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Thread: An armed society is a polite society

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    An armed society is a polite society

    I see the quote of "An armed society is a polite society" a lot.

    For the sake of discussion/argument, why is this so? My wife was born and partially raised in Africa which we travel to alot to visit family. In Somalia (yes, I've visited there), everyone is armed but I do not see any of the politeness as mentioned above. I think the quote by Robert A. Heinlein needs to be changed to "An armed society is a polite society if there is a functioning government/rule of law. Discuss.
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    I think in order to have a discussion about this you would need to define what you think is politeness. Even politeness can be relative to the society you are in. Example: Here if you pick your nose while talking to someone that is considered rude, however in other cultures doing that shows that you care about your hygiene. So what you may view as rude may be the normal conduct of the people of that area. As for the quote I feel it means that if people are armed they are more likely to behave in such a way as to try not to escalate situations into a fire fight because neither party wants to loose their life. It would be a similar idea to the so called M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) policy. If Russia was to nuke us we would nuke them and visa versa, neither side wanted to die which helped keep the cold war from turning hot. That is my take on it.

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    Regular Member Northerner's Avatar
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    His quote should have been "An armed moral society is a polite moral society"
    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. View Post
    I see the quote of "An armed society is a polite society" a lot.

    For the sake of discussion/argument, why is this so? My wife was born and partially raised in Africa which we travel to alot to visit family. In Somalia (yes, I've visited there), everyone is armed but I do not see any of the politeness as mentioned above. I think the quote by Robert A. Heinlein needs to be changed to "An armed society is a polite society if there is a functioning government/rule of law. Discuss.
    "Society" doesn't exist in totalitarian states. Everyone was polite to the SS; unfortunately, they didn't return the favor. Bananna dictatorships have all the wrong people armed, as well. Africa has one after the other of them.

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    Heinlein was actually correct with regard to "What" - Armed society = polite society.

    He was incorrect as to "Why" -- the rest of the quote is "Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.".

    He's wrong, because as Bebop says, "...if people are armed they are more likely to behave in such a way as to try not to escalate situations into a fire fight because neither party wants to lose their life."

    When I'm carrying, I can't start $#!+. If someone road-rages on me, starts an argument, flips me off, or whatever, I can't respond in a way that would escalate the situation. What's interesting, is that I've had several anti-gun people get downright rude and hostile with me, in situations where I was publicly campaigning for gun rights, while armed. There they were, saying that gun-carriers were a menace, while INSULTING A GUN CARRIER. Can you say "Cognitive Dissonance", boys and girls? I knew you could.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3fgburner View Post
    Heinlein was actually correct with regard to "What" - Armed society = polite society.

    He was incorrect as to "Why" -- the rest of the quote is "Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.".

    He's wrong, because as Bebop says, "...if people are armed they are more likely to behave in such a way as to try not to escalate situations into a fire fight because neither party wants to lose their life."

    When I'm carrying, I can't start $#!+. If someone road-rages on me, starts an argument, flips me off, or whatever, I can't respond in a way that would escalate the situation. What's interesting, is that I've had several anti-gun people get downright rude and hostile with me, in situations where I was publicly campaigning for gun rights, while armed. There they were, saying that gun-carriers were a menace, while INSULTING A GUN CARRIER. Can you say "Cognitive Dissonance", boys and girls? I knew you could.
    Those have the same meaning. If bebop is right, so is Heinlein.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop View Post
    I think in order to have a discussion about this you would need to define what you think is politeness. Even politeness can be relative to the society you are in. Example: Here if you pick your nose while talking to someone that is considered rude, however in other cultures doing that shows that you care about your hygiene. So what you may view as rude may be the normal conduct of the people of that area. As for the quote I feel it means that if people are armed they are more likely to behave in such a way as to try not to escalate situations into a fire fight because neither party wants to loose their life. It would be a similar idea to the so called M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) policy. If Russia was to nuke us we would nuke them and visa versa, neither side wanted to die which helped keep the cold war from turning hot. That is my take on it.
    Good point on different people's/societies perspective of politeness.

    I have to say from what I've seen (especially in the slums of Mogadishu), armed people were perfectly willing to escalate violence in the face of losing their own life. I guess that in certain places in the world, human life doesn't garner the same amount of respect as it does in some other locations...
    Minds are like parachutes. Just because you lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northerner View Post
    His quote should have been "An armed moral society is a polite moral society"
    Hah! Very true...you hit the nail on the head.
    Minds are like parachutes. Just because you lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. View Post
    Good point on different people's/societies perspective of politeness.

    I have to say from what I've seen (especially in the slums of Mogadishu), armed people were perfectly willing to escalate violence in the face of losing their own life. I guess that in certain places in the world, human life doesn't garner the same amount of respect as it does in some other locations...
    Most people are willing to escalate violence if they face loosing their own life. I know I would be. If I was in a bar fight, it starts out as punching. Say I knock the person to the floor and start moving away trying to end the fight he gets up and pulls a knife. While I have a knife on me I will "escalate" the situation and pull my gun and shoot to save my life. (NOTE: This is a rough example. I don't advocate starting or getting into bar fights if armed. This situation, to me, implies that it was an unwarranted attack against me in the first place.)

    It is not necessarily certain places in the world as it is more of certain beliefs or the people in that area are just plain nuts. The M.A.D. policy worked well against the Soviet Union because they where rational people who didn't want to loose their lives. Fundamental radical Muslims, however, are willing to give up their lives to kill people they don't like. This is why a nuclear retaliation is not a big deterrent for use against them. Like Iran for example. Iran would probably be more than willing to become a glowing glass factory if they had a chance to strike Israel or the US first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    Those have the same meaning. If bebop is right, so is Heinlein.
    Seriously. Both statements you bolded are essentially the same.

    Of course, both presuppose a value on life. In Somalia, there is not much value placed on life, even in the case of of many's own lives.

    In a society where life, including one's own, is respected, folks willing to be armed will have an appreciation of the possible consequences of escalation due to incivility between armed parties, and therefore will be more hesitant to be rude.

    Or, stated more simply, "An armed society is a polite society."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. View Post
    Good point on different people's/societies perspective of politeness.

    I have to say from what I've seen (especially in the slums of Mogadishu), armed people were perfectly willing to escalate violence in the face of losing their own life. I guess that in certain places in the world, human life doesn't garner the same amount of respect as it does in some other locations...
    I think this is a good point. I found many polite people and very friendly Africans in their traditional culture. But when you have areas in Somalia where children are continually seeing death of loved ones at a very young age and continual fighting over the generations has devalued life to the point where they really don't even value their own life very much anymore, than it is hard to apply the principal that an armed society is a polite society. Because you at first have to place a value on yourself to realize that escalating something with armed people will ruin something you should treasure.
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