Bookworm Beat 10/4/17 — the Second Amendment edition

While not all of the links in this post discuss the Second Amendment, most do. There’s other stuff too, about health care, the economy, etc. It’s all good.

Second Amendment GunsA great book about the Second Amendment. This post focuses heavily on the Second Amendment because, once again, Progressives are using an evil act to justify depriving Americans of a singularly important Constitutional right. I’m therefore opening by shilling my own little book on the subject: Our Second Amendment Rights In Ten Essays. The ten essays are

  1. A Typical Discussion With Gun Grabbers; Or, What Second Amendment Supporters Are Up Against
  2. Guns Are Most Dangerous When The Government Is The Only One That Has Them
  3. America’s Founding Fathers Ratified The Second Amendment Because They Knew That Government Is Dangerous
  4. A Self-Defended Society Is A Safe Society
  5. Gun Grabbers Ignore That Guns Not Only Take Lives, They Save Lives
  6. Beware Of Arguments Comparing American Gun Crime To That In Other Nations; These Arguments Are Always Dishonest
  7. The Only Way Gun-Control Activists Can Support Their Position Is To Lie
  8. Disarming Americans Is A Racist Thing To Do; Therefore, Second Amendment Supporters Are Anti-Racists
  9. Jews, Of All People, Should Always Support The Second Amendment
  10. If We Really Want To Protect Our Children, We Shouldn’t Ban Guns, We Should Ban School Buses

Those who took the time to review the book were good enough to say nice things:

“An exceptional set of essays addressing with the common progressive attacks on our Second Amendment right, as well as the historical origins of the right and its tremendous importance to our “free state.” In light of the stated intent of certain of our politicians to overturn the Heller decision and make a nullity of the Second Amendment, I would recommend that you read these essays closely.”

“A quick read, but packed with commonsense tracing the history & variously failed implementations of gun control in contravention of our Constitution.”

“Read it, live it, breathe it … for freedom. History shows time and time again that only despots want to disarm citizens. The result? Learn from history.”

“An excellent and incisive book written by one who has a firm grasp of both the subject and the issues at stake.”

“Well written, understandable, and timely. Excellent information.”

“Read this. Your freedom is a risk.”

“Well written and quite thoughtful.”

At the risk of sounding immodest, as the Progressives’ increase their strident demands that we turn all of our weapons over to Donald Trump (yes, that’s effectively what they’re demanding), this book has some useful ways of thinking about guns and a civil society that may help you rebut the insanity.

Nothing like a little data to reveal the stupidity behind gun control. If you haven’t already heard about and read Leah Libresco’s anti-gun control opinion piece at the WaPo, you must. It’s an honest acknowledgement that everything that the gun control crowd argues is wrong — and it comes from one who once supported those arguments until her data studies revealed they had no basis in reality:

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns. (Emphasis mine.)

Read the whole thing — and then politely, ingenuously wave it under the noses of your anti-gun friends and colleagues.

Sometimes evil is just that — evil. Conservatives are certainly wondering if Islam or Trump Derangement Syndrome drove Paddock to turn a concert into an abattoir, but they are still waiting for actual facts to reveal themselves (which they acknowledge may never happen). Meanwhile, while the blood was still wet on the ground, Progressives, from Hillary on down, instantly started pushing hard at their agenda to turn all guns over to Donald Trump. Robert Avrech, while batting away the myriad stupid Progressive theories about guns, points to something very real in operation in Las Vegas: Evil. Pure evil.

Mark Steyn, too, looks at Las Vegas and wonders if the only explanation for Paddock’s act is evil. He wishes, though, that its immensity did not allow Progressives to obscure how the continuous trickle of Islamist inspired murder and mayhem is eating away at Western civilization.

Jimmy Kimmel’s egregious lies. Before I go to the links about Jimmy Kimmel’s ill-informed, emotion-driven, arrogant rant about guns, I think a word from Pat Sajak is in order:

Okay, now to the intelligent posts skewering Kimmel’s disastrous monologue (one, incidentally, that all of my Progressive friends, as ignorant as Kimmel himself, wildly applauded). First, from Daniel Payne, who writes a polite open letter to Kimmel. Here’s a sample, and I urge you to read the whole thing:

Your monologue was rife with false and untruthful assertions, claims that grossly distorted this critical debate and lowered standards for public discourse in this country. You claim, for instance, that Republicans Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan “won’t do anything about” the United States’ gun violence problem because “the NRA has their balls in a money clip.” This is a staggering accusation—that high-ranking elected officials are ethically compromised and financially beholden to a private advocacy organization. Is this true? Do you have evidence to back it up?

