Future

Don't Just Do Something

Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who knows? Do something!

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"I don't know what the answer is," Kacey Musgraves shouted during her set at Lollapalooza on August 7, "but obviously something has to be fucking done." The country music star then led her fans in a chant that perfectly encapsulates the future of American politics: "Somebody fucking do something!" she screamed. "Somebody fucking do something!" the crowd screamed back.

Musgraves was, understandably, upset about the horrific back-to-back mass murders that took place the first weekend of August in El Paso and Dayton. She did not offer a specific something to be done. This may have been an attempt to appear nonpartisan, it may have been honest uncertainty, or it may just have been a sensible intuition that the middle of a music festival was not the right place to workshop public policy.

But the something matters an awful lot. In this case—and in so many others—"do something" actually means "do something to other people." It means "force other people to do something they don't want to do, even if you're not sure it will actually help." The call to "do something" privileges action over analysis and mandatory one-size-fits-all solutions over incremental, local, and voluntary action.

The list of somethings to be done post-shooting is familiar enough: Stop the sale (or possibly possession) of certain firearms, make ever-larger lists of people who are not allowed to own firearms at all, and regulate speech—especially "hate speech," especially online, and maybe video games while we're at it. As Reason's Brian Doherty and Jacob Sullum have chronicled, there are good reasons to think these proposals will impose widespread harmful unintended consequences while being ineffective at reducing gun deaths. But in politics, that doesn't seem to count for much. Especially not when a bunch of politicians are in way over their heads, grappling with a highly flammable mix of genuinely troubling problems involving violence, racial hatred, inadequate health care, and terror.

"If we truly care about this," said President Barack Obama after a 2015 mass shooting in Colorado Springs, "if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience, then we have to do something."

President Donald Trump has jumped onto the same bandwagon. Speaking to the press on the White House lawn before he departed to visit with victims of the August shootings, he too said he was prepared to "do something" about "any group of hate."

Earlier in the week, Trump suggested he might accede to restrictions on gun ownership in exchange for immigration reforms from congressional Democrats. It will be the ultimate irony if the last several decades of political and cultural warfare over gun policy end with a GOP president signing the first truly sweeping gun control bill since the '90s. (The relatively quick and electorally painless decision to implement a bump stock ban after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting suggests that Trump has the willingness and perhaps even the clout to get it done if he wishes to do so.)

If, after decades of speechmaking about hunting and tradition and rights, Republicans roll over because they happen to have someone in the White House who doesn't actually care much about those things, it'll be the most perfect encapsulation of the party's ideological hollowness since George W. Bush pushed through a massive health care entitlement, Medicare Part D.

The notion that the correct response to comparatively rare mass shootings is to rescind the constitutional rights of tens of millions of people who have sought mental health treatment has a particularly strong allure for the bipartisan "do something" crowd, perhaps because it perfectly fits the "do something to someone else" mold.

The proposed restrictions on online speech are in many ways the most worrisome. The desire to hold big tech accountable for mass shootings is politically potent: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have already made plenty of enemies, and doing this particular something would be a great way to satisfy quite a few constituencies that are baying for their blood. (For more on that, see page 20.)

The rise of the free internet has coincided with the greatest sustained arc of increasing peace and prosperity in human history. But the forces for doing something are strong, so in the days after the shootings, everyone from Fox's Tucker Carlson to The New York Times called for restrictions on online speech and other regulations of the internet.

Guns aren't the only place where the do something dynamic dominates. In each case, the problems are very real, but their roots or scale may have been misunderstood, and the proposed somethings are blunt and ill-considered.

The problem of man-made climate change is real, for instance, but the proposed policy solutions grow ever more dramatic and potentially destructive even as the calls for action grow louder and less specific.

Same with foreign interventionism. We look abroad, see atrocities, and think, "Surely we should do something." In her memoirs, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright remembered asking her colleague Colin Powell, "What's the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can't use it?" Many foreign policy decision makers share her attitude. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who knows? Do something! Probably something involving words first, but all too often those words become counterproductive economic sanctions, and soon there are bombs falling from the skies.

Likewise with bailouts of big business and stimulus packages and a half-dozen other big-ticket outlays that have pushed us past the point of fiscal sanity.

When there's no clear policy to push, there's a fallback something that's available to (almost) every citizen: When things are bad, we can at least repeatedly remind each other to vote, thereby electing different politicians who can't quite figure out which things to do or how to do them.

And if our newly elected legislators finally do something, will it be the thing you thought you were electing them to do? Probably not. This is the dirty secret of do something campaigns: They are dangerously unstable. They rapidly decay, first into awareness-raising efforts and other largely symbolic acts and from there into nothing.

But the opposite of do something isn't do nothing. It's let people work things out among themselves.

Consider Mr. Rogers' advice for tough times. "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news," America's favorite cardigan swapper would say, "my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" This was meant as advice for parents worried about managing the anxiety of young children who were powerless in the face of horror. But it's also good advice for anxious adults, who are often similarly ill-equipped to select the right course of action and impose it on everyone via the political process.

Give people a chance to think and talk and work and innovate to solve problems rather than bludgeoning them with public policy. Even problems that are traditionally considered part of the realm of government can be ameliorated in non-political ways. A 2018 New York University study, for instance, found that in small cities, the creation of a new nonprofit community organization leads to a 1.2 percent drop in the homicide rate and a 1 percent reduction in the violent crime rate.

