A Call to Arms


A few weeks ago, Glenn Reynolds wrote an op-ed for the NY Times on mandatory gun ownership ("mandatory" here is more like localities encouraging gun ownership than forcing a rifle into someone's hands and dragging them to drill duty). It was a provocative piece, but his related academic paper is even more interesting. It explores the relationship between communitarianism and militias, and argues that the former ought to be more tolerant—or even embracing—of the latter.  Reynolds and co-autnor Brannon Denning provide some really interesting historical context to unite the two seemingly opposing traditions.

NEXT: Trouble in Tent City

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  1. I read the portions of the paper dealing with the role of militias during the Revolution because I have been reading a fair amount about that subject lately. Frankly, the discussion in the paper is superficial, inaccurate, and highly misleading to the extent it suggests that the advantages of militias outweighed their disadvantages. The truth is that militias were the only resource the Americans had at hand while the Continental Army was trying to get its act together, which didn’t begin to happen until 1778 and after. In the years following the Revolution, a great myth developed to the effect that it was the militias, and not the Continental Army, that won the Revolution. In fact, both were necessary, but the authors of the paper suggest that the general ineptitude of militias in battle was somehow a virtue (because that made them “defensive” organizations)–I wonder how the settlers in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania would respond to that observation in light of the abject failure of the militia system to protect them from Joseph Brant. There were also quite a few dispossesed Quakers, Moravians, and Mennonites who would probably take issue with the notion that militias were a benign defensive organization.

  2. It takes a heavily armed village.

  3. Cumberland School of Law, isn’t that the law school where Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh ment, and after missing their midterms on “Wills and trusts” because they were in the middle of jam session, quit and went on to create the Grateful Dead?

    Speaking of communatarism or whatever, what about the Reason community? How armed are you?
    Especially because your in Washington. If the Feds come busting down the door, how will you repel them?

  4. Speaking of communatarism or whatever, what about the Reason community? How armed are you?

    Contrary to spousal opinion, I do not own “one of every kind of gun there is.” However, being a civilian firearms instructor, I may be high on that bell curve.

    Especially because you’re in Washington.

    I’m not in Washington (D.C.) and I doubt most of the bloggers are. I suspect that many if not most Reason staffers don’t live in D.C. either.

    If the Feds come busting down the door, how will you repel them?

    Individually, I couldn’t.

    Collectively? I don’t think the Feds could bust down even a small percentage of the doors just of four million NRA members (not to speak of all the other gun owners) without disarming everyone first. Particularly given that so many NRA members are law enforcement and military personnel.

  5. That must not be good ol’ “Fuck you, I’m canceling my subscription” Terry, right?

  6. How armed are you?

    As with most other measures, I’m probably at least two standard deviations out.

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