But why did I post this?
There’s an interesting section in this article, one that environmentalists can readily relate to, and that’s the “jobs defense.”
The Jobs Defense is a common response by businesses that fear new regulation. For those that know a bit of environmental and economic history, this defense been used effectively for centuries to tamp down protest, influence politicians, and garner public support.
The Jobs Defense was used to defend from regulating slavery, child labor, the right to vote, organize unions, pass environmental regulations, and myriad other policies that benefit you today.
In this case, a public meeting was called to democratically discuss how to prevent slaughtering children (dramatic, but that’s the language we’re using up here in New England regarding the Newtown, Ct mass shooting). True, the headline is about some brainless bullies who heckled a dad who lost his 6 year old boy.
But to me, the interesting aspect of this is that the journalist sort of dances around the examining the Jobs Defense.
A gun manufacturer is quoted in the article that his company, “(Pumps) tens of millions of dollars each year into the Connecticut economy.” The journalist does mention that gun manufacturers offered no solutions at the meeting. But the Jobs Defense went unchallenged.
There was no discussion or questioning that his product causes deaths.* There’s no discussion of why “tens of millions of dollars” is a reasonable response to the death of Americans. Isn’t that curious? That we all accept that the Jobs Defense is a so legitimate that it gets a free pass?
Barack Obama uses the Jobs Defense, too. In fact, it’s a primary driver of getting the Keystone XL Pipeline approved - jobs. Indeed, there are thousands of articles discussing jobs in relation to building the oil pipeline, have a look.
None of them, that I found, examined the benefits of environmental protection over the few jobs that the line will create. It’s true that some have examined the claim that the line will create a certain number of jobs. No one can say clearly if the line will create 500 jobs or 20,000.
But this still doesn’t examine the facile and rather weak argument that jobs should be a primary motivation versus incredibly beneficial, American alternatives. From my point of view, the Jobs Defense must be examined. Should jobs be held in reverence over human health? If so, why?
*For those who wish to throw the “What about knives!” trope at me, I’d point out that knives are highly regulated, perhaps more so than guns.
You can’t pass into many buildings with a knife, bring one on a plane, travel with one in a vehicle in certain states, nor legally carry a concealed knife in many communities. The size of certain knives are regulated. And types of knives are regulated, such as butterfly and other spring loaded knives.
You cannot cross a border with a knife, per international and domestic law. And police officers confiscate knives as a matter of routine (some law enforcement agencies confiscate so many knives that they auction them to generate money). And, of course, if you wield a knife, citizens and cops are authorized and protected by countless laws to shoot you.
Note, further, that environmental regulations protect you from these rather benign utensils. Manufacturers are prevented from using certain chemicals and metals that poison your body, like lead and mercury.
In any case, this trope is a whiny and weak diversion, a fallacious straw man that keeps the gun advocate from taking personal responsibility for contributing to actual harms and deaths to their fellow Americans.
That’s what regulation looks like. Thousands of knife laws were passed to protect people from harm. And gun laws aim to do the same. There’s no legitimate reason to limit gun laws, especially not the Jobs Defense.