Delusions of the radical left
Jan 17, 2013
If only I could lobotomize myself with a large vehicle battery, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a pair of heavy duty jumper cables, I might be able to cognitively function at the same convoluted level as the radical left. Over the last decade or so, the radical left has reminded us again and again that prohibition doesn’t work for marijuana — nor for alcohol — and they celebrated the decriminalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
But these same people now insist that firearms prohibition will somehow, magically, see the end of violent crime in America. Gun prohibition will be highly effective, they say to each other. So let’s ban the guns!
But hold on a second. Before taking such sweeping actions, would it make sense to first ask the commonsense question: Can gun prohibition even work? What are the likely consequences of any attempt to prohibit private firearms ownership?
The prohibition quiz
Give the following quiz to just about anyone on the left, and they’ll probably know the correct answer:
Question: The banning of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana has caused which of the following effects?
A) The growth of a huge underground economy of illegal sales that pumps billions of dollars into the hands of drug gangs.
B) The filling of America’s prisons with non-violent criminals who don’t really deserve to be in prison.
C) The creation of a massive, tyrannical War on Drugs, complete with armed DEA raids on citizens’ homes and the growth of an armed domestic agency that terrorizes many Americans.
D) All of the above.
The answer, of course, is D… all of the above.
Everybody who has even half a brain still functioning knows that prohibition drives trade underground, where it ultimately results in MORE crime, not less crime.
So how does the radical left now think that gun prohibition will work? How will gun prohibition not drive the entire gun economy underground? How will gun prohibition not result in the imprisonment of yet more innocent people who only sought to purchase tools of self defense by whatever means were available to them? How will gun prohibition not result in the massive expansion of the government’s “War on Guns” crusade that wastes billions in taxpayer dollars and accomplishes nothing?
If the War on Drugs is a failure, the War on Guns will be a bloody catastrophe.
I’m one of the few Americans who has actually resided in a country where guns were illegal, and I can tell you the gun trade is always booming in the underground economy. Guns and bullets were all readily available where I lived, but instead of the sales revenues from those items going into the hands of regulated businesses that paid taxes, all that money went into the hands of criminal gangs that operated off the books. Apparently, the radical left wants the same thing to happen in America, and they’re begging Obama to put it in place, obvious to the consequences of what they’re asking for.
Economics tells us what will really happen under gun prohibition
Economics is ultimately the study of human decision making and human behavior. When humans want something deeply enough — whether that be alcohol, cigarettes, guns or even crack cocaine — they will find a way to get it, regardless of its legality. As America learned the hard way through the era of prohibition in the 1920’s and 30’s, society achieves nothing by branding an entire class of consumers “criminals” for merely seeking out supply that satisfies their demand.
The entire problem of the Mexican drug gangs was created by the United States and its idiotic “drug war” policies. The criminalization of marijuana drove it underground, thereby causing all drug profits to be concentrated in the hands of violent drug gangs. This provided them with a huge bounty of funding that would literally vanish overnight if the U.S. government legalized and regulated marijuana.
This idea is well understood by liberals in America today. That economic reality makes sense to them on the issue of marijuana. Yet somehow when you replace the word “marijuana” with the word “guns,” those very same people lose their minds and revert to the irrational conclusion that prohibition will work with guns, even though prohibition has never worked for anything in the past.
If you sit a liberal at a desk and write the following sentence for them: If (BLANK) is prohibited, then (BLANK) will be driven into the underground economy while the government creates “a war on (BLANK),” and you ask that liberal person to fill in the blank, they will write in “marijuana.” But a libertarian will know to write in a whole list of things: Marijuana, guns, alcohol, sex, coffee, sugar… you name it. “BLANK” stands for just about everything people want, and the effects of prohibition are universal.
If the U.S. government criminalizes gun ownership, you’re going to end up with gun gangs who control the illicit gun trade. There will be bullet smugglers, gun smugglers and gun parts merchants who operate in the dark, completely off the books. So all this activity, instead of taking place out in the open today where it can be tracked (credit cards) and taxed (state sales taxes), the entire operation will go underground and start pumping billions of dollars into the hands of criminal gangs who will quickly seize control of the market. That’s why criminals LOVE Obama’s gun control — it practically hands them a whole new market to exploit for power and profit.
Gun prohibition is the perfect way to create violent gun gangs who terrorize America
Then again, maybe that’s what Obama wants. It’s surely what the ATF wants, for it would balloon the size of the ATF budget and grow its ranks of “enforcers” whose job it is to raid gun gang locations and shut down gun gang operations. There are a lot of itchy trigger fingers at the DEA, and they’re just begging for some way to prove their worth (and not get downsized). A “War on Guns” would be a dream come true for those boys.
But how has that worked out so far for the DEA and the drug trade? It hasn’t worked at all. The entire program is a disgrace. Despite countless billions of dollars spent on the war on drugs, those very same drugs remain available to every high school kid nearly every day. By trying to outlaw drugs, the U.S. government has only made them far more profitable to trade in the black market. And this, in turn, spontaneously resulted in the rise of a drug distribution network that profited from trading in those drugs.
