Statist claim: Freedom is bad since it helps bad people.


A question for those of you who believe everyone should be allowed to own guns …

Rationalize for me why someone who beats their spouse and/or kids should be allowed to legally own a gun, or anyone with a violent criminal history for that matter. — Stacie Blackwood


Examine this question: it throws out a few red herrings (history of violence) and then asks why (presently) peaceful people should not be threatened with harm when acting peacefully.

Well, exposing the question like that is almost to answer it. There is an important lesson to be learned; please try to learn it. The onus is not on those that engage in peaceful, voluntary behavior to justify why they should not be harmed when so engaged, but on those that want to harm said peaceful individuals (violating the Non Aggression Principle). Peaceful, non-aggressive action does not need to be justified to anyone.

There is also a nearby fallacy often made on the particular topic of firearm ownership which should be clearly debunked: it is asserted that in fact owning and carrying a firearm is not a peaceful act. Why? Because a gun owner might … yes — they try to justify harm on the basis of what someone might do, at a point when they are doing no harm and are not even a threat. Owning, carrying, trading, importing, or exporting firearms, in themselves, do no harm to anybody. And anybody with a fist "might" punch someone with it, yet it is not morally justified to break their fingers because they might use them to do harm.

Certainly a person that has done harm should make restitution and receive retribution, but that is orthogonal to whether it is moral to do further harm to them after that point because of, this time, peaceful actions. But if such harm is desired, the burden of making the argument in favor of threatening (banning someone from owning property, such as a firearm, involves a threat of harm) or harming a peaceful individual lies with the one advocating said harm. (DBR)

Basically, the statist is arguing for utilitarianism, making tradeoffs between people's goods and harms to maximize an imaginary “public good.” Such a utilitarian might justify imprisoning all black male teenagers, since people in this class are more likely to commit violent crimes. To maximize utility of course! Obviously, this is unacceptable to people who believe in individual rights. [HB]

See Also: The Gun In The Room