Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taiwan gun group joins global fight to bear arms

The organization has a goal to see 8 million people in Taiwan own a gun and 5 million people obtain a license to carry concealed firearms

The Taiwan Defensive Firearms Association (TDFA) earlier this month became a member of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), a global gun rights association working to protect and expand the ability to keep and bear arms around the globe.

In a press release, IAPCAR said the TDFA was joining 16 other groups from nine countries on five continents that represent millions of firearm owners and citizens concerned about civilian gun rights.

“The IAPCAR coalition defending gun rights worldwide continues to grow and we are proud to have Taiwan join with us,” IAPCAR executive director Philip Watson is quoted as saying.

“The Taiwan Defensive Firearms Association is an important addition in our battle to protect the human right of self-defense,” Watson said.

The TDFA is reported to be Taiwan’s highest profile gun advocacy association, which according to its Web site opened its office in Taipei in May last year, with Boris Yang acting as chairman.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

40 comments:

Michael Fagan said...

About time - but this sort of thing should ideally be pushed in concert with other pro-freedom reforms, such as the complete removal of the State from the education market so that we don't end up with abject morons running around shooting themselves in the foot.

In any case, freedom of purchase is just one aspect to the legalization of firearms, the other is freedom of market supply and competition, otherwise legal firearms will, through restriction of market supply, become the preserve of the rich. The day a Sig Sauer 226 can be bought at a local dealer in Taiwan for a price similar to a 50cc scooter will be the day they come within reach of all working people.

Anonymous said...

I like this part the best:

"Its Web site states that it is a group of gun policy researchers who wish to allow qualified Taiwanese to legally bear firearms to “provide them with the ability to refuse to be a victim and to make most of Taiwanese middle class become a steady power of the social order.”

Foreigners on the other hand (qualified or not), will undoubtedly NOT be entitled to legally bear firearms, making them easier targets for A-Huang and his band of thugs who will be able to get themselves firearms the same way they are able to get platinum credit cards without a guarantor (unlike the foreigner scum who live here permanently but clearly don't deserve the same rights or privileges as the locals).

Brian Schack said...

I'm waiting for the day when we'll be able to legally bear nuclear weapons, and when the perfect, completely rational, all-knowing free market will have made them cheap enough to buy at 7-11. We'll be so safe, it'll make your head spin.

Michael Fagan said...

@Brian

Right, because in your ideal Lefty future you'd no doubt have to apply for a nonsense and hyperbole license just to say something like that. Oh wait...

FOARP said...

I can't believe you published this puff-piece ("minor advocacy group totally unknown to general population joins international organisation" - wow, big news). This is an obvious piece of agenda-pushing that should have been reserved to the editorial pages, if was to be mentioned at all.

Of course, were Taiwan's main gun-control lobbying organisation to join an international organisation you would publish this too? Or perhaps, given that gun control is pretty much a non-issue in Taiwan, there is no real need for such an organisation to raise its profile in such a way?

Given the controversial nature of some of what is mentioned in this piece (accusing authorities of faking stats, peddling nonsense about UN Arms Treaties - international law - restricting individual rights) you might have included some voices of sanity, but then I guess that would have blunted the message of the piece.

James said...

Why is Brian's ad absurdum nonsense, Michael?

His point seems pretty clear to me: your bizarre brand of untempered free marketism at the expense of everything else is pretty bloody scary.

Regardless of what 'wing' you are (continually dismissing dissenters as loony lefties is feeble and tired), sticking to rigid dogma when it flies in the face of common sense and basic humanity is idiotic.

Bar whatever kind of Nozickian wonderland it is you envisage, in what world does more guns = good?

(Cue specious diatribe about state monopoly of firearms.)

Michael Fagan said...

"Why is Brian's ad absurdum nonsense, Michael?"

If you could tell your arse from your synonym, then I could explain it to you.

"...your bizarre brand of untempered free marketism at the expense of everything else is pretty bloody scary."

An "untempered" free market could not exist.

In a free market, regulations would still be produced - they simply would not be imposed by coercive fiat (and it is that crucial element of State coercion which you have in mind when using weasel words like "untempered"). I am not responsible for your decision to wallow in ignorance as to the logic of a free market.

"...sticking to rigid dogma when it flies in the face of common sense and basic humanity is idiotic."

Well I hope you get to fully enjoy the consequences of your "common sense" and "basic humanity" should you or your family happen to be assaulted, robbed or raped sometime between now and your old age.

To hell with you, James - and everyone like you.

FOARP said...

"should you or your family happen to be assaulted, robbed or raped sometime between now and your old age"

. . . by someone holding a gun . . .

Michael Fagan said...

Or a knife, or simply fists... or even a land theft warrant from the local government.

Grandpa FOARP won't be punching his way out of that.