Don't scream for unspecified action from politicians. Look for the helpers. Be a helper. Don't just do something.

NEXT: Salt Lake City Major League Soccer Team Bans Betsy Ross Flag

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  1. If you’re afraid of mass shooters CARRY A GUN! That would be doing something.

    1. And avoid places where guns are prohibited.

        1. FBI just came out with a report that said armed citizens were present in 33 of 283 “active shooter” events over an 18 year period :

          Of all the active shooter events there were 33 at which an armed citizen was present. Of those, Armed Citizens were successful at stopping the Active shooter 75.8% of the time (25 incidents) and were successful in reducing the loss of life in an additional 18.2% (6) of incidents. In only 2 of the 33 incidents (6.1%) was the Armed Citizen(s) not helpful in any way in stopping the active shooter or reducing the loss of life

          https://www.concealedcarry.com/news/armed-citizens-are-successful-95-of-the-time-at-active-shooter-events-fbi/

    2. I used to think Kacey Musgraves was cool.

    3. What I think Kacey Musgraves meant to say was, “I hate haters!”

  2. Well I did my job all week, I work nights , it’s the weekend and I have ribs for the smoker and dark beer. The Browns are on tomorrow and my mowing is almost caught up. I’ve done enough.

    1. The Browns? Go in peace kind sir you’ve suffered enough.

      1. You, OTOH, have not.
        Fuck off, slaver.

  3. “The problem of man-made climate change is real, for instance, ”

    One something you could do is stop spreading false panic.

    1. In my old job, as a chemist for an oil refinery, we had to predict the future every time we made a change. Using knowledge of chemistry, especially thermodynamics, we had to predict eventual yields, energy used, rates of reaction, etc. Millions of dollars depended on the accuracy of these predictions and you can bet we were held accountable.
      So far just about none of the predictions of climate change based upon assumptions that they were caused by carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere have been seen to be related to actual observation. That carbon dioxide can affect temperature is undoubted, and that the climate changes over time is also generally accepted, but if money had been spent by any company on those models, those guys would have been fired long ago.
      Climate science seems to me to be like psychology, political science, and economics. They have the measuring and naming down just like a real science, and can explain why something happened after the event, but can’t predict a damn thing.

      1. Of course the frog doesn’t notice the water getting hotter.

        1. Of course some idiot offers ‘clever’ bullshit as an alternative to actual information.

          1. Like climate alarmism.

      2. Nice opening thug.

        You have anything more to say than your feelings, or situation?

        I see your fellow thugs ate it up.

        1. ohlookMarketthugs
          September.7.2019 at 9:43 pm
          “Nice opening thug.”
          Care to clarify? Do we have another fucking lefty ignoramus?

      3. “but can’t predict a damn thing”

        These climate scientists have predicted higher temperatures, increasing CO2 and higher sea levels. All have been observed and measured. What more do you want from them? Remember, the more you ask, the more it’ll cost you. Science, not even climate science, comes cheap.

        1. “These climate scientists have predicted higher temperatures, increasing CO2 and higher sea levels. All have been observed and measured. What more do you want from them? Remember, the more you ask, the more it’ll cost you. Science, not even climate science, comes cheap.”
          I’ve predicted that things will change sometime in the future, and I have been right!
          Therefore, to fucking lefty ignoramuses like you, I should be dictator and control the economy of the nation!
          ——————-
          “Science, not even climate science, comes cheap.’
          Bullshit which passes for “science” with fucking lefty ignoramuses like you, comes VERY cheap; spending other people’s money is as cheap as it can get.
          Fuck off, slaver.

            1. “So, Chinese hoax?”

              No, just more of your bullshit, bullshitter.

              1. “No, just more of your bullshit, bullshitter.”

                At least my bullshit is free. Your grandchildren will still be paying for ‘climate science studies’ which will never be accurate enough to satisfy them.

                1. “At least my bullshit is free.”
                  And worth every penny, bullshitter

                  “Your grandchildren will still be paying for ‘climate science studies’ which will never be accurate enough to satisfy them.”
                  So you admit they are also bullshit?

        2. Oh, and if you don’t agree, please cite one (1) which has proven to be correct, you pathetic piece of shit.
          Time *and* value, in case that’s mysterious to you.

            1. “I cited three (3).”

              You made three bullshit claims, bullshitter.

        3. I’m old enough to remember the hysteria circling the garunf-ingteed coming ice age in the ’70’s. According to the “climate science” of the day we were all to be dead now buried in the permafrost that had spread through the Carolinians.
          So yeah, I’m a little skeptical.

          1. If we believed the climate alarmists, we would be dead several times over.

            Next death coming in under 12 years.

        4. There hasnt been an accurate prediction made in the last 40 years

          1. What was the last accurate prediction?

            1. You already gave us a hint, It was 40 years ago. What was the last accurate prediction? Was it about climate science, or did you have something different in mind?

    2. “The problem of man-made climate change is real”

      This was a turd in an otherwise thoughtful article.

      I have 30+ years of process modeling experience, and if I had put forward the garbage that passes for predictive models in climate science, I would have been fired very early on.

