Monday, December 18, 2006

Gun Nuttery: Then vs. Now

Eugene Volokh says

Now I'm not sure that private arms -- or at least private arms at the level that we're likely to tolerate, which is to say some privately owned infantry weapons but without privately owned warplanes, heavy armor, anti-aircraft weapons, and the like -- are likely to do much to deter or fight government tyranny in America today. It's possible that they would have this effect, especially against relatively mild-mannered opppressors; but I certainly can't muster the confidence for this that Madison or others expressed.
Couldn't agree more... its just nice to see someone with bona-fide libertarian credentials saying it for once. But then he says
But it does seem pretty clear that the "private gun ownership as check on government tyranny" view was quite prevalent in the Framing era, and was closely tied to the right to keep and bear arms. If holding such a view today makes the holders "gun nuts," then James Madison was a gun nut, too.
Who... wha... huh? Doesn't that contradict his previous statement?

If, in Madison's time, the private ownership of firearms was a deterrent to tyranny then Madison wasn't being a "gun nut" in holding such a belief. On the other hand people who assert that such is the case today, when private firearm ownership can't begin to compete with an F-16, are engaging in magical thinking if not outright "gun nuttery". One belief proceeds from rational evaluation, the other proceeds from a need to compensate for a small penis.

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