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The well-known and brilliant UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, has partnered with the Washington Post to place the Volokh Conspiracy, a well-argued and -written blog that I have often cited, under the Washington Post auspices. For Second Amendment supporters who may be unfamiliar with the good professor, here’s a quick bio from wikipedia . . .

Volokh is noted for his scholarship on the First and Second Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as on copyright law. His article, “The Commonplace Second Amendment”[7] was cited by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in the landmark Second Amendment case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

Professor Volokh lists his reasons for the new association:

And there’s a wide middle zone of people, on this subject and on others, who are open to hearing arguments — and facts — and who might be swayed by them. (I was one myself, before I started researching gun issues seriously in the mid-1990s.) But to reach those people, you have to be in the publications they read, with the credentials they respect, both our preexisting academic credentials and the credential of affiliation with the Washington Post.

I certainly wish Professor Volokh good luck with his latest venture. Perhaps he will be able to open some minds at the Washington Post.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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  1. Good. Maybe he can get WAPO to retract and apologize for its outrageous front page headline lies about gun smuggling into Mexico.

    Its only been a couple years since the truth came out.

    • Indeed, making this better is the fact that Ezra Klein, that dolt, is leaving and the post may be worth reading now and again.

    • Don’t forget that WaPo is also the paper that ran the ‘Emily gets her gun’ series documenting the impossible requirements for gun ownership in DC.

      As far as newspapers go, WaPo is probably the most pro-second amendment paper in the USA.

      • Bobby, you are confusing The Washington Post (WaPo) with The Washington Times. The Times is a right of center newspaper and Emily writes for the Times. WaPo is (was?) a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party and has a long record of hating 2A.

        • Memory tool to keep the batshit crazy Marxist loons straight

          In NewYork – Time (obviously)
          In DC – the “opposite” in name same in all else = Post The “opposite” of that then being the Times which in DC has the brains.

    • Sorry, this is the equivalent, IMO, of a serious conservative taking a job at CNN or MSNBC. It’s window dressing for the Libs to say, “See, we’re fair and balanced too!” but in fact they do not agree, care to agree, or even care to consider this point of view, and they will take every opportunity to repudiate any argument he makes.

      Rather than enhance his credentials by this association he has reduced his credibility and impact on the issue. The chances of his articles in the WAPO bringing any degree of sanity on the issue of RKBA to the fevered minds that congregate there and/or actually read that rag are exceedingly slim.

      I understand the idea of wanting to preach to the sinners rather than the choir, but these folks are sinners by choice and conviction and neither the ten commandments nor the first ten amendments are going to have much impact on their preconceived politics.

  2. I’m torn on this one. I have been an avid reader of the Volokh Conspiracy for many years, and I think it is a good thing that his blog will reach a broader audience. I don’t like, however, that the blog is going to wind up behind a paywall in 6 months.

  3. I like it, though the paywall coming up in 6 months is not a happy thought. I regularly read the blogs and consider them very beneficial to understanding the legal foundations for key amendments in the BOR. I’ll have to figure out how to grab his stuff as an RSS feed… Don’t much want to pay for WaPo, though I do read there stuff on gun control if for no other reason than to stay current on the progressive charge against the Second Amendment.

    • If you enter the web address for an article into Google and hit ‘search’, you can access articles beyond the 10 per month. This allows you to keep going to the site and viewing articles without paying.

    • If it helps, I recommend downloading Feedly. It’s a free RSS reader with a layout similar to Google Reader (RIP). I keep a pinned tab in Chrome with the Feedly page and use it to quickly browse all of my RSS feeds. It will do podcasts too, if you like.

  4. Not really related, but since we’re talking about access to online info…

    I spent the last half of December, then the past two weeks in the hospital, and apparently my heart problems have reached the stage where this is going to be a pretty regular thing from now on. What I’ve discovered is that the WiFi I depend on for Internet access is heavily censored on the subject of firearms, as well as other areas of interest (no, I’m not talking about porn!). I’ve complained repeatedly about this, with no response other than a bland apology for the “inconvenience”. For some reason this doesn’t affect TTAG, thank goodness, but I all I get are off limits notices if I try to look at most other gun blogs and websites.

    I can’t afford to buy a 4G capable computer, so that’s out. Has anyone else run into this issue? Does anyone know how to do an end run around this nonsense using an IPad?

    To show how silly this is, one of the other verboten items is anything written by Hunter S. Thompson!

      • A Verizon hotspot is $50/month for a 5GB data cap. The data cap will mostly limit videos, but they have a decent website to check current usage (the hotspot’s data usage display only shows since power on, and is useless). So it’s not a bad option. Make sure you pick a good password to avoid others piggy backing and using up your data — there is no option that I can see to actually limit your data; what happens is they charge you something outrageous for excess usage.

    • Try the Onion Browser available via the Apple Store. Onion Browser is a Tor-capable web browser that lets you access the internet privately and anonymously. In many cases, it can defeat the filters which are mostly dumb behind many IT enabled wifi spots.

