The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sanctimoniousness in Europe

The shootings in Colorado perhaps ought to lead to more control on guns. And I would wish they would, but I don't expect it — the NRA is too powerful. But the Europeans are ill-advised to poke fun at us. A column in today's Washington Post by Charles Lane is very well taken. Lane begins:

Americans mourn the victims in Aurora, Colo. In Europe, too, there is grief — mingled with incomprehension. The media chorus: How many more massacres before the United States adopts European-style gun control?

Christoph Prantner of Austria’s Der Standard bemoans American insistence on Second Amendment rights, “even when this freedom occasionally has a very high price and, in a bloody perversion, fatally impairs the freedom of others.”

A point that might gain my approval. It certainly might gain Lane's, too, but, as Lane points out,

I can’t disagree. I just wish Prantner had pointed out that James Holmes was allegedly wielding Austrian weaponry when he barged into that darkened theater: specifically, a .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol.

For all the tut-tutting across the pond, America’s gun culture exists in symbiosis with Europe’s own culture of precision manufacturing — of which the Glock is a notable expression.

Thirty years ago, Gaston Glock designed this lightweight, rapid-fire killing machine and sold 20,000 to Austria’s army.

Now his state-supported invention is one of Austria’s most successful exports. The tiny alpine nation exported 431,118 handguns to the United States in 2010, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Only giant Brazil sold more.

Charles Lane continues and points out that Germany and Italy also are large exporters of guns to the U. S. A. The Europeans may complain about our slavish adherence to the Second Amendment, but they certainly have found a way to profit by it. If we were able to ban guns successfully, European manufacturers might lose a lot of business (and consequently money). So it seems that European sanctimoniousness about this matter ill behooves them.

Some months ago, in a fit of pique over U. S. capital punishment laws, Europeans decided to take a stand, as Lane noted:

Last December, the European Union restricted sales to the United States of sodium thiopental, an occasionally life-saving anesthetic. The drug was also being used in death-penalty lethal injections — which Europe abhors.

I guess there was not enough money involved in exports of sodium thiopental so the EU could take a stand. Too much in export profits are at stake for them to do the same with guns.

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