Re: Guns [was Re: property Rights]
Thu, 27 May 1999 14:17:18 EDT

In a message dated 5/27/99 2:02:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< This may be a weak argument, but to me there seems to be little extropian value in enslaving oneself to a gun. Making a gun one's first defense to any threat, imagined or otherwise, is hardly developing yourself as a human. Non-violence, while less spectacular and seemingly slower to get results, is (in my opinion) always to be preferred to a violent approach. >>

I much prefer non-violence. I would bet that everyone on this list prefers it, also. I would also bet that the maroity of humans prefer it.

But the fact at issue here is not non-violence vs. violence (or violence as " one's first defense to any threat, imagined or otherwise" ), but whether or not individuals ought to be allowed to own guns.

The problem with banning guns is, ultimately, that one's life is one's responsibility to support and defend. Just as one ought to be free to make a living ( a basically libertarian premise) one also ought to be free to
*protect* that life. And so long as there exists a threat of a forceful
attack on oneself, it is quite prudent to have the means to protect your

A completely centralized protection agency (like police) is inefficient in the same way for the same reasons as a completely centralized economic planner. The problem of information ( Who needs protection? How do I choose amongst competing claims? ) ultimately makes centralization fail (among other reasons).

Finally, besides personal responsibility and central inefficiency, I think that thinking that one can legislate virtue in a populace is incorrect. A society emerges from a group of people, and a virtuous society emerges from a group of virtuous citizens. Its a "bottom-up" phenomenon, not a "top-down" one.

Well, I hope I've added something constructive here.


PS- What are some good "top-down" phenomena? That is, what are some systems that work well in a "top-down" way?