Mao Tse Tung may have considered himself a philosopher but, whatever you think of that, he was certainly a keen observer of politics and human behavior. His observation that “political power flows from the barrel of a gun” is a prime example of Mao’s insightfulness, and as concise a summary of the multitude of reasons for the Second Amendment as I can imagine. Although, surely, Mao didn’t mean it that way.

Simply stated, it’s this.  If, as is no doubt true, political power flows from the barrel of a gun, then if a society wants political power to be consolidated, it should limit the right to own and carry weaponry to the fewest number of persons possible, preferably those people with an interest in or under the control of the Consolidating Power.  Think Europe.  If, on the other hand, a society prefers that political power be as diffuse as possible, then the right to own and carry weaponry should be as widely available as possible.  Think Second Amendment. 

This is one of the reasons I keep saying that the American Revolution was a true revolution the like of which the world had not seen before and has not seen since.  The French Revolution consolidated power in an elite; the Russian Revolution concentrated power in the “Bolsheviks,” the “majority” that was really a tiny minority, and Communist Revolution in China the same.  Sure, they overturned the existing power structure but merely replaced the people in the structure — not the structure.  The American Revolution replaced the structure.  One of the things it took from the English was the notion of widely available arms; although in England this right was constantly shifting.  First only nobility, then Protestants but not Catholics, and so on, were recognized as bearing this right.  The American Revolution recognized the right but replaced the structure.  This right was now available to every free citizen (a category that has continually expanded) regardless of affiliation.

Again, this is one of the reasons that American conservatism is, in fact, true radicalism.