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The problem with the gun control debate

July 20th, 2012 No comments

The problem with the gun control debate is human nature.

A history professor once taught a class I was in that there are three major schools of thought on human nature.

The first is that people are basically good but are corrupted by society. He described this as St Augustine’s position, the accuracy of which I can’t personally confirm with my Associate Degree of Applied Science but I’ll roll with it.

This Augustinian position is the default position of those who believe in liberty. I’m not referring to the Democratic Party of the United States, so I didn’t want to say “liberal” up front. Both classic liberals like the Republican Party and social liberals like the Dems believe that people would be okay if X happened. For GOP X is a passive government and strong moral authority from churches or organizations like the Freemasons or American Legion. For Democrats it seems to be a program of civil rights and welfare, since it seems to have worked for Europe (I’d argue World War fatigue may have contributed more than the welfare state). Still, both sides believe if you fix society you can fix people.

I’m no Augustinian.

The second major view on human nature is that people are basically bad and society can make them behave. The prof said the best known proponent of this theory is Hobbes.

Hobbes believed that without a strong central government people will essentially go batshit. He put it more eloquently, but there it is. The Hobbesian view, which I enthusiastically endorse, is that people suck and we need to be tightly controlled to minimize the harm we do to each other. That is often termed authoritarianism, which is pretty well rejected by the classic/social liberal West.

The problem with the argument for gun control is that it’s based on the idea that people can be fixed, but people can’t be fixed. You can’t legislate or moralize away greed, discontent or simple madness, and a firearms prohibition won’t stop people who want guns from getting them.

The argument against gun control isn’t about fighting tyranny or whatever Second Amendment enthusiasts claim (as if they could survive a city SWAT team let alone an army, that’s where the anti-gun control position is flawed). The correct argument against gun control is: People Are Bad. Massacres like Aurora, Columbine or École Polytechnique can’t be prevented and they can only be stopped by someone with a gun in the right place at the right time. Not CCTV, not Guardian Angels or neighborhood watches, but people with guns.

That means we either have cops on patrol everywhere, all the time or we let people defend themselves. Which do you think is more consistent with this idea of freedom you have?

(if you’re curious, prof said the third idea was people are products of their environment, of which he said Marx was an example)

GPOYW: JW and the really old, really crappy building

July 18th, 2012 No comments

That’s not jaundice, that’s sick building syndrome. If that’s even a real thing.

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Let me tell you about my luggage fetish….

July 15th, 2012 No comments

I spent about an hour today laying out all the stuff I normally carry every day, making lists (not diagrams, thankfully, because I just thought of that now) and trying to figure out how to rearrange it all because I happened across the term “tactical wallet” online. I’m not sure what makes them tactical, they’re not bulletproof and they can’t be used as ziplines or anything. But they’re pretty damned cool.

I may have a problem.

I might not care.

About to click the link to “versipacks“. Don’t wait up.

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Not a pleasant summer afternoon

July 9th, 2012 No comments


Not a pleasant summer afternoon, originally uploaded by JW Doom.

I can haz fall nau?

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GPOYW: The worst day websurfing…

July 4th, 2012 No comments


GPOYW: The worst day websurfing…, originally uploaded by JW Doom.

… still pays less than going to work. Fuck.

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