Balance of Power Theory: Common Threads Between Gun Control, ‘Misinformation,’ and Denuclearization
By Ben Bartee - July 10, 2023

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

In key respects, although in dramatically different contexts, “gun control” activism falls prey to the same logical blind spot as the government’s Orwellian war on “misinformation” as well as global denuclearization efforts.

No one, save for hardened nihilists, likes misinformation — a manufactured media term that essentially amounts to lies disseminated at scale – any more than anyone wants more gun deaths or nuclear war.

However, the notion that censorship could ever eliminate misinformation is epically misguided – ironically, a lie invented by those who hold power. In addition to running afoul of every decent Western tradition that values individual liberty, censorship campaigns invariably serve the interests of those who assume the role of censors. The inevitable result is that elites disseminate their own favored lies while suppressing competing lies as well as the objective truth.

Genuine unfiltered truth rarely, if ever, comes from a government politburo or state-sanctioned media. That’s now how reality works. Neither does stable peace result from state monopoly on force.

However, even if one were to grant, for the sake of argument, the counterfactual premise that combatting misinformation through censorship works, the US government would literally be the least deserving institution in world history to be entrusted with the task.

Colin Powell lies to the world on behalf of the US government about WMDs in Iraq, receives no pushback, starts a war

Back in 2003, when telling the truth would have mattered, no corporate media outlet – not the neoliberal New York Times or the neo-conservative Fox News – seriously investigated or challenged Powell’s false claims that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs. They served the same military-industrial complex Deep State interests then as the neocons in the Bush administration.

If Colin Powell’s UN act had happened in 2022 instead of 2003, Twitter would have undoubtedly suspended anyone who questioned his account as “misinformation” at the behest of the US government, just as it does not to fight COVID “misinformation” (much of which has since been proven true).

Then just as now with “anti-vaxxers” (a catch-all term to demonize anyone who questions lockdowns), any public figure who spoke out about the Iraq WMD lies risked becoming a social pariah in the halls of power.


Guns, nukes, and misinformation already exist. They have proliferated and are possessed by numerous actors – and in greatest abundance by states. Getting rid of them is an impossibility.

The only real answer offered — through nuclear non-proliferation or gun control or censorship regimes – is to limit the average person’s capacity to possess them as a means to concentrate capability in a centralized authority.

But the reason the United States didn’t nuke the USSR – and vice versa – during the Cold War was because each had launch-ready nukes in spades pointed at each other in mountainsides, in submarines, everywhere. Firing on the enemy would have assured the other’s destruction (a concept called mutually assured destruction, or MAD).

In the context of combatting domestic totalitarianism, the Second Amendment to the Constitution serves the same function as MAD does in the context of international nuclear deterrence – namely, as a check on abuse of power.

To allow the government to confiscate the arms of the citizenry while maintaining its own arsenal would be absurd on its face – a unilateral surrender of the only real means for a free people to keep the state in check.

The Department of Homeland Security – the largest domestic law enforcement body in all the land — buys bullets by the billions. And it recently declared a jihad on flyover country in a “war on domestic terror” – a “domestic terrorist” being anyone who claims election fraud or opposes COVID lockdowns.

Why would anyone concerned with his personal liberty agree to surrender his guns to an entity that has stated ill intentions against him? By the same token, why would a nation-state agree to unilaterally abandon a nuclear project at the behest of its adversary that already has nukes and implicitly threatens it with them? Similarly, why would a free person allow the government – itself the biggest purveyor of “misinformation” – to police and control the public discourse?

Misinformation is obviously a potential social poison. Maybe the world would be better off without guns. It certainly would be better off without nukes. But all three are here now, and they’re here to stay. The only way to maintain the balance of force is to decentralize their distribution throughout the population.

The unavoidable effect of censorship, denuclearization, or gun control is to monopolize the means of force and information dissemination in the state, to be weaponized against a defanged, defenseless population as necessary to maintain its power.

This always ends poorly for the disarmed sitting ducks. One might ask the Cambodian peasants slaughtered by Pol Pot or the Chinese slaves killed by Mao for some perspective on the matter, but that’s not possible because they’re all dead.

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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