Have Guns Helped To Advance Civilization?

Jan 2016
What I am about to ask makes sense in my head. Haha. I hope this won't be taken as controversial. I am trying to put it in the best of words, so hope it comes across as I intend. If it doesn't make sense, then ill just take it down and spend some time trying to reiterate or just drop it all together.

Pretty much I am talking about the history of guns in relation to human progression. I don't want to get into much of politics here (unless it actually pertains to history). I can delete the backstory if needed but pretty much this happened.

I was having discourse with a friend and he suggested we should ban every gun as they are meant for killing only. I got to thinking about how my family uses them to hunt for food, rather than sport as he suggested all do.

This got me thinking a bit.

Have guns throughout history helped to progress civilization? Could we have gotten where we are without them? How could life be different if they were never invented. Could you imagine fighting world war 2 and the likes with swords and shields. Most certainly would have been an interesting scenario.

Obviously I can think of many advances that led to the creation of guns, but more so looking to see if guns themselves had a direct correlation to our advancement.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
of course they did
the ability to demonstrate fire power is a major factor in local cultures to re-assess their options

when the Australians got into the Papua highlands ,
Thomson machine guns fire let the local to think in different ways
maybe to roast the loosers for a celebrating barbecue could be changed for a more inclusive cooperation
there is a remarkable recording of a Papuan who was a kid when the Whites came and told the story from a local point of view

" we wondered what those things were , and the young ones were send to find out what was going on
we reported that their skin was only a cover and they removed it to have a ****
the warriors were very pleased with this , they were humans and thus could be killed
they attacked in the morning with throwing spears and chanting their war song
in a very short time , they were mowed down like grasses
there was much despondency and the elders decided that we should give them offering of sweet potatoes and women "

as recorded by the Australian university ethnic department
Mar 2018
It really depends on what you mean by "advancing civilization". If you mean, a world like today (which you alluded to by mentioning a variant of WW2), then yes. Guns were absolutely crucial in the development of our western civilization. But to say if that's a good thing we'd have to compare what the world would be like if nobody had ever had the idea to make guns, and that's such a huge hypothetical, completely impossible to even address with any semblance of rigour.

If you want to know in what ways guns developed our civilization I'd say they
1) provided a strong motivation to improve metallurgy
2) required a strong centralised state to produce guns, especially artillery
3) removed the need for life-long training to be a good soldier
4) enabled Europeans to conquer other parts of the world with much more ease than otherwise

The middle two might be the most important, IMHO, because it changes the way that the whole society is organised, from a Feudal one to something different.

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
I'm not sure guns were *necessary* for the development of civilization, though a case can be made that large state armies armed with muskets brought rise of Western democratic nations. Developments in firearms and other modern weapons definitely shaped today's world.

But I'd be more inclined to say that firearms and explosives were simply an inevitable result of developments in technology. Chemistry and metallurgy were going to happen, along with engineering techniques and mathematics necessary for precision instruments, as well as manufacturing techniques. Humanoids have been making weapons for a couple million years, and while some of us *are* learning to grow beyond our violent instincts, the idea that we can simply "ban" a whole family of weapons and live as peaceful bunnies is just riotously hilarious. (And pathetic, too, really.)

Agreed that trying to imagine a modern culture that developed without guns is a lost cause!

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Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
Guns are the great equalizer. No longer does one need to spend a lifetime learning martial arts, then be organized into a cohesive unit, and be well supplied in order to take on an oppressive enemy force or warriors.

See that scarred brute in the armor? The one eying up your sister for a little bit of rape? Go take him on with a sword and he'll shove it up your butt.

But get an AK, give it to the 11 year old down the street that can't figure out how to tie his shoes, and that 11 year old can kill the grizzled veteran warrior that otherwise would be close to invincible when fighting peasants.

Force multipliers bring humans closer together.
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Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Guns are simply weapons ... they are not a cause, they are an effect of the development of the civilization. We have always been using weapons, since prehistory, because our species is expansive, aggressive and competitive. So obviously we have developed weapons during our history. Guns are just a recent step along this path.

We need to use force to keep peace and social order and sooner or later this means we need to use weapons [authorites have to]. There rest is utopia.
Jul 2017
Guns are the greatest invention ever. More important than electricity. Guns brought about democracies, liberalization, global trade. Everything was done with guns. Guns are amazing.
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Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
Guns are the greatest invention ever. More important than electricity. Guns brought about democracies, liberalization, global trade. Everything was done with guns. Guns are amazing.
Democracies, liberalization, and global trade all existed before electricity was harnessed by humanity. But guns allowed democracies to flourish. They allowed people to rise up against totalitarian leaderships who had previously controlled the means of force, by controlling warrior classes. When it takes a few minutes of instruction on use of a firearm to use to kill someone who spent their entire lives pursuing martial arts, that is an equalizer of men like no other. And global trade would have been impossible without guns. Cannons aboard ships protected that trade, it would have been impossible without it.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
without guns , the power reside in an aristocracy or a plutocracy
like the invention of iron weapons , guns made the downtrodden a force to be reckoned with

every civilization which came in contact with them had to change , modernize , evolve

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
Planet Nine, Oregon
Guns are weapons designed to kill, just vastly superior to all of the previous advancements in weapons technologies; I don't know that they have advanced civilization. They have been used to fight wars, and as tools in genocide. The idea that they are some kind of insurance plan against tyranny or some great equalizer, doesn't seem to hold water. In America, mass shootings are out of control, and more guns means more of them getting into the wrong hands.

Democide - Wikipedia

And, be my guest if you want to believe that if there was an erm.. Threat to our democracy (not going tomention any names), that folks with their handguns are going to band together and fight and win against helicopters, tanks, mortars, etc. Would be the end of the country; too many hate groups want something like that to happen, and are prepared to step in to finish things off. How are things in other war torn countries when more weapons are pumped in?

Guns are like every other weapons escalation --are more nuclear weapons are good for civilization?