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Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 2:54pmSanction this postReply
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The holy Individual -- the purpose of society, and the cynosure of the universe -- has the absolute and untouchable right to keep and bear arms. Based on ubiquitous Natural Law and universal human freedom -- the governing legal principles of the whole world -- the sacred Individual has the inalienable and infinite right to own, carry, and use weapons of any and all types.

The individual wants and needs this right in order to protect himself from local criminals, foreign invaders, and his own government. This last, it must be noted, is often his defender and protector from criminals and invaders. But potentially it's also his worst attacker. However democratic, republican, and constitutional his state may be, it has the power to be the Individual's strongest rights-violator and his most formidable enemy. And it has to be borne in mind that for virtually the entire 5300-year history of government, it has been just that.

Simple logic and common sense tell us that the violators of individual rights -- the destroyers of "liberty and justice for all" -- will always be well-armed. History informs us of this emphatically. Local criminals, foreign invaders, and the government will always possess a vast array of dangerous weapons of aggression and destruction. So the laughably puny and almost defenseless Individual needs his arms as well.

The Individual ineluctably wants and needs a certain amount of weaponry-power at his disposal in order to keep his three potential enemies honest or at bay. He needs a significant amount of arms to plausibly and successfully protect his life, liberty, property, and privacy from ever-present, ever-menacing thieves, thugs, foreign soldiers, and Big Brother.

The holy Individual -- the very raison d'etre of the state -- particularly needs arms and weapons to threaten, attack, and kill potentially evil and tyrannical government agents. The main purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is to slaughter government officials.

[very slight stylistic edits 23 hours later]

(Edited by Kyrel Zantonavitch on 6/27, 2:07pm)


Post 1

Friday, June 27, 2008 - 11:50amSanction this postReply
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"Based on undeniable Natural Law and universal human freedom -- which are the governing legal principles of the whole world "

To state that universal human freedom is the governing legal principle of the whole world is inaccurate. I see counter-examples in Cuba, Zimbabwe, and in some of our own government's movements in the US. Perhaps you meant that it should be the only (or is the only valid) legal principle, which is another discussion altogether.

"And it has to be borne in mind that for virtually the entire 5300-year history of government, it has been thus."

I just want to clarify this before we get any deeper. It appears you suggest that the fact that, "[one's own government] has the power to be the Individual's strongest rights-violator and most formidable enemy" has been true for the time stated. Is this correct, or does "it" refer to a right (or something else)?

I'd like to explore exactly where we stop (nukes?) and why when I have some more time to devote to it.

Post 2

Friday, June 27, 2008 - 12:25pmSanction this postReply
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Kyrel, this is a tangent but, with your statement:

And it has to be borne in mind that for virtually the entire 5300-year history of government, it has been thus.
... you're putting the origin of human government at 3300 BC. I'm aware that King Hammurabi of Babylon was "large-and-in-charge" back in 1800 BC. What or which examples of government preceded that? Which example are you taking to be one of the very first ones?

Ed


Post 3

Friday, June 27, 2008 - 2:05pmSanction this postReply
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Try Catal Huyuk...... around at least 6,500  BC..... www.telesterion.com/catal1.htm

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Friday, June 27, 2008 - 2:53pmSanction this postReply
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Try Jericho and the Natufian culture, 9,000 BC.

The world's oldest settlements are most likely under water, given the rise of the sea level since the end of the last ice age. If not, Jericho is the oldest known to date.

Also, society does not exist for the individual any more than the individual exists for society. (I assume this must have been hyperbole on Zantonavitch's part.) There is no such "thing" as society, just humans being social. Those who truly imagine society exists for the individual are usually children, criminals or welfare recipients.

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Post 5

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 3:29pmSanction this postReply
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The problem of guns, and specifically handguns, is much more complex than Mr. Zantonavitch realizes. No one here should dispute the right to defend oneself, though I thought that was a right we delegated to the government. One should be very careful about allowing a person to defend himself with the use of a gun.

As to the 'slaughter' of government officials Iíll say this: get real. No one has the right to kill someone else because they disagree with them, and walking too far down the road of 'self-defense' will lead to this. We have the military to protect us from foreign armies, a police force to protect us from thieves and thugs, and a vote to protect us from Big Brother. We are not helpless victims. If government officials come knocking at your door for whatever reason it may be, the first step is not to grab your gun. Rather you should ask yourself, did I sit idly by all this time and now it has come to this? It might be better to turn your gun around then.

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Post 6

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 7:02pmSanction this postReply
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Sorry Charlie - but the police do not protect us from thieves and thugs, because they are an 'after the fact' kind of  business, namely catching those who already committed the crimes, not stopping the crimes in progress [except, perhaps, on rare occasions]...

Post 7

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Kryel Zantonavitch claimed: "The main purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is to slaughter government officials."
Hobbes and Locke would disagree.  For Hobbes, we give up the war of all against all to have the government intercede and prevent aggression.  For Locke, we give up the right to self-defense in order to live together in society.  For Ayn Rand, the right to own handguns was not an absolute.  The purpose of a handgun is to kill another person.  Taking from Max Weber, Rand believed that government is that institution with the sole right to use force.
 
Here in Michigan, the state government relaxed the rules for CCW permits.  (Carry Concealed Weapon.)  As an elected and appointed politician, I have been in the county clerk's office a few time these last three years and seen these thugs and hoodlums who want permits.  The law has two stipulations: you must pass a criminal background check (no felony convictions; no felony arrests); and you must pass a basic NRA-approved handgun safety class. These criminals and perpetrators cannot do the first and even so, cannot do the second.  They do not want guns to protect their rights.  They want guns to shoot it out with other hoodlums --- failing that, they will find someone to victimize. 
 
On the frontier, in the post Civil War era, the Indians had better rifles than the cavalry because the Indians bought theirs on the open market and the army was stuck with government issue.  Fat lot of good it did the Indians to have better guns.  ...  On the other hand, the Navajo early on gave up raiding and took up silver smithing.  Today, they import their touquoise fro mChina and get their silver in bricks from New York.  Trading works.  Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.
 
Handguns are like taxes and churches -- an irrational aspect of a society suffering from MPD: mixed-premise disorder.


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Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 8:52pmSanction this postReply
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I'm surprized by you, Steve.
 
Government is the enforcer, not the provider of rights.  It's your responsibility to protect your own life. It's your life, not the government's.
 
There are hundreds of stories like this one.
 
Guns are neither good or bad, it's all in how you use them.  I feel much safer being in control of my own life, rather then hoping the government will be there when I need them. They usually come tragically too late. 


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Post 9

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 11:50pmSanction this postReply
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It's not like every time you have a dispute with a government official, you need to shoot them. I don't think that is the point of the Second Amendment. Rather, at some point, the government may go to far in taking away our freedoms, and if we are disarmed, it will not be possible to reclaim them. In 1750, the need to shoot at soldiers of the British army may have seemed a bit remote. If they had succeeded at disarming the colonists over the next fifteen years, the American Revolution (which was touch and go at first) might be referred to by a few dusty scholars employed by the commonwealth as the 1776 Revolt, remembered chiefly for the traitors like Washington and Jefferson who were hung.

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Post 10

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 9:18amSanction this postReply
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I do not deny the need to defend my life Teresa. I also must say, for the purpose of full disclosure, that I have a handgun. If someone enters my dwelling with the intent to harm, I will probably need to call the coroner and not the police when all is said and done. This does not mean that I should be walking around like Wyatt Earp with a gun strapped to my hip.

My life is my own, and the defense of my life takes a very high priority. But higher still is the need to live my life. I don't want to live in a country where every irrational screwball, like Zantonavitch, has a handgun. He may decide that because I voted for Bush and Bush is violating his rights he needs to defend himself from me!

Post 11

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 10:57amSanction this postReply
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Kyrel,

I'm pleased to sanction your opening statement. I believe human society to be rational, creative, prosperous and civil directly in relation to its proportion of members such as yourself.

Post 12

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 12:30pmSanction this postReply
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I agree with the right of private citizens to own certain weapons, like handguns, shotguns, rifles and certain kinds of automatic weapons, but I don't think they should have the right to own any and all classes of weaponry.

Does a private citizen have the right to own and use a nuclear weapon? I don't think so. As Rand observed, one of the purposes of a government is to place the retaliatory use of force under objective control -- under objectively defined laws -- so as to ensure the separation of force and whim.

- Bill




Post 13

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 2:29pmSanction this postReply
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Bill, I also don't think that private citizens should be allowed to own nukes. The risk of someone suicidal taking out an entire city with them doesn't seem to enhance my safety.

Is there anything else you think should be off the table for private ownership? Fighter jets, tanks, howitzers, RPGs, heavy machine guns? Chemical weapons, biological weapons? How does your list not grade imperceptibly into a liberal's "banning semi-automatic guns with scary-looking black plastic stocks"?

And how might one word an amendment to the Second Amendment that clarified what should be off-limits for the government to ban, given that we don't know what novel weaponry might be invented in the future? Or should the wording be left as is, with the political process of SCOTUS replacements used to make this determination?

