Which Do You Value More: Freedom or the Well-being Freedom Brings?

in #guns5 years ago (edited)

If you're labeled an individualist/voluntaryist/anarchist, how do you answer this question?

I value freedom. Why? Because I think our species thrives with autonomy, and I think well-being is closely connected to freedom. If there's a possibility that limiting some freedom could lead to a greater well-being, what then? Do I say, "No, thank you, I'd rather be less happy. I'd rather my life be worse." That's not logical.

Many, I think, can't even comprehend a single scenario where a little less freedom could mean a better life. To me, this seems like a dogmatic perspective, a lack of imagination, or a combination of the two.

Let's run through some examples.

Should everyone be free to own a nuclear weapon capable of destroying a city?

Why not?

What about chemical and biological weapons? What about the plans to 3D print those weapons?

If someone wants a rocket launcher, tank, bazooka, grenade, or C4 explosive, should that be their "right" according to their desire to have unlimited freedom?

How do we decide these things? What if my well-being goes down significantly because I know every asshole walking down the street could be carrying a thermal detonator?


(Sorry, Leia)

Do threats and perceived threats against my own well-being create a plausible argument to restrict the freedom of others in specific categories like weapons designed for offensive use? I think we have to answer yes here. I see no reason why someone's desire to own a weapon of mass destruction should be respected as a right or a "freedom". Some things are specifically designed to cause destruction and should not be respected by those who wish to live according to the non-agression principle. Does that mean the weapons themselves have a moral nature without a conscious agent involved? I'm not sure. It's a tricky question. As they say, guns don't kill people, those who use them do.

But what about making decisions based on reason, logic, and evidence when it comes to how these things impact our well-being?

Here's some food for thought for those open to thinking. From the abstract for Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010:

US homicide rates were 7.0 times higher than in other high-income countries, driven by a gun homicide rate that was 25.2 times higher. For 15- to 24-year-olds, the gun homicide rate in the United States was 49.0 times higher. Firearm-related suicide rates were 8.0 times higher in the United States, but the overall suicide rates were average. Unintentional firearm deaths were 6.2 times higher in the United States. The overall firearm death rate in the United States from all causes was 10.0 times higher. Ninety percent of women, 91% of children aged 0 to 14 years, 92% of youth aged 15 to 24 years, and 82% of all people killed by firearms were from the United States.

The United States has an enormous firearm problem compared with other high-income countries, with higher rates of homicide and firearm-related suicide. Compared with 2003 estimates, the US firearm death rate remains unchanged while firearm death rates in other countries decreased. Thus, the already high relative rates of firearm homicide, firearm suicide, and unintentional firearm death in the United States compared with other high-income countries increased between 2003 and 2010.

The United States has a gun problem which other wealthy countries do not. Can we chalk that up to our diversity compared to other countries with more homogeneous monoculture? Maybe to some degree, but to me it's a tough argument to make as the modern world is becoming more and more multicultural.

As this VOX video puts it, the United States doesn't have just one gun problem, we have multiple gun problems.

Now, I realize, I may have already lost much of my audience here. My anarchist, voluntaryist friends may already have the pitch forks out, ready to brand me a Statist for even hinting the problem with gun violence in the United States might actually be the amount of guns in this country. According to Wikipedia, for every 100 people, there are 112.6 guns. The other countries aren't even close.

So, given the evidence, what if easy access to far too many guns is actually part of the problem we're facing when it comes to mass shootings, suicides, and other gun-related violent deaths in the United States?

Here's where people (myself included) often jump right to assumed solutions and concerns:

  • Pass more laws banning guns! Prohibition via threats of violent force is the answer!
    History shows prohibition doesn't actually work very well, unless the goal is to create a thriving black market economy. Cities with strict gun laws still have lots of gun violence.

  • But without our guns, we'll be the victims of the next mass death at the hands of government!
    On the surface, I think this makes some sense, but I wonder, did every country that convinced their citizens to give up guns suffer this fate? Could it also be possible that the level of authoritarian thinking involved within the government and the people had more to do with it? Also, if violent oppression from a militarized government is a real concern, do any of the legally available firearms really stand a chance against the advanced weaponry at their disposal today?

  • I need my guns for personal self-defense.
    A search for "non-lethal self defense weapons" returns 1,480,000 results. Guns are not the only answer here. An ideal self-defense weapon shouldn't be useful for offense.

  • There are too many guns already. It's impossible to take them all away so it's pointless to even try. We should just live with more mass shootings, suicides, and violent gun deaths as part of being within the United States.
    Maybe. Or maybe we can get creative and think up some other solutions.

So here's where we dive in and discuss things. What other options are on the table? What if, for example, we decided to think differently about guns? What if instead of turning to government to solve all our problems, we start acting like adults ourselves. Imagine if owning a gun for purposes other than being a highly-trained employee of a defense company like Detroit Threat Management was stigmatized and discouraged in our communities? Would that make it easier to spot those who intend to harm others? If the number of guns per capita is indicative of the problems this country has with guns, should we start by encouraging people to get rid of their guns voluntarily in favor of other self-defense tools? Gun buyback programs don't seem to be all that effective, so what other options could we come up with? Just as we do proof of burn for cryptocurrencies, what if we did proof of firearm destruction, rewarded with a new cryptocurrency? Maybe there's an opportunity there.

I don't have answers here, but I think it's helpful for more people to start talking about this instead of being surprised when there's another mass shooting or other gun-related violent event. We shouldn't be surprised. There are a lot of guns here and from what little I've gathered on the subject, there does seem to be a correlation between the accessibility of guns and the violence.

I started this post with a question: Do we care more about our freedom than the well-being it brings us? How do we go about making rational, logical decisions about our well-being and the well-being of our communities without thinking about the emergent properties of many individuals living together? Whether it's a question of pollution, second-hand smoke, climate destruction, or gun violence, we have some hard problems to face if our goal is to increase well-being for the long term. Our actions impact those around us and the actions of others impact us as well.

We are individuals made up of trillions of cells. Humanity in the United States is made up of 300,000,000+ humans. Just like our bodies, the combined result of many individuals takes on emergent properties that extend beyond the individual. Our challenge is to figure out a way to live in harmony and plan for the inevitable bad actor without unnecessarily decreasing our own freedom. I didn't even get into the mental health debate related to gun ownership or how every tragedy is used by those in power to push their own agendas for more power.

I know this is a difficult topic with many wide-ranging opinions. Let's be respectful in the comments and open to learn.

Let's talk about what works and what doesn't.

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Visit UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com

I'm a Witness! Please vote for @lukestokes.mhth


Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are leading causes of death in the U.S.

Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S., due to nutrition- and obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.[1] In the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled in adults, tripled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents.[2], [3], [4] [Source]

As for the leading cause of death abroad, poverty and malnutrition, I stand by Jean Ziegler statement when he said:

“Anyone dying from hunger was dying from murder”, said Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, as he addressed the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) in one of two meetings today.

This is a much bigger killer and until government are replaced with better systems of governance, governments will be the biggest threat and murders on this planet.

People dying of unhealthy eating habit are caused by bad education, stressful lives, governments subsidizing unhealthy food all leading to bad habit, all directly caused by some warlords' power struggles where the individuals are simply treated as assets to used by those warlords.

I don't know the best regulations in regard to firearms but anything that gives an unfair advantage to some self proclaimed authority is a bad thing. The law should be the same for everyone. Yes this include nuclear bomb. I don't know how this work. Nobody should own nuclear bombs as you hinted.

No one is above the law, no one, except Sexy Sax Man Sergio Flores.

Unhealthy eating is certainly a concern, but that's not really what this post is about. If this post was about cancer, it would be odd to talk about diabetes, right? I'm not sure I agree that access to healthy food is a right because I see an important difference between negative rights and positive rights. Same with health care services. I don't have the right to force someone else to give me their labor. At the same time, no one has a right to prevent me from meeting my own needs, as long as I'm not taking advantage of anyone else in doing so.

I do believe the right to pursue my own self-defense is valid. I don't think tools which are useful for violent aggression should be considered the first or only option. Guns are not that great for defense unless people are highly trained. I wonder if other tools should be promoted more.

I agree, as you know, the government is a huge problem (see democide). Hopefully we can find better ways to organize society.

The reason why I mentioned bad lifestyle habits is that I felt your post is about reducing or preventing premature death and as with anything in life a cost analysis has to be done when trying to achieve this goal. If a cost analysis determine that educating people about how eating well is a better way to prevent death than better gun regulations then the emphasis should be put on educating people first then maybe better gun regulations.

That's why I've mention health.

There's more preventable death cause by bad lifestyle habits and government created hardship than loose gun regulation and those are more fundamental as they also influence the death rate by gun logically then we should prioritize putting our energies into solving those more fundamental issues.

Doing otherwise feels like trying to steer a sinking ship. It isn't a perfect analogy obviously.

Also I never mentioned or hinted that anyone should be forced to provide healthy food.

Healthy food should be a need that arise from good education and people should be able to come to their own conclusion about its benefits and their "need" to provide it to themselves and love one. It should arise from living a life based on logic.

Right now our society is based on the logic of war. It's still logic yet we're working toward a possibly more logical situation where our society is based on cooperation.

Guns are not always the best self-defense weapon but they can be great and even for someone who never used them ever, they still can and have save live in those situation. That being said, I'd prefer not having to kill my aggressor if possible but if a guy point a gun at me, I'd prefer having a gun than having a pepper spray or taser to defend myself.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any regulations or change to some already existing regulations. I prefer putting my energies on some other problems that a lot of the time seem more efficient to achieve our goals.

And yes, the democide numbers are simply insane compared to gun violence.

Thanks for clarifying. I agree, if the overall, big picture goal is well-being through preventing unnecessary death, then a focus on increasing nutrition throughout the world is huge.

Interesting and well thought out post. I would argue that ease of access to guns play a big factor in some of the peoples' immediate decisions. To simplify it(by a lot), think of a conflict between peers, if both of them are hotheads but none of them carry guns, the more probable outcome is that they fight it out with non lethal results most of the time(unless one of them has clearly murderous instincts of course, then he will grab ANY thing that can be used as a weapon to murder his peer.) If only one of them has guns, unless the other unarmed man has a death wish, he will probably chill and run. So we could safely assume that unless the unarmed man/men are clearly psychotic and determined to murder, having no guns makes it way harder for someone to make some mistake while in an ego power trip, and easier for the police(if they arrive on time) to control the situation, and it is also easier for the fight to have a non lethal outcome even if it turns violent.
I´m not utopic or delusional by a long shot, since I live in a violence ridden, multicultural country, which is Argentina, with big hatred and political divides that sometimes even end in death. However most acts of violence over here dont end in gun violence because there are a lot of regulations to purchase legal guns and even though any psychotic or delinquent can enter bad neighbourhoods and get overpriced and usually underperforming guns on the black market, overall the number of guns in the general population is very low. I´m convinced that if it were higher, there would be a lot more deaths. A lot of people filled with political rage(there is a big divide here) rant on about how they would kill someone on the opposition, and I believe some of them actually would make good on those threats if they were given legal and easy access to guns.
So you see, my own country´s violence is somewhat mitigated by the relative hard task that is to get a gun, legal or otherwise.
But Americans have another real problem that I can see from where I stand that Argentinians don´t: From what I read and hear, many americans feel they can´t trust their police to not being trigger happy, can´t trust their government to not abuse helpless citizens and feel they can´t trust their peers mental well being(on average). Let me clarify: of course there are always going to be a few nutjobs out there, but if you feel those nutjobs are inside your government, police, as well as in the streets, and they are everywhere, and you need to defend from them with deadly firepower, i´d say your main problem is not with guns, it´s a deep trust issue that lies in within your society and it is not even the result of a political divide.
I´d ask honestly then: how did you arrive at a society in which you feel that most people are threats to be protected from?
and then: what can you do to improve the general relations between peers?

