Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

More gun control “cognitive dissonance”

From The Hill, this paragraph concerning the brothers who perpetrated the Boston bombings:

The news that the suspects were not authorized to own firearms will likely add fuel to calls for tougher gun laws – an issue that was put on the back-burner last week after the Senate blocked the central elements of a gun-control package backed by President Obama.

A) I told you so … I said a few days ago that the defeat of the latest gun control legislation was only a set back and hardly the end of the left’s efforts to further restrict the right to own a firearm.  B) I also told you I feared the aftermath of the bombings.  And here we go.   And finally C) WTF?

It is clear that Massachusetts’ very strict gun control laws has no effect here. None.  Absolutely zero.  How many times and in how many ways must we say that scofflaws don’t obey laws?  How often does the “we ought to pass a law” crowd who think legislation and restriction is the answer to everything have to see that their way is a failure before they quit trying to take our freedoms away?

Gun control laws don’t work.  If they did, there’d be no criminals running around with “illegal” guns, would there?  There’d be no source of those guns if those laws worked.  But, in fact, criminals almost exclusively obtain “illegal” guns and/or completely ignore any gun control legislation.  Look at Chicago for heaven sake.  Some of the most restrictive gun control laws in America and criminals have all but made it a free-fire zone.

When will the left understand that the problem isn’t guns, it’s criminals?  How often does it have to be pointed out to them that criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws?  How will more legislation suddenly stop (or even deter) two determined people, like the Boston bombers, from illegally obtaining guns?  Harsher penalties?  Obviously they were willing to take the risk.  And that seems to be the case with all the other criminals who use guns in the commission of their crimes.

The only people that will be deterred and restricted by new gun control legislation are the law abiding.  And watch out for this – at the end of this road (or slippery slope if you prefer) is the rationalization that the only way to “control gun violence” is to completely outlaw guns.  It is the logical end of the left’s push for more and more restrictive gun legislation.  And, as they often do, they’re willing to spend the time, exploit and politicize tragedies and achieve incremental success in taking guns away.  It’s no different than ObamaCare.  That’s not the end of anything.  It is the first grab.  The end state, if you are a student of the left’s actions at all, is fully government run single-payer health care.  ObamaCare is just the beginning.  Once it fails, because government has, whether on purpose or inadvertently designed it to fail, government will blame “the market” and claim it is the solution.

It’s an old pattern being repeated, in a slightly different way, in the gun control saga.  One only has to harken to the era of prohibition (or not even that far back … how about drug laws?) to know that restrictive legislation doesn’t work, has never worked and will never work.

Violence and criminal behavior are the problems.  Passing all the laws in the world won’t change that.  As usual, government chooses to treat the symptoms and go after a tool rather than the actual problem.

If and when they finally find a way to ban all guns, run gun manufacturers out of the country and put more untold thousands of citizens in jail, they’ll be shocked, shocked I tell you, when gun violence continues and violence in general rises.

See the UK and Australia for case studies.

~McQ

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 21 Apr 13

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Boston bombings and polygamy.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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The left’s misfire on gun control legislation

Apparently Barack Obama threw a bit of a hissy fit when the gun control legislation went down in the Senate.   And, as James Taranto points out, Gabby Giffords managed, in a 900 word screed, to employ about every logical fallacy one can employ in here denunciation of the failure of the legislation to pass.

Finally, the NY Time’s Jennifer Steinhauer weighs in claiming that the vote went against the will of the people and that it was the gun lobby’s fault.

Gun lobby?  Oh, we all know about the NRA.  However here’s something I don’t think the left fully comprehends.  The real “gun lobby” is the majority of the American people.  In the US, there are 88.8 guns per 100 people.  The highest in the world.  Yet all the rhetoric about increased gun violence simply doesn’t pan out.  Certainly there have been some high profile sprees and shootings, but on the whole, there hasn’t been an increase in gun violence, and certainly nothing like being claimed.

The left’s problem may be that the people of the US know that.  And they’ve also sniffed out the ulterior motive for this incremental attack on the 2nd Amendment.

So while they throw their hissy fits and put forward their fallacious arguments, they continue to miss why there is so much resistance to gun control legislation.

