Jim Wilson shows strong libertarian tendencies in his editorial on gun control:
I’m not a big gun control fan or advocate. I’ve joked on this blog that I live in a state where the second is the only amendment that matters. I think the second amendment is an important one. I think law abiding people should be able to arm themselves, for protection, for hunting, target shooting, and whatever other lawful uses they like. I have not been convinced by anyone on either side of the gun debate that their gun policy of choice has played a significant role in the fall of crime anywhere.
I tend to error on the side of more personal freedom. I see little reason why most people should not be able to own a gun, but I am open-minded. If you can demonstrate to me that a strict gun control regime actually increases public safety and reduces violent crime, there is a part of me that would favor it. If you could show me that unlimited access to guns on demand, kept society safest, I would favor that. Which brings me to a question for gun control opponents: What if the jerks are right? If it was shown conclusively that a strict gun control regime kept society safest, how much freedom would you be willing to give up?
Don’t say that it could never happen, this is a hypothetical exercise. I want to know how much liberty you are willing to give up, for the security of the population. I personally hate being asked to give up any whatsoever and the thought of doing so makes me sick to my stomach. I tend to identify with Benjamin Franklin when he said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I dislike the heavy handed enforcement of laws designed to keep everyone safe. I cringe at seat belt laws, helmet laws, speed-traps and red light cameras. What traffic cops do is either a huge waste of tax payer money and law enforcement personnel, or a despicable way for the state to extract money from ordinary citizens trying to get work on time. These give the police one more excuse to pull you over and investigate you.
Such laws may keep drivers safe, but are intrusive. The huge fines that are associated with breaking them are often draconian. I feel the same way about other victimless crimes. These include prohibitions on drug use, paying for sex, obscenity laws, anti-sodomy Laws, prohibition of intoxication in public, contraceptive restrictions, bans on abortion counseling, nudity prohibition, curfews, bans on factual sex education, and parental notification laws. All of these are things that have been or still are enforced in this country. Then there are restrictions on one’s ability to freely carry knives or swords in many jurisdictions. Shouldn’t that be covered under the second amendment too? Maybe it is time to start a National Knife Association to lobby for sword and knife owner’s rights.
Perhaps some of these laws have positive benefits, and I hate to think that any of them do. Where do we draw the line? How much petty tyranny is consistent with keeping America the land of the free? It seems like there are always proposals for new freedom restricting laws made for our own good. Recently, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed legislation that would allow the health department to levy fines on vendors who sell soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. This is likely to be completely ineffective at protecting public health, as well as likely to trigger the exact sort of cynicism of government that gets Republicans elected in the first place.
It is not only Government that is doing this sort of thing. A major manufacturing employer near one of my former residences did not allow its employees to enjoy tobacco products even off the job. Others are taking a greater interest in what their employees are doing on Facebook and other websites. As much as I dislike government encroachment into my private life, I find employer encroachment just as annoying but in today’s economy what can we do?
We are overly tolerant of being regulated, supervised and prohibited. Our government spends a fortune prosecuting victimless crimes and loses just as much in tax revenue. Furthermore, the government now has unprecedented abilities to gather information on and detain American citizens, all in the name of fighting terrorism. How much of this is keeping us safe, and when is enough, enough? Where do you draw the line?
More in Pol. Govt.:
This entry was posted
on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 at 1:09 am and is filed under Arizona Families, AZ Politics, Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Critical Thinking, Government, Guns, History, Libertarianism, Question of the Day!, Responsible Government, Sanity, Separation of Church State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.