Sunday, December 15, 2013


The Central Political Divide

Diomedes laughs at me when I point out that all the American Presidential assassins not completely crazy were on the left. A southern Democrat, like J. W. Booth in 1865, he points out, has very little in common with modern leftists. He says I'm missing the boat on the central political divide (which he says has very little to do with Democrat v. Republican, per se). OK, I'll bite.

The central divide in American politics is this: One side believes that social good can only be accomplished by governmental action--laws, regulation, taxation, programs, etc. and the other side believes that too much governmental action is the enemy of freedom and all that is good about America. The divide is between statists and libertarians. Let's see.

On gun control (not Elmer Keith triangle stance), the statists say that we need to pass new legislation to stop school shootings--we need to get sane regulation on the types of guns used, their magazine capacity, universal background checks, etc.. That is the only way to solve the problem. The libertarians say we don't need new legislation. We don't really care what types of guns people store or use to shoot paper targets. What we care about is people using guns to shoot other people. We already have laws against assault and murder and if those don't stop the shootings, then lesser punishment laws about magazine size or how mean a gun looks will have no effect on people intent on breaking the murder statute.

OK that one works. The statists have an infinite confidence in the efficacy of laws and regulation enforced by the government. The libertarian knows that it is people's moral fiber that prevents bad actions, and ever more laws have not only a diminishing effect but a positively bad effect in diluting respect for real laws. As strong a supporter for law and order as I am, a particularly stupid malum prohibitum law I am perfectly willing to ignore. I just won't tell you which ones. Somebody might read this one day.


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