Bob Levy, the Chairman of Cato’s Board, comes out in favor of background checks in the New York Times: A Libertarian Case for Expanding Gun Background Checks.

Extending background checks to unlicensed sellers shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Background checks are already required for purchases from federally licensed dealers, whether at stores or gun shows, over the Internet or by mail. Moreover, gun buyers would be exempt from background checks if they had a carry permit issued within the last five years.

That’s all the argument that he gives on that point, which shows a remarkable lack of concern for the well-grounded fears that background checks lead to registration, bans on sales, and then confiscation. On the other hand, we have this compelling argument:

Gun-rights advocates should use this interval to refine their priorities and support this measure, with a few modest changes. If they don’t, they will be opening themselves to accusations from President Obama and others that they are merely obstructionists, zealots who will not agree to common-sense gun legislation.


Granted, many Objectivist intellectuals have been lukewarm on gun rights, and they’ve said far worse. Still, I think that libertarians like Bob Levy know better — and that’s what makes this kind of aggressive compromise-peddling so worrisome to me. Based on my interview with John McCaskey on libertarianism’s moral shift, I have to think that we’ll see even more such calls for compromise in future.


 Posted by on 6 March 2002 at 10:25 am  Compromise, Firearms, Politics
Mar 062002

Jay Nordlinger has a new Impromptus out on National Review Online. While I often disagree with him, his commentaries are often amusing and astute.

National Review also has a nice article today on why the push to sue handgun manufacturers has completely backfired. However, the article presents the NRA as a defender of gun rights, when really they’re a bunch of compromising weenies. (The Gun Owners of America, in contrast, does take a principled stand towards gun rights.)

Preventing Horror

 Posted by on 4 March 2002 at 4:22 pm  Communism, Compromise, Ethics, Literature
Mar 042002

After a lengthy discussion on Saturday with Paul on whether the horrors of the Soviet Union could have been prevented, he recommended the quick World War II alternate history Triumph in which Churchill assassinates Stalin during the war. Although competently written, the possible changes in the timeline precipitated by Stalin’s early death are merely hinted at rather than explored in depth.

If we must make common cause with an evil regime (like the Soviet Union) in order to defeat a even more evil regime (like Hitler’s Germany), the least we can do is be honest about the compromise being made. To sell a ruthless dictator as “Uncle Joe Stalin” is an unpardonable sin. But given FDR’s politics, perhaps Stalin really was an ideological uncle of sorts.

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