Monday, March 26, 2018

Yes, Liberty IS more important than safety.

If you are someone who'd march in public carrying this sign while protesting our 2nd Amendment, then you are probably someone who's spent more time marching than studying their history, and far more time yammering about 'Rights!' than thinking about what they mean, and mean to our lives.
Why yes, yes it is.

To give the bullet point answer to their question 'is freedom more valuable than safety?', the answer is:

  • Yes.
Yes, and what's more, Liberty is more important than safety. Not only should that not be a surprising answer, it shouldn't be a new answer, to you, since America would not exist at all, if we hadn't agreed on that answer at the very beginning of our nation. If that surprises you, as History typically surprises those who fail to attend to it, here's a snippet from the end of what was once a well known speech from the time of our nation's founding, by Patrick Henry:
"... What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
, if you're unsure of why he ended his speech with that, the beginning (and the rest) might clue you in:
"...I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings...."
I know that there are some of you who are rolling your eyes at this, and at the picture of Patrick Henry's speech. You should take note of that. If such ideas are alien to you, then however born and raised in America you may be, however legal your residency might be, the idea of America is alien to you. Please consider becoming a 'dreamer' on some other country's hospitality. Canada perhaps. Or maybe New Zealand.

For as Samuel Adams put it:
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Maturity, Immaturity, and Pro-Regressing

A society, knowing that there is no clear line that covers all, sets a legal age where you are expected to be, and are capable of, having the maturity of judgment to behave as an adult. That age has been set at 13 (where the body begins taking on adult form), 18 (where the body has mostly achieved adult form), and for less apparent reasons, at 21 (with the idea being that the human maturation process occurs in 7yr cycles, with the end of the 3rd cycle marking the maturity of a person's ability to reason, and so the beginning of adulthood).

That's not 'discrimination' (though it IS, in its best sense), or creating a 'protected class', but setting general standards for legal purposes. Our society, with it's bizarre gaggle of legal 'adulthood' ages of 18, 21, 26, and more, with many limitations and qualifiers upon each... clearly has no sense of there being a standard beyond anything other than its useful political value (which, today, is the only standard of 'standards' that we will tolerate).

Car rental companies use actuarial statistics to define that the age that is the least likely to wreck their cars is 25. Is there statistical evidence to show that 21yr olds' are less likely to shoot someone than 18yr olds? I don't know. And I not only seriously doubt that Dick's, etc, knows or cares if there is, but on top of that, they've got no financial or liability interest in trying to set their own policy for it. It's an ideological PR stunt that's designed to strike out against the 2nd Amendment, nothing more.

Do they have the Right to say that they won't sell rifles to someone under 21? Sure they do. But they have no more right to do so - that being their individual right to use their own judgment - than a baker has for not wanting to make a wedding cake to celebrate what they see as a mockery of marriage, or than a bigoted organization or business who decides that they only want to cater to non-whites, or only whites, or ____(fill in the despicable blank).

The actual issue involved here, is the pretense of having a standard, in order to justify using your own judgement, while also claiming the political power to deny that right to others whose judgment you disapprove of, and wish to use the power of the state to deny them that right.

If you are for forcing bakers to sell wedding cakes to homosexual weddings, and for allowing businesses to set their own arbitrary age limits for selling their wares, you are only for using force to enforce your judgment upon all, and at the expense of everyone's individual right to use their own judgment in the conduct of their lives. Ironically, that is using your emotional preferences, to override what is reasonable to do, which is what an 'age of maturity' is designed to safeguard society from.

That's not political progress, it is in fact acting in opposition to the greatest leap in political progress in 3,000 years - that of barring the state from arbitrarily imposing upon the individual rights of its citizens.

IOW, you are a Pro-Regressive.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Our Individual Rights weren't constitutionally protected to reduce crime, but to preserve them against tyranny - reducing crime is no justification for reducing our rights

I've made this point about the 2nd Amendment several times before, but too often it's been swallowed up whole in one of my ten page posts, never to be seen or heard from again. During an unrelated thread yesterday, on how good people can do bad things and yet still think well of themselves, this point came back up, and as the perspective was appreciated by a friend who I very much disagree with politically (he still doesn't agree with me, but, even better, it prompted him to give the issue some further thought), I thought I'd essentially re-post it here as a short stand alone post. A friend of my friend replied to me:
"...And at risk of a tangent, I would say that is precisely why I don't buy into the whole idea that we need more "good guys with guns." More people with guns means more people using them to kill, commit suicide, and have accidents."
My reply to that, was:

That is a bit tangential, but I'll go straight to the heart of it: If you were to somehow present me with proof that one or another limitation upon the 2nd Amendment would 'work' to reduce crime, suicides, murders or ease any other societal ill, my opposition to them would remain unchanged. Why? Because neither the 2nd Amendment, nor any other of our essential individual rights that are protected by our Bill of Rights, are there for anything having to do with crime, reducing criminal behavior, or any other failure in our society - that's not their purpose, and proposing limitations to any of those rights, in order to solve issues that are at best tangential to their purpose, is a non-starter.

Those individual rights that are protected in our Bill of Rights, serve two purposes,
1) to preserve each person's ability to live as human beings, and
2) establish an impassible barrier to any tyranny rising to power: if people can speak, associate, worship, discuss, be secure in their homes and property, secure from judicial harassment and able to defend their lives and other rights from assault, then no nascent tyranny can ever rise up any further than its hands & knees.

Parallel to the central purpose of the 2nd Amendment, is that it ensures that each person is able to defend themselves from any personal threat, be it by bear, mugger, mob (or tyrannical govt), by keeping and baring the arms (and guns are but one of many options protected as Arms) which they deem most suitable for them to do so with.

We will never be able to prevent people from making poor, wrong, or evil choices, and attempting to limit their access to one particular technology for putting those choices into action, is simply folly. The issue is a human one, not a technological one, and the solutions to that are to be found in philosophy, morality and education, not law. What we can do though, is enable those on the receiving end of another's unjust actions, to defend themselves, rather than ensure that they are left defenseless in the face of them.

Contrary to the notion that I was going against "...empirical evidence on this issue", what I am stating, is that empirical evidence such as that, is irrelevant to this issue. The 2nd Amendment is no more about crime, than the 4th Amendment (police needing a warrant to search your home, etc) is. No doubt lives could be saved, and crime greatly reduced... if the police possessed the unfettered power to search anywhere, anytime, on a hunch; would you support that? Again, I would not, because reducing crime and saving lives is not the purpose of that, or any other amendment in our Bill of Rights - only preserving our rights, and thwarting tyranny, is.

Reducing crime and saving lives IS our business, as members of a community, but doing that takes real, sensible, persistent effort, to accomplish (involving, IMHO, philosophy, morality & education), and there's no easy fix to them, and especially not through laws (anymore than making drugs illegal, has eliminated drug abuse), and especially not by hobbling or eliminating our ability to think and act as we can best judge to.
I'll resist the urge to expand upon that, and let it go there... for now.