Snyder’s arguments are compelling: they hinge on several easy-to-swallow propositions.
First, he asserts that we have rights, and first amongst those is our right to life. From that right, he infers a right to self defense, without which the right to life is rendered meaningless. Thus, with a right to self defense, one has the right to posess the means with which to render such defense effective – ergo, the right to own and use a firearm.
Second, he asserts that classical liberal theories of government hinge on the notion of “government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.” Sound familiar? This is the idea of government by consent set forth in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. Snyder argues that consent is meaningless without the ability to object, and to enforce such a negative vote. Thus, firearms allow the citizenry to collectively enforce their will on their subject, and any infringement upon their rights (already established above) to own and use them violates the principle of consensual government.
The arguments hardly stop there – Snyder continues to logically follow the arguments of gun control to their conclusions, thus demonstrating the grounds on which he calls them self-contradictory and immoral.
Amongst other topics, Snyder launches attacks against irresponsibility, instrumentalism (denier of will), and utilitarianism (the destroyer of rights). While many of the same arguments are repeated throughout the text, one must remember that the chapters are merely a collection of columns, speeches, and articles written throughout the years. While this does detract from the cogency of the text as a whole, it is undeniably admirable as a purely ethical defense of arms-bearing.
If there’s only one book you buy about gun control, make it this one.
July 26, 2002
Amazon review of Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control
Liberals don’t seem to recognize the right to life though. Obviously, there is a disconnect between “right to life” and abortion, no matter where you personally stand on the issue. If you happen to be alive, your “rights” are based not on solid philosophical grounds, but on transient feelings. You don’t have a right to something as basic as life, but instead on a “right to feel safe” – what ever that means. “Life” is pretty easy to define – “feeling safe” means not being triggered by icky guns to some agitated Mom, but means having my new 10MM TRP Operator strapped across my chest to me.
Once the liberals jumped the track from reasonable discourse to emotion-based, transient, and ever-changing drivel, it’s been impossible to have a meaningful conversation. Which, of course, is the purpose behind the drivel. You can’t pitch a foundation for compromise on an ever-changing landscape.
I was informed by an internet SJW that the UN does not recognize a right to self defense and so therefore no such right exists.
I would like to clarify it. The UN, being an entity without a moral compass, mostly comprised of totalitarian and anti-Semitic states, does not have a right to exist.
The building should be demolished and the rubble pushed into the river. Normally, I would advocate salting the Earth there, but with NYC real estate being so valuable I think it should be sold to the NRA for its new headquarters for one American dollar.
Indeed, the record is quite clear that then #1 activity of the UN, by a significant margin, is antisemitism.
“First, he asserts that we have rights, and first amongst those is our right to life. From that right, he infers a right to self defense, without which the right to life is rendered meaningless. Thus, with a right to self defense, one has the right to posses the means with which to render such defense effective – ergo, the right to own and use a firearm.”
I agree sort of, but his is the weaker position than that of the duties demanded of us.
We have no rights at all but by way of duty. We have no right to life. Every man is appointed once to die. What kind of right is this? Tell a cop to f-off and see what becomes of your speech rights. Tell the man who just pulled a weapon in a Gun Free Kill Zones that he must wait for you to get your gun and see what kind of right you have to self defense.
Everything that God demands (“Thou shalt not kill.”) He enjoins. Therefor we have not simply a right to life or a right to live but a DUTY to protect life. All life is precious. The simple man agues that we have rights. Every man has a duty to protect life which means to kill judiciously one of God’s creations but to kill none the less to preserve life. Thus, with that duty God demands that a man have the means to defend life and therefor to take life. The superior man imposes the duties from God upon himself.
Stop whining about rights that don’t exist and start imposing the duties upon yourself that are required to make men free. No duty is begged of another man or his institutions.
And one cannot be pro self-defense and pro abortion. This is mendacity.