By Brad Pearce
“All this arises from the fact that this king disarmed his people and from the fact that he and the others mentioned above have preferred to enjoy the immediate benefit of being able to plunder their people and to avoid imaginary and unreal danger, rather than to accomplish things that would make them secure and their states happy in perpetuity.”
- Machiavelli [Discourses, II.30]
After the so-called January 6th “Insurrection”, which was more like a mild riot, the Democrats put a fence around the Capitol for several months. I kept saying at the time, “They have this fence up because they intend to govern so poorly that the public will regularly riot.” While the regular rioting has not happened, the abysmally poor and tyrannical governance certainly has. Being as the Democrats are basically pro-crime, no reasonable person should think their constant gun-grabbing attempts are any sort of earnest but misguided policy aimed at crime reduction. The truth is, they simply fear the public because they are wicked and incompetent. Any political faction with a basic belief in human liberty and some competence to govern should in fact want a population that is armed with “weapons of war,” as this brings more security to a “prince” or Republic than any standing army ever could. Though Niccolo Machiavelli has been greatly maligned for his hard-nosed realism and keen understanding of how power functions, he was actually a radical supporter of human liberty, and in his studies of the past and [his] present, explains why virtuous rulers benefit from an armed population, and why only the wicked would disarm you. He may have predated the Second Amendment, but he saw clearly that a militia was necessary for the security of a free state [though, somewhat ironically, the Florentine militia he personally organized lost to the Spanish, and his city lost its freedom.]
The current anti-gun talking point is that “Weapons of War” don’t belong on our streets. There are some reasonably fair arguments about the streets aspect of that, insofar as one would hope to live in a sufficiently well-ruled society that no one needs to be carrying around a high-powered weapon [whereas we actually live in a collapsing hellscape where you can only rely on yourself for protection.] However, the government should definitely want you to have “weapons of war” and to be trained in their use, that is, if they were not incompetent and nefarious, which they definitely are. The problem, beyond generally being tyrannical control freaks, is that few men, especially those in positions of power, have any meaningful faith in the benefits of human freedom, despite that liberty actually works remarkably well, if the rulers have any plans besides looting the treasury [which ours don’t.] In Discourses on Livy, his treatise on the great Roman historian, Machiavelli writes,
“In the end, almost all men, deceived by a false good and a false glory, allow themselves, either willingly or through ignorance, to pass into the ranks of those who deserve more blame than praise, and having the capacity to create, to their everlasting honour, either a republic or a kingdom, they turn to tyranny, failing to realize how much fame, how much glory, how much honour, security, tranquillity, and peace of mind they are losing through this choice, and how much infamy, disgrace, blame, danger, and anxiety they incur.” [Discourses, I.10]
Machiavelli didn’t have our “Founding Fathers” as an example, but they illustrate this perfectly. Given the opportunity to found a new state, they chose to value liberty, and though imperfect, they were able to live in peace and security without worrying about threats from their own public. They were seen as leaders, not rulers, and by the virtuous, are seen as having unparalleled glory. You can compare this to our wicked rulers now, who live in constant fear of everything while simultaneously being incompetent and reckless. And this is why they are so obsessed with your guns: they know they deserve to be overthrown. The most absurd part about that is liberty is actually much easier than tyranny for a ruler, insofar as when the public have a great deal of personal freedom and you aren’t micromanaging their lives you don’t get blamed for everything that happens. Take, for one example, the covid debacle. Who knows how they “got to” Trump, but once he announced he was going to defeat a virus then he could not evade blame for failing to do the impossible. Similarly, by supporting gun confiscation, Democrats then take the blame for gun violence in their cities, whereas since Republicans support liberty and personal responsibility on this particular issue, blaming them for gun violence never sticks with anyone who isn’t already a Democrat partisan. Because of this, Republicans support any gun control legislation at their own peril, and accomplish little but generating hatred and blame for themselves.
