Archive for the ‘Thomas Sowell’ Category

Via Jawa Report, from FOX:

The federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.

To make society more efficient – because you don’t know how to make your own decisions, they will manipulate you into their chosen path.  They will adjust your choices, and create you into their image of the perfect efficient serf.

Milton Friedman famously said that we should be thankful for government inefficiency, because without it, we’d all be slaves.

Such policies — which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it — have come to be known as “nudges,” after an influential 2008 book titled “Nudge” by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term “nudge” has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar’s email forwarded it to others with the note: “Anyone interested in working for the White House in a ‘nudge’ squad? The UK has one and it’s been extraordinarily successful.”

Cass Sunstein is one of the most vile men on the planet, who desires to corrupt institutions made to serve the people into institutions that control the people.  It’s for your own good, you stupid peasant.

Richard Thaler told FoxNews.com that the new program sounds good.

“I don’t know who those people are who would not want such a program, but they must either be misinformed or misguided,” he said.

“The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government by using scientifically collected evidence to inform policy designs. What is the alternative? The only alternatives I know are hunches, tradition, and ideology (either left or right.)”

“Misguided” to this master of puppets is anyone who opposes him.  “MIsinformed” means you haven’t been properly indoctrinated to accept him as your master, as someone who knows better than him.

The goal is to control people, to force them to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t, to use a government instituted by the people as a tool to preserve freedom as a tool to coerce behavior.  It is the antithesis of freedom, and it is the most insidious form of tyranny.

Thaler is a would-be master of men, and a liar of the first order.

The alternative is that individuals make decisions for themselves, because no luciferian social scientist knows better than any individual in their own life.  He doesn’t know what’s best for you.  You have your own individual life full of information that you’ve collected that makes a difference in your own life that should inform your own decisions.  The “ideology” tack at the end is just to make him seem so “moderate” and “reasonable” by saying he dismisses both sides with his third way… of government leading you, you stupid, contemptible peon.  He mocks any other ideas as hunches, too, as though people don’t make their own decisions.

His ridicule of tradition is easily shot down by a man much wiser – Thomas Sowell:

“For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.”

But they are your masters, and they will lead, and they will educate you into believing that following is your natural condition, your correct place in life, and ultimately that it’s for your own good that you’re a serf.

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May as well start with the vice buffoon:

WASHINGTON — The terrorist organization al-Qaida is telling its followers to exploit the so-called “gun-show loophole” to buy semi-automatic weapons that could be used to kill Americans, Vice President Joe Biden warned in an interview with Hearst Newspapers.

Biden, the quarterback of the Obama administration’s anti-gun-violence campaign, said the classified presidential daily intelligence brief that was delivered to President Barack Obama and him last Thursday described “an al-Qaida principal” declaring on an al-Qaida website that supporters ought to “go to Washington and go to a gun show” because a fair portion of gun show sales bypass background checks.

Joe Biden is an idiot.  To begin with, there are no gun shows in DC.

For those who’ve never been to a gunshow, let me give you some idea the kinds of bumper stickers that are sold there amidst the guns and ammo and camo and beef jerky and militaria and holsters:

terrorist hunting permit

The people who frequent gun shows are people who are into gun culture.  American gun culture celebrates the United States, the Second Amendment, the US military, and does not, contrary to leftist belief, hate the country.  Nor are people at gun shows (often disproportionately veterans; and almost always Country Class folk) the kind of people to have any tolerance for terrorists.

“You can buy a semi-automatic weapon,” Biden characterized the al-Qaida official as saying. “It’s your obligation to do Jihad, and kill people, kill Americans. In other words, you radicals, what’s so gol’darn hard here? Just go to America and buy a gun.”

Joe Biden has clearly never been to a gun show, and understands neither American gun culture nor Al Qaeda.