      1. Only 15 here. I’d be in jail for fraud.

    3. Are we down to eleven years yet?

  4. If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution. Or, as they say, the best way to help the poor is to not be one of them.

    1. The VERY best anti-poverty program is called “working”!

    2. If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution.

      And if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

  5. These people would have nothing to do otherwise. Climate, guns, ‘ health care’ , panic is all they know and love.

    1. Don’t forget the self-inflicted student debt “crisis”.

      1. It takes two parties to make a bad loan. Both deserve to suffer for their bad decision.

        1. So what do we do with the politicians who created the “everyone go to college [and ruin it for REAL students]” politicians?

          Got any lamp posts?

  6. Hurricanes are just awful! DO SOMETHING!

    The Donald has caught this spirit… He wants to NUKE the hurricanes! Kinda like punish-tax-tariff the American consumers to “do something” about foreign nations not living and working like Trump thinks they should live and work…

    1. Jesus TDS has finally sent you over the edge. Please seek help before you hurt someone.

      1. I think it changed its meds. last year — since then it’s been a Hihn-scale nutter.

    2. He wants to NUKE the hurricanes!

      I remember reading about that idea in My Weekly Reader in sixth grade in the 1960s. Maybe little Donald saw it too.

      1. Nope. All history began on Jan 20, 2017

    3. I thought doing something, anything, was better than just sitting around doing nothing

      1. I hope that was sarcasm.

    4. Just think, if everyone in the hurricane’s path would just spin CLOCKWISE, in no time, the hurricane would be worn out.

  7. Here’s a controversial answer that would actually help:

    Stop using every possible event to push a gun control agenda by hyping up and over-emphasizing the dangers of these mass shootings. These people are in full-on copycat mode. If Columbine had not been the “next big news story” after CNN’s big moneymakers of the 90’s, leading to documentaries and national handwringing, perhaps the next generation would not have embraced it so fully. And if the first couple of those guys had not been equally seized upon by the political and activist class as a bludgeon to fight their way to power, perhaps this current spate of fame-seeking shooters would not exist.

    When the larger of these events are in the same ballpark as a typical weekend in Chicago – yet Chicago is still not covered as a violent and failed example of gun control and bad government – perhaps it should give folks a moment to pause for perspective.

    The morphing of the national media from a left-leaning 4th estate into an unapologetic propaganda wing of the DNC over the last decade has led to an amoral and cynical approach to covering these issues. “The Narrative” rules all. If it will help get Democrats elected, who cares if it encourages mentally ill people to shoot up a night club?

    1. I don’t think that answer is a bit controversial, in some quarters it’s just common sense. The media thrive on Big Drama, why would they have any interest in telling the boring old truth when there’s profit to be made in hype and controversy and violent antagonism? And if they have to resort to creating>/I> the hype and the controversy and the violent antagonism, well, journalists gotta eat too.

      1. So, you bitch about threadshitting, but show up woth THAT? LOLOLOLO

        1. You’ve turned into evil-parallel-universe-Hihn.

    2. It certainly couldn’t hurt if we, as a society, made it very clear that we consider mass shooters to be whiny little pansy-assed losers whose memories will be spat on, if we even bother to remember them.

    3. Stop using every possible event to push a gun control agenda by hyping up and over-emphasizing the dangers of these mass shootings.

      In other words, treat mass shootings as a normal fact of life?

      1. No, moron, he suggested just the opposite. Treat them as the extremely rare and unlikely events they really are, not like a growing epidemic of everyday events that is COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING NOW the way the media is doing now. It’s the media and political activists who want us to see them as a “normal fact of life” unless we DO SOMETHING NOW.

        1. Jeff is part of the “muslim terrorism is extremely rare so nothing to worry about, but WHITE MEN WITH GUNS ARE KILLING EVERYONE!!!” crew. Your response was poetry.

          1. That’s a lie, as usual, Tulpa.

        2. So, treat mass shootings as if they are some sort of natural disaster, like a tornado. Is that your point?

          1. “So, treat mass shootings as if they are some sort of natural disaster, like a tornado. Is that your point?”

            Not a bad alternative.
            You got something better?

            1. Well.
              Tornadoes that kill people tend to get news attention. And rightly so. The loss of life is newsworthy in its own right.
              Wouldn’t you agree?

              1. “Well.
                Tornadoes that kill people tend to get news attention. And rightly so. The loss of life is newsworthy in its own right.
                Wouldn’t you agree?”

                Glad to see you walking it back. You should.
                And I see you offered now answer. Is that because you have none?

              2. If loss of life was newsworthy in its own right then Chicago would be on the national news every weekend.

                Loss of life is only newsworthy when its under unique or otherwise extraordinary conditions, like a mass shooting or a tornado

          2. That would be closer to getting it right, although, we have no control over tornadoes. In the case of mass and spree killers, although what causes such behavior is not yet well understood, it seems very likely that there are contributing factors over which we do have control, and so we might be able to prevent them to some extent. For example, there appears to be a strong connection to adolescent use of some prescription psychoactive drugs. There are family type, socioeconomic, and social experience commonalities among mass shooters. And, of course, they are predominately male. There are no doubt other common characteristics that have yet to be noticed. Better research could reveal ways to predict and prevent these crimes.

