I was recently challenged via Twitter on the limits of weapons freedom. Let me set the stage. As I see it, there are two major reasons an individual has the natural right to bear weapons: 1)To hunt for animals which provide sustenance and 2) to defend against threats to one’s rightful life and property. Within the the second reason is the right to defend against the tyranny of an organized gang who says they have the right to your property. You are likely to lose this battle, but you still have the right. A predominant reason for the 2nd amendment’s declaration of an already inalienable right to bear arms, is for an individual to defend himself against the organized gang of government, so that people, not government have the final veto. This veto power could be a real one, but practically speaking it is an essential SYMBOLIC one.
The statist’s challenge to this position, that private weapons are a symbolic veto of government tyranny, is that by this logic an individual should have the right to have any weapon to counteract government tyranny, up to and including nuclear weapons.
Said the tweet in the conversation, “…by that logic I should be allowed nukes…”
Before I get too far down this road, I will first state a few opinions on the matter that I hold. First, there is nothing simple when you start to discuss nuclear weapons. Next, nuclear weapons are a product of the State. No other entity has the perfect combination of will, resources, and motive to concoct such an abominable device. So, as so many of these discussions go, even though the State has created this problem, the statist claims that only the State can fix it. How convenient.
I actually found quite a few ideas about nuclear weapons among some libertarian bloggers, like here, here, here and here. Several pointed me to Walter and Matthew Block’s “Toward a Universal Theory of Gun (Weapon) Control.” Read it in its entirety, for a good background. Their main premise is that a nuclear weapon is a defacto illegal weapon because of it’s indiscriminate nature, and imprecision. This would be true of any weapon of mass death (WMD), such as biological or chemical weapons as well. From this premise, I have formulated my most forceful rebuttal to the statist’s challenge.
Which is this: A WMD is an immoral and illegal weapon per natural law to be possessed by anyone. It is not a weapon of defense, but rather a weapon of murder and random carnage. The fact that anyone illegimately claims to have the right to possess one, does not change this fact. As a result, I suggest you call for the government to immediately disarm itself of such an illegal weapon. You see, by accusing me of wanting a WMD because of my wish to defend myself from government tyranny, you have assumed that the State has the legitimacy to possess such a weapon…it does not.
Simply put, the statist assumes the State has the right to possess nuclear weapons. The premise is incorrect.
That is my theoretical reply.
Here is my practical one (I’ve already shown my hand on this one earlier).
Only the State has the perfect combination of resources, means and motive to build and possess such a weapon. The resources of the state are unlimited. It can tax (steal), print (steal), and redistribute (steal) money as it sees fit. Likewise, in its unceasing effort to legitimize its authority over those in its geographical dominance, it creates both the fear in the population of possible attack, and an enemy willing to use such a weapon against these same people. Simply put, States create the conflict through artificial means, that justify weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Ask yourself this, statist. What reason would someone have to attack a geographical area en masse that was merely a collection of communities that kept to themselves. As a mild example, could you picture Canada, Mexico, Luxemburg, or Switzerland being a prime target of catastrophic terrorist attack? Why is that? Because relative to the United States, these geographical areas do not attempt to exert their influence where it is not welcome.
For the sake of argument, what if the United States was a loose conglomeration 50 localized states that minded their own business? None of these states had overseas bases, there was no international Navy patrolling the seas, and no missiles within the continental US pointed at any “enemy”? Think about 50 little Switzerlands (or Luxemburgs); even better, think about 5,000 little Hootervilles, with basic public services (like maybe some constables and courts to settle disputes). Who would be their enemy? What purpose, would any of these 50 states (or 5000 Hootervilles) have for WMD? Who would be their target? Essentially, nobody. Nobody would care to attack such a country, as virtually nobody is targeting Luxembourg, Switzerland, or Nunatsiavut today.
In short, my practical position is this. Once enough individuals “break the spell” from their minds that the State is good, then the State will lose its power. As a result, the reason for wars will end, and the means, will and motive for nuclear weapons becomes quite small.
Change begins from within your mind, not externally from the State. For calls to disarm the people, the answer should be, “you first, State.”