why the gun is civilization.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

180 thoughts on “why the gun is civilization.

  1. BobG says:

    Excellent post.

  2. jesperskibbey says:


    I have never heard a more eloquent argument for second amendment rights.

    Ever thought about running for NRA president?

    Thank you.


  3. Mark says:

    Strong, strong words Marko.

    Again, have you ever considered public office? If an Austrian can take California, after all…

    Well said, and hear hear.

  4. Sevesteen says:

    Outstanding. I don’t often comment on blogs, but I can’t let this go without praise.

  5. Eric says:

    Well said!

  6. Conservative Scalawag says:

    I agree with the sentiment you’re eluding to.

    An armed society is a polite society.

  7. Michael says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster. One of the most eloquently written persuasions I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. I’ve always used the argument that guns are the great equalizer to an otherwise unequal fight, but you have done so clearly, calmly, and effectively. Bravo.

  8. Assrot says:

    Excellent post. My thoughts exactly. Too bad we can’t get the whining liberals to understand that.

  9. pdb says:

    Superb post. I agree completely.

    One of the more eye-opening experiences I’ve had was the feeling of peace when I strapped some metal to my belt. The amount of crap I was willing to let go and walk away from went up dramatically. When you’ve got the means to end a person’s life at your immediate disposal, you realize that unless it’s worth drawing your piece over, it’s not worth getting worked up over.

  10. quidni says:

    Found this article via LawDog. I’m definitely bookmarking it & recommending it as a “must read” to others.

  11. ColtCCO says:


    That may be the best thing I’ve ever read, Marko, and I’m not being facetious or hyperbolic. That’s phenomenal, sir. It’s the heart of the viewpoint, and I’ve never heard it said better.


  12. Gay_Cynic says:

    I agree with most of the above – this piece is worthy of inclusion in civics textbooks, were there still such things – will be forwarding it to others as well as linking, if I can just figure out how *grin*

  13. Anonymous says:

    An armed society is a polite society.

    Devil’s advocate here. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but there are several glaring exceptions that tend to change this maxim to an oxymoron:

    Palestine: Every faction has guns and uses them on every other faction. Not a polite OR safe society.

    Communist Russia, Viet Nam, North Korea: In their heyday, not even remotely polite societies, and not safe for the political opposition.

    Sudan: See Palestine.

    Nazi Germany: Not polite to neighboring armed countries.

    There are more examples. What I’d like to know is how the above phrase can be changed to accomodate these exceptions and still remain more than wishful thinking.

    • rotorgod says:

      There really are no exceptions, especially free nations specifically free people. Your examples are of criminal factions or waring nations. The civilized society that is spoken about is in regards to “armed law abiding citizens”. There is a major difference.

    • RobM says:

      You’re right in your observations that those societies had guns but wrong in your conclusion that the guns were the problem.

      Nazi Germany was impolite to others (and plenty of its own citizens) because the Nazis were evil, not because they had guns.

      If the warring factions didn’t have guns in Palestine or Sudan then they’d be beating one another to death with clubs. Again, they’re fighting because that is what they do, not because they have guns.

      Same for communist Russia, etc. Plenty victims of evil regimes are tortured to death, hung, etc. rather than shot. Again, it isn’t the presence or absence of a firearm that is the root of their bad behaviour.

  14. Marko says:

    Devil’s advocate:

    All the examples you named are not societies where the average citizen is armed as a matter of course, but rather places where the bullies (state-sponsored or freelance) have a monopoly on personal weaponry while denying it to potential opponents and the average guy on the street.

    Like Mao said, “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” In a repressive totalitarian system, the folks who hold power always make sure that they’re the only ones who can bear arms. They do this so they don’t have to bother with reason when convincing everyone to get along with the program, skipping straight to force. (People who don’t have reason on their side always favor force, of course.)

    That’s probably a big subconscious factor in why so many Leftists are against guns in the hands of the citizenry (and not a small number of right-wingers as well, although they tend to deny the RKBA to specific undesirable groups, not everyone.)

  15. MorningGlory says:

    Lawdog sent me over, and I’m so glad he did. Yours is an exceptionally well-stated argument, and your response to Devil’s Advocate reinforces your point. Thanks!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Marko, I would like your permission to use this article in my sociology class if it’s ok with you. To credit the author I would say it was proudly stolen from the Munchkin Wrangler blog.

  17. raven says:

    Illogical argument! “My gun is bigger than yours” force equal force-nobody wins or survives. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-stupidity.

  18. BobG says:

    Raven, would you like to explain yourself fully? In the short burst you typed you claim illogical argument, but you show no reasons for the claim. Is this just a knee-jerk reaction, or do you actually have a reasoned argument for your statement?

  19. LawDog says:


    Did you actually read the post, or are you just guessing as to the content?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanations are usually the best.

    This post is one of the most eloquent I have ever seen.

    Thanks for that.

  21. joated says:

    Also sent over by LawDog, and am I glad.

    Very well reasoned essay and clear explanation of the RKBA that the Founding Fathers envisioned.(Even if Raven and Devil’s Advocate missed the point altogether.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    That was an amazing explanation of human civilization.

    Could you explain how something like trickery plays in here? The good ole carrot on a stick. Deceit and deception. Would that fit under reason, since it seems reasonable to the sucker?

  23. ravenshrike says:

    Raven, you really should reexamine the idea of logic. And obviously you’ve never seen WarGames. If everybody has a relatively equal chance to kill everyone else, the only way to win(I.E. continue to live) is not to play, thus reducing a remotely rational persons options solely to persuasion.

  24. Theodwyn says:

    Great essay.

  25. Gareth A says:

    Damn fine words.

    No offense, but it’s a shame you’re not over here in Britain. We need reasonable guys like you.

  26. Rey B says:

    Another one sent here by Law Dog but with writing like this I will be back.

  27. /dn says:


    Interesting that you actually note a keen distinction between the ability to use force and the actual application of said force. Most of the gun-nuts (whom I tend to shy away from now-a-days) seem to have lost grasp on what this means.

    “Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6” type of jibber-jabber really permeates the culture, I personally think it breeds more ignorance than actual grass roots support. It’s refreshing to hear someone speak both coherently and eloquently on the topic.

    Cheers man!

  28. garys says:

    “God created man, but Colonel Colt made them equal.”

  29. Anonymous says:

    As a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, I read this with interest. However, as much I agree with your intent and with several of your points, there are others which seem half-baked.

    “Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force.” This strikes me as simplistic. We do things out of love, for example. We do things to avoid being irritated by other people. As a married man I can think of a few other ways I can be made to do something.

    Then, at the crux of your argument, is this statement: “When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force.” Huh? Of course people can still deal with you by force. You may have some chance of holding your own, but that’s it. The police deal with armed people all the time, and they don’t necessarily reason with them.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Ah but here is the rub so to speak. A person who would chose to use force rather then reason is not reasonable at all and it can be assumed that they would not stop at a severe beating but try and kill you with fists or whatever. I chose to place myself on equal footing and should that person chose to use force over reason, I will not be fighting an uphill battle.

    (also from lawdog and amazing writing MW)

  31. Monti says:

    What would happen to your theory if the 19 year old gangbanger and the car full of drunks with baseball bats all carried firearms too?

