The idea that a major component of the 2nd Amendment is for an armed populace to be a safeguard against tyranny doesn’t sit well with the gun control industry. They always counter with a ludicrous argument that people with small arms couldn’t possibly resist heavily armed government forces. That is the position of Mike Austin, a philosophy professor, in his op-ed piece for the Eastern Progressive.
Austin is pushing for even stronger gun control laws in the country and his reasons are weirder than most. His basic argument is that we the people couldn’t possibly stand up to a tyrannical government, so why bother. Of course he’s completely wrong, but when has that ever stopped a gun grabber from spewing nonsense.
Predictably, he starts off on the wrong foot:
While it is possible that tyranny may arise in our nation, this seems unlikely, given the existence of democratic institutions and a strong tradition of adherence to the rule of law.
Currently we have a President and Attorney General that have no love for the Constitution. Obama and Holder spit in the face of the law. Police from the feds down to local departments have increasingly become militarized and the government spies on it’s own people. It’s not a matter of “if” tyranny is possible so much as a “when” it’s going to kick into full gear. Our tradition of the rule of law is history.
Moreover, when we take into account the military might of the United States government, it is not clear how an armed populace would prevent such tyranny. If such tyranny did arise, the people could successfully resist only if they had a stockpile of weapons capable of matching the state’s firepower.
Last year, LL Cool J look-alike, Christopher Dorner took on the full force of the Los Angeles and Riverside police departments. He killed 3 cops and wounded 3 others in a nearly two-week rampage. The cops knew what he looked liked and basically where he was; yet tens of thousands of heavily armed officers could not bring him down. He created chaos and death at will and was only stopped after a civilian helped cops find him.
That was just one guy. Now imagine 300 million guns in 55 million households nationwide. If you average 3 persons per household that would be 265 million armed American citizens. That’s 265 million anonymous lone wolf dissenters. How much military and police might would it take to quash that rebellion?
See, the thing is, the US is not very good at fighting guerrilla warfare. This is not to bag on the American military, all armies suck at fighting guerilla wars. When you don’t know who the enemy is, there’s a lot of standing around waiting to be ambushed. It’s hard to mount an offensive when the enemy is indistinguishable from innocent civilians. Heavy armor, artillery, and technology are useless against a radicalized armed indigenous population.
If the justification for the widespread possession of guns is to deter or resist a possible future tyrannical state, then by the same reasoning there would also be a right to possess tanks, missiles, and weapons of mass destruction, all of which would be needed to truly deter or reverse such tyranny. But surely this is wrong, because of the potential harm to innocent victims if these weapons were widely possessed.
Here’s another stupid argument. Tanks and warplanes cost millions of dollars so they would be out of the price range for the average anti-government agitator. Beyond that, if there were a tyrannical government looking to disarm its population, they would prefer that the dissenters were in a tank. If you had three guys in a city, sniping and creating mayhem, it would take thousands of soldiers to quell the threat. If you had three guys in a tank doing the same thing, all it would take to eliminate them would be one missile.
Of course in arguments like these, the anti-gunners always throw in the childish argument that if you support the 2nd Amendment as absolute, then you must also believe average citizens should be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction like nukes. For this, I will capitulate to Mr. Austin and agree that people shouldn’t have access to nuclear weapons with out a background check and a 3-day waiting period.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. For a philosophy professor, Mike Austin doesn’t seem to be able to grasp any of that. I think it is because when a person convinces him or herself that guns are bad, it becomes impossible for them to look at any problem or solution objectively. How’s that for philosophizing?
Tyranny is possible, even in our great democratic system of checks and balances. An armed population is less susceptible to tyranny than a disarmed one. Our founding fathers knew this and that’s why they included the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights.