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In the Politics, Aristotle explains how “heavily armed men” (hoplites) form the foundation of political order. Their violent coercion, even in the form of bloodless potency, overrides both the wealth of shiftless plutocrats and the inheritance claims of the gentry.

Americans will recognize the colonial minutemen as our hoplites—not an inconvenient anomaly from America’s past, but the politically necessary foundation for America’s present and future. Aristotle is being descriptive, not prescriptive: he observes that while the liberties of landowners and craftsmen should be protected, the liberties of the hoplite are protected by definition. While reason must precede law, violence always precedes order.

The American right must acknowledge the association of guns with violence, while rejecting the fallacy that all violence is evil. Like the hoplite with his shield and spear, gun owners who take their duty seriously become bulwarks against both tyranny and anarchy. Instead of pretending our guns are only for outdoor sportsmanship, a luxury graciously allowed us by a piece of paper in the National Archives, we should acknowledge what they represent and accept the violent responsibility they entail.

Heavily armed men are a necessary but insufficient condition for the rule of law. The U.S. Constitution—a mere document subject to revision and manipulation—cannot alone protect the right to keep and bear arms. Rather, the inverse is true: keeping and bearing arms, as an act of political violence, is all that protects the Constitution.

— Andrew Cuff in Gun Ownership Is Political Violence

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  1. OMG…let’s also acknowledge the association of gender with violence, too…
    Not every gun owner is a future killer…just as every drinker is not destined to kill via DUI…and not every drug user will die from an overdose.
    Guns are merely tools. Without guns other tools will/would be used.
    Maybe if we did not coddle criminals here in the USA….especially armed/violent ones???

      • Clearly Dumbass, you have no clue. The article is pur unaulerated BULL SHIT!
        Here is a RED HOT NEWS FLASH for you. A gun, being an inanimate object is INCAPABLE of violence.

        • One more time – read for comprehension. You will actually agree with the premise. It’s not an attack on guns. It’s an acknowledgement that the threat of violence including the possible use of a gun is all that keeps the enemies of freedom at bay.

          I want those that wish to make me a totally dependent servant of those that hate the Constitution to fear the violence that the enforcement of such an edict would most assuredly produce.

          We are on the same side.

        • Lugnut, the article is written to b taken two ways. That makes it PURE UNADULTERATED BULL SHIT! Comprende?

        • Walter pulling his usual self here. Clearly did not read the article and anyone who disagrees with his knee jerk opinion is a liberal. What a fucking boomer of a tool you are walt. Go back inside Jeff Dunhams box and shut your trap, it’s time for another act.

        • Montana Acutal, sorry lugnut, but I did read the article and it is at best ambiguous. Nice try. And yeah, you are not a “liberal” as the only Liberals were the Founding Fathers. But you are a Lefty. I would think that you and Jeff are brothers, him being the human; you being the dummy.

  2. Actually, it’s time to acknowledge the association of CRIMINALS with violence.

    All this talk of reforming the police, the legal system, the constitution, and society in general, are meaningless, until we understand that only a small number of people commit violent crimes, again and again.

    We need to relearn how to deal with violent criminals decisively. The most decisive means that I know of, is to encourage law abiding citizens to defend themselves. Predators must be resisted, or you become prey.

    Liberals, progressives, globalists, and Democrats refuse to understand that most basic of life’s lessons, so here we are, beating that dead horse again.

  3. That was a pretty strongly worded essay to me.
    I believe if I was the elf bee eye I’d be looking into that guy.

  4. Trouble is the totality of the entrenched system is not only willing to but eager to roundup and lockup those hoplites and to date there’s no evidence today’s hoplites are anything more than 98% paper tigers and 2% unhinged nuts being lead around by glowies. Hell, I’m sitting comfortably in paper tiger territory because, frankly, I’m comfortable. I won’t risk it all for anything but me and mine and if it takes the rest of my life to die from a thousand cuts I’ll likely never be anything but a paper tiger. The totalitarians know it and I know it.

  5. I submit a correction to Andrew Cuff’s title: Gun Ownership is POTENTIAL Political Violence.

    It is the other person’s/people’s/sides fear of the violence that can inflicted upon them that keep them at bay. This is why it is essential for good moral Christians to remain armed, particularly in the times we are living in armed to the teeth. We cannot hold on to what’s left of our good moral law abiding way of life without good moral Christians being armed and trained to use those arms.

