138 thoughts on “SNL version of the Palin/Couric interview

  1. Palin has handled herself in interviews OK before being selected as VP, and seemed to be able to speak naturally. Since being selected though, she’s been largely hidden away, and coached on how to answer questions.

    From the interviews I’ve seen, I think she’s been over-coached. She gives the impression of having memorised answers in response to certain topics (which she simply repeats if queried), rather than having been given a proper grounding in the subject.

    It will all depend on the debate… if she comes across in the debate half as cringe-worthy as in the interviews, she’ll be tarred with the image forever. I hope she does well.

  2. Very amuzing… and the answer to the bail-out question was very similar to the real version.

    Palin is an idiot. She is America’s Pauline Hanson, and apparently she believes that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together a few thousand years ago.

    Matt Damon was right to say she would be scary. Like a folksy hockey-mum facing down Vladimir Putin and using the “flying-v” formation, or some other small-town hockey trick to save the world.

    There is no way any sane person can support McCain while he has that nut-case as a running mate.

  3. I have shifted my support from mildly pro-Obama to wildly pro-McCain precisely on the back of Palin! I genuinely hope he wins.

    Nothing would do more to smash the credibility of the US Federal Government, and even bring down the regime itself, than to have these two jokers in the hot-seat.

    Want to destroy the US like me? Vote McCain!

  4. I liked the Palin choice originally. I liked her VP nomination speech. Since then, I haven’t seen much of interest from her.

    Fleeced is right, she’s over coached. And repeats the same memorised lines in half her interviews.

    She has a real experience deficiency. But maybe Palin is the kind of “change” America needs if McCain croaks. I’m still not sure what she really stands for. Or what a Palin leadership would look like. But I’m inclined to think that yes, it may be better than any of the other options.

    In a democracy what is so wrong with an “average person” getting into a position of leadership? At least she talks like more of a libertarian than the other candidates.

    I don’t like her enough that I’d actually vote were I American. I don’t like Barr either. Perhaps I’d write in Root… He seems like the only real libertarian amongst a bunch of nutcases.

  5. Barr is clearly a real libertarian. Not always likable I admit, but he’s fairly clear about what he stands for, and it’s clearly libertarian.

    She’s a nut. She repeats “low tax, low spend” because that’s what she’s supposed to say. In Alaska she supported the bridge-to-nowhere. And then in her nomination speach she lied about it.

    She would be hopeless on civil liberties, and probably the most anti-gay candidate of the big four. Her foreign policy experience is basically “we can see russia”. She doesn’t understand the first thing about economics. In short — she’s dumb. No thanks. I’d prefer Bob Brown.

  6. Temujin- Barr is now, but I don’t think he’s always been.

    I look at his past stance on gay marriage.

    Has he truly reformed or is he simply being opportunistic?

    If he was a 20 year old converting to libertarianism I could understand, but a political convert at his age? It’s hard to ignore his past record as one of the most conservative members of the Republican Party.

    I might have been reading biased sources, but I was of the opinion that while she is a Christian fundamentalist on social issues, she also takes a laissez-faire approach and hasn’t really been activist in either direction.

  7. You think Biden the Gaffe-meister is any better than Palin?

    Temujin, it sounds like you believe accept anti-Palin speel about her. Some of it may be true, but a lot of it seems to be crap. I certainly don’t believe she’s libertarian, but she doesn’t seem to be the extremist her opponents seek to paint her as.

    She did originally support the bridge to nowhere… but at least she flip-flopped in the right direction. Obama and Biden both supported it (McCain didn’t… and he’s the one running for Pres).

    She’s against gay marriage as is Obama. Hardly libertarian, but few alternative options here…

    That said, her interviews have been underwhelming. My instinct is that she’s been over-coached, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen the VP debate and maybe a couple more interviews…. she’s def better when she’s herself.

    If she fails in the debate, it’s over (for her, permanently). That may be a great loss… had she finished a term or two as governor and then became a senator, she’d have had the experience necessary – but if she crashes and burns now, she’s finished. Of course, if she performs well, but McCain still loses, she’ll be back in the future.

    As for Obama, he’s using the present financial crisis as a reason why “deregulation is bad”… I have many bad feelings re: the Dems.

    Barr seems libertarian enough. Root actually seems a bit odd, IMO… not sure about him. But neither of them will win – it’s between McCain and Obama. (Mcain = left-wing republican) VS (Obama = corrupt socialist)

  8. I dunno, I was a little excited by Palin for a while. Now, not so much. I mean, normally I tend to lefty or socially progressive candidates, I’m not a fan of Republicans at all. I like Obama’s message of change, but most of his policy detail turns me right off. I thought Palin might have had a chance at being decent and the jury is still out, but it’s not looking promising.

    Sadly, the main difference between the Democrats and Republicans, and the main difference between Labor and Liberal is the answer to the question: “who should government be helping out”. Liberal and the Republicans are happy to spend government money helping Christians, grannies, high earners and business owners. Labor and Democrats are happy to spend government money on the environmental, helping the poor, middle-class and minorities.

    Personally if the government is going to help people I’d prefer they helped the latter. But really I prefer the government to do nothing…

  9. Obama v McCain isn’t a real choice. Neither will do much anyway. Just like Australia, the differences are mostly rhetorical… and impossible to be excited about. Except that Obama will help to fix America’s reputation in the world… and as a person who likes the idea of America, I think it’s important that America is respected.

    My view of Palin came from listening to her interviews. Before that, my only information came from pro-Palin libertarians. After listening to her, I’m convinced those people accidently mixed some LCD with their breakfast cereal. The lady is retarded. FFS people, she believes that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together and that god is about to come back and suck all the good people into hyper-space. She clearly doesn’t understand any of the issues she’s asked about. And she’s not even honest. Listen to her actual interview that is parodied above. As a VP candidate, she would make an adequate kindergarden teacher.

    The only thing she has in her favour is that she can say “ya-huck… ya-huck… ya’ll should cut dem der taxes…” I doubt she even knows why. She is an embarassment, and we need to do everything possible to not be associated with people like her.

    She is, quite literally, America’s version of Pauline Hanson.

    And Shem, I can’t understand why you (and others) persist in doggin Barr about his past mistakes. It makes no sense to accuse him of opportunism, as he’s not really gaining anything. He knows he won’t win. He’s been very active in the drug legalisation movement for a while now, before he was even a member of the LP. If we reject people who become libertarian, then what is the point of our activism?

    Anyway, it’s not about him. It’s about increasing the profile of the ideas he is championing. McBama and O’cain may believe in slightly difference dance styles, but they don’t want to change the song.

  10. Fleeced…enough of the weasel words.

    Why is Root “odd” whereas Palin isn’t?

    Barr and Root are worthy candidates.

    I have changed my ways and now regret Ron Paul’s past popularity. He’s jumped the shark. Palin is circling the drain to me. Obama is intelligent and may have good advisers to steer him away from his Red tendencies he had as a youth. I assume (perhaps wrongly) he’ll be good on civil libterties.

    You can hold very strong religious beliefs, bar violent extremism and your beliefs need not impact your views on Government policy. This is what matters per se, not religion.

    The Yanks really need a national election for President using (optional) preferential voting.

    My vote as my opinion stands would go:

    1. Root.

    2. Barr

    3. Obama

    4. Mc Cain

  11. I actually would have preferred Root to be the front runner for the Libertarians. He is one of the few sane, mainstream candidates the Libertarians have run since perhaps Harry Browne. Like Shem I have my suspicions about Barr. I just don’t like someone who has chosen to devote almost all his life to being a taxeater first in an organisation like the CIA and then as an anti-freedom Republican.

  12. I would’ve preferred Root too. He was by far the best in the Libertarian debates. I reckon he’ll be the nominee in 2012. He’s the only one of the lot (including Barr and Ron Paul) who’s not a nerd.

  13. I think Mark has summed up my personal preferences- at this point in time, anyway. I could tolerate Barr if he sticks to what he says. It is hard to ignore such a long history, though. I don’t know his motivations for running, but I do hope they are pure. But it’s not just “I don’t like Barr”, it’s as much “I like Root”- while a little over-excitable, I see Wayne Allen Root as a solid libertarian, from everything I’ve seen.

    Although I like Root, I probably would vote for Barr, if only because it boosts the Libertarian Party as a whole and makes it easier for Root in the future.

    Obama vs McCain. Leaning Obama-wards at the moment. But I could still be swayed. Temujin has a good point regarding respect for America, however. America being criticised usually means the capitalist system is also being criticised. Restoring respect for America means restoring respect for capitalism.

    As for Ron Paul. Glad he ran, glad he didn’t get in. He caused ripples that drew a lot of new people into libertarianism. Some of his followers are kooks, but my first introduction to libertarianism was through Ron Paul, the anti-war Republican. I learnt that supporting socialism means you are NOT on the side of freedom.

  14. Mark wrote:

    Fleeced…enough of the weasel words.

    Why is Root “odd” whereas Palin isn’t?

    I never said Palin wasn’t odd… though odness isn’t always a bad thing. As for Root, I don’t know much about him – though I seem to recall an interview where he bet a million dollars that he had better grades than Obama.

    Then again, remembering how the LDP was depicted, and how we took whatever publicity we could get, I should probably be more open-minded and accepting of any LP candidates apparent oddness.

    John wrote:

    The lady is retarded. FFS people, she believes that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together and that god is about to come back and suck all the good people into hyper-space.

    For the dinosaurs thing, that accusation seems to be hearsay (though I could be wrong). She has consistently stated that she supports evolution being taught in schools – not just as an “alternative view,” but as accepted scientific fact.

    As for believing God will “come back and suck us into hyperspace,” every Christian I know believes Christ will return. Your hyperbole on the topic seems to demonstrate more of your own consistent prejudice against religion than it does about Palin’s craziness.

    Is Obama going to a church where the minister believes AIDS was a government conspiracy against black people more acceptable to you?

    It may turn out that she really is a religious lunatic… but there is no evidence of this as yet. I’ll reserve judgement.

  15. “Restoring respect for America means restoring respect for capitalism.”

    I think that’s a wildly optimistic view… especially when the “respected leader” in question spends a lot of his time talking down capitalism and unregulated markets.

  16. Fleeced — regarding the dinosaurs, check the link I gave in my first comment. There was a similar false rumour, but this one seems legit.

    Do you believe your sky-fairy is going to return in your lifetime? I know some christians say they believe that, but (perhaps caused by a nagging doubt) they back away from saying it’s going to be soon. Just some time off in the abstract distant future. (This is despite the fact that Jesus clearly said he would be back soon and in the lifetime of some of his then followers.)

    What other people at Obama’s church believe is not the same as what Palin herself actually believes.

    And she gets worse. She clearly said that invading Iraq was a mission from god. And I think it’s clear from her interviews that she actdually understands very little about how the world works. If you like McCain, you should be hoping that he dumps her soon and picks a real VP.

  17. Those are good points, Fleeced. John H doesn’t seem to think that Obama’s socialist policies matter all that much.

    Most of us are supporting McCain by default. Not because we think McCain is a libertarian, but because whenever Obama opens his mouth about a specific policy it’s usually very left wing and trade protectionist.

    So like you, i see a difference between the two teams.

    I am also a little disconcerted in the way the Obama team is trying to deal with criticisms where he recently threatened media stations with the threat of license revocations if they ran critical ads.

    As someone mentioned over at Catallaxy the Obama movement really does show totalitarian elements.

    Look at this shit. This is almost child abuse (as someone said).

    Child abuse alert – the Obama Youth regiment sings in honour of their Dear Leader:

    Coupled with the Obama campaign’s legal threats against anyone who badmouths their Fuhrer on the campaign, it’s pretty clear that we are looking at an essentially totalitarian movement.

    How anyone can ignore the threats from the Obama camp to suppress criticism is beyond me.

  18. Even under Obama, America will be a more economically free nation than almost any other Western nation I can think of. America is fundamentally a society that embraces capitalism. Australians embrace capitalism due to pragmatism- the average person on the street in Australia is not morally repulsed by taxation. But even Democrats in America embrace the ideology of capitalism- even if they support “protective limits” on it.

  19. John

    A question:

    Jews, that is religious jews are basically creationist. Does that preclude them from running for public office?

    This stuff about creationism and how it somehow precludes a christian from running for public office is basically a totalitarian leftist mindset that is creeping in.

    Palin may or my not believe in creationism. However to me that doesn’t matter and shouldn’t matter to anyone. Joe Lieberman as a religious Jews should also be considered a creationist if he had been chosen by McCain by the way. Lieberman was McCain’s first choice.

    If the person having those beliefs doesn’t force them on other people through the political process then even believing in devil worship shouldn’t matter one bit.

    Having a litmus test for a candidates beliefs is what the totalitarian left tries to do. It’s bad and it’s corrosive.

  20. Shem:

    Obama does not believe in capitalism. He is a socialist. To suggest there is no differentiation between the two candidates is friggen baloney.

    Obama wants to raise even more taxes despite the real fact that the bottom 1/2 of the US population does not pay any friggen tax.

    He is into protectionism

    And wants to follow harsher redistribution policies.

    Rather than fixing the medical system he wants to nationalize it.

    These are not small differences between the two party candidates.

    If any libertarian supports Obama they really need to show why they would vote for a candidate that runs directly counter to their economic beliefs. I’ll wait for an answer.

    This what worries me about libertarianism. 99% of the time libertarians are ragging on the right when the economic policies of the American Dems is pure socialism. Yet they seem to have a problem with the right most of the time.

    This no longer becomes libertarianism, it’s basically sightly right of centre left.

  21. Palin must be a nut, if she supports the teaching of evolution as scientific fact!
    It is nothing of the sort!
    Evolution is a theory, and theories are based on facts! Now if she believed that evolution is the predominant theory of life, as an explanation of the facts, that would be true, and sensible.

  22. I agree with Temujin that it is important for the idea of the US to regain some respect around the world and Obama is more likely to achieve this than McCain.

    However, to suggest (as some are doing) that there is little to choose between Obama and McCain is way off the mark. Obama has one of the most left-wing, protectionist, big govt, anti-free market voting records of any Democrat. McCain, whilst no libertarian, is at least an ardent supporter of free trade, low taxes and limited government. This really is a very simple choice to make for libertarians.

    Palin is more complicated. I love her because she’s so not like most politicians but i cringe when i hear some of her Christian fundamenti views. Though, she is most certainly not an American Pauline Hanson (stop reading the NY Times, John).

  23. In any event, the creationism thing is basically a form of intolerance.

    If creationism is taught in say religious hour and kept away from science classes, how does this effect little Johnny and Amanda in any deleterious way?

    If the science curriculum is found to be adequate, then what is taught in other classes is irrelevant.

    I’m not a creationist in any way, but I find it abhorrent how the intolerant left has framed this debate.

    Fuck them.

  24. JC — are you kidding? If somebody believes there were dinosaurs running around the earth a few thousand years ago, then they clearly are a bit “simple”. You should not then give these people the nuclear codes.

    There is a world of difference between the “old-earth creationism” and “young-earth creationism”. The vaste majority of Jews & Christians believe in “old-earth creationism”… which is unfalsified. Young-earth creationism has already been shown beyond any reasonable doubt to be entirely a crock of shite. It’s as intellectually respectable as flying pigs (with lipstick).

    But it’s worse. Her dinosaur beliefs indicate she takes the bible entirely literally. Presumably this includes the bits about yahweh endorsing mass genocide etc. That doesn’t need to be a problem, except the problem now is that she believes her sky-fairy has told her country to run around the world invading other countries. This shows the judgement and mental stability of Robert Mugabe.

    As for Obama — your not making any sense. You so desperately want to love the right-wing that you’re loosing perspective. The last GOP president has run the most socialist America in history… but you still have faith. The last GOP president ran a multi-trillion dollar welfare program for Iraqis… but you still have faith. The last GOP president destroyed civil liberties and privacy in America… but you still have faith. The last GOP president has dramatically undermined America’s role in the world by removing their credibility… but you still have faith.

    Of course Obama is a capitalist. Calling him a socialist is about as accurate and witty as saying McCain is a fascist. Or a catfish on steroids. Obama is offering tax cuts for 95% of Americans. This is all very clear and obvious, so I’m confused why you would say otherwise. Could it be because you have an irrational love-affair with the socialist, war-mongering, anti-freedom GOP? Strange.

    And Obama is not into protectionism. It would be more accurate to say that Bush is the protectionist, but you trust every word he mutters. He refused to do anything to remove farm protection, despite the overwhelming arguments.

    So the economic differences are nearly non-existent. Then look at civil liberties. Look at foreign policy (from a libertarian perspective). Look at the credibility of America around the world. That’s an important issue for me, because I like the idea of America and I want a strong America that can lead the world.

    If any libertarian still trusts the “right-wing” parties they really need to show why they would vote for a party that runs directly counter to libertarian beliefs on everything. It seems to be an issue of faith over reason. Perhaps their parents listened to music saying “right good, left bad” while they were pregnant. Who knows. It’s certainly not rational analysis of the options.

  25. How exactly is he going to grow respect for the US around the world, pom?

    I don’t see any of this by sucking up to every dictator and holding hands? Making sure the frogs love you?

    All that is bullshit.

    Seriously, who gives a shit if the Somalis love your country or not? This is another example of the leftist swill that creeps into the debate.

    No offense to you Pom, or John for that matter.

  26. Do you believe your sky-fairy is going to return in your lifetime?

    I’m an atheist, so I don’t believe in “sky-fairies” as you put it. I’d still need to see more evidence that she actually believes he will. Statements can have a totally different meaning when taken in context – much like the Iraq war thing, below.

    And she gets worse. She clearly said that invading Iraq was a mission from god.

    Now I know you’re full of rubbish. She simply prayed that the decisions being made were God’s will. As a former Christian, I can assure you that that was a pretty standard prayer. Her is the exact quotation:

    “Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she exhorted the congregants. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

    That’s an extremely different context to the one you portrayed. By your standards, no religious person could run for office.

    On Obama’s minister:

    What other people at Obama’s church believe is not the same as what Palin herself actually believes.

    He was a member for an awful long time to pretend he wasn’t aware of their beliefs and teachings. He did describe the man as a spiritual mentor, after all.

    Of course, you could contend that he needed to be a member of the church in order to make the necessary political connections amongst the black community… a defense of his sanity at the expense of his ethics.

  27. jc

    because the US embodies the image of the self-reliant individual, the supremacy of the market and the rejection of government as a source of ideas and power.

    this is a noble ideal and needs to regain credibility.

    Temujin – you need to stop judging McCain on the basis of Bush. just look at McCain’s voting record. he will not be another incompetent Republican.

  28. Pommy — I don’t read the NY times. I got my opinion from listening to Palin. Before listening to her I was sympathetic because some libertarians had said some positive things about her… and I thought it was a good VP choice. Now I think it would impossible to make a worse choice.

    And it’s a shame, because I was just starting to like McCain. But no person who liked America could accept any chance of having a President Palin. If I was in America I’d probably vote Barr… because the risk of Palin would almost make me vote Obama.

  29. No John, you don’t know if she believes that form of creationism. There is also the other forms like that the universe was created by god… and that crap.

