Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's make a deal

Sorry about the continued lack of regular posting. Between trying to hammer out a book, which is turning into a real page turner to my mind, working out twice and day, and being a full time college student, I have not written here a tenth as much as I'd like. That said, I figured it was time to offer a couple of proposals to those whose political ideals are in conflict with mine.

So there's been a little debate over at the Smallest Minority regarding guns, gun control, the effect an armed populace has on crime, etc. Pretty interesting stuff, deteriorated a bit when the anti-gunner started arguing from a position of feeling and ignoring the obviously real dangers of modern life, but still pretty interesting.

It got me thinking a bit though. Kevin repeatedly posted statistics of various gun friendly locales here in the US of A and noted they, almost universally, had lower crime rates. His opponent pointed out that correlation does not imply causation. This is true, but it does still tell us a few things. For one thing, it can eliminate potential causation. Kevin's opponent, without having any statistics or other evidence to his case, merely asserted that the statistics mean nothing. Not so, although as someone versed in them, I often find their value dubious.

See, those stats did show a negative causation. One that directly opposes one of the dearly held beliefs of those opposed to gun rights. "More guns cause crime!" Right, then how come Texas isn't more like D.C. or L.A.? Hell, how come my little corner of paradise, being about as heavily armed as the 7th Infantry, has a virtually non-existent crime rate?

So, the first deal, leaving aside for the time the issue of legally vs. illegally possessed firearms, I'll stop saying that the statistics indicate that more guns will lower the crime rate. Sure, there's a lot to support the theory, but I'm willing to give a little. The flip side is, my honorable opponents, you must stop saying more guns will mean an increase in violent crime.

Next, "Republicans," and by extension, all conservative, "are fascists." Really? Man. This one has gotten old. Especially since when I've heard that, often with some vitriol behind it, I've always been included in the condemnation. I'm not a Republican and never have been. Heck, I'm a conservative only by courtesy to some people's minds. What I am is a strict Constructionist with some libertarian (note the little 'l') leanings. That doesn't matter. Anyone who opposes government handout programs and nanny-statism is a fascist.

Let's examine that for a second. I know, I know, fascism has evolved, in the current political discourse, to mean simply anyone who supports something we oppose. That's not what it's supposed to mean. At it's founding, Fascism opposed Capitalism as the source of class inequality. Additionally, it opposed Communism as exploiting class warfare. In other words, on neither side of the political divide in America can the term be accurately used. Conservatives are, on the mean, capitalists and liberals, again on the mean, while not Communists are experts in exploiting class warfare (ie. tax the rich to give money to the poor).

Fascism supported both military expansionism as well as government oversight and control of corporate endeavors. So we can both accuse each other of those particular facets of Fascism, but it isn't really accurate to do so. While I'm sure there are some who consider themselves conservatives who favor annexing (read: invading, conquering and subjugating) foreign territory, on the whole we're as opposed to it as the next guy (who happens to be a liberal), but continue to be accused of it because of a greater willingness to use military force. On the other hand, I've heard liberals being called fascists quite a bit recently due to the government's recent acquisition of control over several industries nearly in toto. Sure, it was, by and large, the elected Democrats who voted for it, but the average liberal on the street was just as pissed off as me.

So, can we please stop calling each other Fascists? It's not true on either side. I'm sure there are those who would gleefully debate which side is closer to being fascist, but really, it's got to stop.

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