  32. BobG says:

    “What would happen to your theory if the 19 year old gangbanger and the car full of drunks with baseball bats all carried firearms too?”

    That’s the problem monti; they already do go armed because they don’t obey the law. Why shouldn’t their potential victims be able to defend themselves?

  33. Chris says:

    So Marko, it would reason from your post that we can only have a civilized world by permitting each and every nation to proliferate nuclear arms.

  34. Chris says:

    “Very well reasoned essay and clear explanation of the RKBA that the Founding Fathers envisioned.”

    The Founding Fathers did not author the 2nd Amendment as a mean of people being on equal footing with other. The authored the 2nd Amendment because if a government takes arms away from the people, the people remove one of their most valuable checks on the government, the power to revolt.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Marko, you may be interested in what this man writes: http://www.progunprogressive.com/

    Oh, and to the person who left the comment about liberals, I’m a pro-gunrights liberal and the man’s blog I linked to above (Sebastian) is as liberal as one can be. Not all of us liberals are hoplophobes or hypocrits when it comes to the right to be able to defend one’s life with the best tool available.


  36. phlegmfatale says:

    Hear! Hear!

  37. Anonymous says:

    I am SO plagiarizing you.

  38. Reformed Patriot says:

    Sir, this post is a gem. Consider it printed for future reference.

  39. Someone's Boy Unit says:

    Actually, in Palestine and Afghanistan, pretty much everyone ahs access to a gun if they can afford one. Also, Congo, Sudan and other ‘hot spots’ in Africa. They’re not fascist nations, they’re areas in which mob rule is the defacto government.

  40. Rob says:

    Reminds me of The Art of War, Chapter 8, p 11. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

  41. elliot says:

    I agree with the heart of your post. But being the disagreeable bugger I am, I will point out that it’s not “reason vs. force,” it’s “persuasion vs. force.”

    Reason is often a factor in persuasion, but people can be just as moved to action by an emotional appeal that has little or no rational/reasonable component. (We usually call those people “liberals.) 😉

  42. Justin says:

    Marko, good stuff.

    The only nit I have to pick is the reason & force bit.

    Basic economics (exchange of goods and services, transfer of money, etc.) is one way people have of dealing with one another.

    Though you could probably consider economics a subset of rational interaction.

  43. Anonymous says:

    To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death.
    How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.

    To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead.

    No court case. No parole. No early release. I want ’em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot ’em


  44. Laurel Zimmer says:

    Well-said! I’ve reposted (with credit and a bit of commentary) over at my blog, hope you don’t mind:


    Thanks for being an advocate for our rights.


  45. Jonathan says:

    a compelling, and well-written argument for 2nd amendment rights.

  46. Boyd says:

    I bet you’re a Heinlein reader (or LNSmith…) great essay. JD Sparks passed it to 2ndamendmentrightsAtyahoog…. where someone commented that it would be nice to see in schools. It would be. Where I live in Washington that has no chance of happening but there will be two school teachers and a principal who read it to day.

  47. Mark says:

    Very well put! This is so getting linked in my blog.

  48. Sensei Bullard says:


    You make some excellent points. However, I feel obligated to point out some of the flaws.

    The first is that a gun completely levels the field between a 75-year-old retiree and a 19-year-old gangbanger.

    This assumes that both of them either start with weapons drawn — unlikely — or that both of them can go from “weapon holstered” to “bullet fired” in the same amount of time — also unlikely. If the attacker (of whatever description) begins the attack scenario with his gun in his hand, then the defender is completely screwed. Unless the defender can draw, aim, and fire more quickly than the attacker can pull the trigger, the defender loses.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that we have armed the entire populace. Every man, woman, and child now carries a sidearm everywhere they go, and have successfully completed a basic marksmanship and gun safety course.

    You’ve now given them the weapon and the ability to use it… but the one thing you cannot give them is the willingness to use it. The simple truth of the matter is that not everyone has it in them to look another human being in the eye and pull the trigger. Without that willingness to fire, the defender actually makes things worse for themselves by drawing the weapon, because the attacker can’t afford to wait and see — now he must shoot the defender in order to prevent being shot himself.

    In addition, your comments about the differences when you carry a gun are both incorrect and dangerous.

    You say that when you carry a gun, you cannot be dealt with by force.

    Wrong, sir!

    In addition to the scenario I already described, carrying a gun doesn’t protect you against me walking up behind you and putting a knife to your throat, or simply clubbing you over the head.

    You also seem to overlooked the fact that you can be disarmed. While there is a significantly smaller portion of the population that knows how to do this, there are those of us out there who will take away your gun and have a bullet in your head before you realize you’re not the one holding the weapon any more. Or worse, leave the gun in your own hands but twist you up in such a way that it’s now pointing at you, and my finger is now covering yours on the trigger — I can force you to shoot yourself with your own gun, and my prints never appear on the weapon.

    Yes, I’m serious.

    Then there’s this comment: “I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid.”

    Sir, if you need a gun in order to not be afraid, there is something seriously wrong. At the very least, you are ignoring your brain’s signals that you are in an unsafe area and should get out as quickly as possible.

    Linus carried a fuzzy blue blanket, not a sidearm. You seem to have confused the two.

    Don’t get me wrong, I frequently carry both a gun and a knife, and I am all in favor of an armed populace — provided the portion of the populace that takes up arms does so with their eyes open, and with a willingness to use the weapon when (and only when) it is appropriate.


    Clifton Bullard

  49. Anonymous says:

    Manual Trackback™

    Oustanding post, Marko.

  50. Chris says:

    Should I take your silence to mean that you do think that all nations should be permitted to have nuclear weapons?

  51. Marko says:


    the issue of nuclear arms is separate from the issue of personal self-defense weapons. In a nutshell, the gun can be targeted at a specific aggressor, the nuclear device cannot.

    Your query deserves a more detailed response, so look for a separate blog post later today.

  52. Jim Liesen says:

    Nice and to the point, but as I read the “2” methods of dealing with people being force and persuation, I realized there are 2 (at least) other methods which ‘head-in-the-sand’ gun-grabbing libs employ which makes them feel good in there little world of self-ignorance. Those two other methods would be to ignore the other person entirely and act like the problem doesn’t exist, or deny the realities of various facors of influence in the upcoming discussion in order to better pigeon hole their own world view. This way, they think they are right and never have to confront reality as it actually is in ‘imprimis.’

