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Who Are The Real Extremists? – Article by Ron Paul

Who Are The Real Extremists? – Article by Ron Paul

Ron Paul
September 25, 2019
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The recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have re-ignited efforts to pass “Red Flag” laws, which allow the government to take away a person’s guns without due process, and expanded background checks on those wishing to purchase a gun. Some supporters of these measures acknowledge they would not have prevented the Dayton and El Paso shootings, but they think the government must “do something,“ even if that something only makes it more difficult for average Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The fact that one of the shooters may have been motivated by anti-immigrant views has led to calls for government surveillance of “right-wing extremists.” There are talks of developing computer programs to search social media and identify those whose extreme views supposedly make them likely to commit violence. There are also calls for legislation giving the government new powers to prevent “domestic terrorism.”

Proposals targeting individuals based on their political beliefs — no matter how noxious they are — are a step toward criminalizing those beliefs. If the government gains new powers to treat those with abhorrent beliefs as potential criminals, it will not be long before those powers are used against anyone who challenges the welfare-warfare status quo.

The current use of “right-wing extremism” as a justification for expanding the surveillance state is the mirror image of the use of “Islamo-fascism” to justify the post 9-11 infringements on civil liberties. That is why it is distressing to see progressives and Muslim advocacy groups pushing for new federal authority to crack down on “domestic terrorism,” just as it was disappointing when so many conservatives who opposed Bill Clinton’s attempt to expand the surveillance state endorsed the exact same proposals when they were included in the PATRIOT Act. It is ironic that progressives are supporting new laws against domestic terrorism while simultaneously protesting FBI targeting of Black Lives Matter activists as domestic terrorists.

This is not to say there are not those with extreme ideologies who threaten our liberty and safety, but they are the Republicans and Democrats located in Washington, DC! The most obvious example of DC-based violent extremism is the war party propagandists who spread falsehoods to build support for regime change wars. By the time their falsehoods have been exposed, it is too late: America is stuck in another no-win quagmire and the war party has moved on to its next target.

Demagogic politicians also fan fear and hatred to protect and expand the welfare state. Right-wing nationalists scapegoat illegal migrants without distinguishing between those who come here to take advantage of the welfare system from those who come here seeking economic opportunity — while left-wing progressives demonize the wealthy without distinguishing between those who made their fortunes in the market serving consumers and those who made their fortunes by manipulating the political process. These extremists use scapegoating and demagoguery to gain power and keep the people from focusing on the real source of their discontent: the welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system that makes it possible.<

As the welfare-warfare-fiat money system collapses, we will see increased violence. This will result in an increase in police state power. The only way to avoid this fate is for good people to unite and replace the extremist ideologies of the mainstream of both left and right with the ideas of liberty. A good start would be applying “Red Flag” laws to remove neocons from any influence over US foreign policy!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Catalonia Shows the Danger of Disarming Civilians – Article by Laura Williams

Catalonia Shows the Danger of Disarming Civilians – Article by Laura Williams

The New Renaissance Hat
Laura Williams
October 28, 2017
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Since the tragic murder of 59 peaceful concertgoers in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1, 2017, I’ve heard well-intentioned Americans from all political corners echoing heartbroken and tempting refrains:

Can’t we just ban guns?

Surely we can all get together on the rocket launchers.

Things like this would happen less often.

We have enough military.

While victims were still in surgery, some took to television and social media to criticize the “outdated” and “dangerous” Second Amendment to the Constitution. They have lived so long in a safe, stable society that they falsely believe armed citizens are a threat to life and liberty for everyone.

Those who claim to see no necessity or benefits of individual gun ownership need only look to the rolling hills of Catalonia, where a live social experiment is currently unfolding.

Unarmed Patriots

Just hours before an alleged lone gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay casino, the citizens of a small region surrounding Barcelona, Spain, cast a vote for their regional independence. Catalonia’s citizens have a unique language, culture, and history, and consider Spain a neighboring power, not their rightful rulers. So as America’s Continental Congress heroically did (and as Texans and Californians occasionally threaten to do) Catalonia wished to declare independence and secede.

Polling stations in Catalonia were attacked by heavily armed agents of the Spanish government with riot gear and pointed rifles. Spanish National Police fired rubber bullets and unleashed tear gas canisters on voters, broke down polling center doors, disrupted the vote, and destroyed enough ballots to throw results into serious doubt.

Exceedingly few of those would-be patriots were armed.

