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Is the the growing use of body armor in today’s militaries a long-term threat to democracy and human liberty?

January 22, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Discussions

Question by Chumley: Is the the growing use of body armor in today’s militaries a long-term threat to democracy and human liberty?

In an eerie parallel to developments in the seventh century A.D., we are seeing a proliferation of increasingly effective body armor among today’s military forces (as well as police forces.)
It is interesting to note that a thousand years of increasing social regimentation (Middle Ages,
knights owning serfs, state/church one and the same, divine right of kings ect.) only began to end with the introduction of gunpowder weapons making the heavily armored knights suddenly vulnerable to armed peasants.
Note that during the high point of the rise of democracy in the West (18th-19th centuries) body armor was practically non-existent. This was an era when armed civilians could engage professional military forces on nearly equal terms (think Lexington/Concord, ect.) As compared to other historical periods, the last 300 years has been an inconvenient time for tyrants, necessitating massive citizen disarmament to make it work as a general rule – and these regimes tend to be unstable in most cases (perhaps due to the infusion of modern, egalitarian attitudes over the last 300 years – “invincible god-king and his men” thinking is no longer to be found among civilian populations, no matter how compliant they appear to be?)
Armor is, and always has been, a friend of the elite. Firearms have tended to be their nemesis (consider the Samurai of Japan, they preferred armor and swords – which require a lifetime of training to use effectively, unlike guns – to dominate the common herd with. And dominate them they did!) AND notice how governments universally tend to hate and fear the idea of firearms in the hands of the general population… regulating who gets their hands on firearms has been an obsession of governments for 300 years now. (Gee, I wonder why..?)
Now we are in a time where increasingly effective body armor may make soldiers/police/private paramilitary goons impervious to small arms within the next 50 years. Once again, we will have a situation where governments (or petty crime bosses/private warlords with enough money to do so) will have armies of invincible enforcers – just as it was in the Middle Ages. And we can be sure that the weapons needed to defeat such armor (directed energy weapons, or heavy artillery/rockets maybe?) will be unavailable to the public not due to “gun control”, but rather because only governments/paramilitary forces can afford them or have the resources to maintain them. And over time , I fear we might see a return of that “The King and His Men are God’s Ordained Proxies” mentality take hold among commoners – thus ending the West’s great experiment with liberty!
So – does the return of effective body armor threaten to push mankind into a new Dark Age? Based on history, I fear the answer is – Yes. What do you all think?

Best answer:

Answer by Paula

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