Posts tagged ‘Second Amendment’

The Contradiction at the Heart of Speech Limitations Sought by Campus Progressives

Campus Progressives are becoming increasingly open about their opposition to unfettered free speech.  As a minimum, they seem to want restrictions on (and thus punishments for) speech they feel disparages ethnic minorities, homosexuals, various flavors of trans-gendered people, etc.  If pressed, many might extend these restrictions to other speech they don't like, e.g. climate skepticism or advocating for the Second Amendment.

What often confuses outsiders about these calls for speech restrictions is that they are generally asymmetrical -- eg it is OK to criticize Christians but not to criticize Muslims.  You can impugn the motives of rich white males but not of blacks or Hispanics.  Critics of these limitations will say, "aha, you are a hypocrite" but in fact Progressives are quite open about this asymmetry.  They argue from a framework where everything comes back to the powerful vs. the powerless.  In this framework, it is OK for the powerless to criticize the powerful, but the reverse is not allowed -- they call it "punching down".  Thus the need for asymmetric speech limitations to protect the powerless from the powerful.

But this is where we get to a massive contradiction.   Because whoever is in a position to enforce speech limitations is always going to be the person with power.  By definition.   The powerless don't write and succesfully enforce speech codes, or else if they do, we now have to call them powerful.  And historically, people in power always use speech limitations to protect their own power.  That is why the First Amendment exists, to protect minorities of any sort from the power of the majority.  If historically disenfranchised people suddenly start making speech codes stick that protect them from criticism, it only means that the in-group and out-group tags have been shifted and the new in-group is acting just like all the other in-groups have in the past.  That is why we don't rely on assurances of good behavior by people in power, we try to circumscribe them with Constitutional limitations.

Other Thoughts on Oil Prices and "Speculation"

As a followup to my point on oil prices, here are a selection of posts on oil prices and speculation that have caught my eye of late:

McQ writes about the charge of "inactive" oil leases, which Democrats attempted to use as an excuse for not opening up new lease areas for drilling

Tyler Cowen has a big roundup on the topic, with many links, and Alex Tabarrok has a follow-up.  Cowen discusses rising oil prices in the context of Julian Simon here.

Michael Giberson also addresses speculation, while observing that non-industrial buyers have not increased their position in the futures market as oil prices have risen

Finally, via Scrappleface:

When the U.S. Supreme Court reconvenes on the first Monday in
October, the nine Justices may consider whether the Constitutional
preamble clause "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" guarantees an individual right to drill for oil.

Now that the court, in a 5-4 ruling on the Heller case, has upheld
the Second Amendment right of "the people," not just state-run
militias, to keep and bear arms, some scholars say the court may be
willing to go the next logical step and recognize the peoples' right to
acquire their own fuel.

Dead On

Sean Lynch of Catallarchy is dead on with this:

The headline showing on Google News reads: "NJ's Move Toward Same-Sex Unions Called Undemocratic." My first thought upon reading that was, "Duh!"

It seems to me that civil rights are undemocratic by their very
definition, since they are rights that cannot be taken away, even by
the will of the majority, at least in theory. The whole reason our
Constitution even contains anything other than voting procedures is
that it was clear to the framers that if they left everything to the
will of the majority, they'd end up with an even worse tyranny than the
one they just threw off.

As much as some libertarians may complain, the fact that civil
rights today are in as good of a state as they are is a testament to
what a great job the framers did at making the USA an
"undemocratic" country. Heck, even the Second Amendment survives mostly
intact in most states. And the rate at which technology seems to be
empowering individuals seems to be outstripping the rate at which
democracy is attempting to take away our rights, even using that same
technology.

Terrific!  I shared similar thoughts but from a different angle when I wrote that "the right to vote" is the least of our freedoms.

125th Carnival of the Vanities

Welcome to the 125th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities.  Many thanks to Silflay Hraka for starting the Carnival to showcase smaller blogs to a wider readership.  Look for future Carnivals at these sites:

February 16th - Soccer Dad
February 23rd - Pundit Guy
March 2nd - Belief Seeking Understanding
March 9th - Solomonia
March 16th - Bird's Eye View
March 23rd - CodeBlueBlog
March 30th - Eric Berlin
April 6th - Incite
April 13th - Yea, Whatever

Future dates are open to anyone interested in hosting.  While you're here, feel free to look around -- this post will tell you more about what I do here.

OK, enough of the introduction, on with the show.  As is traditional, we have taken all comers regardless of their point of view.  I have exercised my editorial license only in selecting the first post:

Continue reading ‘125th Carnival of the Vanities’ »

Gun Quiz

Unlike many libertarians, I am not particularly rabid about gun rights.  It's just not an issue I am that passionate about one way or another.   I have always thought that the one monopoly the government rightly should have is on the use of force for anything other than self-defense (e.g. military, police & law enforcement, incarceration, etc.)  Given this one monopoly, it makes sense that the government should have some interest in regulating private weapons ownership.  However, we can theorize all day but as long as the Second Amendment exists, the government may wish to limit gun ownership but its ability to do so is severely restricted.

Anyway, the point of this post was really just fun and not philosophy.  Take four states:

  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Florida

Two of these states have concealed handgun carry rates by private citizens 3x higher than the other two.  Guess which.