Slip-Slidin’ Away: Guns, Abortion, and Taxes

A trifecta of controversy!

The Maximum Leader has called my attention to Velociworld’s piece on slippery slopes.

Methinks the good Velociman paints with too broad of a brush, particularly when he implies that all advocates of gun control want to eliminate all guns and leave right-thinking people at the mercy of the evil mutant criminal hordes.

Perhaps I’m an exception, but…

(Brace yourself for independently principled discourse)

(No, this is not “squishy.”)

(I mean it! I’m not “squishy!”)

(Damn. Like Kerry I seem unable to take a nuanced position without being tarred by the Maximum Leader’s epithets… Okay, perhaps what follows is a wee bit squishy.)

I believe guns are a useful tool.

Deer in your orchard? Defend your livelihood.

Dogs chasing your sheep? Defend your animals.

Burglar breaking into your house? Defend your family.

Big Hominids rummaging through your fridge for tasty delicacies? Defend your nachos.

Obscure literary references wooing your daughter with felt tip markers? You know what to do.

That said, I don’t believe in unlimited, unfettered, unregulated gun ownership. It’s not necessary and it is not a right (see: “A well-regulated militia…”).

I don’t want to ban all guns. But I’m comfortable banning rocket-propelled grenades. I’m comfortabe banning the Foreign Minister’s beloved MP-40. (But it is coooool to shoot!)

I’m comfortable telling private citizens that they may not have handguns, but I’m not a fanatic about it. If someone were to convince me that handguns were so much better than shotguns for home defense that their concealability and potential for abuse was outweighed by that utility, I’d change positions.

In fact, the most persuasive arguments I have heard about permitting widespread gun ownership aren’t based on a faulty interpretation of the Second Amendment; they are based on practicality. Would restricting gun ownership actually lead to a reduction in crime rates? It might not, simply because gunownership is so widespread that we will never be able to get all the guns out of the hands of criminals.

So the slippery slope on gun control does not apply to me - or many other Americans. Even many NRA members support the restriction of Class III weapons.

The slippery slope DOES apply to abortion. And it should. If you believe that life begins at conception, abortion is murder - so one cannot compromise. I am tremendously puzzled by pro-lifers who don’t follow the logic of their own position and are willing to make exceptions in the case of rape or incest. If you believe that abortion is murder, it is also morally impermissible to murder a fetus for the sin of its father. In this case, failing to follow the slippery slope is asinine.

I wish people would reject the slippery slope on tax policy. Reducing taxes makes sense IF we are on the right side of the Laffer curve. But many anti-tax proponents mindlessly mouth the canard that “tax cuts grow revenue” - a silly position that, when carried to a logical extreme, seems to hold that 0% taxation would lead to unlimited government revenue. I respect Republicans who openly admit that Bush’s deficit creation is an intentional attempt to bankrupt the government as a way to force a restructuring of government priorities - at least their goal is open and can be discussed. Voodoo economists who hold that Republican policies ended Clinton-era surpluses in order to increase government revenue frustrate me.

I stand prepared for my flaming.

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