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Quote of the Day: Paul Krugman on Good Government


For whatever reason, there’s a faction in our country that sees public action for the public good, no matter how justified, as part of a conspiracy to destroy our freedom.

This paranoia strikes both deep and wide. Does anyone remember George Will declaring that liberals like trains, not because they make sense for urban transport, but because they serve the “goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism”? And it goes along with basically infantile fantasies about individual action — the “good guy with a gun” — taking the place of such fundamentally public functions as policing.

Anyway, this political faction is doing all it can to push us toward becoming a society in which individuals can’t count on the community to provide them with even the most basic guarantees of security — security from crazed gunmen, security from drunken drivers, security from exorbitant medical bills (which every other advanced country treats as a right, and does in fact manage to provide).

In short, you might want to think of our madness over guns as just one aspect of the drive to turn us into what Thomas Hobbes described long ago: a society “wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them.” And Hobbes famously told us what life in such a society is like: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

. . .as I have said before, government doesn’t have to be bad; good government provides individuals with public transportation, security, medical care without crushing bills, and armed responses by trained personnel to active shooters–  There were revelations that there was an armed security guard from the local police stationed at Parkland who waited four minutes outside the school while a killer rampaged inside and shot 17 people to death in six minutes.  Only in Florida, a “stand your ground” state, where amateur shooters are promoted by the state government.)

(quoted from Krugman’s op-ed column in the NYT; there’s little to add because Krugman hits the nail on the head, as usual)

(image courtesy of and Open-Clipart-Vectors; chosen because Lenin believed that government had to be destroyed in order to be remade– not because he was a “collectivist”)

This comment was submitted in response to Krugman’s piece:

Joe Gilkey

Seattle 1 hour ago

While arming teachers in this day and age is not a good idea, we do have an abundance of highly qualified veterans in need of a good job that would make short work of these cowards that prey on unarmed students. It would be worth every penny of the added expense if future perpetrators knew they would be up against combat experienced ex servicemen with protective vests and automatic weapons, who would without question risk life and limb to protect a school full of children. There may be innocent life lost with this approach to protection, however it would put an end to these massacres occurring today. Trump was right in saying this was a soft target, and until we reach the end of the violent reactionary potential of today’s youths, we do have the people with the needed skills, and the willingness, to prevent any more of these unopposed tragedies.

This was the most popular comment, from Australia:

TJ McWoods

Tasmania 13 hours ago

As an expat of 14 years, raising a teenager in Australia, and viewing the USA from a great distance, the differences between nations is stark.

My daughter takes yearly water safety classes taught through year 10 in Oz. School safety means not running in the hallways. She will never experience an active shooter drill. Australia has NEVER experienced a school shooting.

My daughter has yet to see an armed security guard anywhere in Australia but I clearly remember my then 10 year old daughter asking me why an armed guard was in grandma’s local (USA) library.

My daughter has never met an Australian who owns a gun. I doubt she ever will.

My daughter will likely never lose an Australian relative, friend or school mate to a gun death. I’ve lost a grandmother and 2 close friends to gunfire, but that was in the USA. Hasn’t happened here.

My daughter does not get startled by noises that sound like gunfire. I still instinctively look for cover. She thinks I’m weird.

Fortunately we get to see all the US mayhem from afar. Unfortunately, 10’s of millions of American school children do not.

This comment was also very popular:

David Doney

I.O.U.S.A. 13 hours ago

One of many obvious problems with arming teachers is that shooters nervous they might face a teacher with a pistol* will simply pick a different soft target (e.g., restaurants, malls, day care centers, etc.) Are we going to arm everyone? Day care center nannies with shotguns, anyone?

In addition to the prudent measures we hear about all the time, we can take a lesson from cars and healthcare insurance (pre-Trump) and require all gun owners to be insured. They would have to be members of a well-regulated state militia with financial liability for the misdeeds of its members, with insurance premiums paid for by those members based on the risk profile of the militia.

This is only fair, as who has to pay for the misdeeds of the shooters? You and me through higher law enforcement and health insurance costs.

*Pistol-toting half-trained teachers are not a big worry for a moderately skilled shooter with an assault rifle anyway. And they can kill dozens before teachers can react with such weapons. And do you want the teachers in a gun battle with an assailant with your kids in the crossfire? We have to get the guns off the street.

Obviously, arming teachers (as Don the Con suggested) is a bad idea– taking down a teenager armed with an AR-15 requires special training and experience, not something the average teacher can acquire.

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