I’m afraid I have to agree ewrxroads. I *do* believe we should have a debate about the viability of small arms as a method of protecting citizens from the tyranny of the state. But I’m not sure what has led you to the conclusion that they are no longer useful. I think you severely underestimate the power of an insurgency. The solution you’re describing is analogous to the revolutionary press of earlier days. Revolutionaries have long used encryption. A lack of comprehensive surveillance technology left anonymity comparatively easy to maintain. And they had spies within governments to acquire information, and presses to disseminate that information alongside their own ideas. In spite of this, arms still proved necessary to successful resistance. Simply disseminating information faster, and being even *more* anonymous, is not a substitute for the threat of violent action.
Now, if you mean to suggest using cyber weapons to attack infrastructure vital to the function of the state (the power grid, primarily), that would be a good start. But that’s still just the beginning of winning this sort of conflict.
I am perhaps bold to suggest this, but I actually believe that the onus may be on you to disprove that an insurgency is not a viable method of fighting the state. Insurgencies are difficult to stamp out. They have existed across history, and sometimes have lasted for decades — I think there may even be a handful that have lasted centuries in conflict prone areas like the Balkans. Dogged persistence will *eventually* yield success, especially if foreign powers decide to provide material support.
You have been not only reasonable but also exceptionally polite. So I’d appreciate it if you could forgive me for linking the following, which is rather crass in its language, but I believe provides a succinct overview of the problems that would face the US government following the initiation of violent conflict.
His credentials as a “red team planner” are unverifiable, but ignoring the equally unverifiable statistics he gave, many of the points he made were valid, especially considering the chokepoints, logistical difficulties, and the inadequacies of the US military in terms of fighting a war on our home soil. The massive size of the US coupled with the varied terrain is a stark contrast to the situation we’re dealing with in the middle east.
One unstated postulation is this: the reason we would almost certainly see a high defection rate from the military is because of how they are trained. They are told that they are fighting for the American people, to protect the American way of life, against tyranny across the globe. It’s a very positive form of reinforcement, one which builds loyalty to their fellow citizens before the government. For evaluating the utility of gun ownership to the success of the revolution, we should discount the contribution of defectors — they would be bringing their own equipment. No government can stand against its own armed forces.
The primary scenario worth evaluating is one wherein the defection rate is minor. So many people view this as unfathomable, but history offers plenty of examples where armies marched on their fellow citizens. Changing the training methods to instill loyalty to the government, rather than emphasizing the protection of the people and a way of life, would probably go a long way to achieving that end. In essence then, what we should try to evaluate is: when small arms truly are the last resort that they are meant to be (meaning that the people cannot rely on the military to swoop in and save them — it has turned on them), would they prove effective enough that open revolt and insurgency is a viable solution to the tyrannic regime?
History and contemporary warfare would tell us that the answer is yes. But I admit that there are smarter and more knowledgeable people than myself, and I am open to the possibility of being wrong. If you wanted to try and sway people like myself, I think the picture I linked covers the majority of points you’d want to address. Some you can safely ignore (defection rates and other stats that were given) but addressing the method by which the war would have to be fought, or how vulnerable infrastructure could be secured, would be of penultimate importance to establishing a case against the viability of civilian militias and insurgency.
I hope this has been useful to you, or at the very least, made you think. I found your article to be quite helpful and very thoughtful. I’ve wanted to open an anonymous publishing house using PGP and cryptocurrency for awhile now — sadly the IRS wants some names on those tax forms, so I can’t go through with it.