Guns and Politics

Whatever your position on gun law and the right to bear arms, you cannot deny that safety is paramount. You have to step aside from your views for a moment and see the reality of what exists by law. Hence today’s blog will focus on Winchester gun safes. Owning a firearm entails housing it securely so that accidents don’t happen. The politics of owning a gun are complicated and certainly the topic of many a blog. There are reasons to accept the dictates of the Bill of Rights while there are reasons to hope for a change in policy to protect people from rampant violence. There is always the issue of whether or not tighter gun laws will prevent acts of terrorism and needless killing. It is often said that people will find a way to own a gun whether or not it is legal. How do you feel on the subject?

In many states, a receptacle is required for a gun whether it is a kind of holster when carrying the weapon or a safe or metal box when stored at home. In some cases only, an individual may use a gun for hunting, at a shooting range, or while camping without the need for housing. I have selected the Winchester safe as it is a known quality brand that most people recognize. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one of your choice, depending upon the number of firearms that must fit in the safe and its placement in an office, shop, or home.

The Winchester Repeating Arms Company goes back to 1866, founded by Oliver Winchester himself. The famous model 1866 rifle comes immediately to mind— “the gun that won the West.” Over a century and a half later, it is a standard in the weapons industry. They make firearms, ammunition, large gun safes, and smaller handgun and pistol safes. Selecting one of their units means you can’t go wrong. Granite Security Products, Inc. is now the parent company of this industry leader.

Let’s look at a typical safe from the Ranger Series, the R45 Deluxe 1 Hour Fire Safe/51 Gun Safe as it will serve as an example of the quality and reliability of the product. Customers can choose various options with a Winchester, and this model has the most wanted. First of all, it has a 12-gauge body construction, a very sturdy recommended size. It also has a mechanical or electronic lock available, a good feature since there are pros and cons for each type. Next, it has door panel organization, three layers of fireboard in the door, and two layers in the body. Fire worries are over! Plus, there are heat expandable door seals that also secure your assets from the flames.

The safe is also more than acceptable as a deterrent against burglary and unwanted access in that it has 3-way active bolt work, 4 sides of bolts, solid steel 1 ¼” diameter locking bolts, and an auxiliary relocker. Pretty impressive. This is a large safe that can hold 51 long rifles and it sells for $1,800. You can go up or down from here.

Given the necessity for a gun safe by law, any discussion of firearms should focus on security and protection. Again, whether you are for or against the current gun laws, these considerations are paramount.

Realities of American Politics

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Many Europeans are surprised to discover that the mainstream American left is fairly centrist by global standards, and the mainstream American right is very far-right indeed by global standards. Democrats get painted as extreme leftists by their rivals, but Democrats rarely argue for anything that could be regarded as socialist in any way. Conservatives will regularly argue against most forms of collectivist efforts in favor of a very extreme sort of individualism. Their arguments in favor of the wealthy more or less completely holding onto their wealth has always made it clear what they prioritize and who they prioritize.

The idea that taxation is inherently bad is woven right into American culture. American children are raised with memories of the Patriots saying ‘no taxation without representation.’ The War for American Independence tends to be glamorized in the history classes of young Americans, which is often how it starts. Switching out of that mindset as an adult is tricky, especially since the idea that taxes are a burden is all over American culture.

America’s social programs suffer as a result, as does the sense that America is a nation in the first place and not merely a collection of autonomous individuals that happen to be ignoring one another most of the time anyway. Many Americans feel disconnected from one another in a society that tends to favor rugged individualism, for better or for worse. This sense of disconnection only gets worse when election season approaches and Americans are pitted against one another in what is always framed as a battle for domination.

Many American problems could be solved if more Americans had a greater sense of society. The fact that many Americans tend to internalize conservative rhetoric, regardless of their exact political affiliation, has helped the right-wing dominate in the United States, pushing the Democratic party to the center in the process.

 

Campaign Costs in Perspective

The American elections of 2014 cost 3.7 billion dollars. This certainly seems like a lot of money, although given the scale; it isn’t as high as it sounds even in isolation. However, Americans spent an astonishing seventy-eight billion dollars on lottery tickets in the exact same year, which easily makes the cost of the elections seem trivial by comparison. Movies cost Americans 10.9 billion dollars in 2014. Some people might take this as a sign that American culture simply isn’t political enough, and that Americans need to spend more time focusing on politics and less time focusing on the entertainment that they use in order to escape into an alternate reality.

However, what these figures truly demonstrate is the simple fact that political elections in America are expensive, but not as expensive as they could be and not as expensive as they would have to be in order to make campaign finance reform the most important issue in American politics. The election for the President of the United States is still very important, and political elections are only going to happen every so often even in a democracy. People might disagree on how much anyone should spend on this sort of thing, but most people are still going to agree that the elections are more important than lottery tickets.

Really, one of the primary concerns here is the fact that presidents are automatically going to have to be wealthy individuals, with or without campaign contributions. However, this has more or less always been the case in American politics, even before the days of a mass media or all of the other factors that have made this problem so tremendous today.

The 2016 campaigns are promising to be some of the most expensive ones on record. Campaign finance reform is certainly an important issue for people to talk about, and it does certainly raise some interesting dilemmas for all of the people involved with American society. However, much like public debt is an important issue that gets too much exposure, campaign finance reform is an issue that tends to overshadow some of the more important matters that should be on the table. Campaign finance reform needs to be discussed, as does public debt. However, private debt is still more important.

There is No American Third Party

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It can be difficult for many people in other countries to appreciate just how difficult it is to be a third-party candidate in the United States. The United Kingdom has three viable political parties, and many other countries have a similar situation. Some of their more minor political parties might get a few seats from time to time, but they at least have three solid political parties. America has a two-party system that is so thoroughly entrenched that people widely acknowledge that voting for a third-party candidate is tantamount to throwing a vote away entirely.

Most of the most successful third-party candidates in American history got ahead prior to the twentieth century entirely, which is arguably not even a fair comparison. American political parties as they are known today weren’t established until relatively recently. The situation was much messier prior to the twentieth century, and even then, it took some time for everything to fall into place. As an illustration, the Democratic Party was once the conservative party in the United States, and the Republican Party was the progressive party largely formed around anti-slavery. The Democratic Part of today and the Republican Party of today are unrecognizable now.

Many third parties in the United States run knowing full well that they have no intention of actually succeeding in the election. They do this in order to draw attention to the political causes that they represent. The party that’s all about promoting the cause of digital piracy is not expecting to have major government influence. This political party is simply trying to make the sort of splash that will allow their cause to have the influence that they probably will never have personally.

The main criticism of these sorts of third parties is the simple fact that many people argue that they take votes away from the main political parties. The people who vote for the socialist candidates would have voted Democratic otherwise, supposedly. The people who vote for the Libertarian party would have voted for the Republican party otherwise, once again, supposedly. Some people scoff at this argument, saying that many of the people who voted for these parties are the sorts of single-issue voters who just would have stayed home otherwise. This will certainly be the case for plenty of them. However, the question of whether staying home would have been better than voting for a third-party candidate is a question that is worth addressing.

Some people might say that it is more important to vote for a third-party candidate, because it gives politicians a sense of how the American people are thinking and how American thought is taking shape at any given time. In a year in which more Americans voted for the socialist candidate, it is more clear that society is becoming more left-wing, which is important for politicians to know in the first place. It is also important for the American people themselves to know, since some of the people with fringe beliefs may feel as if they are alone, even though many people voted for the same candidates that they favored.

There is still some value in voting for a third-party candidate, as long as you do it with the knowledge that you are changing the culture in a more overarching way rather than a specific way, and you should never decide on a third-party candidate when you were planning on going with the candidate that was more likely to actually win.

Are American Political Campaigns Too Expensive?

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Some people might argue that the way to get around the fact that wealthy people control political elections is to institute limits and caps on how much candidates can spend on their elections. It is possible that these measures could constitute part of the solution, but it is important to keep the costs of American political elections in perspective, since the cost might be exaggerated in some circles.

Many politicians make a big deal about government debt, for instance, talking about the horrors of national debt and all of the austere measures that are needed in order to combat these problems. However, it should be noted that national and public debt has always had a very minimal effect on the actual economy, even if it does have an effect on the country in its own right.

