Professors and Guns / Exit and Voice
Warning — Politics (but not elections, heaven for-fend!)
Driving into work this morning, I heard a story on NPR about the U.T. (Austin) Dean of Architecture, who is resigning because Texas will legalize campus open carry this fall. I’m assuming that this is national news on NPR because they are anti-gun, but I rather liked this story, which highlights one of the benefits of our system of government.
The power of Exit. (As in Exit, Voice and Loyalty).
My feeling on guns is “squishy, pro-gun” — as far as I can tell more guns leads to more deaths, but only if you count suicides. If you remove them it leads to somewhat fewer. But as to the specific issue of “Should guns be allowed on campus?” Well, I have no specific reason to think campuses will reverse that trend, but perhaps the Professor is correct and guns will be especially bad on campus.
It’s certainly debatable — although I don’t want to have a debate on guns.
No, what I want to do is applaud Professor Steiner (even though I think I disagree with him) in using his power of exit. He’s voting — with his feet! — against open carry. Democracy is the system where 51% can vote to give the rest of us a wedgie, but thanks to our federal system we can have small islands of sanity — whatever your definition of sanity. Low Tax, Low Service state over here. High Tax, High service over there. Open Campus Carry in Texas. Not so in Pennsylvania (where the Prof is moving to).
Various legal models exist in the states, and they compete.
The Free State Project just announced that they’ve triggered their goal. If it works, 20,000 libertarians will move to New Hampshire. This may annoy current residents, but the idea is to influence the laboratories of democracy — the States. (I am philosophically aligned with that project, although not willing to move to support it. At least, not until I have proof it works).
Anyway, I suspect that NPR’s intended point was “Look at Texas and how they love their guns,” or some such, but the point I heard was “If we move more power from the federal level to the state level, everyone can probably find a state that they generally like.”
Presumably NPR would be furious if open campus carry was a Federal Law. Then the poor Dean would have to leave the country. Yet somehow I think they’d be perfectly happy with a National “No-Gun” law, which would annoy (apparently) most Texans.
Me? I’m just happy when it’s the states (or local governments) being stupid.
At least then you can move. And — sooner or later — enough evidence will roll in to make a decision.
(Of theoretical interest, note that the process causes Texas to move right and Pennsylvania to move left. I think Slate Star Codex or perhaps Elizier Yudkowsky noted that this process would also cause Fundamentalist sects to become more religious as the wavering people left, and a similar ‘ablative cooling’ effect. But my Google-Fu is weak right now, and I’m just mentioning this because I find it interesting, and if Hirschman noted it in his book, I didn’t catch it).
Addendum: In case you were looking — I’ve deleted my Twitter account. (Since someone just asked me if something had happened to it). I may undelete it (I have a few weeks). I may not.
I nuked it over the weekend for the same reason the Professor is moving out — Exit is in this case more powerful than Voice.
I was already lukewarm about posting my minor thoughts on Twitter (instead of here) and Twitter’s more pronounced shadowbanning and general behavior led me to leave a few days ago. I’ll probably add a few more categories, since I’ll now be doing a more frequent “Random thoughts and links” threads.
And — in general — I won’t be discussing politics beyond some theory now and then.