Guest-guest commentary: The Gun IS Civilization

This is from a friend, Margaret Figert, retired publisher and editor of the Todd County Tribune, Mission, South Dakota, being published on Wednesday, 10th April 2013.

Most of it is actually written by a retired Jarhead (and yes, I know SEVERAL USMC officers, both active duty and retired, who can both read and write!).  It is very much worth pondering and sharing.  It is followed by some quotes that Margaret selected, mostly from dead folks that can’t complain if they are quoted, and some after-thoughts of my own.

SMOKE SIGNALS: The Gun IS Civilization

The following essay was shared with this column by TRIBUNE readers for your consideration and discussion.  It was written by Maj. L. Caudill, US Marine Corps (Ret.).

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force.  If you want me to do something for you, you have the choice of either convincing me via persuasion, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force.  Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.

Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force.  You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or use of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a lone guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations.

These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for an armed mugger to do his job.  That, of course, is true only if the mugger’s potential victims are disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat.  It has no validity when a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many. That’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a monopoly on the use of force.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would result in only injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the physically inferior.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst.

The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker.  If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of a weaker octogenarian as it is in the hands of a stronger weight lifter.  It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

It removes force from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.  The greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.

Written by Maj. L. Caudill, USMC (Ret.)

— — —

Here are several quotes that seem to fit today’s political, economic and social scenes in the United States:

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”  – Senator Daniel Webster, 1851

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”- Ronald Reagan

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” – G.K. Chesterton

Schools and prisons are both government institutions.  One prohibits reading The Bible within its walls. The other encourages reading The Bible within its walls.  Did anyone ever think that allowing Bible study in schools may well lower future U. S. prison population numbers?

What have we learned in 2,068 years?  “The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.  People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, ancient Roman writer and chronicler, 55 BC

What have we learned by now?  Evidently, nothing.

My (Nathan’s) after-thoughts:

Indeed, we ignore the lessons that our ancestors DID learn.  We have forgotten more than we know. 

The recent issue over the funding for the new (Rosebud Sioux Tribal) jail (“Adult Correctional Facility”) on Bristow Ranch (west of Mission, SD)  is what I immediately thought of.  Of course, Lakota schools ARE allowed to teach religion in school – just not the religion of the Bible.  The point about teaching in prisons and jails is hard-hitting, also.  I know many people who have or work with jail ministries, but meanwhile, souls are lost in elementary and middle and high schools.  By the time they reach college level (those that do), it is too late.  This applies to both Christianity and to Liberty.

The second quote that struck me is the one by Tom Jefferson.  People, we have indeed reached the point of injustice where our duty (to ourselves, our family, our community, and our God) is resistance.  In every way.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
This entry was posted in Friends of Liberty and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Guest-guest commentary: The Gun IS Civilization

  1. Bob S. says:


    Thought I would let you know that the author of this essay isn’t “Major Caudill” but a blogger by the name of Marko Kloos —

    The essay has been mis-attributed for years –



    • MamaLiberty says:

      Thanks! I’ll forward that information to Nathan. I have that “munchkin” page in my bookmarks as well. I have seen it under several different names, but a thorough search seems to indicate that Kloos is the actual author. We’ll get that fixed immediately, and post a link besides. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s