Click on the Contributor's name to see the Abstract for his or her article
ISSN#:  1042-2234 LCCN:  89-7389 OCLC:  18973904

Affiliated with Lebanon Valley College of Pennsylvania

Volume 12 FALL/WINTER 2005
Numbers 3/4


Reaching for the Gun:
Firearms and American Culture

About the Contributors

Preface: Firearms and American Culture
Robert S. Frey



The Scottish and English Religious Roots of the American Right to Arms:  Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, and the Duty to Overthrow Tyranny
David B. Kopel
Research Director
Independence Institute
Golden, Colorado 80401 (USA)

The Hopelessness of Trying to Disarm the Kinds of People Who Murder
Don B. Kates
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
San Francisco, California 94111 (USA)

Guns and American Popular Culture
Biko Agozino
Department of Social and Behavioral Science
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Cheyney, PA 19319 (USA)

Reaching for the Gun in American Domestic and Foreign Policy
Glenn H. Utter
Professor and Chair, Political Science Department
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX 77710 (USA)
and  James L. True
Brooks Chair of Govt. & Public Service
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX 77710 (USA)



Steven Carter, The Nothing That Is and The Nothing That Is Not:  On Death, Dying, and Suffering
Glenn Lucke

David K. Clark, Empirical Realism:  Meaning and the Generative Foundation of Morality
Pedro Blas Gonzalez

John M. Cooper, Knowledge, Nature, and the Good:  Essays on Ancient Philosophy
Art Spring

Phil Cousineau, ed., The Way Things Are:  Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life
Clayton Crockett

Amy J. Devitt, Writing Genres
Kathryn Locey

Robert Ehrlich,  Eight Preposterous Propositions:  From the Genetics of Homosexuality to the Benefits of Global Warming
Richard Isaacman

Maurice A. Finocchiaro, Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992
Richard Isaacman

John Hayman, ed.,  Sir Richard Burton’s Travels in Arabia and Africa: Four Lectures from a Huntington Library Manuscript
Angus Crane

Margaret C. Jacob and Larry Stewart, Practical Matter:  Newton’s Science in the Service of Industry and Empire 1687-1851
Richard Isaacman

James F. Keenan, The Works of Mercy:  The Heart of Catholicism
Art Spring

Gary E. Marchant and Kenneth L. Mossman, Arbitrary & Capricious:  The Precautionary Principle in the European Union Courts
Angus Crane

Kathy McReynolds, Enhancing Our Way to Happiness:  Aristotle versus Bacon on the Nature of True Happiness
Art Spring

John W. O’Malley, Four Cultures of the West
Dovilé Budryté

Samuel M. Powell.  Participating in God:  Creation and Trinity
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights
Raphael Sassower

Jeffrey W. Robbins, In Search of a Non-Dogmatic Theology
Ingrid Shafer

Rudy Rucker, Infinity and the Mind:  The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite
Julio Varela

David N. Stamos, The Species Problem:  Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology
Raphael Sassower

Harvey Whitehouse, Modes of Religiosity:  A Cognitive Theory of Religious Transmission
Steve Jacobs

Yirmiyahu Yovel, trans., Hegel's Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel)
Raphael Sassower


Calvin Skaggs, David Van Taylor, and Ali Pomeroy, With God on Our Side:  George W. Bush and the Rise of the Religious Right (Part OneThe Early Crusades, Part TwoThe Real Deal)
Jeff Robbins


Abstracts of Current Issue

The Scottish and English Religious Roots of the American Right to Arms:
Buchanan, Rutherford, Locke, Sidney, and the Duty to Overthrow Tyranny
David B. Kopel

Many twenty-first century Americans believe that they have a God-given right to possess arms as a last resort against tyranny.  One of the most important sources of that belief is the struggle for freedom of conscience in the United Kingdom during the reigns of Elizabeth I and the Stuarts.  A moral right and duty to use force against tyranny was explicated by the Scottish Presbyterians George Buchanan and Samuel Rutherford.  The free-thinking English Christians John Locke and Algernon Sidney broadened and deepened the ideas of Buchanan and Rutherford.  The result was a sophisticated defense of religious freedom, which was to be protected by an armed people ready to resist encroachments on their natural, sacred liberties.  The principle that right to arms is the ultimate guarantor of the right to free exercise of religion is one reason why the First and Second Amendments are placed next to each other in the American Bill of Rights.


The Hopelessness of Trying to Disarm the Kinds of People Who Murder
Don B. Kates

Whether or not universal civilian disarmament is desirable, it is impossible.  Violent crime is confined to a relatively small number of lawless aberrants who cannot be disarmed (though gun possession should continue to be illegal for them).  Neither can ordinarily law-abiding, responsible adults who believe guns necessary to defend themselves and their families be disarmed.  The social and enforcement costs of trying to disarm the law-abiding adult population would be enormous and divert enormous resources from law enforcement against criminals.

Guns and American Popular Culture

Biko Agozino
Why are Americans fascinated with gun ownership as a right of equal importance to the right to free speech, liberty, and equality?  Is it because Americans are possessed by demons, or because they are enjoying their classical rights to equality with a grudge?  Or is it because they are alienated from a commodity produced by exploited workers who manufacture such commodities but were compelled to submit their lives to their control as Marx would have it?  Is it because they are unconsciously crazy—crazy about guns for erotic or aggressive purposes, as Freud would suggest; or that their gun culture is in a state of anomy—a situation wherein what you experience is no longer what you expected due to the fact that the collective conscience is at a weakened state of strength, according to Durkheim?  Perhaps it is because the emphasis on cultural goals like gun ownership outstrips the emphasis on the cultural means of unequal access to and responsible usage of guns, as Merton would have it?  Or even that gun ownership is now transpolitical in the sense that it represents the murder of reality by virtual reality, as Baudrillard would suggest?  Different ways of explaining the fascination that American popular culture has with guns—ranging from demonological possessions and classical rights to bear arms through critical political economy and positivistic functionalism to poststructuralism and postcolonialism—will be examined.

Reaching for the Gun in American Domestic and Foreign Policy

Glenn H. Utter and James L. True

The special role that firearms have played in the United States from colonial times to the present is highlighted.  Firearms became part of a culture that viewed the right to bear arms as fundamental to a free people.  In the twentieth century, this belief conflicted with attempts by those troubled with the illegal use of firearms to place limitations on their acquisition and use.  A declining percentage of American homes possessing firearms notwithstanding, gun rights advocates have maintained a strong voice in U.S. politics due in part to the intensity of their beliefs as well as to the willingness of a large segment of the population to cast their votes in favor of candidates supported by gun rights groups.  The hypothesis is explored that the depth of attitudes toward firearms in the overall culture has influenced the U.S. perspective on foreign policy and international relations, where the emphasis on maintaining military superiority often has dominated policy making.  Such examples as the development of nuclear deterrence policy, the Vietnam conflict, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq reflect this general attitude toward weapons and their role in resolving conflict.


The cover design for the FALL/WINTER 2005 issue of BRIDGES was created by Mr. Ty Bachus.


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