FOARP said...

Fagan, your forgetting that the vast majority of people die at the hands of people they know. Here's what the UK national archives had to say about homicide in England & Wales in 2008/9 -

"Circumstances of the homicides
Further information is collected on the circumstances of the homicides. This shows that
around a half (53%, or 346 offences) of homicide cases in 2008/09 were due to a quarrel, a
revenge attack or a loss of temper. This proportion was higher where the principal suspect
was known to the victim (61%), compared to when the suspect was unknown to the victim
(42%). Seven per cent of homicides (45 offences) occurred during robberies or burglaries and
four per cent (25 offences) were attributed to irrational acts8. As at 24 November 2009, the
apparent circumstances were not known for 26 per cent of homicides (168 offences) recorded
in 2008/09. (Table 1.06). This figure may decrease as police carry out further investigations.


That is, the person who is most likely to kill you is also most likely to have access to that gun you bought for 'self-defence' against 'government agents'. And this doesn't include accidental deaths and suicides.

D said...

@"To hell with you, James - and everyone like you."

You need to chill out. Your opinions may be right or may be wrong (certainly the latter, ha ha), but if you can't accept that society makes decisions based on what people's values actually are, instead of what they "should be", then maybe you need to go back to your Unabomber cabin, or wherever it is you lost all trust in humanity.

Michael Fagan said...

"Fagan, your forgetting that..."

On the contrary: I am well aware of the statistical arguments. Are you? Consider: how many of those people who killed their friends or relatives already had prior criminal records?

It isn't the gun that is dangerous, it is the person wielding it that is what you need to worry about.

In any case, the ethical argument against State prohibition of firearms* is not 2nd Amendment, or utilitarian calculations - as you wrongly suppose - it is the argument from private property. A general prohibition on private firearms ownership is wrong because it is a violation of the right to private property and the principle of free exchange.

It is the same reason why the government's legalized acts of land theft in Miaoli and Changhua are wrong - they are direct violations of the right to private property. It is this right which underpins the principle of free-exchange, and the more it is violated, the closer we move toward a police state.

*Note that I did not say "gun-control". In a free society, there would necessarily be gun-control measures (e.g. as today: prohibiting ownership by people with prior violent crime convictions) but these would not take the form of a general, State-enforced prohibition.

Michael Fagan said...

@"D"

Perhaps you need to keep your projections to yourself - I'm as calm as a pint of Caffrey's.

"...if you can't accept that society makes decisions based on what people's values actually are..."

Substitution. Where would the Statist Left be without it?

You say "society" when what you mean is government. You say "people's values" when what you mean is the values of (an often presumed) majority of voters.

Assuming the State does "represent" a majority of people (and not just, as in the West, a majority of registered voters), your statement still amounts to nothing more than that a government decides to act according to the values of some against the values of others.

Majoritarian tyranny.

De Tocqueville warned about that view when he wrote:

"'The will of the nation' is one of those expressions which have been most profusely abused by the wily and the despotic of every age."

D said...

@Michael

Alright. You just keep on trippin'.

FOARP said...

"how many of those people who killed their friends or relatives already had prior criminal records?"

Crunching the numbers, the figure is roughly 5% previous convictions for murder/manslaughter (this includes killings in jail) and roughly another 10% previous convictions for violent crime, for all murders.

And remember, my point was that the person most likely to their victim was also most likely to have access to any firearms possessed by their victim. A bar on gun ownership for people with previous convictions for violent crime would not prevent them accessing their victim's gun where their victim has no previous convictions for violent crime.

Michael Fagan said...

Perhaps convictions aren't the most accurate measure then, but that does not gainsay the point that some people are disproportionately more likely to be violent than others - with or without access to their friend/relative's firearm.

Yet arguing the statistical benefits vs costs of firearms ownership for society generally is besides the point. Your fear of private firearms ownership is no license to forcibly bind me to your valuation of risk, and that is because my life does not belong to you or anyone else.

Michael Fagan said...

@"D"

Is that it with you, then? No attempt to argue: just a piss-poor, half-arsed ad hominem?

James said...

I don't care what the purpose of your conjuring up the hypothetical rape or murder of my family is, you are way out of line even putting stuff like that out there.

Back when I first had exchanges with you, it was clear pretty much anyone you engaged with ended up taking a strong dislike to you.

I felt I was relatively even handed with you and actually have half-defended you on occasions to others who find you intolerable.

Enough is enough. Where does this nastiness come from Michael? I do not know you in person but online you come across as a deeply bitter, unpleasant man.

You set yourself up as a moral person but how does the vitriolic abuse you dish out mesh with that (one doesn't have to crass or vulgar to be abusive, either)?

You are dishonest: I've heard you say you'll respect people's convictions if they come from the heart and are honestly argued but this is clearly not true.

To hell with people like me, who believe curtailment of your sacrosanct freedoms is sometimes justifiable in the name of basic decency?

However odious you find my position, do you really believe I'm disingenuous in my beliefs? If so, I'd like to know the criteria you have for determining this.

I may be mistaken but I don't think I've ever seen you accept what someone on 'the Left' (or basically people you don't agree with) has said as a genuinely-held conviction.

Why never a simple nod and 'fair play, I reckon you're way off the mark but that was well-argued and honest. Not once? Bit odd isn't it for someone who claims to respect opinions of all kinds.

Once again, please don't ever invoke my family in even a tangential way for one of your silly arguments (it is silly btw because it's the old 'well, you'd soon change your tune if ...' which, again, aptly demonstrates you refusal to believe anyone is being honest).

Nothing is more important to me than my children and, aside from the nastiness of even bringing something like that up, you are basically calling into question my parenting.

You do not have children Michael, so you have a damn cheek shouting the odds to others about things like this.

Finally, I do not blame D for resorting to facile gip. As much as I try to eschew it, it seems like there is not much else that gets through to you.

You're a dislikable, pig-headed tosser.

Michael Fagan said...

"I don't care what the purpose of your conjuring up the hypothetical rape or murder of my family is, you are way out of line even putting stuff like that out there."

And I don't care what you think about "common decency"; you're way out of line talking casually about curtailing everybody else's freedom in respect of potential life-death situations.

What could happen to you and your family for want of a firearm is as real as what could happen to them in a traffic accident anytime. Here, have your "emotional outrage" card back and shove it.

"...do you really believe I'm disingenuous in my beliefs?"

No. I just think you're abjectly ignorant of that which you criticize - which makes you a dislikeable, pig-headed tosser too.

J. Michael Cole 寇謐將 said...

I am currently abroad and have not been paying attention to what is going on in the comments section. I would ask that you keep it civil; if any of you feels the need to engage in personal attacks, please do so on a different platform. All good wishes, and thanks for reading. Will be back in about two weeks.

James said...

I notice nowhere do you address the point about your dishonesty.

Is that because, as I have said, there is no way around the fact that you will never accept the opinions of others as honestly-held if they are of a certain type?

'No. I just think you're abjectly ignorant of that which you criticize - which makes you a dislikeable, pig-headed tosser too'

That would mean you accept my opinions are honestly held, then? So why the venom?

In any case, it's more nonsense - just a way of dismissing anyone who disagrees with you as not grasping your oh-so-complicated arguments.

Once again, as you did not address this either, never presume to advise me on how to look after my family. I don't need pointers on how to care for my kids from a raving sociopath like you.

@ J. Michael Cole: Sorry this has descended into this morass. This does tend to happen when that lovable funster Fagan comes on the scene.

Michael Fagan said...

"I notice nowhere do you address the point about your dishonesty."

Notice it some more then - it isn't worth addressing; you got the thick end of the stick not because you hold a different view, but because you began by describing remarks you anticipated me making as "idiotic" and "specious".

If you'd taken a different tone with me, I'd have taken a different tone with you.

"This does tend to happen when that lovable funster Fagan comes on the scene."

No it doesn't - as the comments history right here on this blog proves, and at many other places where you were not involved.

FOARP said...

"Your fear of private firearms ownership is no license to forcibly bind me to your valuation of risk"

Funnily enough, in many countries nowadays we have something called "democracy" whereby, if I can get enough people to agree that unrestricted gun ownership threatens society as a whole (as I believe it does) the law will force you to follow my appreciation of the risk of gun ownership. In the UK, the law, which is supported by the majority of the electorate, prevents gun ownership except until strictly controlled circumstances, and the relatively low murder rate we have in the UK, as well as the lower rate of accidental death, is the result of this.

Michael Fagan said...

"Funnily enough, in many countries nowadays we have something called "democracy"..."

Which is merely a procedure for calibrating the unchecked buildup of the State according to majority prejudice, and which, as De Tocquville anticipated, can be purposefully manipulated (especially if the education market can be transformed into a State controlled "education system").

"...if I can get enough people to agree that [X, Y or Z] threatens society as a whole [or benefits society as a whole] the law will force you to follow my appreciation of the risk [or benefit] of [X, Y or Z]."

With my paranthetical additions to flesh it out somewhat, what you have described there is the means for the cannibalization of human value whereby the majoritarian tribe destroy and/or consume the values of some unfortunate minority. It is the use of force to compel all persons under the law (though not perhaps those above it) to think and act according to no other principle than majoritarian whim. If it were otherwise, you would have specified the limits and the principles on which such limits are to be based.

You didn't. Maybe you do think there ought to be limits, but in your thirst to have a go at me, it simply didn't occur to you to mention that.

