Thursday, April 19, 2007

The BIG assumptions behind gun control

Okay, it's been a whole 85 hours or so since this horror began; now I give myself permission to deal with the reflexive demands for gun control from the usual sources. First, read this:

A permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

That's from 100 years ago, before there were any socialist countries. Remarkable how prescient he was. But the present point is the wishful thinking in bold, above. No one should want more than his fair share. Therefore, no one does want more than his fair share. Now all we have to do is divvy up the pie.

The same leap of credulity is at the root of most gun control arguments that I've heard. In a good world, there shouldn't be a need for self-protection. Therefore, the "thinking" goes, there is no need for self-protection. After wishing the big stumbling block away, they then proceed to the smaller details of criminalizing ownership of firearms, bit by bit, only to inevitably founder on the blunt fact that criminals don't obey firearm laws.

Much finer & more informed bloggage on the wrong-headedness of gun control can be found at Clayton Cramer's blog.

And trivia: Out of respect for the Virginia Tech victims, the Republican-controlled state government here in Georgia just postponed a vote on a bill to loosen concealed weapon restrictions. Compare that to Bill Clinton, who was indeed gracious, sensitive and presidential immediately after Columbine, but soon thereafter was hot on Congress's case to pass "common sense" gun control legislation.

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