Pilot Letter: Profit at play with guns


The writer suggests that profit kills.

Well, if we’re going to practice at being mind-numbingly literal, the firearms the Founding Fathers had were devices for propelling missiles with deadly force. That hasn’t changed in all the years since, so we must interpret the 2nd Amendment as literally meaning the right of the people to keep and carry devices capable of propelling deadly missiles shall not be infringed.

But that aside, I suspect the editors published the letter because it denigrates the concept of profit. We see the denigration of profit a lot these days. The supposed immorality of profit has become a common theme in our public discourse.

It is, however, an ignorant theme.

Profit isn’t just a good thing, it is a necessary thing. Profit is not a reflection of greed, or even of the psychology of self-interest. It is a fundamental feature of production.

To illustrate, imagine that you have some land. If you grow food on it, then you can rightly say the land is profitable to you, or that you profit in growing the food.

More technically, if you apply scientific principles that double your production of food, then one half of the new total yield is profit.

But notice, either way, that both the first production and the doubled production required a prior investment. Providing that prior investment is the role that profit plays in business.

It is entirely peripheral to worry about the greed or immorality involved in converting a piece of land to farm use, or applying science to double its yield. Neither would happen without prior profit to pay the cost.

Nor is the common laborer abused in any way by not sharing, supposedly, in his proportion of the profit that rightly goes to the owner. Better to work for a profitable enterprise than an unprofitable one. That way, his employment contract is both more reliable and more capable of extension.

As for the gun makers, there are no doubt moral dimensions to explore in reference to their trade, but profit is not one of one of them.

6 thoughts on “Pilot Letter: Profit at play with guns

  1. There are easily 20 ,million 2nd Amendment advocates(politically active and members of one or more organizations) and I doubt if more than a fraction of 1% receive any of those profits(disclaimer, I own stock in a number of manufacturers) Attributing support for the 2nd Amendment to profit is just plain silly.

    But the whole letter was silly. When the 2nd Amendment was ratified, the Brown Bess musket with a bayonet was the Assault weapon of the day. Most civilians who owned firearms had Kentucky rifles(mostly made in Pennsylvania) which were superior to the muskets the troops used. The idea that the 2nd Amendment is limited to 18th century technology is a silly as claiming blogs such as this aren’t protected by the 1st Amendment.

    Finally, the mental health issue is not the only reason to bar CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS from possessing firearms. Criminality and fanaticism are also reasons. But those are best addressed by enforcing existing law.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not to give much credence to the LTE, the 20 million advocates of gun rights are not the ones making money. They are the customers.

    As we well know, after a mass shooting during Obama’s terms, the gun lobby unabashedly stoked fear into Americans that as the victims were being interred, Democrats were plotting confiscation.

    That generated profits for both arms and ammunition manufacturers. Even to the extent that conspiracies were invented that Homeland Security was buying up all the ammo. It turned out, of course, that these were long term contracts. Ammo shortages were from the gullible hoarders sold on Obama taking their guns away.

    Plus, the gun lobby has “round-up” programs for online ammo sales. Buy bullets, round up the purchase to the next dollar or so and LaPierre could get some nice suits.

    So in an in-artful way, the LTE’s point of profits on the bodies of victims was not unfounded.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Artful as in “slyly crafty or cunning; deceitful; tricky”?

      No thanks. The truth about profit is a defense against getting conned.


      1. In-artful was the wrong word. The letter was just poorly written.

        My response was to Don whose comment had little to do with the economic benefits of profit.

        He was arguing that the average gun owners were not in it for the money. I agreed for reasons set forth.

        Liked by 2 people

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