Another issue regarding guns, is that America goes to an extraordinary amount of wars for a country which faces no true military threats to its homeland. This has caused America to rely on a professional army- a necessity for a globe-spanning empire but poisonous to a free republic. In Art of War, Machiavelli writes,
“First Octavius, and then Tiberius, thinking more of their own power than of the public utility, began to disarm the Roman people so as to be able to command it more easily, and to keep those same armies continually at the frontiers of the Empire. And because they still did not judge that this was enough to keep the Roman people and Senate in check, they ordered an army called the Praetorian that stayed near the walls of Rome and was like a castle close by that city. And because they then began freely to allow the men deputed in those armies to use the military for their art, their insolence suddenly arose from it, and they became formidable to the Senate and harmful to the emperor.” [Art of War, I.87-89]
It is hard to look at that and not see the “Deep State” of the FBI and other spy agencies as filling that role, especially given the never-ending Trump investigations. These agencies are nothing if not insolent, and are now the tools of a specific political faction hell-bent on disarming the public. Further, no sane person could believe these organizations wouldn’t run even more roughshod over a disarmed populace, even if few now are crazy enough to resist them. A major problem with a standing army is also that it has a tendency to attract the wrong sort of people. True, many soldiers are honorable people who wish to serve their country, but killing as your “art” [profession] will always appeal to the nefarious as well, such as the phenomenon of street gangs sending members to the military for combat training. Machiavelli writes,
“They are among the most wicked of a province. For if any are scandalous, idle, without restraint, without religion, fugitives from their fathers’ rule, blasphemers, gamblers, in every part badly raised, they are those who want to be in the military.” [Art of War, I.129]
Though you’re not supposed to talk about our military in this fashion, and it greatly offends the public if anyone outside of the military says such things, I have indeed heard military members say things such as that the military is like all of the worst people from high school in one place. This is also evidenced by the amount of vice which surrounds military bases, which goes farther than just the new recruits generally being young and irresponsible. This is quite the contrast to what you get from a militia made up of the public defending their own homes, all people who would prefer peace to war. For this system of national defense to function it is a requirement that the public owns, maintains, and trains with weapons of war. The government should be encouraging militias, which are generally only anti-government because the government sucks. For the most part these folks, even if some of them are kooky, just want to be well governed, in an era where the government perpetually gets more broken, incompetent, and oppressive.
Though the professional military is large in terms of raw numbers, it is actually a very small percentage of the total population. While the government creates or invents threats that it sends out the military to face, there are no meaningful large scale threats to the US homeland [besides nuclear war, where small arms ownership doesn’t really apply.] They love to say “we’ll fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” but for more than one reason that is a bad policy. One good example of a country where arms ownership has preserved freedom for centuries is Switzerland, Machiavelli’s favorite example of a governed cities in his era. Machiavelli writes, “Rome and Sparta for many centuries stood armed and free. The Swiss are extremely well armed and are very free.” [The Prince, XII] It is commonly misunderstood how Switzerland maintained independence even against the Nazis, but William Tell is the national hero of Switzerland, and sharpshooting is their national pastime. Further, there is mandatory military service for male citizens, and these citizen-soldiers keep their government issued firearms at home. While this is not a “libertarian” policy on firearms insofar as they are conscripts and it represents government spending, it makes the nation fundamentally impossible to conquer, even for an army as formidable as that of the Nazis [the Swiss are sometimes described as “Armed to the teeth and dug into every hill.”] This policy has demonstrably worked well for Switzerland for around 1000 years, and the only good explanation for more states not copying it is a desire to oppress and loot their own population.
A country which relies on a professional military at its borders will always be vulnerable to attack in its heartland, and will further reliably be badly governed,
“When kingdoms are armed, as Rome was armed and as the Swiss are now armed, it is much more difficult to conquer them the nearer you come to them, because these bodies can unite more forces to resist an onslaught than to attack someone else…The Swiss are easily conquered outside their home territory, where they cannot send more than 30,000 or 40,000 men, but to conquer them at home, where they can put together 100,000 men is extremely difficult. Once again, I conclude, therefore, that the prince whose people are armed and organized for warfare should always wait at home for a violent and dangerous war and should not go out on the attack.” [Discourses, II.13]
That is to say, did we face real threats, with the current rate of American firearm ownership, fighting “them” here would actually be preferable. As a “free state” relying on a Swiss-style policy of armed neutrality this country would be far more secure. If not for the simple geography of our country and the relative weakness of our neighbors, America’s military policy would leave the nation profoundly vulnerable if the public was disarmed, which is more evidence that the gun-grabbing politicians are both incompetent and nefarious. Machiavelli writes,
“Disadvantages arise, then, from having disarmed your peoples; from this arises another, even greater disadvantage, for the nearer the enemy comes to you, the weaker he will find you. Anyone who lives in the ways outlined above treats the subjects inside his dominion badly and those who live on its borders well, in order to have men strongly disposed to keeping the enemy at a distance. As a consequence, in order to keep the enemy further off he makes payments to those rulers and peoples living near his borders…Accordingly, the heart and vital organs of a body, and not its extremities, have to be kept armed, since without the latter the body is alive, but if the former are harmed it dies and these states keep the heart disarmed while arming the hands and feet.” [Discourses, II.30.]