    Under your rule then Romney is a nutter too because of his Mormonism. He would have been the best candidate going by the way.

    Yet under your rule he was precluded from running for prez.

    This is how the corrosive the friggen left the now become.

    We have the spectacle of Obama, a hard leftist, friend of an actual real live, unrepentant terrorist (Bill Ayers), who attends a church for 20 years run by a preacher that spews hate towards whites and Palin gets shit canned for being a creationist.

    The fucking left has really done a great job in framing this election , hey fellas?

  30. I agree with 31, pom. That’s why I am very defensive about the place. It’s the only big one we have so I’m a little one sided when it comes to the US 🙂

  31. JC — your not making sense. Slow down and think about this before you type. I don’t want anybody banned from running. I just won’t vote for them if they’re retarded. Find me one person on the left who wants Palin (or religious wackos) to be banned from running. You said it. Now back it up.

    I do know that she believes in young-earth creationism. How? Because she said it. Doesn’t it worry you that she can’t separate fact from fiction?

    Well, Mormons are pretty weird too. But I haven’t seen/heard what Romney’s views are about god-inspired invasions or dinosaurs.

    I note that nobody tries to defend her intellegence. Or her understanding of economics, foreign policy, social policy, or pretty much any policy (other than bridges to nowhere, which she lied about, and potential book banning).

  32. You said it. Now back it up.

    Oh, really, next time give me something’s that hard.

    Try and field an appointment to the SCOTUS these days if someone has a religious view. It doesn’t have to be a ban in the legal sense, john. The word ” ban” has numerous definitions. Ostracism is a form of banning.

    Now let me ask you:

    You seem to think that Obama is the better candidate, right?

    1. He attends a black power church for 20 years that promulgates whites are pigs

    2. he is more than on friendly terms with a thug lover. Bill Ayers went to see Chavez and virtually blew him.

    3. He prescribes numerous hard left economic policies.

    Yet Palin is the problem is this election because she may believe in the 4,000 year old earth theory when there is no proof she would ram it down other people’s throats. On the other hand the black Messiah will.

    And I’m not making sense? Really?

  33. Fleeced — that Palin/god quote still looks pretty dodgy to me. She wants us to pray that the invasion is a “task from god”.

    As for comparing Palin to Obama’s pastor. If Obama’s pastor was running, that would be more relevant. Lots of people in lots of churches say lots of stupid things. I’m not judging Palin by what other people at her church said. I’m judging her based on what she said.

    Pommy — the problem with trusting GOP candidates is that I also trusted Bush. Back in 2000 I was one of only a few people in the Australian Treasury who was hoping for a GOP victory. It’s embarassing to admit now… but in my defence he was saying very different things compared to what he ended up doing.

    Having said that, I have been warming to McCain. But given even the slightest possibility of President Palin, all sensible people should be a bit scared.

  34. Ostracisim is not the same as banning. That’s absurd. Ostracisim is just a form of discrimination, and people discriminate all the time. I discriminate in who I talk to, who I date, who I would work for and who I would vote for.

    Banning is entirely different. I’m not banning people from talking, dating, working or voting.

    I agree some black pastors are haters. I agree you shouldn’t have oral sex with south american dictators. And I agree that McCain sounds marginally better on economics. But these are all pretty small issues.

    The big issues for me in distinguishing between McCain and Obama are:

    1) need to build respect and credibility for America

    2) threat of having a simpleton wacko Palin as Prez

    3) need to stop the war-mongering & return a few civil liberties

    4) need to give negative feedback for the past 8 years to discourage future leaders from following the same path

    I’m not excited about Obama. As Keating once said about Costello, he’s “all tip and no iceberg”. I think he’s more about show than substance and he’ll probably bumble along not doing much until his advisors catch his attention. I find him neither inspiring nor scary.

    But this is about Palin… not Obama or McCain. My complaint with Palin is not that she’s religious. My complaint is that she’s too dumb to be let near the corridors of power.

  35. As for comparing Palin to Obama’s pastor. If Obama’s pastor was running, that would be more relevant. Lots of people in lots of churches say lots of stupid things. I’m not judging Palin by what other people at her church said. I’m judging her based on what she said.

    Come on John. that’s a cop out. He doesn’t attend a fucking church like that for 20 years if he disagrees with the rancid little bastard that ran the place.

    under your cop out, Someone starts attending neo-nazi meetings… but hey seeing s/he didn’t run the meetings and simply sat in them they would be ok to run for the prez.


    Listen , I don’t like Palin either as I think she’s unready and isn’t smart enough to be in a position to be prez because it is likely that McCain could very well die in office.

    However her religious beliefs are not what ought exclude her. That’s just going with the leftards.

  36. No sorry John, the word banning and ostracizing share certain characteristics and in fact are used to describe each other in a dictionary.

  37. John why do you think obama will role back any of the civil liberty issues?

    I haven’t seen any forthcoming changes from the ALP. UK’s labor has in fact done worse things than Bush in certain respects.

  38. Obama providing nothing but lip-service, like Rudd, is still better than a government that actively promotes destructive policies (Patriot Act?)

    I’d rather a government hold summits and enquiries than actually implement legislation… Most legislation implemented increases the size of government…

    And as I said before, I really don’t think Republicans are much more in favour of free markets than Democrats. When Republicans talk about capitalism they actually mean government funding for businesses and farms. Democrats want to fund low-income earners. Neither is better than the other.

    Unless you aren’t really a libertarian, but rather a capitalist interested in the pork government is going to dole out to you, and other wealthy people like yourself.

  39. JC — the important difference between ostracism and banning is that ostracisim is a voluntary and peaceful decision done at a personal level, while a government ban actually forces your exclusion, enforced by law. In politics, there is no bigger difference.

    It is simply untrue to say or imply that a person must agree with everything that their pastor believes. Indeed, I think that self-evidently wrong. My parents often dissagree with elements of their pastor’s sermon… but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop going to church. It would be dishonest and unfair for you to attribute the views of my parents’ pastor to my parents. Same applies for Obama.

    And I never said her religion is the problem. The problem is that she’s dumb. And one indicator of being dumb is if you believe dinosaurs roamed the earth a few thousands years ago.

  40. I am glad that I am not in America, because both candidates have baggage.
    With Obama, the party is the baggage. Democrats seem to be people who feel that the solution to any problem is an increase in Government power.
    With McCain, the government is the problem. The current crisis on Wall Street happened during his party’s administration. He also has the problem that age might be against him (Though Obama might also be thought too inexperienced).
    As for Palin being Creationist- I bet Reagan was, and Bush, and Reagan and Bush were both better than the alternatives at that time. Let’s look at all the current options.
    A McCain/Palin ticket still looks more attractive than an Obama/Biden one.

  41. John:

    Being dumb and believing in creationism are not mutually inclusive 🙂

    Jews have the highest IQ by race yet their religion has a creationist bent.

    Sorry but I don’t accept your premise.

    I also don’t accept that what the Dems do is not a form of banning. It’s intolerant and its a form banning when a candidate for the SCOTUS has an abortion and a religious litmus test.

    Your parents agreeing or disagreeing with a sermon is to do with religious teachings. I would be offering 100,000:1 that your parents would not be listening to and disagreeing with a sermon that described blacks as animals and pigs. They wouldn’t be listening to it because they would have left ages ago. That’s not religion that’s hate.


    Do you support the nationalizing of 13% of US GDP? McCain doesn’t. Obama wants to basically nationalize the healthcare system.

    Arguing the parties are the same is frankly bullshit and/or a leftist stooge act. Sorry, but it doesn’t wash with me.

    suggesting the GOP is the party of the very rich is pure crap. GOP support bascially come from the middle classes. The mega rich actually tend to support the DEMS. The Dems proportion of donations from the mega wealthy and is very concentrated whereas the bulk of GOP finance are small donations.

    Obama is the new, New deal candidate.

  42. This is a weird debate. Where is the scrutiny of Biden that makes Obama acceptable? If Obama gets elected, he’s a serious risk for assassination.

    The big issues for me in distinguishing between McCain and Obama are:

    1) need to build respect and credibility for America

    Respect of whom? The Frogs? The Russians? Anyone whose opinion matters already respects America. They also know, because their country is no different, that democracy is imperfect. Even when you are the most powerful country in the world.

    2) threat of having a simpleton wacko Palin as Prez

    Palin may be unworldly but that doesn’t make her a wacko or simple. Her acceptance speech proves she’s no fool. She’s a product of her culture, which is deeply and irrationally religious. She is also a reflection of her country – most Americans have very little interest in the outside world. Isolationism runs deep there.

    3) need to stop the war-mongering & return a few civil liberties

    I agree about the civil liberties. Bush has been a disgrace on that front, as were Blair and Howard. Frankly I can’t see Obama being any different though.

    As for war-mongering, the Iraqis now have a free democratic country in a region where Israel was previously the only one. In Afghanistan, women are no longer murdered if they try to earn a living. I’d like to see a bit more war-mongering like that. Starting in Zimbabwe.

    4) need to give negative feedback for the past 8 years to discourage future leaders from following the same path

    Those years are attributable to the impact of 9/11. 3,000 people were murdered in an attack on the country’s biggest city and national capital. It’s possible to criticise the response, but it’s not hard to understand it.

    Both McCain and Obama will be quite different, simply because they are different people and were not in office when it happened. No ‘feedback’ is needed.

    But I really don’t think these are the big issues at all. The issues are, as always, small government, lower taxes and individual responsibility. I’d have to hold my nose a bit to vote for them, but McCain and Palin are clearly ahead on all of those.

  43. Where is the scrutiny of Biden that makes Obama acceptable?

    Biden could have caused the cold war to go hot. He wanted the US to disarm unilaterally to show the sovs they wanted peace. He’s far more dangerous than Palin in his ideas on that score.
    Obama also recently said there were 57 states!!! Now that’s dumb.

