Friday, February 13, 2009

Weapon control in a free society

When there are no laws regarding weapon control, what's to stop a madman from collecting WMDs and threatening his neighbors with it? Wouldn't a free society need some kind of controlling mechanism to prevent scenarios like these from happening?

Yes, it would. And that's how it could be handled:

Assume you're walking down the street and a man holding a knife runs towards you, screaming wildly. You knock him down and he starts complaining that he didn't want you any harm, he was merely rehearsing for a drama play. Was your defense reaction justified? Yes, most certainly.

Now assume this man was rehearsing on an empty football field. Nobody was threatened by his actions, so there's nothing wrong with it. Nobody minds him doing so.

Let's further assume that a man living in the desert without any neighbors in a 50-mile perimeter sets up a rocket launcher in his yard to defend himself and his property against marauders. Would anyone mind? Probably not. However, if someone decided to install a rocket launcher on his balcony in a crowded city, this might lead to trouble with neighbors; just like building a toxic waste dump in a family-friendly suburb will cause conflicts.

It's become clear that the ownership and usage of different kinds of weapons has different effects in different circumstances. As long as you're living a recluse life, you're free to drive a tank and set up missile launchers on your lawn. Since you were there first, any future neighbors will have to tolerate this behavior or stay away. However, threatening the security and well-being of your already existing neighbors with potentially harmful gadgets will be a controversial issue in a private property society.

How will this be resolved? Individually, either by reaching a compromise or using arbitration services/free market courts to settle the matter. You may choose to ignore a court ruling and keep your Stalin's organ on your balcony, but you're bound to face pretty harsh consequences once this information reaches the general market (I need to do an article on free market arbitration in the future to elaborate on this).

The state is completely useless in solving this problem. States produce codified law that is supposed to apply to all possible situations involving a particular matter. But as we've just shown, gun control in a free society is a case-by-case matter, something that cannot be codified, but must be weighed anew in every single instance. You'd need states that encompass only two pieces of property to adequately address this issue within the framework of a state, an obviously ludicrous proposal. A free market will be able to eliminate problems individually, thus creating much more maneuvering room for possible solutions.

But what about our WMD collector? He's dangerous even if he's chosen the path of the hermit. Basically, once it becomes known that he's bunkering highly dangerous substances, insurance and defense providers will find it profitable to eliminate the threat before it escalates and severe damage is done. Several approaches could be taken to do this; negotiating with the collector or breaking into his cellar to neutralize all WMDs (remember, hoarding WMDs counts as an act of aggression, so counter-force is allowed) are two of them. Killing the hermit would be a both morally and economically terrible decision; morally for his right to life and liberty, economically for compensation charges of potential relatives and for possible harm done by the hermit while defending himself. If you think states could solve problems of this kind more appropriately, think again: Waco and Ruby Ridge.

Now, there may be good reasons to own WMDs. Research purposes are one. But think of owning WMDs in the context of our rehearsing actor. If you behave irresponsibly (for example, by putting WMDs into canning jars in your cellar), you constitute a threat to your fellow men. They will feel an urgent need to eliminate this threat. Claiming that you're "just a WMD collector" is like claiming that you simply wanted to rehearse when you seemed to assault a random pedestrian.

Lastly, I recommend this paper by Walter Block for further reading. My ideas are based on his research, so I have to give him credit for this article - without him, it may not exist today.

1 comment:

Buy Cialis said...

I've been reading this blog and I couldn't believe your interpretations. We can't stop them... they are madman so this is it.