Are We Learning The Wrong Lesson From Newtown?

2012 was a bad year for those who value the time-honored right to bear arms. Between the fatal shootings in Aurura, CO and Newtown, CN—with several others spread throughout—it seems that the forces of gun control may finally pass new legislation designed to restrict gun ownership. But their approach is wrongheaded. Gun control will do little if anything to prevent these tragedies from occurring, and it will be law abiding Americans that pay the price.

First, it is important to note that even with in this unusually violent year, mass shootings are exceedingly rare. When 20 children are gunned down in school, it becomes national news. When 40 die in automobile accidents every single week, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

But humans are sensationalist creatures, and it is not surprising that such a violent attack against innocence itself would spur us to action. And certainly, we should take responsible measures to ensure that such tragedies are avoided as much as is possible. But what measures?

About the only thing we can be certain of is that the legislation currently wending its way through Congress would not have prevented Newtown from occurring. Banning assault weapons or restricting gun shows or eliminating high capacity magazines would not have kept Adam Lanza from stealing legally purchased weapons and using them to commit murder. The gun control lobby argues that it is simply pushing for measures that are long overdue. Instead of fighting the last war, they are trying to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.

But if that is the case, they are headed for failure. As long as guns are legal, incidents like Newtown will continue to occur. Behind closed doors, many in the gun control movement readily admit that fact, and in reality, their goal is a United States where guns are illegal altogether. The arguments for and against that position have been made over and over again, and I will not rehash them here. But what’s important for now is to recognize that here in the real world, guns are not going away. So if we want to protect our children, it’s time to take action.

In a mass shooting, the goal of the gunman is to kill. He will not take hostages. He has no demands. He will kill until he runs out of ammunition, victims, or until he is killed himself. It is a dereliction of our duty that we send our children to schools that have no security and no way to stop such events from happening. Certain members of the faculty should be armed. They should be trained in the use of a weapon, and they should receive extra pay for taking on this responsibility. If one of the teachers had been armed and properly trained in the use of a firearm at Newtown, more children would be alive today.

This is not a call for allowing everyone in the world to bring guns to schools. I am not claiming that simply going out and buying a gun will make you safer. But having trained, responsible, security officials would make our schools safer. Mass shootings at police stations are rare indeed.

Should Republicans Have Taken More Of A Stand On The Fiscal Cliff?

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I’ve received some criticism for my stand on the fiscal cliff. Some conservatives seem to believe that the Republicans should have stood in the breech, like the Spartans at Thermopylae, unwilling to retreat from their principles. It’s a nice thought, but people seem to be forgetting an important point—the Spartans were slaughtered, and there’s no reserve army waiting back home if the Republicans go down.

We live in a Representative Democracy, and the people weren’t with us on this one. They didn’t want spending cuts. They wanted tax increases. If you doubt that, look at the campaign Obama ran. He was the first candidate in a long time to run explicitly on raising taxes. He offered no spending cuts. And he won.

There is no political will to finally get our fiscal house in order precisely because there is no public will to support such actions.

Now is not the time for kamikaze actions in the House. It’s a time for sharpening our message, reaffirming our ideals, and selling them to the American people. As Paul Ryan said, now that the fiscal cliff is out of the way, we can get to the debate we need on spending. Trying to hold Americans hostage to economic collapse to get our way would have been foolhardy. And if we had gone over the cliff, they would have blamed Republicans.

Instead of attacking each other, we need to work together to change the mentality of a society sliding towards dependency. If we don’t do that, then soon it will be a small minority indeed that supports spending cuts. And in a Representative Democracy such as ours, small minorities rarely get their way.

Read My Article On Executive Caprice In The Weekly Standard

After spending around eight months on the campaign writing under other people’s names, I’ve published an article under my own in The Weekly Standard. The subject is President Obama’s recent tendency to refuse to enforce federal law, particularly when it comes to our immigration and drug laws. I won’t repeat the arguments here, but I’ve already started to receive feedback, and I’ll address those comments in future posts. Enjoy.

One can sympathize, as I do, with the hapless children who are victims of our broken immigration system, just as one can sympathize, as I also do, with advocates of decriminalizing marijuana. But the substance of these policy choices is beside the point. In fact, general public sympathy for the president’s positions on these two controversies obscures a shift in our constitutional order that is as profound as it is dangerous.

There’s No Economic Salvation in Higher Taxes

The more the American people learn about the fiscal cliff deal, the less they like it. Republicans—particularly the core of the base—are still enraged that the deal included forty-one dollars of taxes for every one dollar of spending cuts. And now liberals are angry that so many of those new taxes fell on the backs of the poor instead of the wealthy. As that bastion of conservative thought, MSNBC, put it,

The actual effect of the deal, however, was to raise taxes on 77% of American households, while giving away billions in tax breaks to politicians’ corporate patrons.

Dealing with the Republicans first, I am disappointed in the deal, but I don’t really blame them for the result. After all, Barack Obama ran on raising taxes. It was a key component of his election strategy. If we just made “the wealthy pay a little bit more,” everything would be great, he told us. And the American people bought it. To make matters worse, poll after poll showed that the country was going to blame Congress if no deal was made.

So imagine you are Republican congressional leaders. On the one hand, you have a country that just voted to raise taxes. On the other, you’ve got a public ready to vote you out of office if you don’t make a deal with a recalcitrant president who—like so many foolish, re-elected incumbents before him—thinks a relatively narrow win means that he has some great mandate to never compromise again. Is it any surprise that the American people and the president got the tax increases they seemed so hungry for?

The liberal reaction is just sad. It constantly amazes me that there are people out there who think we can make our debt problems go away just by taxing the rich. Math has proven them wrong time and again. If we taxed the top 1% at 100% of their earnings, we’d only net $616 billion dollars. Sound’s like a lot, right? That’s slightly more than half of the federal deficit–not budget–for 2012. No, if you want to fund our spending binge, you are going to have to tax the poor and the middle class. It’s no wonder that so much of the new taxes have fallen to the lower income folks.

President Obama’s justification for the tax increases is cringe-worthy. After Bill Clinton saved his presidency at the DNC, Obama began to note that he only wanted to take the tax rate back to the levels under Bill, a time of immense prosperity for our country. The implication seemed to be that higher taxes were somehow responsible for that prosperity (but presumably had nothing to do with the burst economic bubble of the late 90s/early 2000s).

Never in my life have I seen a more egregious example of the failure to recognize that correlation does not imply causation. We had a booming economy in the 1990s because of the peace dividend from the end of the Cold War and because Al Gore invented the internet. While the Iraq War is over and Afghanistan is winding down, I don’t foresee that kind of peace dividend in the cards, and as far as I know, Al Gore hasn’t patented any more breakthrough technologies.

Those who are counting on a similar boom during the second term of the Obama presidency may be disappointed. Our economy will recover eventually, but new taxes won’t be the cause. And it won’t be the rich that suffer in the meantime.

A Conservative Blog With Libertarian Flavor

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Presidential campaigns are zero-sum games. For months (and years, for some), the campaign team and the candidate pour everything they have into the effort. Every action, every public statement, every moment, is spent in pursuit of one goal. By the end, campaigns are twenty-four hour, seven-day a week operations. For those on the inside, the campaign is their life.

Then election night comes–and it’s all over. One team wins, the other team loses. And there’s no consolation prize. The winner gets the presidency. His team and his party gets the good jobs. For the next four years, they are the ones who pull the levers of power, and they are the ones behind the curtain.

What happens to the losers? They write political blogs.

And that’s why we are here. I spent ten months in the Rapid Response and Writing shops of the Romney Campaign. It was my job to attack the President, usually by drafting articles that explained why Barack Obama was wrong in his views and wrong for America. I was good at it, and we’ll do some of it here. But we won’t hold our fire from the Republican Party, either. The GOP never quite rallied around Mitt Romney, mostly for reasons that have become cancers within the party. Conservatism is great, but it needs some Libertarian flavor.

It’s time for happy warriors everywhere to unite. There’s so much worth fighting for.