  53. Anonymous says:

    i largely agree, but not entirely. i don’t think the old chestnut about armed societies is entirely true — it is part of the truth, but not the whole truth.

    the naysayers like to point to chaotic, anarchic regions like the middle east (most of it, really, if we’re not being diplomatic) and much of africa as counterexamples. and they are, as far as they go. they’re societies, even if perhaps sociologically primitive (tribalistic) ones; they’re armed; and they’re horrible hellholes to be stuck in. but that doesn’t mean each and every armed society necessarily devolves into such.

    i like to refer, too, to Eric Raymond’s famous essay about “ethics from the barrel of a gun”. he, i think, is still not telling the whole truth, but he makes some of the same points you do while pointing (i think) in the general direction of the rest of the secret.

    the point, i believe, is that a community (society) of individuals needs some vague and hard to nail down kind of civilization before weapons begin to act as stabilizers instead of destabilizers. citizens need to view their neighbors and fellow citizens as worthwhile human beings, with whom peace is valuable and important, before they can wield arms in defense of such peace. if the “society” consists of a bunch of competing, warlike tribes — if we’re dealing with a bunch of barbarians, to put it very crudely — who don’t see much value in cooperating peacefully, then no, arming that society won’t produce politeness.

    but, as mr. Raymond pointed out (and as others have hinted at in this thread), a more peacefully oriented group of perfect strangers may strap on pistols and experience the exact opposite, desireable, effect. it’s not due to the guns, though, at least not entirely; it’s due to them having a fundamentally peaceful, cooperative approach to one another. the guns merely enable them to defend that against all comers.

  54. Lagwolf says:

    If you want a clear case of what happens when a society is disarmed look at the UK. Crime is getting worse and worse but the individual has no way of defending him or herself. (Of course, the hard core criminals now have automatic weapons.)

    Good piece.

  55. James Griffin says:

    Over all, I’ll commend Marko on an excellent post. I read it more as a Principle – that is, more philosophy than immediate tactics. In a short post it’s extremely difficult do justice to even one, much less both. The old quote “If I’d had more time, I’d have written you a shorter letter.” comes to mind.

    What I will recommend is Col. Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense.
    You can find it at amazon.com.

    Sensei Bullard makes some important points. I understand where he’s coming from, I got my first black belt in 1966, and I’m still learning this stuff. I’ve spent over 40 years exposed to a great many different martial arts, and whether you’re called Sensei, Seifu, Guru, or whatever – personally, I prefer the Bahasa term “Pak,” or “Uncle – you can be no more succinct than Col. Cooper:

    “You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar.”

    That means training and practice. Like other martial arts, with the handgun, you’re never finished learning. That’s a good thing, even the most accomplished person can make a mistake. Training and practice give you a better chance of overcoming the mistakes you make, and take advantage of your opponents’ mistakes.

    Thank you Marko, for an excellent post. As I tell folks, I learned the martial arts, carry multiple knives, and handguns, so I don’t have to fight. All of these are my tools for social interaction. But my most valuable tool is a trained mind. Col. Cooper’s book is an excellent start.

  56. Anonymous says:


  57. Sandy G. says:

    This is my first visit to your site, but will definitely not be my last. I found a link to your blog at Ambulance Driver’s site.

    That was an EXCELLENT post! I wish more people thought like you.

    I would like to add a link to your blog if that is ok.

    ~Sandy G.

  58. Anonymous says:


    Wish we could get this read to Congress.


  59. ca_brit says:

    Very well put. I see myself steeling some lines from this when talking about the need to own firearms.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I logical and reasoned argument.

    Unfortunatly, letting those who are not armed with either trait own guns does not make life any safer for the rest of us (no matter what arsenal we happen to own).

  61. Brian says:

    Some people will parse content to the point of irrationality. The writer’s point pretty much holds true; you will do things either because you do so willingly, or because you are forced to do so against your *will* — which is the basis of his treatise. Sure someone may attack you with force, and sure that person might have a gun, and sure you might get hurt or worse, killed — but his point is that if you are armed and in a position to defend your rights, you cannot be *forced* against your *will* to the attacker’s *will* — the field will be leveled at the point you *choose* to draw your weapon and take a stand for yourself.

    I refuse to be a victim. I get it. Great article!

  62. John Bartley K7AAY says:

    Actually, there were lotsa guns in Soviet Russia, but you didn’t dare use one for the risk of a hundred brainwashed Gammas dragging you off to reeducation camp out in the fostier bits of Siberia.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Dear Marko,
    excellent post. If only the State of California thought the same for me July 4, 2005. I was accosted by 3 Latinos and drew my weapon for them to stand down and for me to get away. I was arrested and charged with a felony that has nearly ruined my life.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Very good post. Well put.

    The only thing banning guns would accomplish is disarming the innocent. The “bad guys” will still get their guns on the Black Market. While I may not want to carry a gun every where I go, I still want my right to do so!

  65. Karsten says:

    I’m still opposed to having everybody carry a firearm around (but then again, I grew up in a very different society). However, I must praise this posting as well: It makes my opinion a lot harder to justify.

  66. Anonymous says:


    First, another voice of thanks for your well-spoken post.

    Second, I think the resulting discussion is one of the few intelligent ones I’ve seen on this topic. Seriously, I am amazed at the low level of quality, intelligence, and respect in discussions on most gun-oriented sites.
    The gent who mentioned the 12-6 quote captured that well, along with all the gratuitious “molon labe!” sigs.

    Anyway, back on track: I think your argument also depends a bit on a modestly rational society where things work well enough that people aren’t desperate. What I mean by this is that there are places in the world where people have very little to lose, and only to gain, from confrontation… I.e. poverty, civic disorder, etc. In many of these places violence is a way of life and having everyone armed is maybe still more fair, but certainly not peaceful. Thankfully, this is not true in the U.S. Just a minor point since that is implicitly the country and culture about which we are talking.

    As to Devil’s Advocate (anonymous): Many of the countries he listed do not permit private ownership of guns (“diffuse distribution of the control over force”). This had been pointed out. Moreover, I’ve heard it said (haven’t verified it absolutely) that gun control in modern times started in Nazi Germany. Food for thought.

    As to “whiny liberals”: I’m sick of the culture war that’s been cooking up over the last 5-10yrs. Most gun nuts would probably call me a “liberal” because I’m not a Christian, pro-Patriot Act, pro-Bush, etc. flag-waving zealot. However, I am a gun nut and solidly pro-2nd amendment. I just want the rest of the internet gun community to take the 1st, 4th, 5th amendments, and habeas corpus, a bit more seriously when they rant about “rights”. I’m amazed that people worried about the Clinton administration kicking down their doors, but give the Bush administration a blank check.

    I’m trying to convert more progressives to support of 2nd amendment rights. Nuts from either wing don’t help much…


  67. Fascist Nation says:

    Not true. If I interacted with you violently, the interaction would be brief and violent for at least one of us. But it would still be an interaction. And hopefully set a good example for society that initiating force is permanently counterproductive.

    Action has consequence, words less so.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said…
    “An armed society is a polite society.
    Devil’s advocate here. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but there are several glaring exceptions that tend to change this maxim to an oxymoron:

    Palestine: Every faction has guns and uses them on every other faction. Not a polite OR safe society.

    Communist Russia, Viet Nam, North Korea: In their heyday, not even remotely polite societies, and not safe for the political opposition.

    Sudan: See Palestine.

    Nazi Germany: Not polite to neighboring armed countries.

    There are more examples. What I’d like to know is how the above phrase can be changed to [sic] accomodate these exceptions and still remain more than wishful thinking.”


    The word “society” is what you have failed to correctly interpret in Heinlein’s maxim, “An armed society is a polite society.”

    First, don’t look at the word “society” the way in which the quasi-formalized pseudo-science of “sociology” has “taught” modern man to look at the word (and the world).

    Look at the original Latin meaning.

