I recently read this article and it pissed me off a bit. It did so because I am sick to death of seeing people calling for the ‘middle ground’ and pretending that taking a position between what they see as two extremes is the ‘reasonable’ or ‘fair’ position to take. When did being in the ‘center’ of two issues become some claim to reason and moderation?
Imagine if you would two opposing groups arguing over what to do with an undesirable minority in their midst. One group, the right wingers of this hypothetical tyrannical state, want to kill the sub group. Ship them off to concentration camps and be done with them! The other group, the left wingers, just want to regulate the minorities to make sure they ‘behave’ and deport some of the more troublesome ones. You know, the kind of soft serve fascism lefties love. Would being in ‘the middle’ of those two positions be reasonable?
How about this: that hypothetical minority group, being made of humans, has rights that exist whether or not the left or the right wingers in that thought experiment want to acknowledge them. Both those positions are wrong, and the ‘centrist’ who takes piecemeal from each position to come up with some preposterous ’middle ground’ that ‘we all can agree on’ are equally wrong. Not mentioned is that there’s a small third party in this hypothetical state that simply suggests the policy should be to leave people the fuck alone.
Centrism is for nutless fuck ups who can’t derive from first principles what ought to be, and so try to paint themselves as peacemakers of some kind. They think being ‘moderate’ makes them right, that ‘seeing both sides’ of some issue or another is some kind of virtue. Well, seeing the side of evil is just evil, plain and simple. While I’m no particular fan of the man himself, Goldwater was right when he said, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Of course, as expected, the original article I referenced is about gun control and what ‘common sense’ legislation has to exist to stop gun violence. No one every asks the question though: what happens when your common sense legislation is in place, and there’s still gun violence? Who, besides the mentally deficient, serious thinks that should our current crop of gun control nuts get every single piece of legislation they want passed, and then there is another school massacre, that these people will simply sit back and say, “Well, there’s enough laws on the books at this point, so there’s no need for more gun control…”? When the fuck is that going to happen?
The answer is never, and that’s part of the problem. These people are constantly calling for the government to Do Something! after every tragedy, every misstep, every fuck up, every unforeseen source of hurt. So let’s assume laws can be graded in their tyrannical nature from A to Z. Let’s assume for the sake of argument we’re currently at level M. ’Extremists’ are now calling for everything from going back to L, and going all the way to Z. All the ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ centrists are calling for a mere advancement to S levels. And then, when some happens when the country is at level S, the cycle will repeat again with ‘extremists’ calling for a return to level R or going all the way to level Z, and ‘centrists’ saying it’s more ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ to g to level V.
Centrism is the road to tyranny. People either have rights or they don’t. And more fundamentally there is Right and Wrong. It’s wrong for the government to restrict people’s actions because of what some people think they might do at some point in the future. It is right for everyone to have the right to self defense, including defense against a tyrannical government. The author of that article would likely claim he is not violating anyone’s right to act, or restricting anyone’s right to self defense… so long as they jump over the hurdles and through the loops he thinks are appropriate and reasonable. And hey, he’s a ‘centrist’ on the issue, so he can’t be asking for anything too draconian, right?
Wrong. Being a centrist just means you don’t have the balls to stand up and say what’s right as opposed to what’s going to satisfy enough people to shut them up for the time being. Then, as a centrist, you can play that game all along the path of tyranny until you get to level Z, and stand there like an idiot wondering just how the hell things got that far when you’ve been so ‘reasonable’ all along.
I have done nothing wrong. I have no plans to do anything wrong. I will not support any restrictions on my rights by other people simply because they think it’s ‘reasonable’ to do so, or because they think it’s the right compromise between two opposing groups who are calling for equal amounts of idiocy. Being in the center is not inherently right or moral, or fair or reasonable. It is simply political appeasement of the passions of idiots, and what gets sacrificed is liberty.
In this post, he makes sense. However I still have yet to grasp how someone so into self defense can conceive of self defense being easier if it’s harder to get the best tool to use for that purpose. The specific problem he doesn’t seem to grasp is that, for example, gun free zones are a specific response by the state to try and limit the handling of firearms in certain areas to people who are ‘well trained.’ In other words, he’s basically playing the game of I’m A Better Central Planner Than You. He’s not the problem, it’s the other guy who needs training.
Every statist in this world seems to think everything would work better, and sometimes even perfectly!, if the world at large simply obeyed his rules and worked to his standards. What they miss is that the morass of bullshit surrounding whatever issue it is they’ve taken exception to is exactly what results when people get together and through the government try to solve all their problems using ‘common sense legislation’ and ‘moderation.’ It is what you get when you apply centrism and abandon first principles. The author goes through an entire article arguing effectively as to why gun control is not necessarily the answer, but then what is this middle ground of which he speaks? The answer is that we’re standing on it.
The middle ground he would prefer is another path that the US perhaps could have taken forty or fifty years ago, but didn’t. What he suggests now would be more “intrusive” engagement of the mentally ill. However this too is fraught with middle ground problems, because what exactly is the acceptable middle ground for dealing with people who may potentially be mentally insane? I know I’d get roped into that middle ground nut wagon in a second merely because of my political beliefs, even though the number one thing I am opposed to is aggression. So, what do we do with the potentially mentally ill who may be a threat? What’s the acceptable intervention in their liberty? Routine interviews? Restrictions on gun ownership? Restrictions on what they can watch and what video games they can play so they don’t get any wacky ideas? Preventative detention? I’d love it if the author would let me know. Of course, it’s easy in hindsight to spot what could have been done to prevent this or that tragedy. The problem is when you apply that across the boards in an attempt to prevent a future tragedy you just end up wasting a shitload of time and money, and more importantly unjustifiably restricting people’s freedoms. It is the same logic behind gun control in the end.
In the end the author claims to not know what explains the “ impossible distortion of priorities” that leads to drug users being in prison for life but violent people being paroled. However, he has spent the last several thousand words engaging in that very distortion himself. The answer is: people who think they know better. People who think they know better and so want to lock up all the pot heads. People who think they know better and so want to restrict access to guns. People who think they know better and want to set the standards for training for being able to own a gun. Or treat a patient. Or run a store. Or…
People who think they know better, and who concentrate their efforts on trying to control the actions of others. As long as that’s the approach to finding solutions the result will never be anything but a morass of fucked up and moronic laws that make very day life less and less livable, and do nothing in the end but empower criminals and governments – but I repeat myself – to victimize free citizens. The real answer is that you can not control the actions of anyone but yourself, and that those people who would submit to such controls are already those who by nature are of a low threat because they were going to abide by your standards anyway, or something close enough so as to not really make a difference. And, since you can not control others, you must control yourself, lead by example, and respond to aggression with equal violence to stifle it. There is no other way, there is no middle ground we can all agree on.
It is not merely a question of money, as the author contends. The system he is using to try and solve the problem is, at root, the cause of it. Also, his dismissal of the intent of the Second Amendment is laughable. Several thousand ragged fighters in the middle east have essentially fought the US military to a stalemate, but somehow several million armed Americans will be rolled over? Horse shit. In the end I fin constitutional arguments useless because it’s the principle and the right that matters, and they don’t come from a 200 year old piece of paper. If the US army was eventually turned on US citizens, those citizens being armed and the army’s new status as an occupying force should tell you all you need to know about what’s going to happen. Here’s a hint: no occupying force in the history of the planet has ever prevailed in the long term, and their stay has been exceptionally shorter when the citizenry was armed. This effect is compounded when you’re discussing civil war because soldiers are more hesitant to shoot their neighbors, and generals are less likely to want to use weapons of mass destruction on their own soil. The original intent for the Second Amendment still stands, still holds, and is now and always will be relevant.
The author offers a black helicopter to anyone who thinks differently. I say when the majority of the people think, “It can’t happen here…”, is when it gets a lot more likely that it will in fact happen here.
Later on he opines:
We could do many things to ensure that only fully vetted people could get a licensed firearm. The fact that 40 percent of all guns in the U.S. are legally purchased from private sellers without background checks on the buyers (the so-called “gun show loophole”) is terrifying. Getting a gun license could be made as difficult as getting a license to fly an airplane, requiring dozens of hours of training. I would certainly be happy to see policy changes like this. In that respect, I support much stricter gun laws. But I am under no illusions that such restrictions would make it difficult for bad people to acquire guns illegally. Given the level of violence in our society, the ubiquity of guns, and the fact that our penitentiaries function like graduate schools for violent criminals, I think sane, law-abiding people should have access to guns. In that respect, I support the rights of gun owners.
Way to go, asshole. Let’s make guns harder for people to get to use for defense, while at the same time admitting this will do next to nothing to keep guns out of the hands of people who wish to do others harm. You truly have to twist yourself into a pretzel to comprehend the logic behind this statement. I especially love the mindless sacrifice of the poor, who likely would not be able to afford those long hours of training for licensing. The very people who live in the areas, and around the criminals, where a gun will most likely be necessary for defense are the ones who can go fuck themselves. It’s only the special people who should be allowed to have guns. You know, cops, politicians, and rich people. Rights only apply to them.
At base here really is the stupidity of the statist in action. Somehow the state is supposed to at once hinder the ability of people to have access to guns, while at the same time not hinder people’s access to have guns, all the while admitting the these laws which are supposed to achieve two contradictory goals at the same time are aimed at the very people who aren’t the fucking problem, and also they have no hope at restraining the very people who are the fucking problem.
The author concludes:
I believe we need a general shift in our attitude toward public violence—wherein everyone begins to assume some responsibility for containing it. It is worth noting that this shift has already occurred in one area of our lives, without anyone’s having received special training or even agreeing that a change in attitude was necessary: Just imagine how a few men with box cutters would now be greeted by their fellow passengers at 30,000 feet.
The irony of course being that even pilots have issues trying be armed on planes, and earlier on this very article the author admits the most effective way to deal with a guy with a knife is to have a gun. This general shift in how we perceive and respond to public violence is, of course, only to be taken by those who are ‘well trained’ in the author’s judgement. Fuck everyone else.