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Gun Control Debate

The topic of the second Democracy on Trial debate will be Gun Control. This debate will complement the gun control discussion of Nov 5th. We learned some valuable formatting lessons from our first role of government debate which we will apply to this next debate. We are confident that the changes we will implement will lead to a deeper exploration and understanding of this controversial issue. We have two smart people passionate about their ideals to represent each side. We will start the questioning addressing the issue of ethics and let the audience ask prepared questions after that. So please prepare any question that you would like to ask our debaters, and then post it to this meetup site so it is available for all to review.

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  • Darren W.

    You're all invited to a great gun control debate hosted by Democracy Unplugged. This one on Thursday 3/7 in Media. The libertarian in this one is David Jahn, former chair of the Libertarian Party of PA. Don't miss it!
    https://www.facebook.com/events/336654013113307/

    February 27, 2013

  • Darren W.

    Despite attempts by the unscrupulous to shut down the Citizens for Liberty meeting it went on. Please enjoy the presentation I gave there.
    http://theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-relationship-between-liberty-power.html

    January 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      People exercising their First Amendment right to free speech in a manner that does not violate constitutionally-sanctio­ned restrictions on free speech are not unscrupulous. It would be nice if defenders of newly reinterpreted Second Amendment rights acknowledged similar constitutionally-sanctio­ned limitations on the rights they hold dear.

      January 19, 2013

  • Jackie

    This is ridiculous gun crazed skin heads??!! Wow I don't even own a gun neither does any of the founding members of CFL.

    2 · December 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 6 of 6

    Take a look at a national election map some time. For many years now, it looks like a replay of the American Civil War. Take a look at intrastate election breakdowns. At that level, you see a consistent urban-rural split. Four years ago, President Obama talked about underemployed rural folk “clinging to guns and religion.” A few months ago, Governor Romney talked about the “forty-seven percent.” Impolitic statements by both men to be sure. But they did not make these statements in a cultural vacuum. When you consider such views within the context of consistent North-South and urban-rural voting fissures, it is not at all clear to me that we really are one country with one shared narrative on anything important.

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 5 of 6

    To a degree that seems to depart from other modern Western nations, America is prone to vociferous culture wars. Witness the eruption over the last couple of days on some of the discussion threads for this group. We talk about America as a nation of immigrants. I wonder if what we really are is a multicultural patchwork in which the supermarket, the strip mall, and the job market are the only things holding us together as a national community. When I can use America’s founding documents to come to one conclusion about legitimate social rules and Darren can use those same documents to draw another, then this counts for me as evidence of the absence of a shared social consensus on the things that really matter.

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 4 of 6

    What Darren really is trying to say, I think, is that, in America, a significant portion of the population has strongly held views favoring (mostly unrestricted) personal ownership of firearms. Correlatively, he is suggesting that attempts to restrict gun ownership will be viewed as illegitimate by the segment of the American population that strongly favors guns.

    As an empirical statement about the support for guns in American society, I think Darren is correct. A large number of Americans fit this profile. Of course, there is another segment of American society that has strongly held views to the contrary. Unfortunately for the stability of America’s constitutive social contract, the renewed dispute over guns has correlates with other hot-button issues: abortion, gay marriage, separation of church and state, and the role of government. In other words, the so-called “culture wars.”

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 3 of 6

    Why? The social consensus in these societies does not depend on widespread gun ownership as the basis for self-defense. Rather, the consensus in these societies inheres in constitutive rules that assign the role of defending personal security to the community as a whole through the agency of government.

    Nonaggression also has an ambiguous status as some kind of moral principle. If restricted to just personal security, then it runs into the problem of justifiable resistance against armed or unarmed oppressors (slave owners, autocratic governments, and the like). If nonaggression takes a more expansive definition (e.g., slavery is immoral because it violates nonaggression), then it becomes conflated with questions of social justice. Viewed in that way, it becomes difficult to sort out the specific question of the morality of gun ownership.

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 2 of 6

    When populations no longer respond to such incentives, governments find themselves using ever-greater levels of coercion in an effort to maintain the stability of constitutive rules. Ironically, this can have a dynamic feedback effect resulting in an increased willingness of citizens to resist. When this happens, revolution may be imminent. The recent uprisings in the Arab world and the revolt against the Soviet empire some twenty years ago are both examples.

    In neither case, was nonaggression the first or any principle informing the destabilization of these societies. Likewise, Western European societies with restrictive gun laws enjoy significant levels of stability in spite of their violation of Darren’s so-called nonaggression principle.

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Part 1 of 6

    Darren’s nonaggression principle has no empirical foundation in the functioning of real societies. Social cohesion in real civil societies is based on the stability of the constitutive rules governing those communities. These rules are oftentimes instantiated in law and constitutions, but they need not be.

    The stability of constitutive rules is based on two foundations: (1) The willingness to enforce rules. (2) The willingness to obey rules. Normally, government is the agency of rule enforcement (although decentralized enforcement is possible under very restrictive conditions). Government enforces rules through negative incentives (threats to punish) and through positive incentives (promises of rewards, subsidies, and the like).

    December 28, 2012

  • Brian (.

    Black and white paradigms at work here. A total ban on weapons is impossible, however an effort to reduce the deadliest weapons is a sensible movement in the correct direction.

    December 28, 2012

    • Darren W.

      The problem with that idea is that to implement it requires initiating the use of force, or at least the credible threat of force, on peaceful gun owners. This is immoral. The 1st rule required to live in civil society is the non-aggression principle. Restricting guns may sound civilized, but in practice it is a barbaric initiation of force.

      2 · December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I don't think a decent society should permit decent people to arm themselves to defend themselves against other decent people in public places. I am not alone in this view, You are not alone in yours. I have little doubt that public opinion data will show that those with your view tend to have a disproportionate share of the ilk that I have been attacking. Normal, law-abiding citizens do not think President Obama is a traitor and do not attend meetings where the Second Amendment is used as a foil to entertain fantasies that he is.

    The dishonesty comes on the other side. I am sick and tired of the tyranny of balance that allows equal time for patently absurd points of view.

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Inviting people to a family restaurant with guns is uncivilized. This isn't the Wild West, There is nothing decent about running around a well-defined society as if everyone around you is an enemy

    Your conflation of the U.S. with the UN makes you incapable of detecting the nuances necessary for governance. It reminds me of the all-or nothing mentality of the so-called Tea Party Republicans.

    And I continue to remind all of you that there is no evidence of the cabal for which gun toting in restaurants might conceivably be required. Lumping Obama together with said fantasy conspiracy opens folks up to the charge of extremism. Why? Because it is the same code used by Birthers, Flat Earthers, and other deniers of rationality. Oh, I forgot. Kids died in Newtown because we took God out of the schools. Mike Huckaberry. I feel real comfortable with people like that carrying guns.

    If you want this to be sane conversation, then don't resort to rhetorical devices that are strongly associated with right wi

    1 · December 28, 2012

    • James B.

      You're still doing it. You have no logical argument, so you just keep throwing out baseless accusations. Plenty of decent people believe in the right of self defense. Since you know that, your continued attempts to conflate gun ownership with right-wing extremism further erodes your character. I didn't expect this kind of dishonesty from you. Sad.

      December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    In Germany, Nazi symbolism is banned. Quite illiberal. And it is a ban with which I agree. Nazis and their ilk are beyond the pale of civilized discourse.

    I bet I could come up with other discourses most of us would agree should be shunned. Let's try pedophilia for a start. Anybody up for defending someone's right to discuss that monstrosity here? Probably not.

    Politics has its own evils. Stalin on left. Hitler and the swatstikka on the right. Slavery and the Confederate flag in the American South. These are not acceptable social formations. Nor are the ideologies which support them.

    If this sounds illiberal, too bad, The American founding documents are quite liberal. But they presuppose the society which they are to govern is composed of civilized, rational, and informed citizens, Purveyors of Blue Helmet fantasies have questionable ties to these presumptions.

    December 28, 2012

    • James B.

      Evidently, it's perfectly fine to call people nazis and skinheads in extended rants without the slightest shred of evidence. That's not liberal, it's dishonest and embarrassing.