At a couple gun shows I’ve been to, I’ve seen straw purchasers and illegal purchasers arrested and walked off by the police.  At all the gun shows I’ve been to, I’ve seen a crowd that’s predominantly of a conservative mindset, slightly older, mostly responsible, and regardless of who they seem they’d be politically based on gender or ethnicity or orientation – again generally more conservative and patriotic.  In the last few years, ethnic groups have become even more diverse (especially regionally), but in general, elements that are criminal or suspicious are turned away.

Gun people don’t want to sell to dangerous people – period.  Gun show clientele, especially the stereotypical “bitter clingers” do not truck with Al Qaeda.  Many of them have actively fought Al Qaeda, or have friends or family serving in the fight against Al Qaeda and in conflict generated by Al Qaeda.  US gun culture and Al Qaeda are diametrically opposed forces.  Biden and the left don’t get that.

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From WaPo, an opinion that gets it wrong pretty quick:

Those who support stricter gun control fear that the passage of time since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will result in further watering-down of measures. They should not, however, discount the risk that attempts to shave a few weeks or months off the usual legislative process will result in bad laws, with unintended and lasting consequences.

Pretty much all gun control laws are bad laws.  Ones made in the rush to dance in the blood of children are made according to Rahm Emanuel’s maxim of “Never let a good crisis go to waste” and “you can do things you normally couldn’t” in the wake of a crisis.  They are pushing for bad laws, and the families are pushing for bad laws.  Nothing in the laws they push will help anyone except criminals and would-be tyrants.

While pro-gun forces may overstate the case against expanded background checks — they are not, for example, a prelude to disarming the citizenry — President Obama and his allies have understated the difficult legal questions posed by extending the background-check system to cover more sales and transfers.

Wrong.

Expanded background checks, and the necessary registry to ensure compliance with background checks, are a prelude to disarming citizenry.  The included background checks as well as any other barriers to entry (taxes on ammo, guns, legislation restriction bearing and use of arms) are all there to prevent people from getting involved in exercising their Second Amendment rights.  The issue is that not only is it an attempt to track gun owners for later confiscation, it’s also a cultural attack by keeping people from ever owning guns by making it more difficult to do so.

Australians who used to be gun owners, or who try to still be gun owners, discuss how they have to have their rifles locked up at their club, have to have licenses, inspections, and have to comply with a myriad of laws in order to exercise what is a denied right that only still exists as a shadow in the form of a severely regulated hobby.

It is a prelude to disarming the citizenry.  Just ask people who’ve talked to dear leader.

Given the time and attention that they deserve, these issues could be addressed. But artificial deadlines and an undue sense of urgency guarantee worse results and continued mistrust on both sides of this debate.

There is no surrender of rights.  Period.

There is no mistrust.  The political left and those who favor gun control want to deny rights.  They say so.  Thus there is no compromise with denial of rights.  They are pushing to keep a crisis going in order to erase rights.  That’s all.  There is no debate to be had – there is an assault on rights.

It sounds absolutist, and it is.  They aren’t looking at how to deal with the murderer, they’re looking at how to target people who they think shouldn’t own firearms because to some degree Mao was right about the origins of political power.  Because the left mistrusts and loathes the American people as stupid people who need to be controlled, they want us all disarmed – you and me and your family and your friends – all “for our own good”.  I trust them to continue to assault our rights – they’ve stated it’s their intention.

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John Bolton and John Yoo cover Obama’s back-door gun control through the UN:

Even before his most ambitious gun-control proposals were falling by the wayside, President Obama was turning for help to the United Nations. On April 2, the United States led 154 nations to approve the Arms Trade Treaty in the U.N. General Assembly. While much of the treaty governs the international sale of conventional weapons, its regulation of small arms would provide American gun-control advocates with a new tool for restricting rights. Yet because the Constitution requires that two-thirds of the Senate give its advice and consent to any treaty, Second Amendment supporters still have a political route to stop the administration.

