Quote of the day—Jason Brennan

Most people seem to subscribe to what I call the Special Immunity Thesis: the idea that the set of conditions under which it is permissible, in self-defense or defense of others, to deceive, lie to, sabotage, attack, or kill a government agent is much more stringently constrained than the set of conditions under which it is permissible to deceive, lie to, sabotage, attack, or kill a private civilian.

On the flip side, we have what I call the Moral Parity Thesis: the idea that, very simply, you have the same right of self-defense against government agents as you do against civilians. Officials have no special moral status that immunizes them from defensive actions. When they commit injustices of any sort, it is morally permissible for us, as private individuals, to treat them the same way we would treat private individuals committing those same injustices. Whatever we may do to private individuals, we may do to government officials. We may respond to governmental injustice in exactly the same ways as private injustice.

The Moral Parity Thesis has radical implications. It means you may assassinate leaders to stop them from launching unjust wars. You may fight back against a police officer who arrests you for something that shouldn’t be a crime—e.g., marijuana possession or homosexuality. You may escape from jail if mistakenly convicted or convicted of a bogus crime. Your business may lie about its compliance with an unfair regulation and evade excessive taxes. A jury or judge may nullify an unjust statute by refusing to convict those who break it. The Moral Parity Thesis vindicates helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, who threatened to kill fellow American soldiers to stop them from killing civilians during the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. It vindicates Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for sharing at least some state secrets. It vindicates government agents who sabotage unjust efforts from within.

My basic argument is simple: By default, we should accept the Moral Parity Thesis, unless we can find some good reason to believe the Special Immunity Thesis instead. Upon inspection, though, the arguments for the Special Immunity Thesis fall flat. Governments and their agents aren’t magic.

Jason Brennan
December 2018
When Nonviolence Isn’t Enough—Does the right to self-defense apply against agents of the state?
[It’s an interesting article on personal and political philosophy.

Lysander Spooner had some things to say on this topic as well:

It is a natural impossibility that a government should have a right to punish men for their vices; because it is impossible that a government should have any rights, except such as the individuals composing it had previously had, as individuals. They could not delegate to a government any rights which they did not themselves possess.

I took a philosophy class in college but it was far less interesting and relevant than what I have read in the years since. And it was philosophers never mentioned in class, such as Ayn Rand and Spooner, that my Marxist professor left out of the curriculum that made the difference.—Joe]

Useful research

Via NRA-ILA we have Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative:

Comprehensive background checks and prohibitions based on violent misdemeanors had no effect on homicide rates in California.

The latest study published by the highly-credentialed researchers in these well-funded programs, “California’s comprehensive background check and misdemeanor violence prohibition policies and firearm mortality,” was designed to evaluate the effect of California’s 1991 comprehensive background check and prohibiting those convicted of violent misdemeanors policies on firearm homicide and suicide. The study period was 1981-2000, with secondary analysis up to 2005.

Using a synthetic control methodology, the researchers found that the comprehensive background check and violent misdemeanor prohibitions were not associated with changes in firearm suicide or homicide.

In conversational language, the two policies had no effect.

This can and must be used to block further attempts at “enhanced background checks” and eliminating existing background checks. They are a waste of resources in addition to being constitutionally suspect.

Quote of the day—Karl Popper

The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.

Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

Karl Popper
1945
The Open Society and Its Enemies: New One-Volume Edition, Notes to the Chapters: Ch. 7, Note 4
[Via email from Bob T.

Interesting observation. I had a similar discussion with a co-worker many years ago. We didn’t arrive at a solution. And it is quite clear our government and society has gotten us into the end game of this paradox without implementing the apparent solution offered by Popper over 70 years ago.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Harvey Milk

It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.

Harvey Milk
Sometime prior to November 27, 1978
[The previous talk of compromise made me think this was an appropriate time to bring this up.

Milk was thinking of rights other than the right to keep and bear arms but it applies to all true rights. His words resonate well with some people who think of us as the enemy. Use them to your advantage.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Charles R. Kesler

Under present circumstances, the American constitutional future seems to be approaching some kind of crisis—a crisis of the two Constitutions. Let us pray that we and our countrymen will find a way to reason together and to compromise, allowing us to avoid the worst of these dire scenarios—that we will find, that is, the better angels of our nature.

Charles R. Kesler
October 2018
America’s Cold Civil War
[A pleasant call for peace. Unfortunately for our future no further compromise is tolerable for those whose vision of the constitution is the original intent. If we compromise further, and probably even if we fail to turn back the existing compromises, we will sink into a socialist hellhole.—Joe]

If cars were treated like guns in Washington State

From Rehv Arms:

Funny stuff. It would be more funny if I didn’t have to live it instead of just laugh at the poor suckers who have to endure it and hope the courts turn things around. I donated several hundred dollars to SAF and the NRA this weekend. This stuff is real. It must be turned around.

Quote of the day—KrisAnne Hall

The entire argument for gun control is built upon a false premise. The second amendment is not about self-defense from criminals.

