30 June 2008

Bad Philosophy in action

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.

23 June 2008

Andrea Harris Memorial "Seeds of Our Demise" Post

The Wall Street Journal reports that

Federal regulators are beginning an effort to crack down on stealth advertising in television shows, a move aimed at letting consumers know when companies have paid to use their products as props.

Uh, is there any person capable of being informed about this by the federal government that doesn’t already assume any product placement is the result of payment? If you haven’t already figured that out, no public service announcement is going to clue you in. Not that I watch broadcast TV anymore, but adding even more visual clutter of disclaimers is likely to be counter productive, even presuming the existence of naifs who can only be informed by end of show disclaimers.

08 June 2008

Discussion topics for the week

Random thoughts for discussion —

  1. Much is made of Senator McCain stiff arming the conservatives in the GOP. One reason this is considered a mistake is because of the loss of fund raising opportunities. But if McCain decides to go with public financing, as rumoured, then he may figure he can raise the limit without any conservative support, so that’s no loss. Issue: does public financing serve to enable candidates for major parties to depend on much narrower factions of the party, because the candidate can hit the limit with many fewer donors?
  2. Naturally, McCain is going to get labeled as True Evil by the Obama campaign and its fellow travelers, but I wonder if it won’t be especially nasty because McCain takes away one of the key anti-Bush tropes, that of the chicken-hawk. Discuss: Isn’t the MAL most viscous when it’s about to have its argument avoidance toys taken away?
  3. Apparently the post-mortems from the HRC campaign are starting to emerge. One is that HRC didn’t have enough money. Well, that’s true for the period in which Obama first became a real threat, but as with HRC’s political orientation, the problem wasn’t the raising but the spending of the cash. Burning through $100M while thinking you’re inevitable is not exactly an exemplar of fiscal competence. Discuss: is this just the health care fiasco in another guise?