I have no real love for the peccadilloes and strange beliefs of the Right. From politicians with a tenuous grasp of the Constitution to preachers sticking their noses where they don't belong, I get a twinge of annoyance at least once a day. It remains largely an annoyance, however, as so much of what they hold dear has very little impact on me in my daily life: I don't gamble, have no desire to marry another woman, and don't have any children for them to teach that the Earth is flat or that Harry Potter is the tool of the devil. Besides, they generally want to let me keep my guns, so if they get too annoying in the future I figure I can always shoot them.Today, SayUncle:
What makes me a gun nut?What both of these quotes illustrate is the concept of personal sovereignty. What is it? Here's a good definition:
Not the number of guns I own. For someone who yammers on so much about guns, I probably own considerably less than the average reader here. I own the following: Ruger 10/22, a Walther P22, Kel-Tec 380, an AR in 9mm, Glock 30, an AR in 5.56. I think that's it. Six firearms. I have a lot on my to buy list but they always get pushed back due to other priorities or whatever. And here lately, I've actually sold a couple of firearms. One, because I didn't care for it and one because I was offered too much to turn it down.
It's not that I like how they work mechanically or tinkering. I do that with other stuff and I'm not nuts about that. I like to do woodworking but I am not a woodworking nut. And I don’t blog about woodworking.
It's not hunting. I don't hunt.
It's not the zen of target shooting. I zen playing cards, golf, and other activities as well.
So, what is it? I thought about it long and hard. And it's this simple truth:
If you fuck with me bad enough, I'll kill your ass.
Personal sovereignty is an issue which affects each of us as individuals and as a society, whether we realize it or not. Understanding it can help us to interpret what is going on within us and around us. Increasing it can radically transform our existence.It is, in fact, the polar opposite of statism. It is the thing that statists fear above all - a population that won't do as it's told by its betters.
The word "sovereign" means to be in supreme authority over someone or something, and to be extremely effective and powerful. Therefore, it is usually applied to gods, royalty and governments. We speak of kings and queens as sovereigns (even when they are figureheads), and of the sovereign rights of nations and States.
Personal sovereignty, then, would imply the intrinsic authority and power of an individual to determine his or her own direction and destiny. If that sounds suspiciously like free will, it's because personal sovereignty and free will are the same thing.
When sovereign individuals in the State of Nature come together to form political community they create a higher law, a governing authority. Again, in political community the rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence and the state's internal sovereignty all mean the same thing. The right to be armed outside of the law is the right to individual sovereignty. Individual sovereigns by definition do not consent to be governed, do not give "just powers" to government, do not "quit everyone his Executive Power of the Law of Nature". They exist in the State of Nature before there is law and government. They still want this government to have the "just powers" to secure the rights they proclaim.The author of that piece obviously doesn't grasp the essential difference between America's founding and that of every other nation on earth - a founding best illustrated by Thomas Jefferson's comment about Shay's Rebellion:
A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.The part that our statist friend just doesn't get is what Tam, SayUncle, I and most other gun owners grasp intuitively:
Fuck with me bad enough...
Or, as Jefferson originally expressed it, far more eloquently:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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.What holds true at the wholesale level does as well at the retail.
Statists grasp the inherent logic that statism cannot coexist with a population that has not surrendered its personal sovereignty - a population with the ability and willingness to reject government's "monopoly on violence" is the keystone of individual rights and personal liberty, as I tried to illustrate in Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them. Statism requires a population that is dependent - upon the state or upon their neighbors. People like those recently illustrated at Kim du Toit's in No Helping Hand
Recently, four young families moved up here to Washington state after making small fortunes in the California real estate boom. These people are all friends of a friend so I run into them frequently. They are all liberal, but not of the raving moonbat type. None of them are anti-gun, but neither are they much interested in fireams.These are people who believe that someone else is responsible for their safety and security. If the state can't (or won't), it's up to their neighbors who have prepared.
Recently I was at a party with these four families present. I was encouraging them to make their own emergency kits and store food. Also, I described my efforts in this area. Once again someone made the “when things get bad we’re coming to your house” statement. This time it was not a joke.
They seemed to believe that I would feed and protect them in dangerous times; almost as if it was my responsibility to do so.
This is the essential core of people who support statism: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is also mine.
Unless you have a a weapon and the willingness to inhibit them from fucking with you bad enough....
Original JSKit/Echo comment thread.