    SOCIUS, the origin of the word “society,” means “friend” or “ally,” with the implication that a “society” is a group of people whose acceptance of certain broad, overarching organizing principles tends to make them like-minded–not clones, merely like-minded on the issues of reason, force, and non-coercive persuasion.

    However, reasonable men can disagree, especially when reasoning from the general to the particular (or from the particular to the general, for that matter)—such is the role played by the factors of self-interest and subjectivity.

    Self-interest and subjectivity cause the disagreements (along with the other usual suspects: greed, wrath, sloth, avarice, etc.).

    But let’s get back to the concept of a “polite society,” a phrase which is actually redundant when understood in its original and true sense.

    To see my point, especially with reference to the examples of “societies” which you have cited–places we hardly call friendly to reason or freedom!–do a little “thought experiment.”

    Substitute the words “dictatorship, tyranny, totalitarian state, terrorist organization, or police state,” for the word “society” in Robert Heinlein’s maxim, and you will see where you went wrong.

    Only when you use the fake constructs of modern sociology is it possible to interpret Heinlein’s maxim as you have, albeit in the role of Devil’s Advocate, to mean “An armed dictatorship (or tyranny or totalitarian state or terrorist organization or police state) is a polite dictatorship (or tyranny or totalitarian state or terrorist organization or police state).”

    I think you see what I mean.

    Much of contemporary discourse on politics, ethics, religion, and morality is clouded by the allegedly “value free” terms we tend to uncritically absorb from the modern so-called “sciences” of man (sociology, psychology, economics, etc.).

    If you steadfastly refuse to buy into the “value free” vocabulary of the so-called “human sciences” which were forged AFTER our Founding Fathers articulated the basis of our freedom, you will find that the basis of that freedom is quite difficult to conceptually pick apart.

    But continue to try anyway–it’s good for the mind.


  69. triticale says:

    I would prefer neither to be carried by 6 nor tried by 12. I try to live in such a way as not to be faced by such a choice, but living in the city I may not be able to. The record shows that 99 percent of the time, when a gun prevents a crime, not even the perpetrator is carried by 6, and I would hope that for myself, as for the woman I married, and others I’ve known, that would be the case.

  70. Dana says:

    I am a lifelong Heinlein fan, and in your post you have nailed the essence of RAH, and the outlook that imbues all his work. A very eloquent and irrefutable defence of the second amendment. A negation of force from all enemies. Very well stated, thank you.

  71. Anonymous says:

    This was written by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret). Would have been nice to have given him credit when you posted it.

  72. Marko says:


    I’m going to assume you’re trying for tongue-in-cheek humor here.

  73. Tam says:

    This was written by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret). Would have been nice to have given him credit when you posted it.

    It’d be nice if someone would scare up this ‘Maj. Caudill, USMC (Ret.)’

    F$cking ‘net plagiarists, like the moron who grabbed this and spam mailed it with the “Major”‘s name attached, make me sick.

  74. Tam says:

    PS: In case you’re wondering where your anonymous Enrico Fermi came from, here you go.

  75. The Conservative Manifesto says:

    Bravo! An absolutely superb post!

    I had to repost.

  76. armed_and_christian says:

    Well said, sir.

  77. Anonymous says:



    well written, very well thought out, my compliments and congratulations !!!! mad coyote

  78. Anonymous says:

    Force IS an Arguement. And Arguements are made with Force, moral, economic, bullets, whatever, one way or another. The distiniction is false.

    He who has, does, or can, at any rate. Nations “permitted” to have nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons create their own permits, believe you me, please.

    The whole logic of thinking in political terms is backwards and upside-down. Life is not a mass debate, the real vote is in the will to power- which comes from harmony with natural law. Birds fly because they can, with or without ‘permission’.

    Perhaps humans are the only creature that can self-delude like this; it never ceases to astound.

  79. RayH says:

    Came here via Kim du Toit’s site. Good post. Agree with the concepts of force vs reason as to why we do things. This includes how we are governed. With the government it is always force, never reason. Or the implication of force. Much of what we do is based soley on that nowdays.

  80. Paul says:

    Looks to me like you have more that 3 readers now.

    Good thought.

  81. Mile66 says:

    You are so right! Same reasons I carry here. You got yourself some traffic here, with a little help from KDT, but mostly for the good ideas you have. I’m adding you to my favorites.

  82. Anonymous says:

    “Allow” people to have guns? I thought this was America. A lot of the comments here disturb me greatly. I guess I see how we got here from where the founders dropped us off. If people who call themselves supporters of the Constitution can still use a phrase like “allow certain people to have guns” or “prevent certain people from having guns” then we don’t have the same understanding of the Constitution.

    This is a very good post. Referred by theothersideofkim dot com

  83. DavidB says:

    Well done,sir.
    Thank you.
    Got here from Kim du Toit’s site.
    I’ll be back for more.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Excellent, Marko. I was directed here via a Kim du Toit post.

    And now, for some anecdotal reinforcment:

    My dad was a cop, once upon a time. When I was about 3 months old, he & mom loaded me into the car for a day trip to the mountains, the 1st time they’d gone anywhere together since the birth.

    We stopped at one of their favorite spots. As some point during our stay, a couple of bikers rolled in. Dad could tell they were trouble, so he loaded wife & issue into the car. One of the bikers encouraged him to hand over “summa that gook tail” (mom was Asian). The loudmouthed biker pulled his bike behind the car, blocking its exit. He walked up to the driver’s door, snarling all the way, leaned in, and found himself looking down the barrel of dad’s off-duty revolver (.357 Colt Python).

    Dad says it was like flipping a switch. Loudmouth cut himself off in mid-snarl, and backed away. He saddled up, and he & his compadre skedaddled.

    No altercation, no shots fired, nobody hurt. Just a big stick on display, without comment or bluster.

    I’ve forwarded your post to everyone in my address book. Thanks again, and I look forward to returning on a regular basis.


  85. Anonymous says:

    I too was referred by the other side of kim.

    Good post.

    I’ll check back.


    Well said sir. I viewed your essay at Second City Cop and felt it necessary to publish on my blog.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Excellent! I will link to this for my July 09 issue of “The Price of Liberty” http://www.thepriceofliberty.org

    I’m a Second Amendment Sister, and open carry full time as an ambassador for the rational human right of self defense.


  88. Anonymous says:

    I agree 100% Great article! Check out this related quote from George Washington:
    “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself! They are the American people’s Liberty Teeth and keystone under Independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere, restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good!” President George Washington, in a speech to Congress. 7 January, 1790

    Also check out this great spoof on gun free zones: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bGqiULYbt5Y

  89. Fingolfen says:

    An excellent and well-reasoned post. Thanks!!!!


  90. Kobra says:

    Marko, great post. I identify with you not only because I too am a student and a kinda stay at home dad and student at the moment, but because I too carry a weapon on a daily basis. I do wish to know, however, how this philosophy translates into your view of foreign policy.

    I will assume, until you set me straight, that you believe that those who are muggers, rapists, and murderers relinquish their rights to such a means of defense because their first purpose for such an implement is offense. Taking it further, if someone brandishes a weapon, denounces your existence, and promises to use it on you, do you have a right to defend yourself by striking the first blow as an act of defense? Why wouldn’t this schema, if you swallow it feathers and all, work in the realm of national defense?

