The Gun Politics Thread

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 15 Mar 2009, 11:10pm

eumaas wrote:
Wolter wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:
Wolter wrote:You don't accept the basic anarchist (or even minarchist, or for that matter Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican) premise, so I don't have any possible way to explain to you why waiting until the government/army/police force is a personal threat is unwise. But, hey, no government in history has ever turned on any group of it's citizens after consolidating power...ever.
Weigh that, however, against the general insecurity and violence (random and otherwise) that accompanies widespread gun possession. It's not as simple as apparently burying one's head in the sand and hope that martial law isn't declared. It's an awareness that if you want plenty of guns out there to protect you from that hypothetical scenario, then there's also increased gun violence. Is the trade-off worth it? I say no.
See Wally? This is how it's done.

Personally, I hate guns. Hate them. But I'm on the fence about the trade-offs - for the reasons both Hooks and eumaas state. But to automatically gainsay without evidence and just attack me for disagreeing with you as some sort of fictional tag team with eumaas is just immature and shows a lack of reasoning behind your arguments.
Aside from the deterrent/armed insurrection argument, there's also the home invasion thing.

Shooting targets or tin cans is fun, but outside of that context I don't take any enjoyment in having a gun, nor do I use it to "feel safe." For me I consider it worthwhile to have it as an option. I live in a high crime neighborhood where the already meager benefit of a cop patrol approaches zero. This is a slow response neighborhood. I don't even hunt--I'm quite squeamish about taking lives. I was a vegetarian for five years, and there are only a few classes of bugs even that I'll kill willingly. I'm not sure whether I'd reach for the gun or the phone in the case of a home invasion. But having a gun on hand increases my options for response.

By the way, U.S. citizens don't have a constitutional right to protection, so if the cops don't come, there's nothing you can do about it after the fact.

I believe that self-defense is legitimate. I also believe that it is legitimate to step in if someone is menacing another person or already engaged in violence against that person. Furthermore, I believe that proportionality, while not an absolute constraint (i.e. once deadly force is involved, you don't have to go tit-for-tat--that is, a knife for a knife, a gun for a knife--you can bring a gun to a knife fight so to speak), is a good guide to the exercise of self-defense and defense of others. So if someone threatens me with fists, I won't necessarily whip out a pistol and kill him.
101Walterton wrote:So just to make sure I have this clear, you need a gun to protect yourself from United States and overseas governments killing you ?
Sure, although I think the state at home is far more likely a threat than that of an overseas government. I put both on the same plane though--whether you're defending against an invading state or your own is irrelevant. My other defense for the ownership of a gun (note that I don't think it's a mandatory thing--you can choose on your own whether or not to own a gun) is the broader issue of self-defense as outlined above.
I'l give you a tip, a government assassin coming after you will be trained in covert operations and may not come to the front door waving a gun and shouting threats which would give you enough time to retreive your gun from the gun cupboard and protect yourself.

Another tip would be to stop doing whatever it is that causes an overseas government to send an assassin after you.

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 15 Mar 2009, 11:14pm

eumaas wrote:Just a few cases off the top of my head, not counting all the individual cases of cops killing and wounding innocent people:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_march
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangeburg_massacre
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_State_killings
The cut and paste king is back. The most recent of those was the best part of 40 yeas ago, and how is that relevent to your personal situation that requires you to own a gun ?

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by Wolter » 15 Mar 2009, 11:15pm

Ad hominem.
"There's something more honest, he believed, about traditional methods of mass starvation, labour camps, and machine gunning millions to death. Stalin was a vinyl guy who sneered at Truman converting everything to compact disc." - Thomas Jefferson

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by eumaas » 15 Mar 2009, 11:20pm

101Walterton wrote:I'l give you a tip, a government assassin coming after you will be trained in covert operations and may not come to the front door waving a gun and shouting threats which would give you enough time to retreive your gun from the gun cupboard and protect yourself.
A gun is not totally effective. Being disarmed would be even less effective. That a measure is not completely effective is not argument to surrender it in favor of even less efficacy.
Another tip would be to stop doing whatever it is that causes an overseas government to send an assassin after you.
Firstly, you're deliberately framing it in ridiculous terms (see the links for an idea of what kind of situation I reference), and secondly, you're apologizing for totalitarianism. After all, the victims of Pol Pot would've been safe if they had just stopped having such poor eyesight, right? Liberals would've been safe in Nazi Germany if they had just shut up and stopped spreading their ideas.

