If I was a supervillain, I think I'd probably ban all smoking and drinking. That's exactly what I'd do: I'd remove all the cigarettes and alcohol from the world. That would piss so many people off. That's worse than, like, murdering puppies. For some people.
In this country, intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face ... Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and incovenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban ... At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of iedas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question.
Gun-free zones don't deter criminals-they help them by providing a guarantee that they will not face any armed resistance. But they do deter the law-abiding. A faculty member with a concealed-handgun permit who breaks the campus gun ban would be fired and likely find it impossible to get admitted to another school. Bringing a firearm into a gun-free zone can have serious adverse consequences for law-abiding people. But for someone like the Virginia Tech killer, the threat of expulsion is no deterrent at all.
The real issues I don't think most people touch. The Clinton jokes are all about Monica Lewinsky and all that stuff and not about the important things, like the fact that he wouldn't ban landmines...I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirize George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporize them. And that's not funny....OK, well, if I say that, I might get a shock laugh, but it's not really satire.
Do not tell me that I have not shown courage in standing up to the gun people, in voting to ban assault weapons, voting for instant background checks, voting to end the gun show loophole and now in a position to create a consensus in America on gun safety.
Reading develops cognitive skills. It trains our minds to think critically and to question what you are told. This is why dictators censor or ban books. It's why it was illegal to teach slaves to read. It's why girls in developing countries have acid thrown in their faces when they walk to school.
This attempt to ban smoking is an example of social engineering on a vast scale. Such massive intervention in the private lives and choices of one quarter of our adult population recalls the extremism of Prohibition, the last national crusade against a supposed social evil.
Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.