Hi I'm new here! I don't want to seem to obsessed with purity, I know there is controversy among libertarians (chicago vs austrian econ for example), but sometimes I think it's legitimate to question someone's supposed "Libertarianism". Michael Shermer is a good example.
He"s the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a prolific skeptic. Lately he has come out in favor of gun control and says it increases lIberty http://www.skepticblog.org/2012/07/31/gun-control-and-the-law-of-large-numbers/#more-18241. It's strange because he's a famous libertarian but he can't distinguish between positive and negative liberty. He makes a bizarre statistical argument that could violates every possible forumalation of libertarian ethics I've seen. You could even use his argument to defend the Patriot Act or banning automobiles. Either that or he's simply logically inconsistent.
He's definitely not a real libertarian.
He has Libertarian leanings, but he isn't libertarian at all.
(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)
It's disappointing when a 'libertarian', who is aware of the many state interventions that over the long term also impact tragedies like this, to think of a ban as a solution.
Things we should ban before even thinking about gun control: war on drugs, foreign wars, central banking, public schools, public universities, labor laws, regulation of communication (airwaves, phone, cable, postal), and regulation of the freedom to store and publish information about people.
If those things were banned, there would be 95% less depressed and crazy people, and a 1000% increased opportunity cost to follow anti-social paths.
I'm new, too. Hopefully I won't get flamed on my first post. :)
I like Shermer. He's a sharp guy. On this one, I feel he's thinking of a narrow solution (ban assault weapons) to a broad problem (mass murder in America). His math is fine; I've no doubt some psychopath will kill a few people In the next month or two, somewhere in the US. But why assume crazy people need assault weapons, or even firearms, to do that?
I can think of several ways to kill a dozen people in a theater without guns, and I'm not the Joker. Block exits, start a fire. Poison the popcorn. Setup a diesel/fertilizer bomb when no one's there. If I dont care about my own life, I've got further options. Fly a private plane full of fuel straight down into the roof. Walk in with a suicide bomber vest.
Shermer is thinking like... Well, a nice, reasonable guy. Sociopaths aren't limited that way.
He tweeted this:
Ha! I have been denounced by a libertarian group for suggesting even the mildest of gun controls on assault rifles. http://t.co/GL213X3B
"Mildest of gun controls"... yeah, I wouldn't vote for this guy!
Just as the "War on Drugs" is really a phony moniker for the state's war against us, "gun control" is merely another wry moniker for people control. Note how we must accept a priori that one of the prime reasons the state claims to exist is to protect us and yet when it fails in this self-asserted directive the fault is, of course, ours.
The Reason/CATO/etc. crowd are all fair-weather libertarians. They each have a variety of ideological reasons for veering off into statism whenever it suits their personal tastes but one thing is for sure - they're not libertarian qua libertarian.
When the Second Amendment was written stating that citizens have a right to “keep and bear arms,” rifles took over a minute to load one bullet at a time. The most crazed 18th century American could not possibly commit mass murder because no WMMs existed at the time.
The weapon of choice for a massacre at that time would have been a sabre or a cutlass so this is a spectacularly numbskull remark.
The problem with Shermer's proposal - from a libertarian analysis - is that it simply assumes the legitimacy of a monopoly on security services. The question of legitimacy is so far from Shermer's mind that he doesn't deign to even mention so as to dismiss it. His proposal is just a warmed over version of standard anti-gun arguments with the NAP bolted on through a laughable statistical argument that is standard fare for collectivist reasoning... "individual rights don't matter because, well, look at these numbers."
when it fails in this self-asserted directive the fault is, of course, ours.
+1 Hard Rain - you've gotten to the nub of the matter. The purpose of the Leviathan state is supposed to be to protect us. They spend $4T/year and seize nearly half the income of anyone with the gall to try to earn a living because, well, cops and firemen and roads and stuff. They're justified in operating a monopoly on security services because this is supposed to be a safer arrangement of things. But when they fail, spectacularly, to maintain public security, then it's our fault for wanting the "right" to own firearms. What a joke. "Our security monopoly has failed to keep you safe. That means we need to make the monopoly even more absolute."
Hard Rain and Clayton, don't forget education. When a student succeeds, it was because of (state) funding and (state) teachers; however, when a student fails, it was because of the parents, or at least the parents' lack of wanting to give up more money to fund the education.
To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."
I'm don't entirely agree with that, there are anarcho capitalists associated with the Cato Institute for example.
@Schmuhl: There is a difference between "CATO qua CATO" and "CATO as a group of individuals, many of whom hold diverging opinions on many topics."