On the Issue of Gun Control

When people on the “let’s have fewer massacres in schools” side of the gun control debate talk about “common sense gun laws,” they are talking broadly about three things: universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a renewed ban on military assault weapons. The first two are essential, and I think I have a compromise position on the last that could make both sides the least unhappy.

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Patriotism

The controversy over currently-former-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has stimulated fresh ruminations on my part about the true nature of patriotism. In short, if your concept of “patriotism” is tied up in superficial symbols of your country, and not in the well-being of its people, then you’re doing patriotism wrong.

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The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Twitter lost their censorship cherry when they took what was an unprecedented step for them, shutting down an account due to the politics of the owner, a German neo-Nazi group. Like the rest of you, I can’t be bothered to feel sorry for the fascist morons in question. It’s also true that groups like this one are quite illegal in Germany, which is understandable.

While I can certainly sympathize with the desire to keep people like this in check, and Germany is certainly well-motivated to keep control of right-wing extremists in their midst. I’m just not sure they are going about it the right way. Right now there are 25,000 neo-Nazis or similar right-wing extremists in Germany. In the U.S., where such activity is merely frowned upon and socially ostracized, their numbers are tiny in comparison to those in Germany.

I hold firm to the belief that tolerance for extremist, offensive ideas is a more effective weapon against those who hold those beliefs. Continue reading “The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat”