Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Argument Against Guns

Did you ever wonder why gun control advocates are so totally convinced that they are right? Did you ever ask yourself how one arrives at that level of conviction?

You might not have, but I did. And I came up with something of an answer.

Their belief system is based on a proposition, a statement. In and of itself, that statement is absolutely true. In fact, there is no way to disprove it. The people who blame guns or who want to rid the world of guns are being totally logical.

Here is the cornerstone of their belief:

If there were no guns, there would be no shootings.

In slightly different terms:

If no one had a gun, if no one possessed a gun, if no one knew how to shoot a gun, there would be no shootings.

Of course, someone might retort that if no one had any fingers no one would ever be able to pull the trigger on a gun either.

But I digress.

As it happens, this article of faith, this dogma from the Church of the Liberal Pieties, is logically true. It is unimpeachable… which is why those who believe it are so frustrated that you do not see the point. Of course, it verges on the tautological, but don’t let that bother you. Certain types of logical truths are always tautological.

What am I trying to say here? I am trying to say that you cannot prove or disprove the statement by any reference to reality. Such is the case of Freudian psychoanalysis, as Karl Popper noted many decades ago and as I discussed in my book The Last Psychoanalyst.

Evidently, the statement is not a scientific hypothesis. It cannot be tested and verified; it cannot be tested and falsified. When you latch on to such a logical proposition, nothing in the real world can ever disprove your belief. Therefore you need not worry so much about reality... except as it can help you to persuade others to believe as you believe.

This is why scientific fact is always subject to skepticism and doubt. And it is why anyone whose belief is impervious to evidence or who cherry picks evidence cannot be doing science.

The problem with the proposition is not that it is illogical or that it is, on its face wrong. The problem is: it is irrelevant. It fails to address the problem or the issue. You might as well put your head in the sand and pretend that no one can see you.

We can happily imagine a world without guns. At some point in human history people lived without guns. They also died at age 30 of disease and starvation and knifings.

For the moment, there are upwards of 300 million guns in America. When you allow a fiction to blind you to reality you are living in the theatre of the absurd.


Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...

And now onto the question of limits, we see the reason the U.S. is different than most of the world is we have the second amendment that talks about a militia and gun ownership, and there are at least two ways of interpreting that.

One way says that a militia is composed of a single paranoid person who happens to be a citizen of the united states and convinced that aliens have invaded and taken over the bodies of his neighbors, and if they touch him, he'll be taken over too, so he has to shoot anyone who tries to touch him. Hey, well, I've had at least a few nightmares like that.

The other way says that a militia is something organized, something sponsored by the government, perhaps like a state government, and perhaps if the federal government gets uppity and thinks slavery should be banned, or that bakers should be able to decide whom to do business with, and then states have a way to defend themselves against federal power.

And it makes sense that a soldier who has passed through basic training for the federal military perhaps will be on call to defense his country at any moment, and he can keep safe a personal arsenal inside his own home, just in case.

So all that makes sense. And we all benefit by a well regulated Militia. If this militia gets out of control in some way, if their members start acting uppity, and trying to quarter themselves in our home during peace times, probably its not a good idea to question someone trained in the art of war, but rather to humbly remind them of the third amendment, while also acknowledging how impressive their weapons are, and then abandon your house and head to the nearest court house to object.

But if the second amendment is also about the right for any old fool to buy a gun and wave it around and shoot in the air when he gets excited, I think that has nothing to do with the second amendment, and we can righteously disarm this fool, and if he claims his second amendment rights, we can laugh at him.

I know, never laugh at people with guns, or people who aspire to guns, just in case they get another one. But in the very least, get him trained, and make him give a reason why he needs to be able to shoot 30 bullets in quick succession before we give him that gun, or that ammo.

I don't know how exactly guns should be regulated, but I'm 100% sure they should be. And its hard to say no, even to a grandpa who wants to drive at age 90 when he shouldn't be. But that's why we have driver's tests for skills and knowledge.

I remember that funny commercial of a man taking a gun into his work to kill his coworkers, but had a 1800 musket, and shot once, missed, and then spent the next 30 seconds reloading, while everyone had a chance to escape.

We don't live in musket land any more, but we do live in a world with ever more guns, and a world where a Democratic president guarantees gun sales will soar everytime there's a new shooting.

Something is insane there, and its not just the antigun people.

Anonymous said...

It's really simple.

Liberals(who should really be called Illiberals) control the State. Liberal elites feel outnumbered the people with guns. So, they want monopoly of gun power in the state.

Anonymous said...

How about affirmative action for guns?

Since blacks tend to kill other blacks with guns, have a policy of removing guns from black communities.

It will save many black lives.

But why remove guns from non-black communities that use guns responsibly?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, It's time for you to take up your old blog again and spare us your personal journal entries and nonsensical extrapolations about current events. You don't question, you don't reflect... you just spew. Please. Spare us.

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Foster said...

"If there were no guns, there would be no shootings"

And if there were no nuclear weapons, there would be no nuclear wars. If no country would invade another, there would be *no* wars of any kind.

'Progressive' thinking often seems to incorporate an assumption of omnipotence, to assume that the ideas of the speaker will somehow automatically cause a large number of people to fall into line with what he wants. I think there is an important philosophical point here, which I'm struggling to clarify and express:

Kant's Categorical Imperative is really just a slightly-more-sophisticated version of the question your parents probably used to ask you: 'What if EVERYONE did that?' It's a good test, but not a sufficient one: the question for a moral rule, given the absence of omnipotence, needs to also include the question 'What if NOT EVERYONE did that?" This is a test for "Brittleness", as that word is sometimes used in discussing complex systems.

"All nations should disarm so that we will have peace" passes the Categorical Imperative test; it does not pass the Brittleness test.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

If hand mixers were used by home brew crystal methamphetamine makers, and a bad concoction ended up killing 100 people, would we be blaming Hamilton Beach and the National Appliance Association for our drug problems?

Sam L. said...

Arrows; crossbow bolts; air guns in .30 caliber; slingshots; spears; tomahawks and throwing knives; clubs (baseball bats); etc., etc.