This book is a hybrid between a manifesto and a memoir of this young Texan who invented the 3D printed gun. I liked this book because it lays bare the unique American philosophy, this review will comment on that philosophy and make it concrete in the context of a politically tectonic event, the site of which I’m not far from at the moment.
America is the one country wherein citizens are obligated to overthrow the government if it gets too out of hand. Every other country is set up to protect the cartel of the powerful elite. America is unique in that our constitution provides…
A concrete legal protection of a citizen’s right to violently abolish the law.
The author Cody Wilson feels this experiment of a philosophically rigorous country is flat-lined and needs to be re-animated
The best I could say then was that America was a failed but worthwhile experiment. A miracle from the finest moment of liberal thought. Proof that foolish political experiments, be they compound republics or plastic guns, still had their fruits in the animating contest of liberty.
Cody has significant disdain for politicians that would constrict our rights
The force of her famous distemper for the popular ownership of arms seemed matched only by her muscular defense of our warfare-surveillance state.
Cody’s way of fighting back against that is to publish…
Universal access to arms.
…in the same way that way open-source software publishers distribute their products. Power can no longer be centralized in a world empowered by the Internet. He writes that
the greatest mistake [the United States Government] ever made: not licensing the personal computer!”
On Dangerous Freedom
At the heart of the American philosophy, we embrace a dangerous degree of freedom. We especially believe in freedom of speech to an extreme degree; America is the one country that allows Draw Muhammad contests, Neo-Nazi rallies, God Hates Fags preachers and art exhibits of cannibalism and crucifixes submerged in urine, we produce the most depraved porn and snuff films. All just a few clicks away from you now. So Cody asked…
What if guns were becoming speech?
And then instead of asking for permission he made it so by publishing and releasing to the Internet (that never forgets) the CAD files to 3D print firearms. Science fiction coming soon to a garage near you.
“It’s like stealing something from the future. Something that’s not yet supposed to be here.”
The digital currency is — unsurprisingly — mentioned frequently
Taaki was hoping to do with currency what I believed was possible with weapons — namely, to place them outside state structures.
It would be terrible if bitcoiners were to just sleepwalk into letting the bureaucrats license their firms and activities.
My favorite line of the book is
And any man worth knowing is a man at war with himself.
I think I first saw this guy in a viral Vice documentary; the first thing that struck me about him is his extraordinary verbal ability.
Politicians, TV personalities, professional commentators, pick up artists and salespeople take public speaking and improv classes for years to become as verbally dexterous as this guy is. As a truly talented political pontificator, he ranks up there with some of my favorite podcasters like Sam Harris, Stefan Molyneux or Gad Saad. It’s remarkable that given the amount of money this guy could be making with his million-dollar mouthpiece he has chosen the business he is in. Checkout this ReasonTV interview.
Time will tell if this guy is too rebellious for his own good; I hope he doesn’t end up in jail. However; the very fact that someone can do something as disruptive as release to the world downloadable guns is a reassuring sign that perhaps the American experiment with freedom yet draws breath.
How the Printed Gun may change Revolutions
The other night I watched this incredibly compelling Netflix documentary about the Maidan Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine.
The film viscerally portrays the violence of the state. As I watched it in my flat in Kiev not that far from the stately European sites which were transformed into war zones in the events shown in the film I kept thinking how the prospect of printed guns could have radically changed how the Maidan revolution played out. In Winter on Fire, the image that you’ll see over and over again is of a bunch of government thugs in riot gear beating up protesters.
I lived in Ukraine and I have heard a bunch of different perspectives on the Maidan revolution. I know it’s a complicated event that I would do a real disservice to if I tried to meta-analyze it but just imagine how much shorter it could have been if Cody’s guns were available to the revolutionaries…
Just imagine how many lives could have been saved if the government thugs feared their adversaries…
How much violence could have been avoided if the protesters could have brought something more menacing than rocks and sticks to a rubber bullet and steel baton fight?
In my mind, a printed gun or a multiplicity of them is much more powerful as a psychological weapon than it is as a practical weapon. Tactically I just can’t imagine it being that much more dangerous as a weapon than a knife (or a truck!); nobody is going to slay dozens of victims in a mass murder spree in a mall or school with this thing.
The hordes of hundreds of government thugs wouldn’t have been nearly so aggressive if they knew there was a chance of being shot back at.
Battling a crowd throwing rocks and sticks while fully armored in riot gear is probably just a little riskier than playing football with friends after a few beers and — let’s be honest — probably a lot of fun! But what if one out of every hundred protesters had a gun? Even a crappy gun; it becomes an infinitely less appealing activity.
How many of the riot cops would have transformed from cruel brawlers into assertive yet courteous peacekeepers?
How many of them would have flat refused to participate?
The film is a 90-minute crescendo of escalation of force.
A small group of college students starts to protest.
Some riot police beat them up.
A social media outrage ensues.
Thousands rally to protest the police beatings of peaceful protesters.
Some angry people advance on government buildings to protest.
Larger scale melees occur with the police.
The outrage grows and the protest becomes a revolution.
The protesters organize a militia that can more capably combat the riot police.
The government resorts to bringing in military professionals; snipers begin using real bullets to kill protesters on the front lines of the standoff.
The revolutionary leader gives the President an ultimatum and the militia members promise to lay down their lives.
Finally, given the prospect of presiding over a true massacre, the Ukrainian President resigns and hides.
If the government faced a pervasive lethal threat amongst the protesters would they have had to be more reasonable at an earlier stage of the Maidan revolution? Would have so much blood run on the icy streets of Kiev in 2014? I suspect not.
If only I sold time travel devices instead of smart drugs I could make a bloody fortune by selling one to the dictator in the 2020s who is about to be overthrown by revolutionaries wielding plastic guns. Just imagine what such a dictator would pay to have Cody Wilson assassinated in 2013 before he opened this Pandora’s box…
Now that guns can be printed every despotic government around the world has a real reason to think twice about abusing their citizenry.