    This support for obama and suggesting the parties are similar is a form of Lambertization.

  44. Her acceptance speech proves she’s no fool.

    A parrot can memorise a speech. I think the interviews are more telling.

    The speech was great, I admit. But watch the interviews… That speech wasn’t a credit to her…

  45. Shem

    the speech may not have been a credit to her, but she would have believed those things she said. that goes for any politician having their speech written for them.

  46. Fleeced — that Palin/god quote still looks pretty dodgy to me. She wants us to pray that the invasion is a “task from god”.

    Rubbish – she’s simply praying that whatever decisions leaders make are part of God’s plan… I’m not sure what your history with religion is, but your anti-religious sentiment is way over the top.

    And as JC points out – there is a BIG difference between attending church where you “don’t agree with everything the pastor says,” and listening to hate-filled speeches like Rev Wright for 20 years, naming him your spiritual mentor, and then later claiming, “Oh – I certainly never heard him say anything like that before”

  47. JC — she didn’t believe what she said. She said that she rejected the bridge to nowhere. She didn’t. That was an outright lie, coming from Ms Moral. When Obama said 57 he clearly meant 47… and he was talking about how many he had been to on the campaign trail. I’m not complaining that Palin occasionally mis-speaks. Everybody does that.

    You’re not understanding the creationism point. The vaste majority of christians and jews do not believe in young-earth creationism, for the simple reason that it’s been entirely dis-proved. The only way to believe it is to reject the concept of rational thought. I do not think it’s good to have a President of America who rejects the concept of rational thought.

    You mention that Jews tend to be quite smart. Fine. They also tend not to believe irrational crap about 4000 year old dinosaurs.

    And you’re 100% wrong about how much people disagree with their pastors. And about how much people tolerate weird views among their friends. I have family members, who I love and always will love, who believe some amazingly bigoted and evil-minded things. I have friends with views across all political and religious spectrums. Does that mean I agree with all of them? It’s best to judge people by their own views.

  48. Fleeced — you should read the quote you provided. She clearly says she is praying that the invasion is a “task from god”. That doesn’t just sound bad to me. Plenty of other people have cringed when they listened to the speach (which is available on youtube btw).

    I’m not against religions. I’m against irrationality. I admit I am quite absolute in that. People who reject rational thought are dangerous.

    I have friends and family who have said much worse stuff that Obama’s old pastor said. I haven’t publicly rejected these people… and I won’t… so I guess that means I hate all blacks, gays, muslims etc. Give me a break.

    Oh — and JC — the difference between personal discrimination and government discrimination is HUGELY important. If you don’t understand that difference, then you don’t understand the meaning of freedom. Freedom means the freedom to disriminate. And it means the government doesn’t ban you from doing anything peaceful & voluntary. Ostracism is part of freedom. Banning isn’t. The difference could not be bigger.

  49. DavidL — if you think having the majority of the world hate America is a good thing, then I think you underestimate how important American leadership is. The “fuck you if you disagree with me” attitude is not going to help us win the battle of ideas.

    I didn’t say Palin was a wacko and dumb because she’s unwordly. I said she’s a wacko and dumb because she’s a wacko and dumb. Her views clearly indicate that she does not follow rational thought to get to her conclusions. That’s not who you want running the world.

    Iraq and Afghanistan are not parts of America. The role of an American president is to look after Americans. I don’t believe in government foreign aid… especially not a multi-trillion foreign aid package with questionable long-term benefits and hundreds of thousands of dead people, including thousands of Americans.

    I accept that Obama will probably only be marginally better on civil liberties. Just as McCain will only be marginally better (if at all) on economic liberties. At the end of the day, both parties converge to the middle, just like Australia.

    My complaint over the past 8 years wasn’t with events, but with political decisions. They were so bad that they need to be publicaly rejected to show future leaders the direction not to go. Incentives do matter… and giving a big political rejection creates incentives for future political players to think about.

  50. Reagan was a creationist. He was also highly superstitious and apparently consulted an astrologer on a regular basis. Stupid perhaps. Yet he seems to have been one of the better US presidents and especially so on the tax cutting front. Not so good on drugs.

    I’m leaning the same way as Pommy and DavidL for much the same reasons. I also think that a female vice president will be good for US politics and knock down a few social barriers and realign a few perceptions. If it is a right wing woman that breaks the mould then so much the better in my view. Sure Obamma would also break a few social moulds but the left of politics is expected to.

    I’m also intested in McCains idea relating to an alliance between liberal democracies to blunt the influence of the UN.

    In terms of libertarians my interest in Ron Paul was only partially about his views on foreign policy. My major interest in Ron Paul is his willingness to challenge the monetary policy paradigm and to talk of abolishing federal income tax and to articulate how it could be done. And even when he is wrong the provocation is useful. The fact that he managed to generate something of a popular movement was also promising. I think Barr is mostly invisible unless you’re a commited libertarian.

    I never voted for Pauline Hanson however I think she was a useful event. She did ask some good questions about race and welfare and those questions did shift the debate in meaningful and worthwhile ways. She was valuable for her determined and prominant questions not her half baked ideas.

  51. Freedom means the freedom to disriminate. And it means the government doesn’t ban you from doing anything peaceful & voluntary. Ostracism is part of freedom. Banning isn’t. The difference could not be bigger.

    Sorry John. I think you’re avoiding the issue. There is state based discrimination by the Democrat party against potential appointments for the Supreme court.It’s called a litmus test. It’s rather different than the form you describe. It’s also direct interference in church and state matters.

    As far as private discrimination goes, go for it

  52. Temujin; Do you seriously believe the stuff you are coming out with or are you just being contrarian? I found your rants about ‘sky fairies’ rather eccentric, they now seem to be increasingly obsessive and disturbing. The teaching of creationism in schools thing turned out to be a view that it should be allowed to be discussed if the subject arose, it’s a beat up.

    I tend to be tolerant of other peoples beliefs regardless of what they are unless they try to ram them down my throat, which you are currently doing.

    I think you should realize that the coverage you are getting is extremely biased, go to newsbusters and see just how edited the Gibson/Palin interview was. Whole sections of what she had to say were edited out including parts of sentences, and some answers were to different questions that were edited out.

    This is not out of the ordinary in this campaign and seems to be part of a systematic effort by the mainstream media to push Obama. If you don’t believe this ask yourself , “If McCain were found to have strong associations with Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, (his campaign was kicked off at a meeting in Ayers house) Bernadette Dorn, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Wright, Raila Odinga et al, would the press be as quiet about it as they have been for Obama?”

    Wright is a ‘black liberation theology’ nut case, and Obama attended his church for 20 years, and don’t go on with that dribble that he didn’t know what was going on. Obama called him his spiritual mentor. When he had to be tossed under the bus, Fr Pfleiger became the man of the moment.

    As part of an Operation PUSH protest at Chuck’s Gun Shop & Range, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, urged the crowd “He’s the owner of Chuck’s. John Riggio. R-i-g-g-i-o. We’re going to find you and snuff you out … you know you’re going to hide like a rat. You’re going to hide but like a rat we’re going to catch you and pull you out. We are not going to allow you to continue to hide when we’re here …”

    I think you will find him a bit more extreme than the pastor you refer to.

    “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.” – Michelle Obama.

    Now that’s scary.

  53. Look at this idiot’s associations…. former terror chief Bill Ayers, the horrific Dorn, Nutcase Wright.

    And you know why Obama is still in the running don’t you? Blame the Clintons. it was Bill Clinton that pardoned the Weather Underground set at the end of his presidency. Hillary’s crew everything about the Ayers relationship and could have hand grenaded The One into pink mist but she couldn’t because her husband had pardoned these thugs.

  54. “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.” – Michelle Obama.

    It’s a totalitarian movement, Jim. Let’s call it for what it is.

  55. Jim, thanks for the link to the full Palin interview. It now makes sense. Palin injected new momentum into the McCain campaign and the Democrats needed to bring her down. That’s what these “Palin is dumb” stories are about. It’s comparable to the “children overboard” con that the Libs pulled. I’m glad not everyone is taken in.

  56. That’s what these “Palin is dumb” stories are about.

    Have you seen this one: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=L8__aXxXPVc

    I don’t want to say it, but you know,……..it could be better. More to the point, she’s a great chick and probably fine in Alaska, but VP might be asking too much.

    Makes the decision difficult. I personally couldn’t vote for the commie though….. As for him being better on civil liberties, I don’t see how preferential laws based on race or affording constitutional rights and welfare benefits to illegal aliens is somehow an improvement in civil liberties. I’d argue that these things would negate any improvements he offers in terms of civil liberties abominations in the name of homeland security.

  57. I dunno, those links give a bit more insight, Jim. But I’m still not sure.

    I DO think that someone’s religion is enough of a reason to turn me off someone. As libertarians we support the right to discriminate. I do discriminate against hardcore Christians, hardcore Muslims and any other religious fundamentalists. Just as those hardcore religious extremists discriminate against me over my sexual preference.

    Like Temujin I believe that rationality is a core quality to be sought in our elected officials. It’s not the only important quality- sound policy is another- but I don’t trust the judgement of someone that believes they are a reincarnated alien soul. Just because Christianity is mainstream, that doesn’t make fundamentalist Christian beliefs any more wacky than the other beliefs out there.

  58. Shem

    Should she be ostracized because of her beliefs though? I also think everyone has a right to ostracize by the way.

    These are people running for office. That’s it. They’re the head of the federal government if they’re prez. They aren’t God or the Sovereign. They are simply the head of the public service. if a person dispenses his or her duties in an effective manner it shouldn’t matter what they believe.

    Using your standard you couldn’t vote for any big party candidate in the US as they’re all religionists.

    I also think there is a double standard running through some LDP supporters. An inadvertent one, but a double standard all the same. The way we talk about Muslim’s religion not being an important issue doesn’t really follow in the way people are throwing her religion around.

  59. I have heard that Palin has tended to be receptive to the concerns of the gay community. She might not agree with homosexuality, but there is no evidence to my knowledge that she discriminates.

    The fact that a person holds to beliefs that you, me, or even Temujin might consider irrational does not necessarily mean that the person is in fact irrational, or at least in all things.

  60. Jc, I’m personally not inclined to like Muslims either…

    I find all middle-eastern religions to be over the top. Judaism, all brands of Christianity and Islamic.

    I’m personally opposed to discrimination over things people can’t choose (race springs to mind first). But choices? Well, if you can’t dislike someone for their choices, then there’s little to be able to dislike them over.

    What if she were a 9/11 truther? Would her beliefs be acceptable then? To me 9/11 conspiracies have MORE logical merit than the idea that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together……

  61. Shem

    I really don’t think we can deconstruct down to the truther level as that becomes a little silly.

    We’re talking about stock standard christian beliefs here, not voodoo.

  62. Dunno who is the bigger idiot:


    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television” to calm people down

    1. When the stock market crashed Hoover was prez
    2. There was no tv in 1929 it came about 10 years later

  63. Now we are getting to it.

    Biden is a dickhead
    Palin is a bimbo

    Palin’s got nice tits and Biden’s had a zillion hair transplants. That’s more information than most Australians require to vote.

  64. Shem’s comparison with the truther movement is perfect. The issue isn’t her religion at all. Obama, McCain & Biden all profess to being christian… as did Clinton, Hawke, Howard & Rudd. But her views on dinosaurs are less legitimate than the truther movement and she is clearly uninterested in allowing rational thought to get in the way of a good fairy tale.

    Seriously — do you want a person who reject the concept of rational thought to have the nuclear codes?

    Jim — it isn’t my opinion that she’s being irrational. She is being irrational. If you think her dinosaur beliefs are legitimate, then presumably you also think that holocaust denial and the “Israel did 9/11” movement are legitimate. Just differences of agreement and not something to be worried about eh? Allah, help me.

    And I never complained about her views on teaching creationism in school. It’s easy to beat strawmen in an argument, but it’s also pointless.

    Finally, I’ve several times repeated that this isn’t about her religion. Obama, McCain & Barr have the same religion, so clearly it’s not about religion. It’s about a persons attitude to logic and rational thought. You keep throwing the “anti-religion” card at me (like a leftist throwing around the “racist” card) but you continually refuse to address the point.

    As for the interviews, they are bad. The complete versions are still bad. I’m not convinced that she knows anything about anything. She doesn’t give any straight answers, and doesn’t show any signs of even properly understanding the questions. “What specifically would you do?” She says “specifically, we’d do something”. Yeah. Thanks.

    I like DavidL’s final conclusion.

    Incidently, when I said that “Palin is America’s Pauline” I think that the conclusions will be the same too. I think the media beat-up on Palin is going to help her get the support of hicksville. The average person in the street also doesn’t understand the financial crisis, can’t name court rulings, wouldn’t be able to answer nuanced questions about Israel, doesn’t read academic or policy papers, gets confused about invading Pakistan, can’t give specifics on any policy etc… so they won’t judge her too badly on these things.

    Like Pauline, they’ll see a simple girl-next-door being picked on by those over-educated bullies, and they’ll feel sympathy for her. The political media needs to understand that when they call Palin dumb they are also calling many Americans dumb. Both may be true, but that doesn’t mean people like to hear it.

  65. John, If I here her say she firmly believes what you say about about dinosaurs, and that it was all a few thousand years ago (and there’s no doubting the context) then yes – I would agree that’s extremely irrational.

    I would also agree that her core base is similar to that of our own Pauline Hanson – namely, the disaffected voters who just want someone who “isn’t a politician” (an impossibls ask). But whether Palin is such a nitwit or something else remains to be seen (IMO). She’s certainly very green – I can’t deny that.

    But she is only the VP candidate… the talk of “being a heartbeat away” is so overblown it’s ridiculous. McCain’s mother is 96 and still going strong… Obama was a heavy smoker until recently – how’s his health? Biden has already had two aneurysms! If he dies, I believe Nancy Pelosi would be next in line…

  66. John:

    Obama hung around at a church for 20 years where the preacher continually preached whitey is a pig. He hung around with confirmed terrorist thug who is now giving Chavez and nice hug. He’s hung around with Farrakan.

    How do you square that with Palin believing in 4,000 year old dino.

  67. John – why is it she cannot *reject* rational thought and yet act rationally? It’s really just a preference for prejudices. I am guessing she has a preference for not dying in a nuclear war. Why does Quiggin go to a Senate inquiry on economic policy, the man a well respected Ph D qualified economics professor, “not as an economist”?

    Myabe being dumb is good. A lot of dummies are against the bailout. A lot of dummies were against Iraq. A lot of dummies are against income tax. A lot of dummies are against the restriction of civil liberties. A lot of dummies dislike underhanded law enforcement tactics. A lot of dummies couldn’t orchestrate two faced foreign affairs. On top of that, a lot of dummies just happen to be creationists.

    What is the beatitude for dummies? Shall they inherit the dinosaurs? God bless ’em.

  68. Everyone said Ronald Reagan was dumb when he was running for president. Remember “once more for the gipper?” That changed once he was elected though. It turns out he had simple, straightforward beliefs and stuck to them.

    If Palin is dumb like Reagan, bring it on. (And she’s got nice tits too.)

  69. I have hung around with a guy who described the Rhodesian terrorist war (aka Zimbabwean war of independence) as “the easiest duck-shoot he’s ever been on” after he killed dozens (perhaps more) of blacks… and another guy who said that black people have thicker skulls, which is why they can’t fit in as much brain. I’m not going to reject these people.

    I don’t like their views, but I don’t just walk away from friends and family because the politically-correct JC says I must.

    Fleeced… I agree people are overplaying the “he might die” card. And Mark, I agree dumb isn’t necessrily a big problem. But I still think the concept of President Palin is worrying… and I don’t think McCain should have put that option anywhere near the table.

  70. No John,

    I’m not saying you walk away from anyone. We’re talking about politicians here, not friends , acquaintances, or family members.

    I’m simply comparing the politicians and their backgrounds and which way they are likely to lead policy.

    Calling me politically correct is possibly the most offensive thing someone has said about me since the other day when birdie siad I was a commie 🙂

  71. David

    that’s your second reference to her breasts in two posts. you are obviously what is known in the trade as a ‘boob man’ 😉

  72. People said Arnie in California was stupid as well. However there are no dinasaurs in California. 😉

    McCain didn’t choose Palin because she would make a good VP. He chose her because she would make a good campaign running mate and give him a shot at being president. The polls seem to have confirmed that he was right, at least intitially.

    While we’re on the topic you should see the guy the LDP ran in Queensland. A totally reckless decision. 😉

  73. it isn’t my opinion that she’s being irrational. She is being irrational. It’s a bit hard to know where you are coming from, am I to believe that your pronouncements are not to be regarded as your opinions?

    The link to ‘Salon’ given above certainly refers to young earth creationism, but spends the first page quoting a guy, Bess, who in a book he wrote “suggests that gays have a divine mission.” That noise you hear in the background is Shem shouting, “ I see the light, Lord, I see the light.”

    One of the problems I have with the stuff from Phillip Munger that you refer to is that about a month before this article he wrote in his blog about this incident, in this later article he seems to have forgotten the end of the post, or the correspondent didn’t mention: –

    Once again, we found ourselves being able to talk privately. I reminded her of the earlier conversation, asking her if her views had changed. She was no longer “necessarily” a young earth creationist, she told me. But she strongly reiterated her belief that “The Lord is coming soon.”

    This will probably still get you all steamed up and fretful, but its omission clearly indicates that the article is biased.

    She clearly said that invading Iraq was a mission from god. No she didn’t, she said that she prayed that it was a mission from God. In more secular language this means, “I hope we are doing the right thing.” Pretty innocuous, I think.

    . I think the media beat-up on Palin is going to help her get the support of hicksville. Is that the place the political elite refer to as Bumfuck, Arkansas?

    The basic appeal she has for Americans is that she is not one of what is seen as the professional political class, who think they know it all and think the average person in the street doesn’t understand the financial crisis, can’t name court rulings, wouldn’t be able to answer nuanced questions about Israel, doesn’t read academic or policy papers, gets confused about invading Pakistan, can’t give specifics on any policy etc.

    Americans outside the beltway, are sick of the condescending bastards who sneer down on them from their ivory towers

  74. Anyone see the debate? Sorry John, but Palin did a excellent job. She’s wasn’t the dumb woman you portrayed.

  75. I agree jc. Palin redeemed herself. But compared to Biden, she still seemed out of her depth- especially on foreign policy.

    Biden won the debate. But I think a more qualified, more experience Palin may be a force to be reckoned with in a few years.

    I do love Palin’s stance on energy and her position on gay rights was also reassuring to hear. But apart from that, she hasn’t said much to excites me.

    Biden gave policy detail that has been lacking from the Obama campaign previously. He was the straight-talker that Palin was claiming to be. Palin didn’t even answer half her questions and was more focused on the “aww shucks, I’m a yokel” approach. I still preferred her VP acceptance speech by far. As far as I’m concerned, Biden won the night.

  76. Yes, true, Biden did win the debate, Shem. However I think she allayed any fears people had about her being a total dunce.

    Look she isn’t going to win the nobal prize for medicine, but she isn’t retarded and nowhere near the woman John portrayed.