    • As soon as I hear “good moral Christians” the hair on the back of my neck goes up and my head starts to swivel, for danger is about.

      • If you felt that way when you heard “the religion of peace,” you would be labeled Islamophobic. Since Christianophobic doesn’t really exist in our language for some reason, you’re good.

        • quote: “Dude December 29, 2021 At 10:20
          If you felt that way when you heard “the religion of peace,” you would be labeled Islamophobic.”

          If the hair on the back of your neck stands up when you hear “religion of peace” it means you have been paying attention to what they do around the world every day.

      • If phrases like “social justice” and “racial equity” don’t do the same, you’d better have your danger sense recalibrated.

        I’m not religious myself, but I’ve discovered in recent years that me’n those “good moral Christians” that I once ran away from are mostly on the same side.

  6. Andrew Cuff, using circular logic, his personal interpretation and good old fashioned guilt trip to persuade others that he’s right.
    Hmmm, the derp is strong in this one.

  7. “The American right must acknowledge the association of guns with violence, while rejecting the fallacy that all violence is evil.“

    Lol, upside down and backwards

    I haven’t heard anyone claim that there is no association of guns with violence. In fact, quite the opposite. I also haven’t heard anyone claim that violence is evil. If anything, that is likely to come from the left and not the right specifically due to their irrational fears (of guns in particular). What I’m absolutely not hearing (from the left) is the evil that is there in THEIR violence.

    “Instead of pretending our guns are only for outdoor sportsmanship, a luxury graciously allowed us by a piece of paper in the National Archives…”

    It is the left that pretends guns are only for outdoor sportsmen (and a few duds on the right). This false narrative has been a very well beaten dead horse for quite some time now.

    “… we should acknowledge what they represent and accept the violent responsibility they entail.”

    It is the left that has trouble acknowledging this with any reasonable level of adult maturity.

    “Heavily armed men are a necessary but insufficient condition for the rule of law.”

    I haven’t heard anyone claim that heavily armed men ARE sufficient. If anything, that’s like to be heard from tyrants, dictators, and fools like Swalwell. Reasonable people already understand it’s just one cog in a larger machine. Elected leaders, courts, and law enforcement are parts of it too.

    But seriously? This is all so mixed up. The meanings have been slurred almost to the point of being unrecognizable.

    • The article is a good definition of bull shit!
      The author is trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear…

  8. Mao was more succinct: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

    What we should be doing is emphasizing this distinction: An armed robber who tries to hold up a convenience store is an example of gun violence which all should condemn. The clerk who uses his own gun to shoot the robber is an example of self defense which all should applaud.

  9. I just watched a story about Romanian Christians on 700Club having a constitutional “right” to a free exercise of religion during the Communist dictator years. Of course that was a lie. Since the population was totally disarmed nothing could enforce the so-called “right”. So it is in the Land of The Free. More than a corrupt election…beware the gray man.

  10. Wasn’t it just last week when some leftist claimed that not forgiving student loans was some sort of violence?

    Oh yes, there it is: Squad Member Rep. Pressley Calls Opposing Student Loan Forgiveness ‘Policy Violence’

    Dacian and his tribe claim their violence is free speech.
    And they claim our free speech is violence. Or an insurrection. Or racist. Or all of the above.

    • There’s a reason they do that. When they inflict violence on us for merely speaking or not giving them what they want, then it’s just self-defense. They believe they’re righteous for doing so. It’s okay to punch a Nazi. It just so happens that everyone they don’t like is a Nazi. They’re demented.

  11. I took the essay to say that guns (the 2A) protect the Constitution. I don’t think the guy is wrong, he’s not saying violence should be used as a first resort but may be necessary.

    • That’s why I said if I was the elf bee eye I’d be looking into that guy.
      I read it as a call to arms.

  12. I’m puzzled by the negative reactions to this article; It’s as if some didn’t even bother to read it at all, let alone understand it.

