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RE: Which Do You Value More: Freedom or the Well-being Freedom Brings?

in #guns5 years ago

The desire to fix this problem or any other large scale societal problems strikes me as being susceptible to the Hayekian local knowledge problem. And, while that it is an economic argument it also seems to suggest that in a complex system, like society, there is no way to understand what the consequences of solutions by central planners would be.


I don't think "there's no way to understand" makes sense when we still have the scientific method are our disposal. We can still search for evidence, create a hypothesis, test for results, etc. Comparing various countries and how their approaches to this problem either work (or don't work) is one example. Yes, it's complex, but with data analysis, we can make reasonable claims about the influence of various approaches.

But you're fundamentally trying to engineer human behavior to reach a goal which you don't know will actually have better outcomes for people because there would be byproducts you hadn't been able to account for, like an increase in rape; break-ins; authoritarian legislation; etc. I'm arguing against your premise that "we" should "do something" at scale.

Again, we can look at studies of countries who have made changes. If we're the only wealthy nation dealing with this problem at this level, shouldn't that be a data point we consider? If other countries are doing other things and getting different results, why would we ignore that?

It sounds to me you're saying, "Well, it's complicated at scale, and we can't really know anything so we shouldn't even try to think about things at scale." To me, that's just burying our head in the sand. The "at scale" emergent outcomes are very real and they can be measured, studied, and tweaked. Every individual action contributes to those emergent properties. To ignore them, to me, is to willfully remain ignorant.

"We" is nothing more than you and I (and everyone else) making rational decisions. I'm not advocating for a top-down, government-run solution here. I'm arguing for a rational evaluation of the data given our goals for the type of world we want to live in that increases well-being.

What are the authors of those studies trying to prove though?
In Australia, mass murderers chain up and burn down nursing homes (or a backpacker hostel).
Not a 'gun death' in sight, though, so no impact on the studies.
A sad/angry young man breaks up with his girlfriend; gets drunk and drives really fast into the biggest tree he knows; not a 'gun suicide' though, not even a 'suicide'.
You think the guys running studies to make Australia look like a success are going to go looking for mass murders and suicides not involving a gun, in their valiant search for objective truth?

I also think that the transformation of a relatively liberal society into a repressive authoritarian society can happen relatively quickly. The pivot on the heel of most liberals and conservatives in the last U.S. election to support positions that are seemingly diametrically opposed to their professed ideologies would seem to reinforce this point.

You may be right. I hope it doesn't come to that.

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