    But really though, how smart do you need to be to be prez or VP? I think one needs to be above average intelligence, but I’m not sure you need to be the smartest person alive either.

    Carter was possibly one of the smartest presidents going and Nixon was quite possibly the smartest of the moderns if SAT’s are taken into account and both were miserable failures.

    Look, my real concern with Obama is that the campaign is starting to show totalitarian instincts. You saw that vid of the kids in Venice beach singing their love of the guy? It’s sickening.

    I also have a real problem with who he hangs out with such as thugs and thug lovers like Ayers etc.

  77. The campaign has become something of a personality cult. I agree. But Obama is not his campaign. Does Obama have totalitarian instincts? To be honest, that video you showed me was really “a typical day at church” as far as I’m concerned. Politics is a religion to some people, but engaging kids in politics and in a campaign? I don’t see that as overly destructive or evil….

    You’re right that intelligence isn’t the only important asset in a Presidential or VP choice. But I believe that policy detail is important for politicians. In fact a lack of policy detail is why I’ve been critical of the Obama campaign in the past. Biden shot straight and covered, in detail, his and Obama’s vision for the future.

    I have to also mention I liked Palin’s comments on Global Warming. She won that compared to Biden as far as I’m concerned. Palin is not unintelligent, but I do think she is undereducated on some issues. When is passionate and has knowledge on a given issue (like energy) she is a sight to behold, but she isn’t ready to be President. Nor do I think she would be after 4 years as VP.

    Were McCain to die do I think a Palin presidency would be disastrous as John does? Nope… But I think were Palin to become president, she’d need a strong VP, someone, oddly enough, like Biden.

    Overall I’m still leaning towards Obama, I think the vision they have annunciated is not only a better vision, but a clearer vision. McCain doesn’t inspire any confidence in me that he’s a different kind of Republican to Bush. Neither the rhetoric, nor the detail does it for me.

  78. Oh, I also liked the Palin comments about responsibility re: the sub-prime crisis. Sharing the blame between the lenders and the loaners. “We’ve gotta make sure we don’t get sucked into loans we can’t afford.”

    That was a good message.

  79. The gun-control ideas should make this a no-brainer for libertarians! (Oh, sorry, Sarah’s already cornered the no-brain market…)

  80. 1992 VP debate… Ignoring Stockdale it’s eerily familiar to this year’s. Change… Or strong leadership… Actually reminds me of last years affair with Rudd and Howard….

    Seems people generally prefer change to strong leadership. Let’s hope that Obama doesn’t bring both.

  81. You know what they say, Dave- If you only make one other person laugh…. perhaps you shouldn’t be a stand-up comic.

  82. I like this comment about Biden.

    The bottom line is this — people can talk about Palin all they want, but in a just and decent universe everyone would focus on Biden. He’s just that bad. On a clear day he can see his mouth from his brain and he’s pretty much eked out a career holding the exact wrong positions at the exact wrong time. Joe Biden is proof that Americans are kindly forgiving people.

  83. Damned
    just saw the actual interview. Palin really is dumb as batshit.

    doesn’t make me like Obama anymore but really she is. you’d want McCain to drink babies’ blood for breakfast every morning if that helps him stay alive.

  84. Interestingly, on the matter of experience, Teddy Roosevelt was governor of NY for only 2 years before he became VP. A year later he was President.

    While the guy was a bit too ‘progressive’ for my liking the yanks seem to have a high opinion of him.

  85. Jim – he is popular because he was a war president fighting a just war that in the end was decisively won.

  86. Jim – he is popular because he was a war president fighting a just war that in the end was decisively won.

    Oh Terje, hang your head. Teddy Roosevelt was President between 1901 and 1909.

  87. But it’s hard to dispute McCain’s record on Free Trade.
    That may well be a deal-settler for a lot here…

    Shem, I believe the libertarians here are way past that. One look at Obama’s position on gun laws should be enough. You can’t be a libertarian and support gun control. That’s a no-brainer.

    For those non-libertarians who nonetheless are inclined to favour liberty, I agree free trade might be the cruncher.

  88. teddy was a creep. He attacked the industrial barons because he had a hatred for “new money” wealth. He actually gave his cousin the impetus to start the new deal.

  89. David and jc; Agreed, Fact check seemed to dispute one of the McCain ads because Obama has not pushed gun control in the campaign, but the ad is based on positions he has always held. He would have to be the most consistent gun grabber in politics.

    The Kennedys are pretty gun shy, but Obama is right up there with them.

    I didn’t like Teddies record at all when I saw it, and i completely agree with you.

  90. Maybe Terje was thinking of the Spanish-American war of 1898? I think Roosevelt was tied up with that in some fashion, though before he actually became president. Not sure it was such a just war, though definitely decisively won…

  91. Yea he did create that unit, but according to a book i once read he was a complete moron as he took undue risk with his unit putting their lives under unnecessary risk.

  92. Yeah; it would be nice to think the guy was good for something, but i really feel that rather than ‘patriotic spirit’, his whole aim was self aggrandizement rather than any altruistic ‘love of country.’

  93. David, feel free to call me a non-libertarian that favours liberty. I’m proud that I don’t let ideology dictate nonsensical positions to me. I support superannuation, for example. It’s against freedom, but it’s a common-sense position because, well, look at the evidence. It works.

    I appreciate that Obama isn’t exactly on the side of freedom when it comes to firearms. But I hardly think that restricting toy-ownership is all you make it out to be.

    As a gamer, I get pretty pissed off when politicians want to ban violent video games or they talk down things like “World of Warcraft” as being some satanic evil. But my toys aren’t exactly at the core of my beliefs. There are issues I find more important than what toys I’m allowed to own.

    Sure there is the “well armed militia” argument, but if the government is corrupt enough that you need to overthrow it, I’m sure we’ll be forced to commit “crimes” anyway. If I ever need to overthrow a corrupt dictatorship, I’m happy to illegally purchase guns.

    Gun ownership is essentially about being able to freely choose your hobbies. I believe government shouldn’t interfere with your, nor my hobbies, but there are things that are more important.

  94. Shem, you lack consistency. If you don’t have consistency, you have no logic holding your principles together; with no logic, there is no reason. Your common-sense makes no-sense. What you’re saying is “I like freedom here, and there, but not there or there, and sometimes freedom has us do bad things so we can’t do this and that”. And, in a way, some freedoms are more important than others… This is where I think libertarianism holds some ground above everything else. It is taking a concept we find innate within us, and applying it rigorously to every aspect of life. You either think freedom is moral or immoral, there is no in-between.

    Some may disagree, but I believe utility is an effect of libertarianism, and not sufficient justification for it. In that freedom is the ultimate and guiding reference for what is right, and what is wrong and all other reasons promoting libertarianism merely accompany it.

  95. Rob, I look at results.

    Freedom is a means, not an end in itself.

    Freedom usually brings happiness. Freedom usually brings good. You are right, that utility is an effect of liberalism. I agree, most of the time. I lean on the side of freedom because of the utility it usually brings.

    One you start holding freedom itself as a value you are walking the path to ideological dictatorship. I’ve mentally exhausted the path of freedom to its end and I don’t like where it leads. Freedom is paradoxical. Freedom is arbitrary. To hold human freedom above animal freedom is hypocritical. And to say that we can know which path leads to maximised freedom is naive.

    Freedom is not black and white. It is a great enabler. It is something I respect dearly. But I also respect charity. I also respect honour. But above all, I respect outcomes. What brings happiness and more importantly, joy?

  96. Shem; Read Rob thoroughly. Once you start accepting that there are more important things than basic rights, your “World of Warcraft,” is a matter of freedom of speech, Davids ‘toys’ are a matter of the right to self defense. These are pretty basic and essential rights in a free society.

    Once you begin to accept that there are more important things than basic rights, even if they are other basic rights, then you are on the slippery slope.

    The Obama position over there is worse than the Howard position over here, as the Americans live in a country where the local fauna can eat you, and particularly in some of the southern border the existence of a well armed citizenry is probably one of the few things that is keeping armed gangs from preying on society there.

    David as you know disapproves of your lifestyle choices, yet he defended your right to those when you were criticized during the election: –
    Mike, I have figured you out.

    You are gay but you refuse to admit it, even to yourself. Like the Brokeback Mountain guys who “ain’t no queers”, you have a big secret. Because you are ashamed of your secret you’d like the government to to make it easier by banning your tendencies.

    You are frustrated that the LDP thinks that’s the wrong approach. But in fact, some of us share your tendencies. Equally, some of us think you are a sick puppy and ought to seek treatment. But most of us actually don’t give a shit unless you plan to come on to us. Or try to make it compulsory.

    What we all agree on is that it is none of the government’s business as long as you don’t have deep and meaningfuls with anyone against their will or under age.

    What the hell makes you think it is OK to flippantly dismiss his position?

  97. Gun ownership is essentially about being able to freely choose your hobbies. I believe government shouldn’t interfere with your, nor my hobbies, but there are things that are more important.

    You are profoundly wrong Shem. Gun ownership is absolutely central to libertarianism. Sport (it’s not a hobby) is not the issue.

    Who owns the guns defines the relationship between the governed and the government. It determines whether the people are citizens or subjects. If the people don’t own guns, then the government has a monopoly on them.

    That’s why the UK Bill of Rights restored to Protestants the right to bear arms. It’s why the first gun laws in the USA were intended to prevent freed slaves from getting them. It’s why the first gun laws in the UK were intended to prevent the workers from imitating the Bolsheviks. It’s why the Nazis disarmed the people in every country they occupied.

    Whether you think freedom is a means or an end, you can’t maintain it when the principal threat to your freedom owns all the guns. Ask the Cambodians, Rwandans, Bosnian Muslims, Kosovars, Kurds, Armenians ….

