pendothrax on September 10, 2009, 03:32:54 pm
An instance of non aggression in WWI?  would this be the famous soccer match/swap meet perchance?  ;)  i look forward to references of that incident.  And perhaps of the christmas season bombardments for the rest of the war as well.

SandySandfort on September 10, 2009, 03:55:58 pm
I like the web comic because its very entertaining, is an interesting example of how a libertarian society might function and remind me to some extent of Robert Heinlein's novel 'The moon is a harsh mistress.'
Is the comic in some way inspired by that novel?

Sorry, I meant to answer this earlier. Hell, yes! BEST. BOOK. EVER. (Well, my favorite, anyway.)

SandySandfort on September 10, 2009, 03:58:47 pm
An instance of non aggression in WWI?  would this be the famous soccer match/swap meet perchance?...

Uh... maybe.

J Thomas on September 10, 2009, 04:54:12 pm
...When the man upstream of me is pumping radioactive waste into the water and is not open to suggestions he discontinue this practice, I'm left with a choice between using force to dissuade him...

Your argument is a straw man. Under the Zero Aggression Principle, radioactive man is the aggressor. You certainly may use force in self-defense.

That is fine as a moral argument for what is OK for a good moral libertarian to do. But it leaves us with the situation that two good moral libertarians can simply have a disagreement about what it's OK for one of them to do on his own property, and about how much it affects the other one, and there is no defined way to resolve that. Whether it's better to have a method defined that is known in practice to often give undesirable results versus not have any method at all ....   If you say you'd rather leave it up to them to find an ad hoc reasonable approach, I won't say you're wrong.

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However, I am a bit mystified why you think every such scenario will end in blood vendettas and violence. That is not the way it works in the real world. People do talk about mutual problems, you know. If they cannot agree, they usually seek third-party resolution. Why? Because nobody wants to get in a shootout.

If they can find a single third party that they each think will decide things their own way, then they're likely to do that. Then the disappointed one has to decide what to do afterward, and community standards imply that if he doesn't back down after he promised he would follow the arbitrator's decision, nobody will agree to arbitration with him later.

If they can't agree on an arbitrator then they're likely to have a continuing dispute for a long time. People get into lots of chronic arguments that are not worth killing somebody over.

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This is in stark contrast to our world of governmental force where polluters can get pollution permits from the EPA which give them the power to pollute your property and takes away your say in the matter.

When it's you versus Union Carbide, how much say do you get in the matter without government courts etc? I consider these unresolved issues. If I see a society that consistently handles them in a way I consider fair I'll be very impressed.

J Thomas on September 10, 2009, 05:41:05 pm
This sounds suspiciously like the anti-gunners standard line, "If we allow people to carry concealed weapons, there will be carnage in the streets. Of course, in every instance where US states have issued more concealed carry permits, violent crime has decreased.

Statistics on this sort of thing are notoriously unreliable, to the point that I tend to discount any statistics intended to promote gun control or gun freedom.

Part of the problem is that places where people want gun control tend to be large compact urban areas, where it's obvious that a lot of social control is needed. So when they perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for gun control.

Other places, when people perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for harsher sentences, particularly harsher sentences for people who use firearms during their crimes.

For the most part, neither approach is effective.

Here is what appears effective to me, although it would be hard for me to point to the studies that show it:  When the rate of increase in police funding slows, there are more reported crimes and police report a crime wave. When the rate of increase in police funding increases, there are fewer reported crimes for awhile. I don't know why police report more crimes when they are understaffed and underfunded, the natural thing would be for them to do less reporting. But it does seem to go that way.

At any rate, places tend to get gun control only when they perceive a serious crime problem, and so if you compare them to places which have not yet had a serious crime problem they will look worse. Places which do not issue concealed carry permits tend not start issuing them while they have a serious perceived crime problem. If they issue permits and the problem goes from minor to insignificant, that is not particularly important.

Statistical evidence for gun control or gun freedom or harsh sentences affecting crime are all very weak. What is clear, though, is that perceived high crime rates cause gun control in some places and cause harsh sentences in other places.

