A Philosopher's Blog

The NRA & Obama’s Children

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized by Michael LaBossiere on January 18, 2013
National_Rifle_Association

National_Rifle_Association (Photo credit: ChrisWaldeck)

The NRA recently released a video in response to Obama’s skepticism about its proposal to put an armed guard in every school. The gist of the matter is that Obama is accused of being an “elitist hypocrite”  because his two daughters have constant Secret Service protection.

The ad asks “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” It then, perhaps somewhat oddly,  drags in the matter of taxes on the wealthy: “Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”

Obama’s view on the matter of armed guards in schools was presented on n NBC’s “Meet the Press”  in December of 2012: “I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools, and I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem,” Obama said. “And, look, here’s the bottom line. We’re not going to get this done unless the American people decide it’s important.”

On the face of it, the ad could be seen as a well-crafted  ad hominem tu quoque.  This fallacy is committed when it is concluded that a person’s claim is false because 1) it is inconsistent with something else a person has said or 2) what a person says is inconsistent with her actions. This type of “argument” has the following form:

  •  Person A makes claim X.
  • Person B asserts that A’s actions or past claims are inconsistent with the truth of claim X.
  • Therefore X is false.

The fact that a person makes inconsistent claims does not make any particular claim he makes false (although of any pair of inconsistent claims only one can be true – but both can be false). Also, the fact that a person’s claims are not consistent with his actions might indicate that the person is a hypocrite but this does not prove his claims are false.

In this case, pointing out that Obama seems to say one thing (that he is skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools) while practicing another (having his two girls protected by the Secret Service even when they are in school) and then inferring Obama is in error would seem to be a clear example of this fallacy.

It is also well worth pointing out that Obama’s claim does not seem to be inconsistent with his daughters having secret service protection. After all, what he claims is that he is “skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools.” That is, he is skeptical that putting more guns in school and doing nothing else will solve the problem.

Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, expanded on the content of the video and seems to be making an appeal for a consistent application of a principle/practice: “The president and his family enjoy 24-hour-security from law enforcement at taxpayer expense, and this ad asks very real questions: If it’s good enough for the president, why shouldn’t it be good enough for the rest for us?”

A principle is consistently applied when it is applied in the same way to similar beings in similar circumstances. To fail to do this is to apply a principle inconsistently, which is what Arulanadam seems to be accusing Obama of doing.   Inconsistent application of a principle is a problem because it violates three commonly accepted moral assumptions: equality, impartiality and relevant difference.

Equality is the assumption that people are initially morally equal and hence must be treated as such. This requires that moral principles be applied consistently.  Impartiality is the assumption that moral principles must not be applied with partiality. Inconsistent application would involve non-impartial application.  Relevant difference is a common moral assumption. It is the view that different treatment must be justified by relevant differences.

Arulanandam does seem to make a reasonable point. After all, if such armed security for Obama’s children is acceptable, then consistency would seem to demand that the same protection be afforded to other children (or even everybody).  Or, at the very least, that providing such protection for others would be reasonable.

Naturally, similar claims could be made regarding all the special treatment the President receives. For example, the president’s plane is maintained to a degree that vastly exceeds what is required for commercial airliners. Given Arulanandam’s view, it would follow that commercial airlines should be required to follow the same practices. Interestingly, Arulanandam’s view could also be applied to almost any special perks anyone receives. If this view were not being put forth by the NRA this view would certainly be seen as rather leftist.

The obvious reply to Arulanandam is to point out relevant differences between Obama’s situation and that of other Americans. Obviously, Obama is the president and this means his family is more likely to be targeted for harm than other families. As such, the difference in protection can be justified based on this relevant difference. Not surprisingly, other powerful individuals tend to secure more protection for their families on similar grounds, namely that they are more likely to need that protection than the average person. Thus, the difference in protection could be justified on the grounds of relevant differences.

One obvious counter to this is, as the NRA noted, that this sort of disparity seems elitist. After all, he and his family are protected around the clock by trained professionals, while the rest of us are mostly on our own (although we can call the police). He also gets to fly in his own wonderfully maintained plane in luxury while the rest of us generally have to fly coach in planes that are most likely maintained at the legally minimum levels (if that). Given the NRA remarks about taxing the wealthy, it is somewhat ironic that this would apply to all the elites who enjoy all those elite benefits that the rest of us do not receive. It, as the NRA contends, seems unfair that Obama and the other elites get so much while the rest of us get so little.  Who would ever have suspected that the NRA would make what seems to be a leftist attack on the privileged elites in favor of what seems to be equality? Then again, maybe they are only concerned about equal armaments and not equality in general.

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72 Responses

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  1. WTP said, on January 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Matthew 7:3

  2. T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    There are so many mistakes and errors in reasoning in this post that it is difficult to know where to begin.

    Let’s start with the first point, and then add more as the day passes.

    1) The gist of the matter is that Obama is accused of being an ”elitist hypocrite” because his two daughters have constant Secret Service protection.

    Actually, the ad itself was referring to the security guards at Sidwell Friends school. David Gregory’s kids also attend this school, which is why an image of David Gregory appears in the ad.

    There does seem to be some question about whether the security guards at the school are actually armed. Many are police officers and therefore could be armed, but it is not really clear.

    2) It is true that Arulanandam mentioned secret service in his interview and muddled the situation.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Well, you have accused me of one possible factual error. How’re the NRA spokesperson seems to have also made that same alleged mistake….

      • T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

        Let’s remember the issue is armed guards at schools, which is what the ad addressed. The NRA spokesman broadened the discussion to armed security in general, probably because it turned out to be unclear if the security guards at Sidwell Friends are, in fact, armed.

        Still, the intent of the ad itself was to focus on armed security guards at schools. What somebody says about the ad afterwards does not change that.

        I think we can agree that no one is proposing secret service protection for all children.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

          There seem to be multiple issues raised in the ad and the follow up statements. The main point seems to be the claim that Obama is in error because he is a hypocrit.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Obama’s view on the matter of armed guards in schools was presented on n NBC’s “Meet the Press” in December of 2012: ”I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools, and I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.”

    Here Obama sets up a strawman by deliberately mis-characterizing the views of his opponents. I don’t think anyone believes that “putting more guns in schools” is the “only” answer to anything.

    Mike does not mention O’s stawman tactics, which are so predictable now that they should be obvious.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

      What are his tactics?

      • T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        Here’s a whole NYT article devoted to O’s strawman tactics:

        “Here’s the trick: Take your opponent’s argument to a ridiculous extreme, and then attack the extremists,” said William Safire, the former presidential speechwriter who writes the “On Language” column for The New York Times Magazine. “That leaves the opponent to sputter defensively, ‘But I never said that.’ ”

        The telltale indicators that a straw man trick is on the way are the introductory words “there are those who say” or “some say.”

        “In strawmanese, you never specify who ‘those who’ are,” Mr. Safire said. “They are the hollow scarecrows you set up to knock down.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/us/politics/24straw.html?_r=0

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          I’m familiar with the straw man. If talking about the NRA, Obama should have mentioned their other suggestions. The NRA did make some claims about the media and mental health.

          • T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

            So what exactly is O’s view on armed guards in the schools? I take it that he regards armed guards in the schools as part of the solution. Do you agree?

            Why, then, was the NRA attacked so strongly by O’s minions for suggesting something that O himself believes is part of the solution?

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

              This is perfectly consistent with my characterization of the Dems as being intolerant of dissent. Unless you agree with the party line 100% you are branded as the enemy and attacked.

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

              Jeopardy:

              (Reuters) – Fiat (FIA.MI) and its U.S. unit Chrysler expect to roll out at least 100,000 Jeeps in China when production starts in 2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals in the world’s biggest car market.

              Bzzt.

              AT: Yes, Magus.

              M: What was the Politifact “Lie of the Year” for 2012?

              AT: Right, for $500.

            • magus71 said, on January 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm

              Why is no one talking about the fact that New York already has armed guards in schools and those schools haven’t become free-fire zones like anti-gun nuts (say they) fear?

        • magus71 said, on January 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm

          Hate to say it, but Mike speaks in strawmanese. Even when referring to “Fox News”, I try to get him to be specific as to whom made certain statements. I notice he rarely quotes Krauthammer or Will, presumably because their arguments are too strong and it’s more difficult to cast the Right as crazy nutters with allergies to reality while quoting them, even though, in actuality, they are part of the foundation of conservative intellectualism.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Brilliant analysis:

    You may agree 100 percent with the president’s position on gun control, but his stagey histrionics, his endless reliance upon human props, his cheap sloganeering, his emotionally driven hectoring: all of that bespeaks a very deep contempt for his audience, which is the American people. If he really believes that surrounding himself with adorable little tots is a substitute for substantive arguments for well-thought-out policy proposals, he thinks that the people — you people — are a bunch of rubes. Unhappily, 51 percent of the American people are happy to endorse his low view of them. There is something peculiar to political enthusiasts, a phenomenon I observed at both conventions this year: People in political audiences know that they are being manipulated, cynically and professionally — and they enjoy it. Obama’s admirers look up to him because he looks down on them, not in spite of the fact. There is something more at play than the mere admiration of stagecraft.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/337917/doc-obamas-traveling-medicine-show-kevin-d-williamson

    • magus71 said, on January 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      “If he really believes that surrounding himself with adorable little tots is a substitute for substantive arguments for well-thought-out policy proposals, he thinks that the people — you people — are a bunch of rubes.”

      He is right, TJ. The “Age of Ideology”, the 20th century, is proof that people are incredibly susceptible to populism and sloganism.

      TJ and WTP, I think both of you travel to Europe, at least on a semi-regular basis. I know TJ does. As such you probably have a good idea of what those societies are like. If you could find the time, please read Mark Steyn’s, America Alone. It is my favourite non-fiction book of the last 20 years because it hits so many critical issues and makes excellent arguments for why America should not go the European road. Steyn is no fringe right-winger. He writes for The National Review and Maclean’s. I’d like to know what your opinion is of his analysis of Europe and where things are headed. He is not hopeful. Neither am I.

      • T. J. Babson said, on January 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

        Steyn is fabulous and reminds me of Swift. I have read lot of his columns but never any of his books.

        Right now I am trying to find some mental approach that will allow me to stay cheerful and optimistic despite the transformation of America to a failing state. Maybe some Roman writers after Rome stopped being a Republic?

        “Enjoy the Decline” looks interesting. Here is the blurb:

        The “End of America?” Most likely. The “Demise of liberty?” You betcha! The “Destruction of Western Civilization?” Of course! But why let all of the above get you down? Learn to “Enjoy the Decline!” “Enjoy the Decline” is mandatory reading for all conservatives, libertarians, Americans, and lovers of freedom who are mourning the slow, but sure death of their culture and their country. America is over. Freedom will be curtailed. Liberty is dead. And above all else, it is inevitable. But the answer is not to get depressed and give up hope. The answer is to change your attitude and learn how to “Enjoy the Decline.” You get one life on this planet and Aaron Clarey explains how to get the most out of it even though socialism and tyranny are all around you. From learning how to adapt your psychology to learning to let go and take advantage of the socialist system, “Enjoy the Decline” carries the freedom loving American through the 5 stages of grief and puts them on a path to enjoy their life regardless of what is happening to their beloved America. Dark, macabre, and morose, but truthful, helpful, and practical all the same, it is guaranteed to make you happier than your socialist counterparts even though they have everything they want. Make leftists, liberals, and progressives miserable. Enjoy the Decline!

        • T. J. Babson said, on January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

          Found a video of the author. Looks like his basic idea is to game the system:

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

          Fight the fall. That’s my game.

          • T. J. Babson said, on January 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

            Mike, what are your favorite Roman philosophers from the declining era of the Roman Empire?

        • magus71 said, on January 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

          Steyn is hilarious in his books, despite his doom-saying. I barely go a page without breaking out laughing. His column in NR is called the Happy Warrior.

      • WTP said, on January 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm

        Magus, appreciate the suggestion but if I had the time to get through any non-technical books, I’d read yours. I do pick up a lot of Steyn’s stuff on Ace and David Thompson’s blogs. But for humor, no one beats P.J. O’Rourke in my book. I’ve even once had a checkout girl at the bookstore tell me she was very “liberal” but she loved his stuff.

        Yes, I have made several trips across the pond, but mostly for pleasure. My one business trip was rather informative in regard to how things work over there, but even that was to the UK where it’s not so terrible. I did get spit on in Austria once, or so my wife tells me. I was too tired from skiing and in too good of a mood to notice. Just an (obvious) American walking down the street. I can’t imagine that sort of hate over absolutely nothing.

        As for Mike’s comment Fight the fall. That’s my game.…No Mike, that’s MY game. You and your leftist cronies are the fall. I’ve been watching this crap coming on for 20 years now. I will not surrender to your ignorance and bias, even if it kills me. And I’ve had a close call with that, elsewhere. Not going away and not going to stop.

        • T. J. Babson said, on January 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

          It’s over, WTP. Collectivism has failed again and again and again, but–hey–let’s keep trying…

          O’s victory has sealed our fate. RIP USA.

          • WTP said, on January 20, 2013 at 2:31 am

          • magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

          • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 11:20 am

            I heard fringe liberals say the same thing during Bush’s terms. And look! It’s coming true. The sky is falling. . .

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

              Actually, biomass, it did happen under Bush. Remember all the civil liberties we were supposed to get back when O was elected?

              Once the government takes away a freedom it is very difficult to get it back.

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

              Just as we overreacted to 9/11 by taking away civil liberties, we have overreacted to the recession by running trillion dollar deficits.

              We are now so far in debt that the money cannot be paid back. We will have to devalue our currency and take a huge hit to our standard of living. The middle class will erode further. Social friction will increase. The US will shrink its military and all sorts of trouble will emerge around the world.

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

              Remember the Grand Inquisitor from the Brothers Karamozov? Replace “Church” with “State” and Obama is the Grand Inqusitor.

              Wikipedia:

              Despite declaring the Inquisitor to be an atheist, Ivan also has the Inquisitor saying that the Catholic Church follows “the wise spirit, the dread spirit of death and destruction,” i.e. the Devil, Satan. He says “We are not with Thee, but with him, and that is our secret! For centuries have we abandoned Thee to follow him.” For he, through compulsion, provided the tools to end all human suffering and for humanity to unite under the banner of the Church. The multitude then is guided through the Church by the few who are strong enough to take on the burden of freedom. The Inquisitor says that under him, all mankind will live and die happily in ignorance. Though he leads them only to “death and destruction,” they will be happy along the way. The Inquisitor will be a self-martyr, spending his life to keep choice from humanity. He states that “Anyone who can appease a man’s conscience can take his freedom away from him.”

            • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

              TJ: Thanks for the clarification. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my mention of Bush was the first mention of his 8 years in this discussion. Perhaps Bush’s infringements were mentioned in one of the vids posted here. Don’t know. As you know, I try to avoid viewing these vids unless the commenter is kind enough to provide time markers for the important parts.

              http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/fri-january-18-2013-

              You can watch the first 6 minutes. “Creative sound editing” in movies and games is a suggestion worth watching the show for.

              Can you blame me for thinking your statement that “O’s victory has sealed our fate. .” was just another way of saying that one skunny guy with a plan can bring down this exceptional nation?

            • magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

              The fall started a while ago. Obama didn’t bring it about. He’s just speeding it up.

            • magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

              Fringe liberals? You mean like Mike? Read his blog posts from the Bush years….

  5. T. J. Babson said, on January 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Even the NYT agrees that O’s signature proposals would not have stopped Sandy Hook:

    A new federal assault weapons ban and background checks of all gun buyers, which President Obama is expected to propose on Wednesday, might have done little to prevent the massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month. The semiautomatic rifle that Adam Lanza used to shoot 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults complied with Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, the police said, and he did not buy the gun himself.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/us/politics/obama-gun-proposal-to-look-beyond-mass-shootings.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130116&_r=2&

    So the bottom line is that the only suggestions anybody made that might have stopped Sandy Hook came from the NRA. Of course, these suggestions were attacked mercilessly by the Dems.

  6. magus71 said, on January 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Mike, comment stuck in your filter.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Released into the wild. Halo 4 tomorrow-Dave will be playing, but Ron will be out of town.

      • magus71 said, on January 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm

        I’m at lovely Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Trying to avoid the heavy metals the Soviets left behind.

  7. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    The politicos in Washington believe they are better, smarter, wiser, and more capable than us. We are their children, and they treat us as such. “The question, of course, is whether subjects shall be assumed to be dependent upon rulers, as children must be dependent upon their parents, or whether they shall be assumed to be responsible and self-governing.” ~ George H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory, Third Edition, (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, Inc., 1937, 1950, 1961) pp. 72-73.

    • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      “The question, of course, is. . .or. . .or. . .”Sounds like a simple either-or-or question. I think it’s more complex than that.

      As children we grow up take on more responsibility until, at last, theoretically, we are completely self-governing and responsible. But,as I read the Constitution, we/us/I/the citizenry are never completely self responsible. Our government was established “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for “the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. Those are all things we, as individuals, as towns, as counties, as states have voluntarily turned over to the Union.

      We ^are^ dependent on the people we elect to represent us to undertake the tasks(responsibilities) enumerated in the Constitution. There are many and varied interpretations of specifically what those tasks are and how they should be executed, and those interpretations are going to effect to a greater or lesser extent our actual and ‘felt’ sense of freedom, but, in the long run , unless an individual actually wants to go off to his own island and live, he/she is giving over a certain amount of responsibility to the federal government just by living here.

      • ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

        I think the Founders presupposed the people were responsible adults who could govern themselves, because our system is created for that purpose. Once that presupposition alters, as it has, since 1913 at least, we are left with the only other political presupposition: that the people are incapable of governing themselves and require a massive bureaucracy to manage and govern them.

        • magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

          Democracy is not a cure-all. Try making a classroom full of 13 year olds a democracy. The things that brought this nation together and held it together shattered very quickly. We are no longer held together by common beliefs. The current state of our nation has more to do with the French Revolution than the American Revolution.

          This is where I am caught in the middle and why I have never been comfortable with calling myself a Libertarian. I realize that “The People” can become such a fearsome mob as to require an autocratic government to control them. The Middle East is the perfect example. The West removed the values that kept Americans from becoming a mob. Now, since internal values no longer hold us back, only a cold, distant and crushing government can. It is a step backward for a once great people, the same step back all great empires took in the past before withering on the vine or being consumed by barbarians.