Either way, it is quite the confession.

FOARP said...

"the majoritarian tribe destroy and/or consume the values of some unfortunate minority.

Where the values of the minority are such as to threaten the majority (such as through the ownership of deadly weapons in conditions which inevitably lead to their misuse) such conduct is entirely valid.

An extreme example of this is already noted above. Whilst you could, conceivably make an argument as to why the private ownership of tactical nuclear weapons is desirable, the threat of misuse is so overwhelming that no sane person could advocate private ownership of such weapons, even under the strictest controls.

Imagine a country where, through an over-sight in the law, a minority of people managed to gain control of tactical nuclear weapons. What sane government, acting in the interests of the majority of people who do not want to be obliterated in someone's private nuclear war, would not, if possible, seize those weapons?

And does not the same go for other deadly weapons whose danger far outweighs their legitimate utility? There are reasons, other than their use in commission of a crime, why you might want to have a flame thrower, an RPG, plastic explosives, artillery pieces, heavy machine guns. For all these weapons the danger of criminal use out weighs the legitimate utility.

The same is also true for assault rifles and hand guns. The much-evidenced fact is that such weapons, privately held in loosely regulated conditions such as those prevelant in most US states, are far more likely to be used in the commission of crime than they are in self-defence.

Sure, talk all you like about defending yourself against "the state" with a hand-gun. Much more likely, though, is that the gun will go off one day by accident and kill you, a loved one, or a random stranger. Either that, or the gun will be used to commit murder by you or someone with access to your gun. Even if your anti-state fantasy came true (and the chances of this are tiny), a hand-gun (or even an assault rifle) wouldn't be much help against even your local PD. In fact, you'd more likely kill an innocent by-stander (or cause a by-stander to be killed) than acheive anything.

Michael Fagan said...

First...

"Where the values of the minority are such as to threaten the majority... such conduct is entirely valid."

By which logic majority opinion can either repudiate or validate private firearms ownership, and your argument is thereby reduced to a mere amoral contingency. If a majority were to disagree with you, then you would be forced to accept gun legalization as valid.

It is because you are committed to a collectivist outlook that you have nothing to say about right and wrong individual conduct here.

And... the "threat" you claim that private firearms ownership poses to your majority is disingenuous. A "threat" is a statement of intent, but what you are talking about is "risk" - specifically the risk of accident or misuse. A person who merely possesses firearms is not by that fact alone "threatening" other people, any more than a person who possesses a car is "threatening" other people. To insinutate otherwise requires a dishonesty which, to be charitable, I will suppose was unconscious.

Second...

Typically for someone on the Left, you place much (undue and insolent) emphasis on the externality-risk aspect of private firearms ownership. Yet you quite ignore the converse risks of outsourcing the defence and security of an entire population to a single source - the State. Absent private firearms ownership, potential victims of violent crime are stripped of the most effective means of raising the cost of criminal behaviour and thus deterring crime against their persons and property. Furthermore, such a population must then become dependent upon the State for whatever "protection" it happens to deem them worthy of, and then they will be forced to accept and tolerate abuses and instances of tyrannical overreach. The "war on drugs" in the U.S., the land theft ("expropriation") cases here in Taiwan. Etc...

"The much-evidenced fact is that such weapons, privately held in loosely regulated conditions such as those prevelant in most US states, are far more likely to be used in the commission of crime than they are in self-defence."

Careful mixing your whiskeys there. First, where firearms are used in crime, their procurement is typically illegal (even when [mis]managed by the State itself). Second, when firearms in legal possession are rarely used in self-defence - well that is precisely the point isn't it? In a society with the necessary socio-cultural prerequisites, the private possession of firearms is a deterrant to crime. That is why people buy them.

Third...

"Even if your anti-state fantasy came true (and the chances of this are tiny), a hand-gun (or even an assault rifle) wouldn't be much help against even your local PD."

My "anti-state position" is Liberal: that the State apparatus should be rationally deconstructed. I realize this is not going to happen, but part of the reason for that is the prevelence of tacit collectivist premises such as held by you yourself.

A shoot up against local police is nought to do with me; it is your fantasy projection, and one which may be added to your other fantasising about tactical nukes and so on - which is risible nonsense.

FOARP said...

"If a majority were to disagree with you, then you would be forced to accept gun legalization as valid."

Sure, but the true morality is in doing what is best for the greater good - and I have a strong regard for the majority's ability to recognise what is in their interests, most of the time. The rest of the time, a greater evil is done in denying the majority of people what they want than in withholding it even if it might do them harm.

"A person who merely possesses firearms is not by that fact alone "threatening" other people, any more than a person who possesses a car is "threatening" other people."

And the person who owns 10 tonnes of semtex? An RPG? People who own firearms do not, generally, lock them in a safe and never take them out except for legitimate purposes unless legally required to do so. There is no "insinuation" of a threatening purpose in this, unconscious or otherwise, only statistically demonstrable fact.

"Typically for someone on the Left, you place much (undue and insolent) emphasis on the externality-risk aspect of private firearms ownership."

First off, I am not, and have never been, left-wing. I am a conservative voter. Secondly, my emphasis is not "insolent" but based in fact. There is a risk, and according to all available evidence the risk outweighs the utility of loosely regulate firearms ownership.

As a conservative, I believe in government intervention only where strictly necessary - and the ownership of firearms is one of those areas. Also, as a conservative, I believe in doing what works, and not merely blindly following ideology. If an ideology demands that people are unwillingly exposed to the risk of dying random, pointless deaths for little gain, then that ideology is wrong and must give way.

"Furthermore, such a population must then become dependent upon the State for whatever "protection" it happens to deem them worthy of . . ."

Or, if they live in a democratic state, the level of protection that the majority of people deem appropriate and not likely to cause harm.

"they will be forced to accept and tolerate abuses and instances of tyrannical overreach. The "war on drugs" in the U.S., the land theft"

And it is preferable that people should, in much greater numbers, die random deaths often from no fault of their own? And, since the United States is a country in which gun ownership is wide-spread and only loosely regulated, is this not evidence that it does not, anyway, have the effect that you say it should?

"In a society with the necessary socio-cultural prerequisites, the private possession of firearms is a deterrant to crime. That is why people buy them."

Except that all available evidence shows that crime is not deterred. It is enabled.

" . . . part of the reason for that is the prevelence of tacit collectivist premises such as held by you yourself."

Democracy requires a degree of collectivism. What you are proposing is, in truth, an anarchistic fantasy, a sought of Tyler Durdenism without the cool that Pahlaniuk gave his character. Thankfully it will never come to pass.

And, yes, a gunfight with local law enforcement is exactly the end result of the firearms-ownership as a means of "resisting the state" that you propose.

Michael Fagan said...

"Sure, but the true morality is in doing what is best for the greater good..."

Nonsense: if act utilitarianism is to be applied at all, it must be heavily tempered by a principled recognition of the sovereign rights of individuals. Where a majority of grown men desire to rape a child repeatedly - as is a common occurance in Afghanistan - then strict act utilitarianism by itself would lead you to condone such subhuman behaviour as being in the interests of the greater good.

There are few things in politics more disgusting than unadulterated collective utilitarianism; it is the cannibalization of human values on a strictly amoral, majoritarian basis.

But to go beyond merely endorsing it in this case to hold it aloft as the "one true morality" is a falsehood akin to that of religious fanatics, since collective utilitarianism cannot be derived strictly from facts and yet you assert it as if it is obvious.

"And the person who owns 10 tonnes of semtex? An RPG?"

On a par with your tactical nuke nonsense.

"People who own firearms do not, generally, lock them in a safe and never take them out except for legitimate purposes unless legally required to do so."

That is because people who own firearms generally know how to handle them with the utmost care and are cognizant of the need for regular skill maintenance, and so they might take their weapons down to the range several times a week.

"There is no "insinuation" of a threatening purpose in this, unconscious or otherwise, only statistically demonstrable fact."

Last time I checked, the word "threat" did not mean contingent statistical pattern. A "threat" is a statement of intent, a "risk" is categorically different. Your substitution of one for the other was either an unforced error, or a moment of disingenuousness and you should admit and disown it.

"First off, I am not, and have never been, left-wing. I am a conservative voter."

The difference is contemptibly negligible. What are you conserving today, if not yesterday's push against the freedom of the individual by the Left?

"Secondly, my emphasis is not "insolent" but based in fact."

It is based on a selective reading of the statistics which deliberately ignores the socio-cultural contextual parameters of both violent crime and firearms ownership. The insolence is in your willful advocacy of the State violating property rights.

....

Michael Fagan said...

...

"If an ideology demands that people are unwillingly exposed to the risk of dying random, pointless deaths for little gain, then that ideology is wrong and must give way."

That argument can be just as easily turned around and used against the State monopoly over defence and protection services. A disarmed person at home (who did not consent to the general prohibition on firearms, since naturally, as a mere cell in the human hive, her opinion is of itself inconsequential) faced with armed invaders is precisely someone who would be "unwillingly exposed to the risk of dying a random, pointless death for little gain".

"Or, if they live in a democratic state, the level of protection that the majority of people deem appropriate and not likely to cause harm."

Whether the State is democratic or not is beside the point: in either case the very point of firearms ownership is to cause harm to human predators, and without respect for the rights of individuals to make their own decisions on self-defence, then that level of protection provided by the State will always be (a) something the people never agreed to, (b) frequently inadequate - and through no fault of the police themselves, and (c) subject to political manipulation and corruption. Were the farmers of Miaoli county last year "protected" when the police arrived to oversee the destruction of their rice crops and the theft of their land?

"And it is preferable that people should, in much greater numbers, die random deaths often from no fault of their own?"

In the same way that death by accident is "preferable" to death by State-supported murder. People can change their individual behaviour far more easily than the State can restrict its' own continuous expansion - and actually, I believe this expansionary arc is now beyond institutional limitation.

"Except that all available evidence shows that crime is not deterred. It is enabled."

All available evidence sans socio-cultural context. Violent crime tends to be higher in specific places and among specific demographic groups and it is typically perpetrated by people who acquire guns illegally, not legally. Your argument is fallacious.

"What you are proposing is, in truth, an anarchistic fantasy..."

I haven't proposed anything here, let alone to you. I have been arguing against the State prohibition on private firearms ownership.

As for "fantasy", you're the one imagining "tactical nukes" and shoot-ups with the cops, not me.

James said...

'Typically for someone on the Left...'

Ahahahahahahahaha. Fagan: you're a comedy genius! He's got you pegged all right G. Love the way, even here, he couldn't admit he was wrong but just gave it some blustering 'well it's all the same thing' cobblers.

You called him Left wing, didn't you? You were wrong, weren't you?

' I believe in doing what works, and not merely blindly following ideology.'

That's it. No more than that is needed because that is what is at play. Forget the metaethics.

The idea that I can't take you on here due to some inability to grasp the issues or lay down a workable framework for the foundation of morals (I can't as it happens but that is precisely the point I have made to you before regarding value judegments) is silly even by your standards Michael.

We've been here before - you're a moral realist, a position I see as untenable. My position is not untenable because I essentially don't have one other than to say that any attempt to lay down an objective framework is to 'say' through language that which can only be 'shown' - that is, it is intrinsically flawed from the offset.

This does not mean I am not interested in trying. But not with you. Not anymore. I told you a good while ago that I shan't get into this with you anymore as I cannot see any resolution.

Go ahead and hoist me, as is your wont, by my own petard with your 'there are no moral rules except this one' argument.

Of course I'm involved in a bind. Unlike you, marching ahead with the assurance of a sleepwalker, I accept that as part and parcel of any dicourse on values.

FOARP said...

"That is because people who own firearms generally know how to handle them with the utmost care and are cognizant of the need for regular skill maintenance, and so they might take their weapons down to the range several times a week . . ."

. . . and then accidentally shoot themselves or another, or get stolen, or used to kill someone in a fit of rage. Arguing as if such people were infallible is to replace realism with ideology.

"Your substitution of one for the other was either an unforced error, or a moment of disingenuousness and you should admit and disown it."

Nonsense. If my neighbour is doing something which threatens me, with or without intent, it becomes my business.

"Where a majority of grown men desire to rape a child repeatedly - as is a common occurance in Afghanistan"

I do not believe the majority is infallible, but they get things right most of the time. This asides, the fact is that by all evidence the majority of people in Afghanistan do not approve of such behaviour, and it is actually illegal in Afghanistan.

"A disarmed person at home (who did not consent to the general prohibition on firearms, since naturally, as a mere cell in the human hive, her opinion is of itself inconsequential) faced with armed invaders is precisely someone who would be "unwillingly exposed to the risk of dying a random, pointless death for little gain"."

This is a sad situation. However, as adult human beings we have to weigh sad situations against each other based on the data at hand. The data shows that should such a person have a gun, that gun is much more likely to be used to unlawfully kill someone than it is to be used in self-defence.

It is fine to carry on about "socio-cultural context" - but what you do not show is how taking into account such context can make the evidence show the exact opposite of what a mere reading of the numbers tells you. How exactly does your cod-sociology "socio-cultural context" reverse statistical evidence? This is the kind of talk I am accustomed to hearing from the touchy-feely left.

And please, just how exactly would gun ownership among farmers have changed things in Miaoli without violence against the authorities?

James said...

'"Where a majority of grown men desire to rape a child repeatedly - as is a common occurance in Afghanistan"

the fact is that by all evidence the majority of people in Afghanistan do not approve of such behaviour, and it is actually illegal in Afghanistan.'

Glad you mentioned that as I'd forgotten. A quite ludicrous claim, further illustrating MF Doom's nutjobbery.

I'll give him his own fabled 'benefit of the doubt' and say it was just badly phrased (it actually doesn't make sense if you read it carefully) but still ... Some stats for that one?

Michael Fagan said...

@James

"Go ahead and hoist me, as is your wont, by my own petard..."

Been there, done that.

@FOARP

"....and then accidentally shoot themselves or another, or get stolen, or used to kill someone in a fit of rage."

