Socrates: There's this little passage I got memorized that I like to recite in situations like this. It is a tale of a brave man, Er, who once died in war. On the twelfth day, as he was already laid out on the funeral pyre, he revived, and told what he had seen yonder. He said that after his soul had left him it travelled with many others until they came to a marvellous place, where there were two openings upward into heaven, and between them sat judges. These, when they had given judgment, ordered the just to go upward through the heavens by the opening on the right. The unjust they ordered to travel downward by the opening on the left. For all the wrongs they had done to any person they paid a tenfold penalty. Savage men, all fiery to look at bound their feet, hands and heads, and threw them down and beat them, tortured them on thorny bushes....there's more.
Aristotle: What the f**k was that all about?
Socrates: So, motherf**ker, prepare to test the hypothesis! See, I've got it figured out, I'm the just man, and you're the unjust man, my gun is the thorny bushes, and Mr. dead pansy here is the judge. Now DIE MOTHERFUC --
Aristotle: But what if I'm the just man and you're the unjust man and this dead dipshit is the thorny bushes?
Socrates: Oh, uh ...
Aristotle: Or what if Alcibiades is the just man, and we're both unjust men. And the thorny bushes are the judge?
Socrates: S**t, well I guess that all depends on your definition of justice.
- Nathaniel Daw's "Republic Dogs" (h/t Michel Butler)
Leaving the Reagan criticism aside, though, I think Koppel's overall point is largely correct. Thirty years after the hostages came home, we still haven't figured out how to deal with Iran.One core issue is, I believe, that Iran was playing against us, and Carter was playing against the Republican Party.
Gather round my children for a story that is true.I'd be remiss not to mention that Littlest Guy's mom and stepdad have adopted two delightful (and energetic!) children through the foster system, and that my brother is hoping to do the same thing this year.
A story about Santa Claus and the gift he gave to you.
You said that last year Santa didn't come your way,
That there was nothing 'neath the tree for you on Christmas Day.
When last year Santa saw you in that foster home, he knew what you were feeling -- so sad and all alone.
You wrote down what you wanted, made your list of toys, and oh how Santa wished that he could give you back your joy.
Santa's toys are made with love, each a work of art.
But Santa knows that none of them can mend a broken heart.
So Santa doesn't always bring just what you ask him to, he searches deep within your heart to find his gift for you.
He watches when you're dreaming, hears you when you pray.
And that's how Santa chooses what to bring on Christmas Day.
Back and forth Santa paced, then sat down in his chair.
Scratched his head, thought and thought and fiddled with his hair.
Soon he closed his big blue eyes, his cheeks all flushed and red.
In a flash, he fell asleep, as if he were in bed.
And as he slept more deeply, he began to snore.
Till the roaring of his snoring shook the workshop floor.
Suddenly he woke up with a twinkle in his eye.
"I'll give those kids a present money cannot buy."
He grabbed his coat, rushed outside and disappeared from view.
All night long he searched and searched to find his gift for you.
He'd watched you in your dreaming, heard you as you prayed, and that's how he decided what to bring on Christmas Day.
All at once he found it and stuffed it in his sack.
It was a gift that you could hug, and it would hug you back.
A present you could play with, and it would play with you.
A gift that you could love and love, and it would love you too.
A present you had asked for, but only in your dreams.
Exactly what you wanted more than any thing.
You thought that he forgot you, that Santa passed you by.
But that's because you didn't see the twinkle in his eye.
Santa gave you something that you had never had.
He gave you what you wanted most.
A loving Mom and Dad.
Arizona law was irrelevant to Jared Loughner's purchasing the gun. The background check is federal, and he passed it. Yes, his carrying concealed to the Safeway, without a permit, was legal under Arizona's new law, but if it hadn't been, would he have been dissuaded? He headed off to commit murder; he was already far over the line where a concealed-carry law would have made any difference to him.
As a liberal Democrat, I worry about the damage we might do by rushing toward a fresh raft of gun-control laws. It's very hard to demonstrate that most of them -- registration, waiting periods, one-gun-a-month laws, closing the gun-show loophole, large-capacity-magazine restrictions, assault-rifle bans -- have ever saved a life. It's a hard thing to accept, but in a country of 350 million privately owned guns, the people who are inclined to do bad things with guns will always be able to get them. One might as well combat air crashes by repealing gravity.My own support for gun ownership is a combination of the pragmatic and the moral.
I'm not one for slinging statistics, because everybody can read into them what he wants to see. One, though, seems pretty hard to ignore: The rates of murder and other violent crime have dropped by about half in the past 20 years -- one piece of unalloyed good news out of the past two decades. During those same 20 years, gun ownership has gone way up, and gun laws have become far looser.
Gun control not only does no practical good, it actively causes harm. It may be hard to show that it saves lives, but it's easy to demonstrate that we've sacrificed a generation of progress on things like health care, women's rights, immigration reform, income fairness, and climate change because we keep messing with people's guns. I am researching a book on Americans' relationship to their guns, and keep meeting working-stiff gun guys -- people whose wages haven't risen since 1978 and should be natural Democrats -- who won't even listen to the blue team because they're convinced Democrats want to take away their guns. Misguided? Maybe. But that's democracy for you. It's helpful to think of gun control as akin to marijuana prohibition -- useless for almost everything except turning otherwise law-abiding people into criminals and fomenting cynicism and resentment.What he said. He's writing a book about gun ownership, and I'm actually kind of interested in reading it.
"You don't have to worry about any restrictions that are put on the Second Amendment because those restrictions will never be used on other Amendments or rights like the 4th Amendment or abortion because guns are bad and that makes them different."...which is probably the best summary of the gun banners thinking on the subject that I've read.
Consider the circumstance of the US at the conclusion of the Second World War:
1) As a result of the enormous arms build up, approximately half of the world's industrial capacity resided on US soil.There's a level of inevitability in this - it would have been virtually impossible to have maintained the kind of economic gap that existed at the end of WW II - as well as a level of virtue - the world is better off with more prosperity wider spread than with less.
2) We possessed two-thirds of the known gold reserves on the planet.
3) To help fund the war effort 85 million Americans had "saved" $185.7 billion by purchasing bonds (equivalent to Americans saving $2.26 trillion today).
4) A half decade of rationing had pent up an overwhelming reservoir of consumer demand.
5) Our primary economic competitors had all been ravaged by warfare while our infrastructure had thrived.
When had any nation, since the dawn of the industrial age, enjoyed such a staggering advantage over every other nation? It had never happened before and almost certainly never will again, so it is little surprise that such an unprecedented advantage would subsequently translate into a generation of unparalleled growth and prosperity. By the 1970s, however, the world was catching up. US economic hegemony was being directly challenged by rival powers and US industries, many of which had slackened into complacent oligopolies, sluggishly adapted to foreign competition. For their part, US workers, whose wages and benefits had soared during the boom years, were increasingly forced to compete with cheap foreign labor. Add to this the unfortunate fact America's domestic energy supply had peaked in 1970 and the vine was ripe for stagflation as President Carter urged his fellow Americans to "face the truth" in his infamous Malaise Speech of 1979.
People who, like me, raise questions about the value of global military engagement are sometimes called "isolationists." But that term rightly applies only to people who don't realize that there are threats to our security out there. If you perceive the threats but realize that they're collective action problems, you realize that we do have to be involved in their solution.That's gonna work well...
What form should the involvement take? Funny you should ask! This is my last Opinionator column (maudlin details below, in the postscript), and I just realized that in my year of writing the column I've given short shrift to one of my main hobby horses: global governance.
Global governance is the solution to international collective action problems. The problems can range from environmental (it doesn't make sense for any one nation to cut carbon emissions unless others join in) to financial (as when nations coordinate policy to head off a contagious financial panic). But the most prominent symbol of global governance - the United Nations - was created mainly to deal with the problem under discussion here: keeping the peace. The United Nations Security Council is a mechanism through which threats to peace can be recognized, the military action necessary to deal with them authorized, and the burdens of that military action shared.
If we're smart, we'll use what's left of this moment to craft instruments of global governance that will assure our security even in a world we don't dominate ... and will also equitably distribute the costs of international security. We'll show people how to build a world in which we can all, without fear of being attacked, reduce the amount of money we spend on arms.We do need to craft those instruments. But they will look much more like alliances with Brazil, India, and the Anglosphere than like yielding our authority and power to the control of the UN or one of the existing global agencies.
When Mickey stops trying to destroy the careers of twenty-something journalists, I'll talk to him...Not - "he's deeply wrong because," Not even "He's deeply wrong."
Until then, I won't - and you shouldn't carry water for him either. He's not a good person. Yours,