          3. You can prepare for a natural disaster. Preparations for a tornado include warning systems, storm shelters, and building stronger buildings.

            Preparations for mass shootings should be informed by what we know about mass shooters: Nearly all of them choose a “gun-free zone” to attack, and either kill themselves or surrender once they encounter armed opposition. So we should prepare by ensuring they never can find a large crowd without someone who is armed and can oppose them. Discourage “gun-free zones” and encourage law-abiding citizens to carry weapons everywhere. Just as the solution to bad speech is good speech, the solution to bad shooters is good armed citizens.

            Some details:

            Gun training: This should be provided in the public schools, plus night classes for adults.

            Publicly-owned places that _must_ be gun-free: That is, court houses and prisons. These must be provided with real security at the entrance(s), that is, a metal detector, guards, and arrangements so one or two armed men cannot simply shoot their way through the entrance. All other doors and ground-floor windows must be secure, as in metal fire-escape doors that open only from the inside, and have alarms. The one court house I’ve visited in the last decade had all of that.

            Discouraging “gun-free zones”: I don’t recommend banning these for private owners. Just make their insurance expensive. Change the laws so the owner of an area accessible to the public is NOT responsible for criminals – unless they encouraged criminals, for example by banning guns without providing a court-house type secured entrance with metal detectors. The owner (including government agencies) that puts up a no-guns sign thereby becomes responsible for damages committed by criminals on the disarmed people on their property. If they ban guns and do not provide a way to check them at the door, they also become responsible for guns stolen from cars and for customers who are attacked on their way to and from the place.

      2. “In other words”

        This would be more effective if your “other words” ever vaguely resembled the actual assertion.

        1. Little Jeffy is Cathy Newman.

      3. Poor jeff:
        “In other words, treat mass shootings as a normal fact of life?”

        “… In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.
        On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…
        500 to Medical errors
        300 to the Flu
        250 to Suicide
        200 to Car Accidents
        40 to Homicide via Handgun
        Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.
        — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 4, 2019”

        Surprise to adolescents: bad things happen.
        Take your whining back to highschool; it’s pathetic.

    4. Actually, if we assume that all gun-related deaths are “preventable”, they still lag far behind things like cigarettes, alcohol and medical malpractice as causes of death.
      When doctors kill more than 6 times as many people as die by gunshot, is the answer to ban doctors?

      DO SOMETHING!!

  8. The Founders embraced incrementalism. That much is evident, based on the ‘checks and balances’ that they deliberately put into place. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t embrace incrementalism – we Americans tend to want instant results from magical ‘silver bullets’ that slay intractable problems.

    My proposal to restore the checks and balances the Founders intended starts with repealing the 17th amendment. I think this action alone would force incrementalism.

    1. I’ve never understood the fascination with the 17th Amendment. If the state legislatures approved/picked the US Senate, we would most likely have 99 of the same 100 people serving, and Rand Paul would still be an unknown eye doctor in Kentucky.

      1. What? If state legislators chose the senators, there is not a chance in Hell we would “have 99 of the same 100 people serving”. The qualifications for being a winning candidate in elections are very different from the skills and qualities that state legislators would want in a senator.

        1. You nailed it. I also think it would severely dilute the power and influence of the national Team D and national Team R parties. The Senators would represent states (and their interest), as opposed to a national party.

          1. I’m not sure man, as my handle implies i am most familiar with NJ and AZ, and don’t doubt for a second the legislatures in both states could do an even worse job than the voters of deciding who to send to the senate

            1. NJ2AZ….From your screen name, I take it that you escaped the People’s Republic of NJ. I congratulate you.

              WRT the NJ legislature picking a Senator. The Legislature and Governor, both on Team D, are at war with each other. Incredibly, a Democrat legislature is telling a Democrat governor that proposed tax rates are just too high. Who knew that pigs could fly?! 🙂

              Undoubtedly, the legislature would pick someone from Team D. Probably with the surname Norcross.

    2. “My proposal to restore the checks and balances the Founders intended starts with repealing the 17th amendment. I think this action alone would force incrementalism.”

      You would have to do more than repeal the 17th Amendment. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits the direct election of senators, and states had begun passing laws requiring the direct election of senators even before the 17th Amendment.

    3. If you want to fix the real problem, repeal the 19th Amendment.

  9. “strong allure for the bipartisan “do something” crowd,”

    This argument works well for social liberals who seem willing to do almost anything

    I doubt conservative can respond to these issue simply by re-asserting their belief in the constitution or the 2nd amendment.

    Result: They almost always start compromising their co-called principles away which others can build upon.

    1. Solution: Look for a secondary issue like “equality under the law”

      I tell social liberals I will consider gun control laws as long as they support equality under the law rather than discrimination — meaning applies to the police and the military too (in this situation).

      But almost all social liberal ideas/laws violate equality under the law in some fashion!

  10. “Ah. So when Republicans wish to change the status quo, they’re waging a culture war. But when Democrats wish to change the status quo, they are . . . playing into the “Republican culture war.” Got it.”

  11. If people were getting their $1k a month American dividend the heat in this motherfucker we call America would drop. Think of it as an investment in goodwill and relaxed attitudes

    1. Think of it as one more imbecilic lefty ‘idea’.
      Fuck off, slaver.

    2. The shooters would just have better guns and more ammo.

    3. In exchange for that we can dispense with all welfare programs, right? On second thought, let’s get rid of both.

      And get up off of your knees.

  12. OK. In the first place, why tag this as ‘the future’ of politics. It’s been pretty constant, so far as I can see, throughout recorded history. Waxing and waning in tandem with the need to motivate the commons. In the second place, of COURSE she has something in mind. Her “do something’ almost CERTAINLY means ‘do something to restrict gun ownership’. If you suggested “Well, why don’t we pass a National Reciprocity bill for Concealed Carry?” her head would probably explode.

    In any case “Don’t sit there and actually THINK about the problem (because if you do my entire agenda will be revealed as fermenting bullshit), DO SOMETHING!” has been the cry of the activist Left since roughly October 29th 1929. You’d think that after decades of being stampeded into stupid action by these fools, we’d learn.

    1. Summary: “Do something” nearly always equates “grow Government Almighty”.

      When they run for office, politicians will almost always say, “Give me XYZ power and I will fix your ZQM problem.”

      WHEN is the last time you heard them say, “Take AWAY my XYZ power and I will fix your ZQM problem, by allowing you, the free market, voluntary associations, etc., to solve it”?

      1. “Do something” === “pass a law”

        To be enforced at gunpoint if necessary, like all laws.

      2. Wonder how she would have felt upon yelling, “Do Something!” if someone had punched her lights out?

    2. Politicians love problems. It gives them the chance to get elected by offering a “solution”. When the solution inevitably fails to work (or makes the problem worse), they can claim the solution was never fully implemented, or just needs more funding. By the time people realize they were sold a bill of goods (if they ever do), the politician has a secure and lucrative pension for life, as well as fame, book deals, speaking gigs and media appearances.

      1. Overall this is the most accurate comment in this discussion.

  13. About guns. Did anyone else see the forbs article where the government wants the names of those who downloaded the riflescope app from apple. Not good.

      1. Download the app here … https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.atn.obsidian4K&hl=en_US

        I tried to download it, but I don’t have a device that will take it. I think it would be way cool if millions (or at least thousands) of people (who actually don’t have a use for the app) downloaded it just to clutter up the databases of Our Self-Appointed Snoops. Let them look for needles in VAST haystacks, if they’re going to act like this!

        1. Ahahahh lololol wut you “don’t have a device that will take it” ahahahh YOU STILL HAVE A FUCKING FLIP PHONE AHAHHAAJAJJAHJ YOU’RE TOTALLY WHIHN, WHIHN AHAHAHAAHAJAJ

          1. Is your laugh supposed to be sort of like changing into a Mexican accent towards the end?

  14. Do you want the Reign of Terror? Because “do something” without giving any thought to the results of that something is how you get the Reign of Terror.

    1. No, but I do want ants.

  15. “Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Who knows? Do something!”

    While we’re convincing people not to just do something, let’s also disabuse them of the notion that things should or shouldn’t be done based who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

    There’s this thing called an ad hominem fallacy, but the statement I quote above doesn’t seem to understand that.

    The consequences of bombing, invading, and occupying Iraq are the same regardless of whether Saddam Hussein is a bad guy and regardless of whether our military is chock full of good guys.

    Violating the speech rights of individuals has a negative impact on civil society–regardless of whether the people whose rights you want to violate are good guys are bad guys.

    Putting President Liz Warren in charge of who gets to say what on social media would have a negative impact on society and the economy–regardless of whether Mark Zuckerberg, Liz Warren, or the average troll on Facebook is a good guy or a bad guy.

    It doesn’t matter whether Trump and Xi are good guys or bad guys. It doesn’t matter whether the UAW is full of good guys or bad guys. The breakdown in our trade relationship with China has the same impacts regardless of who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.

    There isn’t a single policy question I can think of in which the consequences differ on the basis of whether someone is a good guy or a bad guy. A very wise man once made the observation that, “The rain falls on the good and the evil alike”. You may not believe in him, but if you don’t believe that, then you are wrong–regardless of whether he was a bad guy and regardless of whether you are a good guy.

    The proper administration of justice requires that defendants are given the right to a trial by jury, the right to confront their accusers, the right to remain silent and not testify against themselves, the right to an attorney, and the right to not have cruel and unusual punishments inflicted on them if they’re convicted–and it doesn’t matter whether the defendant is a good guy or a bad guy. The negative consequences of denying defendants the exercise of those rights would reverberate through society anyway.

    There’s this thing called an ad hominem fallacy, and if you don’t understand that this means that the consequences of public policy are the same regardless of whether the intended victims are good guys or bad guys, then go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, give yourself an upper cut, and promise yourself to never be so stupid in that way again.

    1. Agreed, Ken, excellent write-up!!!

      Here’s an exaggerated but illustrative rendition of the “ad hominem fallacy”…

      Every belief held by, or espoused by, a bad guy, is a BAD idea!
      Every belief held by, or espoused by, a good guy, is a GOOD idea!
      (Latter part is related to “appeal to authority” as well).

