Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This Really Is All I have to Say

I have some other notes, but I'll have an impromptu go at Mass Marrier's comments to "We Shouldn't Talk About It."

1. "I don't see why you frame this as a rural issue and come down so hard, and so stereotypically on urban progressives. Those aren't the issues."

No, they aren't. Still, stereotypes can reflect reality. If you read Samuel Johnson, you find sweeping hostility against the Scots. Stereotypes? Prejudice? In context, they are the perfectly rational responses of an Englishman against a people whose irruption into English society brought with it enormous social and economic change, not all of it good. Dr. Johnson had a reason for his attitude.

I would be far more equable toward urban progressives on gun control had I not been repeatedly labeled a dangerous psychopath, in fairness not because I have a rural background, but just because I knew something about firearms. This did not happen here, but in actual life over my 30 years as an urban progressive. (I thought I was an urban progressive, but my heresies seem to have precluded that. I hope my thorny independence doesn’t obscure the fact that we are more or less on the same path.)

2. "I see the progressive issues as shifting the handgun-centric culture. It's the bigger, harder struggle. As Australia recently showed, that is possible in a very similar culture."

Perhaps one ought to consider shifting the culture of school violence, a particular interest of mine. However that issue, so central to most of our major slaughters these past years, has too many sticky points and sharp edges for most people to handle. I’ll take the noble gestures about cultural shift more seriously if everyone else takes school violence seriously as a pragmatic starting point. Perhaps liberals and conservatives both are afraid it is their kids who are doing the bullying in schools, and don’t want to face the consequences. But no, it’s just easier to get a rally going for Bambi and Thumper than for troubled, lonely kids slowly turning into time bombs.

3. "That didn't require a fleet of new ideas. It used many older ones -- strict enforcement, gun buybacks and the like that many all-guns for every adult say are unworkable. There, they worked because the national will was to stop mass killings and the thousands of suicides and domestic slayings. It is working and thousands of Aussies are alive now because of it."

The all-guns for every adult lot represent the lunatic fringe of the people opposed to gun control, just as the no-guns for anybody lot represent (I hope) the lunatic fringe of those in favour of gun control. If anyone bothered to look, they would find a solid core of people very much in favour of using existing methods to stop the insanity. That was the position of tens of thousands of gun owners before polarisation set in. The ideologues of the right close their eyes and pretend it ain’t so. Those of the left-centre cannot be bothered to look.

Bothering to look for common ground is the new idea: so new that you cannot even see it. To suggest looking for common ground on any divisive topic seems to be beyond the reach of ordinary reason. Eventually, the idea may occur to someone with more of a following. Such a person is welcome to all the credit. If they can implement it before we turn into the Balkans, I’ll be pleased.

4. "Conflating that with removing the shotgun from the wall of the hunter or varmit eliminator does address the issue. The progressives I hear from on this this would like a cultural shift instead."

That’s a little confusing but I’ll struggle on with what seems to be there.

I find it absurd that progressives waste so much energy pushing their angst about hunting. It is absurd because progressives have won on this issue and most don’t even know it. American hunting is in decline, has all but vanished in some areas, and there you are, beating a dead horse, saying it “addresses the issue.”

There is one issue, really, and you have not addressed it. It is how to take the gun control issue away from the right. Progressives have not done it on their own in over 40 years. They need to look to what they see as the enemy camp for support. They need to do what Democrats used to do when they were successful: listen to everyone, not just themselves. Some are doing it, but maybe not enough.

5. "I'll watch for those screaming, "Hick!" I haven't seen them recently."

That’s good: Clintonesque and disingenuous. I assume “recently” does not include last summer. I am kicking myself that I deleted the relevant exchanges, so I must concede to you.

I do have a programme (thanks for asking) which is quite far from all guns for all adults, and not reliant entirely on existing laws. It would likely get me served for lunch at a Newt Gingrich barbecue. I’m keeping it to myself. First, giving away one idea per post is enough. Second, it does rely on cooperation. I know I keep coming back to that point and it bothers me. I should get myself voluntarily committed for such thinking.

From here on, I say no more about this wedge issue, and comment is closed on it.