Guns and Tyranny

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago

This is quite a backwards view of things by someone named Dominic Erdozain who apparently teaches at Emory School of Theology.

Tyranny is not too strong a word. Guns have begun to define the American experience, from small decisions about where you might travel to the massacres that haunt the news cycle like the visitations of a malevolent deity. Sold as freedom, they have created the very conditions that the liberal state was designed to prevent.

The singular idea behind the emergence of democracy was the protection of life from arbitrary power. What is liberty? wondered John Adams. Freedom from “wanton, cruel power”—from “imprisonments, whipping posts, gibbets, bastenadoes and racks.” Kings shed blood with little emotion, wrote Benjamin Rush, because they believed they governed by divine right. Republican governments spoke a different language. They taught the absurdity of the divine right of kings and asserted the sanctity of all life. This was not achieved through individual force but by collaboration and consent. In a democracy, power is diffused, and layers of restraint are placed between the restless will of the individual and the capacity to harm others. That was the “social contract.”

[ … ]

Unlike today’s gun advocates, who think of danger as other types of people, the founders understood tyranny as a universal propensity—a problem larger than monarchy or the more obvious villainies of history. The hard truth was that violence lurks in every heart, and “all men would be tyrants, if they could.” Such was the foundation of American constitutionalism and the elaborate checks and balances that defined it.

[ … ]

Everything in the American system—from bicameral legislatures to nervous protections against “standing armies”—reflected this shrewd and skeptical psychology. Power was dangerous and always looking to expand its franchise. The virtue of a representative, as opposed to a direct, democracy was that it was broken up, shared, and delegated.

This was the principle behind the well-regulated militia named in the Second Amendment. A militia placed “the sword in the hands of the solid interest of the community,” not the burning will of the individual. The militia was to defense what trial by jury was to justice: safety in numbers. It was protection against anarchy, insurrection, and the “hand of private violence.” The notion that, in providing for a militia, the founders were also providing for that hand of violence reveals a profound misunderstanding of their philosophy. Gun laws, as we now know them, enable the very brutalities that the political process was designed to contain.

So you can read the rest of this silly, trivial missive for yourself if you want to. For the founders, who had just spent their fortunes and risked their own lives and the lives of their wives and children to take on a tyrant, and who used guns to do it, he turns the whole affair around to be fear of tyranny by the individual rather than the king. Only someone who graduated from Oxford and Cambridge with no history or understanding of the American system or cultural milieu could manage such a thing.

So let’s rehearse this one more time. The term well-regulated, in common parlance of the day, meant that the gun functioned correctly, the sights were set and zeroed at the appropriate distance, the machine ran “like a clock,” as it were, and the shooters knew how to shoot. It had nothing to do with words in the code of federal regulations, which didn’t exist then.

The very revolution to which he is referring was precipitated by British gun control. He needs to read David Kopel more carefully. He isn’t the scholar he things he is. Kopel is a scholar.

On the whole, his essay is such a mess that it would take a day of writing to fisk the errors. Suffice it to say that he needs to go back to the drawing board and answer this question: has he fully addressed the number of innocent men, women and children who were disarmed and then killed by their own governments in the 20th century? See also here. Stephen Halbrook has a higher number.

The answer might shock him. If it doesn’t and he is already aware of all of this, he’s advocating for the extermination of innocent people at the hands of wicked governments, and he knows it.

That’s the point of the second amendment – not disarming individuals. Finally, whatever theological excuses he has for his advocacy of gun control, I’ve answered all of them. If he wants to give me new ones, I’ll gladly answer those too.


  1. On February 4, 2024 at 11:29 pm, Dan said:

    To leftists words mean only what they need them to mean at that moment in time. If their needs change then the meaning of words will change to suit those needs. Leftists love guns…that they control. What they DON’T like is guns in the hands of anyone they DON’T control. Thus they twist and contort definitions to achieve their goal…of disarming us, their intended slaves.

  2. On February 5, 2024 at 12:59 am, heel and toe said:

    Modern soy bugmen aren’t fit to shine the shoes or hem a garment for the Founder Fathers.
    There should be an update to the Jefferson quote about if man expects to be ignorant and free he expects what never was and never will be in the course of human affairs.
    Ignorant means you don’t know and stupid means you can’t know so it should be updated.
    Stupidity and freedom just don’t mix and if you want to be ward of mommygov kept safe by any means necessary then you have failed at the game of life.

