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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March For Tyranny (videos)

A cold wind blew through West Chester, PA that Saturday. It was the day of the so-called March For Our Lives. While the wind was cold the protesters' anger burned and nothing good ever comes from such burning anger. 
Reacting to my sign that reads “background checks do not work” this guy was really upset. 
(I wasn't able to record the first part of the conversation as my camera had shut off.):
This belief in background checks is truly emotional and cult like. It's not surprising though, it's the only way to hold on to that belief in the face of overwhelming evidence that they've failed. No doubt readers noted the cherry picking of examples and denial of contrary facts. The reference to Prof. Cook at the beginning of the video was about me bringing up the article “Study Shows Brady Bill Had No Impact on Gun Homicides“. In it Prof. Cook clearly states that the Brady Bill is a failure, I.E. background checks don't work.  

These ladies were much nicer but just as wrong. They seem to think that all ARs (scary black rifles) are capable of fully automatic fire. As usual for gun rights haters they're wrongly convinced that the US has the highest murder rate in the world:
Anyone wondering about my references to social dynamics in the videos is invited to listen to this presentation by Prof. Randolph Roth of Ohio State University on the subject. I also recommend his book “American Homicide”. Both make clear that it is social dynamics, not access to guns, that drive the murder rate up or down.

The sign also lead to a very pleasant conversation with a member of Gun Sense Chester County who remembered me from Mike Weisser's presentation of March 3, 2018. I said that if they were going to claim that we have such a high murder rate in the US then that shows that all the gun control we have, including background checks, has failed. Her answer was that background checks aren't universal that's why they fail. She claimed that according to a RAND Corp study they do help a little in some cases. (This article from Newsweek says that RAND found a lack of evidence on the subject. If that's really the best they can do...) When I then pointed out that every step of the way advocates of gun control say this measure or that measure will solve the problem yet they never do. Each time gun control fails they only say we need more to make it work. We ended our conversation there.

Since my camera had shut off, again, I wasn't able to video another man who took exception to my sign. Our discussion quickly turned to the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. When I explained that it was about keeping the government disarmed by having a militia rather than standing forces he got really hot and bothered. He exclaimed that we need the government armed to protect the public from people like me. Maybe it was the hoodie I was wearing, who knows?

The cold wind also blew in a celebrity, Jay Leno. Gun owning members of his fan club may want to reconsider their memberships.

What's the takeaway from covering the march? These people are scared, hurt, and angry. They think they're doing good but good comes not from reacting emotionally but from having knowledge and thinking things through. One is reminded of the words of Judge Louis D. Brandeis:

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.

A quick look at some of their signs tells us that they want to ban all the guns they think they can get away with:



The day didn't end on a sad note though. On the way home I stopped at the massive, 1700 table gun show at Oaks, PA. It sure seemed like there were more people at the gun show than attended the march. That is a good sign.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mike Weisser: NRA Member, Gun Rights Hater

Gun Sense Chester County's brochure
Mike Weisser, who likes to be known as “the gun guy”, and I had a short conversation before his presentation on March 3, 2018 in Devon, PA. It was enlightening. Upon finding out that I'm a libertarian he asked if I refuse to pay taxes. My reply was no. Taxation is theft but I submit to the thieving government's superior force. Weisser then asked if I thought it was OK for people who can't afford housing to be kicked out to die in the street and tough luck. I said no and reminded him of the long history of mutual aid societies and lodges that provided social services before the rise of the welfare state. This lead to him asking me why the welfare state was created. My answer was to buy support and votes, in other words to control people. No, Weisser said, mutual aid societies had failed during the Great depression and the government had to rescue people from starvation. Of course, I replied, the depression caused by the government through Hoover's New Deal lite and the Federal Reserve System's bumbling overwhelmed the private welfare system in place at the time. The answer isn't a welfare state but to avoid depressions through free market policies. I brought up that it seemed strange that he would talk about hunger during the depression since the Roosevelt administration curtailed food production to boost prices during that time. Weisser then suggested that I didn't know what I was talking about. He's obviously never heard of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. The point of this paragraph is to illustrate Weisser's ignorance, statist thinking, and slavish devotion to the concept of government-as-savior.

Let's get on with guns. In the video below you can hear Weisser clearly say he's fine with the government banning guns: 

Weisser's government-as-savior point of view comes through loud and clear. No need to fear government power, it's never abused, is it? (Note to the literal minded, the last sentence was sarcasm.) You also just heard Gun Sense Chester County member Wayne Hall unconvincingly say he hopes we can solve the so-called gun violence problem without banning guns.

