Facing facts, &c.

Franklin Gun Shop in Athens, Ga.



One of the things Democrats frequently accuse Republicans of is having no respect for science or facts. Funny, but I make a similar accusation about them. Do they care about the results of their policies? No, they like the feel-good nature of those policies.

How about soaking the rich? Does that bring in more revenue to the government? Or does the lowering of marginal tax rates bring in more revenue? Do higher taxes aid the economy or retard it? Who cares? The point is to feel good, about sticking it to the rich, or requiring that they pay their “fair share.”

So it is with gun control. These gun-control laws: Do they reduce gun violence? Or do they have the opposite effect? Does the disarming of a population make them safer or less safe? Who cares? We feel better because we have “done something.”

One fine day, I’d like to hear someone say, “I used to support gun control, but now I see that such control does not bring my desired results. On the contrary. Therefore, I’ve changed my mind.”

That would be a beautiful thing.

I remember how I was sold on Reagan’s policies. I was deeply skeptical: of “peace through strength” and supply-side economics. (In my defense, I was a teenager, and finding out about the world.) But I saw the effects of his policies. And, bowing to the empirical imperative, said, “Okay.”

To heck with a theory — how does something work?

The above item leaves out something important: the Bill of Rights, and, in particular, the Second Amendment. But not every impromptu can contain everything (heaven knows).

I smiled at this lead from the Associated Press, and you might too:

Just as President Barack Obama is pushing new initiatives on gun control and immigration, the gloomy old problem of a sluggish economy is elbowing its way back into prominence.

(Full article here.) Oh, why must the economy spoil the One’s plans for fundamental transformation? (Unless, of course, a sluggish economy is part of the fundamental transformation.)

They used to accuse Reagan of not “growing in office” — the Left did, I mean. I was reminded of this when writing of Tip O’Neill and his myth. (For my Impromptus on that subject, go here.) Barack Obama could be accused of not growing in office: of refusing to compromise with the opposition, ignoring reality, and clinging to ideology. But he never will be.

You know what I mean?

From 1988 to 1992, Republicans said, “We’ve won five of the last six presidential elections. The Democratic party is on the ropes.” The Democrats didn’t like this, as you can imagine. They said, “It depends on how you count! Why don’t you start with Kennedy, huh?”

I was reminded of this when a conservative congressman remarked to me the other day, “We’ve lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections.”

No matter what, that was sobering to me. (Not that I’m in the need of further sobering about our country, trust me.)

There is a subject that’s pretty much undiscussable: Government is not just government but, to a degree, a jobs program. If you scale back government — what about the workers? Will they waltz into the private sector?

A reader sent me an article, whose headline was startling: “U.S. Post Office cuts threaten source of black jobs.” Black jobs? Anyway, a very tricky subject, and, as I’ve said, almost undiscussable. But very important.

An even more important subject: Iran and nukes. A theme of mine has been, The International Atomic Energy Agency is under new management, and much better management. This means that the agency is at last doing its job. Under Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA was something like an apologist for Iran — a harsh statement, an extreme-seeming statement, but justified, I think. (I studied the issue for my book on the Nobel Peace Prize — which the IAEA and ElBaradei won, jointly.) Under Yukiya Amano, the IAEA is the agency it was designed to be.

Here’s the opening paragraph of an AP report from yesterday:

The U.N. nuclear agency has told member nations that Iran is poised for a major technological upgrade of its uranium enrichment program . . . The move would vastly speed up Tehran’s ability to make material that can be used for both reactor fuel and nuclear warheads.

I have a question, with regard to Iran: Is the world slumbering or resigned?