The Two Ingredients All Successful Societies Must Have: Guns and Books

As I spoke yesterday about the faults of James Comey’s speech on personal security within the United States now I feel I must identify the real answer to what is required for a free society.  I’ve been working out this little problem for a while now and it really took my recent trip to Europe for me to confirm with more than theory the proper contents of what it takes to have a self-governed society functioning healthily in a constitutional republic.  As I’ve said before on other topics, I wish sometimes that life could be so simple for me to have one solitary occupation which I could throw myself into that I could say—I am this—or that.  Such as someone who works as an engineer might say upon introductions—“I’m so and so and I’m an engineer,” my life is a lot more complicated.  And if given the opportunity to be a historian I would do it, because I have an unnaturally complicated relationship with history.  I pursue it for fun and often find myself thinking about it all hours of the day.  Given that, I know much more about history than the average person, so when I say that the two big drivers of misery in Europe throughout the Dark and Medieval ages was the absence of personal protection—weapons—and the ability to read—I would be saying specifically how we can solve these problems going forward and take mankind off the track of the Vico cycle which has plagued us all for tens of thousands of years.  With those two elements absent from those historic societies—for which much of the known world of today is based—battles between church and state dominated the lives of everyone leaving individuality to sacrifice itself to national security many times over.

One thing that astonished me about the many English people who I met during my travels was how literate they were and proud of it.  They like to read in England and they should, the concept was born there.  It’s only been fairly recently that the printing of individual books was even possible for common people.  It was from 1400 AD to really the reign of King Henry VIII that Bibles were printed for individual consumption bringing the word of God to every household and leaving the Church to feel very insecure about their ability to usher mankind through the gates of Heaven for the good of the State.  I felt quite privileged to walk among the ruins of various monasteries in England, such as the great St. Augustine’s Abby because in 1536 AD they were destroyed out of a need for money by the regime.  That left the monks who had previously provided all the intellectual work of translating the scripture to the people who attended their churches to be the symbols of thinking in the medieval world.  After destroying the various monasteries, a power vacuum occurred and the Reformation effort spread as people started to question the relationship between an often corrupt Roman Catholic Church clergy, the various kings, and God.  By the time the first Welsh Bible was published in print during 1567 a lot of discussion regarding the Mathew’s Bible printed in 1537 had taken place.  King Henry VIII was very anxious about letting the lower orders of society read the Bible for themselves because it had severe political and social consequences.

It was only a few years later that Robert Cushman commissioned the Mayflower to flee to America to escape the church’s ever increasing losing grip on the “commoners” such as what happened in Canterbury quite explicitly as Henry’s children struggled with the social changes that reading Bibles had introduced to their society.  This explosion of thought advanced to the days of the pirates over the next hundred years as the exploits of the great Henry Morgan came back to England from the Caribbean region as countries used privateers to rob other countries of the loot they were stealing from the Meso American region.  Democracy was invented on pirate ships as they were functioning governments far removed from the countries of their origin and mankind was turned loose for the first known time in the history of the world—and writers like John Locke were there to record the observations for people like Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin to expand upon later.  Secret societies like the Illuminati and the Scottish Rites developed a line of philosophy divorced from the English crown as the publication of books began to create a new kind of human being among the would-be intellectuals who could afford books that in previous centuries were either monks or members of the king’s court.

During the 1750s those inspired by the new books of Europe to flee to America to live as frontiersman erupted into westward expansion.  During the years of the French and Indian War then eventually the Revolutionary War—then the War of 1812, then the Civil War the full fruition of knowledge shared through books were matched with the possession of personal firearms which allowed for the kind of self-reliance that Ralph Waldo Emersion and his friend Henry David Thoreau contemplated as Transcendentalists.  It is important to remember that as of all the events that lead to the Civil War in America books had only been present for reading among human populations for about 250 years.  Personal books were not available outside of state-run institutions until this present time and it was books that led to the explosion in even contemplating individual liberty.