This is remarkable as it relates to the Russia-Ukraine War, specifically the the ridiculous phenomenon of “Buy back the guns and send them to Ukraine.” But also the complete disparity over how weapons in Ukraine and weapons in America are viewed by the Democrats. This is one of many examples where our government is going directly against Machiavelli’s sage advice and oppressing us while they send all of our weapons and money to Ukraine believing it to be the front line against their chosen enemy [though you can be sure a huge portion of that money actually goes to contractors in northern Virginia.]
The question, then, is how and why did the world get to be like this, where most states disarmed their publics? The simplest answer is probably an undue belief in the permanence of the post-World War 2 peace treaties. One way or another, like in Machiavelli’s day, most of the world is disarmed and horribly governed, which is a dangerous thing in our increasingly unstable world. I say this until I am blue in the face, but it cannot possibly be that hard to just choose to respect the liberty of the population and govern well. In Art of War Machiavelli writes,
“That city which uses its very own arms is not afraid except for of its own citizens…They should have seen that arms in their citizens’ hands could not make them tyrants, but that evil orders of government make a city tyrannize. Since they had a good government, they did not have to fear their own arms.” [Art of War, I.176, 186]
It’s well established among freedom loving Americans that the government should fear the people, and one can see why the government would want to avoid that, but things do not have to be that way. Switzerland has occasionally been drawn into the problems of different eras, but for the most part the government has maintained control over the country with ease simply by respecting the public and focusing on good government. Directly providing “weapons of war” to the public is what has allowed for this stability. Coming into office wanting to disarm a public is evil, tyrannical, and unwise. As Machiavelli writes in The Prince,
“There has never been a time when a new prince disarmed his subjects. On the contrary, when he has found them unarmed he has always armed them, because when armed those arms become yours: those whom you suspect become loyal, and those who were loyal remain so, and they become your partisans rather than your subjects…But when you disarm them you begin to offend them. You show that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for lack of loyalty. And both of these opinions generate hatred of you.” [The Prince, XX]
This is another stunningly relevant quote, being as the Democrats “say the quiet part out loud.” That is to say, they both say we’re unable to resist the government [despite the military regularly losing brush wars to irregular light troops with small arms] and further constantly accuse us of disloyalty. Instead of just implying this with their desire to take our arms, they straight use it as a justification for gun seizures. It’s really a wonder what is wrong with their partisans who accept this behavior out of the government, but they are both terrified of freedom and are full of partisan hatred. Instead of saying “Weapons of War don’t belong on our streets,” the much wiser policy would be to encourage each household that can afford to do so to own, maintain, and train with a combat-appropriate rifle, and to sell this to the public as the highest act of patriotism. That would further have the impact of encouraging those who were for some reason unable to maintain their own arms to join the Army Reserves or National Guard out of patriotism, and it is wise to have the Swiss policy of them keeping their government-issued arms at home.
There is no chance that this crop of incompetent, geriatric leaders will ever learn any of these lessons. Our guns are the only things stopping the Biden Administration from taking our guns, since they have no fidelity towards our liberty or Constitution. Their only hope is to destroy our country, which could be their aim. Machiavelli writes,
“Anyone who becomes master of a city accustomed to living in liberty and does not destroy it may expect to be destroyed by it, because such a city always has as a refuge in any rebellion the name of liberty and its ancient institutions, neither of which is ever forgotten either because of the passing of time or because of the bestowal of benefits.” [The Prince, V]
Always remember the name of liberty, and never give an inch on the question of your right to bear arms.