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You seem to share the anti-gun liberal premise that people cannot be trusted to act rationally in their own best interest and need someone to beat them into line. (Thus putting guns and the power to use force only in the hands of our moral inferiors.)

I'd say it's quite clear that some people cannot be trusted to act rationally in their own best interest. Otherwise we would not have so many drug addicts or tobacco smokers or coffee drinkers. But they don't necessarily do better with somebody to beat them into line.

It's just one of those things. There are a lot of stupid people who're going to cause a lot of trouble for everybody else. You can't prevent it by controlling them. You can't prevent it by letting them run wild.

Every now and then you have to be the schlemazel and there's nothing you can do about it. Just clean up and keep going.

SandySandfort on September 10, 2009, 06:41:54 pm
... Statistics on this sort of thing are notoriously unreliable, to the point that I tend to discount any statistics intended to promote gun control or gun freedom.

"Notoriously" adds null content to your argument. If you can quote some unreliable pro-gun statistics and say why they are unreliable, I would be interested in hearing it. Have you examined any of the statistics and peer reviewed studies offered by John Lott or Don Kates? (BTW, Don is not only the pre-eminent authority on gun control and gun violence in the US, he is also a personal friend (I have baby sat for his perrot, Ché) and he is totally scrupulous in his examination of gun/crime statistics. Don has argued before the Supreme Court and is respected even by those who support more gun control than we have now.)

Part of the problem is that places where people want gun control tend to be large compact urban areas, where it's obvious that a lot of social control is needed. So when they perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for gun control.

Really? Citations, please. As you probably do not know, gun control really got started in the rural South as part of its racist Jim Crow laws. Of course, it was used to disarm blacks, not whites. It also existed more in the Old West than in the East, where most every gentleman had a special holster sewn into his suit coat.

No offense, but I have read the books and know the people. You have made a great many unsubstantiated claims, some clearly erroneous. I think it would be a good idea for you to arm yourself with more information. Tell you what, I will read any anti-gun rights book or study you ask me too, if you will read either Lott's More Guns, Less Crime or Kates' Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out. Oh yeah, Kates is a card-carrying liberal, who earned his chops as a civil rights lawyer and Freedom Rider in the South in the '60s. Kates sees the right to effective self-defense as the most important of all civil rights. I agree.

Rocketman on September 10, 2009, 07:42:41 pm
Sandy:  Would by any chance the non-violence episode of WWI that you were previously mentioned be the Christmas truce of 1916?  I remember reading just a few months ago that the last survivor (British) died that had participated in it.  If I remember my history correctly the high command of both sides just about had a fit when all their soldiers stopped fighting and feasted and drank together like they were long lost brothers until the next morning.  Their so called "superiors" made sure that it didn't happen again the year after that.   :'(

quadibloc on September 10, 2009, 07:57:07 pm
Truly, why would anyone want to live in a society where the initiation of force is considered a legitimate way to force others to act as you believe they should? Libertarians will leave you alone to live as you wish. They only ask that you leave them alone too. What is there to disagree with about that?

Wrong question?

Why would anyone prefer even a democratic society where the government can pretty much charge as much as it (or your fellow citizens) likes in taxes, to fritter away as it will? Where the government can impose rules about behavior that doesn't harm others? Where the government can force you to go off to some distant jungle or desert to get shot at or blown up?

If the alternative of taking away those powers from the government had no bad consequences, indeed, who wouldn't go for it?

When could such a situation have bad consequences?

Let's say the country you live in is like Holland or like New Orleans. It needs walls to keep the place from being flooded. (Either it's the only inhabitable spot on the planet, or the rest of the world has tough immigration restrictions.) Because of the competitive hurly-burly of life, while people intellectually recognize the necessity of keeping the dikes in good repair, the voluntary donations to the repair fund... have been inadequate of late.

And you don't have enough money single-handedly to solve that problem all by your own generosity.

If people, for some reason, feel it important to try as hard as they can to have more disposable income than the next person - but would be willing to contribute to the common good if they could be sure that everyone else was pulling his weight too - then a government with the power to levy taxes would suit such people.