        1. Pro-tip: Not all nutters on these boards are Hihn.

  16. That first paragraph sounds like it’s from a satirical movie or something.

  17. At least the gun bans and buybacks can be ignored.
    Spend 16 trillion on “climate change” and the money is gone forever, only the debt remains, with no impact on temperature or sea levels at all.

  18. How do you get this message across to someone who is not only ignorant but proud to be also?

  19. I would have thought that the ridicule of the Politician’s Syllogism (Roughtly: “(1) Something must be done; (2) This is something; (3) Therefore we must do this.”) over 30 years ago on “Yes, Prime Minister” would have prevented most people from this sort of advocacy.

    Also, when did country singers get so pottymouthed? This would not fly at the Grand Ole Opry.

    1. “when did country singers get so [anything]?” When the radio stations began pretending that a southern accent turns pop rock into “country”.

  20. I think we’re missing the important thing: That Trump may or may not have said something stupid in regards to the potential path of a hurricane last Sunday. This is a national crisis and we’re required to see daily headlines about a storm that wrecked the Bahamas, where the stories utterly fail to mention the Bahamas because TRUMP WAS WRONG.

    1. He was wrong and then— I say, hilariously, others say worryingly— lied about it in a completely obvious way because he is a clinical narcissist who will do anything to feather his nest. That’s not newsworthy? Why not?

      1. It’s as important as the initial story which is…the President delivering a weather report. Who actually relies on the President to get their weather?

        1. Who actually relies on the President to get their weather?

          Probably the same people who believe everybody but Trump is spewing ‘fake news’.

          I agree that outlets like CNN are blowing ‘hurricane-map-gate’ way out of proportion, but there is an actual concern here: it’s generally considered a bad idea for people in positions of authority and trust to be fueling unjustified fears and therefore causing a panic, when it comes to things like hurricanes.

          1. “it’s generally considered a bad idea for people in positions of authority and trust to be fueling unjustified fears and therefore causing a panic, when it comes to things like hurricanes”

            I’m glad you see through the alarmism of the global warming thugs. Maybe I underestimated you.

            1. It’s wrong to unjustifiably exaggerate the dangers of climate change.
              It’s wrong to unjustifiably minimize the dangers of climate change.
              Would you disagree?

              No, we’re not all going to die in 20 years due to climate change, that seems very unlikely. Would you agree?

              At the same time, it also seems unlikely that there will be no changes at all due to human interference in the climate. Would you agree?

              So maybe we could have a rational adult discussion based on facts and science about the climate, human influences on the climate, and what (if anything) collective action ought to take place because of it.

              1. “It’s wrong to unjustifiably exaggerate the dangers of climate change.”
                Yes.
                “It’s wrong to unjustifiably minimize the dangers of climate change.
                Would you disagree?”
                No.
                The first seems to require (by fools like you) that the government take action, largely absorbing the economy of the country. And, from history, we know that a government is most likely to screw it up pretty thoroughly and that getting the government to reverse the failed policies is well neigh impossible; see War on Drugs for example. That path should be taken *ONLY* after there is real evidence of harm resulting from change.
                So far, in the entire opus of the alarmist predictions, not *ONE* (as in ZERO) as been shown to be true.
                Wanna stick your hand in my pocket? Prove it’s in my best interest; neither you nor any other catastrophist has yet to do so. Not even close.
                ————————
                “At the same time, it also seems unlikely that there will be no changes at all due to human interference in the climate. Would you agree?”
                Care to qualify that? Like most catastrophists, you’re hoping that the suggestion of “change” alone is sufficient to buttress your hope for socialism.
                It isn’t. Change is constant and only good or bad depending on its (proven) effect on humanity.
                Idiot lefties like you hope *CHANGE!!!* alone is enough for you to take over the economy. I’d say the Nielsen rating of the D whine-fest the other night proves your fantasies of ‘5-year-plans’ are going nowhere.
                ——————————
                “So maybe we could have a rational adult discussion based on facts and science about the climate, human influences on the climate, and what (if anything) collective action ought to take place because of it.”
                Possibly, but you’d have to grow up first, and learn what ‘science’ actually entails. From the bullshit you post here, I’m guessing you’re going to need to complete middle-school before that’s possible.
                Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

                1. “It’s wrong to unjustifiably exaggerate the dangers of climate change.”
                  Yes.
                  “It’s wrong to unjustifiably minimize the dangers of climate change.
                  Would you disagree?”
                  No.

                  So your position, is that we ought to lie by omission about climate change, by unjustifiably minimizing its potential dangers, because if people knew the truth, they would demand government action, and we can’t have that. Is that it?

                  1. “So your position, is that we ought to lie by omission about climate change, by unjustifiably minimizing its potential dangers, because if people knew the truth, they would demand government action, and we can’t have that. Is that it?”

                    My mistake: I read the latter as “minimize”, and read over the “unjustified”.
                    There is nothing wrong with ‘minimizing’ claims which have so far been shown to be ‘overblown’, shall we say, by assholes like you.

                    1. I’m glad that GOP suckoffs have changed their tune over the last 10 years. Instead of claiming that scientists are lying outright they manage to put their finger out the window, go “hmmm”, and now claim that the effects will be minimal. That’s progress, baby!