    This is my first time reading your blog so please forgive me for asking a stupid question. Also, you might enjoy a site called Warrior Talk Forums. http://www.warriortalk.com. I think you just might fit right the hell in. I’ll check back to see if you’ve found my inquiry worthy of a response. Thanks.


  91. Andrew's M1 says:


    Excellent essay! (I came here by way of Kim du Toit’s blog)

    I hope you don’t mind that I published a link to this post?

    Thank you for setting this into print!

  92. Andrew's M1 says:

    Addendum to the above:

    I misspoke about the origin of my referral to this post. It was not, in fact, Kim.
    It was CabinBoy at the WesternRifleShooters blog.

    My apologies for the error.

  93. Greg Bell says:

    Nicely done

  94. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for a level headed post on the subject.

    Several years ago I voted emphatically against the introduction of concealed carry in Ohio. Fortunately I was in the minority. I have since changed my tune and proudly carry just about anywhere I legally can.

    I think the real tipping point for me was the shootings at Virginia Tech. Someone… someone… on campus should have been armed and prepared to deal with a murderous situation. It really can happen.

  95. Anonymous says:

    I think that you mean well, but I have to point out that you don’t truly understand the situation that you are speaking about…

  96. denton says:

    I think the article is a very nice bit of reasoning.

    It is not reasonable to require that every encounter with force be exactly equal. I don’t think that is what the piece says. If people are rational, it is only necessary for a predator to face a high probability of lethal consequences.

    Most of us are guided by conscience. Those who are not are kept in check by the possibility of consequences such as arrest, conviction, or being shot in self defense.

  97. Anonymous says:

    You argument is predicated on your first statement, which is easily refutable. There is at least one other mode of human interaction that involves neither reason nor force. That mode is emotional persuasion which is distinct and irreducible to the other two modes.

    Since your premise is false, everything that follows from it is also false.

    In fact, you contradict yourself in the second paragraph, where you state that “in a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.” Since you have just stated that human beings can only interact through reason or force, this implies that humans are not civilized. That is a conclusion that I would tend to agree with.

    You go on to state that “force has no place as a valid method of social interaction” and that the firearm is the only thing that removes force from the menu. This is also false: the firearm is just another means of force, either expressed or implied. Therefore, firearms, according to you, are not a valid method of social interaction.

    Firearms are certainly useful in some situations, and you describe several. All of the scenarios in which it would be helpful to be armed occur in non-civilized societes, i.e., societies in which people use force on each other. As you have already stated, force is not present in civilized society.

    The actual logical conclusion of your essay is that guns are NOT civilization, which is inconsistent with the title of your essay.

    Since you clearly don’t have a grasp of logic or expository writing above the 6th grade level, why don’t you just be honest and say…

    “I like guns.”

    It’s more defensible, and heck you won’t embarass yourself so much.

    PS, according to Alberto Gonzales, there is no express right to bear arms in the constitution, because it only says that right cannot be infringed….ohhhh whaddya think about that you conservative morons????

  98. Marko says:


    you could have saved yourself a lot of typing by just saying, “I don’t like guns.”

    By the way, that essay was published, and read by a few ten thousand people outside of the Internet as well. I got paid a tidy sum for the publication, too. But with your superior grasp of logic and composition, I’m sure you have me beat there.

    Oh, and I’m not a Conservative. If you’d read through my blog for just five minutes before straining your noggin for a “biting” response, you’d have known that.

  99. Anonymous says:

    I notice you made no attempt to rebut my incisive critique of your little essay. Your only repartee is to mention that your essay made you some money. That is irrelevant to the issue of the logical consistency of your arguments. People buy all kinds of junk that is illogical and poorly constructed.

    Whether or not I like guns is immaterial and I have presented no information that would allow you to draw any inference on that question.

    I encourage you to be honest and say what you really feel and not try to rationalize it with some fancy argument that falls apart upon the slightest scrutiny. I like pornography but would never argue that pornography is the foundation of civilization.

    Yes I have read through your blog and question why it exists. My little jab at “conservatives” was more directed at your little circle jerk of commenters who agree with you and praise you for your reasoning power.

    I think you should stick to packing bullets and shooting guns and leave the reasoning to the big guys who can think straight.

  100. Marko says:

    Such as yourself, presumably?

    Look, I don’t feel the need to defend my argument to an anonymous poster in the comments section of my own blog. If you’d like to engage in a debate on the logic of my argument, I’d be more than happy to discuss it with you via email. (You misunderstand the premise of the essay, for starters.)

    That, however, would require you to give up both your anonymity, and the audience.

  101. mark burch says:

    Sure we can debate by email.
    Mine is burch@hawaii.edu
    I only posted anonymously because it is convenient and I didn’t want my inbox filling up with hate mail from a bunch of wingnuts, which is what happened when someone posted one of my articles on the Free Republic.

    If I have misunderstood the premise of your argument, by all means set me straight.

    I am basically saying that the necessity for guns is an indication of barbarism, not civilization. The more guns are necessary to protect yourself, the more barbaric a society is, not more civilized.

    I listed the URL for one of my essays which you are free to critique.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Burch,

    Allow me to quote you:
    ohhhh whaddya think about that you conservative morons????

    Why on earth would anyone interact with you at all? You’re clearly a fanatic, not to mention rude and an ass. Marko makes a mistake in entertaining your behavior in the least. You should troll elsewhere.

  103. Anonymous says:

    I agree that some of the claims in the article are rhetorically over-the-top. When I wear a gun, I still *can* be dealt with by force; by surprise, by a tank, by a bomb, etc. Nor do I feel equal to a car full of people with baseball bats when I have one handgun and a couple of spare mags on me (sure, I’m *much* better off than without the gun). This degree of exaggeration is, I think, obvious to most readers, and is rhetorically devastating to the overall piece.

    I think the real effect works like this: predators, whether human or animal, commit frequent attacks, either to live (animals hunting, people who really make their living from crime) or just because that’s how they get their kicks (psychos). Any serious injury is likely to end their career (with animal predators, by death; with humans, by death or else being reported by the hospital and identified conclusively by the injury). Changing the odds from 100:1 for the predator down to a mere 10:1 for the predator is going to take that predator out of the population fairly quickly. And that’s what arming the “good guys” does, and why increasing the number of armed good guys makes the whole population safer. (Those exact numbers are of course pulled from a convenient orifice.)

  104. ctdonath says:

    Great article, great summary of the essence of civilization: be civilized, or die.

    To address quickly a few of the detractors:

    “What if the truckload of drunks have guns? they outnumber the lone armed gay!” – The ‘truckload of drunks’ is a bunch of individuals that, faced with an armed victim, must come to grips with the fact that by attacking, they themselves may soon be dead. The victim may lose, but by taking some with him the survivors may reconsider repeating the act.

    “But all these violent uncivilized countries are awash in guns!” – So were most other countries (whatever the popular weapon of the time was), until someone with a vision of civilization put so much hurt on so many thugs that people started deciding that acting civilized would be better for their individual survival.

    “But what about nukes/WMDs/etc.?” – You go there, we take you out. See? all civilized again. (And that’s exactly what Iran is facing, and presumably what Israel just did to Syria.)

