Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gun control self defense Pt 1: What's wrong with the concept gun control?

Calls for gun control have been in the news a lot since the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings. Most in the Democrat Party and some Republicans along with the mainstream media (MSN) have been assaulting the public to accept ever increasing gun controls, which of course will lead to eventual gun confiscation even though they promise it won't.

When did the government ever not expand a program once instituted? Well, gun restrictions already exist. They are trying to expand them. Gun confiscation is their goal. But this post is about looking at the techniques used by politicians and the media to frame the issue as if gun control by government equals good and private control equals bad.

So lets look at the phrase gun control first. The concept 'gun control' is based on the premise that guns are out of control. But when presented with that claim I like to ask whose control? This is when I usually discover that they mean everyone's control. They'll say government has allowed citizens to have guns but the citizens aren't controlling them responsibly so the government must step in with more controlling restrictions.

But they are not talking about controlling the guns of criminals. Whenever there is a shooting the automatic reaction of Democrats and the MSM is to call for the government to take the guns away from everyone who didn't do it. This is blaming all gun owners for the crimes of a few. Pure stereotyping.

This is the principle of preventive law and is always wrong politically and morally. It is the principle that citizens are to be presumed potentially guilty and must prove their innocence by jumping through regulatory hoops. This is a profoundly unAmerican principle. Contrary to the principle that citizens are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The only concern for government regarding guns is whether anyone's rights are being violated.

Gun control is a euphemism for people control. Ownership is the right of use and disposal and that is the essence of control. To remove control from citizens is to remove ownership from citizens violating their second Amendment rights. What kind of society do you have where only the government has guns? Dictatorship.

(Next, what's wrong with the concept 'gun violence'?)






Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gun control is about destroying the right to life.

The Friday 06/24/16 Detroit News carried an oped by economist Thomas Sowell titled "The gun control farce" in which he cites evidence that gun restrictions cause more crime not less. Here is one example:

"Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down."

 He rightly points out the gun controllers routinely ignore this and other contrary evidence.

 In a short letter to the editor I pointed out that though Mr Sowell was correct, he did not go far enough. He should have challenged their alleged motives because to ignore evidence on such a massive scale gives the lie to their claim to be for public safety.

The real issue in most of these gun control debates is not the number of murders. The issue is do you have a right to life or not? It stands to reason if you don't have a right to defend your life you don't have a right to life. How can you have a right to something if you don't have the right to keep and defend it? You can't and won't. And that is the goal to be achieved, your right to life in their (government's) hands, not yours. It is the dream and goal of every bloody dictatorship that ever was.

So the point I want to make is not just that the left is ignoring the evidence but that they are ignoring the evidence because reducing murders is not their goal. It's just an excuse. Disarming Americans is the goal. The left doesn't care about how many people die by guns or any other means. They are using the technique of  NAZI propagandist Joseph Goebbels who said:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." (From the thinkexist web page)

That is why the truth of the evidence Mr Sowell, presents must be ignored, evaded and just plain blanked out. Now, it may be hard for some citizens to attach such sinister motives to the gun controllers based just on this oped. But Sowell provides some supporting evidence for this anti self defense mind set of the left.

   "In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws."

This is true. We have seen this leniency towards criminals and bias against police for a long while now. But why? What motivates people to evade real facts on a large scale, to be against law enforcement of individual rights and favor criminals who violate them? Could it be that law enforcement's job of protecting peoples'  rights is based on the right to life?

Well, if you believe man does not or should not have an inalienable right to life, that his nature is malleable and he can be forcibly molded into any desired moral shape by the force of a benevolent, caring government, you will be motivated to adopt the above mentioned anti rights mind set.

It really doesn't matter the cause of their evasions, their goal is the destruction of the right to life. The desire for the destruction of the political right to life is the desire to destroy the moral right to life which can have no other result than the destruction of life itself.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Drowning in Guns?

 The June 18th Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson is at it again calling for more control of guns in light of the Orlando killings. In this editorial he puts a slightly new twist on the standard leftist mantra that guns are to blame for killings. It's not guns as such but their widespread proliferation, their abundance.

"Why shouldn't we recast the Second Amendment to recognize more of a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of the massive proliferation of gun possession, legal and illegal, that has led to intolerable carnage?"

What does it mean to have a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of shootings (which he assumes is caused by gun abundance)? It would have to be some rights protection mixed with some rights violations. And what would that mixture look like? I shudder to think.

Regardless, the obvious goal here is to restrict gun ownership to some extent. That is a slippery slope down which we don't want to slide. The principle at work here is this: if some x (gun restrictions) is a good thing then logically will come the cry that more x will be a better thing. In other words the principle of restricting rights will grow by virtue of its own alleged merit whether that merit is true or false.

To put it more simply, to see some restrictions on gun ownership as good, is to see more restrictions as better and that will be followed by seeing total restrictions on all gun ownership as best. (Good, better, best. That's the way principles grow whether true or false). Then no one will have the right to defend themselves. And that dear reader is what happened in Orlando.

