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Why the Gun is Civilized

1111 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  scattergunner

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxi cal as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugge r's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation...and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
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God didn't create all men equal...
Colonel Colt did. :wink:
That was a great article :D
a big amen from the guy in the last pugh.
That is what I'd expect to read from a Marine.

I don't agree however. I think service and compassion perhaps motivate our actions more than reason or force. Force is not why you become a parent, nor try to be a good one. It certainly isn't reasonable when feeding self interest either. Reason and force are behind self interest-based actions. Service and compassion are behind actions that will make a real difference in who we are and how we interact with others. So while I see the points raised by the retired major, I respectfully disagree on the universal application of such thought to all human interactions. It may work in creating young marines to fulfill their honored mission (and I am grateful that it does), but beyond that, it lacks depth, thought, and bigger picture understanding.
the way i see it is service and compasion as part of reasoning. yes they can be a very powerful and persuasive tool if used properly. don't get me wrong i am not condoning that everyone carry a gun with them "HELL NO" by any means but i agree with the article JMHO.
callofthewild said:
the way i see it is service and compasion as part of reasoning. yes they can be a very powerful and persuasive tool if used properly. don't get me wrong i am not condoning that everyone carry a gun with them "HELL NO" by any means but i agree with the article JMHO.
Human beings are biased about their own beliefs and in all reality, are horrible self judges. Even the most intelligent and knowledgeable meta-thinkers are barely scratching the surface of self awareness.

IMO, "Reasoning" rides on a seperate train than does Service and compassion. When in service of our fellow human beings there is no reasoning, just doing whatever it takes to fulfill the need at hand (with compassion). Reasoning is often times used in acts of self indulgence and unconsciousness, especially in every day life.

So like Gary, I wil have to kindly disagree with the initial post. To evolve as a race and make the world around us a better place to live, action must be inspired by feelings motivated by the heart, not the head.
I can se by what is written by garyfish that he has never been in a situation where he needed a firearm to defend himself or his loved ones. If he had his opinion would be differant .
I can se by what is written by garyfish that he has never been in a situation where he needed a firearm to defend himself or his loved ones.
That is absolutely true. And if I were in that situation, I would hope I would be armed and in a position to use that arm in a position of last resort. That is not what I took to task about the essay. In the right situation, force is one solution. However, to apply the blanket approach that force may be applied in all settings when reasoning fails scares me. Additionally, to assert that interactions with all people is driven by self-interested reasoning to get my way and when that doesn't work, well, I've got a bigger gun - it is clear that the author of the essay has never been in a position where compassion or service took precedence over reasoning and force. As I mentioned, the noted approach works in making marines, and for that I am grateful because of what they do and represent. But broad-based application of those principles in all human interactions is a world I want nothing to deal with. A parent cannot reason with a 2 year old child - because the child lacks that ability, so the next step in the mentioned approach would be to beat the kid. A family member fighting cancer - cancer cares nothing about reason, so force will make it go away? Helping a child with a learning disability, where some synapsis just don't/can't work, so the solution would be to take out the switch because the child is "un-reasonable?" I don't think so.

This essay addressed on the surface, a person being armed so he can face down the bad guy when all else fails. But the logic to apply this as the only approach to problem solving is flawed at best, and incredibly frightening at worst.
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Metaphorically speaking, there are different "tasks" in life that require different "tools." And a "hammer" doesn't work for every task out there. Best to have a lot of "tools" and know when to use them, but make sure you've got a good "hammer" and know how to use it, should the situation merit.
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