The world’s first 3-D printable firearm springs from the same liberating impulse as blogging and other forms of digital activism, says its creator.
“If 3-D printing means anything, if the digital revolution and 3-D printing revolution have any interesting terminus, it’s because we will all have access to greater means of production — just like these cameras and computers that we have enable us to become cultural producers outside of the monopoly schemes of the legacy players, so too with material things, and that must, of course, include guns,” said Cody Wilson during an interview with We Are Change.
“To not think that it included guns, to be surprised by that, means that you’re just kind of drinking the Kool-Aid,” said Wilson, who described himself as a crypto-anarchist.
The 26-year-old Wilson developed plans for the Liberator in 2012 and successfully fired his weapon last May, and more than 100,000 people have downloaded digital plans for the gun since he made it available on his website, Defense Distributed.
He’s currently fighting a legal battle against the U.S. State Department, which ordered him to remove plans for the weapon from his website using legislation usually applied to arms exporters.
“But they shot first and aimed second and they committed kind of a First Amendment overreach where they prevented us, or at least said to us, ‘You have to have our permission to develop this data and publish it into the public domain,’” Wilson said. “This is a huge, huge, huge burden for them to prove that they can do that.”
He said the Liberator required some sort of response from the government in the wake of high-profile mass shootings that have renewed calls for gun control laws.
“This at a critical moment in our political discourse, these Sandy Hook gun political conversations we’re having, so the timing couldn’t have been better,” Wilson said.
He dismissed laws already on the books in Philadelphia and elsewhere that ban the 3-D printing of guns, saying they were merely symbolic gestures that were “plagued by due process problems.”
“These are just kind of advance ways of, like, you know, magical thinking, dealing with the threat in the dark and acting like we have some sense of control over the future,” Wilson said. “Again, everything comes down to the signs and symbols.”
Wilson said gun control advocates were “extraordinarily naïve,” if not actively malevolent, and revealed an outmoded way of thinking.
“This is kind of a 19th-Century view of the means of production that production tools are expensive assets controlled by capitalists and, in the end, it kind of betrays the progressive game, which is one of loyalty to high capitalism — right? — and the goal of capitalism,” he said. “Barack Obama’s progressivism and, like, all the other high liberal strategies, in the end, are just kind of consensus neo-liberal strategies.”
Wilson said his radicalism had been tempered somewhat by revelations by the former National Security Administration contractor Edward Snowden about government surveillance.
“Liberty and evil, and, like, good and bad, they all kind of rise together, and so the minute you think that there’s like this surplus moment of pure digital liberation — even though you might not recognize that’s not totally a good thing – at the same time we recognize that the grand surveillance superstructure like, is like totally intertwined with the Internet itself,” he said.
Wilson said he’s not entirely optimistic about the future of political activism, declaring revolution to be impossible.
“I can’t say that I’m optimistic about some good outcome because of this moment, but there’s certain critical ways that communism, crypto-anarchy — right? – or, like, effective political strategies in the virtual, in the digital, in the Internet, and I think we can create, like, separate underground pieces with each other or, like, things like the Silk Road or, like, campfires before the end of days,” Wilson said. “I promise nothing more than that.”
Watch the entire interview posted online by wearechange: