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« Updated list of Bites Interviews by theme | Main | Fiona Macpherson on Hallucination »

February 17, 2013


Lee Daniel Crocker

Interesting podcast. Though I am not convinced by Mr. McMahan's arguments, I agree with him that the issue deserves more philosophical treatment than it gets. I was particularly intrigued by his introduction of the Prisoner's Dilemma, inspiring me to write a blog post:


With regard to magazine clips - Any idea if there are stats pertaining to number of shots necessary for a successful defense? Perhaps clips can be limited to that number of bullets.


If it were shown empirically that gun violence tends to increase after gun prohibition, then would Jeff McMahan change his mind about gun control?

Would Jeff McMahan accept that reasonable people have carefully looked at the data and have come to the conclusion that gun prohibition does not decrease gun violence and in many cases has aggravated gun violence?


While I may agree with the basic premise those were some horrid arguments purely based on their logic. For example, the debate over the similarities to individual car ownership was ridiculous. Jeff says that target shooting is not a valid reason to allow for gun ownership but then tries to use driving through the countryside to support car ownership. Also if you are going to look at the harm caused by individual car ownership you need to look at the far reaching health and environmental effects that that amount of pollution has on population. Limiting the scope solely to car accidents is the same as limiting gun deaths to just the mass killings, which Jeff correctly points out is only a small part of the deadly consequences.


This was a blatantly one-sided discussion of the topic which has little to do with philosophy but propping an agenda.

Why don't you invite a libertarian/individualist for a change?

There is data supporting the claim that bans boost violent crime quite meticulously explained here:

as happened in Great Britain

McMahan discards the evidence for successful armed resistance of "oppressed" groups in Syria or Afghanistan or Vietnam, or once the independent colonies now the United States as well as the historical events of the last hundreds of years in which governments went astray thanks to their undisputed authority from the barrel of their gun.

The view-point that rights can only be granted by authority and if the sovereign (called the people, in democracies) has no means to uphold his authority if necessary by force, has effectively no rights at all, is conveniently ignored.

He even claims the thinking should be left to "philosophers" like him "most qualified" for it, another collectivist preference for monopolising power.

I am severely disappointed in this otherwise quite reasonable podcast.
This wasn't philosophical interest in truth, but political partisanship.

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