Rarely.

"Arguing as if such people were infallible is to replace realism with ideology."

I did not argue "as if" they were infallible. I was adding the necessary context to your assertion that gun-owners don't keep their guns locked away at all times.

"If my neighbour is doing something which threatens me, with or without intent, it becomes my business."

Again with the corrupt substitution of "threaten" for "risk". If your neighbour merely possesses a gun, this may pose some externality-risk to you, but it is Orwellian bullshit to describe it as a "threat" in the absence of intent to use it against you. You might as well say his possession of a car is a "threat" to you.

"I do not believe the majority is infallible, but they get things right most of the time."

By what standard is that utilitarian "right" to be calculated? You have cited none other than majoritarian preference, so the claim is circular.

"This asides, the fact is that by all evidence the majority of people in Afghanistan do not approve of such behaviour, and it is actually illegal in Afghanistan."

By what evidence? The fact that it is illegal in an effectively lawless territory? Behave. Besides which, the territorial boundaries of a given body-politic are variable. In a given territory controlled by this or that Afghan warlord, the "majority" opinion across Afghanistan is irrelevant.

"However, as adult human beings we have to weigh sad situations against each other based on the data at hand."

That's not entirely true because you have elided the necessary function of principles. You cannot make sense of any data without principles with which to interpret and understand the meaning of such data. The contention here is over which principles are correct, mine or yours - the stout insistence on individual rights, or unlimited, majoritarian cannibalism. Should social organization be premised upon voluntary transactions or Hobbesian coercion? This is not a question that can be decided by mere data alone.

....

Michael Fagan said...

....

"The data shows that should such a person have a gun, that gun is much more likely to be used to unlawfully kill someone than it is to be used in self-defence."

No it doesn't because the "person" you are dealing with is an abstraction from aggregate data, and thus your conclusion as to probability does not follow.

A gun in the hands of someone associated with an urban gang is more likely to be used to unlawfully shoot someone than it is to be used in self-defence, I grant you that much. It is also true that guns in the hands of white collar workers in say, Dallas, are unlikely to be used in self-defence (because crime where they live is low). But that is why I have been pointing out again and again that it is the type of person who possesses the gun that poses a risk, not the gun itself. And again and again you willfully ignore this and keep trotting out your abject "more likely to kill someone than be used in self-defence" statistical canard.

"And please, just how exactly would gun ownership among farmers have changed things in Miaoli without violence against the authorities?"

I didn't say that it would have. A shoot out with the cops is one of the last things I'd want to see happen. The point is that the current Statist monopoly on protection services more easily allows the exploitation of the weak and the wanton theft of their property than would otherwise occur under a free-market production of security. Your much vaulted "democratic mechanisms" did precisely nothing to prevent the perpetration of that enormous injustice last year, and in fact people like the chairman of National Chengchi University’s Department of Land Economics were published in the Taipei Times actually defending it under the perverse cover of being against it.

And then of course there are the Turtons sitting with their crisp packets up in the gallery, ready to cheer this nonsense on.

FOARP said...

"it is the type of person who possesses the gun that poses a risk, not the gun itself."

Statistics show that the kind of person who commits murder/manslaughter can be pretty much anyone (fewer than 25% have a previous conviction for violent crime), that the people that they kill are usually friends and family (50% of male victims and 76% of female victims), and that the motive in more than half of cases is rage or revenge (homicides occuring during burglaries, robberies etc. consititute only 7% of the total). How exactly do you intend to legislate to prevent guns falling into the hands of potential murderers when pretty much the entire population belongs to this group? You seem to believe in an idealised version of the 'proper' gun-owner for which there is no factual basis.

" . . . again and again you willfully ignore this and keep trotting out your abject "more likely to kill someone than be used in self-defence" statistical canard."

I ignore anything stated as fact for which no factual basis can be found. You have no basis on which to suggest that there is a sub-set of the population for whom loosely regulated private gun-ownership is safe. Instead, the statistics show that, whilst some groups show a higher incidence of homicide than others, in none is there any evidence that the instances in which guns are used in justified self-defence exceed those in which guns are used to commit murder/manslaughter.

"The point is that the current Statist monopoly on protection services more easily allows the exploitation of the weak and the wanton theft of their property than would otherwise occur under a free-market production of security."

So, in fact, you offer no example of how gun-ownership would have changed the situation. Instead you appear to believe that the state should no longer be equipped to enforce the law, even though those laws be arrived at through a democratic decision-making process. According to this view, Somalia is a sybaritic paradise. But then this is a diversion - just why did you bother mentioning the situation in Miaoli if even you do not appear to believe that gun-ownership would have changed it?

