The Old-School Liberal

“Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom” — Friedrich Hayek

Archive for December, 2007

Does the Constitution Also Scare Elizabeth Edwards?

Posted by Poorsummary on December 24, 2007

Gun ControlThe Economist quotes Elizabeth Edwards expressing her fear of Mike Huckabee and Republicans in general:

“[Mike Huckabee] doesn’t believe in evolution and has some nutty views about what it is we should do about ending violence in our inner city—we should make sure all of our young people are armed. Republicans scare me.”

While there are legitimate reasons to fear, or at least disagree with, Mike Huckabee (e.g. his tax reform legislation that doesn’t actually eliminate any existing taxes) and Republicans (e.g. their determination to make criminals of people who use or prescribe medical marijuana in accordance with state laws), the right to bear arms is not one of them. Reading Edwards’ quote above does make gun ownership seem like a silly answer to ending violence, but if one looks at the empirical evidence, there is little reason to believe that making it a crime to own a gun does anything but ensure that the only people who own guns are criminals. Consider the following examples of gun ownership deterring crime:

  1. In 1966 the police in Orlando, Florida, responded to a rape epidemic by embarking on a highly publicized program to train 2,500 women in firearm use. The next year rape fell by 88 percent in Orlando (the only major city to experience a decrease that year); burglary fell by 25 percent. Not one of the 2,500 women actually ended up firing her weapon; the deterrent effect of the publicity sufficed. Five years later Orlando’s rape rate was still 13 percent below the pre-program level, whereas the surrounding standard metropolitan area had suffered a 308 percent increase.
  2. During a 1974 police strike in Albuquerque armed citizens patrolled their neighborhoods and shop owners publicly armed themselves; felonies dropped significantly.
  3. In March 1982 Kennesaw, Georgia, enacted a law requiring householders to keep a gun at home; house burglaries fell from 65 per year to 26, and to 11 the following year.
  4. Similar publicized training programs for gun-toting merchants sharply reduced robberies in stores in Highland Park, Michigan, and in New Orleans; a grocers organization’s gun clinics produced the same result in Detroit.

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Ron Paul: The Most Electible Republican

Posted by Poorsummary on December 2, 2007

Ron Paul AdThe 2008 presidential election is rapidly approaching, and Republicans are going to have a difficult time holding onto the presidency after the Bush administration. Prediction markets like Intrade provide a fairly accurate assessment of the probability of each candidate winning the primary nomination, as well as the probability of each candidate becoming president. In determining which candidate to send to a general election, however, primary voters should choose the candidate most likely to win the general election, given that they receive the primary nomination.

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Non-Interventionism ≠ Isolationism

Posted by Poorsummary on December 2, 2007


Non-interventionism

Bruce Miller of The Blue Voice confuses non-interventionism with isolationism:

“Let me start this by saying as I’ve said in a number of posts before that most warnings about ‘isolationism’ are fake, straw-man arguments. At least outside of Ron Paul’s political corner, there are no actual isolationists in American politics…If you listen carefully to what Ron Paul and similar isolationist rightwingers are saying, their brand of nationalism is coming from a very similar place. They want to discard normal diplomacy, foreign aid, even the threat of economic and trade sanctions from the set of foreign policy tools available to the United States. They are not far from the neocons in that essential focus. As the Overstreets described the perspective 43 years ago, “What we might need to do abroad, in military terms, could be done by a well-placed bomb or a regiment of Marines.”

Bruce mischaracterizes Congressman Paul’s foreign policy. Paul does not advocate “pulling back out of the world” altogether, but merely eliminating US military intervention unrelated to our national security. Whenever he talks about the success we’ve had by leaving Vietnam, he also talks about the stability that has come from our actively trading with them:

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What is the state’s role in regard to abortion?

Posted by dagnygalt on December 1, 2007

3D Image of a fetusThe issue of abortion has blown up in recent elections and passionately divided the electorate between the two different “pros”—pro-life and pro-choice. The main conflict on the abortion issue is that few people fall in the middle and thus fewer are willing to compromise. Given the divisiveness of this issue, policy makers have almost always addressed the sanctity of two groups of rights: women’s rights, and human rights (supposing fetuses to be right-bearing humans). The classical liberal case for individual liberty mandates that individuals be free from the coercion of the state to pursue their own aims, insofar as these aims do not infringe upon the rights of others. Clearly, the issue of abortion comes down to whether fetuses ought to be considered to be right-bearing humans. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008 Presidential Race, Constitution, Government Gaffes, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »