Talk:People's Agenda/Responsible Gun Policy

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Despite the fact that gun control is promoted by America's Democratic party, I do not believe that it's an egalitarian or left-wing policy. The media extensively covers "gun violence" and this gives people a skewed perspective on the subject of firearm ownership. "Responsible gun policy" seems like a fashionable euphemism for various authoritarian constraints on public liberty. I suspect most people would not be so eager to accept them if they were described and discussed using dispassionate honest language rather than with appeals to emotion in a context of media-driven FUD. AP295 (discusscontribs) 15:24, 18 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What are your comments on the following:
  • w:Gun control#Studies, which indicates that political entities with stronger and more effective gun control laws tend to have fewer fatalities from human conflict and fewer suicides -- AND that 'the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been prohibited from using its federal funding "to advocate or promote gun control," thwarting gun violence research at the agency'.
  • Effective defense, which summarizes the best evidence I know on the relative effectiveness of violence and nonviolence, concluding major governmental change efforts that used nonviolence were twice as likely to be successful as those that used violence, and more importantly, violence promotes tyranny while nonviolence builds democracy.
  • The Great American Paradox, which summarizes evidence from the time of the American Revolution that indicates that the violence of the American Revolution helped achieve independence from Great Britain but did NOT contribute to advancing freedom, democracy, liberty and justice for all; the latter were largely achieved by over 2 centuries of largely nonviolent political agitation. (Ask the Native Americans how much they got from their violent resistance to the efforts of the Europeans and their descendants from taking their land at gun point.)
  • Winning the War on Terror summarizes research indicating that the US and the world would be safer and more prosperous if the G. W. Bush administration had responded to the suicide mass murders of September 11, 2001, with a major push to strengthen rule of law and had NOT responded with military force -- had NOT invaded Afghanistan nor Iraq.
If you know of serious research that you think is overlooked and should be discussed in these articles or you think the articles misinterpret the available evidence, please revise them -- or ask me to help. Thanks for your comments. DavidMCEddy (discusscontribs) 01:45, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding "The great american paradox", I'll reply with a quote from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography: "The colonies would gladly have borne a little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction. The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War". Parliament passed the Currency Act of 1764 which subjugated the colonists and caused economic ruin. The colonists defended themselves with force. There is no paradox here, the colonies prospered because many of the founding fathers and early presidents stoutly resisted the influence of international bankers. AP295 (discusscontribs) 19:27, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The paradox I perceive is between (1) the apparent success of the US in advancing freedom and democracy, liberty and justice for all and (2) the near total absence of improvements in freedom, democracy, liberty and justice in virtually all the other major successful violent revolutions in human history, virtually all of which arguably replaced one brutal repressive system with another. How was the US so lucky to get George Washington rather than someone more like Napoleon, Stalin, Mao or other similar authoritarians?[1]
My Great American Paradox attempts to answer that question. If you can find a way to improve that Great American Paradox article, I'd be interested. Your quote from Ben Franklin is interesting and supported by Woody Holton (1999), Forced foundners: Indians, debtors, slaves, and the making of the American Revolution in Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Wikidata Q59418433 However, I don't see how it's relevant to the question I was trying to address in the Great American Paradox. Thanks for your interest in my work. DavidMCEddy (discusscontribs) 20:51, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. By the way, I've heard multiple Europeans claim that the Napoleonic Code represented a major advance for the rule of law. Similarly, Stalin's supporters insisted that he transformed a backward agrarian society into a modern industrial state in the span of one generation that made the biggest contribution to defeating Hitler, according to quotes I've heard from people like Winston Churchill. I heard w:William Mandel claim that Russian soldiers shot their officers and went home during World War I. The sons of those deserters fought like Siberian tigers for Stalin during WWII. I don't believe they would have done that out of fear alone. And Mao and his successors, for all their brutality, seem to have offered a better life for most Chinese than the Japanese occupiers and the rule of the emperors, whose corruption made it easy for Japan to conquer a good portion of China. People supported Napoleon, Stalin, Mao and others, because they seemed to be an improvement over the governments they replaced.
