As HBO’s blockbuster series Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season, Reason offers its own freedom-filled parody. A libertarian paradise north of the wall? What’s happened to Westeros’ social security trust fund? Should it take low-income Dothraki four years to get a hair-braiding license?
Written and produced by Austin Bragg, Meredith Bragg, and Andrew Heaton. Shot and edited by Bragg and Bragg. Starring Andrew Heaton, Austin Bragg, and Remy.
Liberals’ Hobby Lobby Doublethink
I’m particularly fond of the Game of Thrones reference. Read Jonah’s entire column here.
Abortion-rights protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court building on Monday holding signs that read “Birth Control: Not My Boss’s Business.”
“The notion that denying a subsidy for a product is equivalent to banning that product is one of the odder tenets of contemporary liberalism.”
Much to their chagrin, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito agreed in his ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Of course, that’s not how supporters of the government’s contraception mandate see it. They actually believe that birth control is their boss’s business, and they want the federal government to force employers to agree.
More on that later, but it’s first worth noting how we got here.
First, contrary to a lot of lazy punditry, there is no Obamacare contraception mandate. As my National Review colleague Ramesh Ponnuru notes, even President Obama’s liberal rubber-stamp Congress of 2009–10 never addressed — or even debated — the question of whether companies can be forced to provide contraceptive coverage. Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats simply asserted that they could impose such a requirement. Indeed, “several pro-life Democrats,” Ponnuru adds, “who provided the law’s narrow margin of victory in the House have said they would have voted against the law had it included the mandate.”
“If I like to dress up as a character from Game of Thrones on weekends, pretending to fight snow zombies and treating my mutt like she’s a mystical direwolf, that’s none of my employer’s business. But if I ask my employer to pay for my trip to a Game of Thrones fan convention, I am asking him to make it his business.”
Moreover, Hobby Lobby never objected to covering birth control per se. It already covers 16 kinds of birth control for its employees. But it objected to paying for what it considers to be abortifacients, which don’t prevent a pregnancy but terminate one. The pro-abortion-rights lobby can argue that “abortion” and “birth control” are synonymous terms, but that doesn’t make it true. Read the rest of this entry »
For WIRED, Andy Greenberg writes: A burgeoning subculture of 3-D printed gun enthusiasts dreams of the day when a lethal firearm can be downloaded or copied by anyone, anywhere, as easily as a pirated episode of Game of Thrones. But the 27-year-old Japanese man arrested last week for allegedly owning illegal 3-D printed firearms did more than simply download and print other enthusiasts’ designs. He appears to have created some of his own.
“With the Liberator we were trying to communicate a kind of singularity, to create a moment…”
Among the half-dozen plastic guns seized from Yoshitomo Imura’s home in Kawasaki was a revolver designed to fire six .38-caliber bullets–five more than the Liberator printed pistol that inspired Imura’s experiments. He called it the ZigZag, after its ratcheted barrel modeled on the German Mauser Zig-Zag. In a video he posted online six months ago, Imura assembles the handgun from plastic 3-D printed pieces, a few metal pins, screws and rubber bands, then test fires it with blanks.
“…The broad recognition of this idea seemed to flip a switch in peoples’ minds…We knew that people would make this their own.”
— Cody Wilson
It’s been a full year since I watched the radical libertarian group Defense Distributed test fire the Liberator, the first fully printable gun, for the first time. Imura is one of a growing number of digital gunsmiths who saw the potential of that controversial breakthrough and have strived to improve upon the Liberator’s clunky, single-shot design. Motivated by a mix of libertarianism, gun rights advocacy and open-source experimentation, their innovations include rifles, derringers, multi-round handguns and the components needed to assemble semi-automatic weapons. Dozens of other designs are waiting to be tested.
The result of all this tinkering may be the first advancements that significantly move 3-D printed firearms from the realm of science fiction to practical weapons. Read the rest of this entry »