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L. Neil Smith's
Number 760, March 2, 2014

We Stand With the Gun Owners of Connecticut

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The 100% Armed Society
by Paul Bonneau

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

It is interesting to think how differently a 100% armed society would work, in contrast to what we are familiar with.

One might ask, "Why bother? It could never happen..." Well, there are many things that could never happen in the past, that eventually did happen. One possible example of a 100% armed society that is easy to conceive right now is a voluntary community that includes a contractual agreement for those joining it, including a commitment to always go armed. With guns now available such as the "no excuses" (to be disarmed) Keltec P-32 and P3AT, this would hardly be any kind of burden, literal or financial. Social pressures in such a community would keep the commitment operating.

One of the supposed bennies the state offers us is protection, but that is a bait and switch tactic. Those who understand the true rationale behind state protection are a lot less likely to foist that responsibility off on others, and instead, take it up themselves.

So, how would a 100% armed society be different?

One obvious difference is the absence of cops. Why have protectors of people who are committed to and capable of protecting themselves? No one would want to support the burden. Of course there would probably be vigilance committees to take care of what few problems remained, after everyone armed themselves (since the more guns out there, the less crime there would be). In fact the entire community might be one big vigilance committee.

Yes, of course, "vigilantes" are often used as a dirty word by the Ministry of Propaganda. All the more reason to look into the history and use of vigilance committees! Clearly the state does not appreciate anything that would compete with their protection racket, so we shouldn't be surprised. Their disdain for the concept of vigilance committees is actually a positive recommendation for having them, to anyone with half a brain (or more, heh).

But what about cops coming in from surrounding communities or from the state, to arrest a resident for... whatever?

They would be treated as what they really are, armed thugs. The vigilance committee would quickly appear, armed and ready whenever such outside thugs come to kidnap a member of the community, and such would certainly be dissuaded from this course of action. A more peaceful course, such as petitioning the free-market justice structures of the community, remain always available for handling such outside disputes. Some other ideas about it can be found here.

Of course the next obvious thing about a 100% armed community, would be the almost complete disappearance of "mala in se" crimes. No criminal would last long in such a place if he persisted in his evil ways, because every encounter with a proposed victim would carry a probable death sentence.

Yet another difference would be the return of civility. Anyone who has personally tried out concealed carry of a firearm, understands that going armed is naturally accompanied by a reticence for offending others.

Another outcome of a 100% armed society that is probably not quite so obvious, is the enhancement of nonviolent resistance to tyranny. One might call this the Si vis pacem, para bellum effect. It is easy to understand the reason for this, in both the minds of the oppressor, and those he would oppress. In the former, immediate personal risk deters the oppressor's worst behavior—it's hard to beat down a peon with a shotgun in your face... In the latter, being armed increases courage to stand up to tyranny because the limits to the oppressor's worst behavior are clear, and escalation of violence won't even start. Nonviolent resisters certainly ought to try arming themselves; but in my experience most of the people who think along those lines have a strangely doctrinaire opposition to the idea. This is odd since, if it doesn't work out for them, it is a simple matter to sell the gun again later.

Of course, one form of nonviolent resistance actually seeks to provoke the tyrant into ever-more outragious behavior, in order to eliminate his legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Having armed victims probably would not help, in that form. But for those using that form, particularly for a planned event such as Gandi's challenge of the salt monopoly, owning a firearm does not preclude the possibility of leaving it at home!

Eventually one might come to the conclusion that, everyone going armed is not so much an effect of a free society, as one of the main causes of it—and that going disarmed or remaining helpless is in fact an example of antisocial behavior, enabling all the state or freelance thuggery (including, occasionally, even holocausts) that inevitably results from that condition.

In time, it becomes difficult to even think of a free society that did not also include all the people being armed all the time, because it starts to look so improbable. A free society would be peaceful, crime-free, civil, voluntary, courageous—and 100% armed.

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