This is cause and effect, folks.
If prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, and it didn’t work for marijuana, how on earth will it work for guns?
It won’t. It will only create more violence, more gangs, more of a police state and more profits for the prison industry.
The answer is legalization, regulation and (some) taxation
The real answer to gun control is the same answer for marijuana control. You want to take the profit out of pot dealers? Legalize the stuff! Regulate it, tax it, monitor it and do your best to keep it out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have it, but don’t ban it or you’ll drive it underground.
The answer is identical with gun control: Legalize it, regulate it and tax it. Do your best to keep it out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have it, but don’t ban it or you’ll drive it underground.
The number one thing the U.S. government could do to reduce firearms ownership across America today — and I’m not in favor of this, but I’m just saying this is what would do it — would be to throw down some heavy new taxes on firearms.
Imagine, if you will, that the government passes a new $250 tax for a handgun purchase, and a $500 tax for a rifle purchase.
Immediately, the cost to purchase most handguns goes up by 50%, from roughly $500 to $750. At the same time, the cost to purchase a rifle goes up 50% as well, from roughly $1000 to $1500.
What is the actual impact of such a policy? It makes all the guns and rifles more difficult for low-income people to afford. But to a typical upper-class income earner, an extra $250 or even $500 for a weapon is not such a big deal, so they can still afford it. But all the low-income people who, let’s face it, tend to be associated with more crime are far less able to afford the firearms.
They can’t even afford them on the black market, either, because the value all of the existing guns goes up by exactly the same amount as the added tax.
I’ve interviewed police who have told me the real problem with guns is all the cheap, low-cost handguns that are readily available in the inner cities, not high-end rifles owned by sharpshooters. Until recently, you could pick up a cheap “Saturday night special” for under $100 in most areas. But a new federal tax on those guns would raise their value to $350 overnight, thereby putting their purchase out of reach of most low-income wage earners.
Again, I’m not saying I agree with this taxation policy, because I don’t. But I’m pointing out that if the government actually wanted to achieve the policy goal of reducing the number of people who owned guns in America, the most rational and effective way to do that — without creating a terrifying new police state and criminalizing half the population — would be to slap heavy new taxes on the guns and keep them in the realm of the legal economy rather than outlawing them and driving the entire industry underground.
But, alas, such an intelligent analysis of economics and human behavior is far too complex for the delusional minds of the radical left. Because, c’mon, these people believe that simply placing a “Gun Free Zone” sign on a school magically makes guns disappear from the vicinity. These people do not understand cause and effect, and they don’t live in reality.
More than anything these days, those of us who teach critical thinking and enlightenment are not fighting against specific policies or agendas; we are fighting against delusional thinking on the part of politicians, voters, “scientists” or members of the media.
The real problem in America today is delusional thinking
The reason delusional thinking is so prevalent is because the media pushes delusional thinking at every opportunity. Rather than inviting their viewers and readers to think for themselves, fake media institutions like CNN want their viewers to REACT to the news. It’s all about invoking an emotional reaction rather than inviting critical analysis.
That’s why CNN is all about telling you what to think rather than asking questions about what happened. The same is true across all the fake media outlets today.
Delusional thinking is what leads to the downfall of civilizations. And today in 2013, the United States of America is drowning in delusional thinking on every front: economics, finances, health care, taxation, security, agriculture, energy and everything else that matters. Delusional thinking isn’t the sole monopoly of the radical left, either: the blinded right was just as guilty of delusional thinking during the George W. Bush “terror” days, when everything he wanted to put in place was justified by invoking the word “terror!”
Obama does the same thing, but his magical word for 2013 is “Children!” It’s all the same manipulation, just under a different pretense. Our job as citizens of America is to look beyond the delusions and learn how to consider cause and effect so that we know how present-day decisions might impact our futures.
And if our common goal is to reduce violent crime, then gun prohibition — which would create a whole new industry of armed gun gangs — is obviously not going to accomplish our shared goal of reducing violence. You can’t reduce violence by redirecting billions of dollars worth of economic activity directly into the hands of criminal gangs. That would only make the Sandy Hook shooting look like a tiny footnote in history compared to all the violence unleashed in the “War on Guns.”
If you think about this honestly and with clarity, you’ll realize that gun prohibition is insanity and it won’t work. What works to reduce gun ownership, if that’s even the goal, is to make guns more difficult for people to afford — but not so difficult that it’s cheaper for them to go underground and buy them there.
Any honest economist would wholeheartedly agree with the assessment I just described. In fact, I specifically call for Paul Craig Roberts to analyze what I’ve written here and see if I’ve jumped to any wrong conclusions whatsoever. Roberts understands economics far better than most, and his is a voice of reason on nearly every subject he covers. You can read his website atwww.PaulCraigRoberts.org