Friday, 6 October 2017

Question of the Day: 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?'

"Remember, the proper question is not, 'Why can the government restrict my access to guns?' The proper question is, 'What share of its legal monopoly on the use of force should the government share with its citizens?' The proper answer is, 'Whatever is needed for those citizens to protect themselves when the government cannot.' Unfortunately, this principle is not articulated in the [US] Constitution and we are stuck twisting the Second Amendment into service. Things would be better if we didn't have to." ~ John McCaskey, 'Natural Rights, Civil Rights, and Guns'


  1. The link is a good perspective everyone commenting on this issue should read.

  2. At best, the link argues in favour of a catch-22; they need guns in the US to defend themselves because the country is flooded with guns.

    But Peter, I'll say it again: Living in NZ you (should) know that the premise is bullshit. In this country we DO NOT NEED GUNS TO DEFEND OURSELVES (with some exceptions such as Dairy owners).

    The reality of such a "right" is events such as Las Vegas. It's incredible that you would post this theoretical argument in the wake of that incident, as if the theory takes precedence over reality.

    Liberal gun laws, however rationalised, do not make Americans better off.

    1. Ray: To understand that catch-22, you have to understand the inherent contradiction in Libertarian (and to a lesser extent, objectivist) implementation:

      1: One of the primary principles is the "Non Initiation of Force" principle, which is inviolable, except when a leader of a distant middle eastern country could, hypothetically, have WMD's. Then they argue forcefully that to initiate force is not only moral, it's the only moral course of action
      2: The second principle is that individuals have rights, not collectives. This of course is only true if the individuals belong to a collective you agree with. Therefore, individuals in dictatorships deserve to be bombed (collectively) because they (collectively) do not overthrow their government.
      3: The third principle is that governments have the monopoly on force. This monopoly is of course shared (in true Orwellian doublespeak) as the government is for some reason obliged to let you threaten the rights of others to your hearts content (as long as you're an individual member of the correct collective, see point 2)

      The final observation is the one you pointed out: Most libertarians lack the courage of their convictions. They argue forcefully against government licencing but (in my experience at least) flock to jobs where government licencing creates a barrier to entry, ensuring they get good salaries. They argue that guns should be freely available, but then avoid living in cities where this is the case.


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