My suggestions for the whole thing would be:
* NOT banning guns but strictly controlling them.(curiously, you will find the main obstacle to this is not the general people but the gun maker´s lobbying groups)
* Fighting(peacefully, ideologically) for a more transparent government and police.
* Promoting understanding, civility(the art of peaceful resolution of problems and arguments), and dare I say it love for your peers will pay off in the long run as a society.
* Encouraging(but NOT forcing) existing gun owners to peacefully give up their guns.
* Training police officers in peaceful resolution for conflicts. (Of course there are many real murderers/psychos out there that may eventually require deadly force, but if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and if the police gets gun training but not enough negotiating and psychology training, well... you see the point)

Anyway, these are just my thoughts about the issues. Sorry if I offended anyone with my views, and keep in mind that I don´t even live in the USA, so I´m not intimately informed of the problematic, but that´s exactly why I think an outside opinion may be valuable.

I think you you stated your views very well. I think it's important for people to get outside opinions because we're often to close to the problems we're trying to solve and understand.

Another great post Luke, in-light of what just happened in Vegas.

As a world traveler I believe I have a pretty good perspective on your question....and it's a simple answer.

Do we care more about our freedom than the well-being it brings us?

Balance!..............Balance, logic, and common sense. To be so far on one side or the other brings things out of balance. The freedom to stick a knife in your neighbors neck because you don't like them.....well that's not balance is it?

Really enjoy your analysis on a range of topics. Keep up the great work! -Dan

Thanks Dan. Balance is certainly key. Hopefully we'll find it as we continue talking out these complex issues.

A well written post, coupled with referenced data points, intelligently placed to stimulate a discussion...
Powerful Luke Stokes 🤜🤛
No one has the answer or we'd already have put one into action.
MAYBE, we could try minimizing the death rate(s) of accidental death from firearms by increasing the penalty incurred.
Can't do much about murder; outside of treason (maybe? I'm neither a lawyer or a criminal... pun intended 😉) it's the worst offense one can commit.
Accidental death occurring by an individual's firearm because they didn't secure it responsibly?
Maybe kickup the penalty for that.
Ditto for 'brandishing' a weapon. Might minimize incidences that escalate TO murder.
Public shaming in the local paper if you do anything dumb with a firearm?
Might help prevent more stupidity over time...
Fewer guns and more common sense please!

If you have a gun, don't be dumb!

Thanks. Yeah, I'm hoping we can at least start looking at data and figuring out what makes sense. Unfortunately, many lobbies don't want people to collect accurate data because it might lead to fewer gun sales. It's a tough thing to be rational.

Regardless of the philosophical argument, I'm not sure that the US is actually capable of implementing gun control. There are already more guns than people in the US, we produce 10s of millions of guns every year, and we are the world's biggest exporter.

Yes, which is one of the points I mentioned. I think it comes down to changing ideas, not forcing action via threats of government violence.

Let me put out two figures:

Gun deaths (homicides and suicides, intentional and unintentional) in 2014: 33,594
Courtesy of: Pro-Con

Total deaths in the US in 2014: 2,626,418
Courtesy of: CDC

Now, let's do the math. What's 2,626,418 into 33,594? 1.28%. In other words, of the over two-and-a-half million people that died in 2014, just over 1% of them died because of intentional or unintentional use of a firearm, by themselves or by another person. If you exclude suicides from the original firearm figure (which I'd argue you could do since suicidal people that would follow through are likely to follow through with some other means of suicide), that percentage drops to .4%

The percentage of deaths caused by firearms used by another person on the victim in 2014 was .4% (11,008 total homicides). That's it. By contrast, the percentage of deaths attributable to, say, motor vehicle collisions was 1.2%. Even if you include suicides in your calculation of deaths by firearms, they're roughly in the same category of danger.

My question is this: what's the issue? Are tragic deaths perpetrated by people who use firearms any less tragic because they account for just over 1% of total deaths? No. Is this a pressing concern? Also no. Given that the rate of gun ownership exceeds the number of owners by a significant margin, I'd say that the level of safety exercised by the overwhelming majority of gun owners is unquestionable.

Moreover, given that this is a question concerning what to do about mass shootings, why does any of this have any bearing? We've seen multiple instances of mass killers us vehicles and other methods to kill large groups of people as well (primarily in areas where firearms are either heavily restricted or illegal for possession and carry by civilians). To say that addressing gun ownership will somehow limit the reach of someone intent on killing a large group of people for whatever end is short-sighted.

Here in Australia, sad/angry young men get blind drunk and drive a fast car into a huge gum tree in the middle of the night.
Not a 'suicide' though, and not a 'gun death' so at least we're more 'civilised' on paper.

I understand your point, but I'm not sure it's relevant to this post. I'm talking about violent death via weapons designed to kill. Yes, cars have been used along with knives, etc, etc. We could talk about those in other posts if we want, but the fact remains other countries don't have this problem to the extent the United States does. We can either talk about that and figure out why it is, or we can change the subject and talk about something else.

To say that addressing gun ownership will somehow limit the reach of someone intent on killing a large group of people for whatever end is short-sighted.

Unless that's what the evidence suggests.

Thought experiment: if it was really easy to get nuclear weapons, grenades, chemical weapons, etc, etc... would we see more crazy people using them to kill? I think the answer is yes. Do you disagree? If not, why is the argument different here? Yes, there are a lot of guns already here and no amount of government law making will change that any time soon. It's still something to be discussed.

My point is that it's not the crux of the problem. A violent person intent on killing large numbers of people will use whatever means are at his disposal, so to argue that these means should be limited from that perspective alone - that violent people will use these means to kill people - is a weak argument. By that same argument, there are any number of other things that can be used for the same purpose.

The figures I quoted should indicate that gun violence is a relatively minor threat to human life. By statistical account, it's an exceptionally minor cause of death. Given that there is a prolific rate of gun ownership in the US, gun ownership alone is not the determining factor.

I don't disagree that we should be addressing the issue of mass violence, but addressing it from the point of view of the means rather than the ends is short-sighted.

I understand the problem is the violent people directly, I still don't understand why looking at the data to say "X leads to Y" and "A leads to B" and A seems to be a lot better than X if we compare outcomes Y and B isn't worth doing. You could talk about heart disease or cancer and how many deaths that causes and those would be important topics as well, but they aren't what's being discussed here. Many people are harmed by these acts of violence via psychological trauma. It's real and if we can take steps to improve things, we should consider our options.

You do not improve your security by creating or furthering double standards. Criminals by definition do not follow the law. Murderers do not care about gun laws. We've been down this path before. It just doesn't work. Firearms are like nukes. They exist. You cannot simply wish them away. Worse, by taking them away from law abiding protectors such as myself, you leave them only in the hands of predators.

I agree, but (1) disincentivizing people from owning firearms is going to ensure that people who don't care about others will be the only ones who then go on to make/purchase firearms; and (2) the implements themselves are not at issue.

The reason I mentioned automobiles was to add some perspective to the scope of the issue. I honestly don't think it's a problem. That being said, if we want to address it, focusing on the implements is not an effective method for curtailing the end result: mass violence.

nope...your premise is wrong.
if you remove democratic controlled hell holes from your calculations then the US is the safest place on the planet. More guns...less crime.

Do you have any data for that claim? I'd be interested in reading it.

a few seconds search on google provides..

  • Now, going back to the WISQARS tool and filtering for black male victims between the ages of 15 and 35, a total of 4,675 homicide victims were recorded, with a rate (for that age group) of 65.5/100,000. That group makes up only 2.2% of the total population, but represents 29.6% of the victims of homicide. If we could reduce the homicide rate in that one group to the national rate of 4.96/100,000, it would save 4,321 lives.
    And it would reduce the national homicide rate to 3.6/100,000.


Is the US Really 3rd in Murders?

There are something like 300 million guns in America. How many were used today to murder someone? The percentage rate is something like .000.... You get the idea.

...people are bad, so we need a government made up of...

I'll give up my means of defense, including firearms, when the governments of the world give up theirs. Goverments own nukes, and they have used them very irresponsibly. They've murdered countless civilians, lost them off ship decks, and used them for blackmail. That's not the answer either.

In early colonial America, individuals owned the most powerful weapons of the time. They owned fleets of warships. Those ships had the power to destroy entire cities while off the coast. Very few people could counter their attack. Individuals still managed to use them responsibly. Governments, not always.

What are governments after all? They are systems put in place for powerful oligarchs to use for their benefit. War is the same. It is just another card to be played. The means of defense ultimately narrows down to the rifle. What?! Yes, the rifle. No one is bullet proof. Sure, you could nuke a people, but everyone near that weapon's detonation location suffers. Using them isn't that easy. Maintaining them is expensive. Using them has severe consequences.

Without guns, predators would use knives. Without knives, they would use rocks. No rocks? How about a vehicle? There's no end to that rabbit hole. Violent sociopaths migrate, naturally, into positions of power. People are bad, so we need a government made up of them? No thanks. Every single individual, by nature or god or whatever, has the natural right to defend their lives with violence as a last resort.

Firearms provide the best means of that defense. I will never be disarmed. No one will be my "protector." As with the Vegas shooting, the agents of the state will take 72 minutes to respond. They will be cowards hiding behind cars. Do I expect them to charge towards the gun fire when one of their mottos is to return safely, no matter what, at the end of each shift? No, thank you. That's unacceptable.

Edit: Thanks for this wonderful conversation tonight. We need to talk about these things. As I always say, "liberty is worth any price." Us Steemians are here to create a better decentralized world where monopolies on force are made obsolete. It's a beautiful thing, and I'm thankful to be a part of it. Thanks to all who participated so far in this thread!


I don't get to decide how you feel is best to defend yourself. Are there other choices besides a gun? Sure. But again, not my call to decide what is best for you.

I have a hard time finding a scenario where limiting freedoms would lead to more well being. You would first have to have someone willing to enforce these 'laws' limiting freedom and what would they be using to enforce that? Probably guns.

Let's say for an example you moved into a community where everyone agreed there would be no guns allowed. Everyone is happy and feels all safe and warm. Until a guy from another community barges in and starts shooting people. Legislating peoples behaviors is not possible.

Guns are here. They are not going anywhere.

Even if a gun ban was passed, you can print them at home now with a 3D printer. People do bad things and that will never stop. The glorification on the media which perpetuates the me vs. you mentality is what drives up more violence imo.

If it wasn't a gun, it would be a knife, or a bomb, or one of the 1.48 million other items listed that you sourced.

Unfortunately, this won't be the last shooting here, but asking the govt to limit our freedoms in the hope to keep us safer would be akin to asking Dr. Kevorkian to perform surgery on you. It would be suicide.

I'm trying to find the right balance though. Should I be "free" to own a weapon of mass destruction? Or, put another way, if those were far easier to obtain (nukes, chemical weapons, etc), do you think they would be used more often by crazy people? If so, then there's an example where limiting freedom does increase well-being for all the non-crazy people. If we have to live each day in fear we might die, that lowers our well-being and creates very real psychological harm.