          I once read an article about disciplining dogs. The writer stated that a disciplined dog was a happier dog because the owner could do more with the dog; bring it out in public where he was confident the dog would not misbehave etc. Thus the dog enjoyed more freedom and was happier. It is the same with a nation. If we cannot discipline ourselves, we will be disciplined by a government.

          “The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints. Prudence would dictate this in the case of separate, insulated, private men, but liberty, when men act in bodies, is power.”~Edmund Burke, Reflection on the Revolution in France

          • ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

            An important point to consider is that “the Founders” were federalists who usurped the antifederalists at Philadelphia. Patrick Henry is more to my liking than Alexander Hamilton. The federalists also beat down the antifederalists at Gettysburg, which was the death of the tenth amendment. See: http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/21f2_47e.htm

        • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

          I’d add that the constitutional convention was called to replace the Articles of Confederation because some states wouldn’t , among other things, contribute to paying debts or agree to necessary treaties with foreign nations— “America Under the Articles” from Wikipedia Articles of Confederation article.
          Is that an indication that “the Founders presupposed the people were responsible adults who could govern themselves” ? They replaced the Articles with the constitution we now have—one that provides “a strong(er) central government”

          Did the Founders presuppose that weapons available to the general public in 2013 would be so much more efficient at killing than the musket was in 1789? Would they have written the Second Amendment in the exact form as it appears today if they had?

          People have understood for quite a while that man is imperfect. Many will succumb to temptation. By definition, it can’t be presupposed that man, in general, is able to govern himself in a society of men. That’s why we have laws. I think you can move the date from 1913 much further into the past.

          • T. J. Babson said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

            biomass, I think the founders clearly understood that there is a cost to staying a free people.

            Have you looked at how many kids die in swimming pools each year? Are you in favor of banning swimming pools? Logically, why not?

            • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

              TJ: “Logically” I never said I was in favor of banning swimming pools. I am, on the other hand, in favor of swimming pool regulations. Google ‘swimming pool regulations’ and you’ll find quite a few state, city, university, etc. regs there. Some actually make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised that there are some states where there are no regulations, because not all states can be relied on to make the wisest decisions. Logically, why wouldn’t there be necessary regulations to make pools safe for all? Which brings us to what I actually said. . .

              I didn’t say the Founders did not understand that “there is a cost to staying a free people”.I was specifically responding to AJ’s statement— ” I think the Founders presupposed the people were responsible adults who could govern themselves”. Clearlly, they couldn’t. Some of the early colonists, living under the Articles of Confederation clearly had a strange way of showing that they “understood the cost of staying a free people”. They are part of the reason we have the Constitution as we know it : one that specifies the requirement of states within a country that hopes to pay its debts and fund its wars (among other things). A country with a stronger central government than the Articles defined. Because some states literally didn’t know the “cost of staying a free people”.

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm

              Swimming pools kill far more kids than do assault rifles each year.

              “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” Obama said.

              Logically, it would make more sense to ban swimming pools. We have to think of the children.

            • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 11:11 pm

              TJ: “I think the founders clearly understood that there is a cost to staying a free people.” Of course they did. Read my 9:40. That’s why they had a constitutional convention and replaced the Articles. The Founders understood the cost, but the people didn’t. The “cost” of staying free as the Founders referred to it in the Second is more than owning a firearm for target shooting and game hunting or even self-defense. Anyone who wants to own a gun, using your meaning of “cost” should “logically” be part of a “well-organized militia.
              And the cost of staying a free people is more than just fighting off tyranny. The “cost” is also paying debts, signing trade treaties with other nations, etc.—that “cost” is the very reason the Articles were replaced. Some states didn’t understand that cost and were unwilling to take on the responsibility. Some of the Founders saw things much more clearly.

              Again, “logically”, swimming pools are irrelevant to the discussion here. Try for starters the fact that guns (to be important to the “cost of staying a free people”) are designed to kill. Pools are not.
              Go Harbaughs.

          • magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

            “Did the Founders presuppose that weapons available to the general public in 2013 would be so much more efficient at killing than the musket was in 1789? Would they have written the Second Amendment in the exact form as it appears today if they had?”

            It’s rather relative. The whole idea is that the people should be able to defend themselves from tyranny. I don’t think they could do that with muskets, do you? And again, banning something with a law does not mean the law will do what it hopes liberals wish it would do. We know that banning guns, even outright, would not make the guns go away. It’s been tried, and failed. Unless of course we want to make America a totalitarian state, then there is the possibility of it working. Obviously the cost would be too high.