      There is a trial version, if works purchase it

    • I don’t know if it will help, but if you go to (a privacy-focused search engine), they will allow you to view pages via a proxy. That may not work for pages that have too many scripts or other technical stuff, but for basic pages it should work reasonably well.

      This is, of course, assuming they haven’t banned StartPage.

    • It’s everywhere, including the WiFi in the public library in a small Pocono Mt. Town. That’s rural NE PA, where they still close the schools for the first day of deer season, because nobody would be there anyway.

      I’ve objected occasionally, noting that gun policy is *a discussion to have* not *a conclusion that’s been reached.* If it weren’t we wouldn’t be having the discussion *right now.* As a source of information, I’m unclear what the library’s argument is. Even were it settled, knowing the arguments and dispositions of The Bad Guys is itself of value – you loose by blocking their info.

      That blocking behavior is a tell, actually. You don’t have an argument or the other guys do, so you appeal to the ref to shut them down.

      Keep griping. You probably won’t get them to change everything this time, but it will be in their mind the next time. It also forms a basis for later arguments, and defines the context … “No, those ‘gun nuts’ as you called them aren’t a tiny fringe. How many complaints have you gotten, library-people? What’s the number? That’s hardly a fringe.”

      The long game here is the slow drift of unconscious assumptions in the culture. Every time they do something stupid with no cost, it drifts another tiny bit. So, no. Push back every time.

    • I’ve been told that using the private browsing session option in safari will bypass filters, and that the incognito function in chrome will also. I have not had occasion to try it yet, as most of my Internet usage now is on my phone or personal wifi

    • Try to find an encrypted browsing proxy. Some of these will require you to enter the URL of the page you’d like to see on their web site, and the proxy web site’s URL will be what the security box at the hospital sees. Your content is payload inside the HTTP stream from the proxy site.

      Another option, if you’re more computer savvy, is to set up a “secure shell” pipe between your computer and a server somewhere. Your IP connection to the “real” ‘net becomes a piece of black pipe to the hospital. Everything that goes down the pipe is invisible. Google “ssh servers” and so on. There is ssh software available for Windows, and ssh is already a component of OS X on the Mac and other Unix systems.

      Content-filtering on networks is right in line with the sort of blinkered stupidity that is gun control. It doesn’t work and it is merely a nuisance to those who have the knowledge to circumvent these rules.

      • Thanks – at this point it looks like I’m likely to wind up with another piece of implanted hardware to go with my titanium valve and my pacemaker. I don’t recall the name of it just now, but it’s some kind of ventricular cattle prod that requires an external power pack worn on my belt. Good thing I bought that Beltman belt a few years ago.

        I swear, I’m going to have more replacement parts than a ’48 Studebaker before I’m done.

        If you still want to talk about old time music, shoot me a private message through the forum.

      • Thanks, guys, but all of the above might as well be in Minoan Linear-B for me. My friends are all of my generation (65+), and tend to be artists, musicians, fine woodworkers and the like, not techies. I can turn on the IPad, it was set up at the store to open automatically to Google, I can type in the general description of something I’m curious about, and I can sort of use email. That is the sum total of my computer skills, and I doubt anyone I know is much better off. I guess I’ll just live with it.

  5. Joining “the national conversation about guns”, huh? Typically, that “conversation” has been one-sided. Conducted principally by people who don’t own guns, don’t know anything about guns, don’t know anybody who owns guns and, therefore, have a bigoted view of who they are. What little they do know is wrong. They don’t like guns and they don’t like gun owners. They will dismiss his columns as biased and anecdotal.

    Yes, I have prejudices too but I’m aware of them and I have much on which to base them.

    • So what do you propose, then? That he keep preaching to the choir? His idea of targeting the people who still need convincing is sound. Hopefully the execution will be good too.

    • Read Volokh for awhile and get back to us here. My guess is you will be both better informed and very impressed.

      There is no point in trying to convince committed statist/leftists/progressives who make up most of the vocal readers of the WAPO, but those aren’t the ones who will read Volokh.

      Rather, he is already read by the smart, thoughtful, independent thinkers and adding him to WAPO opens up his reach to much more, including those classic liberals and libertarians who read WAPO for news and the left wing slant on DC.

      A lot of those already come to places like TTAG for gun info, and Volokhs ability to educate and inform on the law is a huge benefit.

      Those informed readers make up the (I hope) majority of swing voters who the surveys show are paying attention, and supporting individual liberty over government control.

      I agree the WAPO is a toxic mess now, as you can see simply by reading reader comments there, but I also believe that letting Klein go was a brilliant move, and bringing Volokh in is going to do much for WAPOs tattered image.

      Bezo’s is no dummy. He started out making no waves, and now you see incremental but significant changes – the signs of a savvy manager with a strategic goal to restore WAPO to a news organization instead of a propaganda outlet.

      If he truly is reading each of his customer complaints as the myth goes at Amazon, then I hope he is getting wind of what 2A rights supporters think of WAPO via outside sources here at TTAG.

      First George Will, then Jennifer Rubin. WAPO is looking interesting again.
      When the lefties go nuts, you know they are running scared.

      • I agree with you. The effects here are going to be initially small, but important. The longer term effect will be actually quite significant.

