Why is the manufacture of weapons not considered a crime? Is it not wrong, almost by definition, to build a device that can only do harm? Weapons have no benefit. They have no purpose other than murder. A world with fewer weapons would be a better world, because fewer people would be getting murdered. Is this not obvious? Did I miss something?

People say, “Well, maybe a world without weapons would be a better world, but that’s never going to happen. We can’t give up our weapons, because there will always be evil people out there who don’t feel like getting rid of their weapons, and if we don’t protect ourselves they will just walk all over us.”

I want to say: don’t tell me we need weapons to protect us from the bad guys. If we’re making weapons, we’re the bad guys.

But maybe that’s an emotional gesture. We need to think about this very carefully. The claim is that even if we don’t like weapons, even if they’re they’re dangerous and expensive and immoral, it’s still better to have them around than to, like, be conquered by North Korea or something. Right? It’s the lesser evil. Our weapons are not meant to be used, except as a last resort. The main reason we have them is to deter others from attacking us, by merely displaying our awesome strength.

Logically, I see a few problems here.

  • Not actually using our weapons is a nice idea, but to suggest that their manufacturers hope that they won’t be used, or that the armed forces are not planning to use them, would be ludicrous.
  • The best way to showcase the overwhelming power of our weapons, and confirm our willingness to use them, is not by parading them around but by using them to blow shit up. So, this becomes awfully tempting, even in the absence of a credible threat.
  • Do we actually know that when our weapons are not being used, they successfully deter our enemies? This assumption should be checked (but how?). If deterrence does not actually work, then it is not a good reason to have weapons.
  • Arms manufacturing is a financial sinkhole, diverting enormous resources to projects of no utility.
  • The probability is never zero that eventually, for whatever reason, some of our weapons will be used, producing just that devastation for which they were deliberately designed.
  • Whether the devastation occurs in this country or some other; flattens your house or someone else’s; kills my whole family or an Iraqi’s whole family, is not better or worse. It’s one world, and killing anyone, anywhere, any time, for any reason, is wrong.
  • Our “enemies” are building their weapons to deter us. Would a disinterested observer have any way of ascertaining who is in the right, or who started the argument in the first place?

It does not work to say that we need to be willing to use weapons to protect ourselves against the people who are so evil that they are willing to use weapons. Making weapons is a heinous crime. The citizens of the United States must stop making weapons immediately. We have plenty.

If our real purpose is to reduce the threat from our enemies’ weapons, we should be trying to figure out how to disable their weapons. If we were worried that Afghani scorpions might make their way to the United States, would we start breeding much bigger scorpions here? No, we’d try to find a way to get the Afghanis to stop sending their scorpions over here (without, I hasten to add, blowing up their whole country). We don’t need any more scorpions in this country, and the same thing applies to weapons.

The people of the United States should refuse, beginning immediately, to build weaponry for their government, especially now that it has been overrun by sociopaths. We must turn our attention, with or without the government’s help, to the development of technologies that prevent the manufacture and use of weapons. If we can invent nuclear bombs, why can’t we invent a way to ruin nuclear bombs? It’s probably easier to wreck one than to make one!

Imagine a nano-engineered powder that, sprinkled on a slug of plutonium, makes it useless for weaponry. Imagine a thousand covert U.S. agents combing the world for plutonium and “ruining” it. These brave men and women would be saving the world. What might such a project cost? How many secret agents might be lost? Nowhere near, I would wager, what we have already wasted in Iraq.

Gut the DoD. If this sounds crazy, ask yourself what they are doing for us besides blowing shit up. The people in the military-industrial complex devote their whole careers to figuring out how to kill as many people as possible – and they’re on the public payroll! That’s not where I want to spend my tax dollars. I say, kick all the tank designers, the submarine connoisseurs, the bomb and cruise-missle worshippers out. Give the whole Pentagon to DARPA, and let their charge be to design, not weapons of mass destruction, but ways to disable such weapons and to prevent any more being built. This would be a real defense department.

Let’s go on a rampage across the world, destroying all the weapons of mass destruction – especially our own.

[Slightly rewritten 19 July. RS]