I Don’t Know Why They are Surprised

Many on the left have been angered at Diane Feinstein’s reaction to the NSA surveillance scandal, as evidenced by this New York Times article here. Is it any surprise? One reason I like the gun issue is that it’s such a great political proxy. You can tell a lot about how a politician thinks by whether or not they believe you ought to be permitted to have some parity with the government, in terms of application of force, and the means to do so.

Really, the whole notion of popular sovereignty ceases to have any meaning of the people can’t meaningfully withdraw their consent to be governed. Feinstein has Napoleon-like tendencies? The devil, you say. One thing I’ve never understood is the shock so many left-of-center voters display when they find out some of their heroes are nothing more than Napoleon wannabes. A little careful thinking about how Feinstein believes citizens and government ought to relate should reveal that in a hurry.

16 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Why They are Surprised”

  1. This exercise has helped me make sense of a lot of what’s going on today. it’s shorthand, clearly, but it helps:


    I honestly don’t know where I’d put Obama on this chart, sophomoric sneering aside. He clearly leans heavily on the “nudge” approach to managing society by shaping the rational options which individuals may pursue in their self-interest.

    1. I’ve explained it as a litmus test to people as well, when they wonder why we care about it so much, seemingly to the exclusion of other things. The right to life, and it’s defense, is about as basic as you can get. If they don’t support it then you have to question everything else about their beliefs.

  2. “Feinstein has Napoleon-like tendencies?”

    What did Napoleon do to deserve that?

    1. Napolean was a bad-ass, tyrannical, Anglosphere-hating, despicable monster.

      And that was on his good days…

  3. The statist mantra is “government über alles” (as long as their guy is in charge). As a leading member of the left wing of the statist party, I find nothing remarkable about her stance. She is performing as advertised.

  4. “You can tell a lot about how a politician thinks by whether or not they believe you ought to be permitted to have some parity with the government…”

    I believe that cuts both ways. If a hard-right politician supports all sort of authoritarian, “there oughta be a law” measures to achieve the ends he/she thinks are desirable — all to be enforced by government guns — at the same time they are speaking in golden honeyed terms about gun rights, I know they are royally full of crap. The first time one of their rightist statist policies was resisted by force, you would find them discovering that gun rights only belong to right-thinking people and Real Americans, for whom they’d be more than prepared to supply the definition.

    1. Indeed. There’s a lot of “tells” where they may be for hunting or sporting or talk about “honest gun owners”.

      That said there are authoritarians that give lip service to gun rights.

      But I don’t believe there are anti-authoritarians that endorse gun control.

      Thus a stance on gun rights is still a useful test. It’s just not the exhaustive test.

    2. totally agree. ultimately, the more government control a politician espouses commits them to using force to push those policies on the unwilling. a “libertarian” who espouses steep infringements on abortion rights ain’t a libertarian.

      1. Only true if, in order to be a “libertarian”, it is necessary to believe that a human life begins at the same point YOU think it does.

        If someone believes that an individual life (with, at a minimum, the right to not be arbitrarily killed) begins at “X”, than the NAP principle would apply for any termination after “X”.

        It doesn’t matter if “X” is fertilization, implantation (“conception” in scientific terms), segmentation, nervous system develpment, viability, actual live birth, walking, or talking (ALL points at which various people and cultures have defined “the beginning of personhood”). If the thing in question has passed the point at which you believe that it has achieved personhood, the logical libertarian argument would be to prohibit the legal authority to terminate that life without proper cause (for example, “life of the mother” exceptions fall under “self preservation”).

        To believe that life begins a “X”, and still support purely elective termination after that point would be someone who is not a libertarian, however much they may agree with libertarian ideals in other cases. To support the unilateral and unjustified killing of entities you believe are “people” is the very opposite of the NAP.

        Likewise, if you believe that personhood begins at “X”, to espouse arbitrary restrictions on elective abortion BEFORE “X” would violate the NAP.

        You (unlike the Court in Roe v. Wade) simply refuse to accept that someone may honestly have a different belief in when life begins, and if they claim to, then either they are delusional or lying.

        1. I’m not saying I endorse the concept, but I remember someone of libertarian persuasion offering the rule that, an entity has only those rights it can petition for.

          Sort of brutal, but simplifying.

  5. Nail. Head. Direct hit.
    Gun rights are the canary in the coal mine of liberty.
    How a politician stands on gun rights is a 1:1 of where they stand on the rights of the people.

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