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Selfish Unconcern

My last “I’m not a gun owner… but” post got me thinking that it’s probably not astroturfing by anti-gun groups.   There are a lot of gun owners in this country, and most of them aren’t activists, nor are they informed.

Most people are rather selfishly unconcerned with other people’s liberty.  If they were, you wouldn’t see the proliferation of smoking bans.  People support smoking bans because they don’t like smoking, and don’t like the smell.  So they want it banned.  They don’t do it, don’t like it, so no one should do it.   Note you don’t see people pushing for farting bans in public, even though public farting is most decidedly unpleasant.   This is because everyone farts.  People understand they could run a risk of getting fined for letting one loose in a public area, not realizing they were dropping a real stink bomb.  People concern themselves with their own liberty, when it comes to the liberty of others, their own preferences will usually win out.

So you have someone with a Remington 700 up in his closet that he used to hunt deer years ago, doesn’t like these fancy, scary looking newfangled guns, that he is mistaken to think that only criminals, nut cases, and gang bangers have any use for, and is ignorant that his 700 is a military sniper rifle by another name.  If he knew they’d be coming for that eventually, he might be more concerned, and more careful about what he says.  But his ignorance and selfishness allow him to bitch about Glocks, and other scary looking guns he doesn’t approve of, because in his mind, it doesn’t affect his own liberty.

Liberty exists as a state where the rights of the individual are protected from transgressions by others, and by society collectively.  It cannot be regarded selfishly.  To be truly committed to liberty, one can’t merely support liberty for himself, without supporting it for others as well.  This means a certain amount of tolerance behaviors and things that you find personally distasteful.

I don’t particularly like smoking myself, and I tend to think other drivers on the road are boneheads.  There are people out there who can barely drive, let alone talk on a cell phone while doing it.  But I reject smoking bans, because business owners should have to right to decide what is allowed on their own property (and don’t give me crap about second hand smoke.  A night on the town exposed to second hand smoke isn’t going to hurt anyone at all, considering you’re probably drinking livery poison while you complain about other people’s unhealthy smoke).  I oppose banning cell phones for drivers (as a primary offense, secondary offenses I have no problem with), because it makes no distinction between people making a quick call, or who know when to tell the other person to shut up and pay attention to the road, and folks gabbing on and on paying little attention.  I don’t go for “punish everyone for the few” solutions to solving problems.

Liberty means having to accept some risk and tolerance of distasteful activities so we can all continue to live in a free society.  The fact that most people don’t think that way should probably not be a surprise, but every time I read one of these “I’m not a gun owner… but” editorials, I find it hard to believe there are people out there that selfishly unconcerned with anyone other than their own freedoms.

4 Responses to “Selfish Unconcern”

  1. Ahab says:

    Man, what’s going around the blogsphere lately? You, me, and Marko all have posts up about how liberty/nanny-statism issues.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Hell – I’m ALLERGIC to cigarette smoke, and I oppose the smoking bans. It’s great that I don’t have to deal with it anymore in New Jersey, but sucks for all my friends and co-workers who smoke. Dump it.

    As for cellphones and driving – isn’t that what Reckless Driving charges are for?

  3. Sebastian says:

    Reckless driving is actually a pretty serious offense compared to other motor vehicle offenses. I think it’s even a misdemeanor in some states, rather than a summary offense, which means you get arrested for it. The most common offense that gabbing on a cell phone falls under is careless driving, which is less serious. Careless driving can apply to eating a cheeseburger while driving as well, and things of that nature. Reckless driving is a willfull offense, careless driving is for people just being idiots.

    The best way to deal with the public safety concerns of talking on a cell phone while driving is to make it a secondary offense, meaning you can’t be pulled over for it, but if you break some other traffic law, they can fine you for gabbing on the cell phone too. In that manner, safe drivers can feel free to continue to use their cell phones while driving. I will admit I talk to Bitter a lot on my way home, but I know when to interrupt the conversation because I have to pay attention to traffic. If you can talk on the cell phone without breaking traffic laws, knock yourself out. But if you’re being unsafe on the road, I think it’s fine to make talking on the cell phone a secondary offense, like wearing a seatbelt is in many states.

  4. I own two Remington 700s.

    Time to get ready to leave now.

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