Gun restrictions and the Irrationality of Politics

This evening, I came across a link on Twitter to an article explaining that kids are more likely to be killed in bicycle accidents than by gun violence. Despite this fact, the government is always quick use instances of gun violence as an excuse to restrict gun ownership and liberty in general. The gun violence problem (especially of the so-called “assault” weapon variety) is generally overblown by the media and the government. With so many other issues plaguing our society and given the notion that most gun violence is committed by governments themselves, it does not make sense to view gun ownership by private individuals as the root of the problems—it is an irrational view.

This immediately put me in mind of a TED Talk given by Michael Huemer called “The Irrationality of Politics.” In the presentation, Huemer gives a few examples of the irrational policies of the government and then proceeds to explain why people have irrational political views. Finally, he identifies the symptoms of having irrational views.

Huemer absolutely nails it:

There are a number of unintentionally humorous parts in the video and the audience reacts with laughter even though many of them are likely to hold some of these irrational political views. That is not meant as a criticism of them. It would be difficult not to laugh because Huemer does such a good job of showing the absurdity of some of these views. When the absurdness is understood, however, it is imperative that the views are corrected.

Now think about the advocates of gun control, their reactions to events involving guns, and why they might have these positions.  See if the symptoms match those that Huemer describes.

Always question yourself and think about why you have the views you have. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

If you’re interested in learning more about this, consider reading Bryan Caplan’s book The Myth of the Rational Voter referenced by Huemer at the end of the presentation.


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