I did, a while back. It’s not bad, but it dances around some issues I wish he would have simply tackled head on. For instance:

“But the government has drones and tanks and lasers,” the anti-gunners argue. “Surely you don’t think a bunch of untrained hillbillies with assault rifles can stand up to such technologically advanced weaponry?”

This is the number one practical objection raised against the pro-gun camp’s “guns as a bulwark against tyranny” argument, and it is fundamentally defeatist, which I know can’t feel good to the otherwise optimistic progressives who make it.

Just put the argument to bed at its face. We know exactly what happens when a bunch of untrained hillbillies fight the full force of the US Army on their home turf with nothing more than rifles and IEDs. We’re running a test case right now, over in Afghanistan. It’s lasted over twice as long as World War 2, and in the end the hillbillies are going to win. All you actually need, to win an insurgency against an occupying force, is rifles, improvised explosives, will, and time.

But deeper, the point of gun proliferation as a deterrent against tyranny isn’t to actually have to fight the army. It’s just to make it obvious to everyone involved that the fight will be unpleasant, which means you never have to fight in the first place. If you’re a wimp in the schoolyard and you’ve got a 3 inch pocket knife, you probably won’t beat the bully in the fight, but the bully is probably going to leave you the hell alone purely because he knows you’ll make the fight painful. Porcupines don’t kill bears, but bears don’t fuck with porcupines because of the painful hassle.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s at least some chance that here in the USA, the Army could side with the hillbillies. In these sorts of analyses, people often presume that the armed forces of a country are a dispassionate actor. Historically, that has not always been the case. Sometimes they step up and make their own play.

In some ways, my article is a bit of a rebuttal to this idea:

Ultimately, then, the private ownership of weapons of war is an issue that pits each side against its own hopes for the future. The anti-gun crowd finds itself arguing for the unassailable tactical superiority of the present neoliberal order, and the pro-gun crowd finds itself making the awful case that horrific deaths in the present are necessary to prevent a dystopian future that it fervently hopes will never come to pass. These rhetorical contortions from both sides of this debate are painful, both to execute and to watch.

When faced with painful rhetorical contortions, engineers default to math. There’s math for this. Let’s just use it.

Conscientious objector to the culture war. I think a lot. mirror: www.freakoutery.com writer at: www.opensourcedefense.org beggar at: www.patreon.com/bjcampbell

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