            Even Afghans are by law allowed to own one rifle per household. I don’t want to be less free than an Afghan.

            Laws don’t make the conscious of a people. The conscious of a people make the laws. Murder is not wrong because it is against the law, it is against the law because it is wrong.

            • biomass2 said, on January 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm

              If Syria’s any example, we’re going to need more than assault weapons to defend ourselves against tyranny in this country. And the owners of this weaponry are going to have to be members of “a well-regulated militia.”

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 21, 2013 at 7:49 am

              What will prevent the militia from backing its own tyrant?

              Are you serious in your apparent fear that tyranny is imminent or are you just playing along (or something else)?

            • magus71 said, on January 21, 2013 at 2:50 am

              In fact, the people in Syria have no gun rights and only have weapons because the CIA is giving them weapons. If Afghanistan is an example, it’s tough to beat a bunch of guys running around with rifles, even if you have the most powerful weapons in the world.

              Jefferson authenticated the 2nd Amendment. He was not part of a militia, and yet he owned rifles. It is pretty clear what the early Americans thought about personal gun ownership; they were for it.

              “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state”~ Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776

              So biomass2, what do YOU think more gun restrictions will actually do? Even if we outright made every gun illegal, would it help law abiding citizens in aggregate?

            • biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

              magus71: “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state”~ Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 Well. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. There’s no mention of guns for hunting purposes or target shooting purposes. And for some reason the Founders saw fit to add the words “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state. The Founders, also, made no mention of sport use of firearms.

              “So biomass2, what do YOU think more gun restrictions will actually do? Even if we outright made every gun illegal, would it help law abiding citizens in aggregate?”

              Let’s play fair here. More gun restrictions do NOT equal “making every gun illegal”. I’ve never called for “making every gun illegal”. Your question might be worth responding to IF we sweep that dusty straw man off the table.

            • T. J. Babson said, on January 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

              “Are you serious in your apparent fear that tyranny is imminent or are you just playing along (or something else)?”

              Mike, do you think we have suddenly escaped history? These things happen, and nobody sees them coming.

              Although I am not personally a gun person, I like having law abiding gun owners around me. Criminals don’t know who the gun owners are.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm

              The tyrant rarely arrives unannounced. Rather, he usually marches to the palace at the head of a parade of the people.

              While you at wise to be on guard against tyranny, it is not wisdom to panic at every shadow and envision conspiracy behind every corner.

              The most probable collapse scenario does not arise from the left, but rather from the collapse of the economy at the hands of the financial and corporate masters. That will then set the stage for the fall of Pax Americana.

              We got a little taste in 2008, which was a follow up to all those previous disasters inflicted by the “elites.”

            • biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

              TJ: The Founders were no less concerned with Tyranny 200+ years ago than we are today. Have any laws that have been passed since then infringed on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” —fto maintain tht “well regulated militia” or for self-defense?

              “I like having law abiding gun owners around me. Criminals don’t know who the gun owners are.”
              And law-abiding gun owners can’t be certain who the law-abiding gun owners are. How many times have we heard a next-door neighbor say “He seemed like such a nice (kid) guy. I never thought he might blow the heads off his wife and children and the visiting grandparents on Christmas day.” * The very few “law-abiding gun owners” who snap for some inexplicable reason have never been to a psychiatrist or have a criminal record. Maybe someday, if the studies are funded, we’ll find out what causes the otherwise sane individual to to do horrific things. We could start with road-rage studies—only because congress for some unknown reason has so far balked at funding firearm research.

              *When I was seven we lived in a small house. Our parakeet cage sat about a foot away from our dining table. At Thanksgiving dinner my parakeet fell from his perch, dead. I was devastated.

            • ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

              I agree the assault weapon of the day was the intention of the second amendment.

            • WTP said, on January 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

              The tyrant rarely arrives unannounced. Rather, he usually marches to the palace at the head of a parade of the people.


              God, you’re clueless. For the tyrant to have a chance at ruling, she must first disarm the people. Otherwise she’s a mighty pretty target being at the head of the parade and all. But I’ll bet you felt real good and smart when you typed that out.


              it is not wisdom to panic at every shadow and envision conspiracy behind every corner.


              In what way is preserving our 2nd amendment rights a “panic at every shadow”. Straw man.


              The most probable collapse scenario does not arise from the left, but rather from the collapse of the economy at the hands of the financial and corporate masters. That will then set the stage for the fall of Pax Americana.


              And on what is this assertion based? The commie claptrap you hear in the faculty lounge? Talk about panic. You do not understand the basics of what you are talking about here. This is nothing but rhetorical lefist dogma. Government policies created the current situation, as I’ve tried to explain to you time and again back before you paniced at the shadow of understanding basic economic facts and decided you couldn’t stand to converse with me anymore.