  105. Zack says:

    Perhaps it’s already been said, but I think the brilliance in this argument is its connection with reality:

    “In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.”

    Because the reality is that we do not live in a completely moral world, but rather a fallen one. And that means that to ensure your survival and that of others, sometimes you have to fight, because there really is evil out there.

    I think the basic premise behind the Liberal argument for gun control relies, instead, on the illusion of a perfectly moral world, and so it falls apart.

  106. Anonymous says:

    Hi Marko

    I couldn’t find a way of contacting you directly, hence this comment.

    I’ve been stealing some of your stuff and putting it up at http://www.gunownerssa.org. If this bothers you, please let me know (I’m the admin over there).



  107. PBC Treasurer says:

    Nice essay, Marko.

    Thought you should know that the Boortz radio show misquoted your essay and attributed it to the Major. He got an email from me to correctly attribute the source to you.

    Why do I like your essay? Not the subject of it (with which I completely agree,) nor with the subsequent tone of the comments. Simply stated, you state your position immediately, then use the eight Generals and six Sergeants to flesh out your position and defend it.

    Oh…the Eight Generals; Research, Reason, Relate, Record, Reflect, Choice, Commitment, and Consequence.

    The Six Sergeants (who do all the work, anyway;) who, what, where, when, why, and how.

    Why do I mention these? With only a few notable exceptions, all of those posting comments followed them, also. This is a blog where repliers think and use their head for something other than a hat rack.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Many years ago, when I was a cadet at VMI, one of my Brother Rats had a bumper sticker that read: God created men, but Sam Colt made them equal!

  109. Carson says:

    Quite good and clear.

  110. Anonymous says:

    To Mr. Burch who wrote “You argument is predicated on your first statement, which is easily refutable. There is at least one other mode of human interaction that involves neither reason nor force. That mode is emotional persuasion which is distinct and irreducible to the other two modes.”

    Actually, emotional persuasion is a form of force where you use emotion to make me do something I don’t want to do. It is not brute physical force like brandishing a baseball bat, but it is a form of force nevertheless.

    Formal and informal organizations use shame or dishonor as a method of forcing people to not act outside defined norms. Some enhance life, such as taboos against murder or incest, while others make life more difficult, such as the vagaries of teenage girls.

    The writer’s initial logic stands unrefuted.

  111. newscaper says:

    The apparently in-between category several commenters seem to be grasping for is “fraud”, which might be characterized as achieving the ends of force by perverting persuasion, appeals to reason, thru deception.

  112. phoobaar says:

    This blog entry is single greatest encapsulation of my own beliefs that I’ve ever read. Now please get out of my head and stop reading my thoughts. 🙂

    Bravo, sir.

  113. Anonymous says:

    And this is why I tend to gravitate towards the pro-gun position.

    As always, it makes the most sense and there is logical explanation, not to mention unbiased evidence, to validate them all.

    I read anti-gun objections and I just have to stop reading in the middle for sanity’s sake. Most, if not all, anti-gun blogs are lots of declarations, no logical explanations, no evidence that can be confirmed as unbiased, and a lot of appeals to “emotional logic,” as much of a contradiction as that phrase is. – Reinhart

  114. Jacksecret says:

    Dude, that was so good it’s second only to Ayn Rand and frankly, as far as layman’s terms go, it’s second to nothing. I don’t often add new blogs as Instapundit seems to give me everything I need…but I am adding you after reading that masterpiece.

  115. AM Edition says:

    Came across this by way of Instapundit.

    Excellent, well written piece. I’m currently in the process of printing off several copies to distribute to both my friends with concealed carry and my acquaintances who disparage all gun ownership as barbaric and uncivilized. Thank you for stating our collective argument in such an eloquent and poignant way.

  116. halojones-fan says:

    It must be nice to live in your world, where the bad guys wear black hats so that they’re easily identified. And they respect the rules of chivalry, of course; they’d never shoot you in the back, and they always announce their intent to cause harm. And, of course, they start their approach from a hundred yards away, in a brightly-lit area clear of obstacles and civilians, giving you plenty of time to ready your weapon and aim properly. And your shots always hit, and always incapacitate.

    It’s funny to see people talk about how they “need” a gun for “self-defense”, when they have no idea of what it actually means to use a gun to kill another person in combat. Oh, sure, you can threaten someone; using a gun the way an ape uses a stick, to thrash about and make a scene and show that you’re bigger and stronger and scarier than all the other apes. The difference between posturing and combat, though, is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

  117. juandos says:

    A short and to the point rationale for the owning of a personal firearm…

    Good stuff!

  118. Broadsword says:

    Hmm..I’m worried about Anonymous. Not Anonymous numbers eleven, twenty-one and forty-two, but numbers eight, thirty-three and fifty-nine. Unless these are different anonymi from that other anonymous with the multiple personality uhh…dificulties.

  119. Anonymous says:

    As a citizen of Canada let me say that I agree with your post.It’s just to dam bad we have so many in this country who have no backbone. A large number of them sit in our federal government.c.j.g.of eroticalee

  120. Bubba McCarroll says:

    That’s as good an argument for carry rights as I’ve ever read. Good thinking.

  121. Alex says:

    Nor do I feel equal to a car full of people with baseball bats when I have one handgun and a couple of spare mags on me

    Actually, you should feel superior … even without the spare mags … even with only one bullet.

    In a car full of this kind of people, very very rarely there may turn out to be one who is willing to challenge your intention and capability to use your weapon.

    There will never be a second. (At least “never” in the sense of “you will never be struck by lightning and win the lottery on the same day”…)

  122. Anonymous says:

    Force or Reason?

    No, there are many more ways to “move” someone.

    EMOTION: People act out of love, fear, anger, greed, etc. If someone can elicit emotion from me and then direct that motion as they wish, they have moved me using neither reason nor force.

    GUILT: This is my favorite (although I guess you could call it an emotion). Why rob someone if you can make them feel so guilty that they GIVE you their money? Show them a starving child. Talk about people without health care. Chastise them for contributing to global warming. Create guilt, and then offer your idea as a absolution to that guilt and you have moved them with neither force nor reason.

    Having a gun may protect you from being moved by force, but you must be mentally vigilant against emotion-based assaults. Brains, not guns, will defend you from those.

    Brains and guns: Through legislation and public schools, the government is intent on taking away both.

  123. Patrick Joubert Conlon says:

    Excellent. I’ve linked to this.

  124. Anonymous says:

    What’s going on here? This is the third time I’ve tried to post this.

    Muggers keep robbing until they have enough money for their immediate needs. If they average $10 per victim and they need $100 for a daily fix, they will rob an average of 10 victims a night.

    Assuming a mugger has a 1/4 chance of being neutralized (crippled, killed, taken prisoner) in any confrontation, he has less than a 10% chance of being able to rob 10 people and less than a half percent chance of robbing 20.

    (Spreadsheet: “100” in A1, “=A1-(A1*.25)” in A2, copy formula relativistic in cells below.)

