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Today we have a guest post by author Matthew W. Quinn who ran a deep study into history and philosophy. A very interesting essay. Enjoy!
“Monopolies of Force” and My Newest Books
By Matthew W. Quinn
One key characteristic of the modern state is what German sociologist Max Weber claimed was a monopoly on physical force. Essentially, only the government has the right to initiate violence — arresting and jailing criminals, collecting taxes, and waging war. However, some supporters of gun control take this further — they seem to think citizens should not be able to use force even in self-defense, instead solely relying on the deterrent and investigatory power of law enforcement. This comment from a British member of Quora claims people should rely solely on police due to being part of “civil society.” Back in high school I recall a fellow student, when I said people should be able to own guns to protect themselves from criminals, responding by claiming people should instead call the police, while someone on DemocraticUnderground once claimed all they should need to be safe was a copy of the US Constitution in their pocket. A fellow member of an online alternate history forum even suggested that in society citizens surrender their right to violence to the state because the state can bring on more violence than any individual.
The notion that a state’s monopoly on legitimate violence means citizen disarmament and sole dependence on the state is a very foolish and dangerous one. Not only can the police not be everywhere at once and it takes time to respond to 911 calls, but courts have repeatedly ruled that the police have no responsibility to protect individual citizens. “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away” is a valid maxim, something I touch on in my novel The Thing in the Woods when an Indian-American family is besieged in their home by racist Cthulhu cultists. Bonus points if a slow or completely nonexistent police response is motivated by maliciousness rather than simply not being able to respond in time, overwhelmed in a riot situation, or simply being cowardly and incompetent. I return to this theme in my newer works, the horror-comedy Little People, Big Guns and my new independent steampunk fantasy novel Battle for the Wastelands.
Little People, Big Guns begins with a little person (they prefer not to be called “midgets”) being killed by badgers. The head of the county’s little persons’ association tries to work within the system and contacts local animal control to deal with the problem, only to be ignored due to budget cuts. There are additional attacks — in one instance a little person fights off the badger with the Taser he’d bought after another little person had been robbed — and the little people and their bigger friends have to arm up and deal with the problem themselves. It turns out there are far darker forces than budget cuts at work, making the little persons more akin to the Deacons for Defense and Justice who fought the Klan during the civil-rights era when (white) law enforcement at the very least didn’t care and at worst was collaborating with the enemy.
And in Battle for the Wastelands, the monopoly on force is even more sinister. The ultimate villain of the Wastelands world is Grendel, a Norse warlord who rules over most of a continent. He has claimed for himself and his supporters a monopoly on “Old World” (pre-apocalyptic) weaponry all the way down to pistols and grenades. Not only does this allow him to equip a large equivalent to the late and unlamented Iraqi Republican Guard with modern-day assault rifles, artillery, etc. but it prevents anybody not part of his system from challenging him. This is reminiscent of the “sword hunts” of Japan in which a warlord who has seized power sends his armies throughout the countryside to confiscate weapons so nobody else could seize power like he did. Furthermore, the “sword hunts” of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi had a more sinister purpose — enshrining the domination of the samurai as a social class over all others. Although the edict is couched in the language of religion and concern for peasants’ well-being, it explicitly states disarmament is to facilitate tax and rent collection. In Battle, Grendel makes it clear his system rests on having a bloated military living off the productivity of civilians who, though they might possess rifles for hunting, are forbidden the armament that might be effective against the dirigibles and machine guns commanded by Grendel and his subordinates.
So beware the incorrect idea that a state’s monopoly on violence means civilian disarmament. Those who advocate this at best are very naïve (to be fair that’s probably most of them) and at worst have ulterior motives.
We’re hip-deep into the restoration process of Dynamite Thor. My colorist is getting better with each page, and here’s some side-by side ocmparisons. We’re doing our best to maintain the integrity of the original colors but make sure everything pops and looks fresh for a great modern reading experience on quality paper.
I think a lot of our culture is obsessed with “new”, and part of my mission both in what I review on Youtube with the old Epic Collection material and doing this is to make sure we preserve our comic book history.
We can only learn a way forward if we’re intimately familiar with our past. This era is called the Golden Age of comics for a reason. The ideas were off the wall and wonderful, everything was lighthearted and fun, there was a true sense of wonder to comics back then that a lot of books are missing today. Also the storytelling with full stories in a single issue is almost non-existent anymore.
Comics is a beautiful medium which has so much to offer, and we’re going to bring it back for you in ways no one else is doing. I’m so excited to bring you the original Dynamite Thor and my reimagined version with brand new original content and more than 50 pages of new story.
It’ll be coming to Kickstarter soon. You’ll be able to get Dynamite Thor and Dynamite Thor classic and experience one of the whackiest superheroes ever created.
And you don’t have to wait to get great comics. Grab Clockwork Dancer #1 and support indies in the arts! It’s only $2.99 digital for New Comic Book Day!
Bestselling author Richard Fox is doing something extremely awesome so I wanted to share here.
A statement from Fox:
From now until February 20th, all my proceeds from Til Valhalla will go to the Australian Red Cross.
The book is set Down Under, and many great Australians helped me with the book to get the details just right. They’re a great people, and it breaks my heart to see all the suffering from the fires. All my sales and KENP royalties for the next 30 days will go to the good cause of their Red Cross.
But Richard, wouldn’t Amazon get a cut every time you sell a copy of Til Valhalla?
Correct, helpful questioner! To get more more to the right folks, anyone that donates $5 or more to the Australian Red Cross (https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/drr) or to the Croc Hunter’s family zoo (https://wildlifewarriors.org.au/donate/) and sends me a receipt to email@example.com, I’ll send you the Til Valhalla ebook.
Tell two friends! We raise over $5,000 and I’ll eat a vegemite sandwich on camera to celebrate.
Definitely want to help a worthy cause and I can personally vouch for how great Richard’s Military Science FIction is. He’s one of the best out there. Make sure to share this to signal boost, and let’s help Australia!