Because, quite frankly, a large portion of the people simply don’t trust government.  And you can add to that a fundamental understanding that self-defense is a personal responsibility and right.

The left just can’t wrap it’s head around that concept.  If they pass laws and give the responsibility to government then we’ll all be safer, right?

Sarcasm aside, don’t even begin to think this is the end of the struggle.

They’ll be back again soon.

Just hide and watch.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 18 Apr 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 352,000, and the 4-week average rose 3,250 to 361,250. Continuing claims  fell 35,000 to 3.068 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -29.2, the highest level in 5 years.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey fell -0.7 points to 1.3.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators came in at minus 0.1% in March.

~
Dale Franks
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Where’s the hue and cry?

Walter Russell Mead points to something that is a good indicator of our “favored victim” form of politics.  If you’re not among the favored victims, well, no one really gives a crap:

Since 1979, inflation-adjusted hourly wages fell 20 percent for men ages 25–39 with only a high school diploma, while wages for their female counterparts rose by one percent. In the same timeframe, the number of male high school graduates with jobs fell by nine percent and rose for women by nine percent.

Part of this is due to the evaporation of jobs in industries that were previously filled by less educated men, like manufacturing and construction. But women have adapted much more quickly to a world in which a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important for landing a job. In 2010, among 35 year olds, women were 17 percent more likely than men to have attended college. Lower- and middle-class men lag behind women in their social class in education, employment, and wages.

If the gender roles were reversed here and a generation of women has suffered huge setbacks, we would have a great hue and cry with blue-ribbon panels, academic roundtables, and a lot of national soul-searching. But men’s problems don’t seem to interest anyone much, not even men.

Because, you know, men are brutes and white men, well they’re the worst kind (you see they “enjoy” white privilege – never heard of it?  It’s on all the liberal websites).

The point, of course, is the media nor the left (but I repeat myself) has any real interest in the struggles of men, because it is a article of faith among the left that all the ills of the world can be traced to a single source.  Men.

A caveat – if you are a “less educated” man, that’s your freaking fault.  And if that lack of education has you in this situation, unless the problem of getting such an education was beyond your control, I have no sympathy for you.

That said, while I agree with Mead’s point, I’m thankful that we aren’t involved with costly “blue-ribbon” panels, etc.  We’ve seen how effective government has been in the economy for the last 5 years.  Lord knows we don’t need to give them any excuses to meddle even more.  That could actually cause women’s job rates to drop and there we’d be, knee deep in “blue-ribbon panels, academic roundtables, and a lot of national soul-searching.”

And we know who’d be paying for it, don’t we?

~McQ

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It’s hard being right all the time

Long ago, I argued that the end result of Lawrence v. Texas, and ultimately the legalization of gay marriage, would ineluctably lead to calls to polygamous marriage, and in some fringe cases, incest. Here I am arguing it in 2005. What I was told at the time, essentially was:

Ah, the famed ’slippery slope’ argument.  It goes like this: ’’Opening the concept of marriage to any interpretation will lead to a slippery slope for any type of relationship to emerge as the new norm.’’

This is patently offensive. It says that if a loving gay couple can marry, we will have to allow a zookeeper somewhere to marry his monkey.  Then, we have to allow Jethro to marry 8 women.  We have to allow dad to marry his daughter.

But that response was stupid. Because it was essentially, "Your artificial definition of marriage is monstrous. But my artificial definition of marriage will hold, impervious, for as long as the sun burns hot in space."

But, I was right, of course. Now that gay marriage seems to be becoming fixed as an accepted right, we find ourselves faced with the next logical push for expansion of marriage. In Slate today, Jillian Keenan has penned an article urging the legalization of polygamy. Indeed, according to her, it’s a feminist imperative.

While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.

It will empower women! Indeed, look at how empowered women are in all the polygamous societies that currently exist in the world. And in polygamous societies all throughout history.

Oh. Wait. It’s the exact opposite of that, isn’t it?

Anyway, the argument goes that, under the feministy, empowering regime of legal polygamy it won’t be patriarchal polygyny. No, a woman can have two or three husbands! Because, you know, men like nothing better than letting their wives screw other guys. That’s just human nature.