I guess you could argue that such lazy and greedy people deserve whatever bad situation they end up in (either too much government or the dikes failing) but libertarianism is the system for free men.

If people are free to move out to the open frontier, the government should not ask too much of them, or they'll all run away. But if people face common dangers that must be met - whether it's keeping the dikes plugged, or maintaining an insanely expensive military deterrent to keep real tyranny away - and there's no "elsewhere" to run to, because the whole world is full.... then the choice isn't just between government having, or not having, certain powers.

The choice also involves what will happen, because of human nature, if the government doesn't have those powers to fill the gap.

Rocketman on September 10, 2009, 08:07:59 pm
Sandy:
     You know both Don Kates and Annette Haven?  You must run in some interesting circles.  ;D

quadibloc on September 10, 2009, 08:17:05 pm
Part of the problem is that places where people want gun control tend to be large compact urban areas, where it's obvious that a lot of social control is needed. So when they perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for gun control.

Other places, when people perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for harsher sentences, particularly harsher sentences for people who use firearms during their crimes.

For the most part, neither approach is effective.

I will address this from my experience in Canada. In 1962, people who committed first-degree murder were executed by hanging, and the crime rate was much lower than it is today.

In 1968, Pierre Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, and he brought in many controversial changes to our laws. He changed us over to the metric system, and he abolished capital punishment, and he brought in gun control laws (even in 1962, guns were more restricted in Canada than in most of the U.S., of course).

After our crime rate peaked in 1971, it has since declined due to demographic changes, but it is still much higher than in 1962.

Gun control places restrictions on law-abiding citizens, since it limits what they can do to defend themselves, and it makes it easier for the government to crush resistance if it decides not to hold the next election. Trudeau expresses admiration for Mao Tse-Tung back in his student days, and in various other ways made many Canadians nervous. Gun control may not stop drug pushers from getting guns, but it does make life safer for police officers dealing with domestic violence complaints, so there is one case where it is protecting some people from crime.

Harsh sentences for criminals, in themselves, at least only hurt the criminals.

If you really want to avoid crime, the solution, though, would be: ensure just about every young man who leaves high school can get a job that pays well enough to start a family.  We had that situation in 1962, thanks to the economic boom, and thanks to the country having lots of wide open space. Now, the economy has changed, and we've let in a great many immigrants despite elevated levels of unemployment.

If the steel mills and the car factories have shut down, so that a young man trying to start out in life doesn't have a chance of earning a reasonable living through honest labor - and a reasonable living means the ability to support a wife and children - then instead of being content to work merely to survive for the rest of his life, that at least a fraction of them will opt for drugs and guns and causing trouble is only to be expected.

People need to be kept in line by force when there isn't enough to go around. So the solution to crime, and the way to avoid a harsh repressive regime, are the same: plan ahead, make sure this situation does not arise.

quadibloc on September 10, 2009, 08:24:15 pm
As you probably do not know, gun control really got started in the rural South as part of its racist Jim Crow laws. Of course, it was used to disarm blacks, not whites.

Doesn't surprise me. But Angelinos who are made nervous by the people of Watts, or New Yorkers who are made nervous by the people of Harlem, aren't necessarily racist. This doesn't mean the resulting gun control laws aren't racist in their results... because the honest, but poor, black people who have no choice but to live in the bad neighborhoods have the most urgent need to defend themselves, and so the effective result is to make being black a crime.

Essentially, the demand for gun control in the big cities comes from: 1) a very pressing problem with crime, and 2) a desperate search for whatever solutions are allowed (i.e. by the courts) to be used. The Second Amendment doesn't seem to be in the Constitution as far as the Supreme Court is concerned, but a lot of other stuff is very much in there, limiting the options available.

J Thomas on September 10, 2009, 11:07:40 pm
... Statistics on this sort of thing are notoriously unreliable, to the point that I tend to discount any statistics intended to promote gun control or gun freedom.

"Notoriously" adds null content to your argument. If you can quote some unreliable pro-gun statistics and say why they are unreliable, I would be interested in hearing it. Have you examined any of the statistics and peer reviewed studies offered by John Lott or Don Kates?