Not trying to be snarky here, Bill -- I'm puzzled at how one draws the line between what seems to me to be a clear and imminent threat to my life (nukes in private hands) and what liberals perceive as a clear and imminent threat (any possession of any weapons by non-governmental forces more dangerous than a dull butter knife). And you have, in previous posts, been able to cut to the heart of the issue (pardon the pun), such as your post on using competitive bidding of wage levels to determine who should get a job, so I'm hoping you can be similarly helpful here.

(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 6/29, 6:49pm)


Post 14

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 2:45pmSanction this postReply
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Steve writes in Post 5:

The problem of guns, and specifically handguns, is much more complex than Mr. Zantonavitch realizes. No one here should dispute the right to defend oneself, though I thought that was a right we delegated to the government. One should be very careful about allowing a person to defend himself with the use of a gun.

Ayn Rand argues that a fully free government properly has a monopoly on the use of force. She's mistaken in this. So are virtually all Objectivists who follow in this train. Even in a completely liberal state (which has never yet existed, obviously) the individual has a serious right and duty to protect himself and his liberty -- whether thru individual caution and prudence, or hiring private security forces, or forming private militias, etc. The government can't be everywhere, and is never perfect in its defense of individual liberty. It's naive to suppose otherwise. Practically and realistically, in a fair amount of instances it's up to the individual to protect himself -- to successfully defend his own person and rights. Private weapons are maybe the most important part of this defense of one's life, liberty, property, and privacy -- as well as one's sacred, inalienable, individual rights.

As to the 'slaughter' of government officials Iíll say this: get real. No one has the right to kill someone else because they disagree with them...



I don't remotely claim this. I favor strictly rational, moral, proportionate, and just retaliation against any and all rights-violators -- including government. They aren't special, in my view, and don't deserve any superior consideration by the self-loving, self-protecting individual. I don't think an aggressor state shouldn't be treated any better or worse than other rights-violators.


...and walking too far down the road of 'self-defense' will lead to this. We have the military to protect us from foreign armies, a police force to protect us from thieves and thugs, and a vote to protect us from Big Brother. We are not helpless victims. If government officials come knocking at your door for whatever reason it may be, the first step is not to grab your gun. Rather you should ask yourself, did I sit idly by all this time and now it has come to this? It might be better to turn your gun around then.



I'm sorry, but in general I disagree with this. Government never has the right to violate rights. There are no valid, forgivable excuses for this. Not even if a massive majority of the individual's fellow citizens sanction it. That would be the Adolf "just following orders" Eichmann defense, and it isn't legitimate. The untouchable individual is essentially not to blame if his compatriots or nearby friends erect a semi-tyrannical state which surrounds him. That holy individual still has the absolute right -- and sacred duty -- to protect himself, his life, and his happiness. In general he should attempt to retaliate in a proportionate and just manner against his evil, tyrannical, rights-violating, government attackers.

(Edited by Kyrel Zantonavitch on 6/29, 2:55pm)


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Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 2:49pmSanction this postReply
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"My life is my own, and the defense of my life takes a very high priority. But higher still is the need to live my life. I don't want to live in a country where every irrational screwball, like Zantonavitch, has a handgun."

Steve, so you're in favor of a law disarming everyone else but not you? Or just disarming those who you, or a committee of like-minded people, deem to be sufficiently mentally unstable? Would you care to put your gun control philosophy into the form of a proposed amended Second Amendment, so we can see what you think is reasonable? Would it be a Catch-22 amendment: "Anyone who is sane and mentally stable shall be issued a permit to own weaponry -- if they apply for one. Applying for a permit to arm oneself shall be deemed conclusive evidence that the applicant is paranoid and mentally unstable, and thus their application for a permit shall be denied." 

Or are you thinking of moving to Britain, where they've outlawed guns and now are outlawing private ownership of swords?

To me at least, Mr. Zantonavitch appears to hold utterly sane views on this issue. You, on the other hand, appear to be a well-intentioned menace to my personal safety, since disarming me and my neighbors while criminals buy guns on the black market appears to put my life and property at substantial risk.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 4:09pmSanction this postReply
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Bill Dwyer writes:

I agree with the right of private citizens to own certain weapons, like handguns, shotguns, rifles and certain kinds of automatic weapons, but I don't think they should have the right to own any and all classes of weaponry.

Does a private citizen have the right to own and use a nuclear weapon? I don't think so. As Rand observed, one of the purposes of a government is to place the retaliatory use of force under objective control -- under objectively defined laws -- so as to ensure the separation of force and whim.

