Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Our Founding Fathers never imagined a well-armed citizenry to keep the American government itself in check.
 It is a good thing that they did not.  Keeping the government in check by force of arms today would require heavy weapons, tanks, fighter jets and the like.  A force limited to small arms would be completely useless.   This makes it obvious that the big fight for “the right to bear arms” is about delusion, not simply mammon.  It is the desire to think of oneself as more powerful and independent than one actually is.  

In itself, this delusion is relatively harmless and the gun manufacturers do well by coddling that delusion with really-cool-looking hunting rifles mocked up to look like assault weapons.  Okay, the expression of the delusion through the widespread possession of small arms has a price: 33,000 deaths and 75,000 injuries each year – many to children.  To date, that is a price we Americans have been willing to pay. 

An expensive delusion, perhaps, but our own.

At the same time, local militias in New Jersey confiscated arms from African-Americans and inhabitants of the vulnerable shoreline.

That raises interesting speculations:   Was the internment of the Japanese a violation of the 2nd amendment?  
(They certainly weren’t allowed to keep their guns, were they?) 
What would happen if Mr Trump tried to take guns away from Muslim’s?   
Would the NRA develop cognitive dissonance?

The legal loophole that's costing Americans 
 Michael Master "...our company was forced to employ H1B workers to compete with the big firms."
The idea that a company was “forced” to participate in the H1B worker-replacement scam is telling.   Bad legislation can lead to a downward spiral: a Gresham’s law of employment that transfers wealth from labour to capital (workers got paid less, companies improved their profits.)

At base, the problem is one of balancing conflicting goals.  We want to be able to bring in bright people who will keep us at the leading edge, but we do not want to bring in people who take away American jobs just because they will do things on the cheap.   We want to do all things more cheaply and efficiently, but we do not want to gut the middle class.  It is the same question that plagues the balance of manufacturing at home or abroad.  

In this highly complex set of issues, one worries about knee-jerk reactions and the desire to “get ‘er done.”   The Bush-Obama era showed that gradualism wasn’t working and everyone was unhappy.  Now we have an era where the President thinks the bully pulpit, cutting red-tape and tilting the scales may help.  I would love Hope to triumph over Experience, but…..

As long as legislation is written by lobbyists and dependent on campaign-fund donations, I am not sanguine that things will improve.   I suspect the pendulum will simply rattle back and forth and the net-net will be more transfer of wealth from labour to capital.

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