Dave Kopel notes the relatively low rate of gun ownership in Iran. It’s mostly restricted to ethnic minorities, or so I’ve heard. It brings to mind something Chip said recently in the comments about one of the benefits of gun-rights being the possibility of revolt. I’m inclined to say that’s one of the worst arguments in favor of them. Better that is the oft-neglected utilitarian argument that lots of us just plain like guns, as well as the recognition that the police are not God walking the earth, and so arms distributed among the citizenry can pick up the slack. We could even be more radical and note the relative novelty of professional police forces & standing army, and consider if community posses & militias could entirely substitute for them. The possibility of revolt, even against a bad government, is quite plausibly an argument against guns in the hands of the people. To quote David Friedman, revolution IS the hell of it. I’m even in favor of secession anytime, anywhere for any reason but I’m hard pressed to think of times when wars for that were worth the price (including our own from Britain). Realistically speaking, even if we ignored the costs of the fighting itself, it doesn’t seem likely that The People’s Valiant Struggles Against Their Oppressors result in better governance. Communism was the biggest killer we’ve yet seen, Algeria* (and other former colonies) got well and truly fucked by its nationalist uprising, and Iran’s mullahs hardly seem better than the Shah. Here I should admit that trying to prevent the revolting populace from gaining access to guns may be futile, as when worst comes to worst they’ll just raid the armories.
*I wish I could link to the War Nerd’s “Algeria: The Psychos Will Inherit the Earth”, but the Exile sucks and it doesn’t seem available now.
On a related note, Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns & Money has a post on the efficient killing power of the modern nation state which in parts sounds a lot like a radical libertarian (though as far as I know he’s your bog-standard liberal). UPDATE: Also related, Sean Safford of OrgTheory gives a friendly fisking of Gideon Rachman and Andrew Miller’s revolutionary checklist applied to Iran.
On an unrelated note, Karl Smith’s Modeled Behavior blog has moved to a new location with more frequent posting. I somewhat recently found that Charles Davi of Derivative Dribble sometimes makes posts at the Atlantic Business Channel that don’t also appear at his personal blog, so if you can’t get enough derivative-talk you should keep an on eye it. Finally, while I think I’ve already mentioned Eric Crampton’s Offsetting Behaviour here, in the off-chance that I haven’t I encourage you to check it out.