November 13, 2009

Guns or Butter

Dr. Zero over at Hot Air offers this:

Some 15,000 Americans died last year because they didn’t have it. As many as five million more experienced a significant reduction in their quality of life, including mental and emotional trauma as well as diminished health, without it. Although large majorities of those Americans fortunate enough to have it are satisfied with what they have, many of the poor who need it most desperately simply cannot afford it. The government already exercises a great deal of control over it. Lives could be saved if we made its purchase mandatory, and subsidized those of limited means, to make ownership universal.
No, not health care. Guns.

Legal gun ownership by law-abiding citizens brings a dramatic reduction in violent crime. The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, took the novel step of passing an ordinance requiring heads of household to keep at least one firearm in their homes, as reported in this article by Chuck Baldwin of Campaign for Liberty. The law went into effect in 1982, and produced 74% and 45% reductions in violent crime over the next two years, respectively. Despite its population roughly tripling over the course of fifteen years, Kennesaw only had three murders during that time, and two of them were committed with knives.
Of course, extrapolating from little Kennesaw to the entire country is impossible, but studies have repeatedly shown that shall-issue and concealed-carry laws bring reductions in violent crime, while draconian gun control laws cause such crimes to skyrocket. For example, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley recently blamed the Fort Hood shootings on “America’s love affair with guns.” As Madison Conservative pointed out in a Twitter exchange, Chicago experienced 32 shootings in a single weekend, back in April, although it has draconian handgun laws. Similar examples are plentiful. Just about every high-crime area has tough gun control laws.
Approached with simple common sense, the effect of carefully trained, law-abiding gun owners on violent crime is not complicated. Decent people with proper firearms training are not magically transformed into wild-eyed homicidal maniacs by the ownership of a gun. They gain the ability to defend themselves against violent assault, and criminals logically respond by launching such attacks less frequently, since they can no longer be assured of finding easy prey.
The contrary liberal position, that absolute gun confiscation would reduce violent crime, is reasonable on its surface… but it disintegrates completely when confronted with the simple fact that disarming criminals is virtually impossible. Even if it could be done, the will to violence gives criminals a pronounced advantage over lawful citizens, when only primitive weapons are involved.
The atrocity at Fort Hood demonstrates, with horrible clarity, what happens when evil men with guns can act with confidence that no one will be shooting back at them. Arming and training the law-abiding citizens of high-crime areas would make them into hard targets, and improve their quality of life at least as much as socialized medicine. It would also be much cheaper – guns and ammunition cost far less than medical equipment and life-saving drugs, and firearms training requires far less education than a medical degree. Unlike socialized medicine, gun ownership is actually authorized – in fact, guaranteed – by the Constitution. Also, unlike medicine, guns are something the government has expertise with. The federal and state governments employ a great many people who know what they’re talking about, when it comes to firearms.
Of course, universal gun ownership and training wouldn’t bring a whole lot of power to the socialists. In fact, it’s just about their worst nightmare. Nothing makes them more nervous than the thought of a few million liberty-loving souls with pistols in one hand, and tea bags in the other. The government would get to spend some money distributing subsidized guns to the poor, but unlike health care, there would be no long-term dependency and control – none of that exhilarating sense that the State owns its citizens, body and soul.
Since guns are probably a non-starter with the Left, how about butter?
All this shrieking about an ever-changing number of uninsured Americans, creeping nervously through their miserable lives in the shadow of the Grim Reaper, is ridiculous when compared to the more serious threat of starvation. Healthy people usually go for years without needing health care, especially when they’re young… but even the most vivacious teenager will die in a matter of days without food.
Food production and distribution are governed by huge agriculture and grocery companies, including the hellish Wal-Mart, the corporate Mordor of the frenzied Left. Americans spend about $500 billion a year on food, including products like milk and soda that cost almost as much per gallon as gasoline does. We’re notoriously sloppy about the kind of food we consume, resulting in obesity, hypertension, and other health issues that place an enormous strain on our health care system. Surely it’s time to confiscate the obscene profits of Big Food, and strictly regulate the diets of Americans, to “promote the general welfare.” The same people liberals count to produce the scary numbers of uninsured Americans they need to sell socialized medicine – the young, the poor, illegal aliens – need “access” to healthy food!
You might object that no one seems to be starving in America. Well, no one is dying for want of medical care, either – hospitals are required to treat the indigent. That doesn’t stop the Left from dancing around the smoking embers of the Constitution and demanding the power to control the health insurance industry. If the government can force you to buy health insurance, why can’t it force you to eat salad instead of bacon burgers? Forcing Americans to eat properly and exercise, under threat of fines and imprisonment, would reduce our national health care expenditures considerably. Reduced demand means reduced prices. It makes a lot more fiscal sense than pouring two or three trillion dollars we don’t have into a bloated national health care system.
The reason there is no significant starvation in America is because the production and delivery of food is highly efficient and innovative. The shelves of grocery stores are bursting with constantly new-and-improved products. Competition is fierce, bringing reduced prices and increased quality. In our grandparents’ day, food was much more expensive – the average family in 1901 spent half its income on food, compared to just over 13% today… and 42% of our food expenses are incurred while eating out. Food is even more important to life than medicine, it is consumed in far greater volume, and its production and distribution are quite complex… but it’s cheap and plentiful, precisely because it is not produced and distributed by Big Government.
Everything we currently do wrong with health care, and will do even worse if the Democrats have their way, is done right with food. It is vastly better to feed the desperately poor by giving them food stamps to spend in a capitalist grocery store, than to shuffle them off to some kind of State-controlled supply dump. It’s not as if no one ever tried to control food production with collectivist politics. The primary result was mass starvation, every single place on Earth it has been tried. Why is anyone foolish enough to think those collectivist policies will work better when applied to health care?
We should embrace our heritage of limited government, show our fellow citizens the respect due to all free men and women, and reserve those fines and jail terms for politicians who betray their oaths of office by proposing ridiculously unconstitutional socialist power grabs. The choice between guns and butter should be yours.

Posted by LMC at November 13, 2009 06:08 PM | TrackBack

A young man told me a story of cleaning out his grandfather's home, after the grandfather had passed away. His grandfather, who lived through Jim Crow, and 'nightriders' had thoughfully placed a 12 gauge shotgun shell in every corner of every room of his house - even the bathroom.

Apparently Grandpa was not going down without a fight..

Posted by: kmr at November 13, 2009 08:35 PM
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