Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Dilbert and Gun Control

July 15, 2016

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, took some time away from praising Donald Trump’s abilities at persuasion to explain why “commonsense gun control” isn’t getting anywhere in America.

On average, Democrats (that’s my team*) use guns for shooting the innocent. We call that crime.

On average, Republicans use guns for sporting purposes and self-defense.

If you don’t believe me, you can check the statistics on the Internet that don’t exist. At least I couldn’t find any that looked credible.

But we do know that race and poverty are correlated. And we know that poverty and crime are correlated. And we know that race and political affiliation are correlated. Therefore, my team (Clinton) is more likely to use guns to shoot innocent people, whereas the other team (Trump) is more likely to use guns for sporting and defense.

That’s a gross generalization. Obviously. Your town might be totally different.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Scott Adams is being humorous but his observations are essentially correct. Gun control has become yet another one of those intractable culture war issues. People’s opinions on this matter are a reflection of their own values and experiences and since different people have different values, this is not an issue that it is easy, or even possible, to come to any sort of national consensus on policy.

The people who support stricter gun control laws tend to live in urban areas. For them, guns are weapons wielded by the bad guys to commit violent crimes. They probably do not own any guns and have only seen guns used in the movies and on television. Gun use is not a part of their lives and guns are strange and alien to them. For some of the better educated, guns may symbolize the violence which they believe that they believe that they have evolved beyond, forgetting perhaps that they are protected from violence by armed policemen and soldiers and maybe even private security. Guns are “icky” for them and we would all be better off if they would all go away.

The people who oppose stricter gun control laws often live in rural areas and small towns. For them, guns are essential tools for self defense and recreation. In place where response time to emergencies may be many minutes or even hours, it seems foolish not be able to take care of yourself. They may have grown up around guns or may have a military or law enforcement background so guns are familiar to them. For many, guns may symbolize freedom and self-reliance and they reinforce their self image as rugged individuals descended from frontiersmen. They may have an instinctive feel for the medieval concept that a free man is an armed man so when someone says, “we must control guns to prevent crimes”, they hear, “we must take away your guns to take away your freedom”.

When two sides are talking past one another, speaking practically different languages, it is almost impossible to come to any solution that satisfies both sides. As Scott Adams puts it.

Let’s all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that’s their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.

So let’s stop acting as if there is something like “common sense” gun control to be had if we all act reasonably. That’s not an option in this case because we all have different risk profiles when it comes to guns. My gun probably makes me safer, but perhaps yours makes you less safe. You can’t reconcile those interests.

Our situation in the United States is that people with different risk profiles are voting for their self-interests as they see it. There is no compromise to be had in this situation unless you brainwash one side or the other to see their self-interest differently. And I don’t see anyone with persuasion skills trying to do that on either side.

If we had a real government – the kind that works – we would acknowledge that gun violence is not one big problem with one big solution. It is millions of people with different risk profiles voting their self-interest as they see it.

In fact, it is very difficult to come to a consensus on almost any really divisive issue in a diverse country that spans a continent and has a population of more than three hundred million. All of those culture war issues; abortion, gay marriage, gun control, etc might be more easily resolved if the people in each state or region were permitted to find their own solutions to these controversial issues. If California were permitted to enact strict gun control laws and Utah could ban abortion, while Massachusetts encouraged gay marriage and Tennessee forbade it than the residents of California, Utah, Massachusetts, and Tennessee might be happy with the outcomes, even if the people of other states might not. At least if such decisions were made democratically on the state and local level, people would feel that they had some say in whatever compromises were adopted. As it is, with the left insisting that every problem must have a national, one size fits all solution, enacted by the court if the legislature is not cooperative, people feel as if policies are imposed on them by a distant and unresponsive federal government.

If we had a government that works, it would leave people alone to live their lives as they see fit. It would allow us to cling to our guns and our religion.

Uppity Peasant

June 5, 2013

Here is a video of a rant by a  radical, extreme, anti-government teabagger who is undoubtedly a racist and a member of the Religious Right. Her family may even own guns.

How dare this peasant, this serf lecture her betters. Who does she think she is, a free American? If she had any education at all, which living in flyover country, she doesn’t, she would know that all of our rights and freedoms are granted to us by the government. Rather that fearing government tyranny, she should realize that government is everybody doing things together, all in one great collective village, as envisioned by our Dear Leader.

Anti government traitors like her should be put before a firing squad.

I am almost afraid to post this, since there are a large number of liberals who might read this and think I’m serious.

Seriously though, this woman says everything that needs to be said.

 

 

Doing Their Job

May 25, 2013

I have been wondering how the recent scandals involving the IRS, Benghazi,  and others were going to be spun by the Democrats who send me fund raising e-mails. At first I didn’t think they would mention the scandals at all, but then they sent this one the other day.

David —

Getting in President Obama’s way has been the top priority for Republicans in Congress since day one. But now they’ve gone too far.

They’ve been caught red-handed making up so-called ‘scandals’ out of thin air to stir up false rumors of vast ‘cover-ups’ happening in the White House.

Did they find a single shred of evidence to back up their outrageous claims? No.

But rather than let the truth stand in their way, Republicans actually doctored emails between administration officials about Benghazi. Then, they released them to the press, trying to pass them off as real in order to create their scandal. Fortunately, they got caught in the act when the White House released all of the actual emails.

Tell President Obama you’ve got his back right now, no matter what Republicans come up with next.

While Republican leaders were focused on stirring up controversy, Michele Bachmann was talking about impeaching President Obama for absolutely no reason, and Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare — for the 37th time.

That’s how they think they should be spending their time and your money.

Make sure the President knows that you stand behind him and his agenda right now — and that you won’t let Republican games distract you from advocating for real change that will benefit all Americans.

Stand with President Obama today — and send the message to Republicans that it’s time to stop playing political games and get back to work for the American people:

http://my.democrats.org/Stand-With-The-President

Its time for them to do their damn jobs.

Thanks,

Brad

Brad Woodhouse
Communications Director
Democratic National Committee

They’re starting to use profanity in their appeals. I suppose Brad is trying to show that he is a tough guy rather than a typical liberal beta male wimp. (Science has shown that weaker men tend to be liberals while stronger men are more likely to be conservatives. You don’t want to deny the findings of Science, do you?)

In any event, I thought was the Republicans’ job to obstruct and investigate the president. They are the opposition party, after all. And, Congress, as a whole, is supposed to provide a check on the executive branch. I wonder if Mr. Woodhouse is really familiar with the concepts of opposition parties and checks and balances. Perhaps he, and people like him, would prefer a legislature that simply rubber-stamps the Leader’s policies like the old communist Supreme Soviet or of the Soviet Union, or the Chinese National People’s Congress. For myself, I prefer the government set forth in the constitution.

 

How to Fix Everything in America Forever

December 7, 2012

There are some people out there, mostly hippies, who believe that America’s best days are behind us, that we are no longer the best, most awesome country in the world. The solutions to our problems that are proposed by the politicians do not seem do not seem to work.

Fortunately, Frank J. Fleming has come to the rescue with his new book, How to Fix Everything in America Forever. In this book, he truly thinks outside the box with innovative yet commonsense solutions to the problems facing us and offers ways to make America even more awesome than it already is. These ideas include such proposals as requiring Congressmen to wear pain collars, banning whining, blowing up public schools and putting kids to work where they can learn marketable skills, punching hippies, and, of course, nuking the Moon. If we all follow Fleming’s proposals, we make America a nation to be feared and respected once again.

All joking aside, Fleming makes a number of very good points under the guise of satire, not least of which is that we have to get into the habit of solving our problems ourselves once again and not look to the government. Even at its best, the government helping people is like Godzilla rampaging through downtown Tokyo. As Fleming points out, relying on the government is like relying on Godzilla to save a baby from danger. Even if he does it successfully, there is still that trail of destruction he left behind.

This is why the epilogue of this book is about the most dangerous hippie of all, the one we see when we look in a mirror. It does little good to punch hippies all day long, if at the end of the day we listen to the hippie inside us that tells us we can’t do it on our own, we need to government to help and protect us.  We need to shut that hippie inside us up so we can go about the work of making this a country even better than our forbearers gave us.

I  hope that Frank J Fleming is successful in making his readers think a little while they are laughing, and I hope he writes more books like How to Fix Everything in America Forever. We need them.

 


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