The next video was also taken after Weisser's presentation. He says very clearly that people don't have a right to own guns. In it one can see how obvious it is that he's on the gun rights haters side:  

What a strange view of the Constitution. Of course, the law is there to limit action. Starting with the Constitution which is supposed to limit the government not the people. James Madison was clear that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.” Thomas Jefferson expressed the same view when he wrote, "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." As I wrote in Democratic Socialism, Guns, and the Failure of the Constitution:
The real issue is the question, does the government have the legal power to take people's guns? One searches the Constitution in vain trying to find a clause that empowers it to do so. However, the Tenth Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This should be a great restriction on governmental power. Since the Constitution nowhere grants the government the power to take our guns the Tenth Amendment should stop them from doing so.
Look out for those impulses! As if they drive peaceful people to murder. Rather than dealing in depth with how social dynamics are the key to solving the murder problem I'll refer readers to Professor Roth's excellent presentation on the subject “Why Is the United States the Most Homicidal Nation In the Affluent World?”.
Gun Sense Chester County's brochure

One final commentary, not only Weisser but a group like Gun Sense Chester County come across as an attempt to mainstream gun control in order to exclude the advocates of liberty. If the contest is between gun controllers and gun banners the banners will win. We will continue down the slippery slope until we lose our gun rights completely. Gun owners must stand firm and push for the end of all gun laws and gun control at all levels of government.

Since Weisser makes it clear that he's a lifetime NRA member, what's the NRA's opinion of this? Does Weisser represent the NRA's views?

Below is Weisser's presentation in its entirety:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

El No Votar Por Principios: El Comienzo de la Desvinculación del Estado

[Este articulo fue originalmente escrito en 2010 en ingles para lectores en los EE UU. Con toda la polémica acerca de las elecciones convocadas para mayo (por ahora serán en mayo) en Venezuela pensé que las ideas expresadas son mas relevantes que nunca en ese país. El original en ingles se puede leer aquí.]

El día del trabajador llego y paso, y hay elecciones en noviembre. La temporada de campaña está activada. Las ondas de radio y televisión, el Internet y lo que queda de los medios impresos están saturados de avisos políticos. Todo esto lleva a muchos estadounidenses a preguntarse por quién van a votar. Muchos se dan cuenta de que la elección se limita esencialmente al sinvergüenza demócrata o al sinvergüenza republicano. En cualquier caso, para mucha gente votar es visto como un deber patriótico, casi sagrado. Los clichés abundan sobre cómo nuestros antepasados dieron sus vidas para que podamos tener el derecho de votar hoy. Mucha gente ve la votación como una forma de controlar al gobierno y preservar nuestras libertades. "Si no vota no se queje", dicen. En este artículo, sin embargo, explicaré por qué ninguna de estas cosas positivas atribuidas a la votación son verdaderas. De hecho, todo lo contrario suele ser el caso.

Lo que debería haber estado claro durante generaciones se vuelve ridículamente obvio después de un año y medio de la administración Obama, a saber, que las elecciones han fracasado como un medio para controlar o cambiar el gobierno. La continuidad casi ininterrumpida de la política desde la administración Bush hasta la presidencia de Obama es innegable y representa solo la victoria de los intereses especiales para frustrar la voluntad del pueblo.

Después de más de dos siglos de elecciones, el sistema se ha vuelto bastante bueno en esto. En 1870, Lysander Spooner escribió en "NO ES TRAICION,No. VI., LA CONSTITUCIÓN SIN AUTORIDAD".

Los engañados --- una clase grande, sin duda --- cada uno de ellos, porque se le permite una voz entre millones al decidir qué puede hacer con su propia persona y con su propia propiedad, y porque se le permite tener el mismo una voz al robar, esclavizar y asesinar a otros, que otros tienen al robar, esclavizar y asesinar a él, es lo suficientemente estúpido como para imaginar que él es un "hombre libre", un "soberano"; que esto es "un gobierno libre"; "un gobierno de igualdad de derechos", "el mejor gobierno en la tierra" y cosas así de absurdas.
Lamentablemente, la percepción es que votar equivale a la libertad. La realidad es que nada podría estar más lejos de la verdad. El hecho de que se nos permita elegir nuestros dictadores no nos hace más libres. Simplemente le da a los votantes la sensación de poder y la ilusión de control. Todo el tiempo están siendo manipulados para apoyar a un gobierno que implementa políticas perjudiciales para su bienestar.

¿Qué mejor manera hay para hacer que la gente cumpla con la ley y pague impuestos que convencerlos de que estas cosas son su voluntad? ¿Qué mejor manera hay para que la gente tolere los males del gobierno que convenciéndoles de que la situación es temporal y que pueden cambiar el gobierno en las próximas elecciones? ¿Qué mejor manera hay para que la gente respete a los funcionarios electos que convencerlos que ellos, el pueblo, eligieron a estos sinvergüenzas para representarlos? (Un mandato, se alega.) Ninguna de estas cosas son ciertas, pero el fraude funciona. Se considera que la democracia es la mejor forma de gobierno que se haya diseñado. La pregunta es ¿mejor para quién? Ciertamente no para el pueblo.

Funciona mejor para las élites gobernantes que pueden esconder sus malvados planes detrás de una sonriente fachada democrática. La fórmula es dar a las personas la libertad suficiente para sentirse libres, pero no tanto que el gobierno pierda el control de ellas. Para asegurar que la gente tolere sus leyes, sus travesuras e impuestos, la clase dominante debe mantener a los ciudadanos involucrados. La mayoría tomará la ruta fácil y seguirá adelante, especialmente cuando la economía está bien y se sienten prósperos. Thomas Paine lo advirtió hace más de dos siglos:

... la porción de libertad disfrutada en Inglaterra es suficiente para esclavizar a un país de forma más productiva que el despotismo, y que como el verdadero objeto de todo despotismo es el ingreso, un gobierno así formado obtiene más de lo que podría hacer por despotismo directo, o en un estado completo de libertad ...
¿Te parece increíble todo esto? De acuerdo con el profesor de historia de la Universidad de Georgetown, Carroll Quigley:

El argumento de que los dos partidos políticos deben representar ideales y políticas opuestos, uno, tal vez, de la Derecha y el otro de la Izquierda, es una idea tonta, aceptable sólo para pensadores doctrinarios y académicos. En cambio, las dos partidos deberían ser casi idénticas, para que el pueblo estadounidense pueda correr a los canallas en cualquier elección sin provocar cambios profundos o extensos en la política. Entonces debería ser posible reemplazarlo, cada cuatro años si es necesario, por el otro partido, que no será ninguna de estas cosas, pero seguirá aplicando, con nuevo vigor, aproximadamente las mismas políticas básicas.
Desafortunadamente, el pensó que así es como debería funcionar el sistema. El Dr. Quigley tampoco era un radical marginado. Fue uno de los profesores del presidente Bill Clinton y fue citado por él como una gran influencia.

Ya es hora de que las personas se enfrenten a la realidad de lo que realmente es votar, un respaldo a los males que cometen los gobiernos. Le pido que no tome parte en este fraude más. ¡Retenga su consentimiento! Tenga el coraje de unirse a nosotros en la no votación por principios y comprométase a no votar nunca más. Recuerde, si vota, ¡no se queje!

Únete y promociona a nuestro grupo en Facebook, Vote For Nobody Campaign (Vota por la campaña de nadie)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Don't Let Gun Rights Haters Intimidate You

Terry Rumsey and Robin Lasersohn of Delaware County United For a Sensible Gun Policy [sic] telling us what they really want to do with guns.
I can hear many gun owners laughing saying “I not afraid of those gunless and gutless morons”, but it's not physical intimidation I'm talking about. Think about it. They can't use force to shut us up but many of us are intimidated into silence by their rhetoric.

A prime example came from Pres. Obama during CNN's “Guns in America”. They went to great lengths to mock those concerned that the government might one day try to disarm us. Why do this? Because they want to bury the fact that they've long been saying that they do indeed want to disarm us. (See here, here, here, here and here.) True that they aren't going to require turning in guns nor are they sending out SWAT teams to take guns from people but they are trying to implement an incremental disarmament strategy. Obama said he wants to “make progress” and “incrementally make things better” with his anti-gun rights diktats. He was talking about gradually disarming us. It is discussion of this strategy that they want to intimidate us out of.

Ayn Rand referred to it as the argument from intimidation. Here's how she summed it up:
The tone is usually one of scornful or belligerent incredulity. “Surely you are not an advocate of capitalism, are you?” And if this does not intimidate the prospective victim—who answers, properly: “I am,”—the ensuing dialogue goes something like this: “Oh, you couldn’t be! Not really!” “Really.” “But everybody knows that capitalism is outdated!” “I don’t.” “Oh, come now!” “Since I don’t know it, will you please tell me the reasons for thinking that capitalism is outdated?” “Oh, don’t be ridiculous!” “Will you tell me the reasons?” “Well, really, if you don’t know, I couldn’t possibly tell you!”

All this is accompanied by raised eyebrows, wide-eyed stares, shrugs, grunts, snickers and the entire arsenal of nonverbal signals communicating ominous innuendoes and emotional vibrations of a single kind: disapproval.