    The man is simply stating that all of the happy thoughts, good feelings, moralistic mouthings, and fine ethical pronouncements are worthless without the threat of violence to back them up. No finely written legal document has any meaning whatsoever unless what it demands can be compelled, and that by force. Not a single law of Man has any value unless it can be enforced upon those it seeks to control, and the ultimate means of enforcement is violence. And by what better means can violence be directed than through the use of weapons, including firearms?

    This isn’t some far-fetched idea, is it? Guns ARE tools of violence, are they not? If not, why bother having one? They make terrible paperweights and even worse shovels.

    I’m confused.

    • “The American right must acknowledge the association of guns with violence, while rejecting the fallacy that all violence is evil.”

      The right understands, accepts, and acknowledges this. The left are the ones that have issues with these ideas. Proof of this is the fact that such a huge number of people on the right own guns and have for a very long time without any problems at all. Personally, I would be perfectly happy spending my life doing nothing more than putting holes in paper, ringing steel, and hitting an empty can or bottle from time to time. You combine that with so many on the left that go crazy at the mere sight of a gun. There is no acknowledgement by the left that the gun related violence the see comes from the left…by far and primarily. Violence from the right is almost always a response. A response that rarely gets to that point.

      A request for the right to acknowledge something about the left they they themselves refuse to acknowledge. This website is one of many on the right that points this stuff out constantly.

    • John in AK,

      Excellent comment. I also have the opinion that many did not read the article or failed to understand it. And that is easy to do: the title of the article and first few sentences give the impression that the author opposes violence, including using firearms for all violent purposes (which would even include violent purposes to stop tyranny).

      As you stated, the author is reminding readers that we should be prepared to use firearms in defense of righteous living, e.g. against tyranny. While most/all readers of this website are keenly aware that we may have to use firearms to stop tyranny, many so-called Conservatives do not realize that. And those Conservatives fail to realize that because they fail to realize the depth of depravity and evil that many in the Ruling Class would love to foist upon the populace.

      So the author, in a roundabout way, is reminding Conservatives of those facts.

      • Fudds being fudds is a problem. Thousands of people gathering outside the Virginia capital openly carrying AR’s creates more problems than it fixes.

        Live life and follow your passions but be smart about it. Dressing up as a soldier doing mag dumps at the local indoor range is not necessary.

        Just what was it that the right is expected to acknowledge here? That guns are for more than hunting?

    • John in AK,

      I think the contention is around associating gun ownership with violence. USA gun-owners are a peaceful, law-abiding lot (rare exceptions acknowledged). We do not enforce the law. We do not use the threat of violence or the practice of violence for political power.

      Cuff’s comparison of modern gun owners to the hoplites could use nuance. The hoplites, to which were generally of two classes: the wealthy, who took up arms and training as a means to political power, and the gentry, who took up arms and training to protect their fields. Over time, it became clear to the wealthy, politically empowered hoplites that they could not defend the polish without the gentry hoplites, and that they could not simply impose their will on the gentry. In other words, the existence of a large, armed and trained middle-class served as a check on the political, wealthy class. They were all hoplites, but the widespread ownership of arms promoted compromise and a somewhat democratic approach to government So, Cuff got that partially correct.

      Today, our armed citizenry serves as a check against only the most egregious government overreach. Armed farmers prevented the Bureau of Land Management from approaching (stealing) Ted Bundy’s cattle; but hundreds of Patriots are rotting in jails, political prisoners, because they stood on or in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, trespassing charges converted into charges of terrorism and insurrection. Gun-owners have not risen against the government for these crimes, but are pursuing peaceful means of resolution. So, in this way, Cuff’s comparison fails.

      Gun owners in the USA, may indeed be the militia, and may indeed be preventing the declaration of martial law, but we are not the check on government violence that the gentrified hoplites constituted.


    • John in AK,

      I did some reading on the hoplites and replied, but that reply is “awaiting moderation”.

      This happens too often and is why I rarely contribute on TTAG, nowadays.

      • I think some of it has to do with how long the comment is and how long the comment form has been open. The longer I take to make the reply, the more likely it is to hit the bin.

        But yeah, it’s getting harder and harder to comment here.

    • The point of the article, which the majority here completely miss, is that government/order only exists because it is backed up by force. Without organized force, there is only chaos. There can be no state without the power to compel compliance with laws and edicts.

      • “Without organized force, there is only chaos.”

        Interesting thought on the article. Follows the theory of entropy.

      • If a demonstration of your premise is necessary to convince the unbelieving, merely point to any major city over the past 18 months to illustrate the chaos that ensues when organized force is no longer being employed to enforce good government and order.

    • John in AK, that could be one way of looking at it. But guns are a means of SELF DEFENSE. You do understand the concept of SELF DEFENSE? If you come after me in an manner which I could construe to seriously endanger my life, be advised I will use whatever force is necessary to stop you and end the threat. Live with it. If you want to call that violence, so be it.

    • I think most of the objections stem from the fact that the article is rather poorly written. If the author had stated his thesis with more clarity and less academic roundaboutation, no one here would object. (Except maybe the usual couple/three progtards.)

  13. “Why do you quote laws to us? We, who carry swords.”
    General Pompey as he marched his army into Messina.

    • Are you a democrat?

      Are all blacks violent? = No
      Is all violence committed by blacks? = No
      Does the MSM/Social Media/Average democrat ignore violence when committed by blacks? = Yes

      Now make a banana split.

  14. It’s Time For Mr. Cuff to Acknowledge the Association of Violence With Violent Human Behavior. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a glimmer of insight and understanding.

    • Roger D,

      I believe Mr. Cuff fully understands human proclivity for violent behavior–more specifically violent behavior in pursuit of evil objectives. What Mr. Cuff is doing is reminding Conservatives about human proclivity for violent behavior in pursuit of evil objectives–and our corresponding duty to be armed and able to repel such violent pursuits of evil.

  15. Where guns are denied to the citizens, the criminals use other weapons. In Japan and China and even the U.K. where very few are actually licensed to have a gun, the criminals use knives and machetes to commit murder.
    The 2nd. Amendment does not “grant” us the Right to Arms, but RESTRICTS the Government from denying or restricting us the Right to Arms.
    But they do it anyway.
    That’s why there are so many lawsuits ongoing challenging anti-gun laws.

  16. Life is violence. Even the act of being born is a violent one. And nothing lives except that something else dies.

    The problem with violence is too many amateurs are playing at it. If God hadn’t made all men violent, Sam Colt might have have died in ignominy.

  17. I’d recommend following the link to read the article. His argument is easier to discern when read in its entirety. Plus, there’s an active comment section, unlike with the cowardly leftist rags that are sometimes referred to here.

    • Ok, clicked on the link and read the article and many of the comments. It looks to me like what we read here is out-of-context. I likely would have said nothing otherwise.




    • I save money by punching holes in the miscreant paper targets with a pencil.
      “Damn yee papyrus whale, I stabeth thee.”

  19. One would hope that in a Country such as ours we could settle our differences as we have done through the years until the Obama Presidency by discussion, compromise and having the welfare of all the people in this Country in the forefront. Today there is no compromise particularly with Democrats who take a my way or the highway approach to just about everything they propose and who clearly put American Citizens on the back burner for illegals, refugees and criminals, and make minorities think they are doing something for them when in fact they are not. I think if you talked with most Blacks, Hispanics and Asians they would tell you they were much better off when President Trump was in Office than either Obama or Biden. They are pushing, and I believe intentionally, for our entire society to errupt into a violent civil war which has already begun. The one thing they have been shorted sighted about is the will of the majority of American Citizens to resist and hold them fully accountable for their illegal acts. What goes around comes around so it is important to keep that in mind at all times. During the French Revolution the Aristocracy learned that the hard way when they were introduced to Madame Guillotine. While the woke don’t like History that is one story they should always keep in mind.

    • I just dont think holding them accountable does a damn bit of good.
      ” Your bad, very bad.”
      Well yes I am what are you going to do about?

  20. The author is saying the quiet part out loud: the Second Amendment is warning the central committee. The Second Amendment is about “…the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” The author is calling us out to quit hiding behind self-defense and sport.

