Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Nose in the Tent

A constant mantra of those who constantly seek additional restrictions on firearms is that there is no call to confiscate any firearms. All the restrictions have been on the acquisition of firearms; the purchase, sale, gift, inheritance, or manufacture. Whenever those who oppose limiting self defense get too worried about new firearm restrictions get concerned about new proposals, the mantra is repeated that the panic is over nothing since nothing in the new proposed legislation involves confiscation. Even the gun registration proposals do not include any proposals to confiscate any already owned firearms.

That is until now. In California there are now proposals to end the "grandfathering" of older acquisitions that are restricted by new laws. In a package of legislation there is the first step towards a law that authorizes confiscation.

According to the proposed legislation, the purchase of ammunition would require the same background checks that are required for firearms. The purchase of semi-automatics would be forbidden, which is more extreme than legislation anywhere else in the United States. The sale of magazines that can hold more than ten bullets would also be restricted. The part that should be of greatest concern is that the ownership of any existing magazines larger than the ten bullet limitation would be forbidden.

The author of the legislation explains that the biggest failing of any gun control (sic) legislation is that a person can claim that any forbidden item was purchased before it was forbidden. Although this newest restriction does not cover firearms, it does cover magazines and therefore sets a precedent for applying ownership restrictions and turn in restrictions to the realm of gun legislation.

That is the point of the additional feature of the restriction of magazine size. It creates a precedent. Unless this particular measure is overturned in the courts it creates a precedent that will be difficult to challenge when future applications of ownership restrictions are enacted. The argument by those who wish to restrict ownership will be that ownership restrictions are not new, that by accepting the confiscation for one feather therefore confiscation for all features is accepted. Also when these measures are enacted in other states, their existence in California will serve as a precedent.

That is why this particular law, the law that requires the turn in of all oversized magazines, must be the first priority to challenge the requirement to turn in all magazines that are covered by this new proposed legislation. It stands in stark contrast to all the assurances of those who oppose effective self defense and is the next step towards disarming the population of the United States.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Economics of Intimate Relationships

Economic principles can be applied outside of economics, viewing it as Praxeology instead of Economics. This is true even in the case of intimate relationships, where economics can be used to analyze certain aspects. This does not mean, as critics of libertarians often wrongly say, that libertarians put a price tag on everything, but only that the principles can be used to gain greater insight.

One part of analyzing intimate relationships is to help solve the riddle of the old complaint that men who sleep around are not condemned the way women who sleep around do. It is an old complaint about a double standard. There is, however, such a thing as a male slut.

Reducing intimate relationships to their simplest form, men trade love for sex and women trade sex for love. This model borders on over-simplified, but not quite. It does ignore as irrelevant all the various characteristics any individual might seek in a partner. It also leaves out the relevant aspect that women also seek sex and men also seek love, but it leaves it out for the sake of creating a simpler model.

Viewed as a transaction, men giving love to gain sex and women giving sex to gain love, one can see where the criticism of the slut comes from. Any person who gives a valuable commodity away without charging for that commodity is looked down upon, and receiving it from that person is not considered as valuable as if it had been traded for.

Also given that perspective, one can immediately see what it would take for a man to be seen as undercharging. Such a man is known as “the nice guy.” Youtube commentator GirlWritesWhat has a video about how women, especially feminists, look down upon nice guys, because what they are doing is giving away all the emotional support that normally would cost a woman a relationship with the man.

Just as men seldom seek actual long term relationships with woman who are physically intimate too early in a relationship, women seldom seek actual long term relationships with men who are emotionally intimate too early in a relationship. The reason people don't get a quick answer to the question "where are the male sluts?" is because the term needs to be defined, and economics helps with that.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Mainstream Deficit Absurdity

There is an argument being made in mainstream and Keynesian circles that the deficit must not be cut because otherwise what little recovery there has been in the economy so far would be damaged and perhaps erased. This is in response to false cuts proposed by Republicans such as Representative Paul Ryan who only proposed a reduction in the rate of increase and not a single actual cut, and also in response to arguments by libertarians that reducing the deficit is vital to restoring some economic order.

From an Austrian perspective, this argument is rubbish. The biggest threat to the economy of the United States as well as the rest of the world is the loss of value of the dollar, caused primarily by the low interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve in support of the expansive deficits of the Federal Government. If the Federal Government were to significantly reduce spending, there would be no reason for the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates so low, and therefore the decline in the dollar can at least slow, and perhaps even stop or even reverse.

From the modern Keynesian perspective, the support from the argument comes from the recession of 1937, the recession inside a depression, which is blamed on an alleged desire by the Roosevelt administration to reduce federal spending. A refutation of this particular argument can be found at the VonMises website with the article The Dangerous Lesson of 1937 by Jonathan Finegold.

Jonathan Finegold wrote his article in response to attempts by Keynesians to answer a difficult question: given that they had predicted recovery, and it would be difficult to admit that they were wrong, they had to find a justification to refer to the ongoing malaise as a double dip.

That it is being dragged out again in response to the desperate need to balance the budget is yet more evidence of increasing desperation among those in the political class and their supporters, and the crash that will inevitably come unless the fiscal policies of the United States government are reversed.

For decades, not changing course was the only way to maintain the status quo. The problem now is that no matter what is done the status quo is finished. The only reason to not change course now is to avoid admitting error, which for some people is more critical than being right. Disaster might be a sufficient cause to lock down tyrannical controls on the population. Peacefully giving control over to those who believe in liberty would be, from their point of view, a disaster.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Curious Reversals

Even though the budget crisis has not been solved, and it appears that the national debt may be poised to grow to 200% of GDP in a few years, the elected officials in Washington DC have decided that it is far more important right now to deal with the problem of undocumented immigration from Mexico. Perhaps they feel they have time to deal with this, because working on actually fixing the budget was only postponed by a few months.

The mainstream punditry are discussing how the Republican Party appears to be trying to reach out to Latino voters by being willing to make deals on amnesty and other immigration related topics. Of course the analysis discusses how Republicans have a difficult time reaching out to minorities. Several months prior, when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, Latinos or Hispanics were not considered to be minorities but were considered to be white.

But the more curious aspect of immigration reform is how the Democratic Party, generally perceived as the racially sensitive party and contrasted with the Republican Party, is the party more favored by the Latino vote. Yet under President Barack Obama, deportations of illegal immigrants have proceeded at a far higher pace than under President George Bush.

Likewise, the Democratic Party is the party with a reputation for being generally opposed to aggressive warfare, which seems to make Democratic Party politicians more eager to prove themselves through militancy, and because of their reputation they do not have to worry about attracting blame for the wars they wage.

The Republican Party has a severely undeserved reputation for limited government. That is why there is far less of a reaction when Republican Party politicians create agencies such as the TSA or the DHS, pass legislation such as the USAPATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, or Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors, or enact abuses such as Telecom Immunity.

The Republican Party also has a reputation for being fiscal hawks. While both parties are profligate spenders, at least the Democrats try to enact some minor token tax increases to address their proposed spending. The so-called fiscal hawks are regular advocates of deficit spending, which is why although the Democrats are very likely to maintain any rate of spending started by Republicans, it is the Republicans who accelerate spending.

On issue after issue, it comes up over and over again that what one party has a reputation for advocating, the other party is the actual advocate. It is bad enough that there is no genuine choice between the two wings of the one party, but the choice is made even more obscure by each party representing the opposite of what it stands for on the few issues that divide them.