If those vibrations fail, if such debaters are challenged, one finds that they have no arguments, no evidence, no proof, no reasons, no ground to stand on—that their noisy aggressiveness serves to hide a vacuum—that the Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence.
In order to fool gun owners into accepting background checks and restrictions on the ownership, transfer, and transportation of guns they have to hide the real purpose of these measures. It's not about safety, Obama admitted they won't reduce crime during the clown show on CNN. To repeat, it's about gradually disarming us.

To restore our rights we're going to have to be mentally tough enough to stand up to gun rights haters. What Ludwig Von Mises wrote about economics applies to guns:
The enemy is not refuted: enough to unmask him as a bourgeois. Marxism criticizes the achievements of all those who think otherwise by representing them as the venal servants of the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels never tried to refute their opponents with argument. They insulted, ridiculed, derided, slandered, and traduced them, and in the use of these methods their followers are not less expert. Their polemic is directed never against the argument of the opponent, but always against his person. Few have been able to withstand such tactics. Few indeed have been courageous enough to oppose Socialism with that remorseless criticism which it is the duty of the scientific thinker to apply to every subject of inquiry.
The answer is clear, since they want to bury the idea of incremental disarmament we have to have the courage to shout it from the roof tops. Bring it up anytime gun control is discussed. Whether it's in comments to online articles, letters to the editor, or opinion columns, bring up incremental disarmament. In online forums, bring up incremental disarmament. In face to face conversations, bring up incremental disarmament. In videos and television interviews, bring up incremental disarmament. Our gun rights and, therefore, our lives depend on it. Once again Ayn Rand:
How does one resist that Argument? There is only one weapon against it: moral certainty.

When one enters any intellectual battle, big or small, public or private, one cannot seek, desire or expect the enemy's sanction. Truth or falsehood must be one's sole concern and sole criterion of judgment—not anyone's approval or disapproval; and, above all, not the approval of those whose standards are the opposite of one's own.

The most illustrious example of the proper answer to the Argument from Intimidation was given in American history by the man who, rejecting the enemy's moral standards and with full certainty of his own rectitude, said: "If this be treason, make the most of it."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Murder Rates: Why Comparing The United States Only To Other Developed Countries Is Deceitful

Bicycle taxi drivers waiting for passengers outside 
of a hospital in poor but peaceful Malawi

My recent article “Islands, Churches, and Guns” was met with a ridiculous criticism that gun rights advocates have left unrefuted for far too long. Namely, the idea that it's only legitimate to compare the US murder rate to that of other developed countries. When one does compare the US to that cherry picked group the US looks, for the most part, bad. This false point is why gun rights haters try to limit the comparison. The problem with that limited comparison is the fact that many very poor countries are also very peaceful. Gun rights haters would have to be able to show that virtually all affluent countries are very peaceful and that virtually all poor countries are very violent for their limited comparison to make any sense. That would indeed make the US an outlier. Fortunately for gun rights they can't meet the above conditions. There are many poor countries with high murder rates. The table below shows that there are at least 36 poor countries (that's over 18% of the 195 countries that exist in the world today) with a murder rate under 5 per 100,000. This puts them in the same category that the US and most of Europe is in. This tells us that a country's level of development or poverty is irrelevant to the murder rate.

Sierra Leone
Sri Lanka
Libya doesn't have income figures on the source chart but this note says 1/3 of Libyans live under the poverty line. With a murder rate of only 1.7 per 100,000 they deserve to be included in this article.
Vanuatu is a country with little economic information available on the Internet. With its murder rate of only 2.8 per 100,000 and a per capita income under $5000 per year it merits mention.
East Timor isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $1847 and a murder rate of 3.6 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here.
Tuvalu isn't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3400 and a murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here too.
The Solomon Islands aren't on the chart either but with a per capita income of only $3191 and a murder rate of 4.3 per 100,000 it gets mentioned here as well.

The US has a rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 of population which is well below the world average of 6.2 per 100,000. There's no disputing that the US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Putting these two facts together is part of showing that having guns isn't the problem as gun rights haters can't show a correlation between access to guns (or the lack thereof) and murder rates.

If the level of development of a country and rate of gun ownership aren't determining factors what should we look at? The social dynamics that drive murder rates. As Kates and Mauser wrote in “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?”:

...the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social,
economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some
form of deadly mechanism. In this connection, recall that the
American jurisdictions which have the highest violent crime
rates are precisely those with the most stringent gun controls.
Let's finally put to rest the idea that forcibly disarming people will make them safer. We need to stop wasting time and implement liberty so that the social dynamics that lead to a harmonious society can take hold here.