              Your last sentence is rather vague, as is your wont, though given most of what you’ve stated in this arena I’m sure it’s as full of fallacies as anything else you’ve said.

            • biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

              WTP:
              “. . .paniced at the shadow of understanding basic economic facts and decided you couldn’t stand to converse with me anymore.”

              Intriguing.
              In our discussion at “The Cliff” (12/31/2012″ you wrote “OK, this is my last response as I pity you’re wasting your time.” Apparently, you “panicked” at the prospect of teaching me clearly the basic understanding of economic facts necessary to justify your “shuffling money” statement (see below). :) I believe you said it was my fault ,because I didn’t want to understand. . .You may recall I had been asking you for a clear explanation of your contention that “Shuffling money from one place to another does not ‘create’ jobs.” I provided multiple sources (there and at “When is it Time to Discuss Gun Violence.” 12/17 )that would seem to indicate that that is indeed not the case. Once you cut me off from your nutritious economic teat, I broadened my request: “If anyone else on here can provide one (a clarification), I wish he/she would.” Unfortunately, no one else tried.

              Here’s a deal. Don’t direct the responses to me. Answer the sources. Show how money being shuffled from one place to another does not create jobs within the framework of information provided in the various sources I provided.

            • magus71 said, on January 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm

              “Let’s play fair here. More gun restrictions do NOT equal “making every gun illegal”. I’ve never called for “making every gun illegal”. Your question might be worth responding to IF we sweep that dusty straw man off the table.”

              I only used that example to demonstrate the point. I did not accuse you of wanting to make guns illegal; I don’t know your position, which is why I asked. I would like gun control advocates to ask themselves, before proposing laws, what the proposal would do to make things better and how the proposal would have stopped recent tragedies.

              An AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle. No army in the world uses the AR-15. It is a semi-automatic weapon. AR does no stand for “assault rifle”. One of the problems is that the liberals whom propose the rules know nothing about guns.

            • biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm

              magus71
              “An AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle.”
              Did I say the AR-15 is an assault rifle?
              I don’t know who this guy is, but he doesn’t sound liberal ,yet he thinks his AR-15 is an assault rifle :.

              http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/victor7.1.1.html

              He does mention in his article a strong gun safe. Had Adam Lanza’s mother been required to keep her weaponry in a good safe , perhaps he would have had to learn how to foil a safe combination in order to access her weapons. That may have saved lives. No one can safely predict future events.

              He also required his kids to attend gun safety classes. A law requiring that ^may^ have saved the life of a teen in a town 30 miles from here. He was shot by a friend. But, then, there’s always Dick Cheney to point to. His accidental shot didn’t kill anyone. If it had, it may have been an interesting circumstance for the NRA to excuse.

              http://www.proguns.com/assaultrifles.asp

            • Douglas Moore said, on January 21, 2013 at 10:48 pm

              “Did I say the AR-15 is an assault rifle?”

              No, you didn’t. It’s just a common assumption among the gun-control pundits, because Sandy Hook involved an AR-15. Actually, a Bushmaster XM-15 which is a variant.

  8. magus71 said, on January 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    “I should, therefore, suspend my congratulations on the new liberty of France until I was informed how it had been combined with government, with public force, with the discipline and obedience of armies, with the collection of an effective and well-distributed revenue, with morality and religion, with the solidity of property, with peace and order, with civil and social manners. All these (in their way) are good things, too, and without them liberty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely to continue long.”~Edmund Burke, Reflection on the Revolution in France

  9. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    “The tyrant rarely arrives unannounced. Rather, he usually marches to the palace at the head of a parade of the people.” Sounds like the Obama® AT&T®, Microsoft®, and Coca Cola® Inauguration :(

    • biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      And Reagan, Bush 1 and 2, Clinton, etc. The “potential tyrant” (as seen from the other side or the through the eyes of the fearful or paranoid is inaugurated every year. :(
      “I agree the assault weapon of the day was the intention of the second amendment.” If grenade launchers become “the assault weapon of the day” will the NRA defend it, tooth and nail? Will you?

  10. biomass2 said, on January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    magus71: You’re in the military. You’re in intelligence. You’re certainly have infinitely more experience in this area than I have, .Are you aware of everything that’s claimed in the materials aj presents above? People I’ve know in the military have never mentioned anythng like this. They were proud to serve. I’ve seen your pieces about organizational problems in the war, and the ongoing war between Islamists and Christians, but nothing like this. What do you think?

    • magus71 said, on January 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      I do not subscribe to the Zionist/CIA conspiracy theory. Let’ get this straight about our government, and that includes the military: It is not a sleek, uber-efficient machine. It is a ponderous, dumb giant that lacks agility and creativity. The Taliban is far more creative than our military.

