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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Weapon Shops of Isher

I read A.E. van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher a long time ago. It was published originally in 1951.

The story is formed around the concept of the tension between an Empire and its needs and the rights of the individuals. The rights of the individual are maintained often by the weapons of the Weapon Shops, which somehow are products of a much higher technology than is available to the Empire.

The motto of the Weapon Shops is "The Right to Buy Weapons is the Right to be Free".
It is a matter of interest that the weapons created by the Weapon Shops function only in self-defense.

So there is a lot of Science versus Corrupt and Inefficient Empire, reflecting The Shape of Things To Come, and a good deal of radical libertarianism. Unfortunately, there is an assumption that weapons themselves decide the matter of self-defense, and such things as a jury trial to determine whether Mr. Zimmerman had the right to stand his ground and shoot Trayvon Martin are rendered null by the very magic of the radical libertarian and high tech weapon.

If an individual is cheated by the corrupt establishment (it would make no narrative sense to have one libertarian be cheated by another), there is an alternative justice system to determine compensation. This set-up prevents a totalitarian Empire from being set-up.

Herein I find the threads of the modern day's view of the Second Amendment, which seems to ignore the messy morality of establishing self-defense.

The Second Amendment is not concerned with self-defense.

It never was.

The Second Amendment was concerned with maintaining large groups of armed people to fight King George (were he to be so foolhardy as to attack again, as he did in 1812), to fight against Native Americans, and to fight against rebellious Slaves.

In these instances, I might think that the issue of self-defense never amounted to much. Oh, I am sure that many people argued that many Indians were unjustly killed and many slaves were shot wrongly, but it passed.
The Second Amendment deals with the right of the Individual to be part of an Armed Group.
The Second Amendment was also the result of one war against a tyrant, multiple wars against indigenous peoples, and numerous battles against slave insurrections.
That is where the Founding Fathers heads were at, Mr. Justice Scalia.


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