        The vast majority of the glassy-eyed, brainwashed trotsky-ite masses that read eastern newspapers will soil themselves upon reading Volokh’s writing, but these sorts of people have never been anything more than useful idiots.

        I agree with you that Bezos is no idiot. I was pleasantly surprised to see him usher Klein out the door. That little toady twerp has been one of the biggest boosters of Obamacare, based on nothing but imagination and flowery writing. Klein is another one of those liberal arts majors who scribbles for newspapers that knows nothing of a quantitative argument in public policy, and in health care as in guns, the argument is won or lost on numbers. The gun banners cannot respond to the argument that while the number of guns in private hands in the US has skyrocketed, the overall trend of gun crime and accidents is downwards. All they can do is hyperventilate and wave their arms wildly.

        Klein showed in Obamacare that he is a feckless idiot who doesn’t “do” numbers. Right now, Obamacare is utterly failing at the supposed goal of the legislation – increasing the numbers of insured people. The vast majority of people who have signed up through the exchanges already had insurance and they’re not getting a better deal through the exchanges than the one they had. On the existing numbers, Obamacare is about like gun control in Chicago: A complete failure. Given that evidence, any rational employer would have sacked Klein. Given the propensity of employing useless idiots in the news media, I didn’t expect it to happen.

        That Bezos gave him the “Well…. bye!” treatment is a refreshing change.

  6. I remember getting the comPost when I first moved to the DC area 20 years ago. I hated that paper, but that was in the days before internet news. I hope this guy can make a difference to their traditionally liberal readership. And I hope that he uses some of the money he makes to buy himself a new tie.

  7. Volokh Conspiracy, FTW! I bet this triples readership.
    Now, if we could just get Sipsey Street Irregulars into the New York Times…

  8. Hopefully Mr. Volokh will be able to help people better understand firearms. Best of luck to him …. if he succeeds, it’ll be better for all of us.

  9. Very Interesting. Eugene was almost a child prodigy with midrange computers in the 80’s. He and his father had a software company called VESOFT. It was software for HP/3000 midrange computers. I attended seminars where he and his father spoke.

    • Of course, those in those domains with more than trivial jobs don’t have the time to take advantage of the offer. Those that do don’t possess the required reading comprehension skills.

      • .edu addresses are frequently handed out to students these days, and they usually stay active looooong after you graduate.

        Edit: word choice

  10. I really doubt he’ll find too many willing converts among the denizens of the WaPo subscribership. Even with his background, the vast majority of the collectivist sheeple that pay homage to the civilian disarmament industrial complex will simply write him off as a lunatic and cleave desperately to the ever-diminishing credibility of the notion that disarming good people protects good people.

    They don’t know squat about gun laws, they don’t know squat about guns, they don’t know squat about who uses them for what or why, and they don’t know these things because they literally don’t want to know because they don’t fucking care. All they know — and all they want to know — is they themselves personally “feel” that guns are horrible, dangerous things that nobody should have (and it’s even getting to the point where some of them feel that not even the police can handle them — and in that case I can actually somewhat agree with them but only to a point). They are so hopelessly dependent on the ever-thinning veneer of cognitive dissonance enabled by collectivist academia to avert personal responsibility to themselves that they’ll say anything to protect it.

    P.S.: I would have also added “do anything”, but then I remember they’re for an unarguable fact entirely too cowardly to do the dirty work themselves. That’s why they depend utterly and entirely on the State to do it for them, and thus they enable the State to carry this notion that it absolutely must have a completely monopoly on violence to do their [the collectivist sheeple’s] bidding.

  11. As other have said, this is great news for libertarians — the VC will help influence many in the “thinking class,” at least those whose thinking isn’t fundamentally partisan.

    As for changing the Washington Post’s reputation… good luck. After following Rand Paul for the past year, I’ve noticed that the Post finds every opportunity to attack him. Even when the Daily Kos and Media Matters are silent, you can bet that the Post will have found some new proof of Paul’s perfidy. If I didn’t know better, I would not have even thought it was a newspaper.

  12. They also brought Radley Balko in as a columnist, and he’s a staunch libertarian with stints at CATO and Reason, and is probably the most prominent voice speaking against police militarization and prosecutorial abuse. I don’t know what Bezos’s long term plan for WaPo is, but I’m liking the direction he’s gone in so far.

  13. There is something working at the roots of the Washington Post and it has been working at it for years. Up until the early 90s, it was almost a wannabe New York Times. Ever since Katharine Graham got off the board, the Post has been slowly sliding back towards the center. Her legacy of far-leftism is only slowly draining out of the scuppers to this day.

    As much as we hate it, the mainstream media still has a huge effect on the politics and policy of this country. Sure, the typical WaPo reader is a Democrat from Maryland or DC. But up until now, his/her exposure to conservative ideas has been Ezra Klein and his ilk striking down strawmen. Volokh and crew have a real opportunity to expose the left to the ideas of the right – not just the caricatures of the right, but the actual ideas. I’m cautiously hopeful.

    Except for the comments system. Gah, only the WaPo web site could make me miss Disqus.


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