England (or rather the "bank of england") attempted to impose its will on the colonists through the use of force, and the colonists successfully defended themselves using force. The point I'm trying to make is that it came down to armed conflict. If we had not won that conflict, I think our history would have been very different. Revolutions aside, I suspect civilian gun ownership has (or can have) a collective deterrent effect on abuses of power, but that is only my hypothesis. If the state is to serve the people rather than vice versa, the use of force cannot be the exclusive prerogative of the state. AP295 (discusscontribs) 21:39, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And certainly we were lucky to have Washington and the other founding fathers, but I don't think it's any mystery why the United States prospered. I don't think this is so much related to our modern foreign policy though. AP295 (discusscontribs) 21:50, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding the use of force, what is your interpretation of the research by Chenoweth and Stephan discussed in The Great American Paradox and "Effective defense"?
More generally, how do you think the world would likely be different today if the revolution had NOT been led by Washington but by a Quaker using tactics like those popularized by w:Mahatma Gandhi? DavidMCEddy (discusscontribs) 22:43, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All very romantic, the deeds of Ghandi and other non-violent revolutionaries. I don't think they would have stopped the banking elite from turning the colonists into serfs, but I'll have a look the paper you cited at some point. Keep in mind I'm not proposing that we need a revolution, but that prohibiting civilians from owning firearms is ultimately detrimental to our self-determination. AP295 (discusscontribs) 22:58, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I do NOT advocate a nonviolent response to every violent attack. However, there are many situations where the use of violence seems be at best wasteful and likely counterproductive. See, e.g., the following:

  • Confirmation bias and conflict, which notes that among other things, collateral damage that they commit proves to us that we must "defend" ourselves by any means necessary, but collateral damage that we commit is unfortunate but necessary. This asymmetry in perceptions contributes to massive carnage that could be avoided if a critical mass of humanity had an adequate understanding of this.
  • Winning the War on Terror, which cites evidence suggesting that the entire "War on Terror" has been counterproductive: The results would likely have been much different if the US had responded to the suicide mass murders of September 11, 2001, with a focus on rule of law. DavidMCEddy (discusscontribs) 23:21, 21 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding confirmation bias and conflict, I think it's slightly off the mark. For instance, I believe the polarized (or "balkanized", if you prefer) state of middle-class America results from the defective conception of self-interest that the media impresses upon the public, and the choice architecture they present to the public. This is not merely an accident resulting from confirmation bias on part of the average person. It's likely a deliberate public relations strategy, based upon a concrete and thorough understanding of human behavior. AP295 (discusscontribs) 02:44, 24 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DavidMCEddy: In other words, what I'm trying to say is that it's more useful to consider groups and conflicts between them in terms of common and/or opposing material interests. I don't think confirmation bias is really the basis of conflict itself. Conflict results from a perceived conflict of interest between two groups, which may or may not have a basis in reality. Telling any given party that their grievances or self-interests are fallacious or a result of confirmation bias is unlikely to improve their disposition. I don't see how it's a productive angle. However, I do share many of your concerns about mass media and popular culture. AP295 (discusscontribs) 02:01, 25 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To get back on topic, I do not want to depend on the state for protection or be denied the self-determination and liberty that our forefathers fought so hard to achieve. That's a miserable way to live. AP295 (discusscontribs) 02:22, 25 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DavidMCEddy: Much of your work seems more like a critique of martial culture/policy rather than of firearm ownership and other such liberties per se. The two do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Even in the "old west", people were not constantly wasting one another at high noon (especially not civilians). While I like Sergio Leone's films as much as the next guy, they're not exactly an accurate historical picture of American society. I share many of your concerns about media and popular culture and I urge you to consider them more carefully. I hope we talk again. AP295 (discusscontribs) 01:05, 29 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]