    Gun ownership is also central to another aspect of libertarianism – self ownership. When women, the aged and less agile are reliant on the government to protect them against violence, they become subservient to it. It’s worse than being dependent on welfare because it removes the ability to act independently and promotes helplessness.

  98. Shem; I really don’t understand where you are coming from.

    Freedom is a means, not an end in itself.

    Wrong mate, its neither. It’s a state of affairs that exists in the absence of oppression. Seriously, if you are assuming that freedom is a means to anything it is no wonder you are horribly confused about rights.

    I’ve mentally exhausted the path of freedom to its end and I don’t like where it leads. Freedom is paradoxical. Freedom is arbitrary.

    What is that supposed to mean, you have not exhausted the path, because you obviously haven’t arrived there yet. What don’t you like about where it leads? The only ‘downside’ on where it leads is the need for personal responsibility, mate if you can’t hack this you have a slave mentality.

    I also respect charity Are you assuming that the free are not charitable? Government handouts are not charitable; they are redistribution of wealth, without which there would be many more jobs and less need for charity.

    People are out there giving every day, from volunteering time, helping in service clubs, P&Cs etc, to slinging a few bob to the Salvos, Vinnies, or whatever. Did you see how much wes given voluntarily to the Tsunami appeal, (not counting the government). One of Temujins few redeeming features is his charitable work.

    Warren Buffet is giving the bulk of his $44 billion away to philanthropical organizations.

    I also respect honor. Well that at least puts you in the ball park, without it you would be in deep shit in a free society, you need trust to have the acceptance of people.

  99. The way I see it, the only way to overcome a tyrant government is to break the law. Given that, legal ownership of guns doesn’t really seem relevant. Even if you can legally own a gun, using against the government will still be illegal. So it’s a moot point.

    And just because tyrant governments disarm their populations, it doesn’t follow that a government intent on disarming is tyrannical.

    I’m not supporting gun control, but I don’t see it as a critical issue either way. By the time government reaches a such a point as you need guns to revolt, I’m sure the legality of guns won’t be the issue so much as the disappearances and gas chambers…

    On helplessness, I’m pretty sure a granny with a gun vs a mugger with a gun is still going to come off worse for wear. I’d argue a better situation is for neither the granny OR the mugger to have a gun. Organised criminals may still find it easy to come into possession of firearms with strict gun laws, but petty thieves seem far less likely to be able to own a gun somewhere like Australia, compared to the US.

    So as far as I see, it does come down to a hobby. I hope that eventually everyone will be free to pursue whatever hobby they see fit (sporting or otherwise). But compared to free trade, taxation and even core relationship benefits (ie gay marriage) a hobby pales in comparison.

  100. “Whether you think freedom is a means or an end, you can’t maintain it when the principal threat to your freedom owns all the guns.”

    That’s a good line, David. My thinking is that self-ownership is the founding principle of libertarianism. The right to self-defense logically follows.

    Personally, I’ve never fired, nor even held, a gun (water pistols and paintball guns excepted). When I first stumbled onto LDP and ALS, I was still anti-gun, but you guys converted me.

    Actually, speaking to the paintball operators, they have a lot of grief, since the laws relating to paintball guns are pretty much the same as for “real” guns. We could probably get some LDP converts there.

  101. I should probably add though, that guns aren’t as high on my priorities as for many of you, since I wouldn’t bother with one if they were legal.

  102. Of course, Mick, but what is more core to an individual’s freedom? A hobby or superannuation rights for those in a relationship?

    I still support relaxed gun rights. But mostly from the hobby aspect rather than anything else. I understand the self-ownership argument, but I respectfully disagree that it is important. Mostly because, as I said, I value outcomes more than ideology. I just don’t think there are many situations where relaxed gun laws provide better outcomes beyond hobby usage.

    Cricket bats don’t have draconian laws regarding their usage. Nor do paint supplies. Except for Spray Paint Cans- carrying a can of Spray Paint in public can result in a $300 fine in Victoria. That is pretty draconian (albeit not as bad as gun laws).

  103. The black activist author Angela Davis wrote a book in 1971 called “If they come in the morning” while on remand facing trumped up charges. The title was based on the saying, “If you come for you in the morning, they’ll be coming for me that night.” It’s a message worth learning.

    Those with a bias for liberty do not need to have a personal interest in guns or gays. They don’t even need to approve of them. As long as they recognise that gun control and gay rights are linked to freedom generally, they’ll reach the right conclusion.

    I am also mindful of Pastor Niemoller’s famous poem about the Nazis. Hitler banned guns and sent gays to the gas chambers first.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

  104. Oh, I agree David. I’ll speak out against gun control. I’m opposed to it, even if I only see it as being relevant for hobbyists (sport is a hobby). Gun control is linked to freedom, but it isn’t the litmus test of a leader for me the way it is for you.

    When faced with two socialist candidates I don’t automatically prefer one just because they have a good record on guns. I look at their records on government spending, free trade, free speech and regulation of the media and internet first and foremost. A close second is their stance on civil liberties and lifestyle choices such as sexuality and religion, race and gender come before hobbies. Third would be their stance on hobbies like drugs, guns and video games; the environment; regulation; education.

    Personality and intelligence plays an intangible part, too. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but I like my leaders charismatic and smart. I like them to have a conscience and not be focused solely on self-interest. But that is harder to measure, some candidates just resonate with me, others do not.

  105. Shem, you obviously don’t feel gun rights are important or guns have a specific impact in any particular direction (i.e. they are nothing more than a hobby). As you all know, I disagree.

    I think gun rights are a real-world embodiment of the idea of an open society where the individual is self-sovereign and power is devolved to the lowest level i.e. an open liberal democracy – what (I hope) we all stand for.

    I also believe that firearms for self-defence help the people who most deserve to be helped in that situation. From a real world experience, I think of a time as a boy when my mother was being stalked and we lived in a semi-rural area. My mother, who was raising me as a boy on her own, surprised a stalker waiting in ambush outside our door, and due to there being no other course of action available, or police able to previously act on a mystery stalker, she had to confront him with a carving knife. It is morally right that she should have been able to have the upper hand and confront him with a firearm – and if he had a go, shoot him dead. Both mine as a boy, and my mothers life were being threatened by that man. And society says to us that it is our obligation to forgo our right to have the means to defend ourselves in that situation in the name of the ‘common good’. Tell me that is morally right? Not to mention the fact that the knowledge that you could get shot might well prevent that fellow from hiding in someones garden in the first place.

    My mother, who is now elderly and frail and lives alone in Penrith, has also had to fend off another attempted ‘hot’ break-in a couple of years ago. Fortunately, my brother was sleeping there at the time. This is the society that anti-gun people hold up as desireable.

    So I think it’s a lot more than a hobby. Whether you believe in what America stands for or not, as a libertarian you must have some support for the US Bill of Rights. I find it interesting that when it was decided that the constitution needed some important amendments the first one they came up with was the right to speak freely, i.e. if you want an open liberal democracy you must have open debate, and the second one was to ensure that the ability to bear arms was devolved to the lowest level.

    If we consider this an effort to put up a post-enlightenment framework in which people could flourish taking into consideration the human condition then what has changed since then? We have people saying that this is outdated and now we should evolve the use of force to state agencies. What has changed to make this the case?

    To use stock market parallels: In the late 90s and early noughties people said there was a new paradigm and computing technologies would revolutionise business and the old rules would no longer apply and these new business models that didn’t make money were apparently actually quite profitable. Wise people said there was no evidence this was the case. There was a correction to this paradigm and people lost a lot of money. In this latest bubble people said the rise of China has caused a decoupling from the US. Wise people said there is no substantial evidence of this, especially considering the size of the US economy. There was a correction to this paradigm and we have our current situation.

    Now if we turn to social policy, some people with a lot of first hand experience of burgeoning democracy and fighting for freedom said that we need gun rights to ensure democracy remains. Some people are saying we now have a new paradigm and we should devolve the ability to use force to state agencies. I think wise people are saying there is no evidence to say this is the case. And if we go down this path there will one-day be a correction to this paradigm and that will involve people going to gas chambers and stuff.

  106. Mick, I don’t think your mother would have been better off in either situation if the stalker or thieves had been armed.

    As I said earlier, I know that organised criminals will have access to guns regardless of the laws. But one of the points of gun control is to restrict access to guns for petty criminals- stalkers and thieves. I think gun control in Australia does stop petty criminals from carrying firearms.

    It sucks that your mother had to resort to a carving knife to scare the man off. But would you have rathered a shoot-out?

    The situations you mention are desirable to shoot-outs between criminals and victims. They are desirable compared to armed robbers using guns instead of knifes. In my opinion, anyway.

    So to me gun liberalisation for self-defence is a “neutral” point. I don’t think it would make things much better, or much worse. I do think people should be able to make the choice to own a gun for self-defence in a totally free society. But as I said, I don’t think self-defence makes gun liberalisation a priority issue. It certainly wouldn’t be my SECOND amendment.

  107. Shem, you are sounding like a fact-free zone.

    American scholars have conclusively shown that having a gun for self-defence both reduces crime and dramatically improves the outcome for crime victims, with women benefiting considerably more than men.

    Tark and Kleck showed that resistance is always better than passivity and armed resistance works best. http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-159027.html

    Lott analysed FBI crime statistics to show that violent crime rates are highest in US states with the most restrictive rules. In fact, in 1992 they were 81% higher. Carrying a gun saves a lot of lives. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=10129

    And gun control laws do not stop petty criminal from carrying firearms. The shooting of three people in Bourke Street in Melbourne shows that.

  108. Shem, with the benefit of hindsight I think the intention of that man was to rape my mother and at the last minute he lost his nerve when confronted. I don’t think he would have been tempted to do that if the cost of that action could potentially be his life – which is what changed his mind in the end. What made him get as far as he did was the completely rational belief that he could easily overpower my mother when confronted. I really don’t see why this kind of thing shouldn’t be an issue, or why arming decent people wouldn’t be striking a blow for civilised behaviour – but I guess that’s just me.

    I acknowledge that drawing a definitive conclusion in data in terms of overall crime rate is very difficult whether you are trying for a ‘for’ or ‘against’ case. My point is that the vulnerable people are often the good people – i.e. the single woman at home with a young child, the corner store shop keeper closing up at the end of a long shift, the taxi driver working a bad neighbourhood. These are the people that get preyed upon. If less of these people got done over and more crims shoot each other resulting in no overall change to crime stats, I’d still consider it a win for society. In my opinion this is what would happen if decent people had a true right to defend their persons and property.

    Either way, I agree that for political expediency we should choose the right policies. I’m not convinced that you have chosen the right policies but please prove me wrong. I can’t agree with the ‘stops petty crims having guns’ line. I was just listening to the radio in the car and that crim Mokbel had an offsider who was just prosecuted, he was found with guns. About a fortnight ago I heard a fellow was caught in Sydney with a sub-machine gun he manufactured himself. I just got back from Adelaide where there was recently a shootout with bikie gangs and I’m sure they weren’t licensed firearms. The UK is the same. I just don’t get the line.

    It certainly wouldn’t be my SECOND amendment.

    Well, I haven’t seen you build the greatest liberal democracy yet to occur on this planet, but again, please prove me wrong. 🙂

  109. Christopher Hudson was hardly a petty criminal. He shot his victims in more or less cold blood. His motivation wasn’t theft or anything, he was just pissed off that other people interfered with him beating up his girlfriend in public. He was associated with Hell Angels- biker gangs are often linked with organised crime.

    Those studies are interesting and I’m sure you have more. But I’ve seen other studies saying the opposite in the debates you’ve had with people in the past. I could be wrong on resistance, in particular, but also the study you linked to looks at all cases, rather than comparing only cases where the victim and criminal are similarly armed. It makes sense to me to think that if both victim and criminal have guns the chance of victim injury is greater than if they were both unarmed. It makes sense to me that if more victims are carrying guns, more criminals will also start carrying guns…. I don’t want to see the weaponry used in violent crime to escalate.

    But even if self-defence is a legitimate and utilitarian reason for ownership of firearms that does reduce not only the level of crime, but the chance of injury or death for those involved in crime I’d still place it in a lower tier than size of government, free speech, free trade and freedom of information in assessing a political candidate.

  110. Mick- gangs are organised criminals. They are not petty criminals. The Mokbels, bikie-gangs and other groups like that aren’t what I’m talking about. I fully acknowledge they’ll have access to weaponry regardless of the laws.

    I’m talking about the heroin junkie in the park that holds people up. Or the unemployed loser that breaks into people’s houses. If we make it easier for single-mums and grannies to get guns I think we’ll also make it easier for the rapists and robbers to get guns. I don’t want to have armed rapists and armed robbers breaking into my house- if I had the choice of me and a robber both having guns, or neither of us having guns, I’d rather the latter….

  111. That’s fine. My belief is that if you go down this path you’ll have more robberies and rapes (as the cost of these actions is lower to the perpetrator), but the amount that the victims and crims will be hurt in each case will, on average, be lower.

    But I’d argue that the cumulative amount of victim hurt will increase as there will be more victims, and that crim hurt doesn’t matter.

    Which makes it not the society I want to live in. Furthermore, whether you intend it or not, you are making a society where the innocent should forgo some of their rights to self-defence in the name of there being less hurt overall to any one individual. I don’t think decent people can commit to the values of that society. I think you need to say to decent people that if you conform to certain values the security of your person and property is inalienable and unquestionable. Your formula does not give that.

    I don’t agree with the values of the society I live in. If I saw someone being bashed on the street I’d call the cops on my mobile and keep moving – even though it’s likely to be someone quite vulnerable. The fact that self-defence is not an inalienable right suggests to me that if I get involved, not only do I have to accept the risk of injury or worse to myself (and I’ve got a family), but if I hurt the perpetrator badly I could be in trouble (and I’ve got a family). Not only that, if I do successfully make this stand for decency I have gained nothing, because with the law as it stands there is no motivation for anyone to offer similar assistance to me or my loved ones, and indeed I don’t believe, on average, they would and possibly couldn’t as they don’t have the means. So it becomes everyone for themselves and the state just becomes another entity to be wary of – in contrast to being a way to protect your basic rights.

    At the end of it all, I’m a survivor and extreme individualist. I can happily live for myself while protecting the people that are important to me. But I hate to see a potentially decent society getting done over because ‘common social standards’ believe decent individuals should take a hit in the name of the ‘common good’. It breeds a disgusting and repugnant society that no decent person could commit to, where parasitic behaviour becomes the best way to get ahead.

    But we’ve covered this a million times over.

    I understand your logic with the issues you mention, but I don’t see how they will move libertarianism forward any faster than any of the other issues we’ve mentioned including gun control. They’re all nichey in their own way, and there are people elected in this country on gun issues. I don’t know of anyone elected on free-speech yet. While libertarianism is a coherent, rational and progressive philosophy I don’t see it as a viable political philosophy in it’s pure form. I think the US experience has proven this. So if a candidate comes out with pro-gun he/she gets my vote. If they come out with pro-free speech he/she gets my vote. If they come out pro-gay rights, and they’re not from the Greens, he/she gets my vote. I’ll take what I can get in this world. I think to get ahead we need to move off in different directions. If you want gay rights and drug liberalisation then go to the Greens. If you want low tax, decent law and individual responsibility then go somewhere on the right.

  112. Shem; any criminal who wants a gun can get one. Go and see your local drug dealer and see if he can’t get you one.

    On what basis do you assume that Micks mother would be in any way worse off if she had a gun? A carving knife is good if sharp, but a Smith and Wesson .45 AutoMag will do it a shitload better, although they are not generally considered a ladies gun.

    To suggest that the situations Mick describes are preferable to a shoot out is just plain silly, you assume that crims will still come if they are likely to be confronted by an armed citizen, even a little old lady.

    A .410 shotgun is a great around the house ladies gun, or if she is not frightened of recoil, a 12 gauge auto looks really smooth tucked under the arm when answering the door.

    The gun laws have not stopped armed robberies and are not likely to.

    Gun liberalisation for self-defense would make things a whole lot better, there would be a lot less crime for a start.

    But as I said, I don’t think self-defence makes gun liberalisation a priority issue. It makes it a critical issue. The only people disarmed by the government are those who obey the law. The rest either still have them or have since acquired them.

  113. If we make it easier for single-mums and grannies to get guns I think we’ll also make it easier for the rapists and robbers to get guns. I don’t want to have armed rapists and armed robbers breaking into my house- if I had the choice of me and a robber both having guns, or neither of us having guns, I’d rather the latter….

    You don’t have that choice and never will. If they are breaking into your house they will probably have at least a knife, and as I said above anyone prepared to break the law can get a gun. Face it, an armed robber or whatever is at a disadvantage for a start in breaking in. He has a limited number of entrances and routes where you can be anywhere, you can blow the dropkick away as he comes through the door before he spots you.

  114. What about outside a train station or in a park that is a frequent haunt for them, Jim?

    You’re right that most muggers are armed with at least a knife. But do we want them to start carrying guns instead? In Australia it is rare for muggers to carry firearms, I think liberalised firearm laws would see more muggers with firearms.

    That is my primary concern… I don’t think of it is enough of a concern for me to support gun control. And I don’t support gun control. But gun liberalisation is of mixed benefit when compared to other initiatives a candidate could institute. Drug liberalisation, similarly, is of mixed benefit. Faced with things that are of mixed benefit, I do err on the side of freedom. But I also prefer candidates that are on the side of more clearly cut utilitarian freedoms.

  115. I don’t get your philosophy, Shem. By which I mean I don’t understand it’s rational underpinnings. I think we agree on a lot of things – we both think charity is good, we both want better outcomes for society, we both think outcomes are pretty much what really matters and not ideology.

    I think we have different understandings on how society works and a slightly different view of morality which result in our different approaches. I value the individual’s life as the basic good. I think you value concepts such as egalitarianism and, dare I say it, self-sacrifice as good things. I don’t see these things as having intrinsic goodness. The upside is that these differences only seem to manifest themselves in priorities of what is the most good versus least good. I suspect the downside is that, in time, people from your philosophy would oppose things like guns and people from my philosophy would start opposing things like (what they perceive as) overly generous welfare. You would think my society is not ‘inclusive’ enough and I would think your society is too ‘intrusive’. I guess we’ll wait and see!

  116. Shem, in Switzerland, they have compulsory military service for all, and they learn how to handle guns, and take them home with them. Switzerland has a very low rate of burglary, though I don’t know about rapes.
    Is this all just a coincidence?
    Also, you say, that if the government turns out bad, we’ll break the law and get guns and rebel. I would add to that- one of the signs of an evil government would be the attempt to ban all weapons in private hands.
    In any case, you should think your philosophy through from basic principles. Twenty years ago, or so, I was ardently against drugs, and supported government efforts to end drug-taking. Then I was challenged in my thinking by reading books about libertarianism, and I realised that whilst drug-taking is still a bad habit, government power was a worse threat. Instead of just accepting community opinions, as though it were a scent in the atmosphere, I based my philosophy on the ideal of maximizing individual liberty.
    Do you have a basic principle? If so, what is your belief, Shem?

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