…the new treaty also demands domestic regulation of “small arms and light weapons.” The treaty’s Article 5 requires nations to “establish and maintain a national control system,” including a “national control list.” Article 10 requires signatories “to regulate brokering” of conventional arms. The treaty offers no guarantee for individual rights, but instead only declares it is “mindful” of the “legitimate trade and lawful ownership” of arms for”recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities.” Not a word about the right to possess guns for a broader individual right of self-defense.  Gun-control advocates will use these provisions to argue that the U.S. must enact measures such as a national gun registry, licenses for guns and ammunition sales, universal background checks, and even a ban of certain weapons. The treaty thus provides the Obama administration with an end-run around Congress to reach these gun-control holy grails.

…The attempt to advance gun control through the Arms Trade Treaty might surprise average Americans, but not liberals, who have been long frustrated by the Constitution’s limits on government. Gun-control statutes, like any others, have to survive both the House and the Senate, then win presidential approval. It is far easier to advance an agenda through treaties, unwritten international law and even “norms” delivered by an amorphous “international community.”

Yup, because they can’t get in through the front because you’ll oppose it, they’ll try to side with a collection of dictators-for-life and tyrants in the UN so they can take your rights.  If you’re armed, you’re still a free man, and the global elite don’t like that (sounds tin foily but it’s not if you look at what they want).  There simply are international institutions dedicated to removing your rights, and that’s just what they do.  You’re the last obstacle in “civilizing” the world; and then they can use force to make people do what’s best.

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And a shrewd piece from David “Broke the Gunwalker Story” Codrea:

The draft of S. 649 that provides the framework for the legislative arguments that lie ahead contains an item that could prove highly controversial, even though no one has, until now*, recognized it, let alone raised it as an issue. …

“[I]t shall be unlawful for any person who is not licensed under this chapter to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not licensed under this chapter, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s),” the section on Firearms Transfers states. “Upon taking possession of the firearm, the licensee shall comply with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the licensee’s inventory to the unlicensed transferee.”

But this “shall not apply,” the section continues, “to … bona fide gifts between spouses, between parents and their children, between siblings, or between grandparents and their grandchildren.”

The issue? Absent a change in federal law, 1 USC § 7 – Definition of “marriage” and “spouse”

Basically, if you have a gay marriage or civil union, you’re not exempted.  Thus, if you’re gay, you’re denied Second Amendment rights because of the definition of marriage (though at this point they’ve been reduced to privileges).

While marriage as an institution is one man and one woman; this law by recognizing marriage for 2A purposes and not recognizing gay unions does deny gay partners to enjoy their Second Amendment rights between each other without asking government permission.

Solution?  Don’t pass the stupid law that discriminates against gays and lesbians by requiring government-sanctioned marriage.  And as Andrew Wilkow notes, you can solve the whole marriage issue by finding where in the Constitution it says the government can regulate marriage… and since it doesn’t, you just hand it all back to individual churches (or states) to decide.  That way if the Reformed New New Reformed Church of Vermont wants to marry gays, they can – and it doesn’t infringe on their beliefs; and if the Al-Mohammed Al-Akbar Mosque of California doesn’t want to, they aren’t forced by government to marry gays – and it doesn’t infringe on their beliefs.

You leave them alone to live how they like, and you leave them alone to defend themselves how they like.  Armed gays don’t get bashed.  (And insert joke here about right to arm bears.)

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And finally, calling out the gun-grabber tyrants, Thomas Sowell’s piece – Gun Control Crusaders Unconstrained by Facts:

The dirty little secret is that gun control laws do not actually control guns. They disarm law-abiding citizens, making them more vulnerable to criminals, who remain armed in disregard of such laws.

In England, armed crimes skyrocketed as legal gun ownership almost vanished under increasingly severe gun control laws in the late 20th century. (See the book “Guns and Violence” by Joyce Lee Malcolm). But gun control has become one of those fact-free crusades, based on assumptions, emotions and rhetoric.

What almost no one talks about is that guns are used to defend lives as well as to take lives. In fact, many of the horrific killings that we see in the media were brought to an end when someone else with a gun showed up and put a stop to the slaughter.

The Cato Institute estimates upwards of 100,000 defensive uses of guns per year. Preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves can cost far more lives than are lost in the shooting episodes that the media publicize. The lives saved by guns are no less precious, just because the media pay no attention to them.