As unpleasant as it may be for this modern society to say out loud, historically and constitutionally speaking, the right of the people to keep and bear arms has always been a right to protect yourself from those in power who want to enslave you. If America wants to engage in a real factual debate on the right to keep and bear arms, then it must be approached from the proper perspective.

A proper debate on one’s right to keep and bear arms is NOT one that is framed in the terms of whether you can feel safe from wicked and depraved people, full of hate and malice, who want to hurt you. You will NEVER feel safe from those people and those people will not cease to exist just because YOU are not allowed to legally own a gun. Why? Because those people do not care about laws and they will always find a way to hurt and destroy, with or without gun laws.

If society is honest and historically accurate, the only question that has any relevance to the gun control debate is,

“Do you trust those in government, now and forever in the future, to not take your life, liberty, or property through the force of government?”

If the answer to that question is “no,” the gun control debate is over.

KrisAnne Hall
Facebook post, October 2, 2017
DoYouTrustGovernment
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Norbert Michel

For those unfamiliar, Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off.

Officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), for instance, simply had to inform the banks they were overseeing that the government considered certain types of their customers “high risk.” The mere implication of a threat was enough to pressure banks into closing accounts, because no U.S. bank wants anything to do with extra audits or investigations from their regulator, much less additional operating restrictions or civil and criminal charges.

It is now clear that these unelected government officials set out to harm law-abiding citizens. Yet many of the government officials named in these documents are still employed by the same government agency. Most of these folks work at the FDIC, and one has even moved up from a regional director position to FDIC Ombudsman.

Norbert Michel
November 5, 2018
Newly Unsealed Documents Show Top FDIC Officials Running Operation Choke Point
[That these people aren’t currently in prison making little rocks out of big rocks shows you “the swamp” still needs to be drained.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jeffrey Guterman @JeffreyGuterman

Anyone who is paranoid that their guns will be taken away should have their guns taken away.

Jeffrey Guterman @JeffreyGuterman
Tweeted on November 8, 2018
[Implementing a Catch-22 scenario. Nice try.

Apply this to other specific enumerated rights such as the right to trial by jury, right to representation by a lawyer, free speech, free association, freedom of religion, and in Mr. Guterman’s case I would like the local National Guard unit to knock on his door every day and his Third Amendment rights treated in such a manner.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Jordan B. Peterson

No political experiment has ever been tried so widely, with so many disparate people, in so many different countries (with such different histories) and failed so absolutely and so catastrophically. Is it mere ignorance (albeit of the most inexcusable kind) that allows today’s Marxists to flaunt their continued allegiance—to present it as compassion and care? Or is it, instead, envy of the successful, in near-infinite proportions? Or something akin to hatred for mankind itself? How much proof do we need? Why do we still avert our eyes from the truth?

Jordan B. Peterson
November 1, 2018
The Gulag Archipelago: A New Foreword by Jordan B. Peterson
[Via a text message from daughter Jaime.—Joe]

It’s not just guns they hate

Gab is essentially a Twitter clone without shadow bans and account suspension of non-liberal viewpoints. It prides itself on free speech but does have terms of service which say that users are not allowed to advocate violence. This resulted in their phone apps being refused by Apple and Google.

That was until yesterday.

The murderer in Pittsburg had an account on Gab.com. As soon as they were notified the murderer was one of their users they took action. I can’t find the exact tweet right now but as I recall it they said:

  • They immediately suspended the account
  • They archived the content
  • They contacted the FBI.

Here is a tweet that says essentially that:

This is your big question? lol okay.

1. We suspended the account after backing up the data to give to the FBI and DOJ
2. When we did this, the username became availible for a short time.
3. Someone created a new account and got the username.
4. We then locked down the username

Here is what you see if you go to gab.com or gab.ai now:

Gab.com is under attack. We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors. We have been smeared by the mainstream media for defending free expression and individual liberty for all people and for working with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for the horrible atrocity committed in Pittsburgh. Gab will continue to fight for the fundamental human right to speak freely.
As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely.

They made a public statement published on medium.com. That page no longer exists.

From here:

BREAKING: http://Gab.com is now banned from Paypal “just because.”

PayPalToGab

From here:

Breaking: @joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people.

JoyentToGab

From here:

BREAKING: @stripe is likely going to ban us. We gave them plenty of documented and detailed evidence. The no-platforming continues.

StripeToGab

From here:

BREAKING: @GoDaddy is threatening to suspend our domain (which is worth six figures) if we do not transfer to a new provider by tomorrow. This is madness. @realDonaldTrump @parscale I hope you are paying attention.

GoDaddyToGab

It’s not just guns the political left hates. It is free speech. It is you.

They want you disarmed. They want you silenced. They what you dead.

Next week, vote their representatives out of power.

Professional agitators

I work in security. Part of my job is to see the world a little different from most people. I review a lot of material with a different view that most people and some of it is not available to the general public (unless you want to spend a lot of money).

The following is an alternate, and I believe more accurate, view on the state of politics in our country:

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova is alleged in the indictment to have participated in a conspiracy to “sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions.

The government says that the conspiracy is also part of a 2016 influence operation that dates back to at least May 2014.

Forty-four-year-old Khusyaynova, of St. Petersburg, was the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” an effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering, the indictment says. Prigozhin is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is often referred to as “Putin’s chef.”

Khusyaynova is accused of overseeing a $35 million budget from 2014 to 2018 that covered spending on activists, social media advertising, and promoting news postings on social networks. The Justice Department says that the proposed operating budget for 2018 alone was over $10 million.

Those involved in the conspiracy made extensive efforts to appear to be American political activists, and hide the fact that they were Russian. According to the indictment, the conspiracy “inflamed passions” on topics including immigration, gun control and the Second Amendment, the Confederate flag, race relations, LGBT issues, the Women’s March, and the NFL national anthem controversy.

The conspiracy advised social media writers on how to write for U.S. audiences, suggesting in one instance that people of color who are LGBT are “less sophisticated” than those who are white. “Colored LGBT are less sophisticated than white; therefore, complicated phrases and messages do not work,” the guidance said, according to the indictment. It went on to suggest that infographics “work well among LGBT and their liberal allies,” but not so well with conservatives.

Earlier in the day, in a rare joint statement, the nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence agencies issued a warning against what they described as “ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies.”

The old adage, “consider the source”, is good advice. But what if it is extremely difficult to know the source?

A lot of the political tension in our country is not due to citizen advocates of actual extremist positions. It is due to well funded outside agitators.

Quote of the day—Tirno

Why exactly would gun control implemented by progressives in this country not look like gun control implemented by progressives in Cambodia, USSR, China, etc? You don’t get to different destinations using the same beaten-up “treasure” map.

Tirno
October 19, 2018
Comment to Quote of the day—Ann
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Trust your government

From Electronic Frontier Foundation Newly Released Surveillance Orders Show That Even with Individualized Court Oversight, Spying Powers Are Misused:

Rather than notifying the court that it had destroyed the communications it obtained without authorization, the NSA made an absurd argument in a bid to retain the communications: because the surveillance was unauthorized, the agency’s internal procedures that require officials to delete non-relevant communications should not apply. Essentially, because the surveillance was unlawful, the law shouldn’t apply and the NSA should get to keep what it had obtained.

And these are the people we supposedly should trust with our freedom?

Maybe someone else has some perspective on this…

TurnInYourGuns

Quote of the day—Ashe Schow

There is absolutely nothing an accused person can present that would actually be considered exculpatory. Meanwhile, any and all evidence just reinforces the accuser’s trauma and truthfulness.

Ashe Schow
5 Signs You’re In The Midst Of A Moral Panic
[Salem “witches”, the satanic panic of the 1980’s and 90’s, and others are discussed in the article.

It’s not a scholarly article but it’s good enough that you can see some common patterns that would have a low chance of false positives when broadly applied.

When Prophecy Fails also applies in many ways. Read my short synopsis of the book to get the gist of it.

The political left had a firmly believed prophecy that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election. When that failed they made a series of new prophecies involving the evils of a President Trump administration and prophesized all the more fervently. One of the more memorable was the prediction by Nobel Economics Prize winning economist Paul Krugman on election night:

It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

All the predictions about the various investigations of President Trump and his advisors will result in his impeachment have repeatedly been proven false. But evidence cannot convince them. These people are in a state of hysteria.

As long as the Five Conditions are met they will continue to remain in their irrational state and increase the passion with every prediction that is proved false:

  1. There must be conviction.
  2. There must be commitment to this conviction.
  3. The conviction must be amenable to unequivocal disconfirmation.
  4. Such unequivocal disconfirmation must occur.
  5. Social support must be available subsequent to the disconfirmation.

Their numbers are growing smaller and while a good sign for the long term the short term consequences of the increased passion means there is also increased potential for violence.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Tom Gresham

It is my firm belief that Fast and Furious was created to advance the gun-ban agenda of the Obama administration. Those in charge of it created a government-funded program to deliver thousands of guns to murderers with the sole goal of using the resulting crimes as leverage to reduce gun rights. Part of the plan was to guarantee that people were killed, and if that had to be law enforcement officers, “you have to break some eggs.” Individuals and companies would be destroyed as an integral part of the plan. 

Remember the story. Share this frightening tale of government agencies being used to advance political agendas. Consider that many of the same people are still in power, operating on their own to effect elections or push agendas. 

Imagine what the “It’s impossible to fire a federal employee” activists inside government will do under a Democratic-party controlled Congress or White House. Actually, there’s no need to imagine.  We’ve seen the depths of depravity they sink to.

Tom Gresham
September 20, 2018
TRIGGERED!
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Michael Z. Williamson

And this is why we should still talk about killing Communists. Because human lives are more important than Communist lives.

Michael Z. Williamson
September 20, 2018
Why We Should Still Be Talking About Killing Communists
[Some people might argue this is overstated and oversimplified.

A more persuasive argument for me is there is a place for dramatic effect.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Bill de Blasio

What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.

Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor
August 2017
[That explains a lot. He has more in common with Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin than John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

Expect similar differences in outcomes as well.—Joe]