And do you seriously contend that deadly force should used in defence of mere property? That you should be allowed, against the legal tradition of every country I can think of, and against all conceivable morality, to kill those engaged in trespass, theft and so forth?

Michael Fagan said...

"Statistics show that the kind of person who commits murder/manslaughter can be pretty much anyone (fewer than 25% have a previous conviction for violent crime)..."

You are suggesting that because a majority among a tiny subset of the national population (those committing acts of murder - which for 2010 in the U.S. are <1%) do not have prior criminal convictions, that they are ipso facto representative of the general population.

That is an absurd syllogism.

Moreover, that >75% of such people who commit acts of murder or manslaughter without prior criminal convictions are quite likely teenagers or young adults, who have either not been convicted of prior offenses (with "minor" acts of violent crime tending to be under-reported) or are committing their first offense.

Your conclusion that the "type of person who commits murder/manslaughter can be pretty much anyone" simply goes far, far beyond what limited conclusions the data warrants.

"How exactly do you intend to legislate to prevent guns falling into the hands of potential murderers when pretty much the entire population belongs to this group?

I don't, because (a) I'm in favour of a free-market with gun-control measures produced by that market, and because (b) the "entire population" does not belong in that group - as I have already said.

"You have no basis on which to suggest that there is a sub-set of the population for whom loosely regulated private gun-ownership is safe."

Bollocks. Look, it isn't known with any certainty what percentage of the national U.S. population is in legal possession of firearms, but it is often estimated at around the 40%-50% mark. I don't know what the number of criminal offenders acting with firearms as a percentage of the U.S. national population is, but extrapolating from homicide and robbery figures, an educated guess would probably put it around the 1% mark. The number of criminal offenders within that bracket offending with legally acquired firearms must surely be even smaller still. And then the number of deaths and injuries by negligent discharge is likely to be even more minute.

"...you appear to believe that the state should no longer be equipped to enforce the law, even though those laws be arrived at through a democratic decision-making process."

I noted your amoral view of the State earlier. Justice is not an inherent feature of law. The mere fact that a law may have been democratically established does not mean it is just, or that the law should be either enforced or obeyed. The recent land "expropriation" cases are an egregious example of an unjust law being put to work to consume the lifetime values of farmers for the benefit of local politicians and large companies.

...

Michael Fagan said...

...

According to this view, Somalia is a sybaritic paradise.

Risible nonsense. What is important is a culture and history in which the value of individual freedom has exerted systemic consequences in the design of institutions. If you never had that to begin with, as is the case with the unfortunate people of Somalia, then to put it mildly you are faced with an uphill march. Whatever culture there is, adding a parasitic and ever-expanding State apparatus to this will invariably make things worse.

"...just why did you bother mentioning the situation in Miaoli if even you do not appear to believe that gun-ownership would have changed it?"

I mentioned Miaoli to illustrate my earlier point that when defence and protection services for all people are the preserve of a single parasitic monopoly provider, the State, then the weak and the powerless can be preyed upon almost at will. Firearms might not have prevented those acts of legalized theft (although with the example of men like Yang Youde in China last year, I wouldn't be so sure), but something closer to a free market in defense and protection services probably would have.

"And do you seriously contend that deadly force should used in defence of mere property?"

Whether it should be used or not by other people in variable circumstances is not my decision to make. It is theirs. However, there are times when the use of deadly force in defence of property is entirely justified.

Here is the secondary problem with you FOARP (aside from your amoral majoritarianism) - you cannot keep the context of any given act in mind when you are trying to think. It is why you abstract from aggregate statistics, and then treat those abstractions as if they pertain to flesh and blood individuals.

When somebody breaks into your home at night, you are in no position to know whether that person intends property crime alone or assault, arson, rape, murder. You are also faced with the uncertain outcome of tackling such a person with your bare hands or some other weapon, in which case the intruder's intentions might well expand to encompass assault and murder. And that's just you. Imagine you are elderly. The uncertainty of success is now magnified considerably, because you are old and weak. What a firearm does in that situation is not remove the uncertainty, but to at least equalize the balance of force between yourself and the intruder; it gives you a better chance of successfully defending your property and thus also yourself.

Michael Fagan said...

Are we done here yet?

James said...

Somalia would be worse of with a semblance of governance. You really couldn't make you up.

How about some basic institutions, rather than the tautology that is a 'parasitic and ever-expanding State apparatus' invariably making things worse?

Isn't it you that spews forth on 'weasel words' and 'begging the question'. Pretty blatantly slipping the conclusion into the premisses here, aren't we?

'Are we done here yet?'

Ah, the stnadard Fagan 'I won, I won!'

Michael Fagan said...

A Somalian State would be at least as bad as the society it arose from - and probably worse. Ethics is logically prior to politics.

"You really couldn't make you up."

Maybe not, but I can look you up in the dictionary.