The more important factor when it comes to debt has always been private debt. People in too much private debt are not going to spend money on the goods and services that will actually cause the economy to expand. This situation encourages wealthy people to hoard away their money for the sake of a rainy day, and it causes poor people to suffer even more in their pursuit of basic necessities. The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the bad economies that followed both the American Civil War and the final days of the Cold War are all united in the fact that private debt was on the rise. Public debt always had a negligible effect on what was going on at the time.

The situation with campaign finance reform is not directly comparable to the situation involving public and private debt, of course, but the parallel exists in terms of the way in which these issues tend to get framed in American political discourse. Liberals and conservatives alike will all talk about the horrors of public debt, and they will usually start debating about the best ways in which to remedy the situation. The idea that they should be focusing on private debt instead tends to get lost in the discussions that devolve into the eternal debate over raising taxes or supporting big business. Both parties are united in denouncing expensive political campaigns in a way that is unlikely to achieve real results, but they do not always have coherent or accurate thoughts on the subject.

The True Cost of Election Campaigns

Complaining about how it costs much too much to run for the position of the President of the United States has become commonplace in American politics. Oddly enough, concerns about campaign contributions seem to cross party lines quite a bit. Libertarian conservatives complain about campaign contributions quite a bit, in fact, since it ties into their concerns about big government in general. Liberals complain about campaign contributions because they’re worried that these contributions are going to bias the election in such a way that the candidates that the people really want are never even going to have a chance. Conservatives tend to dislike campaign contributions for similar reasons.

Really, the people who are in favor of campaign contributions tend to be the politicians themselves, which should surprise no one, and the people who actually contribute the money in the first place. Indeed, therein lies the problem. Political elections in the United States are ruinously expensive. However, these elections are essentially funded by 0.2 percent of the American population. The success of a presidential election campaign and the quality of that campaign will make all the difference in terms of the outcomes for American politics. The best candidate for the job will still lose if he or she conducts a presidential election campaign that pales in comparison to the campaign of his or her competitor. People should never underestimate just how important presidential campaigns really are. The fact that they are controlled by such a tiny elite is the real cause for alarm, and not the fact that this tiny elite spends such a huge amount of money.

Really, it should be noted that money is all relative, as is the concept of what is and is not expensive. Elections in 2014 cost 3.7 billion dollars. However, these elections were primarily funded by wealthy individuals. A lot of people will make political contributions that are below two hundred dollars, and these contributions don’t even get itemized. However, there are plenty of wealthy people who will make political contributions that are so large they manage to more or less cancel out the political contributions of thousands of people on the other side. The contributions of the wealthy people in this process are the ones that are ultimately going to make the biggest difference in this case.

Politicians will specifically try to court wealthy campaign contributors. They know that persuading one rich person to give them millions of dollars is going to go further than persuading a million people to give them a proverbial dollar, and it is much more likely to happen. Unsurprisingly, most of these wealthy donors are only going to want to fund the candidates that serve their political interests correctly. Some wealthy people are liberals who use their money in order to finance the progressive candidates. Many more wealthy people are conservatives who are interested in holding onto what they have at all costs.

These wealthy donors would rather give eight million dollars to fund the campaign of a conservative candidate than give that same eight million dollars to the poor, even if their ultimate reward for getting the conservative elected is only going to involve maintaining their financial assets the way they are. Some of these actions are more or less going to trump practicality. Many wealthy people simply have a strong desire to maintain a certain political climate, knowing that too many changes to the political climate could influence the ways in which they are forced to conduct themselves in business.

It is true that plenty of less wealthy people will still make campaign contributions, but these are a drop in the bucket compared to the donations that individual wealthy families will make, let alone to donations that their circles at large are going to make. Incidentally, giving only around two hundred dollars to a campaign doesn’t really make you that much of a stakeholder, which is ultimately what the problem is here.

It has been said that the wealthy control American society, given that this tiny percentage of the population manages to command a huge portion of the wealth. They also control society by determining the course of elections. The poor, the middle class, and the upper middle class outnumber the very wealthy, and they could certainly get ahead by the numbers if they used their strength in numbers more. However, a tiny group of individuals still manages to gain influence in American society nonetheless.