The Second Amendment and Censorship
How I came to realize the importance of the 2nd Amendment
It was very indirect. It started when I saw Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience in a bookstore. Needless to say, I bought a copy. One of the chapters was “Life (with all its problems) in space” by Alfred Crosby. I then noticed a book by Alfred Crosby Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900 (it's not as nutty as it sounds) in a bookstore. (Bookstores are what we used before the Web was invented.) I bought that and noticed references to Plagues and Peoples by William McNeill. I found and read that and then noticed another book by William McNeill In Pursuit of Power in a bookstore. That was the book that made me realize the importance of free (liber) weaponry.
When only the State could afford the best weapons, we saw increasingly authoritarian governments. This happened in the Bronze Age, in the early Gunpowder Era, and the era between the invention of machine guns and the AK-47. The ability to buy weapons really is important.
The relevance to censorship
But that isn't what I'm talking about in this post. I'm talking about censorship. If we wanted to keep me away taking the Second Amendment seriously, it could be interrupted at many stages.
We could keep professors from publishing ThoughtCrime. We could keep other scholars from citing the professors who published ThoughtCrime. We could ruin the careers of other scholars who cited a professor who published ThoughtCrime and disinvite them from conferences.
This is another case in which a system with many layers is vulnerable to censorship. The Internet escaped that in the early stages because there were (for a while) fewer layers. In other words, we must be very resistant to any attempt to spread a blacklist. It's one thing to shun someone you think is a jerk. It's another thing to shun people six degrees away from him/her/whatever. It might even be worth shunning people who try that (but not shun their friends.)