The Humble Libertarian

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Catch-22: Not Another Libertarian Argument Against Gun Control

That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

-Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Every time someone carries out a terrorist attack in America using a gun, these shameless political opportunists and their fake-lamenting, virtue-signaling public of political fetishists brazenly climb onto the pile of dead bodies to start harassing other Americans who peacefully own guns and calling for the curtailment of gun ownership in this country.

There is nothing at all like a comparable reaction to the constant carnage on America's highways, with thirty and forty thousand people dying every year in automobile accidents: a 9-11 terrorist attack worth of human lives lost every month. We fundamentally reordered our society and planet over 9-11, but can't be bothered to stop the automobile deaths. We've just written those people off as the cost of doing business.

Because the lives lost in a terrorist attack like Las Vegas are all over the television, so their deaths feel more real to most people (nb: television is more real to people than reality). Those strangers' untimely deaths matter more to people (for a week) and require a public display of their rehashed "insights" and "solutions." Of all the evils in the world that happen each day, the media masters said this particular evil was noteworthy because it plays well on television (there's drama, there's mystery, there's a villain, and it is remarkable)... and of course, as Barack Obama's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, so perfectly stated: the establishment will "never let a serious crisis go to waste."

Well I won't rehash all the tired, old debates that we have with gun grabbers every time. You know the arguments. Plenty of people have made them already, probably better than I could. You already know that the statistics the gun grabbers use are out-of-context and misleading. Their arguments are erroneous and non sequitur.

So what will I share with you instead of the facts about gun ownership, gun violence, and gun legislation in America? What hasn't already been said out there by libertarians and conservatives on the free and open Internet? A word of warning.

Don't fall into the trap of saying this is about mental health, not guns. Many of us who believe that the government should honor the Second Amendment (you know, because it's the law) have argued lately that instead of going for the guns, we need to do more to spot and treat sufferers of mental health problems.

Give 'em an inch...

There's something ominous in that line of thinking. Don't get the government involved in mental health either. Don't encourage government policymakers to try to fix mental health problems. They're not going to be able to. Their track record of solving problems isn't exactly exemplary, and their record of making problems worse is well, pretty impressive to say the least. What takes the cake, however, is their record of taking some problem, real or imagined, and to see it everywhere, to artificially expand its scope to epic proportions, and thereby expand the scope of their prerogatives to solve it.

You want policymakers to find solutions to mental health problems? Well that means, to begin with, that you want them to define mental health problems. Who says they'll have the right definition? Who says the definition won't expand? Who says they don't already think you have a mental health problem?

You've already seen the bumper stickers and heard the talk radio hosts say that "liberalism is a mental disease." Think gun-grabbing "liberals" won't return the favor? You're already a terrorist, you know. And a Nazi, right? (Even though they're the ones grabbing at guns... like the actual Nazis did.)

Want conservatism to become a mental disease too? Just keep asking for the state to redirect its attention from your ammo clips to your very mind. That'll turn out better. And how much easier of a target are those crazy, kooky libertarians for the mental health care-icization of their beliefs? All with a benevolent state overlooking the "care" of course.

Hey, maybe just wanting a gun could be a mental health problem. That would be a nice Catch-22. "Sure you can have a gun, if you pass a mental health check. Oh yeah, sorry, if you want a gun, you must be crazy. So no gun for you."

And note carefully that this is exactly how the Nazis and the Weimar Republican that incubated them disarmed their eventual victims. They didn't just put a blanket ban. They did exactly what liberals and even some misguided conservatives and libertarians are calling for now. They created a regulatory regime as a gatekeeper to decide if someone was mentally fit or not to have a gun. Turned out an awful lot of Jews came up short on that poll test. So any hint of government regulation of our mental fitness to own guns should always be met with loud hissing.

Here's another Catch-22: the more we draw attention to overblown media panics, the more effective they are; we play right into them. Yet, saying nothing allows their false premises and conclusions to go unchallenged. It's maddening isn't it? Donald Trump rode that fascinating, nasty Catch-22 right into the Oval Office. If any of you can think of a way out of that, do please share in the comments. I'm all eyes!

The solution is to stop letting them invent problems to solve and then beg incompetents-at-best, liars-thieves-murderers-and-tyrants-at-worst to solve them. No, I'm not saying the death of innocent people at a shooters's hands is not a problem, but I am saying that trying to stir up a national panic and beating the drum for a response from Washington on par with the GWOT-- as many of these absolutely insane, so-called liberals have been doing-- loses sight of the big picture entirely.

Everyone who has something to gain from it will play their part to hold the posture, whether it's a gun-grabber with a political agenda, a media corporation with ratings to make, or a boring, self-important consumer of media who doesn't have anything else interesting to say.

I'm saying: turn. off. your. television.