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Objectivism and Gun Rights

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What if I had the money and wanted to test that capability? Like I asked before: Wouldn't it be perfectly fine for someone to buy some nukes for some testing for "industrial mining" purposes? Or would you require them to write a detailed overview of their intentions before you allow them to do so?

Well, how did Rand put that, "The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

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Banning a nuke seems a little unnecessary. Who can afford one? Even among those who can afford them, what are the chances they possess the trained personnel necessary to use one? Not to say that I think it is wrong for a government to control nuclear weapons, but it does seem like a waste of time. The ban isn't going to help authorities catch a would-be terrorist. With or without a ban, the government is going to be keeping a close eye on those weapons.

Edit:

I think that rather than bickering over the particulars of whether or not it should be allowed for civilians to possess weapons of war (anything larger than a light machine gun, for (arbitrary) example), you should put your efforts into preserving the right of people to possess the firearms that are not only effective for all sorts of self-defense situations but are likely to be possessed. Handguns and rifles (along with their select-fire variants), shotguns, knives, suppressors and anything else that is routinely used by police and infantry ought to be available to everybody else. Those are the weapons that would best allow us to defend our life, property, and ultimately liberty.

Having a Panzer division might help overthrow a government, but something tells me it isn't necessary. Insurgents are doing a wonderful job of screwing around with our military overseas, and there is no reason to suspect that Americans (who are well armed and trained) couldn't do better if it ever came to that. I know this is a philosophical discussion, and it's important to include any weapon imaginable in this debate, but if you are talking bringing this argument into a political situation, you are going to lose without focusing on small arms.

Edited by Adjutor

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I think the question here is what constitutes a threat. If someone is threatening me with force then my rights are being violated ( assuming I haven't initiated the use of force myself) In the case of gun ownership I wouldn't consider myself threatened unless someone did so explicitly ( i.e. by pointing it at me or just verbally). Though if a person had an extremely malevolent view of the universe they might believe their neighbor simply owning a gun was a threat to them. So you have to distinguish between when a man is being reasonable by considering something a threat and when he's just being paranoid.

I agree with the poster who said you have to consider the context. If a big corporation, the kind that could actually afford it, decided that they wanted to do some research into nuclear mining ( obviously such experiments would be necessary before any mining could be done ) I wouldn't think I was being threatened. Though I would want the issue looked into. So long as the corporation isn't composed of felons or neo Nazis or something of the like, I would see no reason to feel threatened.

If nuclear mining simply isn't workable then perhaps some other non military use for nukes will be in the future. Either way I wouldn't support a law that just outright prohibited private ownership of nukes. Because you just don't know what the future holds and what might become perfectly reasonable down the road.

Edited by Fred Kinnen

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In the case of gun ownership I wouldn't consider myself threatened unless someone did so explicitly ( i.e. by pointing it at me or just verbally).

One thing I've noted throughout this thread is a back-and-forth over the issue of whether simply possessing a gun connotes a threat of force. Some posters have implied or expressly stated the view that a gun alone is not a threat-inducing object. To wit, the "paper weight" argument.

I think there is something crucial being missed by those who hold the view that a gun, by itself, is not a threat or that it is simply an inert item absent an active individual with malicious intent. The paper weight argument holds no water when you examine the intent behind the construction of the item in the first place. While it is true that any tool is a weapon if you hold it right (i.e., have intent to exercise force), certain tools have been developed and produced with the express purpose of helping people in their efforts to exercise force, whether that force is justified or not. The nature of a hand held firearm is the same whether it is held by a lawful and rational citizen or by a criminal.

DavidOdden pegged it with the quote from Rand:

"Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don't know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim."

It isn't that I mean to argue simply possessing a gun imbues a person with the privilege to kill at whim. That would require a corollary mindset that allows for indiscriminate killing, and as such the possession of a firearm could well be seen as superfluous. The main point I take away from this discussion is that Objectivism does not, by default, stand opposed to gun ownership. But I don't see anything compelling me to accept gun ownership as a necessary privilege in American (or any other) society.

We have the inalienable right to secure ourselves against harm by others who are exercising force against us. We have the right to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure we are so secured, up to an including arming ourselves with weapons for defensive purposes as these are products that men have designed and produced. Fair trade for these products is allowable.

However, where the line is drawn remains an unsettled issue. I am more of the mind that hand held bladed weapons are acceptable tools of defense (much preferable to firearms) as these require, perhaps loosely, that the wielder be possessed of not only the weapon itself but also the requisite skill to use it defensively. While offensive use of a sword or knife is still possible, it is infinitely less likely than indiscriminate and offensive use of a firearm.