I fundamentally object to this notion. The moral onus is ALWAYS on the aggressor. Always. This is non-negotiable and is a foundational aspect of civilized ethics.
101Walterton wrote:The cut and paste king is back.
It's called citation. Adults often use it in argument.
The most recent of those was the best part of 40 yeas ago, and how is that relevent to your personal situation that requires you to own a gun ?
Fallacious, and this also goes to the above. The political argument is about people as a class, not me individually. That is, the value in the populace being armed as a possible deterrent and as a means of resistance to the US government or any other state.

EDITed to enhance a point.
Last edited by eumaas on 15 Mar 2009, 11:22pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 15 Mar 2009, 11:21pm

Wolter wrote:Ad hominem.
Yes very clever you said it once already.

I am waiting to hear one reason why Eumaas needs to own a gun that doesnt make me laugh out loud.

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 15 Mar 2009, 11:22pm

eumaas wrote:
101Walterton wrote:I'l give you a tip, a government assassin coming after you will be trained in covert operations and may not come to the front door waving a gun and shouting threats which would give you enough time to retreive your gun from the gun cupboard and protect yourself.
A gun is not totally effective. Being disarmed would be even less effective. That a measure is not completely effective is not argument to surrender it in favor of even less efficacy.
Another tip would be to stop doing whatever it is that causes an overseas government to send an assassin after you.
Firstly, you're deliberately framing it in ridiculous terms (see the links for an idea of what kind of situation I reference), and secondly, you're apologizing for totalitarianism. After all, the victims of Pol Pot would've been safe if they had just stopped having such poor eyesight, right? Liberals would've been safe in Nazi Germany if they had just shut up and stopped spreading their ideas. The moral onus is ALWAYS on the aggressor. Always.
101Walterton wrote:The cut and paste king is back.
It's called citation. Adults often use it in argument.
The most recent of those was the best part of 40 yeas ago, and how is that relevent to your personal situation that requires you to own a gun ?
Fallacious, and this also goes to the above. The political argument is about people as a class, not me individually. That is, the value in the populace being armed as a possible deterrent and as a means of resistance to the US government or any other state.
Why does Eumaas need a gun thats all I ask.

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by Wolter » 15 Mar 2009, 11:24pm

101Walterton wrote:
Wolter wrote:Ad hominem.
Yes very clever you said it once already.

I am waiting to hear one reason why Eumaas needs to own a gun that doesnt make me laugh out loud.
THEN STOP FUCKING DOING IT AND ACTUALLY DEBATE.

He has given you several reasons. I don't necessarily agree with them, but you can't move the goalposts and think you've scored a point.
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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by eumaas » 15 Mar 2009, 11:35pm

101Walterton wrote:Why does Eumaas need a gun thats all I ask.
I hold to the nonaggression principle. It is entirely illegitimate to initiate force or to threaten force against another person. The only legitimate use of force is in response/retaliation to the initiation of force by another. Breaking this down, it means that I believe that self-defense is legitimate. I believe that it is legitimate to step in if someone is threatening another person or is already engaged in violence against that person. As I believe self-defense is legitimate, I believe the option of owning and using a gun for use in defense of my person or others is legitimate, and it can even be a good thing as 1. it can be a deterrent against the initiation of force, and 2. the state frequently uses deadly force against its victims and so having a means of self-defense more comparable to that capacity of the state's is a desirable end.

As I believe the right of self-defense and defense of others to be my right by virtue of my humanity, I cannot deprive others of that right--it applies equally, and I enjoy no privilege to those rights above any other.

