Some Links And Thoughts On The 2nd Amendment, Brexit & Libertarianism

I’m pretty sure human nature hasn’t changed all that much, nor have our founding documents.

Some of what seems to have changed is public sentiment around which many people are gathering.  Certain ideals are helping to define and describe the type of society such folks would like to live in, with consequences for all of us through law and public policy (interpreting the Constitution).

I know and have known people living in rural areas, hunting as a part of family and generations’ long tradition (yes, there are always a few nutballs and losers).  I’ve witnessed careful duty and patient instruction (as well as drunken and foolish behavior in the woods).  I’ve witnessed people who own guns as a pleasurable pastime placing them within nature, almost sacredly so.

Valuable survival skills, lots of time spent and knowledge gathered outdoors, and a respect for living creatures are not uncommon.

I also know and have known some inner-city folks, decent, honorable people (living amidst a lot of family and civic breakdown), law-abiding and reasonable people (dealing with much violent and dangerous adolescent gang and criminal behavior as well as crap policing).  Many such folks have trouble seeing guns as a pleasurable pastime, which strikes me as not unreasonable, given their experiences.

A different, but no less valuable, set of survival skills can be found; lots of time spent and knowledge gathered within a city within nature, and where a respect for people and moral decency are not uncommon.

When it comes to gun ownership, David Harsanyi doesn’t agree with some Supreme Court justices:

‘The singular purpose of the Second Amendment, they argued, was to arm militias, not individuals. For some reason, they contend, the Second Amendment, unlike most of the Bill of Rights, actually empowered the government rather than the individual. Any other interpretation was an antiquated and destructive reading of the past. But history has never backed up this contention — not then, and not now.’

The public debate is still a mess, and I believe this short-changes us all.

I still don’t trust those with authority to oversee a society with guns anymore than I trust those with authority to oversee a society without guns. Your ambition and knowledge has limits, and so does mine.

Merely defaulting to the authority such ideals would produce (by influencing real courts or appealing to abstract concepts in the ideal society to come) strikes me as a failure of the moral imagination.

More broadly, so you get a better picture of my thinking, dear Reader, I also don’t trust peace idealists to properly manage the instincts and reasons we humans go to war.  Bad maps, in my opinion, tend to lead to worse handling of the terrain.

A quote from this piece over at the Atlantic: From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work

“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.”

On that note, an interesting thought from Carlo Lancelotti:

This seems to me a primary question regarding the European Union (started as an economic project), which has slowly morphed into a political, legal and cultural one.

A very slight majority of Britons wanted out, and now they’re out.

Partly, this is why I harbor unresolved doubts regarding the anarchic foundations of libertarianism, and mission creep.  If individuals, keeping their promises and not doing violence, form the basic unit of modern civilization, than does it follow that some sort of equilibrium will be achieved?  I’m not sure this kind of anti-establishmentarian, decentralized authority vision of a civilization is practicable.

I remain skeptical, but this may say more about me than libertarianism, or that some libertarian principles lead to a kind of ‘economic-union first’ politics, upon which the European Union is arguably failing.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.  What have I gotten wrong?

Related On This SiteA Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeTwo Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

New liberty away from Hobbes…rule-following punishers?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Steven Pinker curiously goes Hobbesian and mentions an ‘international Leviathan’:   At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes


You’re Free Now-From The Volokh Conspiracy: ‘Your Side Tries to Impose Its Beliefs — My Side Seeks Justice’

Full post here.

Volokh reacts to a U.S. News & World Report article with ‘justice’ on its side.

No, that’s not parody.


‘The focus on Big Bad Catholics when many of the phenomena discussed in the article — e.g., the “campaign [in] the statehouse” by “the forces arrayed against women’s right to self-determination, which I take it refers to restrictions on abortion — stem more from the views of non-Catholics as well as the Catholics. The lack of acknowledgment that about half of women don’t share the views on abortion that the author thinks the “sisterhood” shares.’

Maybe we’re a bit out-of-whack in our public discourse these days.

On that note, there was a recent NPR story about a young man overcoming the religious strictures of the Jehovah’s witnesses to become part of a ‘nomadic’ hipsterish-folk duo (to be fair, they have some talent):

‘During a recent conversation on Morning Edition, Berube talks about how what he found in Wisconsin and with Beaupre would challenge his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness — and change the course of his life. The two now live a nomadic lifestyle and say they’re excited about their chosen homelessness’

Chosen homelessness!

Pastor Terry Jones and a few Westboro Baptist church stragglers should be happy to hear the news:  A mere head-dunking into the river of secular humanism and they could be washed clean.  Perhaps they can find salvation in the afterglow of love, music, and another day on the open road, the faces of Woody Guthrie and/or Pete Seeger faintly visible in the Northern sky, offering some small comfort.

My theory (it must be true) runs that besides staying relevant to a younger audience, some folks at NPR actually need the blood of young hipsters and English majors on which to feed.

All kidding aside, who needs a good economy when you’ve got justice, history and progress on your side?

Did the 60’s counter-culture and the conservative counter-counter culture both win, in a sense?

Christopher Hitchens, William F. Buckley and Peter Robinson discuss below:


Related On This Site:  What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

I’m drafting on Charles Murray: The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Free speech and Muslimst From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…  Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’… More From Spiegel Online After The Westergaard Attacks Via A & L Daily: ‘The West Is Choked By Fear’

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

From’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

More On The Higher Ed Bubble-Roger Kimball: ‘This Week’s Funniest Headline…’

Full post here.

Kimball responds to a letter penned by concerned professors at San Jose State:

‘Online courses are dangerous because they would “compromise the quality of education” and “stifle diverse viewpoints.”  Ha, ha, ha. As if “the quality of education” and genuine diversity were features of most colleges and universities these days.’

