We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller

In NZ, the UK or Australia, one may own a rifle or shotgun, but it has to be locked in a cabinet when not in use. Thus, it is of no use for a sudden life or death situation. A twelve bore which is locked in a steel cabinet will not save you when you need it.

I must say I find it odd that in the UK, NZ and Oz it is legal to own guns for all reasons except self-defence, which is the most basic and obvious reason to own one. It was not always like this, but the 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller.

The one part of the UK where ownership of a pistol for self-defence is still legal is Northern Ireland, but even that is for the convenience of the state. They found that builders, contractors and other suppliers of goods and services to the state were refusing to work for them any more, as they were targetted by the IRA. The only way the state could get its jobs done was to allow these people to own a pistol and a small amount of ammunition (25 rounds I believe). So there is no general right to be armed in self-defence even in NI, it is just something the state had to allow for its own survival.

The NI situation is something which is never talked about, however. About 10,000 people in a population of 1.5 million carry a pistol for self-defence. Carried across to the mainland, that would be 400,000 armed citizens. The powers that be don’t want the peons getting any ideas above their station.

JohnK making some very cogent points on Natalie’s article here on Samizdata.

13 comments to The 20th century saw the state getting bigger and bigger, and thus the citizen getting smaller and smaller

  • Thailover

    Here in America, it’s fatiguing to continue to make the point that NO ONE has anything to fear from a law-abiding responsible gun owner, and criminals are literally defined as people who ignore laws, (even your fancy new ones), and the consequences for doing so thereof. Laws only affect the law-abiding, not “the problem”, i.e. the criminals.

    Now, consider that I’m trying to get the above point across when the gun grabbers can’t even absorb the fact that virtually NO ONE in America has the legal ability to own “military grade machine guns”, nor do they seem to be able to absorb the fact that if you ban semi-automatic weapons as a category, this would include the infamous AR-15, but also include nearly all non-revolver pistols.

    Cognitive dissonance literally makes people stupid.
    Here is a very short yet prime example, where Whoopie is literally incapable of learning the difference between a “fully automatic weapon” aka machine gun, and a semi-automatic (i.e. like nearly all hand gun sold today) that shoots one round per trigger pull.

    (Youtube clip)

    And if she’s a “gun owner”, why the hell does she not know what she’s talking about?

  • Snorri Godhi

    All centuries see the state getting bigger and bigger, in between revolutions! (NB: state-shrinking revolutions have mostly been bloodless in the 20th century — including the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions.)

    As for the citizens, at least the 20th century saw them getting wealthier and wealthier — which is why the state could tax them at a rate unimaginable in previous centuries.

  • -XC

    Next Saturday I will take a 5 hour, $95 class to bring my Concealed Carry License current. I will then drive about an hour north to have my fingerprints digitally scanned, hand over another $95, and in <10 days I will have my CCL. It will be good for 7 years. We live in a "shall issue" state, so it's not optional to issue it unless I have a factual issue: felony conviction, etc.

    I have decided to get a new CCL gun as I have never liked the one I usually carry. I've picked out the one I think I want. It's a Glock G26 in .380 and will cost me about $399 plus tax. The over-the-phone verification with the Feds should take about five minutes. There is no license required in FL (as in 32 states) and this is not dependent on my CCL. I suspect that, unless I get shopping for stuff I can't afford, I will be in and out in 30 minutes.

    And my gun store is right next to a taqueria, so a burrito for lunch after. 'Merica, just saying.

    There are no gun storage regulations, no micro-stamping of any ammo I might buy (I have about 1,200 rounds of 380 already, not planning to buy more unless it goes on sale again) and no bonus inspections because I have a handgun. Home=castle.

    If I end up in a conversation with a police officer *and* I am carrying, I am required to disclose and produce my license if asked. I am *not* required to produce my weapon without probable cause. (Note: most PoPo don't want to touch a strange gun.)

    I urge you guys to reimagine your gun laws. Or come on over here, we need people.


  • Paul Marks

    The philosophy of law that led the expansion of the state, the idea that “law” is just the commands of the ruler or rulers, dates back many centuries (Thomas Hobbes and so on), but became dominant in the 19th century – somehow (I suspect because their atheism and materialism was admired – even though one can be an atheist and NOT come to the philosophical and political conclusions that they did) ENEMINES of the Western tradition of principles of natural justice (natural law) at least in theory limiting the power to the state, people such as Thomas Hobbes and Jeremy Bentham, became the “Western tradition” these became the people taught in schools and universities – even opponents of unlimited government (supporters of limits on government power) had to try and, very unconvincingly, “reinterpret” thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes to try and turn them into supporters of limits on government power – because such “Legal Positivists” as Hobbes and Bentham became the context for discussion.

    It can not be said often enough that one can not get the 2nd Amendment, or any of the Bill of Rights, from the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume (yes him to) and Jeremy Bentham – attempts to get to the Bill of Rights from the philosophy of these thinkers can not, honestly, be done. One must CHOOSE – either the philosophy that led to the Bill of Rights (not just at the Federal level – but at the State level to, and also the British Bill of Rights, oh yes we used to have one) or the fashionable philosophy of the university crowd – one can NOT follow both.

    Once one has accepted the philosophy that became fashionable in most universities then what happened in the 20th century becomes inevitable – on firearms, and on everything else. And to reverse the political rise of political despotism, one must reverse the philosophical victory of the ideas that are its foundation – not pretend that X fashionable thinkers did not believe in political despotism (they clearly did), but argue the idea that their philosophy was MISTAKEN. One does this, in part, by trying to bring to intellectual attention their OPPONENTS (long shoved down the “Memory Hole”). Such thinkers as Ralph Cudworth, James McCosh, Harold Prichard and Sir William Ross. NOT by saying that everything the opponents of despotism said was correct (it was not all correct) – but by pointing out that there was no good reason why the DEFENDERS of the Western tradition (of such things as natural justice) have been forgotten, and the ENEMIES of the Western tradition have (in the ultimate perversion) have been presented as-the-Western-tradition.

  • the other rob

    Laws only affect the law-abiding, not “the problem”, i.e. the criminals.

    That’s a feature, not a bug. The idea is to disarm us, so that we’ll be helpless when their Antifa SA comes for us.

  • llamas

    People on the right side of the pond often ask me – why do you think you need a firearm? What are you protecting yourself from?

    Funny you should say that.

    Casa Llamas is at the end of a dead-end lane. The lane starts out as a two-lane road, out at the county road, but about a 1/4-mile in, it merges into one lane. At our end of the lane, there are three driveways.

    Sunday morning, about 1.00 am, a goblin commences to fleeing from the police out on the freeway. After a protracted chase along progressively-smaller and smaller roads, the goblin takes a left on our lane. About 1/4-mile in, he realizes he’s in a pickle, but has no choice but to continue. He gets to the end of the lane, and now he has to choose one of three driveways. He chooses straight-ahead, which is not our driveway. He winds up driving behind our neighbour’s barn, either to hide or to find a way out. He gets the car completely stuck in a swamp, un-asses it, gets stuck himself, tries to get away, but the police arrive shortly after and take him away. Took an hour to get the car out of the swamp.

    Inside our neighbour’s house is the 70-something mother of Mrs Neighbour. Alone. They are out of town.

    What is she supposed to do, in the face of all this mayhem? Sure, the police arrived timely, this time – but we are way out in the country, and they were lucky to keep track of him. This guy was prepared to do quite a lot to get away. Still not clear why, but no matter. The poor woman was absolutely terrified.

    All I know is – if that mayhem had played out behind my barn, not only do I want to protect me and mine from it, but I feel I have the natural right to do so. And part of that right involves the ability to possess the tools for the job.

