“If you believe in peace”

“If you believe in peace, you should support gun control.”

This statement, made a while ago by someone I know, has stuck in my craw for some time now. Initially, I thought it contained some form of question begging, but it really doesn’t. The main issue is one of equivocation. That is, it uses the word “peace” with the assumption that everyone listening will agree with (a) the definition and (b) that the implementation of gun control will lead, to some degree, to that condition.

Of course, the word “peace” is probably second only to “god” in terms of argument over just what it “means.” It can refer to everything from the absence of military hostilities to any of the various Utopian ideals espoused over the course of history. So by itself its not really helpful in determining exactly what state gun control is supposed to help bring us.

From the context, we can infer (broadly) that “peace” in this case refers to “absence of violence in society.” Such inference of course opens up the danger that we are attacking a strawman, but that seems unavoidable in this instance. (The speaker in question has not been particularly forthcoming as to the central term.)

So, when the police come to confiscate firearms, they will be using the non-violent confrontation techniques of Gandhi, or perhaps simply reasoning the weapons away? Certainly, there wouldn’t be any threat implied by someone with a gun coming to take another person’s gun from them, could there? Like maybe the implication that if the now illegal firearm is not surrendered, the police might use theirs in order to obtain it? I am somewhat doubtful. I’m almost certain that confiscation of firearms would involve at least the threat of violence against the people who own them.

Unless we redefine violence. Which is exactly what ticks me off about this statement in the first place. Were I to decide that an object in your possession were “evil,” and tried by my own efforts to forcibly take it from you, this would be called “theft.” If I had some sort of weapon backing up my demands, it would be considered “assault with a deadly weapon,” and “armed robbery.” But a policeman apparently loses all obligation to follow the law when enforcing it. The entity he represents (the State) has a monopoly on violence. Yet this argument would have his actions somehow removed from the ledger of “violent” acts and placed under the category of those which diminish violence.

Needless to say, I am not at all comfortable with positions that require me to consider a particular act not violent in one case, but violent in another. We can debate whether an act is ethical in a particular context, but it seems the height of superstition to think that an act become less violent simply because the person committing it wears a certain set of clothes and has a particular employer.

I have noted that, while people identified as “liberals” often say that we “can’t legislate morality.” Yet, when it comes to things that the liberal moral system considers “evil,” they are more than willing to do just that. In doing so, they often contribute to the very real problems they wish to solve.

I would have thought people had learned by now that you cannot prevent crime with laws, cops, and courts. These things exist to deal with the aftermath. They manage the drive for revenge so that the middle class doesn’t have to deal with constant feuding or get its hands dirty with their neighbor’s blood. (The lower middle class and the poor figured out a long time ago that the State isn’t on their side. These areas have, naturally, fallen into the civil war that lies behind our social order.)

The way to end violence is to not do it and not support it, wherever it comes from. It means not putting a band-aid on cancer and actually doing something about the real problem, which is that we have been duped into a stupid, brutal, ego-driven society by parasites that want to enslave us. You end the nightmare by waking up.

  1. Gavin said:

    Great Post!

  2. jennifer said:

    such are the complications resulting from the great divide that exists between theory and practice. on the one hand we have academics sequestered in an ivory tower carrying on some very lovely conversations, and on the other hand we have a plethora of self-righteous anti-intellectual activists. and never the twain shall meet… at least, that’s how i feel after paying my dues with both camps.

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