Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Citizen vs. Subject

One of the reasons that gun controllers tend to wind up on the left is that they think that the masses should be subjects. They won't say it that way, but time and again, you'll see on the left an attitude that most problems should be handled by way of people ceding control to the government.

For example, when ordinary people can go to anyone they want for medical services, they can choose quacks or other incompetents. Thus, to protect people from quacks, the government should forbid anyone from practicing medicine until they get a license (permission) from the government.

The same principle may also apply to child care, electricians, taxi drivers, barbers, hairdressers, lawyers, plumbers, or any of as many as a hundred or more professions. Or it may be a matter of prior restraint because of the potential for endangering the public, as for truck drivers, pilots, and so forth.

And if somebody has any sort of trouble meeting basic needs, then it is incumbent upon the government to allocate resources to them. Examples include public housing, Women, Infants, and Children, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, and public schools, which have the additional benefit -- cited by the likes of John Dewey and John D. Rockefeller -- of giving the government the opportunity to mold young people like plastic.

This also applies to owning and carrying guns. The basic Leftist attitude towards gun ownership is that when ordinary people own guns, that causes problems, so they shouldn't.

Thomas Sowell would put it a bit differently, as far as the internal thinking on the Left tends to go. In his estimation, the left would tend to think that if they were in control, they could make everyone else into the sort of good people they know themselves to be. All they need to transform human nature is enough time and enough power. How much of each?

They'll let you know when they're done. Until then, the answer is "more."


Anonymous said...

I've had a similar revelation about various political philosophies, and I could actually rate them like bonds, from AAA+ to "junk" based on only one characteristic: How badly they require human nature to change, to succeed. Soviet communism required absolute altruism. It didn't get it. Hong Kong is far closer to The Heinleinesque view of "Never rely on a man's better nature: He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest instead gives you more leverage." Or, if those societies are different enough that one doesn't find them analogous, we can always go to Berlin, and look at East versus West... Some of us are old enough to recall.

Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

That's not a bad metric, and not a bad Heinlein quote, as it is basically a restatement of Adam Smith's thesis in Wealth of Nations.

To go tangent-hunting, several of Heinlein's visions (for example, the polyamory of Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and many of his later works) definitely require huge changes in human nature in order to succeed, specifically, that men will in the normal course of events happily rear children with no concern for whether those children are their own, or not.