No government can equitably divide what it does not first control. And controlling the economy also requires controlling the rest of society.
My family was better off than that, but we still lived along the U.S. poverty line. We didn’t own a house, car, or TV. My parents rented a three-bedroom apartment in a ramshackle compound, made us kids a big bookshelf out of plywood, and taught us how to type on a used Mac with a 1995 facing-smile logo that spent a lot of time looking at me above progress bars on the screen.
That life wasn’t bad. Or, at least, most of the bad parts weren’t caused by “poverty.” You see, we lived in a socialist country where the government allowed enough free enterprise to fuel economic growth but maintained firm control to ensure economic equality. President Xi Jinping described our government’s strategy: “We want to continuously enlarge the pie, while also making sure we divide the pie correctly. Chinese society has long held the value of ‘Don’t worry about the amount, worry that all have the same amount.’”
Previous instantiations of this long-held value meant pretty much everybody (except powerful Communist Party members) did not have enough to eat. But 1980s reforms aimed at enlarging the pie had improved matters a great deal, so the common people lived better every day. Kids of my generation had soft little jaws and even chubby tummies. We did not eat the leaves off trees. We lived in apartments with electricity and, in the cities, running water.
The bad part of life was that the government maintained such a firm control of everything. This meant no freedom of speech or of religion. A couple million innocents were ground through the labor camps while I grew up, and one or two family acquaintances subjected to physical torture, but it was the only way government could firmly control everything. Without this control, they could not ensure that the pie, instead of simply growing larger, would be correctly divided. No government can equitably divide what it does not first control.
From Poverty to People’s Ideas of Poverty
From this environment, I was grafted, at the age of 18, into the American Ivy League. I became interested in U.S. politics: wrote for the newspaper, attended debates, tickled my brain with honors classes and the popular books of the American elites.
Young American elites love to talk about income inequality. Last spring, a great lecture hall was filled with them, debating a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to fight poverty in America. The Left side of the room gave impassioned speeches on the moral necessity of fighting poverty. Read the rest of this entry »
Regressive 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Rejects Challenge to Restrictive ‘May-Issue’ Concealed Carry PracticesPosted: June 9, 2016 | |
Judges Callahan, Silverman, Bea and Smith dissented to one degree or another, arguing the majority opinion eviscerates the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms as defined by Heller and reaffirmed in McDonald.
Chris Eger reports: A federal appeals court held that the right of a member of the public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment.
“Once again the 9th Circuit showed how out of touch it is with mainstream Americans. This decision will leave good people defenseless, as it completely ignores the fact that law-abiding Californians who reside in counties with hostile sheriffs will now have no means to carry a firearm outside the home for personal protection.”
— Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action
The combined cases under review, Peruta v. San Diego and Richards v. Yolo County, were historic reversals of lower court rulings issued by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014 which found that, in both cases, California sheriffs used unconstitutional policies to limit the right to carry under the Second Amendment.
Since the rulings, the cases have been widely cited and have been the impetus to roll back overly strict may-issue permitting practices in a number of areas outside of California, but were set aside and reheard by an 11-judge panel formed for an en banc review last year.
The panel consisted of only two of the original three-judge panel that found for Peruta and Richards, Chief Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas, an appointee of President Clinton who dissented in the initial ruling, and Consuelo María Callahan, an appointment of President George W. Bush who ruled in favor of Mr. Peruta.
“The Second Amendment is not a ‘second-class’ constitutional guarantee. In the context of present-day California law, the Defendant counties’ limited licensing of the right to carry concealed firearms is tantamount to a total ban on the right of an ordinary citizen to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
The other nine judges are largely a mix of appointments by Democratic Presidents, with the ghosts of Clintons past appearing heavily on the panel:
- Judge Harry Pregerson, a 1979 appointment by President Carter
- Judge Barry G. Silverman, a 1998 appointment by President Clinton
- Judge Susan Pia Graber, a 1998 appointment by President Clinton
- Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a 1998 appointment by President Clinton
- Judge William A. Fletcher, a 1998 appointment by President Clinton
- Judge Richard Anthony Paez, a 2000 appointment by President Clinton
- Judge Carlos Tiburcio Bea, a 2003 appointment by President George W. Bush
- Judge Norman Randy Smith, a 2007 appointment by President George W. Bush
- Judge John Byron Owens, a 2014 appointment by President Obama.
In the end, in an 89-page ruling handed down Thursday, the panel went with the earlier District Court rulings and set aside the 2014 gun rights victories.
“Thus, Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights have been violated. While states may choose between different manners of bearing arms for self-defense, the right must be accommodated.”
— Judge Callahan
“We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public,” written by Judge Fletcher for the majority.
“The right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment,” noted Fletcher before citing references to gun control laws going back to Edward I of England in 1299, moving on to Colonial America, the Civil War post-bellum period, and onto modern times.
“Because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the Amendment,” he wrote. Read the rest of this entry »