A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 24, 2013
“An armed society is a polite society”

Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) wrote in Beyond This Horizon (1942 in Astounding Science-Fiction and 1948 in book form):

“Well, in the first place an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.”

“An armed society is a polite society” is a slogan that has been used by those who favor gun rights.


Wikipedia: Beyond This Horizon
Beyond This Horizon is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It was originally published as a two-part serial in Astounding Science Fiction (April, May 1942, as by Anson MacDonald) and then eventually as a single volume by Fantasy Press in 1948.
(...)
One sub-theme of the book is the carrying and use of firearms. In the novel being armed is part of being a man; otherwise he wears a brassard and is considered weak and inferior. Women are allowed but not expected to be armed. Duels, either deadly or survivable, may easily occur when someone feels that they have been wronged or insulted, a custom that keeps order and politeness. A defining quote from the book which is repeated throughout Heinlein’s work is, “An armed society is a polite society”, is very popular with those who support the personal right to keep and bear arms.

Google Books
Astounding Science-Fiction
Volume 28, Issue 6
1942
Pg. 91:
(...)
Google Books
Beyond This Horizon
By Robert A. Heinlein
New York, NY: New American Library
1948
Pg. 147:
“Well, in the first place an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization. That’s a personal evaluation only. But gunfighting has a strong biological use. We do not have enough things to kill off the weak and the stupid these days. But to stay alive as an armed citizen a man has to be either quick with his wits or with his hands, preferably both. It’s a good thing.”

20 October 1975, Arizona Daily Sun (Tucson, AZ), “Sir William Plenty Tough On 350-Pound Ex-Marine” (Associated Press), pg. 3, col. 4:
“And we believe that an armed society is a polite society.”
(Bill Shirley—ed.)

2 March 1981, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, pg. 3A, col. 1:
“Armed society is polite societ,”
ex-Marine colonel tells subjects

By Peter Arnett
AP Special Correspondent
PRESCOTT, Ariz.—In circles where the gun is king, Jeff Cooper is crown prince.

“An armed society is a polite society,” he tells his subjects and, in his company, people are very polite indeed.

Google Books
Guns, Crime, and Freedom
By Wayne R. LaPierre
Washington, DC: Regnery
1994
Pg. 175:
Regarding your observation about our society’s level of aggressiveness and disregard for rules, you may wish to consider Robert Heinlein’s famous dictum that “An armed society is a polite society.” Knowing that one’s fellow citizens are armed, greater care is naturally taken not to give offense.

Guns.com
Grad Student Giving Away Shotguns in High-Crime Neighborhoods: An armed society, a polite society? (VIDEO)
2/21/13 | by S.H. Blannelberry
Gun owners often trumpet the cliché: “An armed society is a polite society.” But is this true?  Do more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens reduce crime rates?

Kyle Coplen, a graduate student and the University of Houston, is hoping to get an answer to that question.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, February 24, 2013 • Permalink