It was all the way up to the beginning of the 20th Century that personal firearms were the keys to American life.  After all, frontiersman and cowboys were able to hunt and forge a life for themselves anywhere in the world so long as they had a gun and a Bible to read by the firelight to their families to pass the time—and human consciousness expanded rapidly.   The American Indian didn’t have a chance against these European escapees armed with personal firearms and the knowledge they had acquired from books printed in New England and shipped west to markets emerging along the many rivers of the new nation.  Indians were a collective based society and they were much like the oriental forces that had been crushed under the expanding French and English empires that were dominating the world driven not by the great military leaders of Napoleon and the likes Wellington—but of those societies having access to the ability to read for the first time.  They were smarter than their opponents and the North American Indian may have been living in accord with nature, but mankind was conquering nature through contemplation derived by reading—and the Indians lost because they couldn’t think as individuals.  Reading is a very individual oriented type of activity.

That gave birth to the American Western—of the cowboy gunslinger, which represented to the world something new—an individual human being protected by their gun and functioning as a self-reliant entity that didn’t need a church for their spiritual awakening—because they could read—and they didn’t need a government to protect them because they had a gun.  It was those two things that created the American cowboy and which eventually led the rest of the world to contemplating personal liberty.  As of the present, the world has not yet accepted the superior philosophic position of the American gunslinger because there is a lot more to it than just having the ability to take the life of another human being, or being able to read a book on their own without the interpretation of a church clergy to tell them what it said.   This is why socialist statists deeply concerned about this wave of personal freedom happening in American like Barack Obama were so weary about the electorate holding on to their “God and their Guns.  They know that it is those two elements that prevented a society from falling in behind the old European model where political elites controlled the commoners through ignorance and superior might.  Modern progressives desire deeply to take society back to the time right before Henry VIII where people could be managed between the church and the state which is why they support so vehemently the introduction of Islamic radicalism into Europe and America because they desire to use that religion to reduce intellectual capacity and drive society back to a theocracy instead of an intellectual republic without central controls.  That is also why liberals are all about gun control regardless of what the stats say on the matter.

It is therefore the ability to read and the ability to own a personal firearm and even to carry it around with you that decentralizes all governments and puts the power truly into the people—and it’s really a new idea which has only flowered in America.  As I said, the English people are very literate and that was refreshing.  But they don’t have guns, and so as a result they still live much the way they did during the Middle-Ages. Currently it’s not the Catholic Church or even the monarchy which drives their society, but their history in those activities still bind their society to that foundation just as Japan still fashions itself to their samurai period.  That leaves them all with one ingredient toward personal freedom, but not the other.

Only in America and only with both the gun and the books of our culture has freedom advanced.  America actually is on over saturation because not only do we have books, but we have 1000s of channels of cable television, 100 years of motion pictures to watch, endless books and countless things to entertain ourselves with—so literacy isn’t as high of a priority as it should be in our society—but there is no way to go back.  Mankind will never surrender their freedoms back to the security of state-run centralized society such as those envisioned by Henry VIII’s friend Thomas More in his book Utopia.  Those days are gone forever because just the act of reading a book like Utopia, or The Communist Manifesto, lead eventually toward a human mind craving freedom.  It’s the Catch 22 for progressives who want to revert back to a theocracy they control whether it is Islam or environmentalism that is worshipped.  Human beings once they get a taste for it won’t go back and if you look at history, you can see clearly a trajectory of thought that leaves us either destroying ourselves or settling space—but we won’t go back.  And societies around the world will not advance on just books and knowledge alone.  They have to allow for personal firearms in order to truly unleash the potential of the human beings in their societies.  You cannot have the good intellectual stuff that comes from a free society without doing the things it takes to have a free society and owning personal firearms is just as important as literacy.  And those are the facts.  You need two things to have a society of free people thriving in a country—any country—they have to be literate with plenty of books and a desire to read them, and they must have guns—lots and lots of them.

Rich Hoffman


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