  3. On February 5, 2024 at 1:08 am, streamfortyseven said:

    It doesn’t surprise me, coming from the Candler School of Theology at Emory. I got my MSc in Chemistry there in 1983, and that particular school was known to be a cesspit of liberalism back then. One of their profs, a guy named Althizer, was the guy who started the “God Is Dead” stuff in the 1960s. I knew his son, he was into the local punk scene – and his opinion of his father wasn’t particularly favorable, he was apparently a bit much.

    About 17 years later, another prof there came out with a screed against the Second Amendment which was found to be based on fraudulent research:
    “Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture is a discredited 2000 book by historian Michael A. Bellesiles about American gun culture, an expansion of a 1996 article he published in the Journal of American History. Bellesiles, then a professor at Emory University, used fabricated research to argue that during the early period of US history, guns were uncommon during peacetime and that a culture of gun ownership did not arise until the mid-nineteenth century. Although the book was awarded the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 2001, it later became the first work for which the prize was rescinded, following a decision of Columbia University’s Board of Trustees that Bellesiles had “violated basic norms of scholarship and the high standards expected of Bancroft Prize winners.”[1] … The scholarly investigation confirmed that Bellesiles’ work had serious flaws, calling into question both its quality and veracity. The external report on Bellesiles concluded that “every aspect of his work in the probate records is deeply flawed” and called his statements in self-defense “prolix, confusing, evasive, and occasionally contradictory.” It concluded that “his scholarly integrity is seriously in question” and that he was in violation of the American Historical Association’s standards of scholarly integrity.[24][25]

    Bellesiles disputed these findings, claiming to have followed all scholarly standards and to have corrected all errors of fact known to him. Nevertheless, with his “reputation in tatters,” Bellesiles issued a statement on October 25, 2002, announcing the resignation of his professorship at Emory by year’s end.”

    So yeah, this latest thing is just sui generis.

  4. On February 5, 2024 at 2:43 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Halbrook’s estimate of 100 million deaths due to genocidal governments during the 20th century is in all likelihood too conservative, and this underestimates the actual total.

    Alone, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse Tung), the absolute dictator of the People’s Republic of China until his death in 1976, is generally held to be responsible for the deaths of seventy million people. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is generally credited with the extermination of about thirty million dead during his years in power, which ended with his death in 1953.

    These two tyrants alone already put the total at a hundred million, and we haven’t even looked at any of the others on the list, such as the Ottoman Turks, Hitler’s Germany, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castro’s Cuba, Idi Amin and the other African despots, or any of the worst and most-cruel figures from South and Central America. Or for that matter, figures such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.

    Including these last, the actual body count is probably closer to one-hundred fifty million on the high end, and one-hundred twenty-five million on the low ~ although a precise figure would take some time to research and compute.

  5. On February 5, 2024 at 11:01 am, george 1 said:

    This man implies that the founders were as concerned by individuals and their propensity to violence/criminality as they were to government tyranny. This is a lie. The founding fathers were nearly all consumed with trying to make government tyranny hard to accomplish.

    If that failed, as in our present day, they were equally concerned that the people have adequate means of defending themselves in such a situation. The founders were far more concerned with government tyranny and not so much about individual criminality.

  6. On February 5, 2024 at 1:06 pm, EdEarl said:

    Who cares what Dominic Erdozain has to say.

  7. On February 5, 2024 at 5:16 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    As Ken Royce has said, we on the side of heritage Americans ought to stop using the language of the communists/left when discussing firearms. “Gun control laws” should be termed by their proper name, “victim disarmament laws,” since that is what proponents of gun control seek to do – disarm those who would otherwise have a means with which to defend themselves against attacks of various kinds. Including those committed by genocidal government…

  8. On February 5, 2024 at 10:12 pm, PGF said:

    I no longer give these people the benefit of the doubt. I assume they are lying communists who want me dead and not that they are simply ignorant or mistaken.

  9. On February 5, 2024 at 11:26 pm, mrapp said:

    ………you addressed that well…thank you…but for me the important part and what jumps off the page is that….”he knows it”……WOW !

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You are currently reading "Guns and Tyranny", entry #36410 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published February 4th, 2024 by Herschel Smith.

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