A Reply to Wallace on Guns and Speech

By Matt Gaylor freematt@coil.com

Violence has been a staple since Man has recorded history. There is a certain naivety to assign firearms status beyond inanimate objects. Violence begins and ends with the will of Man. History is replete with, assassinations, genocides, murder, and other acts of violence. Misplacing the context of violence on firearms, is as valid as placing context on knives, clubs, or ones own fist.

We live in a world fraught with dangers. We shape our environment with tools to enhance our survival. Very few would condemn aboriginal peoples for hunting animals so they can live. Predatory animals, such as one of the large cats, do not make moral choices. Their behavior is based on instincts and environment. Man, however is capable of moral choice.

Game theory does show that cooperation is better than non-cooperation. However, this theory is based on the assumption that all parties will cooperate. Enter into the formula a non-cooperating entity and the players will lose something. It matters little if the entity is an evil non cooperating player or a predatory animal.

Hannah Arendt wrote, "The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world." Not necessarily so. The United States was founded by revolution, violent revolution. Yet in the midst of American martial gun culture, other non violent societies can flourish. One of the examples that come to mind are the Amish. Here we have a pacifist populace living inside the United States. The Amish could not have survived Hilter's Germany. They could not survive in central Africa. They could not survive in China. In fact they have survived and have been protected in what is considered by some as a dangerous environment.

My ideal society is inclusive. I own guns and yet I co-exist with pacifists. I find it more than a little ironic, that those who claim to want to rid the world of violence wish to do so by violent means. Taking my guns by force [legislation] is an intoxicating trip moving us closer to the totalitarian state.

Matt Gaylor is the proprietor of the Freematt's Alerts mailing list.