A key fact’s getting lost in the kerfuffle surrounding Cody Wilson’s 3D Liberator pistol: it’s all about China. Well duh. The United States of America is awash in handguns. American citizens can buy a box-fresh revolver for under $200. For less than a Benjamin you can buy a “pre-owned” pistol. It won’t be pretty but it’ll be a lot more reliable, accurate and durable than anything you can crank out on a $10k 3D printer. That’s us sorted. Meanwhile, in China, the fate of a billion-and-a-half people may well depend on what the United States government does about one Cody Wilson. Which is why they’ve shut him down. Let’s start with this . . .
China is a fascist state. Fascist states don’t allow civilian firearms ownership. Why would they? The desire for freedom—of speech, religion, assembly, economic activity, political affiliation, etc.—is a natural human instinct. There’s only one way to suppress this innate desire: force. If civilians own firearms in any significant number, the state cannot impose its will on the people.
As Chairman Mao said, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. As NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre said, he who owns the guns makes the rules. If the brutally repressed Chinese people own guns, the Chinese fascist state will fall. It’s as simple as that.
For Chinese “activists,” 3D printable guns have a distinct advantage over their metallic counterpart. Once the printer and materials are secured, fabricators can produce hundreds of thousands if not millions of plastic guns with relative stealth (e.g., fabrication noise) and ease (e.g., no metal working).
If the Chinese populace was armed, it’s entirely possible, indeed probable, that the country’s centralized government, a.k.a., the world’s biggest police state, would topple. In that sense, Cody Wilson’s downloadable DIY gun could well be the Liberator he claims. As far as the American Powers That Be are concerned, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Whenever a political system crumbles and/or collapses, its death throes create a period of economic, social and political chaos. The system becomes destabilized. At the risk of going all Alex Jones on you, the United States Department of Defense and State Department don’t want a destabilized People’s Republic of China any more than does the People’s Republic of China.
Nuclear/military worries aside, the economic implications of a violent political upheaval in China are mind-boggling. The PRC owns more than a trillion dollars in U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds. In 2011, the U.S. imported $200b worth of stuff. We need them as much as they need us. At some point, more.
Connecting the dots, could a plastic gun lead to a popular uprising, lead to the end of the Chinese government, lead to a major disruption of the world economic system? Like I said, Alex Jones-land. But . . . the U.S. government shut down Cody Wilson. At the request of the PRC? Or off its own back?
Either way, it makes sense to me. But then I’m not an oppressed resident of the People’s Republic of China. Or any other country.