Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 468, May 18, 2008

"Terrorism is the price a nation
pays for having an empire"

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

The New Lysenkoism
by A.X. Perez

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Believers and non-believers in Global Warming (Capitalized just as I would Catholicism or Anglicanism) accuse each other of engaging in junk science. Guess what? They're both pikers at practicing junk science.

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko may have been the premier practitioner of junk science in the 20th Century, His ideas were glommed on to by Stalin as the magic cure to make agricultural collectivization work. To cut to the chase, they didn't work. A lot of Soviet citizens lost a lot of weight over that one.

Supporters of victim disarmament have their version of Lysenkoism, various schemes to put serial numbers on ammunition and/or have semiauto pistols engrave their serial numbers on expended cartridge cases. These schemes are obviously intended to make the cost of guns and ammo expensive enough to end run Constitutional guarantees of the right to keep and bear arms. What is not so obvious is that they rely on technologies that are not ready to be implemented.

I don't think there are too many judges out there, even those who are blatantly support gun bans, who want to be stuck in the position of trying to enforce laws that are technologically impossible to obey. Something about not wanting to lose respect for the authority of their courts. Unenforceable laws are also bad for both statists and libertarians. The statists lose popular support, while libertarians have to deal with more and more capricious misuses of power as the government tries to reclaim its authority.

The laws requiring that autopistols mark ejected cartridge casings with their serial numbers are perhaps the most egregious examples of inviting contempt for the law. This is because the part of the pistol that must be recorded when one buys a gun is the frame. The slide (which includes the breechface), the barrel (which includes the chamber), and the firing pin are all replaceable parts. Cartridges never come in contact with the frame while being fired, thus the only part that ever gets registered (assuming anyone bothers to) will not have a chance to mark the casing.

Lysenko covered the tracks of his ideas' essential failure by junking one scheme to apply them for another before enough data was assembled to see if they worked. Eventually he got caught out, after millions of Russians starved. Victim disarmers are starting to pull the same stunt by pushing the use of incompletely developed technologies as "compromises" in the gun control debate. Those who want to expand the power of government to protect people's rights (few if any of whom will read this) and those who wish to limit the power of government to the same end should be leery of such compromises. They are the case types of the saying that a compromise is an agreement where everybody gets equally screwed without benefit of osculation.


Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 468, May 18, 2008

Big Head Press