                    2. Fuck off, Hihn.

                    3. “I’m glad that GOP suckoffs have changed their tune over the last 10 years. Instead of claiming that scientists are lying outright they manage to put their finger out the window, go “hmmm”, and now claim that the effects will be minimal. That’s progress, baby!”

                      It would be more helpful if shitstains like you admitted you are full of shit, as you obviously are.
                      Stuff it up your ass, shitstain.

                  2. So your position, is that we ought to lie by omission about climate change, by unjustifiably minimizing its potential dangers, because if people knew the truth, they would demand government action, and we can’t have that. Is that it?

                    Personally, I would say this is basically right. The people will clamor for government “action”, which will squander/transfer to the political class even more productive output, and whatever climate change would otherwise occur will occur anyway.

                    Our government has proven itself to be comprehensively and constitutionally corrupt, ineffective, and utterly wasteful. There is no problem I would willingly direct this flagrant misappropriation of human potential against, unless that problem is something you can destroy with tanks and planes.

                    Nazi death camps? Send in the military. Global warming? Que será, será.

              2. The climate changes. Duh. The issue is whether man causes it – which despite what Katherine wrote – has not been proven. If man contributes, then it shouldn’t be that difficult a task to determine how much we do. 10%? Eleventy? 50%?

                Let’s get specific and spare us the constant spin on failed prognostications.

                But they’re proceeding as if it is and we’re getting all sorts of policy formed around a possible faulty premise.

                1. Yeah, and people who think corporations should just be able to pollute whenever and wherever they want cook the books to say that doing anything to combat climate change will lead to gulags and Sovietization of the economy. You’re just as bad as people who say we need to get rid of industry because we’re all doomed. Same alarmism, same bullsht.

              3. “At the same time, it also seems unlikely that there will be no changes at all due to human interference in the climate. Would you agree?”

                Humans’ most significant impact on climate has been land use change, i.e. farming, and most of that occurred long before the current global warming panic. CO2 levels have been greatly different in past epochs, and even 2000 ppm did not tip the world into catastrophic warming; most analyses indicate the reverse, warming released CO2.

                All the CO2 based models have proven to be terrible predictors of temperature. The model with the best track record uses sunspots and ocean cycles to both predict and retroject temperatures back to 1600.

                There will be tiny impacts of human activity on climate, just not from CO2 production.

                1. States facts not in evidence.

                  1. Don’t blame others for your gross ignorance of the subject.

                    1. Pretty sure it’s one more Hihn sock.
                      Maybe not; seeks less idiotic than Hihn, but close.

      2. Yeah, Trump was completely wrong to be worried about Alabama.

        Oh, wait…

        https://edaniel.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/edyly8qx4aiddwg.jpg-large.jpg

      3. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian
        September.7.2019 at 4:43 pm
        He was wrong and then— I say, hilariously, others say worryingly— lied about it in a completely obvious way because he is a clinical narcissist who will do anything to feather his nest. That’s not newsworthy? Why not?”

        Fuck off and die, Hihn.

    2. It is funny though and even funnier with the sharpie thing and Trump sticking with it.

      Whomever drew the sharpie curve and likely Trump doesn’t understand that those colored balloon lines represent probabilities, not the size of the storm.

      1. Echospinner
        September.7.2019 at 9:55 pm
        “Whomever drew the sharpie curve and likely Trump doesn’t understand that those colored balloon lines represent probabilities, not the size of the storm.”

        Or your comment suggests you have TDS.

        1. Ah TDS. Add that to my list of what I need to talk to the family doctor about.

          Doctor, Mr. MD, tell me what’s ailin’ me.

          Side point Dino Danelli is one of the most great unknown drummers ever. He hits that ride bell here on the off notes to create a rhymic complexity to what would otherwise be a forgettable song. Rascals.

          Perhaps the cure for my TDS affliction – good lovin’ all I really need.

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1vWUM0m4AE4

          1. Brain implant is a better solution.

          2. I want to know what brain malady causes libertarians to champion Trump. Something in the frontal lobe?

        2. I agree, Sevo. ANY and ALL criticism of Trump is TDS. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

      2. Even funnier NOAA stated Trump was right and early predictions through September 3rd did show Alabama as possibly being in the path. Wait, what that doesn’t fit your narrative? Too bad.

        1. Outer Banks NC is hit by the storm.

          The famous horses live from corolla on up to sandbridge area. They are feral but managed to some extent. Got to see them once when we went there. They will be fine.

          So will the people of Alabama thank G-d.

          1. “Outer Banks NC is hit by the storm.”

            So you change the subject? How…pathetic.

            1. Have ye noticed that Outer Banks NC isn’t very close to Alerbammer? WHERE is our Trumpistic Savior (expertologist of EVERYTHING, to include weather) NOW?!?!?

              (Oh, yes, I know… Prophet Trump’s predictions didn’t cum true, ’cause our Faith in Him fell SHORT of the Full Total Glory that is Meant To Be!)

              1. “Have ye noticed that Outer Banks NC isn’t very close to Alerbammer? WHERE is our Trumpistic Savior (expertologist of EVERYTHING, to include weather) NOW?!?!?”

                Have you noticed what a fucking imbecile you are?
                Prolly not. Fuck off and die.

