The HMS Endeavour, full of tactical straw men.

HP’s critique of ‘Gun Ownership Does Not Prevent Tyranny’ by Endeavour: Part 1

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This post was originally posted to my Substack.

This is a response to Endeavour’s post Gun Ownership Does Not Prevent Tyranny, which I’ve archived before it gets paywalled. I seriously doubt that Endeavour, the author of the original post, or any members of his coterie will ever read my critique, much less share it. Despite this, it’s therapeutic for me to respond to and critique blog posts that I find disagreeable. I am also writing this critique to hopefully once and for all put an end to this debate within the Dissident Right on whether or not it is necessary for our people to be armed for the purpose of defense against tyranny. I hope you enjoy my first real Substack post, it will likely be one of my last because I dislike Substack as a blogging platform — it rots the brain.

Anyway, let’s begin our critique.

When a Substack post is written and published this hastily, you know it’s going to be loaded with lots of straw men.

Endeavour’s post revolves around condemning a certain doctrine from within the American right, or rather from the American gun community that he abbreviates as “IAT” (Insurance Against Tyranny). Endeavour writes,

“The argument is that widespread private gun ownership acts as an insurance against government tyranny. In the American context, the argument is that private gun ownership, ensured by the 2nd Amendment, would enable the citizenry to overthrow the federal government if it ever were to become tyrannical and violate the constitution.”

But before this, at the very beginning of his blog post, Endeavour also writes,

“Before I begin, I need to clarify that this essay isn’t intended as an attack on Americans, the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution, or gun ownership in general. I am a gunowner myself. I generally oppose most gun control measures and would like to see them reduced in my native Canada… I think that the right to bear arms was a good idea when it was written into the US Constitution in the 18th century and into the English Constitution in the the century prior. I believe firearms are useful for personal self-defense and that firearm sports are great character building activities…”

So far so good, right? Endeavor starts off his post by saying that it isn’t an attack on the Second Amendment, but his critiques of the IAT doctrine (Insurance Against Tyranny) reveals the first contradiction. It’s as if he did not even bother to read the actual text of the Second Amendment before writing that he’s not attacking it. Let’s have a look at the text of the amendment, it’s barely even two sentences long.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The text of the Second Amendment unequivocally declares, in its own wording, an “insurance against tyranny doctrine.” When you read it, there’s no other way to interpret it. The first clause mentions a militia, and the second clause states that it’s “necessary for the security of a free state.” Clearly, the 2nd Amendment was not written with hunting or sporting purposes in mind, nor even for personal defense against common street criminals — it’s fundamentally about preserving the right of the people to have the tools necessary to maintain freedom from a tyrannical military force. Additionally, it’s important to note that the 2nd Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, situated between the 1st Amendment, which protects Freedom of Speech, and the 3rd and 4th Amendments, which protect individuals from housing military personnel and from warrantless searches and seizures, respectively. Therefore, it’s evident beyond any doubt that the ‘well regulated militia’ refers to the citizenry with privately owned arms, rather than some professional state military force that could be used against the citizenry.

Endeavour also says, “I believe firearms are useful for personal self-defense,” but that leaves us wondering: personal self-defense against what? It sounds open ended, and to that I say good. It stands to reason that even if you’re being attacked by an organized military force, whatever the odds of success, you would still value your own personal self-defense. Based solely on the doctrine of personal self-defense, private ownership of small arms — including those suitable for war — is the only logical and moral conclusion.

Some people have a different interpretation of what is necessary or reasonable for personal self-defense based on notions of probability, “you’re more likely to be attacked by street thugs than a squad of uniformed soldiers with rifles.” While there is a sprinkle of truth there, it would be ahistorical to say that tyranny and democide hasn’t killed hundreds of millions of people within the previous century (even after subtracting 6 million for the “Holocaust”) so the probability argument within the context of self-defense actually justifies uninfringed access to military grade small arms for personal self-defense.

Next, Endeavour says,

“As far as I know, this IAT doctrine, at least in its use in modern American political discourse, dates back to around the time of the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.”

It seems 1968 is as far as Endeavour endeavored to look into the history of the IAT philosophy. The modern IAT doctrine is actually far older than anything from 1968. Here’s a quote from an 18th century,

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”

– Tench Coxe, in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette on June 18, 1789.

Many years ago, after reading Stephen P. Halbrook’s book That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, it became clear to me that the philosophy behind having an armed citizenry for resistance against tyranny (or IAT) goes back much further into European history. It was discussed and promoted by some of Europe’s greatest minds long before Whites settled the North American continent. Here’s a passage from the first chapter that shows the IAT philosophy can trace its roots as far back as Rome,

“Cicero’s De Officiis, a treatise on ethics, defended the killing of Caesar. Cicero referred to ‘that king who with the Roman People’s army brought the Roman People themselves into subjection,’ justified tyrannicide, and predicted that tyrants who rule by armed force are bound to be overthrown by those who seek freedom. The armed citizen was the last hope of the republic, according to Cicero’s last orations in the senate, the Philippics, a series of orations directed against Marcus Antonius. According to Cicero, Antonius “is an enemy against whom arms have rightly been taken up.” In response to Antonius’s threat to enter Rome with his army, an illegal act, Cicero queried: ‘What did this mean but a threat to the Roman people of slavery?’ Antonius ‘should be compelled by arms.’ Arguing against Calenus, Cicero asked: ‘do you call slavery peace? Our ancestors indeed took up arms not only to win freedom, but also empire; you think our arms should be thrown away to make us slaves. What juster reason is there for the waging of war than to repel slavery?’ Again, it ‘is for the liberty of the Roman people . . . they see they must struggle in arms.’”

In Niccolò Machiavelli Discourses on Livy (1513 to 1519 AD), Machiavelli advocates for an armed citizenry to resist both external and internal tyranny — in other words, the IAT doctrine.

“The people, accustomed to their freedom and to command, will never let themselves be subjugated; for they are armed and know how to fight” (Book 1, Chapter 55).

“And it is to be noted that such arms are useful in every way, for with them one defends oneself from one’s enemies and corrects one’s own subjects if they should want to do wrong” (Book 2, Chapter 20).

America was the birth place of many great ideas, but the “Insurance Against Tyranny” philosophy (even in its modern form) certainly isn’t one of them. The American colonists simply carried a philosophical torch from European history and codified into their Constitution. The IAT doctrine or philosophy is ancient and entirely European in its complete evolution.

“It is in the power of the citizens to appoint a ruler over them; and, on his becoming a tyrant, to depose him.”

— Marsilius of Padua (1275 – 1342): In Defensor Pacis.

After Endeavour’s speculation on the origin of the IAT doctrine, we come across the next set of fallacies when Endeavour asserts that “Serious thinkers don’t actually believe that the masses could possibly overthrow the US government by force.” This is both an ad hominem and a straw man rolled into one.

The ad hominem: Endeavor right off the bat assumes that anyone that subscribes to the IAT argument cannot possibly be a “serious thinker,” even though countless military veteransthe Dissident Right’s top lawyerhistorianslegal professors and the highest IQ man in the world have all been a part of this generation of the IAT philosophy. I’m not an adherent of credentialism, but Endeavour is way out of his league to just discount people that support the IAT philosophy as not being “serious thinkers,” even if a few hold some token cringe beliefs surrounding WW2. Endeavour clearly hasn’t done the bear minimum of research on the proponents of the IAT philosophy to claim anything about them, which is something that could be used against him should he ever claim to be a “serious thinker.”

The straw man: Endeavour implies that proponents of IAT doctrine are promoting the idea that resistance against tyranny equates to overthrowing the federal government. However, the American colonists of the late 1700s did not overthrow their government, but rather won their independence from the British through armed resistance — the British Empire continued its existence in Britain and elsewhere as a world power, therefore the British Government was not overthrown by the Americans. When tackling the legitimacy of IAT doctrine, it’s important to understand this VERY critical difference.

To conflate resistance against tyranny with the total, wholesale overthrowing of a large government or empire is such a blatant straw man, it absolutely warrants accusations of intellectual dishonesty. These sort of fallacies are so glaring that they wouldn’t even be tolerated in an introductory level, Philosophy/Logic 101 course taught at a local community college somewhere in Florida in the current year.

Next Endeavor tries to categorize the supporters of the IAT doctrine into two groups, then he dismissively labels them all as boomers. However, his selection of IAT proponents reflects his own lack of research and understanding of what we could label as IAT proponents and their true beliefs.

“There are two different segments of the right which have at times argued for the IAT doctrine. The first is what we would refer to as the “normie right”. This would include the GOP, organizations like the NRA, and conservative commentators such as Alex Jones.”

Alex Jones, the GOP and the NRA are all low hanging fruit for anyone attempting to delegitimize this IAT doctrine and gun rights in general, partially because Alex Jones, the GOP and the NRA are not genuine in their support for the Second Amendment. The NRA in particular is notorious within the American gun community for being sellouts that show a bare minimum lip service in support of water-downed notions of the 2nd Amendment in order to maintain a stream of donations from boomers that care more about hunting than IAT. Similar can be said for the GOP, with many Republican congressmen co-signing gun control bills despite promising to defend the 2nd Amendment. As for Alex Jones, who in the hell knows what he actually believes, but if you think he actually believes in anything he says, you’ve been had.

Anyone that actually follows the American gun community realizes pretty quickly that Alex Jones, the GOP and the NRA are very unpopular and treated with extreme skepticism among what we could call the IAT proponents here.

The “normie right” of the gun community usually consists of younger organizations like the Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America, and prominent GenX/Millennial YouTubers like Guns and Gadgets and Mrgunsngear, and their millions of followers (also typically GenX and Millennials) that actually understand and promote the IAT doctrine. Despite Endeavour’s assertion that the “entire idea is steeped in Boomerism” the actual IAT doctrine proponents and their followers are technically not boomers at all. The real boomers within the gun community are often just Fudds.

The second segment of IAT proponents mentioned by Endeavor, which he describes as the “more radical and dissident libertarian faction, including groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters” again shows that he underestimates how popular the ideas of this faction are among the normie GenX/Millennial gun community. There are now far more groups that are, as Endeavour puts it, “fashioned as some kind of militia” out there, and they literally are a militia by any sensible definition as well as the militia referenced in the 2nd Amendment.

Next, Endeavour really leans into the boomerism fallacy: “anything I don’t like, don’t understand and didn’t bother to research must somehow be boomerism.”

“So, why is the IAT doctrine incorrect? This entire idea is steeped in Boomerism. First of all, it assumes that all forms of government other than postwar liberal democracy are inherently tyrannical and that said liberal democratic system couldn’t itself become tyrannical. Secondly, it assumes that all the disorganized masses need make the government beholden to their collective will is easy access to firearms. Lastly, it assumes that, when given the power to impose their will, the masses will always prefer postwar liberal democracy over any other form of government.”

So many blatant straw man arguments here, so many fallacies… Where do I begin?

Which faction of IAT proponents is Endeavour even talking about here? Neither the normie right nor the libertarian factions of the IAT philosophy have expressed any support for “postwar liberal democracy” — it seems that Endeavour is trying to conflate classical liberalism with postwar liberal democracy, which is yet another straw-man/conflation fallacy. Most of the IAT proponents are adamant that the United States is not, and should never be a democracy. The majority of IAT doctrine proponents are just Constitutionalists that love the Bill of Rights for its legal protection of the right to keep and bear arms, which is an idea that predates classical liberalism.

None of the Libertarian/Boogaloo/Anarchist types express any love for liberal democracy, nor do any of the most cringe boomer normie conservatives. You’ll never hear any of these groups say gun rights are for “protecting our democracy” and certainly not for protecting liberalism. Perhaps Canadian boomer-conservatives are fans of liberal democracy (I really don’t know much about Canadian boomers) but the American right and its gun community would be the first to tell you that democracy is just “two wolves and lamb deciding what’s for dinner.” All of these groups are too protective of their right to keep and bear arms to be fans of total democracy: a system that they know could theoretically use popular vote to outlaw natural rights. Luckily however, the United States was NOT setup as a democracy, but as a Constitutional Republic.

When IAT proponents and the American right talk about tyranny, they see it as coming from the same establishment that Endeavour calls “postwar liberal democracy” or what others call the neoliberal establishment — IAT proponents and conservatives at large openly and regularly express their hatred of liberals and liberalism so much that they sound like broken records. Again, I have yet to see a single IAT proponent or even a single normie conservative explicitly state they’re in favor of liberalism or democracy, or that a liberal democracy is less tyrannical than regimes typically associated with authoritarianism. Rather, American conservatives, libertarians and the all other forms of IAT proponents usually assert that neoliberal democracy is actually just a rebrand of Nazism/Communism that has now occupied our government by slipping through the cracks. Sure, it’s a cringe take, but it’s equally fallacious and cringe to take that and assume they support “postwar liberal democracy.”

Reid Hendrich’s is a popular figure within the American gun community on YouTube, so he serves as a better representative for what the average America IAT proponent actually believes about democracy:

While it is true that the majority of vocal IAT proponents (typically normie conservatives and libertarians) are absolutely guilty of holding cringe beliefs — and so too are folks within the Dissident Right — to claim that most IAT proponents are sympathetic to liberalism or democracy, because they oppose totalitarianism, is so inaccurate that it’s an outright lie.

Endeavor continues,

“The American Revolution acts as a mythos for those who believe in the IAT doctrine. They point to the United States’ war for independence from Britain as an example of a armed citizens overthrowing a tyrannical government. They argue this demonstrates the importance of the 2nd Amendment today…
The mythos which the IAT doctrine is based on is totally ahistorical. The American Revolution was possible because some of the most elite members of colonial society decided to revolt against the British Crown and form their own ruling body in opposition. The new Continental Congress was able to garner enough support from the populous and foreign powers like France to supplant the previous regime. Like all revolutions, the American Revolution was from the top down, not the bottom up. It was a new set of elites overthrowing an older one. It was not the result of a bunch of random citizens who got angry at their government one day and just started shooting.”

This is all wrong. Completely wrong.

The political leadership of the colonies (what Endeavour would call the counter-elite) that made up the First and Second Continental Congress did NOT decide to revolt against the British Empire, nor did they play a direct role in the escalation of hostilities into a shooting war — far from it! They never declared war against Britain at any point. The First Continental Congress assembled solely for peaceful, diplomatic redress of grievances the American colonies had with British policies like the Intolerable Acts.

The Second Continental Congress assembled in May 1775, three weeks after the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord, when the war was already hot. Although its purposes included forming the Continental Army and commissioning George Washington as its commander, it also included a last-ditch effort to petition for peace through the Olive Branch Petition, which was addressed to King George III of England. In this petition, the Colonial American political leaders expressed their desire to remain subjects of the British crown, attributing their grievances primarily to the policies of the British Parliament. Therefore, the delegates at the Second Continental Congress were largely monarchists who still identified as Englishmen and sought to maintain this status.

The only big myth here is that King George III ripped the Olive Branch Petition, but he certainly didn’t respond to it.

The war itself only began when armed militiamen (non-enlisted men with their own arms) assembled on the Lexington green to confront redcoats enforcing general Gage’s gunpowder confiscations. This was the flashpoint: nothing from the Continental Congress was a flashpoint. The ideas of the intellectuals among the colonists may have been inspirational to colonial population at large, but the actual war did NOT start until these militiamen shot back at the redcoats with their own firearms. Without a well armed population, there would be nothing facilitating a war against the British Empire. Facilitation is the key here.

The Battle of Lexington depicted in a 1910 portrait by William Barnes Wollen.
The Battle of Lexington depicted in a 1910 portrait by William Barnes Wollen.

The political elites of the American colonies, initially, were not particularly keen on a war for independence from Britain — I’m excluding the intellectuals in this definition of elites here, and only referring to the political leadership of the colonies. The intellectuals of the colonies, like Thomas Paine, did influence and emboldened the population toward independence, but it was ultimately popular opinion and then the actions of an armed population that influenced and steered the elites of the colonies toward independence.

Here we have a clear and strong historical example of a population influencing its elites, moving them toward a political goal that they (the elites) had initially shied away from.

And as far as the armed population of American colonists being “disorganized,” they were clearly well organized enough to put up a defense against the British; enough to start a war, win battles and win over the sympathy of not only their elites but also support from France. The entire process toward American independence was a series of escalations that gained momentum only because the colonial population were armed and willing to fight the British, which is in stark contrast to the ahistorical idea that colonial elites suddenly declared war and then were instantly saved by the French military.

The French didn’t even join the American war for independence until 1778, even though the war started in 1775. The colonists had to fight without direct foreign military support for almost 3 years. Had the population not been armed and willing to fight, there would have been no war for the elites and the French to support in the first place. In other words, if you want elites and foreign nations to support your rebellion, first you have to have an actual rebellion, and that requires being armed.

Getting back to the subject of revolutions and the necessity of having an armed population, we often don’t hear about the revolutions that failed or didn’t even start. While having leadership and organizational capacity is crucial, it is equally crucial to have the support of a sufficiently armed population that can act on behalf of the counter-elites when diplomacy fails. Here’s a few examples of attempts at revolution that failed because the population lacked sufficient arms:

  • The Hungarian Revolution of 1956: This was a nationwide revolt against the Marxist-Leninist government of the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies. The revolutionaries were primarily ordinary citizens and had limited access to weapons, which made them less capable of resisting the well-armed Soviet forces.
  • The Boxer Rebellion (China, 1899-1901): The Boxers, who were primarily peasants, lacked modern weapons and military training, which made them less effective against the well-armed and trained forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance. What’s important to note is that The Boxers, later in the war, had the support of the official ruling elite of China (the Qing Dynasty) at the time. They still lost mostly because they were not sufficiently well armed.
  • The Cristero War (Mexico, 1926-1929): This conflict was a popular uprising against the anti-clerical policies of the Mexican government. The Cristeros, mainly peasants and civilians, were often poorly armed and faced a professional, well-equipped government military, leading to their eventual defeat.
  • The Easter Rising (Ireland, 1916): This was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week by Irish republicans seeking independence from the United Kingdom. The rebels were relatively poorly armed compared to the British forces, which was a significant factor in their defeat.
  • The 1905 Russian Revolution: This was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire. Many of the revolutionaries, especially during the Bloody Sunday massacre, were unarmed or poorly armed, contributing to their suppression by the Tsarist regime.
  • The German Peasants’ War (1524-1525): This revolt was part of the broader wave of Reformation movements across Europe. The peasants and lower classes in Germany lacked sufficient arms and were poorly organized compared to the well-equipped and trained armies of the nobles. This disparity contributed significantly to their defeat.
  • The Indian Rebellion of 1857: Also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, this was a major but ultimately unsuccessful uprising in India against the British East India Company’s rule. The rebels faced logistical issues and a lack of modern weaponry, which were key factors in their defeat by the better-equipped British forces.
  • The Paris Commune (1871): The Paris Commune, a radical socialist and revolutionary government, controlled Paris for a brief period. The Commune faced the well-armed and organized French Army and lacked sufficient military resources and support, contributing to its quick downfall.
  • The Taiping Rebellion (China, 1850-1864): While not entirely due to lack of arms (they had swords, spears, and old muskets), the Taiping Rebellion in China was partly thwarted by the limited access to modern weaponry and training among the rebels. The Qing Dynasty’s army, with better equipment and foreign military support, eventually crushed the rebellion.
Battle of Saint-Eustache, December 14, 1837

And last but not least, since Endeavour is from Canada,

The 1837-1838 Rebellions in Canada: These were armed uprisings in Lower and Upper Canada against the British colonial government. The rebels were generally less well-armed and organized than the British forces and loyalist militias, contributing to their failure. In particular, the Battle of Saint-Eustache was a decisive battle in the lower Canadian rebellion that was lost because “The Patriote organization was primitive; many members did not even have firearms.

The takeaway here: What good are chiefs if their Indians are not sufficiently armed enough to enforce their will? All of these failed movements had some elite element organizing them, but they still failed at least partially because they were not sufficiently well armed, and therefore could not even train with firearms they did not have.

Just having a counter-elite by itself is not insurance against anything, just as having a sufficiently well armed population by itself also insures nothing — ultimately, nothing insures anything. Rather than either being insurance, they’re more accurately described as prerequisites to facilitating the possibility of resistance against tyranny. Therefore, criticizing the necessity of private ownership of firearms as “insurance against tyranny” is itself a straw man, because even literal insurance (e.g. medical insurance) does not insure all medical expenses.

Continuing with our critique of Endeavour’s post, he says,

“There isn’t this instinctual urge within humans to demand liberalism. The masses fervently supporting illiberal political systems is commonplace throughout history. Like the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in Maoist China. This was a mass movement of citizens (mostly students) taking it upon themselves to persecute perceived enemies on behalf of an authoritarian Marxist regime. A ton of the people were all too happy to go along with what I think is fair to classify as a tyrannical regime. COVID is a much more recent example of the masses going along with government actions which are a flagrant violation of classical liberal principles. We all remember those folks in our lives who ardently supported that form of government tyranny.”

Here we come across a kernel of truth mixed in with the previous straw man, and an additional new straw man on top.

The kernel of truth: No one is entirely opposed to all forms of tyranny, not one soul. For example, if a new government were to implement every policy on your ideological wish list and eliminate all of your political enemies, you wouldn’t conceive of this new government as being tyrannical even though objectively it would be quite tyrannical. This is true even for the most ardent of Libertarians, because if they genuinely opposed all forms of tyranny, they would be much more involved in pro-White advocacy, or at least vocal against anti-White discrimination; but instead they denounce “racism” and/or look the other way.

This extends to the proponents of the IAT (Insurance Against Tyranny) doctrine: are they truly advocates against all forms of tyranny? The answer is a resounding no. The labeling of their stance as being “against tyranny” is somewhat of a misnomer, especially in the context of modern parlance, where this term has come to imply a broad and all-encompassing opposition to tyranny. This usage has led to the creation of an unintentional straw man against them — the straw man being this false assumption that the average pro-2A American is some hyper-anarcho-libertarian. The average right-leaning American supporting the IAT doctrine typically does not advocate against all forms of tyranny. In reality, their support often includes policies like a ban on illegal immigration, opposition to LGBTQ propaganda in schools, a ban on Islam, and the elimination of many welfare programs. Additionally, they tend to favor tougher penalties for criminals. These stances, often perceived by their opponents as “tyranny,” reflect a more specific set of concerns rather than a universal opposition to all forms of tyranny.

To clarify this with an analogy, many within the dissident right claim to be Ethno-nationalists who are against replacement migration. However, do these Ethno-nationalists genuinely care about the replacement migration experienced by Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese? It seems not, yet they continue to identify as Ethno-nationalists who, in their selective perspective, oppose replacement migration on principle. The truth is that the only reason why most in the dissident right identify as Ethno-nationalists is simply because it’s more optical than identifying as White Nationalists or Nordicists. The pro Second-Amendment community suffers from a very similar problem when they talk about the necessity of being armed for “insurance against tyranny.”

The shitlibs are actually warranted in their fears of being tyrannized by armed rednecks claiming to be “against tyranny.”

In conclusion, I would say that I don’t really support the Insurance Against Tyranny doctrine; Rather, I support the Being Armed is a Prerequisite for Defense Against their-Tyranny doctrine, but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly.

That’s the end of Part 1 of my critique of Gun Ownership Does Not Prevent Tyranny.

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