs at conception, then .... Etc. Which is quite different from my idea of a zygote, a fertilized human egg, which I don't see as a human person, and you-all probably don't either.

            Similarly, if you want gun control, youse folk who read Leftish blogs such as this will talk about decreasing gun deaths. But most places in the USA most of those gun deaths are suicides or gang related and can seem a reasonable price to pay for people who believe the 2nd Amendment protects all our rights by giving substance to the Right of Revolution, and if you believe effective revolution requires a citizenry not just armed but armed heavily enough to hold off the forces of the State until the military sides with the revolution and the revolution is won (more exactly, the opening round is won, but that gets into complicated history and political analysis).

            I go with Hannah Arendt in On Violence (1970) and elsewhere on how violence undercuts revolutionary power, but I'd concede that a fair number of bolt-action rifles in the hands of citizens probably would help underpin a right to revolution but add that handguns are officers' weapons to keep the grunts in line and that the AK-47 and similar weapons would be for some sort of right of coup or guerrilla warfare and not classical revolution as such. As a kid I put money in cans to plant trees in Israel, and maybe buy arms to drive the British (and as it turns out, Palestinians) from Palestine; as a young adult at neighborhood pubs, I gave money to help the widows and orphans in Ireland, with maybe a few quid going to our boys in the Irish Republican Army to buy weapons to drive the Brits out of the occupied counties. And money for humanitarian aid freed funds to buy weapons by the NLF, ANC, FLN, PLO, and other groups alphabetical, revolutionary, and willing to use violence.

            Most people who'll read this far think those who think President Barack Obama a tyrant are simply crazy: dissociated from reality. Those who think Obama a tyrant (or a potential one) obviously think otherwise and go from perception to premise to the conclusion that they need high-power weapons to hold off the forces of the tyrant, who will insulate his regime from revolution by seizing their weapons.

            So: the arguments on the necessity for assault rifles and such for personal self-defense and home defense are often just bullshit if you look at the statistics, but that's irrelevant: the serious arguments here are on armed insurrection, and for the most part that's not what people want to talk about, and may be an area (like parts of the abortion debate) where clarity would be more honest and less frustrating but really, really dangerous.


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