      I have a TS/SCI security clearance (Google it). I worked in a SCIF (Google that, too) at the biggest Strategic Intelligence facility in Europe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/66th_Military_Intelligence_Brigade_(United_States)

      And what conspiracies was I privy to? Nada. None. Zilch. A lot of spread sheets and snoozer meetings.

      Believe me, Hanlon’s Razor applies here in spades. The only dark conspiracies I’ve seen are the petty, personal agendas rampant in the military; abuse of rank, extroversion to the point of being bizarre; arrogance; sexual indiscretion. As far as I can tell no one gives enough of a damn to craft a conspiracy. If people could sit in on daily meetings, even in military intelligence, they would ask themselves: “Ok–when do we start talking about finding terrorists and doing all kinds of dirty tricks to make their lives miserable? I would answer: “Shut up and fill in your spreadsheet. And fix your uniform.”

      Remember the Bradley Manning guy? Wikileaks main source? I laughed when I heard people talking about all the evil stuff they were gonna find that the government was doing. 1) It was a SECRET leak, not TOP SECRET. 2) Government conspiracies dont get recorded on data bases for 1000s of people to read. 3) No one is motivated enough for a real conspiracy. Fast and Furious? More government bungling.

      IT takes a special person to commit to and organize a conspiracy. When I say special, I mean someone like VI Lenin.

      Has the military and CIA been involved in some shadowy things in the past? Sure. But to what end? If there are Zionists controlling the CIA and the Mossad committed 9-11, I sure know nothing about it. But maybe I’m just a dupe in a giant organization that seems to be bumbling along, not getting nearly enough bank for the American buck. Maybe I’m the one that’s screwed up.

      • ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm

        As I said, do your homework friend, because you are OUT of the loop. WAY out. You need to know who we are fighting, and you don’t. :( Follow the links. I can do the research for you, which I have, but I can’t read and think for you too. Study time.

      • Douglas Moore said, on January 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        When your country is run by a bunch of people whom were picked last in kickball, expect bad things. The ineptness in the military is merely bleed-off from the ineptness in our government overall. There are some incredible individuals in the military. But the bloated systems under which they work severely hampers even the best.

        I used to dislike Tom Ricks, author of Fiasco. He hammers the military often and I thought that he was just jealous that dudes who joined the military got the chick before journalists did. But I now think he is right. It will take at least a decade to fix what is wrong.

        Magus

  11. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    See: http://www.kc3.com/editorial/quotes.htm

    Several Quotes taken from the (extremist) Founders concerning an armed citizenry

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” –Thomas Jefferson, proposed Virginia constitution, June 1776. Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C. J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)

    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” –Thomas Jefferson, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in “On Crimes and Punishment”, 1764

    “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny –Thomas Jefferson

    “And what country can preserve it’s liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take up arms. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William S. Smith, 1787

    “The Constitution of most of our states, and the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves: that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.” Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776
    Samuel Adams

    “Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” –Samuel Adams

    “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” –Samuel Adams, During the Massachusetts U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

    “If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” — Samuel Adams, 1776
    Benjamin Franklin

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” –Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania Assembly to the governor, November 11, 1755
    Noah Webster

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” –Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the federal Constitution (1787) in Pamphlets to the Constitution of the United States (P. Ford, 1888).
    Tench Coxe

    “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people” –Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788

    “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” Tench Coxe, in “Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution.” Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789
    John Adams

    “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at the individual discretion, in private self-defense.” John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787-88
    Alexander Hamilton

    “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8
    Richard Henry Lee

    “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves and include all men capable of bearing arms. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788
    Patrick Henry

    “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. The great object is that every man be armed. Every man who is able may have a gun.” –Patrick Henry, During Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788
    James Madison

    “The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” James Madison, The Federalist No. 46

    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of people, trained in arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” –James Madison, I Annuals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)
    George Mason

    “I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” –George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788
    Thomas Paine

    “Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them.” –Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War, 1775
    George Washington

    “A free people ought to be armed. When firearms go, all goes, we need them by the hour. Firearms stand next to importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.” –George Washington, Boston Independence Chronicle, January 14, 1790

    “To ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” –George Washington, The Federalist No. 53

  12. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    “So its everything from Ford Motor Company, several departments of the government including the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, all use WordPress. Other media companies including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, all of them use WordPress.” ~ Matt Mullenweg – Founder of WordPress

    See: http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/17173h/the_cia_fbi_homeland_security_all_use_wordpress/

    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/the-national-security-agencys-domestic-spying-program.html?_r=0

    See: http://aangirfan.blogspot.mx/


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