Gun-grabbing Notre Dame Philosopher: successfully resisting tyranny is fantasy

Gary Gutting is reputedly a philosopher, of the “I’ll just make things up as I go along” school.

In a citizen control op-ed in the New York Times strung together with logical fallacies, rhetorical faults, and broken philosophical proofs, he chucked in a howler suggesting that our modern military would simply steamroll over American gun owners,  so we may as well turn in our guns.


Finally, there’s the idea that citizens need guns so they can, if need be, oppose the force of a repressive government. Those who think there are current (or likely future) government actions in this country that would require armed resistance are living a paranoid fantasy. The idea that armed American citizens could stand up to our military is beyond fantasy.

I’d like to point the obviously addled Professor Gutting in the direction of Southwest Asia, towards a little country called “Afghanistan” that is roughly the size of Texas.

Our primary opponents in Afghanistan for the past 12 years have been the Taliban, a force of largely illiterate fighters thought to number no more than 35,000 strong. They have little to no formal military training, and are primarily equipped with small arms and improvised explosive devices, augmented with with mortars, rockets, and other light artillery acquired on the black market. These 35,000 insurgents, have “stood their ground” in an area slightly larger than the state of Texas. Keep that thought in the back of your mind.

Now, the United States is just a little bigger than Texas, isn’t it? Instead of a population of 31 million, we have a population of 312 million. Of those 312 million, an estimated 100 million are gun owners, and many of those are recent veterans of our most current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Add in the first Gulf War and our Baby Boomer crop of Vietnam veterans, and there are hundreds of thousands of combat experienced fighters here. All told, these private citizens in the United States own many more arms and much ammunition than the U.S. military.


These veterans have reiterated rather publicly on internet forums, in public speeches, and in private conversations that they swore an oath to the Constitution, not any given President or government. Active duty soldiers have made the same commitments, and the veracity of these sentiments tend to run highest in the combat arms part of the military, the so-called “tip of the spear.”

This sentiment seems to run highest in active duty and retired elite military units, including the Green Berets.

If Professor Gutting isn’t familiar with the Green Berets, perhaps it is worthwhile to point out now their primary mission:

The main mission of the Special Forces was to train and lead unconventional warfare (UW) forces, or a clandestine guerrilla force in an occupied nation.

They train insurgencies to overthrow oppressive regimes. Their motto de oppresso liber is understood to mean to liberate the oppressed. How do the Green Berets feel about heavy-handed regime tactics toward gun control and confiscation like those favored by Professor Gutting? 1,100 of them sent a letter to President Obama earlier this year, warning the President in no uncertain terms that they would not sit quietly by if the government sought to undermine the Second Amendment. The language was measured, but unmistakable.


I’ll turn this back to Professor Gutting.

There’s this idea among authoritarians that the arms of the citizens, if need be, can be suppressed easily by repressive government. Those who think there are current (or likely future) government actions in this country that would could long survive an armed resistance are living a statist fantasy. The idea that armed American citizens couldn’t stand up to a relative handful of authoritarians is beyond fantasy.

Molon Labe, professor.

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