In any event, the definition of marriage is plastic, you see. it’s just a social construct and it can mean anything we want it to mean. And there’s nothing inherently better in one definition of "marriage" or another. It’s all good! Family is family, right? So, like, whatever.

But, let’s forget the argument about whether polygamy is a good or a bad thing. Ultimately the point is that I was, of course, right to argue that we’d end up with arguments demanding a right to polygamy and, despite gay marriage advocates calling me a monster for even suggesting such an unseemly slippery slope argument, well…here we are.

Eight years ago, the slippery slope polygamy argument was just a load of Rick Santorum, wingnut, Christer bullsh*t. Today, it turns out it was just a logical prediction that was correct, and entirely foreseeable. I suppose that means that, eight years from now, we’ll have to let Jaime and Cersei Lannister get married.

So, we should probably start thinking about how we’re gonna deal that little dick, Joffre, right now.

~
Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 16 Apr 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The Fed reports that industrial production rose 0.4% in March, while capacity utilization at the nation’s factories rose slightly to 78.5%.

Housing starts were unexpectedly strong in March, up 7.0% to a 1.036million annual rate, however, all the strength was in multi-family units. Building permits fell -3.9% to a 0.902 million annual rate, well below expectations.

The Consumer Price index fell -0.2%, while the core rate, ex-food and -energy, rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis the CPI is up 1.5% and the core CPI is up 1.9%.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook’s year-on-year sales growth rate fell to 2.0%, while ICSC-Goldman sales fell -1.1% this week, and are up only 2.0% year-on-year.

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Dale Franks
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Boston’s aftermath

Obviously my heart and condolences go out to those who were killed and injured in the cowardly bombings in Boston yesterday, and, as with everyone, I stand with the people of Boston.  However, that all said, I have to tell you that when I heard what had happened yesterday, I had a sinking feeling that hasn’t dissipated yet.

I know, as usual, we’re going to over react. Well, perhaps not “us” as in you and I, but our betters in positions of elective power will. It is as sure a bet as the sun rising in the east.

Prepare yourself for more restrictions on you liberty and freedom.  That’s a given.  The only answer government has, in reality, is to clamp down even further on our ability to interact freely without it monitoring those interactions.  How else, it will tell us, can it work toward ensuring another Boston doesn’t happen?

And, of course, this will manifest itself in the form of even more laws and restrictions all in the name of safety and security. Prepare for more justifications to intrude on your privacy.   More laws that will restrict you from purchasing certain items.  More scrutiny when you travel.  In sum, less freedom and more government.

I’d love to believe that won’t happen.  But it will.  It’s not even in doubt.  Just as we have seen government over-reaction in the aftermath of Newtown, CT, you can count on the same thing happening when the carnage is so much more.

Part of that will be driven by the usual media overload, the result of the 24 hour news cycle combined with “if it bleeds it leads” and the partisan talking heads who simply don’t know when to shut up.  Chris Matthews, among many others, is an example of that ilk. And, of course, it will all boil down to opposing political agendas with the freedom and liberty lobby taking the usual beating.

We’ll also see a substantial portion of the population laud these new restrictions and laws, still not understanding who it is that pays no attention to (or figures out ways to circumvent) them.  Instead the law abiding will live with the loss of liberty, while the terrorists and criminals will ignore the government’s “solution”.

We’re a nation without the ability to put events like this in context (thanks in part to the saturation coverage by the media and the alarmism by politicians).  We’re a nation that has run scared for years.

It’s time to suck it up and stand up.  These things are going to happen.  None of us like that or find it acceptable. But what should be equally unacceptable and unliked is the continuous bleeding away of our liberties.

Free nations should understand that with that freedom comes risk.  And, as we have seen, no matter how many laws and restrictions we put in place, these things still happen.  I’m not saying we should be vigilant and take precautions.  I’m saying we shouldn’t over-react like we constantly do.

Boston is a terrible tragedy.  We don’t need to compound it by taking away more of the freedoms we have apparently taken for granted in the past.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 15 Apr 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The Housing Market Index fell 2 points in April to a worse-than-expected 42, the lowest since October.

The Empire State Mfg Survey shows an abruptly slowing rate of monthly growth in the district, falling over 6 points to 3.05.

Net foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities fell into negative territory, with a net outflow of -17.8 billion.

~
Dale Franks
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