So if we can agree on that, we have to start brining it back what makes rational sense and what we can test against concerning evidence available to use. If limiting gun ownership increases well-being based on evidence, then we should pursue that if we care about well-being. Does it have to be done via government laws or threats of violent force? No, I don't think so. We could come up with other options, and that's what this discussion is about.

As a person who owns a security business, I would love to own more powerful weapons. In early American colonial days, I would have been one of the individuals owning warships. Those warships were hired to do a lot of good. I'd do the same today with powerful weapons. We already have private companies operating as mercenaries too. Do you think those units get military firepower? Yes, of course they do. If they are going to war, and being paid to do it, they are using the weapons of war. No, they don't have nukes, but they don't need nukes to perform the service they provide.

But why offensive weapons? Why not weapons effective for non-lethal defense only? Does this relate to the "best defense is a good offense" strategy? Again, I refer to Detroit Threat Management. They specialize in non-lethal de-escalation in their security practice. I'm just not convinced high powered rifles with a lot of ammunition makes sense as the most effective defensive weapon for disabling an attacker. Am I missing something?

How would a population defend itself from internal police, military forces, or external forces with just non-lethal defensive weapons? Are the attackers going to give up their lethal weapons?

Will the military and police of the world give theirs up? Will the criminals and other predators? No, they will not. It doesn't work anyway. Again, take away guns, and predators will still have other weapons.

If you are using a vehicle to kill people, I want to have a gun to stop you. If you are using a knife to kill people, I want to have a gun to stop you. No one is bullet proof, and that's why oligarchs don't want the rest of us armed.

There are two systems basically. One system has a few armed to the teeth with the means of destruction at their finger tips. History shows they have done serious damage too. Democide is a top killer.

The other system is when all people are armed, and that makes it so the first system's oligarchs and agents of the oligarchs cannot commit democide without a bloody fight.

I understand this argument and have used it many times myself. I also can't ignore the evidence if other countries whise populations don't have guns and they also don't have the gun violence problem we have. Additionally, they are not authoritarian, so they don't have the democide problem either. The argument can be made that maybe some day they will and they've only increased systemic risk by disarming. To make that claim (or any claim, for that matter), I think we have to look to evidence, reason, and logic. The study I referenced in my post is one such example. Every country with disarmed citizens doesn't automatically get destroyed by a tyrannical government.

Those people are subjects. They are not free. We have a problem with gun violence? Millions upon millions of guns in America didn't harm a single person today. 99.999% of the guns don't.

How can you say those places are not authoritarian when they prevent people from owning the means of defense? The UK even has anti-knife laws. The police, royals, and military can own weapons though.

You though? Nope. You're not allowed. That is authoritarian. I'm not saying all disarmed countries are destroyed by their governments, but that has happened. Laos? China? Soviet Union?

History has countless examples of how people, who are disarmed, are then slaughtered. What about that evidence? Is it not reasonable to consider those examples from history?

What is logical is that free people are armed, and they maintain the ability to resist, with violence if necessary, to protect themselves. That prevents slaughters that have happened in places like Russia, China, Africa, etc. etc. etc.

Ask an American Indian about disarming and trusting the government.

This issue is primarily created by the world being divided up into states. In a private law society, you bet people would have both civil-social and legal incentive not to have their own nukes rigged and ready to go.

That is, if we chose to established it properly to begin with. A failed society in this regard looks equally bad, no matter if it's private or statist.

"Should I be "free" to own a weapon of mass destruction?" Yes you should, imo, if you really wanted to. I hate to say, for once, that I disagree with you Luke :) I can't agree on this assertion, "Or, put another way, if those were far easier to obtain (nukes, chemical weapons, etc), do you think they would be used more often by crazy people?"

No, I don't think they would be used any more often. In fact, I would think less. I can explain...

To me, it comes back to why do we (humans) wage war in the first place? I can't remember who said it, maybe RP, LR, or another popular libertarian leaning person, but they said "countries don't attack other countries. Rather, governments wage war against other governments." If we are living in ancapistan, I don't see how using these methods of mass destruction would benefit the assailant. There are no people to take over to tax, one of the main reasons of conquering other countries is to take in their citizens as tax slaves.

"If limiting gun ownership increases well-being based on evidence, then we should pursue that if we care about well-being." - can you cite something that proves this? I don't see how (unless everyone magically agreed to it) people with guns would be willing to give up their guns for the sake of the well-being of others.

Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees. But until gov't is dismantled, I don't see a chance in hell of people willingly giving up their guns without someone else pointing a gun at them.

The guy who shot up Vegas was not involved in war. He took his own life. He had no interest in being benefitted in any rational sense of the word. Do you think people like that wouldn't consider using a nuke if it was in their power to obtain one?

can you cite something that proves this

In the original post I included an abstract from a paper I linked to as well as the data referenced in the VOX video. It may not be causation and might just be correlation, but other wealthy countries with fewer guns where guns are harder to get do not have the same problems we in the United States have.

If rational people recognize guns lower wellbeing and other tools for effective self-defense could be used instead (i.e. tools not designed as effective offensive weapons) than I do think it's possible rational people would be willing to give up their guns. It's happened in other counties and their well-being has increased (in terms of gun related violence) because of it.

I would say it's a little too early to say his interests could not have been benefited. Whether a life insurance policy or some other agreement he made which to this tragic event someone he knew benefited. I don't mean to speculate, but I can't quite rule it out, yet anyway.

