Thursday, April 26, 2018

Dishonest Brokers

     One of the simplest and most easily applied techniques for probing for that elusive quality we call fairness is this: Do both sides of the deal feel they’re better off for having accepted it?

     A deal in which both sides believe they’ll benefit is one that neither side needs to be coerced to accept. It might take some persuasion. One side might not see its self-interest as plainly as the other. But if there would be gains on both sides, eventually the deal – or an even better one – will be struck. No other basis for negotiation can sustain repeated application in plain sight.

     So what are we to make of deals that, in hindsight at least, favored one side but penalized the other? If such a deal is voluntarily accepted, the penalized side must somehow have been deceived. Perhaps it was actively deceived by representatives of the other side. Alternately, it might have contrived to deceive itself; such occurrences are not unknown. There are also “middle cases” in which active deception and self-deception operated cooperatively.

     If two communities repeatedly strive to strike deals, and one side always gets shafted, then unless the shafted folks are complete blithering idiots, eventually they’ll conclude that the other side has been deceiving them. The common term for this tactic is “bad faith.” That is, they conclude that the other side has been seating itself at the negotiating table with no intention to speak the truth. Admittedly, this does leave room for collaborative self-deception, usually under the veil of wishful thinking.

     Yes, I’m thinking of the right to keep and bear arms, but not that exclusively.

     Via the esteemed Nitzakhon, we have this excellent display of what happens when an American community of interest realizes that it’s been screwed.

     When the state of Delaware decided to try to compete with New York and California as the most anti-gun state in the nation, there were bound to be some in the state less than pleased with their lawmakers. A recent town hall, ostensibly to bridge the gap between the two sides of the gun debate, proved that there are a lot more of those who love their Second Amendment rights than their opponents thought–especially after it got derailed.
     It took about 60 seconds to determine which way the crowd leaned.
     It didn’t take much longer to make it clear how strongly it felt.
     Most of the approximately 400 people attending a town hall meeting about gun violence Monday evening came to voice their opposition to several proposed gun control measures now in the General Assembly.
     The event, organized as an attempt to bridge the divide between opponents and supporters of gun restrictions, featured four Delaware politicians: Two Republican senators, one Democratic senator and the Department of Justice’s top prosecutor who is now running for attorney general.

     Tom Knighton goes on to tell us what we should have known long ago:

     I’m sorry, but this was a wasted effort. There is no bridging of the gap. The truth is, anti-gunners are simply doing what they always do. They’re demanding more and more from the pro-Second Amendment crowd while offering nothing in return, then blasting us as unwilling to compromise. Because of that, we’re sick of giving up any ground. That’s why there won’t be any bridging going on. There’s no bridging because the other side isn’t arguing in good faith.

     We all know that they’ll soon be asking for something else and using the same arguments, so no.

     That is exactly the case. Moreover, the gun controllers’ campaign might have been deliberately designed that way.

     Think about it! The rationale for every gun control measure ever proposed has been that it would improve our safety by reducing crimes of violence. That has never, ever been the case; no gun control measure passed in the U.S. has resulted in a reduction of violent crime. Often, such crimes have increased in frequency in the district afflicted by the gun control measure.

     Now think about what follows. The increase in crime leaves the populace feeling less safe. At times of that sort, people tend to turn to the State for “protection.” And what does the State usually do in response? It proposes more restrictive gun control laws.

     Never is any thought given to repealing the previous gun control measure under the reasonable supposition that the status quo ante might be restored thereby. No; it’s always more, more, more. The previous measure is somehow ruled beyond question. To suggest that it was wrong, even without the coupled suggestion that it was meant to fail of its ostensible purpose, is treated as unspeakable.

     And of course, firearms rights are only one case of this dynamic.

     Nearly a year ago, the most excellent Dystopic / Thales / Asterix the Gaul / “Call me Ed or Pay me $5” wrote as follows:

     When a charity asks me to donate money, the question is often “how much?” And not just how much money they want from me, though that is important as well, but how much money is actually spent on the mission of the charity, versus administrative overhead.

     Yet with government spending, the question of how much is only ever answered with more. How much taxpayer funding do you need for welfare? More. How much is needed for paying school teachers? More. How much is needed for social services? More. How much taxpayer money do you need, period? More.

     However much the government is taking today, it always wants more. And furthermore, the political Left is dedicated to guilt shaming you, via Weaponized Empathy, if you should disagree with them. How many Muslim refugees should be accepted by various Western countries around the world? More. Never is it a specific number, fixed and immutable, after which we might account our duty to human rights and dignity properly satisfied. Always it is more....

     I’ve never received a satisfactory answer to that question. What percentage of my income is demanded? More. How much of my assets must I forfeit? More. How much should I give up from my business and my career? More. I even ask Leftists, on occasion, to just give me an ideal average tax rate. How much should American citizens, as a whole, and on average, give up to the government? More. Never have I once received a reply that says “this is the tax rate that we want, then we’ll leave you alone.”

     This is the pattern dedicated statists follow: “We need more.” “What do we get in return?” “Sit down and shut up. We need more, and if you protest we’ll defame you, harass you, and call you everything but white.”

     Most important of all: there’s never a “refund clause.” Should the promised benefits (if any) not materialize, the expropriation is not reversed; rather, still more is demanded.

     No private actor could possibly get away with such blatant bad faith exhibited over dozens of transactions. He’d be lucky if a court were merely to strip him naked in restitution. In the Nineteenth Century West, a “snake-oil salesman” who didn’t have the good sense to move on quickly after a round of sales would be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Some who didn’t were lynched. Yet governments, and those who aspire to rule, get away with far worse betrayals repeatedly.

     I submit that they know what they’re doing and are doing it with malice aforethought.

     We who prize the rights guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment have recognized the pattern. What will it take for the rest of America to catch up?

1 comment:

Pascal said...

The most dishonest brokers of all are the GOPe. What it takes to remove them from their positions of power should have been objective number one long ago. They have seen to it over my lifetime that we never adequately deal with the agents openly demanding of "more." No vise operates with only one arm. I am certain I am not the first to make this point. Those who preceded me backed off from action because they glimpsed the chaos that would ensue and abandoned the crusade. Wishing to avoid the looming chaos has only ensured that posterity we face much bleaker prospects.

Justice would see that each of our generation will earn our damnation measured on a scale not merely based upon our overt sins, but an eye jaundiced by the extent by our cowardice in battling the sort of evil embodied in GOPe types.