    A 25% failure rate seems dramatic, but not only does the mugger become more skilled, his prey become warier, and more inclined to move in groups. A predator has a lot of trouble with tunnel vision, and the tunnel vision gets worse as the predator gets tenser, so a bystander has a fair chance of blind siding him with a bullet, and a harmless appearing cripple, or a 10yr old great, great, grand daughter, can pull a trigger.

    Make that a 10% failure rate, and he has a 0.07% chance of lasting one week.

    The mugger will be more inclined to seek his drug money elsewhere, if he believes all the grannies in a particular neighborhood are armed.


  125. TmjUtah says:

    What a fine essay this is. I came here with the Instalanche.

    In response to halojones fan:

    It’s funny to see people talk about how they “need” a gun for “self-defense”, when they have no idea of what it actually means to use a gun to kill another person in combat. Oh, sure, you can threaten someone; using a gun the way an ape uses a stick, to thrash about and make a scene and show that you’re bigger and stronger and scarier than all the other apes.

    You sure do a lot of assuming.

    My intent in going armed has never been to posture or scare. I don’t carry two extra clips because they will strengthen an argument, or illuminate points in a debate.

    On the flip side of my situation are the “monkeys” you describe (by accident, certainly) so well: the predators who show you the knife or the firearm, or the gang that beats you down in your own hallway, elevator, or car stopped at the light…

    An armed law abiding citizen will never need a weapon in his normal daily travels as long as he/she doesn’t encounter a predator. But when that moment comes there won’t be any other option except for force, and for a free citizen to willfully abandon the most personal, most honorable duty of a citizen – their own defense – is tantamount to a crime all by itself.

    I’m not a victim. Won’t be a helpless victim if I can help it.

    Your use of the word “incapacitate” speaks a shelf load toward your preconceptions, misconceptions, and delusions where armed citizenry is concerned. The Zimbabwe Drill isn’t intended to incapacitate.
    Any adult should understand that employing a firearm is deadly force or they shouldn’t carry one. Pulling a weapon where it isn’t called for isn’t just stupid, hal, it rises to criminal pretty quick… which is why the tens of thousands of permit holders who carry every day somehow escape the notice of the news media – why there aren’t “rivers of blood” in the streets.

    Well, okay, there is D.C., but NOBODY has a legal firearm there, right?

    You would be surprised how many people kill on Monday and go to PTA on Tuesday, hal. Can’t say the same for those who die, though. Not quite as easy a trick. I don’t plan to have to figure that one out.

  126. Anonymous says:

    Outstanding read! Very well put!

  127. Anonymous says:

    A third method of neutralizing the gun issue is the use of psychotropic drugs and psychotherapy, however, the false science of the mental health and counseling industry with reliance to mind drugs has gone astray with their experiments on society for control and actually created the violence and the guns are being blamed for drug induced thoughts and idologies of psychiatry.

  128. LFB_UK *The Legend* says:

    I liked the piece so much I copied it straight to my blog along with one of the comments, I hope its ok.

    I added a like to your site as well.

    Great piece, well done.

  129. LFB_UK *The Legend* says:

    Sorry added a “link” not a like lol

  130. Kristopher says:

    “But what about nukes/WMDs/etc.?” – You go there, we take you out. See? all civilized again. (And that’s exactly what Iran is facing, and presumably what Israel just did to Syria.)


    Mere ownership of a nuke is exactly equal to pointing a loaded gun at the heads of everyone within 20 miles … an act of aggression that should cost the perp his life. When some second amendment hating troll hauls out the nuclear strawman, he has auto-failed, and done the equivalent of “godwin”-ing himself.

  131. Thor says:

    Sensei, I was once able to do all you’ve described. However, time has taken it’s toll on this old body. Until the last decade, I never felt the need for a sidearm, as my skills were adequate. You are right about what you posted. However, the amount of people out there that ARE able to disarm another person are pretty few, comparatively. However, the one thing I think that you’ve omitted is the fact that most martial arts folks have the mentality to do what’s right. That doesn’t usually include making the other person shoot themselves.

    Your point about the willingness to pull the trigger is a valid one. It has been a source of discussion between a friend and myself. Many people that WE know who carry just don’t seem to have what it takes to look another in the eyes and take their life. That is a mentality that people have to develop or convince themselves.

    The other thing you omitted was the “Tueller Drill”. Some folks that carry a sidearm practice that, a LOT. Situational awareness seems to be a LOT higher in those that carry, too.

    Marko, with few exceptions (wording), I think you presented a very valid argument for those of us that carry.

  132. Amy says:

    Great post, I totally agree with your points.

  133. BlueNight says:

    This short piece is the intellectual equal of Francisco D’Anconia’s “Money is Civilization” speech in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

    Money and guns are a liberal’s enemies because they are afraid of power in another’s hands. What they don’t realize is that every able-minded adult (and many children) have CHOICE, free will, the most deadly power of all… and that America is built around accommodating freedom, not crushing it.

  134. Anonymous says:

    Very good.

  135. Anonymous says:

    So, it semms that God may have made man but Sam Colt made them equal!

  136. Quaamik says:

    “the naysayers like to point to chaotic, anarchic regions like the middle east (most of it, really, if we’re not being diplomatic) and much of africa as counterexamples. and they are, as far as they go. they’re societies, even if perhaps sociologically primitive (tribalistic) ones; they’re armed; and they’re horrible hellholes to be stuck in. but that doesn’t mean each and every armed society necessarily devolves into such.”

    Perhaps it is not the violence of these societies that is the problem. If you look at the core of these societies, they treat certain individuals, minorities or subgroups as “less than human” and discriminate against them. Without firearms as a force equalizer, the societies would likly be much more peacefull. Largely because many of the minority groups in those regions would have ceased to exist (having been exterminated).

    The violence in these areas is a testement to firearms as force equalizers, not a condemation of them. Contrary to popular opinion, war (and violence) does serve a usefull purpose. It is the end result when one groups refuses to respect the rights of another group (that has the ability to defend itself).

  137. Lady Jane says:

    Marko.. I have NO idea how to leave a link back to this, but I have just used this on my blog… full credit to you of course;-)


  138. Scott says:

    As good a writing on this topic as I have ever seen.
    I include in that, the writings of Jeff Snyder whose essays I hold in the highest regard.
    This will stand the test of time like so few others.

  139. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Hamas is a polite society.
    That may sound absurd, however, as a previous poster pointed out about the true latin translation of the word society, Hamas would be a society. The threat Hamas poses is not to it’s members (Except for the recruitment of homicide bombers, thru persuasion not force.)
    What we see in Africa and other places are merely clashes between societies with different values and an inability to reason or persuade the other society in any manner except by force. Hutu’s have no need to fear fellow Hutu’s.

    Conflicts between societies are traditionally referred to as wars, civil or not so civil, and usually end with the society that is clearly the strongest surviving and dominating or extinguishing the weaker.

    When logic and reason fail there can only be the application of controlled violence.

    Marko, enjoyed your post. Very well written and thought out.

  140. Anonymous says:

    a new view for us por gun folks, great.
    Religion without freedom is Islamic Fundamentalism;
    Freedom without religion is Chaos

  141. memerider says:

    I would like permission to quote your blog “why the gun is civilization” in our gun club newsletter (print only–not online–although we can include a link to your blog on our Links or Pistol pages as well), and if given, how you would like the citation to be worded.

