The Preferred Role of Guns in the Political Process

Recently, I wrote of the limited utility of sharpshooters in standing battles. I also write often about the importance of marksmanship and gun ownership. How do these two statements fit together?

Where most of the population is unarmed and untrained, a relatively small junta can make considerable progress by not playing by the rules. That approach doesn’t work as well if every segment of the population is capable to self-defense. Of course, it is possible for one group to overmatch another, but the amount of logistical organization and preparation necessary for such a feat would also enable them to win elections…at which point victory by force becomes unnecessary. In effect, elections can be viewed as non-violent proxies for civil wars. The same is true of personal safety: in some countries, dissidents and merely insufficiently enthusiastic supporters of the ruling party could be rounded up at little cost to the government. In the US, every individual may be presumed armed and unpredictable, increasing the required manpower and decreasing the ability to arrest political opponents without repercussions.

So guns and other weapons in private hands keep certain political optimists from trying their luck at establishing the Second Caliphate or building Worker’s Paradise or Restoring the Republic. They end up trying to make it happen by means other than bloody mayhem. I’d rather have a PR battle and put up with annoying campaigns than have DFL and GOP (and possible other contenders) slug it out Beirut 1982 style. The Lebanese civil war, by the way, was sparked by outside influences that gave some factions the illusion of “short victorious war” being possible. The American civilian arms basically make violent political shortcuts backfire on those who try. That is why marksmanship and access to arms are important.

This entry was posted in civil rights, rkba, self-defense, weapon. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Preferred Role of Guns in the Political Process

  1. herddog505 says:

    I am reminded of a line from the movie “Fail-Safe”:

    “How long would the Nazis have kept it up, General, if every Jew they came after had met them with a gun in his hand?”*

    But the gun is nothing more than a physical manifestation of an idea, of the determination to NOT go gently into that good night, to NOT meekly acquiesce to threats, intimidation and terror, to NOT live and die as a slave. The bully succeeds only until his would-be victims decide that it is “worth it” to fight back. The gun simply makes fighting back a bit easier.


    (*) “Fail-Safe” (1964)
    dir. Sidney Lumet
    spoken by Walter Matthau

  2. Aaron Spuler says:

    Oleg, if you’ve not heard of ‘The Battle of Athens’ then you need to check this out. Was news to me as of yesterday.

  3. The problem I have with the “elections-as-proxies-for-civil-wars” idea is that they seem to encourage civil wars more than they prevent them.

    In many western states the governments are relatively stable, yes, but that’s mostly because the administering is done by non-elected officials.

    • LarryArnold says:

      “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  4. Paul Koning says:

    This discussion also explains why the UN is opposed to private gun ownership. After all, the UN is a club of governments, and governments are opposed to liberty. A minority of them (“Western democracies”) hide this fact; the majority don’t even bother.

  5. LarryArnold says:

    The convolutions of politics are an alternative to the simple solution of murder.

  6. Lyle says:

    We are engaged in a psyops war

  7. Sigivald says:


    The political point of an armed populace is not “to fight against the entire Army as a guerrilla or regular force*”, but to make the marginal cost of trying to be a tyrant so high it never gets attempted.

    You can’t be, say, the Butcher of Lyon if the Lyonnaise are armed; one of them will end up shooting you, since eventually one of them will get a chance.

    (* Unlikely in the US foreseeably, fortunately – in my experience pretty much everyone in the armed services takes their oath Seriously, and it’d take a lot of time and effort to slowly change that, before it the Army and Marines would be an effective tool of outright oppression.)

    • Robert says:

      Also, at least currently, the armed forces come from a different class (social, economic, attitudinal, geographic, moral system, religion…to name a few) from the elite who would be ordering them to act as the enforcement arm of a tyrannical US government.

      This could change, obviously, given time and certain conditions. But the values of the elite and those of the armed forces are opposed on a considerable number of key issues.

      See Angelo Codevilla’s highly enlightening piece:

  8. anonymous coward says:

    In 1918 in The Netherlands the socialist leader Troelstra got excited after hearing from the German and Russian revolution and proclaimed the Dutch Revolution.

    After which nothing happened…..

    Three official reasons why: he forgot to mention his plans to his comrades, the government sent troops and a counter movement was started to support the monarchy. Personally, I think that the main reason was that we Dutch are to laid back for revolutions. It’s people first, guns second.

    • Paul Koning says:

      In 1918, sure. Not true earlier on. For one thing, the Dutch had a revolution a century before the USA did (and the US leaders were very much aware of the Dutch experience). And there was all the agitation not long before Napoleon’s invasion, the details of which were never made at all clear to me in history lessons.
      I wonder if it is still true as it was when I went to school, that no Dutch kid learns about the Dutch Declaration of Independence (

  9. Pingback: Variations On A Theme | Western Rifle Shooters Association

Comments are closed.