If we take the argument to include skills to use weapons, and as those skills may be considered products of man's ingenuity, then prohibition of firearms among the general populace is more readily argued. Any fool can point a gun and squeeze a trigger. Killing at whim becomes laughably simple. A lunatic with a sword might do considerable damage, but would be readily stopped by any law enforcement officer with a firearm, and any potential victims of this person would need only move beyond the reach of the blade to remain safe. Not so easily managed where projectile weapons are concerned.

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But I don't see anything compelling me to accept gun ownership as a necessary privilege in American (or any other) society.

How about the Second Amendment for the United States?

Not for "society" but as the guarantee for the individual.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." — Mahatma Ghandi

"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." — Thomas Jefferson

Why should you be able to bargain my rights to self protection with arms?

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I'd just like to point out that it takes no skill to slash with a knife like you are cutting a loaf of bread, it also takes no skill to hack with a sword like you are chopping wood.

The main point I take away from this discussion is that Objectivism does not, by default, stand opposed to gun ownership. But I don't see anything compelling me to accept gun ownership as a necessary privilege in American (or any other) society.

Nothing is compelling you, what is being asked is that you don't through compulsion of your own constrict a right (to property) for those that do see and accept gun ownership as a necessary priviledge of their society.

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The Second Amendment is only as good as the premises it is based on, and quoting people isn't a powerful debate tool, especially people like Ghandi.

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However, where the line is drawn remains an unsettled issue. I am more of the mind that hand held bladed weapons are acceptable tools of defense (much preferable to firearms) as these require, perhaps loosely, that the wielder be possessed of not only the weapon itself but also the requisite skill to use it defensively. While offensive use of a sword or knife is still possible, it is infinitely less likely than indiscriminate and offensive use of a firearm.

Under this argument you would be disallowing the elderly, many women and the physically handicapped from defending themselves. Is that your intent? That only the young and physically fit should be allowed self defense? :thumbsup:

Although I shouldn't need to point that out because the right to bear arms has already been established.

Bear in mind it was not the founding fathers' intent that people only be able to defend themselves from marauding meth-heads, crack addicts and violent perverts... no. It was their direct stated intention that the people have arms so if necessary they would have the ability to overthrow their own government should it become tyrannical.

A bit hard to do that with a pocket knife.

I also take offense to your assertion that gun use does not involve skill. I come from a family with a long line of military and law enforcement background. I grew up learning to use all sorts of weapons. There is a great deal of skill involved in weapons handling. As to your assertion that any idiot can pull a trigger put some skill is needed to wield a bladed weapon... you do realize that cavemen had knives but no guns? Kinda blows that argument out of the water...

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But I don't see anything compelling me to accept gun ownership as a necessary privilege in American (or any other) society.

What is needed is a compelling reason to justify a restriction. Your use of the word 'privilege' here betrays a bias consistent with the view that rights are created by the government and then delegated or bestowed upon the people.

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Your use of the word 'privilege' here betrays a bias consistent with the view that rights are created by the government and then delegated or bestowed upon the people.

I think you've hit on the fundemental problem of our times Grames -one that touches ALL issues.

The govt is something we allow to exist to protect rights, not to bestow them.

Until people realize that the govt does NOT give rights no freedom is a given.

Obama giveth and Obama taketh away...

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However, where the line is drawn remains an unsettled issue. I am more of the mind that hand held bladed weapons are acceptable tools of defense (much preferable to firearms) as these require, perhaps loosely, that the wielder be possessed of not only the weapon itself but also the requisite skill to use it defensively. While offensive use of a sword or knife is still possible, it is infinitely less likely than indiscriminate and offensive use of a firearm.

1) So when faced with an attacker wielding a gun, you'd rather defend yourself with a knife or a sword? I call that a death-wish.

2) Rights are not a matter of skill. You ahve a right to defend yourself. That's it. Not a right to skillfuly defend yourself.

3) Regualting firearms may take them away from regular, law-abiding citizens. it won't do much to keep them out of the hands of criminals. A man willing to commit violence to rob a conveneince store or a passer-by, won't be deterred from commiting the further crime of using a gun.

In conclussion, if it's bad in practice it's because it's bad in theory.

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Disclaimer: What I am about to bring up can be discarded as a factor in whether or not gun rights are vital, and I am totally in favor of Gun Rights. I am merely bringing to discussion the veracity of a certain quote.

We did indeed know much about your preparedness. We knew that probably every second home in your country contained firearms. We knew that your country actually had state championships for private citizens shooting military rifles. We were not fools to set foot in such quicksand.--A Japanese Admiral explains why Japan didn't invade the US mainland in WWII

I've looked around for this quote, and I've found it on forums and such, but I haven't been able to find an official source of this quote.

This quote came up in a discussion between Navy Commander Bob Menard and a Japanese Admiral 15 years after Victory Day, apparently. But did this really happen? There obviously won't be any official government document on this, considering that this was a meeting between WW2 survivors.

According to some people, it all depends on whether or not Navy Commander Bob Menard was telling the truth or not.

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I found this quote.

Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, 1941

"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."

Yamamoto also recognized that if they were going to go to war with the US, it needed to be hit and crushed in around six months before the American industrial complex got moving and the people got behind it. By June of 1942, the US Navy struck a big blow on the Japanese in the Battle of Midway.

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I found this quote.

Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, 1941

"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."

Yamamoto also recognized that if they were going to go to war with the US, it needed to be hit and crushed in around six months before the American industrial complex got moving and the people got behind it. By June of 1942, the US Navy struck a big blow on the Japanese in the Battle of Midway.

http://factcheck.org/2009/05/misquoting-yamamoto/

And under "historical humbug"

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/

I saw the quote you were referring to as well, in my search for the veracity of the quote about how Japan didn't want to invade the mainland because of gun ownership. I wouldn't doubt it, but if there is no proof that it has happened, I just though it would be worth recommending ignoring the quote

I'm not saying you're wrong, just saying that I haven't seen a single verification of the quote you mentioned

Edited by Black Wolf

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I've come up with a proto-type defense for the legal purchasing of nukes.

1) If nukes can legally be purchased, then businesses will purchase nukes from Russia without government expenditure. Russia will have less nukes, and businesses can use nukes as an asset. They can sell nukes to countries for profit.

2) The countries that they sell nukes to can not be countries that our government has objectively defined to be evil.

3) I have no idea about how nukes are used, other than they go BOOM and kill people. Someone would have to help me out here.

Edited by Black Wolf

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I'd just like to point out that it takes no skill to slash with a knife like you are cutting a loaf of bread, it also takes no skill to hack with a sword like you are chopping wood.

I think a good many martial artists would disagree with you, not to argue from consensus. My point being, the truth of your statement rests upon who it is you are trying to cut or hack.

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Objectivism does not support the right for a person to own a gun, rather Rand recognised the dilemma and did not come down on either side of the issue.

It's a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people -- they are not carried for hunting animals -- and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don't know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

Source: http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/essays/guns.html

Personally I do not support the right for a person to own a gun, and believe the Second Ammendment to be unobjective for the reason Rand gives; a person shouldn't have the privilege to kill people at whim.

The USA has a relatively high murder rate and loose gun control. The safest rich countries are those which have strict gun control. If you dispute that guns equals more murder, then what do you think is the cause of America's high murder rate?

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If you dispute that guns equals more murder, then what do you think is the cause of America's high murder rate?

To the fact that America is not a nation of peasants, meaning they are not fatalistic or passive but are characteristically active and optimistic. When confronted with the intolerable the reaction is to rebel.

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To the fact that America is not a nation of peasants, meaning they are not fatalistic or passive but are characteristically active and optimistic. When confronted with the intolerable the reaction is to rebel.

Activity and optimism = more murder. I completely disagree! In the absence of a prevalence of guns, the more active and optimistic a nation is the lower the murder rate would be.

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I am very passionate about gun ownership, and it is one of the primary reasons for my moving to the US when it becomes possible for me to do so. You have to live in Sweden to truly appreciate how grotesque the sacrifice of innocent to the guilty is. The right to self defense is almost nonexistant here, with regular cases of charges being pressed against victims who used "excessive" force even if the prevention of murder, permanent injury or rape was a direct consequence of that force. It's god damn insane.

A government that bans private ownership of firearms is an illegitimate one.

Peikoff dealt with this issue in one of his podcasts but used fuzzy terminology when trying to distinguish between "reasonable" and "unreasonable" weapons, such as calling an Uzi a "heavy machine gun", when it is in fact a submachine gun. Big difference. I can't think of any justification for arbitrarily banning certain classes of firearms whether it's fully automatic ones, submachine guns, heavy machine guns etc. People do not live by permission. "I can't think of a legitimate use for heavy machine guns" is not a proper criterion for a legal ban of an item or class of items.

I submit that the primary and only general-class weapon bans would be ABC weapons, that is atomic (i.e. fission/fusion bombs), biological (e.g. Anthrax or other bacteria/viruses) and chemical (e.g. dirty bombs or sarin gas), that is weapons of mass destruction that downright cannot be legitimately used by a private individual (something even a 20mm Gatling gun could if you're defending a ranch/mansion from invaders...) and that constitute a passive threat by their mere storage within the area of effect of other people.

More specific rules might apply to storage of conventional explosives (or equivalent) that, while not banned as a substance, may endanger others by virtue of its sheer amount and/or proximity.

