I’m pretty sure human nature hasn’t changed all that much, nor have our founding documents.
Some of what seems to have changed is public sentiment around which many people are gathering. Certain ideals are helping to define and describe the type of society such folks would like to live in, with consequences for all of us through law and public policy (interpreting the Constitution).
I know and have known people living in rural areas, hunting as a part of family and generations’ long tradition (yes, there are always a few nutballs and losers). I’ve witnessed careful duty and patient instruction (as well as drunken and foolish behavior in the woods). I’ve witnessed people who own guns as a pleasurable pastime placing them within nature, almost sacredly so.
Valuable survival skills, lots of time spent and knowledge gathered outdoors, and a respect for living creatures are not uncommon.
I also know and have known some inner-city folks, decent, honorable people (living amidst a lot of family and civic breakdown), law-abiding and reasonable people (dealing with much violent and dangerous adolescent gang and criminal behavior as well as crap policing). Many such folks have trouble seeing guns as a pleasurable pastime, which strikes me as not unreasonable, given their experiences.
A different, but no less valuable, set of survival skills can be found; lots of time spent and knowledge gathered within a city within nature, and where a respect for people and moral decency are not uncommon.
When it comes to gun ownership, David Harsanyi doesn’t agree with some Supreme Court justices:
‘The singular purpose of the Second Amendment, they argued, was to arm militias, not individuals. For some reason, they contend, the Second Amendment, unlike most of the Bill of Rights, actually empowered the government rather than the individual. Any other interpretation was an antiquated and destructive reading of the past. But history has never backed up this contention — not then, and not now.’
The public debate is still a mess, and I believe this short-changes us all.
I still don’t trust those with authority to oversee a society with guns anymore than I trust those with authority to oversee a society without guns. Your ambition and knowledge has limits, and so does mine.
Merely defaulting to the authority such ideals would produce (by influencing real courts or appealing to abstract concepts in the ideal society to come) strikes me as a failure of the moral imagination.
More broadly, so you get a better picture of my thinking, dear Reader, I also don’t trust peace idealists to properly manage the instincts and reasons we humans go to war. Bad maps, in my opinion, tend to lead to worse handling of the terrain.
A quote from this piece over at the Atlantic: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work
“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.”
On that note, an interesting thought from Carlo Lancelotti:
At some point people will have to face the question: What makes a human population a SOCIETY?
Commerce certainly does not.
Nor does the state, for that matter.
Yet the the 90% of political discourse in my lifetime has been about the correct relationship between them.
— Carlo Lancellotti (@_CLancellotti) February 7, 2020
This seems to me a primary question regarding the European Union (started as an economic project), which has slowly morphed into a political, legal and cultural one.
A very slight majority of Britons wanted out, and now they’re out.
After 25 years of fighting for independence, this is my final contribution in the European Parliament.
We were told to leave with our British flags, and that’s exactly what we did. pic.twitter.com/cBfycWfsN7
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 29, 2020
Partly, this is why I harbor unresolved doubts regarding the anarchic foundations of libertarianism, and mission creep. If individuals, keeping their promises and not doing violence, form the basic unit of modern civilization, than does it follow that some sort of equilibrium will be achieved? I’m not sure this kind of anti-establishmentarian, decentralized authority vision of a civilization is practicable.
I remain skeptical, but this may say more about me than libertarianism, or that some libertarian principles lead to a kind of ‘economic-union first’ politics, upon which the European Union is arguably failing.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome. What have I gotten wrong?
Related On This Site: A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Anarcho-capitalism: Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes: Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge…Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…
New liberty away from Hobbes…rule-following punishers?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…
Steven Pinker curiously goes Hobbesian and mentions an ‘international Leviathan’: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes