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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 “But everybody knows that capitalism is outdated!”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 “Since I don’t know it, will you please tell me the reasons for thinking that capitalism is outdated?”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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Islands, Churches, and Guns

Myself on a beach on Little Exuma, the Bahamas
This article is prompted by two things that happened recently. The first was a happy event, my vacation to the the Bahamas. The other the horrible shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. At first glance these two things may not seem related but the connection between them will soon be made clear.

As usual, a mass shooting like the one in Charleston brings out the gun rights haters who want to cynically use the blood of the victims to grease the skids for their gun control schemes. One hears and reads claim after nonsensical claim that if only we had less gun rights and fewer guns in the United States the victims would still be alive. Reality tells us something very different.

Unfortunately, while in the Bahamas I discovered that all is not well in paradise. During our visit a shooting happened at a school in Nassau. This sparked discussion in the local media that revealed that the Bahamas are on pace for a record number of murders this year after a substantial increase last year. How is this relevant to the US and gun control here? Because in the Bahamas they have strict gun control and way fewer guns per capita than we have here. Yet they die from gun shots at a much higher rate than Americans.

The lesson to be learned is clear and not the one gun rights haters would have us learn. Dreams of legislating away murder by outlawing guns is a dangerous fantasy. It will only lead to more violence as it doesn't address the causes of the problem. Until we start dealing with the social dynamics that drive crime the killing will continue both here and in the Bahamas.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

This Is What Gun Control Looks Like: Shaneen Allen's New Jersey Ordeal (video)

It's great that Shaneen Allen is free and was able to share her story with us at a Citizens for Liberty meeting. I just couldn't post this video without commenting on her call for national reciprocity for state issued carry permits. She's in favor of them, I'm not. Here's why. National reciprocity is just more federal domination of the states. We have too much of that already.

The problem is states implementing gun control not a lack of federal laws on the subject. National reciprocity entrenches and legitimizes this state level tyranny while at the same time expanding federal power. Despite appearances it's step backwards for liberty. The answer is to repeal state laws about licensing and regulating guns. At the same time we need to end federal involvement with guns by abolishing agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It's by this kind of limiting of government power that we protect our freedom.

Shaneen Allen's website:

Please read this article for commentary on national reciprocity:

The Concealed Carry Lie



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Braving Gun Rights Haters' Nails: Lower Merion Township, PA Family Open Carry Rally (video)

Braving nails placed in the street by our car tires by gun rights haters (one wonders if there is no low they won't stoop to) we protested the fact that Lower Merion, PA won't repeal their local gun ordnance despite the fact that it's in violation of the state's preemption law.

Pictures of guns at the rally that killed no one:

Pictures of signs and other expressions of support: