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Arguing From Both Sides of Their Factoids

January 20th, 2013
In writing the last post, I re-read the definitive posting I made on gun control back in 2006 and the comments, which ranged into late 2007. The last comment I made held a point which I had forgotten about over time, but which points out a very subtle and ironic flaw in two major arguments made by gun advocates. Gun advocates say that gun control or even gun bans are not effective; that with such laws, criminals are still able to get all the guns they need. Gun advocates also argue that if a dictatorship establishes itself in our country, they will institute restrictive gun control or gun bans, and these will be so effective that we will be defenseless against said dictator. See the slight flaw in the reasoning? It's actually quite similar to the arguments made by conservatives about taxing the wealthy: when you try to raise their taxes, the argument is that they don't have enough money to make a difference. But when they want to lower their taxes, the argument is that they are paying the lion's share of the nation's tax revenue. These kinds of inconsistencies betray either the lack of logic or reasoning in creating the argument, and/or a fundamental dishonesty when it comes to making the point.

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  1. Troy
    January 21st, 2013 at 07:00 | #1

    Well, no. Totalitarian states have historically gone all-out — up to and including death camps — in rooting out dissent and criminality so that’s an apples & oranges category error on your part I think.

    As for taxes, if we doubled taxes on the top 5% we’d just about halve the deficit, while increasing their share of taxes from 3/5ths to 3/4ths.

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2012

    has the raw data.

    Now, they *should* be paying a 40% tax rate, but that alone isn’t enough. Everyone needs to pay a 40% tax rate, like how Germany and the nordic states operate.

    (I recently read that in Sweden that when you pay a small business you only pay half the bill and the business has to file with the government to get the other half of the payment, less taxes of course.)

    Japan is down with the US with a mid-20s tax-to-GDP rate. Denmark and Sweden are around 50%, and Germany is high 40%s.

    http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/conor_clarke/OECD%20tax%20revenue%20as%20percentage%20of%20GDP.png

  2. Tim
    January 21st, 2013 at 16:29 | #2

    It appears that The 2nd Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

    See the article here:
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/thom-hartmann/47623/the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery

    Also this Law Review article it links to:
    http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Bogus2.htm

    This position makes perfect sense to me. The use of the term Militia seems odd to us today – and that should be a clue, because the 2nd Amendment is more about the right for states to preserve Militia’s than it is about guns.

    Individuals in the northern frontier would not have feared any talk of government regulating or even banning guns and so they would not have felt it imperative to have an amendment like this. They were out on the frontier where there was no law so no real threat of enforcement. Only when the region was settled would there be any fear, and at that point, the guns would not be needed for protection from wild life and hostile Indians. In fact, gun ownership has not been abridged in either Canada nor Australia, though they have put in reasonable regulation – and Australia did have problems with public shootings before they put in their measures. Gun ownership was a given in Anglo-saxon culture (the big exception being England itself). So no need for a second amendment. So, I don’t believe individual people every felt any real fear of the government “taking” their guns.

    But the issue of Militia, if you read the article, was a real concern for Southerners looking down the line and wondering how to maintain their way of life and economic system. Militia was another term for Slave patrols. With some places, especially some areas in Virginia and almost all of South Carolina, where black slaves vastly out numbered whites, the militia would have been critical for putting down slave revolts, which were common enough, and so necessary for maintaining their systems. The southern states would not have joined the Union if there was any chance at all that whites would be vulnerable to slave rebellions.

    Keep in mind this was a very real issue of the times. Contemporary to the passage of the 2nd Amendment was the slave rebellion on the French colony that became Haiti. That colony had 40,000 Europeans and 400,000 slaves. 10% of the whites were killed, tortured, and/or raped. It was a southern plantation owner’s worst nightmare. And it was a very real threat.

    The discussion talks about the issue of militias because they were central to the Southern way of life. They, I believe Patrick Henry in particular, believed that the creation of a Federal Army would cause state militias to be assumed into federal control, or diminish out of existence. Keep in mind that there was already an abolitionist movement at the time of the creation of the constitution. A letter in support of it was the last written document from Benjamin Franklin. Southerners correctly feared that what would become northern abolitionist might use the federal army to undermine slavery from two angles: diminishment of the Militia or emancipation through conscription.

    So, I think the second amendment isn’t even about the right to bear arms. It is about the right for states to have a militia. Which was really the right for states to have armed militias for slave rebellion suppression.

    The wording is vague to the point, because northerners were already moving towards abolition. The vocabulary of the ideology of the revolution was still prevalent: liberty and freedom. And so the amendment is couched in those terms in order to facilitate passage of the amendment through northern legislatures. But for Southerners, this was absolutely essential to their way of life.

    Their estimations proved true as well. Militia’s disappeared from our civic life, and from active use in our active civic vocabulary after slavery disappeared. Once slavery was no longer an issue, and gone from existence, the need for militia’s disappeared. And so when the National Guard legislation appeared, no one objected, because the need for militia’s was gone. Like southerners had feared, the federal systems absorbed the militia system. But it didnt matter at that point because the need for militias was gone.