Edited by L-C

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A government that bans private ownership of firearms is an illegitimate one.

I agree with Rand, the issue is complex but you have to make sure that people can't have the ability to kill people at whim.

Peikoff dealt with this issue in one of his podcasts but used fuzzy terminology when trying to distinguish between "reasonable" and "unreasonable" weapons, such as calling an Uzi a "heavy machine gun", when it is in fact a submachine gun. Big difference. I can't think of any justification for arbitrarily banning certain classes of firearms whether it's fully automatic ones, submachine guns, heavy machine guns etc. People do not live by permission. "I can't think of a legitimate use for heavy machine guns" is not a proper criterion for a legal ban of an item or class of items.

Machine guns give the ability to kill many people at whim; that is their only function. On that basis alone their use should be restricted to the police and military.

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Personally I do not support the right for a person to own a gun, and believe the Second Ammendment to be unobjective for the reason Rand gives; a person shouldn't have the privilege to kill people at whim.
Presumably, since you're drawing support from the Rand quote, you mean specifically that you don't support the right for a person to own a handgun. There is no complexity to the issue of owning guns per se.
The USA has a relatively high murder rate and loose gun control. The safest rich countries are those which have strict gun control. If you dispute that guns equals more murder, then what do you think is the cause of America's high murder rate?
Grames gave part of a correct answer. The US is a nation of individuals; the EU is an ant colony. The psychological difference between the American perspective on the relationship between the state and the individual is radically different from the European perspective. The other part of the answer is our government's unique War on Drugs, which makes production and sale of drugs extremely risky and profitable.
I agree with Rand, the issue is complex but you have to make sure that people can't have the ability to kill people at whim.
You could not possibly believe that literally. Not only would the standard of "certainty" demand that guns be outlawed, but also any kind of knife, baseball bat, bricks, matches. And hands.

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Grames gave part of a correct answer. The US is a nation of individuals; the EU is an ant colony. The psychological difference between the American perspective on the relationship between the state and the individual is radically different from the European perspective.

So you're saying that the correct answer as to why America has more murder is partly due to psychological perspectives? And you support the American "perspective" that gives rise to murder? Murder is bad! Whatever it is in the American psyche that gives rise to blood shed is unhealthy! In my opinion it has nothing to do with psychology but rather an historical enthusiasm for guns (arising from the way the nation was founded and expanded). Today, America is no more violent than any nation, it just has lots of guns thrown into the mix. If you think its not guns, but rather psychological issues, then that's a huge condemnation of the American psyche.

In terms of the size of the state, the difference between America and the EU is about 10-15% of GDP. Hardly justified in calling the EU an ant colony, especially since the EU has more individual rights in many areas (ie I can marry who I choose in most EU states but am restricted by the government in America).

The other part of the answer is our government's unique War on Drugs, which makes production and sale of drugs extremely risky and profitable.

I think this is definitely part of the answer.

You could not possibly believe that literally. Not only would the standard of "certainty" demand that guns be outlawed, but also any kind of knife, baseball bat, bricks, matches. And hands.

Knives, bats, bricks, and hands have other legitimate purposes. A hunting rifle or a farmers shotgun has other legitimate purposes too I would argue.

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And you support the American "perspective" that gives rise to murder?
That is really poor logic. Murder arises from the presence of A and the lack of B -- you can solve for A and B. I oppose the lack of B, and furthermore it is well-established that I oppose the lack of B.
Today, America is no more violent than any nation, it just has lots of guns thrown into the mix.
Uh, okay, so you now reject your initial premise. Retraction accepted.
If you think its not guns, but rather psychological issues, then that's a huge condemnation of the American psyche.
Nonsense: it's a condemnation of one aspect of the psyche of a tiny number of Americans. What is this "it" you're talking about?
In terms of the size of the state, the difference between America and the EU is about 10-15% of GDP.
You've made a huge illogical leap: the relevant question is not the size of the government, it is the nature of the psyche of those nations. The spirit of individualism that typifies America is virtually non-existent in Europe.
Hardly justified in calling the EU an ant colony, especially since the EU has more individual rights in many areas (ie I can marry who I choose in most EU states but am restricted by the government in America).
In fact, EU has more individual rights that in the US in one and only one area: gay marriage.
Knives, bats, bricks, and hands have other legitimate purposes. A hunting rifle or a farmers shotgun has other legitimate purposes too I would argue.
So you retract your statement that "you have to make sure that people can't have the ability to kill people at whim". That's good. Note BTW that using a handgun for self-defense and target practice is also a legitimate purpose, for which reason it would be improper to outlaw handguns. I'm glad you've rejected your earlier mistaken ideas.

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