Not mentioned in the editorial is the fact that the Pulse club was reported in the news as a gun free zone. This means that the patrons were not allowed to protect themselves. I for one would never venture into an establishment that posted signs saying 'no guns' or 'gun free zone' unless I knew there were at least two armed security guards therein. Only one security guard is woefully inadequate.

But there is something more troubling going on here. To focus on inanimate matter like guns and their numbers as the editorial does, as having a causal influence on the killings, is to ignore the behavior of the killer and its causes. There is nothing morally good about such neglect. The question should be why did the killer feel the need to sacrifice those people for whatever he deemed to be his version of the good? Could it be he was a True Believer--about which Eric Hoffer once wrote--in the morality of sacrifice?

Those victims perished not because guns are so abundant, but because the protection of their right to life was not taken seriously. It is not the widespread proliferation of guns but rather, the war on guns by the gun control movement that's turning America into the modern day equivalent of the Wild West. The war on guns is a war on the right to life.

It stands to reason that if you don't have the right to defend your life, you don't have a right to life. And if that becomes America's new normal, the future will be worse than the old Wild West.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Government control, the uber value, Pt 4

In most of human history man has been ruled by kings, emperors and assorted thugs and rulers. Most of these had witch doctors at their side. The task of the witch doctors was to justify the antics of the ruler to the masses. Basically, the witch doctors' main role was to champion the ruler's rule as being in the serfs' interest. Nothing has changed in many millenia.

 The 6/12/16 Detroit Free Press's witch doctors (editorial page) are still trying to convince the emperors in charge (government) to annex (loot) the suburbs in order to make Detroit prosperous again. This time it is staff writer John Gallagher's editorial "Detroit is smaller than El Paso. Wait, What?"

Mr Gallagher correctly points out that metropolitan Detroit's population in 1950 stood at 3 million while today it is at just over 4 million. "All of that growth occurred in the suburbs, while Detroit bled itself to feed the sprawl" he said.

Now what does he mean by 'bled itself'? Did Detroit build the suburban roads, bridges, hospitals, schools? No it didn't. So he must mean that Detroit bled itself of people. But how did that happen? Aside from the 1967 riots, the urban renewal fiasco (dubbed urban removal), the insane war on drugs, a hostile attitude towards business as such, several decades of neglect by police and fire caused by corrupt city governments, it's really not surprising growth preferred the suburbs. In a rights respecting nation though, people are free to move into or out of cities. So how did western cities not bleed themselves of people?

"Using annexation, Sun Belt cities captured most of their post-war growth. Cities like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and yes El Paso, gobbled up their expanding suburban regions and made them part of their city proper, capturing the growing population and tax base."

It may be true that western cities were able to annex suburban land and Detroit could not. But in my view, so what? If a city can no longer afford to provide services whether directly or by annexation, then the morally proper thing to do is to stop offering them. Why force the population to put up with substandard services? When a school loses enough students it is closed down. When a business no longer has a product or service the public wants, it goes out of business.

You can't force nonexistent students into schools. A business cannot force customers into its doors. Only government with its legal monopoly on force can foist a failing infrastructure on citizens and force those citizens to pay for it. And only such a government can legally limit competition.

There is no reason cities like Detroit can't do what families and corporations do when facts call for it, downsize. Detroit should actually get smaller. Sell off outer parts of the City to surrounding suburbs. Sell or auction off city services to private or nonprofit entities.

But nowhere in Mr Gallagher's oped is there a call for privatizing or downsizing of any kind. This tooth and nail resistance to taking the responsibility for providing so-called infrastructure is proof again that providing infrastructure is not the goal, government control of it, is.

But let's look at other places that put quality services ahead of government control. Sandy Springs, Georgia is a city next to Atlanta that was facing  bankruptcy a few years ago. It privatized all services except police, fire and some public schools. According to this Huffington Post article and 8 min video they have no long term debt. Since then 5 other nearby cities have adopted the Sandy Springs model. (I strongly urge Detroit and Flint city leaders to read this article and watch the video.)

In the summer of 2007 City Journal had a good article on "The New Privatization" about how more and more cities are making big bucks privatizing services.

I know Detroit and Flint are strong union cities and unions want nothing to do with any privatization. That will have to change eventually.

What has to be challenged today is the religious like devotion to the idea that government must be the one to provide infrastructure services instead of the market.




Thursday, June 02, 2016

Government control: the uber value, Pt 3

Following up on my last post regarding how the press and academia holds the value of government control over economic services to be higher than the general value of human betterment, I present part 3 of the thread, part 1 being "Flint Needs Privatization" and part 2 being "Government control, the uber value."


The Thursday, May 19th Detroit Free Press carried a news article by reporter Lori Higgens titled "Michigan's kids in free fall in reading." The article cites a report,

"[F]rom Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan education research and policy organization based in Royal Oak. The organization analyzed more than a decade's worth of results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress--of NAEP, a tough exam given to a representative sample of students in each state."
"In 2003, Michigan ranked 28th in fourth-grade reading. In 2015, the state was ranked 41st."
The article adds that Michigan also ranked 42nd in fourth-grade math, down from 27 in 2003. So it's not just reading but also math that has fallen. It doesn't take a scholar to see that if reading and math are lacking, the child will have a difficult time learning much of anything else. So what is the future prognosis?

