Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

In mid-February, Swiss voters rejected stricter gun controls.

No one knows how many guns the Swiss own. There’s no national registration system, yet the Swiss do not suffer a high crime rate, like America does.

But the country does have the highest gun suicide rate in Europe.

The stranger issue, though — and in contrast to most countries around the world — is the number of semi-automatic rifles belonging to the army that soldiers and ex-soldiers store at home. It’s part of the Swiss defense plan. The army can quickly rise up in case of an attack.

The gun control proposal would have required solders’ firearms to be locked up in armories. This, it was argued, was to help reduce suicide rates . . . though a few high-profile shootings also gave impetus to the gun control measure. During the debate much was made of the country’s long history of firearm expertise and unique military heritage.

The measure was defeated in 20 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, with over 56 percent of voters rejecting it, nationwide.

Does the Swiss system seem strange?

It’s certainly different.

Switzerland still uses conscripts, while the U.S. rightly recruits an all-volunteer military. But their method of decentralized governance, borrowed more than 150 years ago from us and today far more decentralized than ours, is wise not only for the firepower of national defense, but for more bang for the buck in all areas of government.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Ralf Seiffe says:

    You underestimate the Swiss. I have been told that the weapons the Swiss militia keeps under their beds (and manages to exclude from civil mayhem) are fully automatic weapons. These are the type of machine guns that the US prohibited to civilians, with extraordinary exceptions, in the 1930’s. If an armed society is a polite society, then is a more armed society more polite?

  2. Shelley says:

    Thank god! At least we still have the Swiss as a perfect example of a well armed society and after decades they aren’t all out creating acts of violence!

  3. George says:

    In the language of the era, “well regulated” meant “well-trained”. You seem to decry conscription toward the end of the article that I find disturbing. The militia is supposed to be real home defense, but how can that come to be if only less than 7% of the population volunteers for military service as is the case today?

    Imagine how less likely it would be for us to be the highly-resented world’s police force and the unwelcomed “peacemakers” if the wealthy and polititical class were also sending their sons and daughters into harm’s way.

    This country’s defense is not “their job”. It is everyone’s job. More people need to truly understand the reasons for the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Do some homework and don’t be so naive. Love your work Paul.

  4. Ken Morgan says:

    Paul says that the Swiss army wrongly uses conscripts. I think the word conscripts misinterprets the Swiss view. They do not selectively draft, rather, the Swiss view is that citizen is synonymous with soldier. All male voters are soldiers. The government itself is a kind of libertarian contract in which all the members of the government, the people, are responsible for protecting the commonwealth. The Army is not separate from the people. It is the people.

    Although Switzerland is a republic three hundred years older than the US, it was one of the last to grant the franchise to women. This was not so much because they saw women as intellectually inferior as it was that they couldn’t imagine women as soldiers. They finally just accepted that women should vote even though they were not required to be soldiers.

    In Switzerland, I read, that Pacifists and men who are not physically able to perform as soldiers, are exempted from service, but they have to pay a special tax in lieu of their service.

    Citizen-soldiers are the only safeguard against a totalitarian state. Long history has shown that a professional military class will ultimately give its allegiance to whoever pays it. This is not the case with the US professional military class, at present, partly because of the high character of the officer corps, as well as the enlisted. However the long militia tradition in the US has, so far, protected us from the moral hazard of total reliance on a mercenary force.

    What really would protect us against some future President ordering the Commandant of the Marine Corps to place the Speaker of the House under arrest? Such things have happened elsewhere many times. Two things. One is the character of the officers who’s honor and oath requires them to uphold the constitution. However, honor and oath, are not always strong enough. The founders presumed a second and stronger safeguard—an armed and ORGANIZED citizenry.

    Part of the mystery of the lack of violence in Switzerland can be explained by its cultivated gun culture, where in, young men are initiated into it by respected men in their community. In the US, to many young men are now initiated into a quite different gun culture by gangsters.

    Too many even among the NRA faction, who recognize the right of the individual to bear arms, fail to perceive the importance of being part of “a well regulated militia” as the Swiss citizen-soldier is.

  5. Drik says:

    This is a perfect example of what happens when one makes the mistake of letting people vote for themselves. Which is why it is so necessary to keep important issues off of the ballot and in the hands of the elites.

  6. Charlie Seng says:

    Paul says the U.S. “rightly” recruits an all volunteer military. The word “rightly” rubs me the wrong way, as it has other posters. I think the U.S. is handling the military the correct way (except in the notable exceptions of catering to Muslims, a la Major Hasan and allowing gays now), but to say our system is “right” ignores the possibility of in a national emergency needing to conscript.

  7. Jay says:

    As a person who served in the army ( admitted- as a reservists- like G. W. Bush)- before the all volunteer army.

    It was a greta experience- I met people from all over the country, from all walks of life-and the friendships were deep- and alsting as long as we were together- but stronger then most in the ‘real” world.

    I disagree that the all volunteer militayr is better-I think ALL should serve.

  8. S Rubicon says:

    Whether we should serve as volunteers or as conscripts is another debate for me. At issue for me is that Switzerland is the example that gun control is no solution to crime or death by gun.
    It is true Switzerland suffers a high gun suicide rate. However, if any think gun control will reduce suicide rates, think again. There will be an initial drop. But it will not last. Those intent on suicide will do so one way or another. So do not give up rights for all, under the false premise all will be saved. It is simply, not true. If gun control passes, the mercenary among us will invest in rope or knife stocks. Sick? Yes! But, probably true.
    How about we look at deaths in America & start enacting laws to combat deaths in many other categories… like illegal alien drunk drivers, or drug peddlers?
    Training is a wise idea & should be done as a matter of reason, if not law. Registration is merely a means to be able to identify those with guns when totalitarians gain control. It has happened hundreds of times when governments have taken citizens guns, only to turn around & kill their own, now unarmed mind you, at some future date.

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