    The courts tell us government has a compelling interest in keeping “the people” from protecting themselves against rogue government. This is an insane concept. The Second Amendment uses “shall”, rather “may”, or “should”. “Shall” is a command. This makes the Second Amendment as close to “absolute” as one can get. (same for the First Amendment)

    Instead of nibbling around the edges, the concept of “compelling government interest” itself should be challenged in courts, and legislatures. (note: Congress and the Senate determine which matters are under the purview of the SC).

  21. The Tree of Liberty, from time to time, requires nourishment in the form of blood from Patriots and Tyrants. We’re getting some quite Tyrannical attitudes from the current Administration, aren’t we?

    • BK,

      Yes. The left has been growing its tyrannical approach to government and society, on general. I am concerned that my non-compliance will provide nourishment for the Tree of Liberty.

  22. Yes, guns are a tool for violence. Such violence can be used to secure our rights, or remove those rights.
    I think what the author was trying to show is just that fact. Our country was born in violence. We have used violent response to threats to our freedoms. And, we also have seen violence done against us not just as a country, but also against the basic rule of law by those who would take lives, property or treasure. As well as defend against such acts.
    The next item is while our rights are enshrined in our Constitution, it is the use of, or implied threat of violence that keeps those rights intact.

  23. this article calls to mind a quote of Jeff Cooper:

    “One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.”

  24. “In the Politics, Aristotle explains how “heavily armed men” (hoplites) form the foundation of political order. Their violent coercion, even in the form of bloodless potency, overrides both the wealth of shiftless plutocrats and the inheritance claims of the gentry.”

    So? Buy a gun and shoot a stepper. Reject overreach, embrace the 2A.

  25. Reading this essay reminds me of going doing a twisty windy mountain road where you never know where you’ll end up. His message gets lost in extorting various platitudes along the way that water down the basic message: Political order and establishment, under most circumstances, is founded in military force or the threat of it. We accept the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as our founding principles AND we expect our political establishment to respect, honor, and advance these principles. That brilliant piece of paper must be backed by something or the body politic will stomp it to death to advance their own power.

  26. All this fervor about guns. Before guns it was bows and arrows, spears, clubs, swords, rocks and so forth. It does not matter what the weapon is, someone always wants what someone else has or wants them to do as they say. Using any of the above to achieve that purpose. As long as both sides have the same weapons the status quo is somewhat maintained. If one side eliminates the others’ weapons, then they are able to dominate them. Think about the repercussions of that.

  27. A gun is merely a tool. It is inanimate and incapable of doing anything on its own. People are the ones who are violent.

    There are two kind of people who are violent. Good guys and bad guys. We all are familiar with the adage that “it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun”. So on the good guy side, we have:
    – Police (the good ones who obey the Constitution)
    – Military (same as above, not obeying unlawful orders)
    – and peaceable private citizens.
    On the bad guy side, you have all manner of violent felons. And these bad guys are aided and abetted by domestic enemies of the Constitution, turning them loose time after time. This forces more law-abiding citizens to shoot the bad guys…

    Sometimes violence IS the answer!

  28. There is no such thing as “gun violence” there is only evil people violence and if “we the people” don’t start electing people that will lock them up, it’s only going to get worse. Use a gun in a crime, 50 yrs minimum and if you kill with a gun, you get death, period ! Arm yourself today or be a victim tomorrow . . .

  29. Self defense is violent. Plain and simple. It’s why the ones who are so against it will never understand it, because they have never felt the fear of having their life in jeopardy and they have never had to result to drastic measures to save their own or others lives. Then you get the assholes that blame the tools used because of their lack of unwillingness to defend themselves or adopt the mindset of always being ready to. It’s sad really, but it all boils down to complacency associate with society.

    • Montana Actual, there you go again. According to the dictionary which you Lefties love to refer to, violence is behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. Self defense does NOT intend to “hurt, damage, or kill.” It intends to STOP THE THREAT. Now if you want to call that “violence” that is your vaulted opinion lacking real substance. Have a good day, Lefty.

  30. All that stands between a society and those that would destroy it, are the good men and women, who would take up arms to do violence against the anarchists that would enslave us with their Socialist/Communist Utopia.
    We’re heading into a Civil War. Accept it, embrace it and prepare to do violence to those that seek to oppress us.
    To paraphrase Thomas Paine: If the S is going to HTF, let it HTF in my time, so my Grandchildren will be free.

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