As a matter of fact, you don’t (one assumes you would have provided it on-air if you did). So I did a little research for you. Do you know how much money the NRA gave Ryan in the last election cycle? $5,950. Do you know how much Ryan raised in the last election cycle? Just under $20,000,000. In other words, the NRA contributed about 0.03 percent of Ryan’s campaign funds in 2016.

The NRA gave McConnell a little more money in 2014, his last election cycle, a total of $9,900. Do you know how much money McConnell raised in 2014? Just under $31,000,000. Again, the NRA contributed about 0.03 percent of McConnell’s total funds raised.

Is it your opinion that an organization that contributes three one-hundredths of 1 percent of a candidate’s campaign funds actually “has [that candidate’s balls] in a money clip”? Do you believe, as you put it, that the “gun lobby” is “running the country” based on this evidence? Well, maybe you do believe these things—in which case nobody has to take you seriously about, well, anything, really.

After reading those numbers, the only thing I can say is that, if you want to get bang for your buck, you’re better off supporting organizations that advocate for conservative causes. Whether its guns or school vouchers or alleged Russian support for Trump, the sums are always a minute drop in the bucket compared to funds from other sources or funds supporting Progressives causes, yet Progressives always contend that these minuscule amounts are pivotal to policy.

Ben Shapiro also points out the profound and aggressive ignorance behind Kimmel’s rodomontade:

Here are the facts: Kimmel’s monologue was wrong in significant and important ways. He misled his audience. And his specific policy prescriptions weren’t just wrong, they were misinformed.

Kimmel began by mocking the notion that the Second Amendment protected AK-47s; of course, that’s like stating that the First Amendment doesn’t protect Kimmel’s television show, since televisions didn’t exist in 1789. The function of a rifle in today’s society is the same as the function of a musket in the founding era. But Kimmel obviously knows nothing about firearms: he stated that in “Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time.”

Actually, three out of the four attacks were perpetrated with semi-automatic weapons: weapons that fire one bullet per trigger pull. And rifles are frequently used for self-defense, and are far less commonly used in homicides than handguns. Semi-automatic weapons are certainly not designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time; since 1986, it has been illegal under federal law to purchase or own a machine gun manufactured after that date.


The errors went on and on, but the message was clear: Republicans are sinners, and they must repent. “They should be praying,” Kimmel thundered. “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.” This is the typical debate: not between people who marshal evidence to their positions to determine the most effective policies, but between those who demand such evidence and those who scream to “do something” and suggest that those who refuse their policy suggestions “don’t care,” as Kimmel put it. This isn’t just nonsense, it’s nasty nonsense.

As with Payne’s article, I urge you to read the whole thing.

The whole hypocritical Leftist edifice. I leave Paul Joseph Watson to have the last word on guns, gun control, and mass murder:

Moral hazard at play in federal aid. I love explaining “moral hazard” to people. While the phrase might once have had a logical meaning, nowadays the words impart nothing of the meaning behind them.

Put simply, moral hazard means that, if people feel insulated from risk, they’ll engage in riskier activity. Give them a super safe car, and they’ll drive more recklessly. Promise them that the federal government will pay all their costs after a disaster and they’ll be less likely to avoid danger areas, build safely, or have insurance for disasters typical for their area.

John Stossel explains the moral hazard issues inherent in federal aid after disasters. He also points out that federal aid slows recovery and ensures that the money being distributed comes from a far away capital unfamiliar with the locale’s on-the-ground realities.

I have just a couple of cavils with Stossel’s article. First, because federal taxes are high in order for the feds to absorb all post-disaster costs, people have less money available to buy insurance. I’m not sure how one gets over that hump of giving people with wherewithal to buy insurance before lowering taxes spent on things that ought to have been insured.

Second, Stossel points to the incredibly rapid rebuilding in San Francisco after the ’06 quake. We saw the same with the rebuilt freeways after the Northridge earthquake.  The San Francisco earthquake was 111 years ago, when San Francisco (and the rest of America) had minimal bureaucracy. The Northridge earthquake, although it took place during a highly bureaucratic era, in a highly bureaucratic environment, destroyed L.A.’s lifeblood: her freeways. It was that fact alone that spurred the bureaucracy to get off its bureaucratic butt and supercharge the freeway planning and rebuilding process.

The likelihood of either of those two conditions happening again, especially when it comes to rebuilding homes and businesses, is nil. In our modern era, bureaucracy will always triumph over speed and that’s true no matter who is writing the check.

What have Republicans got against the free market? Scott Atlas, who wrote one of my favorite articles of all time, has an opinion piece in the WSJ about the best way to deal with healthcare: use the free market to bring down prices. The article is behind a paywall, but here are some snippets that explain the gist of his argument — and, of course, that  inevitably address the moral hazard that underlies Obamacare:

First, equip consumers to consider prices. Critics always claim this is unrealistic: Are you supposed to shop around from the back of the ambulance? But emergency care represents only 6% of health expenditures. For privately insured adults under 65, almost 60% of spending is on elective outpatient care. Likewise, nearly 60% of Medicaid moneygoes to outpatient care. For the top 1% of spenders—a group responsible for more than a quarter of all health expenditures—a full 45% is outpatient. Giving consumers an incentive to consider price when seeking such care would make a huge difference.

ObamaCare moved in the opposite direction, shielding consumers from having to care about prices. Its broad coverage requirements and misguided subsidies encouraged bloated insurance policies, furthering the misguided idea that the purpose of coverage is to minimize out-of-pocket costs. When the insurer picks up nearly the entire tab, patients have little reason to consider costs, and doctors don’t need to compete on price.


Second, work strategically to increase the supply of medical services to stimulate competition. In large part, this means deregulation.


Third, introduce the right incentives into the tax code. Today employees aren’t taxed on the value of their health benefits—and there is no limit to that exclusion. This creates harmful, counterproductive incentives. It encourages higher demand for care and minimizes concerns about cost.

Similarly, ObamaCare’s premium subsidies and the tax credits proposed by Republicans artificially prop up high insurance premiums for bloated coverage that minimizes out-of-pocket payments. This prevents patients from caring about the bill, which reduces the incentives for doctors and hospitals to compete on price. If health-care deductions are maintained, the tax code should cap them and limit eligibility to HSA contributions and catastrophic premiums.

If you can, read the rest here.

Price gouging is a good thing? Why yes, yes it is. This is because it provides consumers with important signals to modify their conduct and encourages free market investment in the area, which soon brings prices down. (I’m sorry to say, but this is another WSJ article behind a paywall.)

The impulse to denounce the greed reflected in such prices is human. But price hikes are a response to scarcity, and signals that reveal the true severity of scarcity are critical during storms and other crises. Price hikes let consumers know that fuel is scarcer than it was. Price hikes prompt consumers to use fuel more judiciously, buying less gasoline than they would at a lower price. They take fewer unnecessary trips, diminishing pressure on supplies. Price hikes also create a financial incentive for suppliers from outside the area to move their product into high-demand zones. As supplies return to normal, so do prices.


Yet politicians who suppress prices make it more difficult for storm victims to get much-needed supplies. Artificially low gasoline prices ensure that limited supplies are depleted too quickly, as consumers hoard cheap fuel while they can get it. When price controls on gasoline kicked in with the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, consumers increased the average “reserve” level in their gas tanks. Six years later they began hoarding again when price controls came back after Iran’s 1979 revolution.

Trump needs to purge the State Department. America’s State Department has been hostile to Israel going back to its foundation. It got significantly worse, though, under Obama. Now, it’s taken to openly contradicting Trump’s ambassador to Israel. Worse, it’s doing so by ignoring long-standing American policy and instead pretend that Obama’s illegal anti-Israel acts control.

So why are the PA, the US press, and many of Nauert’s colleagues in Foggy Bottom portraying Friedman’s remarks as a shocking departure from longstanding US policy? Because the Obama administration attempted to reverse that policy, while pretending otherwise.


The Trump administration, as Ambassador Dennis Ross explained shortly after the 45th president took office, was likely to restore the understandings laid out in the Sharon letter, and return to what had in fact been longstanding US policy—before Obama changed it. That’s precisely what Friedman was doing last week in his interview—and that’s exactly why the PA and the press jumped down his throat.