    I see a lot of reporting out of the UK right now about ‘moped crime’ and smash-and-grab attacks with axes and machetes on stores and individuals in broad daylight, often in the toniest parts of town. It’s clear that the police will do little or nothing to prevent this sort of crime, and their response consists mainly of telling people to leave their expensive possessions at home and to comply with attackers’ demands. The streets have effectively been ceded to violent robbers.

    Guess what? You would be amazed at how little of that sort of crime takes place in the US. And I would take a small wager that, if a few ‘moped bandits’ were met with robust self-defence when they threaten people with deadly weapons, that this type of crime would suddenly and completely cease.



  • Bulldog Drumond

    It’s clear that the police will do little or nothing to prevent this sort of crime

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments, the Plod are doing something.

  • Runcie Balspune

    UK gun ownership is a far off dream, but I’d opt for TASER or tear gas for a start. After all you seem to be able to stab burglars or shoot them with a crossbow and stay in the law, perhaps with enough deaths the government might make non-lethal defense a preferable solution.

  • llamas

    @ Bulldog Drumond – Lovely video. Made me happy to see a couple of officers willing to get stuck in. Good for them. But you will agree that this is one case in a thousand.

    @ Runcie Balspune (still love that handle) – No, no, a thousand times, No.

    Tear gas and weapons like Tasers are only useful when considered as part of an available force continuum, a range of force options. These are good things for police officers to have, but only because they have (or should have) a lot more options besides, all the way up to deadly force. That’s their virtue – they allow officers to deploy less-than-lethal force options in an attempt to persuade the person to comply without injuring them too much.

    But if you make this the most that a civilian may possess, you do not solve the problem. Goblin approaches with machete in threatening pose. Civilian draws Taser, applies to first goblin. Second goblin beats civilian to death. Or first goblin takes the Taser hit, or hits, tears out the probes, then gets up and beats civilian to death. Taser is very effective – I’ve been Tased, I know – but once the hit is over, you are good-to-go again within seconds. That’s its great value – pain compliance without permanent damage – but it is only effective when backed up with the promise of a whole lot more pain if you don’t comply.

    The proper position for a law-abiding citizen is what Sean Connery described as ‘the Chicago way’.

    ‘He draws a knife – you draw a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital – you put one of his in the morgue. That’s the Chicago way. And that’s how you get Capone.’

    That’s the position that a law-abiding citizen should be in when faced with a threat to life or limb – the ability to respond with overwhelming force, if necessary, to terminate the threat.



  • Runcie Balspune


    Maybe I should not have used the acronym TASER, as this seems to apply to just the projectile model, although it can also operate in “drive mode” I would prefer the “nitestick” version, a.k.a. cattle prod, that will resolve your multi-goblin experience. The objective is to have something that does not necessarily kill and can be used by relatively inexperienced people in confined spaces. A prod weapon is preferable in these cases and one that delivers a massive voltage repeatedly is ideal.

    I say “not necessary kill” because some people may not actually want to kill (preferring continuous torture by electrocution) and some people may be deterred by the risk of shooting the wrong person, and I guess this may be more palatable to the fussy politicians.

    And I also stress “for a start”, because I suspect the increasing number of dead burglars might force the government in this direction, and it would be on the road to “deadly force” alternatives.

  • NickM

    In the UK it is still legal to buy a very high power tactical flashlight. They double as clubs. You blind with the light and then reverse it and tolchok the bugger. I got one for my brother.

  • JohnK


    You can indeed buy these torches, but you cannot carry one if you plan to use it for self-defence.

    Since the passage of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 (which must take first prize as the most amusingly named Act of Parliament of the 20th Century), there has been no such thing as a defensive weapon. The only weapon the law recognises is an offensive weapon. So you might just about get away with carrying your torch at night, maybe, but not during the day.

    That’s not a torch, citizen, it’s an offensive weapon!

  • jsallison

    In which case one should always be on one’s way to cricket practice, bat in hand.