In the exercise of this right and the application of self-defense, I believe that proportionality, while not an absolute constraint (tit-for-tat becomes irrelevant when a deadly weapon enters the picture), is a good guide to the proper exercise of the right of self-defense and defense of others. So, for example, if someone threatened me with fists, I wouldn't necessarily whip out a pistol and kill him. The act of taking a life, even in legitimate self-defense, should never be a trivial matter.

EDIT: And above, to be clear and to mitigate against some cheap point, I'm not arguing for the need of a weapon, I'm arguing (on ethical grounds) for the right to be able to possess such a weapon. I don't think it's philosophically/ethically sound to disarm the populace while leaving the government armed, and I base this on both deontological and consequentialist grounds. The nonaggressor doesn't need to have a gun, but it does not follow that he or she must be prohibited from owning one. My own decision to possess a firearm came from desiring to have the defensive option of a gun at my disposal, based on crime in my neighborhood and the worsening politico-economic situation in the United States. I doubt I'll ever need to use it against another person, but the future is, of course, always uncertain, and I do not think it ethically illegitimate for me to merely possess this means of defense. Furthermore, as I said above, what's a natural right for me is a natural right for you too--I can't deprive you of that unless you've aggressed against another. See the nonaggression principle above.

EDIT2: In other words, if you're a nonaggressor, I can't take a gun away from you nor can I force you to own one. It's up to you.
Last edited by eumaas on 16 Mar 2009, 12:08am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 16 Mar 2009, 12:08am

eumaas wrote:
101Walterton wrote:Why does Eumaas need a gun thats all I ask.
I hold to the nonaggression principle. It is entirely illegitimate to initiate force or to threaten force against another person. The only legitimate use of force is in response/retaliation to the initiation of force by another. Breaking this down, it means that I believe that self-defense is legitimate. I believe that it is legitimate to step in if someone is threatening another person or is already engaged in violence against that person. As I believe self-defense is legitimate, I believe the option of owning and using a gun for use in defense of my person or others is legitimate, and it can even be a good thing as 1. it can be a deterrent against the initiation of force, and 2. the state frequently uses deadly force against its victims and so having a means of self-defense more comparable to that capacity of the state's is a desirable end.

As I believe the right of self-defense and defense of others to be my right by virtue of my humanity, I cannot deprive others of that right--it applies equally, and I enjoy no privilege to those rights above any other.

In the exercise of this right and the application of self-defense, I believe that proportionality, while not an absolute constraint (tit-for-tat becomes irrelevant when a deadly weapon enters the picture), is a good guide to the proper exercise of the right of self-defense and defense of others. So, for example, if someone threatened me with fists, I wouldn't necessarily whip out a pistol and kill him. The act of taking a life, even in legitimate self-defense, should never be a trivial matter.
Groundhog Day.
So you have gone from "If you can find a way to get rid of the guns while protecting us from the cops and the army, I'm all ears." to requiring a gun for defence from any unforseen threat that may or may not occur in the future. Add that to the 'its our right under the Constitution' list of reasons for owning a gun and there's your problem. It's the availability of guns that contributes to the number of mass shootings. More guns more killings. To argue it's your right is niaive and pointless.

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by eumaas » 16 Mar 2009, 12:21am

101Walterton wrote:Groundhog Day.
I like that movie.
So you have gone from "If you can find a way to get rid of the guns while protecting us from the cops and the army, I'm all ears."
Yes, that's part of the consequentialist component of my argument. As soon as you disarm the populace, you put all the capacity for violence in the hands of the state, an organization that throughout history has shown itself more than willing to massacre its citizens and abuse whatever putative power it possesses. That requires an argument that, for example, the decline in murder due to the disarmament of the populace (and you'd have to argue this would occur and provide evidence for this argument) outweighs the risk, or that there would be a method of keeping the state in check in the absence of firearms, etc. So far you have yet to make an argument along these lines or any relevant alternatives.
to requiring a gun for defence from any unforseen threat that may or may not occur in the future.
I haven't argued that guns are required, I've argued the legitimacy of owning them and using them defensively.
Add that to the 'its our right under the Constitution' list of reasons for owning a gun and there's your problem.
I never said anything about the Constitution. The explication of my ethical position stands completely apart from any given political structure. I would argue that the right of self-defense is universal to individuals in every country. The issue of the constitutionally protected right has to do with the implementation of a gun ban. It's a big part of why such a ban would fail until the constitution was amended. The issue of how easy a gun ban would be implemented is apart from whether or not such a gun ban is ethically justified.
It's the availability of guns that contributes to the number of mass shootings. More guns more killings.
You have to actually argue this point and back it up. I'm certainly sympathetic to it, but I also wonder if there isn't a deeper sociological and psychological problem at work.
To argue it's your right is niaive and pointless.
Ethics is anything but pointless. Do you teach your children that it's wrong to steal, to murder, etc? You certainly know your kids will probably do something immoral at some point, right? But I think you'll grant me that's no reason to argue that teaching them morals is pointless.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 16 Mar 2009, 1:29am

