January 26, 2012

TEDX AMSTERDAM: Guns For World Peace. “The gun may be one of the most important instruments of peace and stability that we have in this world.”

UPDATE: Various readers object that he’s not talking about guns in the hands of citizens, which is true. But what he says is shocking enough to contemporary Euros, even if it is in accordance with their traditions. As Sanford Levinson has noted, though, their traditions are not ours:

Such analyses provide the basis for Edward Abbey’s revision of a common bumper sticker, “If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns.” 67 One of the things this slogan has helped me to understand is the political tilt contained within the Weberian definition of the state — i.e., the repository of a monopoly of the legitimate means of violence 68 — that is so commonly used by political scientists. It is a profoundly statist definition, the product of a specifically German tradition of the (strong) state rather than of a strikingly different American political tradition that is fundamentally mistrustful of state power and vigilant about maintaining ultimate power, including the power of arms, in the populace.

In this, as in many things, of course, American elites often take their cues from the Germans.

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