Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Reasoned Discourse™

In reference to the recent debate between Mr. James Kelley and various and sundry members of the RKBA contingent, Joe Huffman left this in a comment here:
Did you notice that James says he will not read my post and that he accuses us of both of "angry/emotional reactions"?

And that, apparently because of me he now says, "I had no intention of doing this, but as someone has just penned a blog post with a title that takes my name in vain, I feel I now have no option but to take the precaution of reintroducing full comment moderation for the time being. I apologise for doing so, because to be fair no-one has actually over-stepped the mark yet."

Interesting. Without even reading my post, but because of it, he moderates the comments on his blog.
Joe is referring to this comment:
To be honest, Joe, I'm not planning to follow your link - but on the plus side that at least means you don't need to worry about me penning a counter-post entitled 'Why Joe Huffman is So Offensive to Me'. It's interesting that Kevin suggested on his blog that I was guilty of resorting to the typical emotional arguments of my side of the argument (implying that he by way of contrast relied solely on hard-headed logic). And yet we've now seen clear-cut examples of angry/emotional reactions from both Kevin and Joe. And when someone reacts to a calm debating point with such startling emotion, I think it's always worth looking beneath the words to see what it is that's really making the person so uncomfortable. In the case of Kevin's reaction to my point about Thomas Hamilton, I don't think we need to look very far - it clearly hit a nerve because the logic of my argument is inescapable. Everything we know about Hamilton's character suggests that if he hadn't been able to obtain guns legally, he wouldn't have obtained them at all. Allowing Hamilton the right to own handguns therefore directly deprived more than a dozen young children of their right to life. Repeating over and over again that the object in Hamilton's hand made no difference to the outcome (only the killer’s murderous intent counted) is a desperate last line of defence and a poor one - and I'd guess Kevin's discomfort in having to rely on it is as good an explanation as any for his resort to emotion. He knows in his heart of hearts that Hamilton simply would never have succeeded in killing as many as he did with virtually any other realistic choice of weapon at his disposal.

The other point at which Kevin substituted logic with emotion was on his own blog post, with his shameless juxtaposition of a photo showing hideous injuries with the words "after all, it's just 'bumps and bruises,' right?". The equivalent of that debating tactic for me would have been to show a photo of one of the Dunblane victims with a caption reading "was my right to life really so much less important than your right to own a luxury item - one that you described yourself as an 'inanimate object'?" I haven't felt the need to debase my argument with that kind of tactic - others can draw their own conclusions from the fact that you have felt such a need.

Other matters - Kevin, your response to my 'correlation is not causation' point was interesting, but it raised more questions than it answered. You assert that since the UK murder rate has not gone down since the handgun ban, this constitutes proof that the ban has not protected the public - quite simply this is woolly thinking. In order to say you have 'proved' that, you would have had to demonstrate that the murder rate would not now be even higher than it currently is had the ban not been implemented. At what stage have you even come close to demonstrating that? This idea that the only test that counts is whether the murder rate goes up or down in absolute terms following a change in the law is one you've conveniently conjured out of the air, and it has no rational basis whatosever. I could just as easily - and I did the other day - conjure up my own test that says any lowering of murder rates following the introduction of 'conceal/carry' laws is meaningless unless it reduces the murder rate to below that seen in a comparable society that had fewer guns in circulation in the first place. (And incidentally, any of your attempts to draw conclusions from apparent localised drops in crime rates following a liberalisation of gun laws in the US also very clearly falls foul of the 'correlation is not causation' principle – I don't see how you can now credibly dispute that.)

On the Alun Michael quote - any reasonable person would understand that he was talking about protecting the public specifically from violence caused by handguns. Again, how have you proved that the ban has failed to do achieve this? Small hint - you haven't. The overall murder rate is irrelevant (as it includes non-gun-related deaths), and highlighting that there are more guns around than there were before 1996 doesn't even begin to do the trick, because as I've already pointed out there might now be even more illegal weapons in circulation had the ban not been implemented. You've already pointed out that I have no evidence this is the case - so I'm now waiting with baited breath for your hard evidence this is NOT the case, which is the minimum that would be required to substantiate your claim that Alun Michael's statement has been 'proved' wrong.

"Things have changed a great deal in Britain since the Tottenham Outrage 100 years ago, and not, to American eyes, for the better. A lot of us have started referring to that space on the other side of the pond as where 'Great Britain used to be.'"

It's ironic that you charged me with being a stereotype in the arguments I deployed, because when you used the words I’ve just quoted it was at that point you revealed yourself to be a walking, breathing stereotype of your 'type' of right-wing American. Did you actually imagine I or others would never have encountered that particular cliché before? As a Scottish nationalist I've got no special illusions about the 'greatness' of Britain past or present - but in hankering after (for instance) Britain's Churchillian past you're missing an aspect of the British people's true 'greatness' in times gone by that I suspect wouldn't be quite so much to your taste. For during Churchill's wartime tenure as PM, the electorate were just biding their time to replace him with a red-blooded socialist government that would build the welfare state and a National Health Service free at the point of need. And if you want me to go further back, I can – it’s now more than 100 years since the Liberal landslide that laid the initial foundations of the welfare state, and that was accompanied by the first massive influx of socialist members of parliament. So it’s not only your assessment of Britain's present that's distinctly faulty, it's your assessment of our past.

Finally, I had no intention of doing this, but as someone has just penned a blog post with a title that takes my name in vain, I feel I now have no option but to take the precaution of reintroducing full comment moderation for the time being. I apologise for doing so, because to be fair no-one has actually over-stepped the mark yet.
I left this in reply:
"Full comment moderation" due to something someone posted somewhere else.

As to stereotypes, you just fulfilled the last one: You are now practicing what we call "Reasoned Discourse™".

I'm undecided on whether to dissect this comment in all its circular-logical glory - I am tempted - but I will most definitely put a link to it on my blog, along with a copy of this comment, since I believe it probably won't escape your "full comment moderation."
We'll see if he "allows" it.

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