Rippounet

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  1. Actually, in any country that doesn't have a "right to bear arms" in its constitution, there pretty much is an absolute, correct, easy, and straightforward response to gun issues: regulation. The issue only becomes "complex" if you consider that individual rights are at least as equally important as collective security, something which in itself has heavy ideological implications, and which anywhere else than the USA is described as some form of right-wing anarchism. So every time this conversation pops up it focuses on the US and often sets aside just how bizarre American gun culture is to the rest of the developed world. The defense of the 2nd amendment (with its usual arguments about semantics or political philosophy) obscures the fact that almost no other developed country sees firearms as an individual right. A quick google search tells me that three countries in the entire world have such a provision in their constitution and that the two others (Guatemala and Mexico) copied the US. My point is, non-Americans have little reason not to see gun aficionados as nutjobs. And sorry, but none of the arguments made in the last 30 pages have helped at all. Nor do the current arguments against gun control. Take Bill O'Reilly: So, I guess what I'm trying to say is: sorry, as a non-American, I personally have no reason to show any particular respect to the 2nd amendment and its proponents. Such respect should be earned through actual conversation. Like, if you're not a nutjob, prove it. I'm tired of seeing the burden of proof systematically be on the gun control crowd just because "America, fuck yeah!". And on a lighter note, here's a crazy idea that might even work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0UUrMmoPME
  2. Back on topic, this Vice documentary called "Inside America's Largest Right Wing Militia" seems to be just a few days old: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7rJstUseKg It's everything you can expect it to be. On the plus side, these nutjobs are super-prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse. Edit: watched this one as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU9THDZ2S5k&feature=youtu.be At 15:28: "There's always a possibility of anything happening. We live in a very strange world." He's right, I can't disagree with him on that.
  3. "Communist" http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/a4/a43aec536d26d8488ebcd107e02ab57907dc2c1a8a1b3a184bfa923a0a04ccb9.jpg
  4. Yeah I know, but Mother Cocanuts's description of government as a mere "enforcement agency" whose role it is to "protect rights and resolve disputes" struck me as something more than the usual name-calling that Republicans like to engage in. And funny semantics aside, it does lend some coherence to his passionate defense of the 2nd amendment. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it does start with how you view the relationship between the individual and society, or between the individual and government. There's something fiercely individualistic behind the opposition to gun control, especially when it appears in the wake of an atrocious mass shooting.
  5. Have watched four episodes so far and as a TNG fan I'm surprisingly pleased. It's a bit like watching an extra season of TNG that somehow tried to be comedy. Of course so far it tends to copy old Star Trek episodes and ends up being rather predictable, but it still manages to convey the TNG feel somehow. Not bad. I even had to check whether it wasn't Spiner voicing Isaac because at times it felt like they had Data on the bridge...
  6. Actually, and in spite of my hatred for her ideas, it seems Ayn Rand was rather rational and measured on the issue, on the rare occasions she addressed it. I don't know whether these quotes are genuine, and I can't really be bothered to check, but if any one of them is, I would say she at least understood the complexity of the issue. Unsurprisingly she wasn't in favor of strong gun control, but she was also clear-eyed on the limits and dangers of the right to bear arms, which is more than I can say of many of today's defenders of the 2nd amendment. Edit: My vote goes to the 3D-printer. I expect humanity to master much better sources of energy in the next decades than today's, and the 3D-printer progressively becoming close to a Star Trek replicator.
  7. I'm sure a great many gun owners love picturing themselves as heroes of an Ayn Rand novel. In fact, it would go a long way to explain the whole debate over guns in the US.
  8. For the brand of right-wing anarchism and libertarianism that is so common in the US, assuming one does not know the proper definition of communism, it might be. It's not surprising that many people strongly advocating the right to bear arms are really right-wing anarchists. In fact, the opposite would be far more surprising. After all, the modern defense of the 2nd amendment is pretty much based on the rejection of the very idea of society as a collective. Of course, often unbeknownst to many of these right-wing anarchists, such ideas, when taken to their logical conclusion, mean the end of the democratic principle. Again, this is hardly surprising. If you want to base a society on natural rights with government as a mere enforcer of such rights, then there is no need for any form of social or political public life, as the public affairs can be run through the market. I personally believe that such ideas are as of now the greatest ideological threat that mankind has to deal with. They are extremely insidious because it is very difficult to realize what their real-life implementation actually mean, and because they twist the meanings of words ("liberty," "democracy," "society" ... ) so that they end up describing the very opposite of what they are supposed to mean.
  9. Of course. Otherwise, every time there is this discussion, conservatives will simply retreat behind the safety of the US Constitution and whatever interpretation of the 2nd amendment suits their needs. Of course, repealing the 2nd amendment would take decades or generations of hard campaigning, assuming it's even possible. But at least it would get to the heart of the problem.
  10. When you play poker you only call someone else's bluff if you don't have a damn shitty hand yourself. But we come back to "cultural values" which is no doubt what @The Anti-Targ described as "moral interests." Now it's fine if people want to vote for political candidates mainly based on such things. But if they don't think twice about what the candidates' position on economics means they only have themselves to blame for the consequences. A different way to put it is that there's a price to pay for being certain of having the "right" to keep that gun under your bed or for making sure your neighbor's teenage daughter can't get easy access to an abortion. So ok, I understand the original point made by @Michael Seswatha Jordan that not all Trump supporters are racists. It just doesn't change that much on my sympathy-o-meter. So they're fine conservative people who can't bring themselves to vote for someone who's in favor of gun control or abortion? People who won't or can't be bothered to vote in terms of economic self-interest? Nope, still can't feel sorry for them. At some point, if you really feel "ignored" perhaps you can take just a little bit of time to wonder who exactly has been ignoring you and who hasn't. It's not that hard.
  11. Same here actually. I have a professional interest in American constitutional law. And thanks for the list you provided btw. It certainly won't help with this discussion, but at some point I will read about the cases you posted I'm not already familiar with and use them in class. Some good will come out of this, eventually.
  12. Very well put, sir. The irony being that as far as morality goes, Trump was never exactly a shining star -to say the least. But as you said, he made the right noises on the specific issues that conservatives value so much. And that was enough for many, even those that weren't racist or sexist or any other color of "deplorables." But it's also why I have so little sympathy for the conservative crowd. Whatever one thinks of these "moral interests," if people put them so far above their economic interests then they can't blame anyone but themselves for "being ignored." Their frustration is of their own making. It's just a tragedy that they drag the other half of the population with them.
  13. I second that. Let this be a lesson for all: in order to "win" an argument on the internet, all you have to do is refuse to admit the existence of inconvenient facts, or pretend that you don't know or don't understand them. Then you can shift the burden of proof by demanding that other people not only provide the facts, but even explain them to you. Then, of course, you may quibble about the explanations. By the time you've reached that point, the conversation will have veered so far off track that it will have become meaningless anyway. Anyway, yeah, the interpretation of the US Constitution has changed through time. Like, duh! That's what landmark SCOTUS decisions are all about. Not that this is helpful in the short term, given the current composition of the SCOTUS... It will take a couple of decades of Democratic presidencies to possibly change anything on that front.
  14. What progressives keep wondering (and this is not exclusive to the US, far from it) is why are all the "frustrated" people making the worst political choice, again and again. If we dismiss the race factor, we're still left with the problem that a significant portion of people keep voting against their self-interest. And then resent the fact that "people in Washington" "ignore" them. I understand that Trump said the right things for some people. I guess raving against economic liberalism and globalization had its appeal. I also understand that Clinton was seen as the candidate of the "establishment." But in the same election, you actually had another candidate who was also critical of the statu quo and proposed change, but who at the same time was also proposing sound policies, and that was Sanders. Someone who has proven through a lifelong political career that he has both integrity and consistency (a rarity in politics I would say). So why did all the "frustrated" people vote for Trump and not Sanders? What was so appealing about Trump? Take away the race factor, and you still have a very basic choice between the left and the right. And the right, by definition, does not care about the average citizen. It never has. And yet people get tricked, again and again. Progressives think it's about race because they don't understand why else would people choose the candidate who very obviously will not give a damn about them. With hindsight there were other reasons - I guess. I've read some interesting analyses saying that if you take HIllary out of the picture, media coverage favored Trump above any other candidate (because negative coverage is still coverage). Sanders faced incredible media hostility and struggled to get his message out. But it's hard for progressives to see Trump supporters as victims who were deceived. They are that, for sure. But many of them were also way too willing to be deceived (many still are). They voted out of anger and didn't take the time to actually consider what policies Trump was advocating ; and he wasn't advocating much really, except some nice-sounding platitudes. And they voted for the Republican billionaire candidate, despite the fact that it was obvious that his economic policies would never ever help the average American. It's not all about growth, everyone should have realized that by now. So yeah, perhaps progressives are unfair when they label Trump supporters as racist. But perhaps the alternative is even worse. Because if racial resentment wasn't the driving factor for many Trump supporters, it means that they got tricked far too easily. I'm all for criticizing the media, the establishment, neo-liberalism and all that. But at some point, people also need to be adults and think, like actually think, about who and what they are voting for, who their candidate is, what they represent, what their likely policies will be, and what consequences they will have. Take away the race factor, and you're still left with a weird brand of conservative nationalism. But conservative nationalism doesn't help poor people. It doesn't "get things done." It never has and never will. At best it can make patriotic people feel good about themselves. But it has nothing concrete to offer to average people. And the funny thing is... if you take away the race factor, Obama was actually very good about explaining the problems. And even though the results may not have been as good as hoped, there's no denying that some of his policies were aimed at the problem. I've worked on this video lately, because it's quite good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY05U7GaU5I And yet, many people who voted for Trump hate Obama. They don't see the ACA as a step in the right direction but generally agree with its repeal. So assuming the Trump supporters you describe were not driven by racial resentment, the least that can be said is that they were -or are- quite gullible. Oh and btw the fact that so many white people struggle to make end meets does not mean that white privilege is a thing of the past. It just means that most Americans got poorer (if you look at the share of the total income at least). It means the American middle-class is disappearing. It means, in short, that everyone is closer to being as disadvantaged as minorities used to be. And yet, as hard as it may be to believe, members of minorities will still, statistically, have it harder. White privilege hasn't vanished. It's simply a smaller advantage than it used to be.
  15. It's not just guns though. On some level the current dominant interpretation of the 2nd amendment is a reflection of the dominant political philosophy in the US. And ironically it was, imho, best expressed by Thatcher: I think the quote says it all. If there is no society, there can't be a notion of collective security or collective responsibility. If there is no society, there is no point in compromising to solve problems. If there is no society, then individual rights are the only thing that matters. And if people must look after themselves and their families, then it's only natural that they have a right to a fething gun. I'm afraid the reason why the US is so unique as regards its bizarre gun laws is quite simply because it's one of the most individualistic societies on earth.