Why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

Why The Gun In Civilization

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 paradoxical 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 mugger’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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4 Responses to “Why carrying a gun is a civilized act.”

  1. TexasFred Says:

    God created man, Sam Colt made them EQUAL…

    And yea though I walk through the valley, I shall fear NO evil…

    My XD-45 Tactical and skills they comfort me…

    You see, I AM a *trained gunfighter*, and I have nothing to prove to anyone…


  2. commontater Says:

    I could not have said it better myself. I wonder if it’s known how many citizen’s lives have been saved because someone in the crowd had a gun for protection – and used it! And, if you really think about it, when one realizes how many citizens carry guns who have used them to protect lives compared to how many citizens are killed by criminals , it would probably shut up those who lump all gun owners under the same banner as perpetrators. Everyone should read Unintended Consequences by John Ross to get a fair picture of the gun culture down throughout America’s history to finally realize why every citizen should own a gun to protect themselves and their family against harm. Lastly, for your readers: don’t forget that citizens have the right to be left alone.


  3. mainenowandthen Says:

    Very interesting post, Patrick – certainly thought-provoking (providing one is not prone to knee-jerk reactions to the word “gun”)

    I have had a carry permit for years. Fortunately, here in Maine I have never had to draw a weapon in self defense. Doesn’t stop me from having firearms in a couple of strategic locations, though. Neither have I had occasion to draw a firearm during my security work, although there were times when it was in contact with my hand.

    I have also been associated with martial arts for many years, but have not used those capabilities more than a couple of times and then only in self defense.

    Can’t say that I agree that “Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction”, since there are some instances where it becomes necessary when “reason” fails, is ignored, or is not considered an option by an opponent from the very beginning.

    The application of force through any weapons system must of necessity be judicious. In many instances, the projection of willingness to use force is sufficient to obtain compliance or avoidance. One of the major problems, other than a breakdown of our legal system that favors the criminal element, is a lack of education in self-defense techniques that is actually encouraged by many authorities in order to enlarge dependence upon government. However, as most of us have come to realize, crime prevention and protection is in large part a myth.

    “An armed society is a polite society” (Robert Heinlein, author).


  4. Patrick Sperry Says:

    So true Maine, and I think that the author was referring to “normal” society, and situations. Certainly in warfare, times of civil unrest, or when you are a victim of a criminal assault a definitive response appropriate to the situation is warranted.


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