The gun-banning deceit is revving up again, so to pace the blog on this topic, which already had been discussed in a recent post and a Comment of the Day on it, I held out this excellent post by lively Ethic Alarms regular Steve-O-in-NJ for a few days.
By deceit, I mean statements like White House spokesman Josh Earnest yesterday regarding so-called “smart gun” technology, on which the White House is preparing a legislative push. He said in part:
“I think what is true is that I couldn’t think of another industry off the top of my head that isn’t interested in looking at new technology that could make their product safer. Just about every other industry that I can think of, that’s what people do. That’s what manufacturers do. That is a source of innovation in a variety of fields. I think the best example of this is in the auto industry. Auto manufacturers actually market the degree to which they use new technology to make their products safer, to make cars and trucks safer. It is surprising to me that so many gun manufacturers shirk that responsibility.”
It is amusing that Earnest—is he the worst of the three professional liars the Obama White House has employed to mislead the press, deny the truth and spin misconduct?—prefaced his remarks by dismissing “wild conspiracy theories” that the new initiative was designed to make guns less accessible, then uttered this whopper. Guns aren’t supposed to be safe, or what anti-gun zealots regard as safe, which would mean that they would have to be made out of foam rubber. They are designed to kill things, including, when necessary, people. Cars are not supposed to kill anyone: making safe cars is nothing at all like making safe guns.
You know, Josh, I can’t think of any another industry off the top of my head–which is apparently quite a bit more well-furnished than yours–that makes killing tools and machines and does look for technology to make them “safer” by the anti-gun lobby’s definition. Hunting knives? Baseball bats? Have you ever seen a safe hammer? A safe bomb? Safe poison? Of course “smart gun” requirements would make guns less accessible (meeting regulations costs money and adds to purchase price, “smart” features that don’t work right engender lawsuits, guns that are more cumbersome to use are less desirable to people who want guns…) by making them more expensive and difficult to use. And that’s just what the President, Hillary, Chelsae and the rest want.
You’re a liar who treats the press and public as if they were idiots, Josh. Just off the top of my head. Yes, I know: I don’t care that you are just channeling your boss. The line about gun-makers “shirking responsibility” is a transparent effort to grease the skids for product liability lawsuits that would make it impossible to make guns, which is exactly the agenda being pursued here. Gun rights supporters know it, and are derided as conspiracy nuts. Anti-gun advocates also know it, and think it’s just fine.
Here is Steve-O-in-NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the Ethics Alarms post “Comment of the Day (1): ‘Unethical Quote Of The Week: Chelsea Clinton’”:
As with a lot of debates that have to do with the use of force – policing policy, diplomacy v. military, war and peace generally, and so on, there are usually a big crowd of followers of what sounds good, a smaller core of principled true believers, and a very small core of unprincipled manipulators who are primarily interested in power and influence, who know how to work and do work the rest of their side of the debate to their interest.
This is where the concept of moral gloss comes in. A lot of ideas may sound good on their face, and a lot of ideals can be used (painted on) to make bad ideas look good. As a result a few more principled people an a lot of followers get gulled into embracing ideas and proposals, that, if you think them through, don’t work, or can’t work, or are downright dangerous.
You can paint on the principle of “peace” and push disarmament in the face of a predatory enemy, or hold back an intervention, or argue that defense = aggression. You can paint on the principle of “protect the children” and push gun confiscation de facto or de jure. You can paint on the principle of “love is love” and use it to tighten the legal and economic screws on certain segments of the population.
Peel back the moral gloss, though, and you’ll discover that “peace” is as often as not a cover for cowardice, appeasement, or isolationism. “Protect the children” is as often as not a cover for imposing more and more burdens until the right of self-defense is meaningless, and all force is in the hands of the government or the criminals. “Love is love” is as often as not just a cover for placing increasingly high burdens on free exercise of religion. All of these ultimately are aimed at giving those in power more power and keeping them more and more secure in that power.
There’s a lot more I could say on all three, but, to stay on topic, personal weapons control has a long and not very noble history. Through most of the Middle Ages, large numbers of people were bound to the land in serfdom. Part of being a serf was the ineligibility to own, possess, or carry any kind of weapon, so a serf was essentially at the mercy of the armed nobleman and his armed men-at-arms. Even the Magna Carta only gave the right of revolution against tyranny to the nobles, although at least it was a start. The same was true for centuries more in Tokugawa Japan, where only the samurai and daimyo could own or carry weapons, so anyone else was powerless to disobey anything they decreed. A big part of the beginning of the American Revolution was the attempt to disarm the public in Concord and Williamsburg, under cover of night, no less – the British knew damn well what they were doing and that it was wrong.
The Ottoman Turks came seeking to collect weapons and raise new units of young Armenian men. Anyone who’s not a Turk knows what followed. Hitler’s regime pushed gun registration and later confiscation. Enough said about that. To this day Japan remains a very docile, controlled society with little individual freedom, and individual freedom and safety is stunted in Europe, where in the face of a riot or gang activity the average citizen has no recourse but to flee. However, the governments and their officials are tightly in power, and not going anyplace, pretty much no matter what they do.
The US has already had one Civil War when the people of one region decided they were being ignored and bullied by the other region and took up arms. It’s partly because of that that the Federal Government for a long time respected the states and let them take the lead on a lot of policy matters. Bit by bit and step by step the Federal Government has regained a lot of the ground it lost with the Civil War, however it hasn’t become a true national (rather than federal) government, with truly unlimited power over the lives of its citizens, yet. It’s no secret that the current leadership in both parties is looking for more and more power to centralize, although the Democratic Party is more open about it. It’s of course much easier to grab that additional power if there is no way that anyone can say “no” and have it mean anything. An unarmed and cowed population isn’t saying no to anything or in a position to demand anything. If this nation keeps going in this direction, soon we may confuse “freedom” with “the ability to ask permission.”