"Yes, that's part of the consequentialist component of my argument. As soon as you disarm the populace, you put all the capacity for violence in the hands of the state, an organization that throughout history has shown itself more than willing to massacre its citizens and abuse whatever putative power it possesses."
Just like the UK, get real. Groundhog Day was reference to the last pointless debate on here about guns (which you were part of) hence my comment regarding the Constitutional Right but I am sure you knew that.


"You have to actually argue this point and back it up".
No I dont and no I am not going to the actions speak for themselves. Here we are again 2 years later, same old arguments same old defence for the gun only now there are more dead innocent people.
Before I depart there is one thing that puzzles me. You make this case for gun ownership for self defence yet in how many of the numerous mass shootings in recent years has an American citizen, who is excersizing his right to own a gun, defended himself by shooting dead the gunman because I dont know of any ?

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by eumaas » 16 Mar 2009, 2:04am

101Walterton wrote:Just like the UK, get real.
So there's no possibility whatsoever that the government of the United Kingdom will overstep its supposed power and harm the populace? Not a single shred of possibility? And I'm the naive one?
Groundhog Day was reference to the last pointless debate on here about guns (which you were part of) hence my comment regarding the Constitutional Right but I am sure you knew that.
It's still a good movie.
No I dont and no I am not going to the actions speak for themselves.
You don't have to form cogent arguments, I suppose, but rational argument is the baseline for civilized debate. The primitive man who disagrees hits his opponent with a rock. The civilized man, on the other hand, discourses in argument. The act of argumentation, incidentally, is the subject of a species of ethics. I was raised in a household where one supported one's assertions in matters of politics, ethics, economics, history, etc with argument--reasons and evidence or conclusions and premises, and so I believe that the exercise of reason is a virtue, an essential part of well-being (eudaimonia).

In Aristotle's ethics (and I am in accord with him on this matter), the good of the human being is in what sets us apart from animals, and what differentiates us from the animals is our capacity for reason. Excelling at the use of reason over the course of our life is the goal of our life. So the more we resort to reason over its alternatives, and the more we excel in the exercise of reason (as it relates to our actions, not merely in theory), the more we attain humanity.
Here we are again 2 years later, same old arguments same old defence for the gun only now there are more dead innocent people.
It's certainly an awful thing. The Virginia Tech shooting a couple years back certainly hit close to home. There was a lot of fear on campus afterwards.
Before I depart there is one thing that puzzles me. You make this case for gun ownership for self defence yet in how many of the numerous mass shootings in recent years has an American citizen, who is excersizing his right to own a gun, defended himself by shooting dead the gunman because I dont know of any ?
I don't think this works in your favor as I think in most (if not all?) of the cases, the people involved were unarmed--this is particularly true of school shootings, as it's illegal to carry a weapon on campuses. Contrary to what may be popular international perception, most Americans do not carry a gun. Even if you do carry a gun legally (whether open carry or concealed carry), you are apt to be harassed by the police, which has occurred to a local man enough times that he's sued the city for harassment. I can search out the story on that if you like. It's also possible that an armed citizen has stopped a massacre before it has even begun. That sort of story wouldn't escape local news.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 16 Mar 2009, 2:34am

eumaas wrote:
101Walterton wrote:Just like the UK, get real.
So there's no possibility whatsoever that the government of the United Kingdom will overstep its supposed power and harm the populace? Not a single shred of possibility? And I'm the naive one?
Groundhog Day was reference to the last pointless debate on here about guns (which you were part of) hence my comment regarding the Constitutional Right but I am sure you knew that.
It's still a good movie.
No I dont and no I am not going to the actions speak for themselves.
You don't have to form cogent arguments, I suppose, but rational argument is the baseline for civilized debate. The primitive man who disagrees hits his opponent with a rock. The civilized man, on the other hand, discourses in argument. The act of argumentation, incidentally, is the subject of a species of ethics. I was raised in a household where one supported one's assertions in matters of politics, ethics, economics, history, etc with argument--reasons and evidence or conclusions and premises, and so I believe that the exercise of reason is a virtue, an essential part of well-being (eudaimonia).

In Aristotle's ethics (and I am in accord with him on this matter), the good of the human being is in what sets us apart from animals, and what differentiates us from the animals is our capacity for reason. Excelling at the use of reason over the course of our life is the goal of our life. So the more we resort to reason over its alternatives, and the more we excel in the exercise of reason (as it relates to our actions, not merely in theory), the more we attain humanity.
Here we are again 2 years later, same old arguments same old defence for the gun only now there are more dead innocent people.
It's certainly an awful thing. The Virginia Tech shooting a couple years back certainly hit close to home. There was a lot of fear on campus afterwards.
Before I depart there is one thing that puzzles me. You make this case for gun ownership for self defence yet in how many of the numerous mass shootings in recent years has an American citizen, who is excersizing his right to own a gun, defended himself by shooting dead the gunman because I dont know of any ?
I don't think this works in your favor as I think in most (if not all?) of the cases, the people involved were unarmed--this is particularly true of school shootings, as it's illegal to carry a weapon on campuses. Contrary to what may be popular international perception, most Americans do not carry a gun. Even if you do carry a gun legally (whether open carry or concealed carry), you are apt to be harassed by the police, which has occurred to a local man enough times that he's sued the city for harassment. I can search out the story on that if you like. It's also possible that an armed citizen has stopped a massacre before it has even begun. That sort of story wouldn't escape local news.
Do you carry your gun ? I suspect like most people you keep it in a locked cabinet where it will never be any use in self defence.

"So there's no possibility whatsoever that the government of the United Kingdom will overstep its supposed power and harm the populace? Not a single shred of possibility? And I'm the naive one?"

Even if you had a gun what use would it be, fooling with your gun wont get you anywhere when the British army is waiting out there and weighs 1500 tonnes. I realise that is no argument but the scenario is so ridiculous what else can you say.

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by eumaas » 16 Mar 2009, 2:44am

By the way, there's a metric shit ton of links to empirical studies here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics
101Walterton wrote:Do you carry your gun ? I suspect like most people you keep it in a locked cabinet
I don't currently carry, no, although I'm considering getting a permit. Whether or not I would actually carry after getting a permit is another matter. I don't currently keep it in a locked cabinet so much as hidden but accessible for me. Were I living with children, I would keep it locked. I keep it unloaded, but as it's a semi-automatic, loading it is merely a matter of inserting the magazine.
where it will never be any use in self defence.
Not true. Consider home invasion.
Even if you had a gun what use would it be, fooling with your gun wont get you anywhere when the British army is waiting out there and weighs 1500 tonnes. I realise that is no argument but the scenario is so ridiculous what else can you say.
There is a history of successful guerrilla-style resistance against occupying powers and homegrown oppression. Hell, the US military is having a hell of a time in Afghanistan and Iraq right now. Simo Häyhä killed 540 Soviet soldiers with an ordinary bolt-action rifle.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: The Gun Politics Thread

Post by 101Walterton » 16 Mar 2009, 3:22am

You win. You drew me in to what I knew would be a completely pointless, fantasy riddled load of bollocks dressed up as a 'gun debate'.

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