The Agenda

Megan McArdle on Mandatory Liability Insurance for Firearms

The indispensable Megan McArdle dismantles the case for mandatory liability insurance for firearms. The entire post is well worth reading, but this passage offers some insight into the difficulties involved in enforcing mandatory liability insurance:

One in seven drivers in America is uninsured.  That’s despite the fact that they are driving a large, hard-to-conceal object which is regularly inspected by the fleet of parking and traffic enforcement professionals hired specifically by governments for this purpose.

Megan’s post reminded me of John McGinnis’s National Affairs essay, “A Politics of Knowledge”:

In economics, law, education, energy, transportation, and a variety of other fields, we have seen the emergence of many specialized blogs that are published by experts and practitioners in those fields and read by other leading experts and practitioners (as well as by a larger public with an interest in those subjects). Within each field, these expert blogs often respond to one another, creating a networked conversation at an extraordinarily high level of sophistication. The best minds in these fields are essentially talking problems through with one another in public while the rest of us listen. And when the subject is a new law or policy proposed or enacted in Washington, the result is instant, intense, and detailed analysis and discussion among experts, available to any interested citizen — a public service of a sort barely imaginable before the advent of modern information technology.

To be sure, Megan was not responding to an expert — she was responding to my careless musing on the subject of liability insurance. But I suspect that her detailed post will convince a good number of people not to pursue an idea that does not appear to be practicable. The blogosphere generates ideas at an impressive pace, but it can kill them pretty quickly as well, and that is all to the good.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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