I have only a slight acquaintance with Lott's work. I did coursework in epidemiology, so when I looked at an epidemiologist's website I understood the language and the ideas. I was interested in some ideas about risk factors for diabetes, as I recall, and he had done some work with that. Then I saw that he was posting a lot about Lott because he was having some sort of dispute with Lott about guns. He criticised Lott's methodology. He criticised Lott's data-handling. He criticised Lott's ethics. He criticised Lott for posting under a pseudonym, pretending to be a woman who supported Lott's positions.

I looked at some of Lott's work, enough to see that a couple of the damning criticisms were true. Then I dropped it. The epidemiologist looked reputable, and he did not make claims about gun control that disagreed with Lott. He did not say that Lott's conclusions were wrong, only that his methods to arrive at those conclusions were bogus. I went back to looking at his diabetes work and since then I've misplaced the links. A quick Google search didn't turn it up.

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(BTW, Don is not only the pre-eminent authority on gun control and gun violence in the US, he is also a personal friend (I have baby sat for his perrot, Ché) and he is totally scrupulous in his examination of gun/crime statistics. Don has argued before the Supreme Court and is respected even by those who support more gun control than we have now.)

It's possible he might have found something valid.

Part of the problem is that places where people want gun control tend to be large compact urban areas, where it's obvious that a lot of social control is needed. So when they perceive a problem with increasing crime they tend to push for gun control.

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Really? Citations, please. As you probably do not know, gun control really got started in the rural South as part of its racist Jim Crow laws. Of course, it was used to disarm blacks, not whites. It also existed more in the Old West than in the East, where most every gentleman had a special holster sewn into his suit coat.

I haven't seen studies on those, and they don't look like they would apply much to today's problems.

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No offense, but I have read the books and know the people. You have made a great many unsubstantiated claims, some clearly erroneous. I think it would be a good idea for you to arm yourself with more information. Tell you what, I will read any anti-gun rights book or study you ask me too, if you will read either Lott's More Guns, Less Crime or Kates' Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out. Oh yeah, Kates is a card-carrying liberal, who earned his chops as a civil rights lawyer and Freedom Rider in the South in the '60s. Kates sees the right to effective self-defense as the most important of all civil rights. I agree.

I don't have any anti-gun studies I care about. My claim, which I do not want to substantiate, is that gun laws of any sort have minimal effect on crime compared to a number of other variables which have much larger effects. There is no smoking gun, so to speak. Because of this it is hard to do valid statistical work that demonstrates an effect, and quite unlikely to find statistics that will demonstrate a large effect.

My conclusion is that guns simply don't matter much, so we should not go to big efforts to control them. Most gun owners do not shoot anybody with their guns. Most criminal gun owners also do not shoot anybody. If we could get rid of all the guns we would have at best minor improvements in the public health which could not possibly justify the effort and the backlash.

There's a vocal minority that treats gun ownership almost like a religion, and it might simplify things if we could get gun control classed as religious persecution and be done with it.

I don't want to justify my opinions. I do this sort of work for a living, it's tedious to do well, and a gun/crime relation looks like an unpromising area to get valuable results. To my way of thinking the burden of proof should be on people who want to spend public resources. Unless there's good reason to think that the benefits will outweigh the costs, we shouldn't attempt gun control. And people i trust say that there's little evidence that it would have much benefit at all.

Azure Priest on September 10, 2009, 11:43:19 pm
Those in favor of "gun control" laws need to remember that criminals as a rule tend to ignore laws, that's why they're CRIMINALS. Limiting what law abiding people can do to defend themselves has AT BEST, minimal impact on the criminal. It's just logic and common sense. Any other argument tends to be based on emotion, "it's not the criminal who killed my (relative, friend or loved one) it's the GUN. Get rid of it now!" While this premise is entirely understandable, it's completely flawed! If guns were not available, as in, somehow every last gun, gun factory, and gun maker in existence was found, collected, and systematically destroyed, the criminal who wants to rob, rape or kill you will still want to do so and will just find a new, creative way to do it. They'll make IEDs, take "tools" like TNT and strap them on children to set loose in shopping malls, or highjack airplanes and fly them into buildings! As for those who might argue, "knives never go off 'unloaded' or 'while being cleaned'!" Yes, yes they do.

