Quick: Ban Something!

John Bailey
4 min readJan 19, 2023

There are complicated, long-brewing problems in society, driving some terrible outcomes. Those problems are most visible in some broad demographic — especially when some political hustler points to them in that way — and tells you it’s so.

Quick: We need more laws, more police, more prisons, more punishment — brought to focus on “that demographic” that political hustler told you about. (Are you still too stupid to realize how often “that demographic” is code for

Banning alcohol was an EPIC FAILURE at producing the outcomes proponents claimed. Instead, it gave rise to criminal cartels, corruption, and violence that echoed down the decades.

https://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/prohibition

The problems this caused socially and economically fell disproportionately on the poor, and non-white demographics. Implementation and enforcement of the law was racist, and eroded civil liberties in general.3

The ban made alcohol more popular. It was “cool” and rebellious — the natural reflex to … authoritarianism. And, the US government outright lost the “war on booze”.

Banning interracial relationships FAILED to produce the outcomes proponents claimed. The law was racist by design. And, the States that had these laws outright lost this war, though they continue to cling to “marriage licensing” as a vestige of authoritarianism that abrogates citizens’ religious and personal freedoms to this day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-miscegenation_laws_in_the_United_States

Trying to ban homosexuality FAILED to produce the outcomes proponents claimed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_laws_in_the_United_States

The States that had these laws outright lost this war too, though many continue to try through various means to infringe on the civil liberties of many of their citizens in regard to whom they can love and how they might express or formalize that love.

https://people.com/health/before-roe-these-women-ran-an-illegal-underground-abortion-clinic-it-was-important-work/

Banning abortion FAILED to prevent people from having them. Those of means continued to have easy access, while harms caused by lack of access — and by incompetent black market attempts — or suicide — fell disproportionately on the poor and non-white demographics. (That ban, too, was racist.)

https://www.history.com/shows/americas-war-on-drugs

Banning drugs was an EPIC FAILURE to produce the outcomes proponents claimed. Instead, it gave rise to criminal cartels, corruption, and violence, provably worsening EVERY social and economic ill proponents claimed it would “solve”.

The “war on drugs” was racist by design:

https://www.businessinsider.com/nixon-adviser-ehrlichman-anti-left-anti-black-war-on-drugs-2019-7?op=1

The social and economic harms caused by the “war on drugs” fell disproportionately on the poor and non-white demographics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy2MfZbDfBo

The “war on drugs” was racist in its implementation and enforcement.

It eroded civil liberties through “civil forefeiture”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United_States

It lead to mass (systematically racist) incarceration

https://www.aclu.org/issues/smart-justice/mass-incarceration

And fostered bondage-for-profit (private prison neoslavery).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison

The social consequence of the “war on drugs” was that they become “cool” and more popular (just as alcohol had during “prohibition”).

Decades of SWAT raids seem unable to slow the manufacture of illegal drugs. And, the US government is in fact, by degrees, now surrendering in this war, too.

It is insane to re-task the occupying army we call “police” to fight a new domestic war of occupation — on guns — imagining it will have an outcome less corrupt, less racist, or less violent than the war on drugs. By any rational assessment, it is likely to be worse.

The Assault Weapons Ban (1994) was an incompetent pandering to the firearms-ignorant with nonsense about cosmetic things like “folding stocks” and “flash suppressors” rather than functionality ballistics or like rate of fire, etc.

MORE weapons that FUNCTIONED as rapid-fire rifles in the calibers of concern were manufactured DURING the ban than prior (because the ban made them “cool”, inflating demand).

And, when the ban ended, MASSIVE amounts of these weapons were sold (because the ban had made them “cool”). The AWB is at least in part to blame for the current proliferation of what are commonly called “assault rifles” (magazine-fed, rapid-fire, military-aesthetic, rifles).

Auto-loading firearms are 100+ year old technology that anyone who is handy can manufacture cheaply, using only hand tools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YE9J7qcj0c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIhGCRIQnCA

In the US are there more people competent to manufacture an auto-loading firearm, or to cook methamphetamine without blowing themselves up?

Put another way, are there more people competent to do applied high school chemistry or to grind, drill, hammer, weld, and file metal parts to fit together?

(See “Luty”, and Google “80% receiver” and “3d printed gun”)

In the USA, are there more people competent to manufacture an auto-loading firearm, or to perform an abortion? (See “Luty”, and Google “80% receiver” and “3d printed gun”) The government at one point, surrendered in the war on abortion, though it appears ready to stupidly try that one again.

Banning things is small-minded and authoritarian; never produces the outcomes the pro-ban authoritarians claim it will; and is consistently racist in implementation, enforcement, and outcomes. Bans consistently install corruption, crime, and violence — and consistently erode civil liberties broadly. Bans also consistently create an increased curiosity of and demand for the thing that’s banned — consistently fostering a proliferation of the thing the ban pretends to remove.

Anyone who thinks the “solution” to a complicated social problem is to send the police to infringe the freedoms of some labeled demographic doesn’t understand the social problem. Instead of doing the work and acquiring the competence to do that, they’re engaging in scapegoating — to the detriment of all.

“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.” — Robert Jordan

Anyone who is pro-ban OF ANY KIND is not just ignorant (of history, psychology, economics, etc): THEY ARE AN AUTHORITARIAN, whether they understand the fact or not.

And, the worst kind of authoritarians are not those who are proud of it, but those too stupid to realize it.

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