    Again the pioneer on the frontier didn’t care one way or the other because they were outside the reach of the law. And the logic of the government taking away guns was an absurdity in those days – everyone already had them and the government relied upon them to have them so few individuals could ever see a need for a second amendment. The only people who could have really cared so much about the second amendment to have it put in, and had the muscle to see to it was the southern elite.

    This makes entirely too much sense. It explains alot of other things too. Why the uber-gun nuts (people who where guns in public) seem alot like rednecked racist – they both are sporting a form of chauvinism mixed with intimidation – they are the descendents of the antebellum bigots.

    It explains the militarization of Southern society – why lay men might be “colonels” (like the famous cooker of cn. It explains why the South might have been so successful during the early years of fighting as they had more experience in this kind of figthing. It explains so much.

  3. Troy
    January 22nd, 2013 at 06:10 | #3

    @Tim

    yup, knowing how screwed up this country is now [and a little bit wrt why] makes me want to move again.

    Sigh. I didn’t particularly like German in high school and at first look Swedish is even weirder. But I’m 1/4 Finnish so that’s got to be good for something, gene-wise.

    Canada, Oz, NZ, and SG don’t have the language issue at least. UK also, but they seem screwed up now too.

    There’s also Taiwan and ROK, but these seem less attractive than just going back to Japan.

    ~40% of this country is just f-ed in the head, with room-temperature IQs at best.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2004/11/State-By-State-Percentage-Of-White-Evangelicals-Catholics-And-Black-Protestants.aspx

  4. Tim
    January 23rd, 2013 at 00:34 | #4

    Canada is easiest, I suppose – you have easy access to American media that you are used to, same accents, and are on the same time zones.

    Australia is probably the best though, and better climate. New Zealand is perhaps the safest with great climate, but economy is not as strong and I can imagine a sense of feeling truly isolated.

    Singapore nice climate, I suppose, great economy.

  5. Tim
    January 23rd, 2013 at 00:38 | #5

    ROK is a very good place to be, I suppose, too. I’d recommend Busan – its much less formal and maybe even more international than Seoul, and you have easy access to Japan there.

    The problem with being in Confucian societies is that you are always an outsider, but in Korea, for the most part, Americans are still revered, but for the same reasons Korea is perhaps less comfortable than Japan. In Korea you are on the front line facing, not just crazy North Korea, but whatever shenanigans might emanate from China as well.

    Most of Japan is more comfortably isolated from mainland Asia.

  6. Troy
    January 23rd, 2013 at 05:02 | #6

    >Most of Japan is more comfortably isolated from mainland Asia.

    except for those islands they stole in 1895!

    AFAIK Japan hasn’t paid a yen or yuan in reparations to China. They’re skating on some very thin ice right now from what I see.

    That’s one thing that bugs me about Japan, it’s about as revisionist and “conservative” (in the ‘stupid’ sense) as the worst of the right-wing denizens of the US.

    What attracts me to the nordic states is that they seem pretty enlightened all around. And teh wimminz seem all above average, too, LOL.

    Sweden is the rough size and shape of California but with 1/3 the population. It’s actually 20% larger than Japan but with only 7% of the population.

    Japan needs to double taxes now to bring its budget into balance, and it’s not going to do that, instead they’re going to print and see what happens.

    You’d think real estate prices & housing rents will go up, but . . . maybe not, if the inflation just hits food and energy costs! What cost inflation can do is just take more money out of people’s discretionary incomes, leaving less for housing.

    A weaker yen will help manufacturing a little, but Chinese wages are SO much lower than Japan’s that I don’t really see that helping a whole helluva lot.

    Not to mention that Japan’s age 20-35 population is falling. When I was FOB in 1992, there were 27M age 20-35 yos in Japan. This rose to 28M by 1998 but began declining then, to 26M in 2005, 21M now, 20M by 2015, and 15M by 2040.

    China is going to have 300M age 20-35 population in 2020 (it will start falling then, too, but that’s a LOT of people).

    I would think that Japan’s future labor market might be getting rather “tight”, with more jobs available as the baby boom hits 70 and leaves the workforce. Japan’s baby boom was born 1947-1949 so that day is coming this decade!

    To put these numbers in tighter perspective, when I arrived in 1992 there were ~2M Japanese age 25. Now there are 1.3M and this will hover at around 1.2M until 2025, falling to 1.1M in 2030.

    Japan’s economy is a crazy thing. They all are, I guess : )

  7. Troy
    January 23rd, 2013 at 06:36 | #7

    Just read:

    “The [BOJ] said today it will buy 13 trillion yen ($146.6 billion) in assets a month starting next year.”

    wow! Central government spending is 90 trillion a year, so in 7 months the BOJ will boost the high-powered money supply that much!

    Imagine a Japanese economy with no tax burden, that’s the direction the LDP is taking things.

    Dunno how this squares with the DPJ’s 10% consumption tax initiative, LOL. Guess that’s still on for 2014. . .

    Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K!

    With a much weaker yen regime (= more export jobs) and falling working-age population, Japan might need me now? (!) Do I need it???

  8. Troy
    January 23rd, 2013 at 06:58 | #8
  9. Matthew
    January 23rd, 2013 at 12:27 | #9

    Sadly the blogger known as ampontan passed away last year.
    http://ampontan.wordpress.com/

    But his site is still up. His politics are conservative but it is a good source.
    Check it out if you have not already.

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