In Spain, firearm ownership is not a protected individual right. Civilian firearms licenses are restricted to “cases of extreme necessity” if the government finds “genuine reason.” Background checks, medical exams, and license restrictions further restrict access. Licenses are granted individually by caliber and model, with automatic weapons strictly forbidden to civilians. Police can demand a citizen produce a firearm at any time for inspection or confiscation. Spain has enacted, it would seem, the kind of “common sense restrictions” American gun-control advocates crave.

But of course, that doesn’t mean that Spanish citizens don’t buy guns. In fact, Spanish taxpayers maintain an enormous arsenal of weapons, which are all in the hands “professional armed police forces within the administration of the state, who are the persons in charge of providing security to the population.”

Those agents of the Spanish government weren’t “providing security to the population” of Catalonia on Sunday — they were pointing guns at would-be founding patriots who had challenged the rule of their oppressors.

“If somebody tries to declare the independence of part of the territory — something that cannot be done — we will have to do everything possible to apply the law,” Spain’s justice minister said in a public address.  While many polling places were closed or barricaded, 2.3 million voters (90% in favor of independence) were permitted to vote, he claimed, “because the security forces decided that it wasn’t worth using force because of the consequences that it could have.”

The consequences of a government using force to control those it is sworn to protect must be high. When citizens are armed, the consequences for tyranny rise and its likelihood falls.

Armed Tyrants

Americans have grown too trustful of the federal government, too ready to assume its bureaucrats have only our best interests at heart. Even with a maniacal man-child in the Oval Office, many are seemingly eager to turn over individual liberty to those who promise to manage our lives for us. The United States was designed to be the smallest government in the history of the world, with no standing army, and little right to intrude in the private activities of its citizens. Instead, we have the most powerful and intrusive government in human history, with 800 permanent military bases in 70 countries, unfathomable firepower, and staggering surveillance capabilities. Unchecked abuses of power are routine and tolerated.

67 federal agencies, including the IRS and the FDA, have military weapons, according to the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report “The Militarization of America“. Among the most intrusive programs, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Agency, do not disclose their weaponry budget.

The number of armed government officials with arrest and firearm authority has doubled since 1996. The US now has more armed “civilian” federal officers (200,000+) than US Marines (182,000). The IRS spends millions of taxpayer dollars annually on pump-action shotguns, AR-15 rifles, riot gear, and Special Forces contractors to train thousands of “special agents” in targeting American citizens.

Local police, sheriffs, and state troopers have also been armed to wage war against American citizens.  Battlefield weapons are being given to state and local police, allegedly to combat drug trafficking and fight terrorist threats at local pumpkin festivals. Military SWAT-style raids are used to serve search warrants for low-level drug possession, not hostage situations. Relatives and neighbors of alleged criminals have had government guns held to their children’s heads. Violations of civil rights, including illegal searches and the seizure of money and property without evidence of any crime, are commonplace.

Law enforcement requests military equipment directly from the Pentagon’s war-fighting machine: tanks, machine guns, rocket launchers, tear gas, camouflage, shields, and gas masks.  Military equipment is often purchased with civil asset forfeiture slush funds to bypass legislative appropriations challenges.

The high percentage of civilian law enforcement who are military veterans (one in five, by some estimates) compounds the cultural risks of treating average Americans like enemy combatants.

Showdowns between civilians and heavily armed agents of the state in FergusonBaltimore, the Oregon Wildlife Refuge, and at various other political protests across the country should remind us that gun-control advocates won’t be reducing the number of guns so much as shifting them all into either federal or criminal hands.

The senseless murder in Las Vegas is a frighteningly familiar tragedy. But don’t say “Americans shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns” when what you mean is “citizens should only be allowed to buy guns for their rulers.”

Dr. Laura Williams teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and executives. She is a passionate advocate for critical thinking, individual liberties, and the Oxford Comma.

This article was published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author. Read the original article.

Your Problem with Gays or Guns Is Not Political – Article by Robin Koerner

Your Problem with Gays or Guns Is Not Political – Article by Robin Koerner

The New Renaissance Hat
Robin Koerner
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Not too long ago, perhaps as a rite of passage before becoming a new American, I did something I’d done only once before: I went to a range and shot some guns. Lots of guns. All shapes, ages, and sizes.

For a guy born British, such a thing feels very strange – because guns feature nowhere in British culture.

Accordingly, I was unsurprised by the reaction of my mother when I called home and told her that I’d had a great time learning about firearms and discovering I wasn’t a bad shot, even with a second-world-war Enfield. “That’s the last thing I’d ever imagine you’d enjoy doing,” she said to me. She wasn’t being judgmental: it was an expression of genuine surprise.

“That’s because you just can’t imagine why nice or normal people would enjoy guns … because you don’t know any … no Brits know any,” I replied.

Mom thoughtfully agreed.

Many decent people who have no interest in guns simply can’t imagine what it must be like to be someone who is passionate about something whose primary purpose is to kill people. Although the gun debate is waged using words, logic, and fact (to different ends by both sides of course), the arguments constructed using these three tools are not what brings people to their pro- or anti-gun position. Rather, most people are emotionally or intuitively committed to a position first, and deploy these tools retroactively in defense of their position. Despite what we like to think, most, if not all, of our political views come about this way. Studies show, time and time again, that David Hume was right, when he claimed,

And as reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles.

Do You Want to Kill People?

What most anti-gun people are really feeling (rather than thinking) is that there has to be something strange about you if you like guns. I mean, why would you like by something whose primary purpose is to kill people? If you do, you can’t be like me. You are sufficiently different that I am suspicious of your worldview or your motives or both. You are culturally “other.”

Productive engagement, and the pervasive acceptance of individual rights, involves bridging such cultural gaps. With the gun-rights issue, as with all others, the best way to bridge such gaps is the same way all forms of cultural segregation (because that is what we are really talking about) have been permanently broken down over time: get to know, and spend personal time with, those on the other side of the gap.

It works both ways. People who favor more gun regulation are not actually motivated by taking away your liberty. And people who favor robust Second Amendment protections do not have a higher threshold for the acceptance of violence or aggression. You’ll know this when you have them as friends, and having such friends causes the all-or-nothing arguments that make such dramatic claims about the fundamental differences between you and the people on the other side of the issue to cease to be credible.

This mistaking of differences of cultural identity for political differences, or, the erroneous idea that political differences drive different cultural identities, rather than the other way around, severely hobbles our ability to protect all of our liberties and empowers political partisans who have a vested interest in maintaining power by keeping us insolubly divided.

The Rise of Subcultures

Just as gun owners form a kind of (albeit highly porous) sub-culture, the LGBT community does too. Some people who have been brought up in a socially conservative or religious subculture simply can’t imagine even wanting to do (let alone actually doing) the things that those in another subculture (LBGT) do as a matter of course. Again, if I can’t even imagine your experience or desires, then we are deeply culturally separated. Just as gun-control advocates feel a twinge of disgust, or at least condescension, toward the culture of gun owners, some of our religious friends feel similarly about the LBGT subculture.

“Disgust” is of course a very strong word, and most of us sublimate it deeply, but it captures the sense that the division among our “political” subcultures is more visceral than rational. Reason is applied later to justify in the conscious mind the position that the subconscious makes us emotionally comfortable with.

Now, I have, or certainly used to have, a distinctly conservative streak when it comes to the raising of children, and I have an instinctive respect for any political position that is genuinely motivated by requiring adults to do the best by the children whom they create. I can understand, then, the real discomfort of those who sincerely believe that children benefit from having male and female role-models at home, and that society should be very wary of sanctioning anything that does not place the well-being of children above the proclivities of their parents.

However, two of my friends – and two of the kindest and most responsible people I know – happen to be gay partners who adopted a(n American-born) daughter. Phil and Michael are giving their adopted daughter a wonderful life. Their love for her is boundless. The security, values, and richness of experience that they are providing her will set her up forever. And the gap between the life that Mia Joy has and that which she would otherwise have makes the general question “Should gay couples should be able to adopt” sound something between silly and faintly insulting when applied to this particular, inspiring case.

I am blessed with close gay friends with whom I identify as much as I do with many of my straight friends. So for me, the question of gay marriage and adoption, for example, is not so much a political argument that needs logical “deciding,” but the very intuition of the existence of some gay “other” on which the very argument depends has disappeared. As that cultural gap is bridged through actual human relationship, the separateness of that “other group,” on which any suspicion I may have of their motivations depends, ceases to exist.

I’ve had many gay friends for many years. And now I am getting many gun-owning friends too. And because they are all good people (they’d not be my friends otherwise, would they?), I see both groups as doing essentially the same thing when they defend their rights – insisting on being allowed to be themselves, and defend the validity of the way they experience the world – as long as they harm no one else.

But That’s Wrong

Of course, if you’re reading this and you don’t like guns, you’re thinking, “That’s wrong. Guns harm people.” Not in the hands of my friends, they don’t. And if you’re reading this and you don’t like gays, you’re thinking, “That’s wrong. Gay adoption is bad for the children.”

Not by my friends, it isn’t.

If I were going to take a stand against gay adoption, I would have to imagine saying to Phil and Mike, “You should not be allowed to what you have done for Mia Joy, and I would use the force of law to stop you.” Even if I could make an abstract political argument against gay adoption, I cannot say that to them in good conscience. And if I were going to take a stand against my open-carrying friend, Rob, I’d have to imagine saying to him, “You should not be allowed to own that to protect your family – or to protect your country against a tyrannical state, should it ever come to that, and I would use the force of law to stop you.” Even if I could make an abstract political argument against private gun ownership, I could not say that to him in good conscience.

Friendship

By becoming friends with Phil and Mike, and with Rob, their respective subcultures cease to be alien to me.

The truth is that, because I know Rob as a grounded, kind man, I also know that the rest of us are better off when people like him have a few of the guns – rather than their all being in the hands of our political masters. And because I know Phil and Michael as being rather like Rob in those respects, I simply know that the rest of us are better off when people like them have a few of America’s children.

And there’s not a political argument in sight.

You’ll appreciate my delight, then, when, during my day at the range with Rob, he told me that his local organization in defense of the second amendment accepted the open offer made by the organizers of his city’s annual gay pride event to support them by marching with them. The two groups have now formed an ongoing alliance, reflecting the fact, of course, that they are really doing the same thing: protecting the right of people to do anything they want for people they love as long as they harm no one else.

That’s when you know that you really care about liberty: the excitement of marching in support of someone who wants to protect and celebrate their freedom overcomes your “cultural discomfort” (should you have any) with what they want to do with it.

If we can challenge ourselves by focusing as much on nurturing our human connection with our political opponents by relating to them as people, we’d discover a wonderful paradox: we’d all feel, from our opposed initial positions, increased success in getting our opponents to see the world our way.

Dissolving Political Differences

How is that possible?

It’s possible because collapsing the subcultural divides in our society through actual human relationship does something bigger and better than resolving our political differences: it dissolves them. It dissolves them because it reveals that much of what we thought were differences of political principle are really rationalizations of the suspicion we feel toward those whose experiences and pleasures we simply cannot imagine sharing.

As in history, so in psychology: culture precedes politics.

Robin Koerner is British born, and recently became a citizen of the USA. A decade ago, he founded WatchingAmerica.com, an organization of over 200 volunteers that translates and posts in English views about the USA from all over the world.

Now, as a political and economic commentator for the Huffington Post, Independent Voter Network, and other outlets, Robin may be best known for having coined the term “Blue Republican” to refer to liberals and independents who joined the GOP to support Ron Paul’s bid for the presidency in 2011/12 (and, in so doing, launching the largest coalition that existed for that candidate).

Robin’s current work as author of the book, “If You Can Keep It”, a trainer and a consultant, focuses on bringing people together across political divisions, with a view to winning supporters for good causes, rather than just arguments. He is driven by the conviction that more unites us as people and as Americans than divides us as partisans, and if we can find common ground and understand the forces that really drive political change, then “We the People” will be able to do what the Founders implored us to do – maintain our natural rights against power and its abuse. As he says, people and their well-being are the only legitimate ends of politics.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Banning “Assault Weapons” Will Not Save Lives – Article by Corey Iacono

Banning “Assault Weapons” Will Not Save Lives – Article by Corey Iacono

The New Renaissance HatCorey Iacono
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Last weekend, America regrettably witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings in the country’s history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were murdered and over 50 injured. The atrocity was carried out by a fanatic who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, using a civilian semi-automatic rifle, the Sig Sauer MCX. (Early reports that it was an AR-15 were mistaken.)

In the wake of this attack, many people have laid the blame on America’s relatively lax gun laws, arguing that so-called “assault weapons” (more appropriately known as semi-automatic rifles) and high-capacity magazines should be banned from civilian use.

They note that many of the deadliest shootings in American history have involved rifles like the AR-15, and they propose that such rifles should be banned to prevent heinous crimes like the Orlando massacre from occurring in the future.

Homicides Dehomogenized

But while it may be true that many mass shootings involved semi-automatic rifles, these events are rare. In fact, the latest data (2014) from the FBI show that all types of rifles were only confirmed to have been used in 248 homicides, down from 351 in 2009. Given the total number of homicides (11,961), rifles were confirmed to have been used in only two percent of murders.

You’re more likely to be stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death with bare hands than killed by someone with a rifle.

It’s impossible to know the true number of murders involving “assault weapons,” because the term is so nebulous, and because the FBI only looks at the categories of rifle, shotgun, and handgun. There are also nearly 2,000 gun murders in which the type of firearm used is unknown. But a rough estimate of 328 homicides with all rifles (extrapolated from rifle’s share of gun murders where the type of weapon is known) is probably close to the truth.

To be very generous to the assault weapon ban argument, let’s assume that all of these 328 murders were done with assault weapons. That would imply that such weapons were involved in less than three percent of all homicides in the United States, at most.

Such deaths are as terrible as any murder, but it is also true that knives, blunt objects, and hands/feet were confirmed to have been used in 1,567, 435, and 660 murders respectively. You are much more likely to be stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death with bare hands than killed by someone with a rifle, and the chances of being killed with an “assault-type rifle” are necessarily lesser still.

Bans Don’t Work

There is also little evidence that these weapons bans have worked in the past. From 1994 to 2004, Congress banned the manufacture, sale, or transfer of a large number of “assault weapons” (including some handguns and high-capacity magazines). An assessment study commissioned by the Department of Justice in 2004 found no evidence that the ban had had any effect on gun violence and concluded that “should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Violent ideologues will not be deterred from their paths of destruction by minor inconveniences.

Research by economist Mark Guis of Quinnipiac University revealed no evidence that either state or federal “assault weapons” bans reduced firearm-homicide rates. Carlisle E. Moody of the College of William and Mary found no evidence that the federal ban on high-capacity magazines had any effect on homicide rates.

Regarding terrorist attacks like the one in Orlando, it’s not clear, even in retrospect, that they would be prevented by more restrictive gun control measures. Stringent gun laws in California and France failed to prevent the recent massacres in San Bernardino and Paris. People driven to violence by ideology will not be easily deterred from their paths of destruction by minor inconveniences; it is simply naïve to believe that smaller magazines or not having a folding stock would have stopped them.

In any event, keeping in mind the horrors that mass shootings entail, “assault weapons” are not even connected to a significant amount of crime in the United States. Even if confiscating and banning them completely erased homicides with committed with them, and the perpetrators didn’t substitute them with other legally available firearms, the effect on homicide rates would be statistically very small.

Many Americans simply don’t believe that some of the most popular rifles in America (overwhelmingly owned for legal and peaceful reasons) should be banned or that tens of millions of Americans’ rights should be infringed upon for so little to show for it. If you care about violence in America, you shouldn’t waste your time on the red herring of “assault weapons.”


Corey Iacono

Corey Iacono is a student at the University of Rhode Island majoring in pharmaceutical science and minoring in economics. He is a Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) 2016 Thorpe Fellow.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Does DC’s Curfew Prevent Crime – Or Increase It? – Article by Alex Tabarrok

Does DC’s Curfew Prevent Crime – Or Increase It? – Article by Alex Tabarrok

The New Renaissance HatAlex Tabarrok
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Another for the “unintended consequences” file

Washington, DC, has a juvenile curfew law. Anyone “under the age of 17 cannot remain in or on a street, park or other outdoor public place, in a vehicle or on the premises of any establishment within the District of Columbia during curfew hours.” There are exemptions for juveniles accompanied by a parent and for travel for jobs (no detours allowed.)

Curfew laws keep some juveniles off the streets during curfew hours, but which ones? The criminals seem the least likely to be deterred, and with fewer people on the street, perhaps the criminals are emboldened.

The DC curfew switches from midnight to 11 pm on Sept 1 of every year. In a working paper, Jennifer L. Doleac and Jillian Carr test the effect of DCs juvenile curfew on gun violence by looking at the number of gunshots heard in the 11pm to midnight “switching hour” just before and just after Sept 1. From a summary:

The September 1 change provides a clean natural experiment. If curfews reduce gun violence, then when the curfew shifts to 11:00 p.m. rather than midnight, gunfire between 11:00 p.m. and midnight should go down. Does it?

Just the opposite. Using data on gunfire incidents from ShotSpotter (acoustic gunshot sensors that cover the most violent neighborhoods in D.C.), we find that after the curfew switches from midnight to 11:00 p.m., the number of gunshot incidents increases by 150 percent during the 11:00 p.m. hour.

This amounts to 7 additional gunfire incidents city-wide per week, during that hour alone. Jane Jacobs was right: the deterrent effect of having lots of people out on the streets is powerful. This makes juvenile curfew policies counter-productive.

The use of ShotSpotter data is innovative and avoids some problems with issues of police enforcement. Calls to 911, however, don’t show the same pattern as the ShotSpotter data, which is worrying.

I’d also like to see more information on the proposed mechanism. Is it really the case that significantly fewer people are out on the streets at say 11:30 pm after the curfew has been lowered to 11 pm than when the curfew was set at midnight? The curfew only directly affects people under 17 and, as noted above, there are quite a few exemptions. Also what are the ages of those typically arrested on the basis of ShotSpotter alerts?

By the way, on a typical day in DC there are almost 15 gunfire incidents heard by ShotSpotter (data here, the authors report 8 but that may be from a restricted sample). A lot of gunfire is heard around a handful of schools. The ShotSpotter system is quite accurate. Although it misses some shots it distinguishes shots from car backfires better than people do. I also found this note from the Washington Post amusing, in a frightening way:

About a third of detected gunshot incidents in the city happen on New Year’s Eve or around July 4. Officials explain the high rate as celebratory gunfire.

This post first appeared at Marginal Revolution.

Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen.

If You Want Security, Pursue Liberty – Article by Ron Paul

If You Want Security, Pursue Liberty – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
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Judging by his prime-time speech in early December 2015, the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency will be marked by increased militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home. The centerpiece of the president’s speech was his demand for a new law forbidding anyone on the federal government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm. There has never been a mass shooter who was on the terrorist watch list, so this proposal will not increase security. However, it will decrease liberty.

Federal officials can have an American citizen placed on the terrorist watch list based solely on their suspicions that the individual might be involved in terrorist activity. Individuals placed on the list are not informed that they have been labeled as suspected terrorists, much less given an opportunity to challenge that designation, until a Transportation Security Administration agent stops them from boarding a plane.

Individuals can be placed on the list if their Facebook or Twitter posts seem “suspicious” to a federal agent. You can also be placed on the list if your behavior somehow suggests that you are a “representative” of a terrorist group (even if you have no associations with any terrorist organizations). Individuals can even be put on the list because the FBI wants to interview them about friends or family members!

Thousands of Americans, including several members of Congress and many employees of the Department of Homeland Security, have been mistakenly placed on the terrorist watch list. Some Americans are placed on the list because they happen to have the same names as terrorist suspects. Those mistakenly placed on the terrorist watch list must go through a lengthy “redress” process to clear their names.

It is likely that some Americans are on the list solely because of their political views and activities. Anyone who doubts this should consider the long history of federal agencies, such as the IRS and the FBI, using their power to harass political movements that challenge the status quo. Are the American people really so desperate for the illusion of security that they will support a law that results in some Americans losing their Second Amendment rights because of a bureaucratic error or because of their political beliefs?

President Obama is also preparing an executive order expanding the federal background check system. Expanding background checks will not keep guns out of the hands of criminals or terrorists. However, it will make obtaining a firearm more difficult for those needing, for example, to defend themselves against abusive spouses.

Sadly, many who understand that new gun-control laws will leave us less free and less safe support expanding the surveillance state. Like those promoting gun control, people calling for expanded surveillance do not let facts deter their efforts to take more of our liberties. There is no evidence that mass surveillance has prevented even one terrorist attack.

France’s mass-surveillance system is much more widespread and intrusive than ours. Yet it failed to prevent the recent attacks. France’s gun-control laws, which are much more restrictive than ours, not only failed to keep guns out of the hands of their attackers, they left victims defenseless. It is thus amazing that many American politicians want to make us more like France by taking away our Second and Fourth Amendment rights.

Expanding the federal government’s power will not increase our safety; it will only diminish our freedom. Americans will have neither liberty nor security until they abandon the fantasy that the US government can provide economic security, personal security, and global security.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Politicians Exploit School Shooting While Ignoring Bombing Victims – Article by Ron Paul

Politicians Exploit School Shooting While Ignoring Bombing Victims – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
October 14, 2015
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Following the recent Oregon school shooting, many politicians rushed to the microphones to call for new gun-control laws. President Obama even called on gun-control supporters to “politicize” the shooting, while some members of Congress worked to establish a special commission on gun violence.

The reaction to the shooting stands in stark contrast to the reaction to the US military’s bombing of an Afghanistan hospital run by the international humanitarian (and Nobel Peace Prize winning) group Doctors Without Borders.

Our Nobel Peace Prize winning president did apologize to his fellow Nobel laureate for the bombing. However, President Obama has not “politicized” this tragedy by using it to justify ending military involvement in Afghanistan. No one in Congress is pushing for a special commission to examine the human costs of US militarism, and the mainstream media has largely ignored Doctors Without Borders’ accusation that the bombing constitutes a war crime.

The reason for the different reactions to these two events is that politicians prefer to focus on events they can “politicize” to increase the federal government’s power. In contrast, politicians ignore incidents that raise uncomfortable questions about US foreign policy.

If the political and media elites were really interested in preventing future mass shootings, they would repeal the federal “gun-free” schools law, for example. By letting shooters know that their intended victims are defenseless, the gun-free schools law turns schoolchildren into easy targets.

Even some who oppose gun control are using the shooting to justify expanding federal power instead of trying to repeal unconstitutional laws. Some opponents of new gun control laws say Congress should expand the federal role in identifying, tracking, and treating those with “mental health problems.” This ignores the fact that many shooters were using psychotropic drugs prescribed by a mental health professional when they committed the horrible acts. Furthermore, creating a system to identify and track anyone with a “mental health problem” could deny respect for individuals’ Second Amendment and other rights because they perhaps once sought counseling for depression while going through a divorce or coping with a loved one’s passing.

While our political and media elites are eager to debate how much liberty people must sacrifice for safety, they are desperate to avoid debating the morality of our foreign policy. To admit that the US military sometimes commits immoral acts is to admit that the US government is not an unalloyed force for good. Even many proponents of our recent wars support using the US military for “humanitarian” purposes. Thus they are as reluctant as the neoconservatives to question the fundamental goodness of US foreign policy.

Anyone who raises constitutional or moral objections to the US use of drones, bombs, indefinite detention, and torture risks being attacked as anti-American and soft on terrorism. The smear of “terrorist apologist” is also hurled at those who dare suggest that it is our interventionist foreign policy, not a hatred of freedom, that causes people in other countries to dislike the United States. Which is a more logical explanation for why someone would resent America — a family member killed in a drone attack launched by the US military or rage over our abundance of liberty?

The disparate reactions to the Oregon school shooting and the Afghanistan hospital bombing shows the political class is unwilling and unable to acknowledge that the US government cannot run the world, run our lives, or run the economy. Clearly, politicians will never stop expanding the federal government and give us back our lost liberties unless and until the people demand it.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

More Guns Plus Less War Equals Real Security – Article by Ron Paul

More Guns Plus Less War Equals Real Security – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
November 2, 2014
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Last week’s tragic shootings in Canada and Washington state are certain to lead to new calls for gun control. The media-generated fear over “lone wolf terrorists” will enable the gun control lobby to smear Second Amendment supporters as “pro-terrorist.” Marketing gun control as an anti-terrorist measure will also enable gun control supporters to ally with those who support any infringement on liberty done in the name of “homeland security.”As with most infringements on liberty, gun control will not only make us less free, it will make us less safe. Respecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms is the original and best homeland security policy. Restricting the right of people to arm themselves leaves them with no effective defense against violent criminals or a tyrannical government.

Every year, thousands of Americans use firearms to stop violent criminals. One notable example occurred in September, when Oklahoman Mark Vaughan used a rifle to stop a knife-wielding co-worker who had already killed one person and wounded another. Unfortunately, most of the media coverage focused on speculation that the assailant was motivated by “radical Islam” rather than on Vaughan’s use of a firearm to protect innocent lives.

It is no coincidence that states that pass “concealed carry” laws experience a drop in crime. Since passing concealed carry in Texas in 1995, murder in the state has declined by 52 percent. In comparison, the national murder rate declined by only 33 percent.

Perhaps the best illustration of the dangers of gun control is federal regulations forbidding pilots from having guns in their cockpits. Ironically, this rule went into effect shortly before September 11, 2001. If pilots had the ability to carry guns on 9/11, the hijackers may well have been stopped from attacking the World Trade Center and Pentagon or persuaded to not even try.

Shortly after 9/11, I introduced legislation allowing pilots to carry firearms in the cockpits. Congress eventually passed a bill allowing pilots to carry firearms if they obtain federal certification and obey federal regulations. Aside from the philosophical objection that no one should have to ask government permission before exercising a right, the rules and expensive approval process discourage many pilots from participating in the armed pilots program.

It should not be surprising that the anti-gun Obama Administration wants to eliminate the armed pilots program. I actually agree that the program should be eliminated, so long as pilots who can legally carry a firearm in their states of residence can carry a firearm on the planes they fly. Allowing pilots to carry guns is certainly a more effective way of protecting our security than forcing all airline passengers to endure the TSA.

Both gun control and foreign interventionism disregard the wisdom of the country’s founders.

An interventionist foreign policy, like gun control, threatens our safety. A hyper-interventionist foreign policy invites blowback from those who resent our government meddling in their countries while gun control leaves people defenseless against violent criminals. Returning to a foreign policy of peace and free trade and repealing all federal infringements on the Second Amendment will help guarantee both liberty and security.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

By the Numbers: Is Private Gun Ownership Responsible for Police Militarization? – Article by Daniel J. Bier

By the Numbers: Is Private Gun Ownership Responsible for Police Militarization? – Article by Daniel J. Bier

The New Renaissance Hat
Daniel J. Bier
September 3, 2014
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Are private guns to blame for police militarization and racial tensions with cops? That’s the conclusion of Adam Winkler, a Huffington Post blogger and law professor at UCLA. In the wake of a police officer shooting an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, Winkler argues that private gun ownership is a major culprit for the tensions between citizens and cops.

The problems of racial harassment and police militarization are exacerbated by the fact that America has a heavily-armed civilian population. … Whatever one’s personal views about guns, there is no denying their presence in every American city, from Philadelphia to Ferguson. Nor should we fail to recognize the profound impact this has on law enforcement.

Because there are so many guns out there, police officers are trained to live in fear of the very people they are supposed to protect and serve. … At training academies throughout the nation, new recruits are taught that cop-killers need two things: a will to kill and an opportunity to act. There’s little an officer can do about will … Officers can, however, limit the opportunities for a cop-killer to act by being prepared and quick to defend themselves.

He further contends that police militarization is actually in part the result of private gun ownership: “The Brown protests have also set off a debate about militarization of the police since 9/11. That militarization is partially a result of our heavily-armed civilian population. The armored vehicles that have become the symbol of militarization are being purchased by law enforcement agencies to protect officers against gunfire.”

There are many problems with this argument, but first let me note that the armored vehicles Winkler mentions, such as MRAPs, are designed to protect soldiers from landmines and IEDs in wartime, not to protect peace officers from gunfire. They are mine-resistant, not bullet-resistant, vehicles. If guns are really the concern, “overkill” just doesn’t even cut it here.

But the biggest issue with Winkler’s claim is that widespread private gun ownership far predated police militarization. Large numbers of private citizens have owned firearms throughout American history.

Moreover, gun ownership in the United States has been declining, both before and throughout the process of militarizing law enforcement. The 1980s saw early stirrings of it, with the spread of SWAT teams and Reagan-era “tough on crime” policies. It grew in the mid-1990s under the Clinton administration, which authorized the DoD’s 1033 program, expanding and formalizing the process for giving military gear to police. Finally, after 9/11, militarization took off in earnest, with two wars, paranoia about terrorism, a booming defense industry, and billions of dollars in Homeland Security money to drive it.

Meanwhile, rates of gun ownership through the U.S. dropped or stagnated. Winkler drops the oft-quoted and often misunderstood statistic that there are “320 million guns in the United States, approximately one per person,” but apparently doesn’t recognize that this stat doesn’t mean everyone gets a gun. (A good way to check: Look around you. Do you see any guns? No? Okay, myth busted.) Today, the actual rate of gun ownership is just 34 percent, down from an average of over 52 percent in the 1970s.

Not only is gun ownership down, so is crime—dramatically so. Starting in 1990, and continuing through recessions, terrorist attacks, and wars, crime has fallen. Murder, rape, robbery, assault—even property crimes—are all down. Cops toting .50 caliber machine guns and driving landmine-resistant vehicles cannot be responding to an epidemic of violence, because one simply doesn’t exist.

But even if far fewer people own guns and commit crimes than did so in the past, it’s still possible that police officers are uniquely under threat in recent years. Maybe killings, assaults, and injuries of police are on the rise. But they’re not.

In every way, this theory fails to align with the facts. Not only is gun ownership down, but so are crime and attacks on police. Private gun ownership is not responsible for militarization, racial profiling, or tensions with police.

But Winkler is right about one thing: Police officers are being taught to be paranoid about citizens and guns, and that fear is being channeled against minorities, from ATF stings targeted at poor blacks and Hispanics, to New York’s racist stop-and-frisk program, to New Jersey’s felony prosecution of a single mom who tried to do the right thing.

But the reason isn’t that there is more of a threat than there used to be. It’s that people are being systematically misinformed—by reporting like Winkler’s—about the risks they actually face. Telling poor minorities that hostilities with police are really partly their fault—and that if they would just give up their guns, everything would be okay—is not just absurd, it’s actively harmful.

Daniel Bier is the executive editor of The Skeptical Libertarian. He writes on issues relating to science, skepticism, and economic freedom, focusing on the role of evolution in social and economic development.

This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education.
The Follies of Gun Control – Video by G. Stolyarov II

The Follies of Gun Control – Video by G. Stolyarov II


A satirical commentary by Mr. Stolyarov on the wildly unrealistic assumptions made by those who wish to restrict private individuals’ gun-ownership rights.

This video is based on Mr. Stolyarov’s essay, “The Follies of Gun Control“.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational discourse on this issue.

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