Cody Wilson, man behind first 3D gun, defends private ownership of biological weaponry [on On The Media]

It has been announced that the world’s first 3D-printed gun was fired Sunday.

The existence of the 3D gun is the result of Cody Wilson and his Defense Distributed, a group with the sole focus of making freely distributed plans for a printable gun.

Cody Wilson is a libertarian of the absurdly-deregulatory variety. Upon reading of his group’s 3D gun success I was reminded of an interview with On The Media from last year in which he defended the private ownership of biological weaponry.

Bob Garfield: To take the question to the extreme: If you can do, in your home using technology, the kinds of things for which there is no legitimate consume r use, let’s just say weapons grade anthrax. You nonetheless have no objection to it?

Cody Wilson: I think a civil libertarian would say: Why criminalize the possession of something or the creation of something in itself? It isn’t the weapons grade anthrax that’s evil in and of itself; it’s what you could do with that weapons grade anthrax. And so, the educated civil libertarian would say you can only punish the use of that anthrax for criminal purposes, not its creation or possession.
You know, and you use the word “legitimate.” Legitimate is a scary word. Legitimate to whom? Who makes the rules of legitimacy?

I suppose I could waste time talking about Wilson’s scoffing at the idea of defining legitimacy after he just got done offering his definition of it.

I also suppose I could point out the absurdity in allowing someone possession of an item which once misused, could devastate entire populations.

It should be easy to recognize a limitation on severely hazardous materials as being a beneficial and legitimate trade-off for public safety, but such basic reasoning seems beyond those who believe the individual’s ability to own anything regardless of the potential risk is paramount to a free society.

Liberty = fascism

Liberty is the new fascism, or at least in can be insofar as serving as an impediment to reasonable discourse.

I came across a gem, on an online discussion board, which I feel  illustrates the roadblock to reason posed by the liberto-fascist faithful. “The main point is that life is inherently unsafe. Anything could happen at any time, so we shouldn’t actively impair our liberty just for the sake of seeing another day,” the fearless defender of liberty asserts!

Such a claim is unreasonable, to say the least. As romantic as it may sound and feel to demand a life with full liberty or no life at all, it’s still an uniquely unreasonable position to take.

The very existence of government is an encroachment on the concept of absolute liberty(as if it were something that is realistically obtainable, or even existent.)

Even Benjamin Franklin, one of the supposed fathers of this line of thinking, differentiated between “essential liberty” and the lesser liberties, which could be reasonably exchanged for security.

There are reasonable trade-offs we make with liberty for security. A stiff-lipped demand for more or maintained liberty is as equally unreasonable as this panicked clamor for accepting tyranny in pursuit of absolute security that so many defenders of liberty pretend to hear.

There is a damn fine reason why bomb attacks aren’t more common, and it has a lot to do with far more dangerous materials being either regulated or restricted.

Imagine for a moment that bombs of all varieties of potential devastation were freely available for purchase. Can anyone realistically say that these tragedies would not be more prone to occur?

Chances are good that anyone politically engaged knows someone apt to make romantic appeals to liberty when discussing policy. One would expect those who find regulation so insufferable to lead the charge in rolling back existing safety policies, regardless of success rates. One would expect this, and there are indeed those people, but they are much rarer finds.

The truth of the matter is that, despite their cries for liberty, these people yield to a realistic preference for security when it comes down to it.

Few truly want to live in a society so full of liberty that it is devoid of security, and vice versa. Appeals to liberty, such as the one being discussed, are every bit as emotional as appeals to fear for a security policy. This is because at its root an appeal to liberty it is an appeal to fear.

There are valuable contributions to be made by people who claim to find extra value in liberty. However, many must reconcile their differences with others as a matter of degree, rather than principle, if honest, constructive dialogue is what they desire.