Sometimes when you make an analogy, you really just show how little you understand. Or, perhaps, how little you want to.Â Charles Cooke at NRO thinks that taxing ammunition at a higher rate, perhaps at 50%, is not just bad economic policy, but is an infringement on basic rights.Â He makes this point with an analogy.
When it comes to our basic rights, the rule of thumb is that as little as possible should be put in the way of their exercise. The Second Amendment is often treated differently from the other component parts of the Bill of Rights, but it damn well shouldnâ€™t be. Unless you consider that the right to bear arms is less important in a republic than is the right to vote â€” which I most decidedly do not â€” then putting a special tax on firearms is no less outrageous than putting a tax on voting. Why one but not the other?
Notice, first, that this is an argument that, as we say in philosophy, proves too much.Â If we’re really to take the conclusion seriously, then it should be that we shouldn’t tax gun or ammunition purchases at all.Â If there’s no taxing voting, then there’s no taxing guns and gun-related stuff.Â Â His argument isn’t one that proves that we shouldn’t tax ammo at a high rate, it’s that we shouldn’t tax it at all.
Second, notice that Cooke thinks that gun-rights are more important than voting rights.Â I wonder what he thinks of Canada.Â A real democracy? Germany or England?Â If you click his link, there’s a paywall for the whole article — but he does answer one question.Â With another question.Â To the challenge why does he need military style firearms?Â His reply is:
A better question: â€œWhy donâ€™t you want me to have one?â€
Yep.Â His argument is pretty much that his possession of a firearm ensures that his voting rights can’t be taken away.Â Seriously, though, who’s he gonna shoot if his voter registration card doesn’t get recognized at the polling station?
Third, and finally, isn’t the difference between voting and buying guns and bullets is that with the latter, you’re purchasing a product?Â It’s a financial exchange of goods and money, one that the government can tax as necessary.Â It’s not that the argument by analogy proves too much, it’s that the analogy isn’t appropriately framed.