I’ve been warned not to call it a bubble, as if suddenly, all of that student-loan debt, the assumption that college is the only way to get ahead, and the continued devaluation of the degree weren’t going to have consequences.  Add to this the insolubility of the boomer ‘greatness’ model in many sectors of our economy, along with rapidly changing technology and well, it sure looks like a bubble.  Many changes are coming.

Educational guilds are going to be shaken up to some extent, and I support a challenge to 60’s generation idealism and Leftism that has since taken root in many of our universities.  That kind of idealism places impossible demands on our institutions.  For all the talk of diversity, meritocracy, and tolerance, well…it doesn’t take great insight to see where much of that leads.

Technology is no panacea (of course), and technological utopianism comes with its own true-believers, hucksters, and salesman.  But it can help us rethink the core educational mission.

From the comments:

‘I see potential in online classes. I see their usefulness. But I do not see them replacing the traditional university. The university has failed us because liberalism has taken over and stifled intellectualism. We need to think of alternative paths to education. Online education may be a part of the solution but it is not the solution.’

Few people expect the traditional university to disappear altogether.  As for political philosophy, I’d be happy with the old liberalism (probably not coming back, certainly not as it was), or at least those people who know the most about education accepting change a little more flexibly, even if some are awash in Continental philosophy, and yes, cultural Marxism.

We live in interesting times.

Addition: How do you stop cheating with online courses?

From The American Conservative Blog:  The false promise of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses).

Related On This Site:  Repost: Mark Cuban From His Blog: ‘The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon’…From The New Criterion: ‘Higher Ed: An Obituary’,,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Should you get a college degree, probably, but you also probably shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re going and divorce yourself entirely from the cost:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

From Foreign Policy: ‘Germany’s Age Of Anxiety’

Full post here

Germany has long imported Turks as a source of low-wage labor.  And now:

‘But the third generation of Turks, who came of age in 1980s and 1990s and only knew Germany as a home, began demanding more from the state. When all they seemed to receive in return were welfare payments, discontent rose both among immigrants and among German citizens. Germans resented what they saw as a permanent dependent class; Turks pointed to systemic discrimination and cultural exclusion.’


“Germany is beginning to realize that there is a gap in the party political spectrum to the right of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, but to the left of the virulently undemocratic neo-Nazis. Opinion polls show that a party inspired by Sarrazin’s thesis — a party that would be critical of Islamic expansion in Europe and that seeks to control immigration — could win 15 percent of the vote, thus seriously shaking up the German political system.”

Interesting times.

Also On This Site:  Low European Birth Rates In The NY Times: No Babies?From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration DynamicFrom YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

Why hobble our economy, if it’s so important to integrating new arrivals?: Via The A & L Daily-Interview With Christopher Caldwell At Spiegel OnlineTheodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain

Add to Technorati Favorites

Atul Gawande At The New Yorker: ‘The Cost Conundrum Persists’

Full post here.  (an update)

Gawande is knowledgable, and his articles accessible, even if you may disagree:

“Even if health reform disappears, these fundamental problems will not. The cost conundrum persists.”

Also On This Site:  Atul Gawande At The New Yorker: ‘Testing, Testing’From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”

Addition: A friend points out that one barrier to free trade (and a talking point even on the left) is protectionism in our farm markets…so if you nationalize, be prepared to deal with unforeseen consequences down the road?

Health Care is a right?: From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?

Clive Crook At The Financial Times: ‘Congress Misses The Point Of Reform’

A Few Thoughts On The Health-Care Debate: Ram It Through?

Add to Technorati Favorites

The NY Times On Equal Parenting: When Mom And Dad Share It All

Full article here.

The author, Lisa Belkin, showcases a series of husbands and wives with children who are going against the grain, and attempting to create:

…“equally shared parenting,” a term the Vachons have embraced.”

There are reasonable arguments here, and issues here that affect all of us: work/life balance, family, raising children, tradition:

“The point…is not to spit at tradition for the heck of it but rather to think things through instead of defaulting to gender.”

I could be convinced. Yet, is the equality stick the best tool by which families should measure themselves and challenge these norms? Isn’t this inviting all kinds of other problems?

“Social scientists know in remarkable detail what goes on in the average American home…Any way you measure it, they say, women do about twice as much around the house as men.”

Most men already have incentive to do some of the housework if they love their wives, and wish to continue to have love, companionship, and kids (in part, a way to pass on their genes). Also, of course, social science has its limits as most good social scientists would point out.

What about biology?

“Women, she says, know that the world is watching and judging. If the toddler’s clothes don’t match, if the thank-you notes don’t get written, if the house is a shambles, it is seen as her fault, making her overly invested in the outcome.”

How many guys do you know who worry about writing thank-you notes? As the article mentions, this isn’t an option for everyone.


Later on, it pretty much becomes a parody of other hot-button liberal issues:

“Jo would not disagree with Deutch’s point that she had a role in creating that inequity — choosing to major in international rural development…”

Poor Jo…will she never win?  There’s this from a lesbian couple:

“We developed a wonky theory,” Dorea says of all that talking [sic]. “You need a rabid N.G.P. — nongestational parent. The N.G.P. has to push if you are going to get an equal relationship”

Dads-to-be take note!

Addition:  From bloggingheads: The purpose of women is to bear children?

Another Addition:  If you’re like me, you’re exasperated with this line of thought.  Even if liberalism is more grounded and deep than this, it still promotes an idealism that can be dangerous to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the rest of us.  When will they bottom out?  Do they need to bottom out?  How will the right respond?  What effect does this have on our institutions and our freedoms?

by wallyg

Add to Technorati Favorites