I obviously couldn't put it past anyone to nuke an area if they really wanted to. But why then is it ok for our gov't to have nukes, and not all other nations? Seeing as we are the only country to have used one. I think you and I would agree that people wanting to be in positions of power (politicians) have more violent and controlling tendencies in their nature. And yet, only 2 nukes dropped on populations (in the same graphic region at the same time) since their existence. I would think we would have seen many more nukes considering the people behind the button are considered to be the craziest and most psychotic of everyone.

So to say the old Joe blow down the street from you is concocting a nuke in his basement seems like quite the violent fairy tale to me.

To your wealthier countries point, I would argue that the citizens of Catalonia wished they had the right to bear arms right now. Sure they might not get shot and killed at the same rate as here, but they are powerless against the state police, proven by recent events. Is their well-being better than ours?

"If rational people recognize guns lower wellbeing and other tools for effective self-defense could be used instead (i.e. tools not designed as effective offensive weapons) than I do think it's possible rational people would be willing to give up their guns." - I absolutely cannot argue this one iota. Assuming of course we are talking absent a govt.

I don't get to decide how you feel is best to defend yourself. Are there other choices besides a gun? Sure. But again, not my call to decide what is best for you.

Thank you. This should not have to pointed out to a self-labeled "voluntaryist."

Very good post my bud however it depends and some people will believe that well being leads to freedom because if you are not healthy and happy, you will not be free. With regard to gun leading to freedom , I think that it depends on where and who you ask...Americans , for example, pegged it on their fundamental right to gun ownership however United States citizens have the highest gun related death rate in the Western World ...no other cuntry in the world with strict gun laws have gun violence issues like USA (except war zones and failed states ) however many will argue otherwise due to the need for gun ownership which is financially beneficial to gun companies . Now back to our SMT...what do you think of it? will it be a game changer in your view? pls see my latest post on the subject and send in your suggestions-which I cherish a lot. I hope you are doing great and wish you success.

I haven't done a post on SMT yet. I see plenty of others though. I'm looking forward to seeing it launch and if any big media companies will take advantage of it.

I made a post about SMT today , pls see the link https://steemit.com/smt/@charles1/will-steem-be-ethereum-and-eos-killer
I am also looking forward to it and guess that we will see the benefits from next year. I wish you a blessed week.

I'd gladly give up my gun if everyone else in America did the same (including law enforcement and military). In this case, I would not be giving up any freedom at all. Would it increase the well-being of all? Not sure...many other methods of murder would still exist.

I think it probably would. Sure, murder as a concept will still exist and happen, but I think the data shows it would go down.

Entirely possible. So many people getting run-down with vehicles in both Europe and the U.S. lately. No mention of banning trucks. I guess my point is, it is a slippery slope. Thanks for the convo.

No army like Costa Rica? No armed police? Oh, wait. No such place exists. I wonder why that is? Answer the question, and you'll know why people like me will never disarm.

I've been working to answer that question for a while. I think a lot of it has to do with parenting and how many people around the world still beat their children as if that's normal. Peaceful parenting is key. I'm not a fan of Stefan Molyneux lately, but his Bomb in the Brain series is pretty good.

No such place exists... YET. I don't think our species will always live in a state of violence. See Steven Pinker's Better Angles of Our Nature to see how human violence has gone down quite a bit in the last 100 years (even with WWI and WWII factored in) compared to the rest of human history.

I think a good approach for the future is to specialize in non-lethal defensive weapons. Those which tip the balance towards the defender and then we can use social pressure to discourage any moral, rational person from wanting a weapon designed for lethal aggressive attack over a weapon designed for non-lethal effective defense.

Equality under the law is vital for liberty and freedom. The ability to defend yourself with lethal force as a last resort must be maintained by individuals.

If it is not, then only agents of governments and criminals will have that ability. It creates a tyrannical system where most are in fear of and dependent upon the few for their security. That is an absolutely horrible idea.

There are a minority of human predators on this planet. We should remove them. At the very least we should make sure they know we are not easy prey. I don't want to taze a sociopath murderer or child predator. No, I want to kill them. Remove them.

Freedom. I would prefer running the risk of dying becuase i cant control others actions, then live controling others of being controled!

What if there are more options than controlling others? What if we could, as an example, say "Hey, let's all agree guns are bad and replace them for better tools for self-defense that can't easily be used offensively. Cool?" Anyone who disagrees would then be seen as a threat, someone who may intend to cause harm to others, just like if someone was working to build a bomb or a chemical weapon.

Will governments give them up too? I'll entertain the idea when they are willing to do the same.

That would be nice. I'd sure encourage it.

While we're at it, can we get rid of governments all together and their monopoly on the use of force and currency creation in a geographic region?

Yes, please. :)

Well, first of all, I don't necessarily agree that freedom automatically brings us well-being. I believe freedom brings us a fair opportunity at well-being, but that's a different animal.

I agree, it's not an automatic thing. I do think our species, in general, does well with freedom and poorly without it.

Well-being !

So we should shun people for carrying a glock, because otherwise people would build a nuke, presumably unshunned?

No, I think you just made a slippery slope logical fallacy. I'm trying to find the reasons why we reject one idea ("No, you can't have a nuke or a chemical weapon or some other mass destructive tool") and yet are okay with a related idea ("But yeah, you can have the high-capacity assault rifle which is designed for offensive deadly force.")

I think, ideally, we should focus on tools that are good at non-lethal self-defense if that is in fact our goal. Tools that are designed for offensive, aggressive force should be frowned upon because their very design seems intended to violate the NAP.

I would shun you for shooting someone for being armed with a glock.
I wouldn't shun you for shooting someone who was building a nuke.
If you act to minimise threats to others, I'm not going to have a big problem with your actions, nor would a jury.

Governments have nukes, and they have used them to murder countless people and for blackmail already. They, governments, do not get an exception to basic justice and security concepts.

This is such an interesting topic, I was thinking about writing up something similar after the recent tragedy in Vegas. I think that would be a cool feature if steemit added a sort of debate section where people can discuss the pros and cons of certain issues. As to your current question, I am all for individuals owning a hunting rifle or a simple pistol for protection, but there is no need for anyone to own automatic rifles and weapons that can inflict such a huge amount of damage in a few seconds like we've been seeing.

I added the #discussion tag after posting as that's a good tag to use for good debate.

This deserves some attention. Upvoted and resteemed :]

You seem like a bot adding useless comments. Should I flag you?

It's very important that every single one of us would raise the awareness on this subject!I just watched the CNN news about the shooting in Las Vegas, it's heartbreaking.I don't understand why people still allow this to happen?!People should stop writing how sad they are it happened with #thishastostop hashtag and really try make a difference by showing an example,unite and go against this whole thing.Guns should just be forbidden and people who sell them online or at the black markets be highly punished.There is no waiting till the next shooting anymore, seriously something should be done already..

Do you have any idea how many people have died in mass shootings this year vs. people who have died in total? I'm willing to wager you haven't, but it's a tiny fraction of a percent. This is a problem, but it's not one that requires the punishment of non-threatening property owners.

I'm not talking about punishing people who own guns now, I'm talking about punishing those who are gonna illegally sell weapons to people with mental problems without even checking it.

Alright, then you and I are in agreement. Don't impose any restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms until a crime has occurred. I can definitely agree with that.

He bought all of his weapons within the law. We cannot test for all types of sociopath behavior. The man's father being a bank robber though should have been enough. Police knew about him and ignored him. I don't see how they could have done anything though to prevent it. If he didn't use guns, he would have made a bomb. No bomb? He could have flown a plane into a building. Predators do not think like we do. They are sick. Laws will never stop them either. Bullets do however.

What about those who feel guns are, by design, very threatening offensive killing machines? Owning a nuclear bomb or a chemical weapon is threatening. On a much smaller scale, so is a gun. I'd argue tools designed for non-lethal self-defense are even less threatening. The type or property we own does say something about the intentions and mindset of the property owner.

Except they're not threatening. People threaten others. Inanimate objects are incapable of doing so. Case in point, owning an M1A4 Abrams tank does not constitute a threat until I threaten someone with it. Until then, it's a conveyance with some weaponry on it.

Okay. So if everyone owned an M1A4 tank, do you think violence with them would increase? And if the answer is yes, should we then be okay with everyone owning an M1A4 tank or should we work to discourage mass ownership of such a powerfully destructive machine?

I'm talking at a statistical level here, not in terms of individuals.

Again, the particular implement used isn't the issue. If all handguns were magically destroyed overnight and the means for producing them were forever wiped from the memory of mankind, that wouldn't stop the mass violence problem. This is plainly demonstrated by acts of mass violence in recent years perpetrated in places where firearm ownership is extremely restricted.

If everyone had a baseball bat, would violence with baseball bats increase? Yeah. That's not a meaningful conclusion for addressing the problem.

Again, the particular implement used isn't the issue.

But if it was a nuke, it clearly would be, right? The ease of access to the weapon and it's destructive power directly influence the well-being of everyone else. If the choice of a madman is a nuke, a gun, or a baseball bat, there's clearly going to be a massive difference in the well-being of everyone else.

I don't know that the mass violence problem can be "solved" but I do think we can make smarter, data-driven decisions on how availability of (and our social attitude towards) various tools useful for destruction impact the outcome of well-being of everyone else.

Violence happening in places where firearms are restricted (I assume you mean cities in the US) is an important data point, but we also don't have checkpoints between states or cities to car-search people, etc. If the US has tons of guns, it's pretty easy to go from one state to another with them. In other countries where within the entire country it's difficult to get guns, that's also an important datapoint.

No. It wouldn't be. Nukes don't do anything until they're used. Same with guns, knives, tanks, or anything else.

If the choice of a madman is a nuke, a gun, or a baseball bat, there's clearly going to be a massive difference in the well-being of everyone else.

Again, the issue is the "madman," not the nuke, gun, or bat. While the particular implement will have an impact on how much damage is accomplished, ultimately these implements are inert and harmless until they're used.

I meant other countries, particularly Germany and France lately here. Your focused entirely to heavily on implementing controls on the weapons themselves, which should be a secondary concern.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you. What's the goal you have in mind for addressing your concern about the availability of firearms? Put another way, if we're talking in hypotheticals, what would be a solution you'd be interested in seeing?

You don't need a tank to murder a large number of people though. You just need fertilizer and some fuel oil. There's absolutely no way to stop people from making explosives. It is literally impossible.

Unlimited freedom is like unlimited power, too much power brings out the worst in people (especially the fear of losing it).

Freedom should have boundaries, it should end where one is violating another person's freedom. When you own a gun, you don't hamper my freedom to move. When you shoot me, you do, that's crossing the line.

When somebody breaks into your house, he's violating your freedom, your peace of mind in your own home.

Owning weapons of mass destruction is an attack by itself on the freedom of others, by sheer threat. No one should have those, not even states.

Some view owning a gun as a sheer threat as well. I'm not sure why they are wrong. Guns are designed to be very effective offensive killing machines. That's threatening. Knowing we could be killed at any moment while out at a public event brings with it some level of psychological harm. If everyone had defensive weapons only, that harm wouldn't be there and our well-being would go up.

They are a threat. Cops pull them out and point them at regular people all the time too. They do what we cannot do. If we did that, it would be considered brandishing at the least. There's a double standard though, and they benefit from it and special protections. No thanks!

I agree that governments should not own WMD's. Individuals would pay a heavy price for owning them too. What insurance agent would insure such a person? None would.