"But Martin Ackley, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, expressed optimism that current efforts to change the trajectory will be successful."
"He said a current effort by the MDE and the state board of education to transform Michigan into a top 10 performing state in 10 years--coupled with Gov. Rick Snyder's creation of a 21st Century Education Commission--will identify the steps the state needs to take to turn around things."
Great! Just what Michigan education does not need, another bureaucracy! And when that fails another governmental group will be formed to investigate it. No, Snyder's new commission will fail too. The evidence for that failure can be seen in six of the 31 strategies the board of education is proposing? ( I don't believe there are 31 solutions to any problem in education. There is one major cure though, a rational curriculum.)

  1. "Parents, teachers and students should sign an agreement that outlines individual academic and personal goals for students."
Sounds nice but I don't think it can work. This is a good recipe for private, individual tutoring but I can't see how it would work in a classroom setting.

2. "The state should expand nursing, mental health services and health centers in schools."

No, expanding these things will not bring fourth grade reading and math scores up.
3  "Schools should be run more efficiently so more money goes into the classroom." 
Notice the concrete bound nature of this one. It's like saying 'schools doing a lousy job of financing should do a better one.' No kidding! Genius solution!

4."The state should ensure that all students have access to career and tech programs and postsecondary courses while in high school."

Again No! This is something that can happen after the fourth-grade reading and math scores are raised to acceptable levels.

5."The state should expand access to publicly funded early-childhood programs."

As far as I can tell, all public education is publicly funded. So the implication seems to be to avoid private early education. But why? Again, I don't see how early education will raise fourth grade scores since we've had early education for a while now. I say that because there is nothing in this article identifying the cause of fourth-grade failure. More on that in a bit.

6."The state should expand access to free adult education services and family advocacy support programs."

I feel like a broken record. This too misses the point of raising fourth-grade reading and math levels.

But notice what concept is missing here: curriculum. Totally ignored by these so-called educators is the recognition that it is curriculum that teaches. So if today's kids fail to read or do math at fourth-grade levels you would think anyone who cared about children would hasten to demand that the curriculum be examined with a fine toothed comb. But no one is doing that.

To focus on the curriculum would draw attention to the philosophy of modern education. People would discover its name, Progressive Education, its creator John Dewey and his purpose of ignoring the task of teaching students how to think i.e. concept formation. Instead Dewey wanted to replace 'mere learning' with socialization which is not about teaching Johnny how to get along with Tommy. It's actually about graduating uncritical, unthinking, obedient followers who will not question authority, especially government authority.

To make sure the public doesn't get wise to the anti-cognitive nature of the curriculum, government press releases and media reporters blame every failure on lack of standards, or proper tests, or lack of money or lack of access ad infinitum.

 If you look at those 6 proposals mentioned above, you'll see they are anchored with 'state should.' There is no mention or suggestion of removing education from the hands of the institute that has been failing for decades: government. So it is obvious on the face of it that the primary concern, the value to be defended at all costs is government control.

We are constantly told by our media and politicians how much they care about educating children. But what does it mean to care? My dictionary says to care is to have a troubled mind for or concern for someone or something. To be concerned then means to value something or someone, to have strong feelings for. But to value anything presupposes an answer to the question 'of value to whom and towards what goal'?

It has always been the case that parents care most about the goal of their children's education. Yes, teachers care too. Many of them love the art of teaching young minds. But it remains the parents who care the most. Parents usually take care to provide good food, clothing and shelter for their kids. If parents are dissatisfied with the food from one store or the clothing from another, they change providers. They are legally free to do so.

Such is not the case with public schools. Very little freedom of choice is available for parents. And such choice as does exist is resisted fiercely by public school bureaucrats. One has to wonder why? When charter schools are doing a somewhat better job of teaching, and private schools even better yet, how can the the tenacious resistance by the public bureaucrats be evidence of a concern for teaching?

Obviously the number one concern of government schools is continued government control. There can be a variety of reasons government control can be appealing to some people. It can be politicians seeing themselves as the great providers of knowledge, which they certainly are not. Or union leaders seeing enhanced income in dues from teachers. The more teachers in public unionized schools the better for them. There is the public that has been lied to by intellectuals claiming only the rich can afford private education, a blatant falsehood.

Regardless of the various reasons for government control of education, it remains true that the main goal of every government is to sustain and grow itself. The most efficient way to do this is to indoctrinate students with the idea that government--legalized force--is the solution to all problems including education, health care, roads, energy and virtually everything. No it isn't.

Government by its nature is unfit to control any market activity. In the face of all the failures mentioned above, the government's refusal to relinquish control of education proves it's the control that is the uber value to them, not education. Time is now to start moving public schools to the private sector.