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“Yet a little defiance of government authority is mixed in there as well. ‘The Democratic Party in many ways overinvested in symbolic legislation on gun control, which explains the backlash from hunters or people who have a legitimate reason to feel unsafe and want a gun by their bedside,’ says Sanford Levinson, a University of Texas constitutional law professor and expert on the Second Amendment. ‘But the more important thing is what the Republican Party has done over 25 years, which is to really delegitimize national government and make people feel that the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical.’ ” – Patrik Jonsson at on America’s gun-carry culture

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  1. To be fair, the only thing the government has been good at is spending money it doesn’t have. USPS, Amtrak, HUD, the list goes on…

    • Typed on a forum on the internet… which was created by DARPA and a consortium of federal funded public universities.

      • Though true, that was then and this is now. NASA had one of the highest return on investment ratios of any organization ever. What did we do? We emasculated it and stripped away its research dollars.

        • caffeinated: Josh is correct in reminding us that the government can do good things and often is the only organization willing to do it without immediate regard for return on investment, in other words, for “common good.” You are correct when you say “What did we do?” I think “we” need t0 ask ourselves that from time to time.

          I urge all to follow the link and read the entire article, which I would call fair and informative. Of note is that this Christian Science article reports “After looking at the plethora of research on the topic, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently concluded: “No scholars now claim that legalizing concealed weapons causes a major increase in crime.” ” This is meaningful for those that like to wait to get a fuller picture of an issue rather than react with a knee jerk or name call or make decisions based only on anecdotal information.

        • I did read the whole article and do find it unbiased as you have stated. Of course “we” is an all inclusive American term that as a nation this is what “we” have done. Watching both parties, it’s clear to me that neither really has the best interest of the American people in mind. It’s all a matter of staged dramatics to trick the people into support of one issue or the other, but after all the riders and amendments to the bills; it only serves special interest and rarely resembles the name of the bill or its “original intent.”

        • caffeinated:

          I couldn’t agree more. Some call it “Winner Take All Politics,” where the middle class get hosed by both sides.

        • I call it “the bowl we’ve been circling.” Sometimes it swirls counter clockwise; other times it swirls clockwise. It all ends up down the shitter at the end.

        • There’s an important thing to keep in mind, and that is the purpose of the money.

          There’s a DIFFERENCE between funding scientific endeavors or the national defense (indeed, these two are often one and the same), and funding welfare or “artists.”

          I don’t see a fundamental problem with my tax dollars funding scientific endeavors, like manned expeditions to the moon, or to Mars, as these endeavors generally result in the development of new technologies, which then get built into all kinds of consumer electronics, and all kinds of other hardware that keeps us at the top of the list of world powers.

          I DO see a problem with using public funds to indefinitely subsidize the bad choices of the poor, or to pay people to display urine-soaked bibles. These have NOTHING to do with any Constitutional powers of the federal government, and in fact run counter to several.

      • DARPA and federal employees did not invent the internet. DARPA funded the private university employees and BBN (a private company) who invented Arpanet. From then onward there were multiple sources of funding.

      • The Internet you see today was made possible only when the commercial sector was allowed to use and expand the network. From inception until the early 90’s, the ‘net was confined to research groups, academia, et al., and was limited to 56K and T-1 links. Within a few years of becoming commercial, the web browser technology you see and use today was out in the hands of the public and the backbone was ramped up to T-3 links.

      • I’ll give credit that DARPA did in fact assist and encourage the development of the internet. As an early user, the internet was nothing close to what we see today. Without private and public interests spurring open development, the internet would have stayed as a dial-up (or T1 as mentioned earlier) text only network with an extremely limited user base.

        Commercial interests are what ultimately drove the internet to what it is today. People give the government far too much credit for what it is today.

        • Honestly though, it is what government-funded research does best: proof of concept.

          The government funded the creation of a distributed network so that scientists who were separated geographically from the few useful computers of the day could still make use of them.