It’s the Broken Window Fallacy as related to public policy.  You can’t see the benefits of the gun – just as you don’t see the baker’s new suit.  You have to look for the hidden costs and benefits.  You see the broken window and its replacement just as you see the new gun control law “doing something”.  Most people don’t see the loss of safety through disarmament – at least not until it’s too late.

Restricting the magazine capacity available to law-abiding citizens will not restrict the magazine capacity of people who are not law-abiding citizens. Such restrictions just mean that the law-abiding citizen is likely to run out of ammunition first.

Eloquent and to the point.  Classic Sowell.

Some people may think that “assault weapons” means automatic weapons. But automatic weapons were banned decades ago. Banning ugly-looking “assault weapons” may have aesthetic benefits, but it does not reduce the dangers to human life in the slightest. You are just as dead when killed by a very plain-looking gun.

And they will come for those next.

Photo by Oleg Volk.

Photo by Oleg Volk.

One of the dangerous inconsistencies of many, if not most, gun control crusaders is that those who are most zealous to get guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens are often not nearly as concerned about keeping violent criminals behind bars.

Leniency toward criminals has long been part of the pattern of gun control zealots on both sides of the Atlantic. When the insatiable desire to crack down on law-abiding citizens with guns is combined with an attitude of leniency toward criminals, it can hardly be surprising when tighter gun control laws are accompanied by rising rates of crime, including murders.

From RealClearPolitics:

John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.”

Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.

What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures, other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.

Sowell is doubtless referencing Cass Sunstein’s recent treatise on how you’re stupid and need to be dominated and all of western thought on individual liberty needs to be destroyed because you’re too dumb to live, discussed here.

Sowell sums up:

Too many among today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.

Worth reading the whole thing.

From 2008, but very interesting to hear how many of the things that were discussed came to pass.

And just today, a story about nuclear North Korea.  Sowell concerns his discussion then more with Iran, but it’s still worth noting.

Another good Hoover Institution video with Thomas Sowell.

It’s a fascinating sit-down with a very wise man.

Around the 13:30 mark, there’s a very good summation of why the anointed intellectuals believe what they do so firmly, and reject the contrary.  There’s a huge ego component to it.

If you believe in free markets and traditional values and so forth, there’s no exultation that comes with it.  You’re just someone who believes in free markets and traditional values.  …  But if you believe in social justice and saving the environment, you are really something.  People with that viewpoint have a huge ego stake.  Empirical evidence is like gambling all of that on a roll of a dice.

History often proves the anointed intellectual leftist wrong, so they ignore it or rewrite it.  That’s why they get into education.  When science proves them wrong, science becomes subject to modification, and opinion trumps evidence – and any evidence that must be fabricated or changed to support the cause is completely acceptable.  Easy examples are Rathergate and Climategate.

By contrast, it’s difficult to be a cause-head who says “I don’t know what’s best for you, you do.”  It’s difficult to motivate people to a righteous cause of non-intervention in other’s lives.  If you’re out to save them from themselves, you have mission that lends itself easily to a holy crusade.  If you’re out to shrink the size of government and interference in their life so they can make the best decisions that their experience leads them to, you have a much more sophisticated argument, and a much more difficult job to motivate people – something that doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of political action.

You can’t do “fired up/ready to go” chants for that very well.

Eight – seven – six – five!  Everyone lead your own lives!

Four – three – two – one!  Let’s leave everyone alone!

From HumbleLibertarian

From Townhall.com:

Must every tragic mass shooting bring out the shrill ignorance of “gun control” advocates?

The key fallacy of so-called gun-control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available.

If gun-control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun-control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.

Guns are not the problem. People are the problem — including people who are determined to push gun-control laws, either in ignorance of the facts or in defiance of the facts.

There is innocent ignorance and there is invincible, dogmatic, and self-righteous ignorance. Every tragic mass shooting seems to bring out examples of both among gun-control advocates.

Read the whole thing here.