Showing posts from January, 2013

Part 3: How standing armies can corrupt republics.

With the preceding thoughts from parts 1 and 2, we arrive at just why a professional army is such a problem. While any permanent public service can be problematic to a republic, for the reasons just mentioned, a professional military is extremely dangerous because its purpose is war itself. Due to its extreme nature, war necessarily subordinates everything to the goal of victory, failing to do so results in defeat and ruin. In a situation where the survival of the people is at stake, it even makes sense to restrict the very freedoms of a republic in order to divert as many resources as efficiently as possible towards the defeat of the enemy. This is only justified though in the case of a purely defensive war or a war that directly serves the interest of the all the people in the republic. Leaving the issue of the morality of offensive war itself, we can say for now that the principles of a republic would not be opposed to the idea if the people as a whole would benefit from it s

Part 2: How standing armies relate to the principles of different forms of government.

As Montesquieu argued in “The Spirit of the Laws” , every form of government has corresponding principles which underpin them and make it possible for particular forms of governments to thrive and prosper. Monarchies have honor, despotic regimes fear, and republics virtue. The virtue of a republic does not necessarily lie in moral virtue, but rather in civic virtue, where the individual citizen subordinates his particular interest to that of the common good of the society. This does not mean the citizen’s interest is lost, or that the state becomes totalitarian in its scope, but rather that if necessary the citizen is willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Thus republics require a willingness to serve among the people, service that extends as far as one is able. In monarchies aristocracies, or perhaps as we would call them today “traditional societies”, different classes of people exist to carry out different functions of state and society. Often we would observe a noble cla

The corruption of a standing army.

In the previous two posts I discussed the nature of the second amendment as understood by the founders and the solution to our modern controversy with a right to bear arms being found in the tying of firearms ownership to service in the militia. In this four part post I will expand on these ideas by discussing how standing armies corrupt republics and why great thinkers such as Montesquieu and Machiavelli thought them to be so dangerous to republics such as ours. Part 1: What is a standing army.   First we must look into what was meant by “standing armies” as the founders envisioned. The term standing army does not refer to the permanent deployment of a military on the domestic soil as the words would seem to imply, rather it refers to a professional military force that is distinct from the citizenry and which is a permanent feature of the state. A standing army is thus composed of citizens who have dedicated themselves exclusively to the profession of arms. As one might becom

Further thoughts on the bearing of arms.

In my previous post I discussed what I feel to be the essential weaknesses in attempts to prevent gun violence through the use of stricter controls on what arms and what magazines may be purchased. As I have already pointed out, the limiting of high capacity magazines and or military style semiautomatic rifles would not do much to prevent a determined attacker from killing countless innocents in the places where they tend to be targeted. The only difference between being able to fire 30 rounds continuously and having to reload after ten or seven, is a few seconds at most, especially for someone who is moderately trained with a firearm. While this may give some unarmed victim a chance to escape or fight back, the reality is that once that fresh seven round magazine is in the weapon, the murderer can easily continue his vindictive rampage unopposed.   Thus as I argued, the only real “gun-control” measure that has a chance of preventing massacres is that which severely limits th

A well regulated militia...

"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".   Few words written in the constitution have caused such controversy and bitter disagreement as the text of the second amendment. The controversy has grown more contentious in light of the growth in firearms related violence which has gripped the country over the past half century, especially when we consider such violence punctuated by barbarous acts of madmen looking to gain infamy and release themselves from their pain through the destruction of the innocent.   Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, these places can no longer be mentioned without the images of lost hope and lost lives burning indelibly within our minds. They speak to us of a humanity cast asunder in the gratification of pure evil within the souls of paranoid, forgotten men. Yet it is not so much the internal constitution of those villainous animals that concer