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The Jehoshua Novels


QOTD: The Hubris of Cold War in Miniature

Alan Jacobs:

I could write a very long blog post listing what’s wrong with the plan to arm teachers, especially the various unintended consequences that would spring from such a policy implemented nationwide. We can be absolutely sure that within a few years more people would be killed by teachers who fired their weapons accidentally or in misplaced anger or fear, or by students who stole their teachers’ guns, than have ever been killed in school massacres like those in Newtown and Columbine.

But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.

Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Moreover, the person who wishes to live this way, to maintain order at universal gunpoint, has an absolute trust in his own ability to use weapons wisely and well: he never for a moment asks whether he can be trusted with a gun. Of course he can! (But in literature we call this hubris.)

h/t Josh Barro

2 comments to QOTD: The Hubris of Cold War in Miniature

  • Cheryl Rofer

    Precisely the bolded statement.

    THAT is what is wrong with these proposals, and we need to keep saying it.

  • JustPlainDave

    Funny how the dangers of this type of response are so readily recognizable when it focusses narrowly on guns, but not so readily recognizable when they focus on other issues like moving to the countryside to be better “prepared” for predicted social / economic collapse. The cynic in me (which is to say approximately 96.4% as measured by volume) tends to think that “white flight” is not yet entirely dead.

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