  21. Hey I have an idea if we want to “do something.” Let’s ban rock concerts and popular music. Didn’t Charlie Manson say that the Beatles were the inspiration that caused him to order the Tate LaBianca murders? Doesn’t hip-hop have violent lyrics? This will prevent mass killings. And think of how we can fight climate change if we eliminate all the electricity used to record and play music back, had to produce rock concerts!

    Somehow I don’t think that this is the “something” that she had in mind…

  22. Hmmm… by doing something I guess I could vote for Bernie Sanders who will decrease defense budgets, support a women’s right to choose and stop putting Mexicans in concentration camps. The cost, I guess, is that gun nuts might have to fill out an application certifying that they aren’t bonkers or ready to shoot up their wife and/or abortion clinic.

    Decisions, decisions.

    1. “support a women’s right to choose”

      I admire your commitment to reproductive rights, but didn’t you get the memo? We’re phasing out that expression. It’s transphobic to imply only women need abortions; actually, transmen and non-binary people often get them too.

      In the future please say “preserve access to abortion care.” It’s more inclusive.

      #ILoveScience

      1. I don’t get it… you come here for 10 years in order to write lame parody about lame PC culture. None of those people have any power, Trumpian douche. What do you do for the other 4 hours of the day, Steven Crowder? Play dress up?

      2. Trans Women ARE Women. Its settled science

    2. You could also write very strongly worded letters to important people, who could read them and be inspired.

      1. That’s Hihn with another sock.

    3. “”I guess, is that gun nuts might have to fill out an application certifying that they aren’t bonkers”‘

      Perhaps we should demand that for people who wish to vote.

  23. Fear has nothing to do with logic or statistics. People are worried about mass shootings because they are scary. They occur seemingly randomly, they are horrifying. Like serial killers and shark attacks they are going to attract more attention than the numbers show.

    Doing nothing or just doing something that won’t change things are the two real choices. People have a hard time seeing it that way because of cognitive bias and illusions of causality. If there is problem X there must be a cause Y which can be fixed with action Z.

  24. The real problem with global warming is convincing thermometers it is hotter now than in the 1930s. At the same latitude South as Brownsville is North it’s been 40ºF to 50ºF for a week now. Somebody better DO something!

    1. They simply go back to the early 20th century and ‘correct’ the data. Voila! AGW.

  25. Any ‘performer’ screaming about ‘doing something’ is a fail in at least two ways which are immediately obvious:
    1) Said performer is valued for his/her looks/performing talent, not his/her ability to think. It doesn’t take a lot of reading to find that most performers are, properly, *not* valued for their mental acuity: Meathead, anyone?
    2) Said performer is also assuming that the ‘doing something’ aligns with the goals preferred by that performer’s limited mental acuity (see 1)).
    If, as one of the earlier commenters mentioned, we ‘did something’ by extending C/C to all states, it would immediately expose that limited mental acuity.

  26. Gun control for border enforcement? Since we know the Democrats will never agree to border enforcement, is it possible this is just a feint? I can’t ever tell. Sometimes he looks crazy like a fox, other times just crazy. I can never quite distinguish. But it’s fun watching the progs piss themselves (and progs pretending to be libertarians) every time he opens his mouth.

    1. This is the worst possible idea, from my perspective. I usually rely on the two parties to largely cancel out the other’s worst idiocies. Trump is proposing that they get together to implement each other’s worst idocies. It’s the worst of both worlds, the optimization point for maximum idiocy.

      I hate politics, or rather what it does to thoughtless people.

  27. Katherine was more on point but could have done without:

    “The problem of man-made climate change is real,”

    /Snoopy booing howl.

    1. It’s just a throwaway line to establish non-partisanship, a hand across the aisle or whatever. And frankly, the very little she said on the subject isn’t wrong. But who cares?

  28. “It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
    For those who think “The problem of man-made climate change is real” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ
    I am doing something. I’m leaving people the hell alone because – Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like. ~ Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

  29. “Free” AR-15s and .357 Magnums for every citizen! Open and cancelled carry without permit Nationwide! Mandatory K-12 shooting instruction! No gun-free zones!

  30. “Mandatory K-12 shooting instruction!”

    No, but shooting teams and clubs at every high school.

  31. So well-written, and finding / being one of “the helpers” is a great call to the inaction you hope to … not see? Hey it’s a complicated issue and solutions that come from all of us may work in the specific but we’re still mired in the abstract level. As for finding and being one of the Helpers, I actually think our Rev at our local United Methodist Church evoked the same sentiments recently. Have you considered going to seminary and preaching? 😉

  32. There are too many people who know nothing about firearms, telling too many people who know nothing about firearms, what they should know about firearms.

    1. They’re also telling those of us who not only know about, but also possess, firearms what we ought to have done with our firearms all along.

  33. Whether you live in the US, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq or Yemen, the bad guys are part of the vile regime in Washington.

  34. Presumably nobody that matters reads these, but just in case: “In her memoirs, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright remembered asking her colleague Colin Powell, “What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?””

    That’s in *his* memoirs, not hers: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/govt/admin/stories/albright120896.htm

    Also, the link to “Page 20” is broken.

  35. So just wait for the world to reach global harmony? I think we should at least try some gun control policies. They seem to work in other countries. Yes there will be push-back, but change always comes with resistance. When the goal is public safety, we can justify policy.

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