Jim Henshaw adds:

Is there anything else you [Bill D'] think should be off the table for private ownership? Fighter jets, tanks, howitzers, RPGs, heavy machine guns? Chemical weapons, biological weapons? How does your list not grade imperceptibly into a liberal's "banning semi-automatic guns with scary-looking black plastic stocks"?
Good question, Jim!

Ultimately, I think Ayn Rand was a bit off -- or at least too inexact and overbrief --  in her stated political ideal of government possessing a monopoly on retaliatory force in society. I certainly think an ideal pro-freedom state would have a great deal of political-legal power, weaponry, personnel, money, expertise, and experience in defending the individual's right to life, liberty, property, privacy, etc. Thus it would be the individual's first and best choice in self-defense in the vast majority of attacks on himself and his friends -- especially major attacks. But it wouldn't at all be the individual's only defender and champion.

As for nuclear weapons -- or even theoretical super-hyper-nuclear weapons -- the individual does, in fact, have the absolute right to own and use them. Think of how this right -- if acknowledged, and put into practice -- would keep evil governments at bay! You can bet both foreign and local state officials would think twice before trespassing anyone's liberty anywhere! :-)  

And guaranteeing this right would possibly be a neat solution to such current problems as Dafur and Zimbabwe. Private billionaires in possession of fully-armed F-14 Tomcats might well be able to take out the hyper-evil dictators in both countries. 

The intellectual difficulty with letting private citizens own and carry, say, six-shooters with H-bombs (when they get invented) is that merely possessing such an awesome weapon anywhere near civilian society may well constitute an intolerable and genuinely criminal threat. Even the nicest person in the world might easily be legitimately seen as an objective menace to his neighbors -- whether via possible negligence or implicit intimidation or otherwise. On that basis even a purely innocent person of moral saintliness might well be rightly shot on sight by a terrified and thus terrorized society. Such a well-armed individual might properly be utterly attacked whenever he comes within a thousand miles of those who have an objective worry about him and his formidable armaments.

But by expressing these legitimate concerns aloud and in advance, a completely pro-liberty pro-gun government could impose a de facto ban on these types of (nuclear) handguns, and any similar weaponry -- but not a literal or de jure ban. The right to keep and bear such stunning super-weapons would still exist, and a proper government would still protect and defend individuals with such arms.

But this is a bit of a tricky intellectual issue! ;-)


Post 17

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 5:08pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

This is an apology for misunderstanding post five.  Explanation in post 10 receives a sanction from me.  Good.


Post 18

Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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Kyrel said: "As for nuclear weapons -- or even theoretical super-hyper-nuclear weapons -- the individual does, in fact, have the absolute right to own and use them. Think of how this right -- if acknowledged, and put into practice -- would keep evil governments at bay! You can bet both foreign and local state officials would think twice before trespassing anyone's liberty anywhere! :-)"

I read a science fiction story once about a world where, buried deep underground, was a doomsday device that, if triggered, would render the entire planet devoid of life, even at the level of single-celled organisms. And every single adult on that planet held a trigger for this device. And the author proposed that this was a moral world. Essentially he took the gun-control argument to its most extreme imaginable limit.

Such a world would become devoid of life within a year, nay, within days, of every adult being given a trigger. Some people, despite a lack of a criminal record, are not sane and stable enough to be entrusted with the power of life and death over everyone else.

That's why I oppose private ownership of nuclear weapons.

And that is why some liberals oppose private ownership of somewhat sharpened butter knives.

I'm seeking a logical explanation at where one can morally draw the line at other's owning weapons that could kill you. I tend toward advocating a pragmatic balancing act -- the danger of one's neighbor being unbalanced and possessing weapons that can kill a lot of people, versus the danger of a tyrannical government or criminals essentially being the dangerous neighbors, and in sole possession of weapons that can kill a lot of people.

 I'm not convinced at Kyrel's argument. It would lead to city after city being nuked. That infringes on my right to stay alive.



Post 19

Monday, June 30, 2008 - 7:43amSanction this postReply
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I haven't thought this through in great detail, so this is just off the top of my head, but I think that nukes should be off limit to private citizens, because they create too great a danger to other citizens. With handguns and rifles, you can single out the bad guys; with a nuclear weapon, you can't. You can't detonate a nuclear device without killing innocent people. Nukes might conceivably be necessary in a war with a foreign enemy, in which you can't effectively discriminate between its army and its citizens, insofar as they both reside in the same geographical area, but a nuke can't reasonably be used for personal defense within one's own country.

- Bill

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