Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wild Westworld

To the insurance companies' delight, Obama is trying to give everyone access to health insurance. To the drug companies' dismay, the left is talking about giving everyone access to health care, paid for by the taxpayer. To discourage this, drug companies and their lackeys are encouraging the more gullible conservatives who have a little spare time and a lot of spare fear to attend rallies protesting health care reform. Some of those gullible, fearful people are so paranoid that they feel they need to be armed, to show that they cannot be intimidated into accepting government assistance. A very few are so paranoid that they actually go where they are certain to find armed government police and wave their assault rifles around.

The most paranoid members of the most paranoid and stupid subsection of the more scardy-pants political party, who are currently calling for a National Day of Pants-Wetting. Guess who has no problem with these few nuts carrying weapons? Our NRA dogmatist, our libertarian lassie, our where-are-the-police-when-people-like-me-need-protection princess, Megan McArdle. In her fantasy libertarian world, guns at political rallies are no problem.

Not that McArdle hasn't thought this out. The secret service can't let anyone put a bead on the president, for example. That might be a bit questionable. But if the president isn't there, no other liberal need worry. It's perfectly okay for conservatives to wave guns around them, scream at them in a threatening manner, and carry signs threatening to harm them.

McArdle also points out the number of people who legally own guns and commit crimes. is "very low." Therefore the tiny number of paranoid nuts who legally own guns and wave them around at political rallies are nothing to worry about. To back up her confident words, McArdle attempts to make a bet that nobody will fire a gun at a rally.

Care to take that to Longbets? I've got up to $500 that says that no right winger discharges a legally permitted firearm at a town hall meeting.

McArdle failed to find a taker for her bet, perhaps because the entire idea is distasteful and callous or perhaps because she kept changing the parameters of her bet.
Yes, anyone who discharges a weapon for the purpose of self-defense, or defense of another, does not count.


But let's say this: no one openly carrying a weapon outside a town hall meeting discharges that weapon at another human being, except in defense of him/herself, or another person. Bet? And for how much?


Lone wackos with hidden guns can show up at any rally, and have nothing to do with the people openly carrying--though the people openly carrying might well deter them. If you believe what you said--that one of the armed "patriots" under discussion, i.e. the folks openly carrying--is very likely to shoot someone, then this is a great way to make some easy money. Otherwise, you should retract what you said.


I freely concede that it is possible that someone openly carrying a weapon will shoot at a congressman; the world is an uncertain place. But the probability is so remote that I am willing to put money down--indeed eager; weddings are expensive.


If you think that the possibility is not remote--indeed, as you stated, near certain--then you should bet. Otherwise, I still say you should admit that you were just blowing steam.


What constitutes an "attempt"? People try to assassinate every president. Most of them don't get very far. The world is full of wackos.


Since you ask, no, I have no knowledge of FreedomWorks' policies, procedures, or anything else. I know virtually nothing about the organization beyond what I've read.

Back to the topic at hand, I didn't ask you what else you wanted to bet on. I asked you to put up or shut up on this particular proposition: that one of the people openly carrying outside a townhall meeting will try to shoot the president.

McArdle goes from firing a weapon to attempted assassination of the president of the United States, which is an impressive feat.

So why on earth would those silly leftists get so excited about a gun or two in the hands of a law-abiding conservative? Or anyone who decides to copy the law-abiding conservative, only without the legal aspect or the not-shooting-into-a-crowd-of-liberals aspect?
I suspect that, like the notion that Obama is not a US citizen, or that George Bush either planned the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen, this is for most people what Julian Sanchez calls a symbolic belief. They don't really believe that these people are thugs intent on murder--not in the sense that they have, with careful thought, arrived at a conclusion that they are willing to defend vigorously. But it is pleasurable to tell yourself you believe terrible things about your enemies, and so you don't examine the thought until someone says, "Well, how about $500 on it, then?" and you think about how much it would hurt to lose $500 on, and realize that you don't actually have any reason to believe it's all that likely.

Unfortunately, these sorts of fun pastimes are horribly corrosive to civic society.

Actually, Bush did know about Bin Laden's plans before he carried them out. He was handed a national security briefing that warned him, which he ignored. I guess it's just knee-jerk liberal Bush haters who believe facts and photograph instead of pleasant libertarian fantasies. But let's forget all about the past because it has nothing to do with the present. The real reason liberals are against carrying guns at political rallies is because they are knee-jerk liberal gun haters. This argument is not, of course, in any way an excuse that the conservatives use every time their crazies go crazier than usual. It's just the way it is. And the presence of guns at a political rally is in no way horribly corrosive to a civil society.


Downpuppy said...

It's not like Megan ever defended the arresting of people for just thinking of disrupting a meeting.

or maybe she did. Greenwald showed up in the comments; Brave Sir Megan ran away.

Kathy said...

I'd bet $5,000 dollars that if one of the 'legal' gun bearers actually pulled his pistol or rifle, he'd be dead in a nonosecond. Unlike Megan, if I won or lost, I'd give the money to charity, homeless kids probably.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which drives my blood pressure higher, reading her inane posts (most of which are merely chum on the water for her fanboys) or reading through a comment thread where said fanboys react as if scripted.

So, yeah, why do I keep reading? Car wreck syndrome? Deep self loathing? Bad impulse control? Oh, wait. That last one doesn't exist. I know, it's genetic !

Susan, I may have to rely on you to do the dirty work and I'll just satisfy myself with your snark. Well, there is Tbogg, too. And Roy Edroso. And Sadly, No. But please save my wretched soul ! I just can't take that woman any more.

Anonymous said...

And this latest gun post is classic. The gunstrokers are out in full force, yakking about "carrying" (note how our Megan adopts that lingo as if she's one of the Magnificent Seven) in self defense.

When was the last time any political rally was interrupted by gunfire? But the strokers reason that that by having guns on the premises and visible, then the chances of violence become lower.

Sheesh !

Mr. Wonderful said...

In the National Lampoon's 199th Birthday Book (celebrating American history), there was a pastiche of a primitive American painting depicting the assassination of Lincoln. In it, every single member of the audience at Ford's Theatre is pointing a gun at Abe.

That's the scenario I envision the next time someone pulls a gun in a crowd of open carriers. The instigating gun wielder gets blown away, yes, by the eager defenders of lib-er-ty. So do a dozen others (or more) caught in the crossfire, the errant shots, the shots of people returning fire at other people, etc.

It goes without saying that I'm sure this possibility has never occurred to MM. Why should it? It's not part of her imaginary libertarian dream-world.

Susan of Texas said...

I can just imagine McArdle's reaction to a group of gun-nuts waving rifles around the Watergate complex as she leaves for home. I'm sure she thinks that they couldn't possibly accidently or excitedly shoot anyone.

And didn't she complain that there weren't enough cops in DC to keep her safe when she goes bar-hopping?