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If You Want To Ban Guns, Just Say So

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Why is Obama bringing up Australian gun control laws?

For The Federalist writes: While answering a few questions on Tumblr this week, President Obama informed participants that “our levels of gun violence are off the charts.” He claimed that it was incomprehensible that congress hadn’t reacted to overwhelming public opinion and passed legislation to expand gun background checks, adding that nations like Australia had long ago enacted sensible gun control laws to stop mass shootings:

“Couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that’s it, we’re not doing it, we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since.”

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This isn’t the first time Obama has brought up Australian gun control laws. He did so after the Navy Yard DC shooting, as well. Actually, on the left, Australian laws are frequently cited as a way to limit shooting rampages — perhaps get rid of them altogether. A few years ago, Nicholas Kristofafter mischaracterizing the law, recommended that it should be the “road map” for United States policy.

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What are they talking about here? Longer wait times? Banning “assault weapons”? Not really. In 1996, after a ghastly massacre at Port Arthur, the Australian government passed firearms regulations that banned ownership of almost all semiautomatic weapons, all self-loading rifles and shotguns, and instituted strict restrictions on all 51RyvaS1DiL._SL250_sale of ammunition for the weapons.

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A person can own a gun if they can demonstrate to the state that he has a “genuine reason” for having one – and “self-defense” is not considered a legitimate basis for ownership. Australia proceeded to run a buyback program that lasted nearly a year, in which time the government ended up paying citizens for 640,000 prohibited firearms. It was, in other words, a massive confiscation of guns. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Happens When The Facts Don’t Fit The Progressive Script?

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The Founders’ epistemic humility and progressives’ epistemic arrogance is a lesson for all time.

For The Federalist write: From the “climate change” debate to policy disputes over early childhood intervention programs and the minimum wage, the American Left prides itself on following the facts: what they posit and describe is there for everyone’s eyes to see. When the unrepentant blind demur, Progressives can claim at least a moral right to shut down debate–after all, there is no reason to pretend that those who ignore the facts have any real standing to dispute Progressive findings.

“The American founders’ humility led them to propose less comprehensive solutions for the social and political problems of their day. But even more important, it made them tolerant of differences even on important questions and magnanimous toward those whose judgment led them to very different conclusions.”

What, then, is to be done when the facts don’t follow the Progressive script?

Consider a couple recent fact-based reports:

Nancy Pelosi on the minimum wage report: “The C.B.O. made it absolutely clear: raising the minimum wage would lift almost one million Americans out of poverty, increase the pay of low-income workers by $31 billion and help build an economy that works for everyone.” In other words, pay no attention to the 500,000 people behind the curtain.

“Progressive overconfidence shows itself most obviously in their serial efforts to remake American society, but most ominously in their lack of tolerance for those who endanger their deepest commitments.”

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the National Resources Defense Council on the pipeline report: “We’re taking the inclusion of that scenario as good news” – referring to the hypothetical case, considered by the State Department, where future demand for oil is too low to encourage the development of the Canadian oil fields absent the pipeline. In other words, imagine a world where the facts fit one’s pre-determined values.

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Decadent Nostalgia: Celebrating The Top 12 Moments From Obama’s ‘Era Of Austerity’

From The Federalist, a must-see list by :

1. Calm down. That’s why they call it bone china.

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2. Secretary of State John Kerry visits his yacht during Egypt crisis. So?

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3. Perhaps this jewelry’s price tag could feed a family of four for a year. What’s important is that it looks good.

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[VIDEO] K-Street Cronyism Has its Own Action Figures: Meet The Kronies

Over at the CornerVeronique de Rugy has this treat:  Like every year, we can expect that bankers, farmers, green-energy providers, defense contractors, health insurers, and other protected industries will be among the winners of the agenda the president outlines in tomorrow night’s State Of Union Address. Well, now they have hot new toys to represent them and this very funny video to tell their story:

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Analysis: Federalists vs. Technocrats

Today, we treat politics as a sport, but it’s really a conflict of ideologies between federalists and technocrats…

Illustration by Barbara Kelley

Illustration by Barbara Kelley

Bruce S. Thornton writes: The media and pundits treat politics like a sport. The significance of the recent agreement to postpone the debt crisis until January, for instance, is really about which party won and which lost, which party’s tactics are liable to be more successful in the next election, and which politician is a winner and which a loser. But politics rightly understood is not about the contest of policies or politicians. It’s about the philosophical principles and ideas that create one policy rather than another—that’s what it should be about, at least.

From that point of view, the conflict between Democrats and Republicans concerns the size and role of the federal government, which is no surprise to anyone who even casually follows politics. But more important are the ideas that ground arguments for or against limited government. These ideas include our notions of human nature, and what motivates citizens when they make political decisions. Our political conflicts today reflect the two major ways Americans have answered these questions.

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