As a matter of historical fact, Ambassador Friedman is 100 percent correct. The failure of the US State Department to openly back him suggests a troubling lack of institutional memory—and a troubling lack of political discipline coming from the top.

Racists on the Left say blacks incapable of civilized behavior. It’s been some weeks now since the Left went insane when Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Larry Alexander of San Diego University Law School stated that old-fashioned middle class values benefit individuals and the country as a whole. I meant to blog about that backlash, but got distracted. This neat laundry-list of those values that Wax and Alexander assert, though, got me thinking about the issue and remembering what it was I wanted to say:

  • Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake.
  • Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness.
  • Go the extra mile for your employer or client.
  • Be a patriot, ready to serve the country.
  • Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable.
  • Avoid coarse language in public.
  • Be respectful of authority.
  • Eschew substance abuse and crime.

According to the Left, it’s insanely racist to say that minorities’ lives would be improved if they embraced those values. Stop and think about that for a moment. Progressives are effectively arguing that black skin color so strongly controls behavior that blacks can only:

  • Have children out of wedlock.
  • Fail at education and be idle.
  • Be lousy employees.
  • Hate their country.
  • Be bad neighbors.
  • Use vulgar language at all times.
  • Disrespect authority.
  • Indulge in drugs and crime.

Talk about judging people by the color of their skin….

Electric vehicles aren’t that green. I’ve blogged here before about electric vehicles. I’ve been especially harsh about Tesla. Sure, it’s a nice car, but Elon Musk got where he did thanks to almost half a billion in taxpayer funding — not loans, but money he got to keep. I have no idea why his ideas are proprietary under those circumstances. As far as I’m concerned, they belong to the taxpayers.

I’ve also blogged about the uniquely smug of people who drive electric cars. They don’t want to hear my primitive explanation about the fact that they’re just moving the pollution. It no longer comes out of the back of their car. It comes from the factory where the car is made (especially that dirty, dirty battery) and from the plant that has to burn coal or oil to produce the electricity to power the car. But what do I know? I’m certainly no scientist.

I have no idea whether Coyote Blog’s proprietor is a scientist either, but this post certainly reads as if a scientist wrote it — at least someone who’s good with numbers. It proves yet again what I’ve been saying all along: Electric cars may be clean for the driver, but they’re not green for the environment.

How do I loathe thee, Justice RBG? Have I made plain over time how much I dislike Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I disliked her long before I became a conservative.

The reason Ginsburg irked me when I was a young lawyer was because her decisions were the worst kind of judicial writing: a skein of smaller legal principles carefully woven into a larger legal principle, all of this handiwork work obscuring the fact that the smaller principles and the larger one weren’t related. Her decisions are nightmares to read and, once you start picking them apart, they make no sense. Even when I agreed with Ginsburg’s Democrat party outcome (I was, after all, a Democrat), I had no respect for the way in which she arrived at that outcome.

Since I’ve discovered my inner conservative, my dislike for RBG increased. Now I don’t just hate the intellectual dishonesty and terrible writing, I hate the ends she achieves through those awful means.

Meanwhile, for the same reasons I have no liking for RBG, the Left has reached an obscene point of adulation when it comes to her. The latest manifestation was on a local show called Check, Please! Bay Area which sees three people appear on the show every week to introduce viewers (and each other) to their favorite local restaurants.

Mr. Bookworm likes watching and I don’t dislike watching, so it’s a show that works for us. I’m not much of a foodie, but it’s fun watching foodies in action.

As it’s a show about local restaurants, you wouldn’t think politics would be a big deal. Sure, all the restaurant owners talk about environmentalism and locally sourced food but, well, that’s par for the course. But where there are Progressives, you’ll find politics.

So it was that, in the episode we watched last night about a deli in Berkeley, the show’s host and one of her guests got to strut their virtue signalling when the subject of a drink named after RBG came up. Right up until that moment, I had been thinking, “I’d probably like this restaurant. I love a good deli.” But then I heard this:

Host: And what about drinks? Because you know they do have the Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Guest: Named after our patron saint.

Host: Yes, our patron saint. We love you Ruth.

Guest: May she stay around forever.

Cross that restaurant off my list.

With that exhibition sticking in my craw, I really enjoyed Ann Althouse’s pleasantly vicious take-down of both Jeffrey Toobin and RBG.


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