    Thank you!
    posted by memerider, memerider@hotmail.com, at the request of my DH, Rob Weaver,
    Twelfth Precinct Pistol Club,

  142. Anonymous says:

    Great article! As my father always said, “I’d rather have a gun and not need one, than need a gun and not have one”!

  143. Sara says:

    I came here from AD’s site. This was a great, well- written post.
    Here in Chicago, handguns have been banned (by the aldermen) for Chicago citizens. Unless, of course, you are an alderman, in which case you can carry a concealed handgun. (Sigh)

  144. Naterstein says:

    Great article, if this was for a class, I hope you got high marks. Very simple and to the point.

  145. I just received this essay un-credited, via email. I published it on my own blog as “author unknown”. But one of my readers recognized it, and provided the link to your site. I have updated my post crediting you as author, and linking here to the original. However, I did leave the original post intact, with your full text included. If you have any objections, just let me know, and I will remove it.

  146. AM says:

    I’d like to republish this article in some form in a Manchester newspaper. Could you please contact me.

  147. Eggplant says:

    “Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. ”

    How about love and understanding?

  148. Marko says:


    those are emotions and attitudes, not ways of social interaction.

    When you go to the bakery, you can’t interact with them through love and understanding. No matter how long you stand there and feel that love and understanding, nobody’s going to give or sell you bread. You have to initiate the interaction by asking the baker to either sell or give you bread (reason), or by producing a weapon and taking that bread (force).

    Your emotions may be part of, and motivator for, your chosen method of interaction, but they’re not substitutes.

  149. Bruce Welder says:

    “So Marko, it would reason from your post that we can only have a civilized world by permitting each and every nation to proliferate nuclear arms.”

    I don’t have time to read all these so I don’t know if anyone has responded to this but it’s a total red herring. Nuclear arms are not personal defense weapons. They’re strategic offensive weapons. If you don’t understand the difference between the two, you really aren’t qualified to offer rational comment on the Second Amendment and self defense.

  150. […]Less commonly prescribed drugs such as alpha agonists, lithium and antiparkinsonian agents, were more prevalent among US kids followed by much rarer use (less than 0.05 per cent) among Dutch and German children.[…]

  151. […] This article is often attributed to a “Major L.Caudill, USMC (Ret.)”, which is incorrect. You can read the entire article at the original writer’s website here: Why the Gun is Civilization. […]

  152. Linz says:

    I copied this on my blog because it was so good, but I linked to your blog (and to your old one actually, because I didn’t see this post until I’d already posted mine). Let me know if that’s an issue, and I’ll take it down. Thanks.

  153. Aron says:

    “This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst.”

    I am a supporter of rights to bare firearms, but your argument is full of fallacy as well. With guns involved it can still come down to the physically superior party, or rather the individual best suited/trained to use their firearm. Simply having a gun does not make the ground equal in fact it could in certain circumstances endanger other lives that otherwise would not be.

    You assume that I as a citizen would be happy to have you a fellow citizen carrying a firearm in a mall, just in case someone goes off the deep end, you would be able to diffuse the situation. The fact of the matter is chances are you have never shot another human being, you have never been trained to shoot another human being and you are probably less then qualified to open fire in a crowded area of screaming people.

    And since we do live in a society the needs off all individuals need to be considered and actually take priority over your own. So there is an argument to be made for both sides.

    Granted I belive you accusation of fallacy stands true, there is no shortage of it in your own stance to make your own point, which is often the case.

    There is no equalizer in society, everyone is different, not everyone are competent enough to carry a firearm, that fact alone is enough to negate any claim of equal standing you have.

    Great so you have a gun and so does the robber. Who is to day you dont piss yourself and shoot a hole through your neighbors window killing their child as the robber proceeds to fill you with lead.

  154. […] idiotic laws that only serve to control) and sane person in the world should be armed. I think this blogger said it best: Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you […]

  155. […] Marko’s original work in March of 2007: why the gun is civilization. the munchkin wrangler. __________________ Did you know there was an Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association? Join […]

  156. […] The gun is civilization Posted May 18, 2009 Filed under: Guns | Tags: Freedom, Guns, Politics, Quotations, RKBA, self defense | I hadn’t read the original essay before, but because of this then this I was directed to this original essay. […]

  157. […] long as guns are the topic, I can’t help but to link this fantastic essay, Why the Gun is Civilization, by Marco, the Munchkin […]

  158. Jay says:

    Well said. I think the argument that guns make otherwise harmless conflicts deadly rests on a silly assumption that the person who is willing to punch somebody over a spilled drink would also be willing to kill him over it. Most people have some judgment at their disposal, and concealed-carry permit holders have proven themselves to be quite reasonable, and not wild-west-style gunslingers, as pdb’s post shows.

  159. George Pappas says:

    Outstanding! I agree totaly,better to have a gun and not need it than need one and not have it! I am an Honerably discharged USMC Viet Nam Vet ,also if you have never used a gun there is training you can take,protect yourselves and your familys!

  160. Pramathesh Borkotoky says:

    Nice post. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  161. Larry says:

    Finally found the author. It’s been a favorite commentary on carrying since I first saw it in 2007!

    I hope to get your permission to repost & correct an old post on ksccw.com to give you proper credit.

    Stay safe Marko,

  162. SnohomishWriter says:

    I will never understand why people think the idea of honest, law-abiding citizens carrying guns is a threat to society. I think that every freak who has shot up a mall or college or coffee shop in recent years would have thought twice before doing so if more citizens would arm themselves.

    Very nice essay.

  163. […] After Rep. Murphy, we welcomed Marko, the Munchkin Wrangler himself to the show as our featured blogger of the week.  Marko was great, as he usually is, talking about his upcoming novel, raising children in a house with guns, as well as one of his best posts ever, “Why the Gun is Civilization“. […]

  164. […] us normatively by making collective action more difficult,” my new friend Bob referred me to “Why the Gun is Civilization” by Marko Kloos.  While somewhat interesting, I think Mr. Kloos greatly oversimplifies both the […]

  165. Robert R Reisig-Franotovic says:


    Great article and theoretically correct. BUT! What similarities or differences do you see between what you propose and life on main street in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881?

    • Tam says:

      You mean Tombstone, Arizona Territory, where the carry of firearms was banned and the only people who had heaters were corrupt cops, their criminal relatives, and gang members? That Tombstone? Or the imaginary Hollywood one?

  166. […] Maj. Caudill strikes again! This was originally written by Marko Kloos and posted on his blog about three years ago; somewhere along the way someone stuck a military rank and a name in there and somehow it's stuck. […]

  167. Mike Sweeney says:

    Was able to track you down after being emailed a much forwarded version attributed to a retired major.

    Very well presented. Something that has been on my mind but have not been able to articulate as well as you.


  168. […] btw, that's not a quote from Maj. Caudill. The author was Marko Kloos. why the gun is civilization. […]

  169. […] of munchkin wrangler fame, is the actual author of The Gun is Civilization.  Here is the 2007 original post.  In 2009, after having been circulated on the internet attributed to this Maj. L. Caudill, it was […]

  170. […] ATF Consumer is correct. Written by Marko Kloos. why the gun is civilization. the munchkin wrangler. […]

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