          This is the sort of thing that the government can do well: It can invest in technologies that have potential commercial viability, and in so doing demonstrate said viability to the public.

          Once the government-funded research proved that the technology was commercially viable, everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and soon the web as we know it came into existence.

        • Basic research is fundamental and almost no one likes to pay for it, because it almost never pays off directly. Who got rich off the invention of TCP/IP, ftp, or http, directly? Nobody. So much groundwork in standards and technologies had to be laid down before anyone could even dream of making any money and no one was going to do all that investment for no conceivable return but the government.

          And the first graphical browsers were all created at people working at universities, with the first truly successful one, Mosaic, coming out of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1992. I distinctly remember this, because I was doing most of my internet access those days via ftp, gopher, and usenet, some web stuff mixed in via lynx. Mosaic was pretty dang cool even if most web pages were pretty primitive.

          After Mosaic, the web exploded and commercialization became possible, but that was only after literally decades of work by modestly paid public employees.

        • That’s more or less what I was trying to say, although I don’t generally consider researchers attached to private institutions to be “public employees.”

          From here, I could go on to expound on how copyrights and patents, at least as we know them today, only serve to hinder such progress, but I lack the time, and I suspect I also lack an interested audience.

        • NCSA is a part of UIUC, a public university, so the researchers there were public employees. CERN is funded by various governments, so it makes sense to view those researchers as publicly funded at the very least, DARPA is a government program, so their employees are definitely public employees.

        • Oh yes…good old gopher and lynx. I would say that most of that research came from funding at major research institutions rather than government employees. I worked on some DARPA funded projects in college and found it to be pretty interesting.

  2. “…the Republican Party has done over 25 years, which is to really delegitimize national government and make people feel that the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical.”

    The government did that all by itself by being not merely incompetent, but antagonistic and tyrannical.

    • +1 THESE words are the truth:

      “…the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical.”

    • +1 more.
      It isn’t hard to convince people of that, since it is true. “… the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical.” The gov’t has taken every flimsy excuse it can find since the 1920s to devalue the Bill of Rights and ignore the Constitutional limits on government power. When the President uses the Commerce Clause as justification to force everyone to buy something (health insurance in this case), then you don’t need much more convincing evidence that “the national government is antagonistic and tyrannical.”

    • it wasn’t just the republican party either. actions speak louder than words. the incompetence of the government is legendary.

      Iraq War, Katrina, etc, etc…

      of course, the patriot act is a perfect example of government tyranny.

  3. The Republicans gave us Patriot Act, the Democrats renewed it and added NDAA. I think it’s a wash between them when it comes to creating mistrust.

  4. I don’t understand why people who claim to love Americans clearly hate America. Paraphrase from the move ‘The American President’, the movie that represents the overinvested ‘ideal’ presidency. Also to paraphrase, “I’m going to get the assult weapons and the handguns”.

    • That’s just Hollywood always interjecting its leftist slant. There was a good podcast on Freakonomics Radio on left-leaning media slant. It’s worth listening to if anyone is interested in economic research.

  5. Another noteworthy quote from the article:
    “More broadly, the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group, found that between 2007 and 2009 concealed-carry permit holders killed 117 people in the US, including nine law enforcement officers. But other surveys have found that guns are used defensively to stop a crime – from simple assault to rape and burglary – without death or injury as many as 2.5 million times a year, according to research done by Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

    Moreover, the number of deaths caused by a gun in the US has been declining even though the number of guns carried in public has been growing. Federal statistics show that between 2005 and 2009, the number of annual murders committed with a gun dropped from 10,158 to 9,146. During the same period, the number of justifiable, or defensive, homicides rose from 196 to 261.”

    2.5 million DGUs without firing a bullet, and 261 criminals a year now assuming room temperature. Proof that without armed citizens, many more lives would be lost/changed than the number of accidental shootings and murders combined. Can we forward this article to MikeB? He may become enlightened… Doubt it though.


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