As to why I like the comic, it is essentially a struggle between the "free men" of Ceres and the authoritarians of the UW. The struggle between freedom and tyranny always makes for a good story.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 11:55:01 pm by Azure Priest »

terry_freeman on September 11, 2009, 02:27:14 am
Even in more recent times, race is still the reason for many gun control laws. I remember a spate of laws against "saturday night specials" - cheap guns, which tend to be favored by poor people with brown or black skin. The very name comes from a song about an eight-day week supposedly enjoyed by blacks, the eighth "day" being saturday night.

There's a bit of the civil rights era which is seldom reported. NPR, to its credit, did put together a special which I have been told about, the Deacons for Defense. They were a black militia group, largely comprised of war vets, organized by Rob Williams, who wrote a book called Negroes With Guns. It's a slim book about an important, seldom-told part of our history. In those days the KKK was a serious menance, often assembling thousands or even tens of thousands of people at their rallies. Quite often, the local sheriff and his deputies were members. During the day, the sheriff would make gun raids, enforcing those supposedly color-blind anti-gun laws against selected blacks who were too "uppity." By night, the KKK would raid that defenseless family's home.

Rob Williams organized a militia to defend their homes. He did not start a war. If I recall correctly, he did not actually have to kill anyone. He and other members had to demonstrate their resolve and ability to defend themselves. In the face of that determined resistance, the KKK backed down. Today, they are a shadow of their former selves. The book is slim and well worth reading.

One of my former neighbors was a black pharmacist who grew up in the Deep South. He also spent a lot of time in the infamous Watts area of Los Angeles. He said he never went there without a piece. Concealed carry is effectively illegal in Los Angeles ( permits are almost impossible to obtain ), but it is practiced by those who value their safety more than the ideals of know-nothing politicians. He also told me what prompted California to pass stricter gun control laws; it was the appearance of openly armed Black Panthers in the chambers of the Assembly. Open carry of loaded weapons was banned after that incident. In his words, "They couldn't let niggers carry guns into the Assembly."

Another friend is a card-carrying Democrat, who works for the city government, belongs to a union, and so forth. He was chased by an anti-gay group all the way home, where his partner met the gang with a shotgun and drove them off. In his ( and my ) home state, Pennsylvania, Democrats and Republicans alike oppose gun control.

Rob Williams makes a telling point in his book. Bullies fear those who defend themselves. If one believes that blacks or gays are "inferior", then one is less likely to risk one's "superior" life versus theirs. A credible threat to defend oneself is sufficient to warn off such bullies.

I helped to start chapters of Pink Pistols in several places - Atlanta, Orange County, and Pittsburgh. A bit of googling should turn up some rather nice interviews in two of those places which showed up in the alternative, usually left-wing press.
 
California law is a bit weird. CCW permits are at the discretion of sheriffs and police chiefs; very difficult to obtain in Los Angeles ( practically impossible ), but easier in some other counties. It is not difficult to obtain a security guard license to carry loaded weapons openly on the job, the same as police do; it is common to see armed security guards. If you have no such license, it is legal to carry an unloaded weapon. The police have the power to stop you to determine if the weapon is unloaded. This can be quite a nuisance in some jurisdictions; in others, the police are pretty professional about it. Often, the man ( or woman ) on the beat is quite sympathetic. When asked why he carries a weapon openly, a young black recently answered "It's a dangerous world out there, and I can't carry a cop."


NotDebonair on September 11, 2009, 05:16:47 am
Truly, why would anyone want to live in a society where the initiation of force is considered a legitimate way to force others to act as you believe they should? Libertarians will leave you alone to live as you wish. They only ask that you leave them alone too. What is there to disagree with about that?

Nothing to disagree with at all.  It is such an attractive idea that some people must have tried it already.  Who and where?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 05:39:03 am by NotDebonair »

 

anything