The desire to fix this problem or any other large scale societal problems strikes me as being susceptible to the Hayekian local knowledge problem. And, while that it is an economic argument it also seems to suggest that in a complex system, like society, there is no way to understand what the consequences of solutions by central planners would be.

I don't think "there's no way to understand" makes sense when we still have the scientific method are our disposal. We can still search for evidence, create a hypothesis, test for results, etc. Comparing various countries and how their approaches to this problem either work (or don't work) is one example. Yes, it's complex, but with data analysis, we can make reasonable claims about the influence of various approaches.

But you're fundamentally trying to engineer human behavior to reach a goal which you don't know will actually have better outcomes for people because there would be byproducts you hadn't been able to account for, like an increase in rape; break-ins; authoritarian legislation; etc. I'm arguing against your premise that "we" should "do something" at scale.

Again, we can look at studies of countries who have made changes. If we're the only wealthy nation dealing with this problem at this level, shouldn't that be a data point we consider? If other countries are doing other things and getting different results, why would we ignore that?

It sounds to me you're saying, "Well, it's complicated at scale, and we can't really know anything so we shouldn't even try to think about things at scale." To me, that's just burying our head in the sand. The "at scale" emergent outcomes are very real and they can be measured, studied, and tweaked. Every individual action contributes to those emergent properties. To ignore them, to me, is to willfully remain ignorant.

"We" is nothing more than you and I (and everyone else) making rational decisions. I'm not advocating for a top-down, government-run solution here. I'm arguing for a rational evaluation of the data given our goals for the type of world we want to live in that increases well-being.

What are the authors of those studies trying to prove though?
In Australia, mass murderers chain up and burn down nursing homes (or a backpacker hostel).
Not a 'gun death' in sight, though, so no impact on the studies.
A sad/angry young man breaks up with his girlfriend; gets drunk and drives really fast into the biggest tree he knows; not a 'gun suicide' though, not even a 'suicide'.
You think the guys running studies to make Australia look like a success are going to go looking for mass murders and suicides not involving a gun, in their valiant search for objective truth?

I also think that the transformation of a relatively liberal society into a repressive authoritarian society can happen relatively quickly. The pivot on the heel of most liberals and conservatives in the last U.S. election to support positions that are seemingly diametrically opposed to their professed ideologies would seem to reinforce this point.

You may be right. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Interesting post and tricky question. How I see it is freedom and well-being go hand in hand, as do other values like truth, justice, and reason. Freedom is the foundation of all values in my opinion.

Well-being is the goal, freedom is only means to achieve that goal. So does that mean I value freedom more?

If freedom is the only means, then yes, but you'd have to defend that claim and it's a very hard claim to defend. If I can give examples where it's not the only means, then we can show well-being may, in some circumstances, be more important that complete freedom alone. My example of anyone and everyone having the "freedom" to own a weapon of mass destruction might be a valid example which challenges your claim.

Well, if someone owns a nuclear weapon I don't necessarily see what's wrong with that. Of course using it may potentially deny the freedom of others, but by just processing something I don't think that violates anyones freedom. It's a lifeboat ethical example, but I see what you're getting at.

Anything that is done for human flourishing comes from free thinking in the first place. Morality, commerce, social manners and etiquette, spirituality, art, and so forth can only come about if humans have the freedom to associate with one another without any intervention or control by others.

If force is used to achieve what some people would consider "well-being", is that really for the well-being?

If someone is crazy enough to kill 50+ and then take their own life, do you think they might also be crazy enough to detonate a nuclear bomb?

If so, Vegas might not exist right now.

If that's a potential reality, is it rational to say, "Yeah, everyone can own a nuke. That's fine with me, as long as they don't use it." To me, if weapons of mass destruction were easier to obtain, they would be used more often and we'd all suffer because of it. Same argument works for guns which are designed to be excellent offensive killing machines.

If someone is crazy enough to kill 50+ and then take their own life, do you think they might also be crazy enough to detonate a nuclear bomb?
If so, Vegas might not exist right now.

Most likely, but in an environment of true freedom, I have doubts a nuclear weapon would exist, if it did, whoever controlled its usage would be highly under watch and made transparent, perhaps blockchain could facilitate this; also we are talking about hypotheticals here.

I think guns would serve some purposes in a voluntary society, though there's room for innovation in more defensive type tools to counteract violence.

there's room for innovation in more defensive type tools to counteract violence.

I'd love to see more of this for sure.

That reminds me, I read something recently about Thorium Salt Nuclear reactors. They are safer than what we have today, but originally they were not used because it was too difficult to create weapons-grade material from the process. Sad how the priorities of war dictate so much of life.

Yup, the development of nuclear weapons is backwards and not conducive toward freedom.

The same shooter had materials to make a bomb. He could have easily killed far more people by detonating a device in the middle of the crowd. High pressure waves are a real bitch. :( Are we going to outlaw all chemicals? That's impossible. Remove guns, and people can still make explosives.

The WMD argument is flawed though. Governments have proven they cannot be trusted with them either, so what's the difference really? They get a get out of jail card? A free pass? "Oops, we're sorry" doesn't cut it. :)

WoW LUKE !! - ))

Tough 'subject' .. and you navigated it very well, with great questions !! i'm looking forward to stopping back tomorrow to see where it leads - )))

For me .. a total dreamer, i'd like a sci-fy solution = everyone gets an invulnerable + invisible 'bubble' .. where causing harm is impossible !!! .. and until then .. i'll just keep trusting the "U-(n)-i_verse" to keep & have me .. in the right place and the right time - )))

.. after all .. i am the only 'boss' of me ? - ))

Thanks for the, " i wonder what it'd take" ?? - ))

lovelovelove )))
greb'Z )

Maybe it could be like Dune where everyone has their own shield. :)

.. and, maybe .. that's what "serendipity" IS ?? - ))

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