      December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    A fair point. Here is what I know. They would like to show up to a family restaurant with guns. They would like to argue for a Blue helmet fantasy. They would like to argue for the need for guns (one might guess assault rifles) to defend against the globalist blue helmet plot. Sociologically, this tends to correlate with a set of views that can be characterized loosely as far-right. Purveyors of those views have affinities, statistically, with other extremist views on the right end of the political spectrum. I have deliberately used incendiary words like skin head and Nazi because they are summary concepts for many who hold these views and because I wish to make a point about boundaries of acceptable rational discourse. If this sounds illiberal, well, it is. I don't believe EVERY viewpoint should be tolerated.

    1 · December 28, 2012

    • James B.

      Well at least you can admit that you have no evidence. I know a lot of people that open carry, not one is a skin head. You sound like the stooges from SPLC with your sad attempt to paint decent people as violent racists. I really expected better from you.

      December 28, 2012

    • James B.

      For the record, I don't give a crap about helmet color. I'm not sure why you obsess over it. The US Government and the UN are functionally the same thing as far as I can tell.

      December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    A final point. The manger at the restaurant where this CFL meeting is expected be held told me they were not welcome at her establishment. I did not have to convince her of this. She shut me down before I could get many words uttered (if you can imagine that). Why? Because the CFL has already been there. And they have provided the fuel out of their own mouths and public advertising to make them persona non grata at this establishment.

    Now why would that be? You think a meeting of the Young Republicans or Young Democrats would get similar treatment?

    December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Darren, you went over the top when you posted that right wing fringe garbage on a site not dedicated to such nonsense. The First Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things. It also gives me the right to call you out.

    I talked to the restaurant management tonight. She made it clear that your group is not welcome.

    If you wish to return to comity, then save the right wing fringe elements of your views for the skin heads who inhabit the CFL. I can deal with you if we stick to a reasoned debate about property rights and their implications for efficiency, justice, freedom, and equity. But I will not tolerate the subtle introduction of the jackboot and the black flag into this group without making you and everyone else extremely uncomfortable.

    December 27, 2012

    • Darren W.

      What did you say to the restaurant management to scare them? I think that if you actually went out of your way to sabotage our meeting based on what you learned here it is your continued participation in this group that needs to be reconsidered. I, for one, am not going to take your "jackboot" tactics.

      December 27, 2012

    • James B.

      Is there evidence that CFL is inhabited by skin heads? What are their names?

      December 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Folks, you are entitled to your own opinions. But you are not entitled to your own facts, The sky is blue. Like it or not. The military forces in the U.S. where green helmets, they have American insignia, and the swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution. They do not wear blue helmets. They do not have UN arm bands on their uniforms. They do not take orders from the UN.

    More importantly, the international system is not structured in a way that provides self-interested politicians with incentives that would otherwise led them to be treasonous supporters of some global world order, There is no funding source for the U.N. that would enable it to take on this agenda independently of the member states.

    Go look for the Martian invasion. It is the same thing.

    December 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yep. And the other group can have its pre-approved fantasies which lack evidence even if they do excite the imagination.

    December 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    You better keep an eye out for the invading forces of the UN. They might take you as a POW. I hear Obama is planning a Blue Helmet invasion of Conshocken in mid January so that he can shut down these voice of "liberty" within our midst.

    December 27, 2012

  • Darren W.

    Many of the issues brought up at this debate will also be discussed at the 12/9 Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/thinkingsociety/events/85461612/

    Sharpen your wits & come on out.

    November 26, 2012

  • Darren W.

    At the last minute I've been invited to speak at Philly - Nationwide End The Fed / End The Wars Rally 2 on Saturday. I'll base my talk on the arguments I used at the debate. Join us at noon at the Federal Reserve bank to hear some extreme speeches :-)

    https://www.facebook.com/events/443568162351325/

    1 · November 22, 2012

  • Ivan G.

    This was my first time at a Philadelphia Thinking Society/Ethical Society meeting, and I really enjoyed it. The discussion was very thought provoking and well done thanks to the great speakers. It could have been a little better streamlined, but it didn't detract much from the discussion.

