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I can think of three countries in the world with small governments where civil gun knowledge and ownership is high:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Sierra Leone
  3. Somalia
Maybe some experiments aren't worth repeating?

Just sayin'


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:06 am (UTC)
"You Think You're So Clever and Classless and Free...but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:11 am (UTC)
A working-class hero is something to be.
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
And it's in waltz time, too! ;-)
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:19 am (UTC)
You just made my day.

Didja know you can do ANY poem by Emily Dickinson to "The Yellow Rose of Texas"?

Altogether, now:

I like to see it lap the Miles --
And lick the Valleys up --
And stop to feed itself at Tanks --
And then -- prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains --
And supercilious peer
In Shanties -- by the sides of Roads --
And then a Quarry pare
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
And I'm sure Marilyn Manson could do an Industrial version of it, as well!
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC)
Somebody's got to talk to that boy!
Jan. 10th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
But to get back to your point. I've been hearing a lot about the shootings all weekend, but yours is the first mention about guns in America. But what's the point, those people will never listen. Still, it true. And they're right: "Guns don't kill people," but People with Guns do!
Jan. 10th, 2011 11:15 am (UTC)
I've gone back over this and realized it's a freaking lecture. Sorry; I've spent the last 20 years watching societies fall apart, so it's a kind of passion for me.

I don't really think it's the guns themselves. It's a combination of factors. Like you say, mostly it's the people.

The biggest factor, I think, is contempt for civil society which comes from believing that freedom has no consequences—that by being a right, freedom is entirely divorced from responsibility. Somewhere the "enlightened" was dropped from the "self interest." It's a kind of bad-boy attitude to authority, which isn't freedom, but another way to be led around by people more clever and powerful than you. Nobody's building parks because they're too busy building shopping malls.

The other side, though, is the vast size of the country and its melting-pot history. There is very little real inter-cultural contact, so the skills to live alongside people who are radically different never get exercised. This is enforced by a singularly homogenous culture, which is more or less a pandering to the lowest common denominator: produce faster, cheaper, and more conveniently. People will turn away from anything that's a challenge, which, because human nature is like that, means oversimplifying the world. "They're just crazy, so they don't matter." Yes, well, a madman is still a constituent...

So both of these things work together to establish this unrealistic sense of "normal", which is the standard of "good", in this culture. Nobody quite measures up, so it's very easy to dismiss others as being "not normal" while at the same time, feeling inadequate and estranged yourself. It's human nature to cut people down for not fitting out of a general feeling of having to defend yourself against the same attack from others. There is little sense that everyone deserves a break, and there's a vast sea of resentment to draw political power from. That's not the spirit of democracy—that's a peasant revolt.

Pratchett used a great analogy in his last book. Apparently, if you put a bunch of crabs into a bucket, they will be so busy trying to climb out by themselves that they'll pull anyone down who's above them. So you don't need to guard a crab bucket. It guards itself.

Which gets back to my point—remove the rule of law, and empower everyone, and you achieve not some Ayn Rand style utopia, but a poverty-ridden, violent place, full of ignorance and incapable of achieving basic needs, let along lofty goals.

Just because it's human nature, not because there's a big conspiracy, this kind of a situation usually turns into rule of might. Either by warlords or the ruthlessly wealthy. The only difference is the means by which poverty, violence, and stagnation are achieved for the majority of the population. With guns or without.

So take the guns out, and you still have a problem. A certain level of government is necessary, and the civil society part of the U.S. Government that still operates (i.e. not the military, federal reserve, or contractual operations) is way too small for a country that big. Infrastructure is shoddier, medical costs are astronomically higher, and crime is way out of proportion to any other industrialized society. And yes, it's because both parties, but the GOP in particular, got the crazy idea that government should be run like a business: cheaper, faster, and more convenient. But the rule of law is expensive, tedious, and difficult to implement. Like all things worth doing.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )