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Do Guns Enable Us to Defend Our Democracy?

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This is part 3 of Gini's Gun Violence series. We strongly recommend reading each part in numerical order because each part contains logic based on the preceding parts.

  • Part 1: Do Guns Enable Us to Defend Our Physical Bodies?
  • Part 2: Can We Prevent Evil Human Animals from Killing Innocent Humans?
  • Part 3: Do Guns Enable Us to Defend Our Democratic Freedom from Tyrannical Governments?
  • Part 4: Sociopathic Behavior is at the Heart of All Threats to Democracy.
  • Do Guns Enable Us to Defend Our Democracy?

    To understand the logic of well-intending humans who think we need guns to protect ourselves against government tyranny, I'll refer to a gun rights newsletter that was forwarded to me recently. To keep this article as short as possible, I'm not going to post the entire newsletter; rather, I'll briefly respond to the main ideas.

    The newsletter started with the same historical events that we already covered in Does Gun Control Cause Mob Rule? So, no need to repeat them here. Then the author made several other points, which I have quoted below in red font with our nonpartisan analysis after each quote.

    "History is among the most important teachers of truth."  

    Yes, this is why the Gini book list, the Gini book and the Knowledge Base exist. However,  cherry-picking facts to support a pre-defined narrative is not enough. Producing unbreakable truth that can endure the scrutiny of rigorous analysis requires much more discipline to weigh all the facts and factors to achieve something resembling non-biased, nonpartisan truth. (See the difference between unbiased vs. non-biased.) This seems to be a dying art today, which is sad, but many people still appreciate nonpartisan, non-biased and well-reasoned analysis when they see it.

    "56 million defenseless people were rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control."

    Guns do virtually nothing to protect citizens from corrupt governments in a world where politicians have tanks, missiles, drones, ubiquitous surveillance tools, among many other weapons to suppress political dissent. Additionally, those 20th Century atrocities were committed for many reasons that go way beyond the resistive capabilities of any thinly armed and poorly trained citizenry. During those 20th Century atrocities, homicidal politicians would simply murder you by using more (or more powerful) guns, regardless of whether you had a gun or not.

    The Second Amendment is a Symbol of a Bygone Era. During the American Revolution Era and earlier, it was at least theoretically possible to resist government tyranny with simple muskets and canons because the government generally had the same relatively crude weapons as the citizens. Back then, the Second Amendment was much more meaningful because it was an accurate reflection of reality. In contrast, today the Second Amendment is just a symbol of a bygone era when governments were much weaker. Of course, gun lobbyists and corporations that profit from maximizing gun sales ignore these realities because it's easier to sell guns when their customers believe in half-truths and fantasies.

    For those reasons, in Does Gun Control Cause Mob Rule? I said the following: 

    "The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment will not protect us against the overwhelming power of a rogue government with a gigantic, drone-infested military-industrial complex that is perpetuated by a sprawling corporatocracy controlled by a tiny handful of self-serving zombie elites. . . .  Only a truly responsive democracy, broadly distributed democratic power, and broadly distributed wealth can protect us. This is why the Gini Foundation exists."

    The newsletter continued:

    "With guns, we are 'citizens'; without them, we are 'subjects'."

    The benefits of citizenship in a democratic country do not depend on guns. They depend on constant democratic accountability and institutional integrity of a nation's economic and political systems. Without democratic accountability and institutional integrity, nothing (including guns) will save the citizens from the devastating economic and humanitarian consequences of corrupt, despotic politicians and the giant corporations that fund their rise to power.

    "During WW II, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!"

    Imperial Japan never had any logistical ability to execute a large-scale invasion of the U.S. mainland. (A few submarine and balloon attacks along the West Coast were not "large-scale invasions".) There's no primary source evidence that Imperial Japan was afraid of armed American citizens. To the contrary, Imperial Japan famously mocked Americans as weak and undisciplined compared to the Samurai Warriors and Bushido ethic that guided Japanese soldiers. (See War Without Mercy.) It's well-known by all serious historians that the logistically daunting Pacific and Atlantic Oceans have been the most significant deterrents to invading the U.S. mainland for over 200 years since the War of 1812.

    "If you value your freedom, please spread this second amendment, anti-gun-control message to all of your friends."

    Everybody at Gini values freedom, but the Second Amendment is relatively low on the list of things that protect our democratic and economic freedoms in the modern world today. Only reforms that create more institutional integrity will protect our freedoms. This is why Gini is building cryptographically secure, decentralized monetary and community governance systems to reduce the concentration of economic and political power that has destroyed institutional integrity in the U.S., China and many other countries today.


    The author confuses correlation with causation. The Swiss have low violence because their democratic institutions are directly responsive to their citizens. This creates meaningful and direct democratic accountability and institutional integrity, which ensures that the government is always directly responsive and accountable to Swiss citizens. Without this particular institutional configuration, the Swiss Government could simply buy more tanks and drones like the USG and crush their rifle-toting citizens. So, the sequence of causality here is clear: Institutional integrity (not guns) creates domestic peace.

    In Switzerland, Citizens Have No Significant Reason to Hate the System. In fact, literally every Swiss citizen I've ever met is very proud of their country and direct democracy. Thus, they have no reason to express any hatred, despair or desperation with violence and mass shootings. In contrast, virtually nobody in America today is "proud" of their democracy anymore. In this environment, where tens of millions of economic refugees feel like their only life on Earth is being destroyed by unjust and corrupt political and economic systems, mass violence is inevitable.

    Read part 4: Sociopathic Behavior is at the Heart of All Threats to Democracy.

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