Bad Philosophy in action
Posted by aogMonday, 30 June 2008 at 12:19 TrackBack Ping URL

With the Heller decision, one is left wondering about “the appropriate level of regulation” for gun ownership. I think that all reasonable commentors agree that some regulation is Constitutionally permissible, just as there are permissible restrictions on speech (e.g., libel law). For instance, would it be permissible / reasonable to have, as some suggest, regulation at the same level as car sales. While on the surface this not obviously unreasonable (as current car regulation doesn’t impose an undue burden on someone trying to buy a car), the political problem is that the well has been poisoned by the same gun control factions that will now propose this regulation. Such proposals have been in the past thinly disguised attempts to locate guns in preparation for confiscation and have been vigorously opposed on that basis, quite reasonably IMHO.

Is the situation different now, with the SCOTUS ruling in favor of an individual right and overturning regulation that is a de facto ban? Probably not if Senator Obama wins the election, as everyone presumes he will appoint SCOTUS justices who will favor unlimited regulation, as 4 of the current justices did. In that case, the position that tracking weapons is just a prelude to banning them continues to be a reasonable position. Had the dissenters been concerned with results (as they claim to be, far more so than concerned with actual Constitutional Law), they might have chosen to make the decision far more solid, thereby creating a political environment in which reasonable regulation could be accepted. Instead, they’ve likely created more polarization, just as they did with abortion. It seems to be me to be just another example of how modern liberalism destroys itself through its inability to properly introspect on the consequences of its own actions.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Harry Eagar Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 00:21

whatever regulations are suitable, they must be national.

Brad S Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 06:53

With the Heller decision, the Right got its own Justice-declared right. This is as huge as passing Proposition 13 or getting Reagan elected. As any political scientist or law professor can tell you, once you get that foot in the door (so to speak), it becomes incredibly difficult to do anything other than expand upon that right. The Right will have many more opportunities to expand upon the Heller decision, as well as enforce the decision on any governmental entity that should be “arbitrary and capricious” when it comes to such things as Concealed Carry Permits. The Right will win just about all of them.

Which is why after Obama gets elected, the issue of appointing judges gets dropped like a hot rock by the Right. Why hammer on who gets appointed to what bench when you have your own “suing strategy” validated by the Supremes? BTW, this is not the first time that the Right got a critical Supreme Court decision to go their way on the eve of the GOP getting totally shut out of power. If you go back to the disastrous 1992 election, you’ll find that Nordlinger v Hahn upheld Prop 13, a key cornerstone in fiscal conservatism.

Brad S Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 06:58

I also forgot to mention that in 1976, on the eve of the GOP losing to the Peanut Farmer, Buckley v Valeo was decided. All that did for the Right was kick-start financing their long political run.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 09:52

What’s depressing is that when the Right gets its “Justice-declared rights”, it’s really just getting back what was originally granted in the Constitution. But I think the history after Proposition 13 is not so rosy, looking back on it these decades later. It hasn’t saved California from being heavily taxed and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and the equivalent TABOR in Colorado was circumvented for years and is now being dismantled. What, exactly, was expanded in the wake of Proposition 13 then?

Brad S Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 10:26

Prop 13 was threatened because the plaintiff (Nordlinger) claimed that the Acquisition method of property valuation for tax purposes (which 13 mandates) violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Had the Supremes held for Nordlinger, Prop 13 would likely have been “reformed” out of existence. Which would’ve killed efforts like TABOR in its crib. TABOR may have been modified since then, but it’s still on Colorado’s books, and still applies to most local governments (including Denver’s; as liberal as the city is, there is NO way a TABOR opt-out would pass).

You seem to be one of those conservatives who adheres to the “We have jobs; we have LIVES.” theory of advancing conservative issues. Namely: One shot, no follow-up by me, blame the MAL for not listening to my exact phraseology, blame a GOP politician for not being “true to principles.” Then, you probably wonder why things fed upon each other the last 4 years to the point where the GOP supposedly has a “damaged brand.”

Keep the last paragraph in mind whenever any conservative goes on about “personal responsibility,”

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 10:44

No. Presuming that getting a foot in the door leads to an inevitable widening is the philosophy that leads to a “one shot no follow-up”. Believing that no gain is safe without continued effort and vigilance, as I do, would seem to encourage follow up.

If we consider this particular case, I advocate being cautious and keeping a close eye on future judicial appointments because the gain could be rolled back with just a single appointment. Your view, as I read it, is that there’s no need to follow up because decreasing gun control is an inevitable consequence of this initial victory.

Brad S Tuesday, 01 July 2008 at 12:56

What I mean by Follow up, in the Heller case, is simply FILING THE LAWSUITS against the gun-controllers. You don’t find out what the Heller case will allow until you file that series of lawsuits against the city of Chicago. Now that you have the Justice-declared right, you can make Chicago prove that it’s not infringing on your right. Chances are, you’ll win most of those suits.

There is a certain tendency among conservatives that filing lawsuits is lifting the Left’s tactics, which is low-born behavior. If conservatives want to be respected when it comes to legal and political strategy, they’ll lose that attitude and FILE THE LAWSUITS.

David Cohen Friday, 04 July 2008 at 14:28

In what sense does Heller “give” conservatives a “Justice-declared right”? If the Court strikes down McCain-Feingold, will that make unregulated political speech a “Justice-declared right”?

One distinction worth noting is that the left’s victories in court have cost it political power. Roe v. Wade, all by itself, probably did in the left’s political hegemony in 1973 and led to Reagan’s election. Heller, on the other hand, is popular.

Finally, using the courts to do an end-run around the ballot box isn’t low born behavior, it’s high born behavior. It is a strategy of the elites, by the elites and for the the elites.

Robert Duquette Saturday, 05 July 2008 at 10:55

What David said.

I agree with AOG that this “gain” - which is just establishing that the 2nd Amendment means what it says, is not secure. I’m disappointed that the vote was a bare 5-4 majority. Hell, I’m disappointed that it wasn’t unanimous. There are still too many penumbrists and evolutionists on the court. A future decision, with one or more new justices, could reverse the Heller decision. But given the age makeup of the current court, it is unlikely that any of the four conservatives would retire during an Obama first term, and I truly doubt that Obama could win a second. The next two most likely replacements, Stevens and Ginsberg, are liberals, so even with liberal replacements the vote won’t change in a liberal direction. I think the decision is safe for 15-20 years at least.

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