    1 · November 18, 2012

  • Jean S.

    Gun control - If you want gun control where your live, that's okay with me. But, don't push your rules on me. I own a gun and many in my family own guns. It isn't for protection of hurting anyone. If you live in the city, you have no idea what it is like to live in the peaceful country. And, those that live in the country don't have a clue about where you live with bullets flying around the neighborhood. If you don't like the danger where you live, MOVE. But, don't push your rules on me. Jean in West Chester

    1 · November 12, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      My point here is that you need a better argument for gun rights than one that says "keep your hands off my guns." It is visceral. It is emotional. It is not based on reasoned discussion. It turns people off. It turns a policy discussion into another culture war.

      November 12, 2012

    • Phil

      What about something like the lost or stolen gun law? Philadelphia passed the law, but Harrisburg doesn't want to allow it anywhere in Pennsylvania.

      November 16, 2012

  • Katie

    In preparation for the upcoming debate on gun control we are interested in collecting questions from members that can be used during the debate. This debate will focus on underlying goals, values and ethics of gun control. If you have a question that is in the spirit of understanding the underlying goals and consequences of gun control please submit them by directly messaging me through meetup.org. We will draw from these submissions to facilitate the debate. Following the discussion of these questions there will be a resolution dialogue where the audience can freely participate.

    November 14, 2012

  • James B.

    Exactly what is the postulation to be debated?

    October 22, 2012

    • Mark S.

      We don't need Gun Control of ANY sort. We need criminal control. If you are a criminal, or any sort of individual prohibited from owning or possesing firearms and you are caught with one, go to jail for life, same if you illegally sold a weapon to such an individual. Don't like it, then don't be a criminal.

      1 · November 13, 2012

    • Vince M.

      The point of a debate is to elicit different opinions regarding the issue so that each view can be considered and assessed in an unbiased and open way. Consideration and respect for contrasting views will be a hallmark of the Democracy on Trial process.

      November 13, 2012

  • Lorraine

    Does it have to be all or nothing? No guns or no limit on ownership? Why does one person need dozens of handguns? Is that freedom more important than trying to keep a lid on gun violence? And it's not that owning dozens of handguns makes a person more liable to kill or commit a crime. It's the fact that oppositon to gun control makes it difficult for lawmakers to pass sensible legislation. Legislation that would not make it impossible for responsible people to own a gun, but might make it more difficult for criminals to purchase and traffic in guns with the only purpose being to put more weapons in the hands of very bad people.

    November 12, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      If we are concerned with the collector turning into an illegal arms dealer, then arrest him when he does and levy severe penalties.

      1 · November 13, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      By the way, the single biggest arms dealer in the world is the American taxpayer and his/her duly established agent -- the U.S. government.

      November 13, 2012

  • Helen R.

    Do guns in the home provide protection or greater opportunity for harm?

    October 27, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      By the way, I am what most people would call a liberal. And it is preceisely because I am a liberal, I am not real keen on the state regulating property rights without a clear argument grounded in social justice. Regulating the rights of humans to own other humans (slavery) or the rights to maintain an unsafe and inhumane workplace (workplace safety and minimum wage) come to mind. There are many others. Gun ownerhsip is not among them. Guns are cheap. Guns are potential levellers in stuggles over injustice. Guns are potential levellers in struggles against tyranny.

      November 12, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Slavery in the U.S. was not ended by kumbaya. Neither was apartheid in South Africa. Neither was the elimination of fascism in Euope in the 1940s. Guns have their uses in responsible hands.

      November 12, 2012

  • Lorraine

    I look forward to hearing the positions of the other members.

    October 29, 2012

  • Jean S.

    City meet country... People that live in the city view guns quite differently than those that live in the suburbs. A pistol in my home belonged to my father as a member of the Georgia National Guard in the 1920's. I wouldn't think of giving it away. But, if I lived in the city where bullets were winging by my window, I would feel differently. I doubt that there will ever be an agreement between citizens with very different lifestyles. Even here in West Chester, now and then I hear a gunshot... Am I afraid? No.

    1 · October 27, 2012

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