Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cows With Guns

Many thanks to Jerry Kirschner, who passed on this email from Megan McArdle explaining her gun posts. McArdle, as always, simply repeats her earlier responses, as if enough repetition will convince people she is correct.
"You are conflating two different questions.

1. Should people openly carry guns to political protests, other than perhaps ones organized by the NRA? No they should not. It is freaking people out, and it is not advancing the cause they say they are interested in: second amendment rights.

2. Are people who openly carry guns to protest likely to prove dangerous? No they are not. All of these people contacted law enforcement ahead of time to notify them of their intention, and in the case of Obama visits, undoubtedly had Secret Service was watching them the whole time—which I am sure they knew. This is not the behavior of a would-be assassin. A would-be assassin picks a distant hiding place, or conceals his weapon until he plans to use it.

Not all people who do things you don’t approve of with guns are dangerous criminals.
Not all liberals disapprove of guns. Many, however, want sane laws to control them. McArdle has created a straw man liberal that hates guns, thinks everyone that owns a gun is a criminal and is hysterically afraid of guns, so she can dismiss any legitimate concerns about safety.
They’re just behaving boorishly. I’m not defending the behavior. I’m saying that the more hysterical claims about the behavior—that it makes it just a matter of time until someone is shot, that the only reason they could possibly be doing this is to imply that they will shoot anyone who tries to oppose their political opinions—are not based on any factual evidence, only a fervent belief in the bad character of anyone who likes guns too much. Or I should say, anyone on the other side of the political fence who likes guns too much, since at least one of the gun toter was a Democrat who carried a sign supportin healthcare reform, and a pistol strapped to his hip. He says that he was there to support both healthcare and the second amendment. And I have so far found no one making quite strong claims about the intentions of the right-wing heat packers who is willing to say that this chap, too, must have been trying to intimidate people who disagreed with him by implying that he was willing to shoot people if national healthcare failed to pass.

The fact that someone is behaving inappropriately does not mean that it is therefore okay to say any horrible thing about them that you please, nor that anyone who points out that these horrible things are very likely untrue, is therefore savaging the memory of assassinated presidents, or trying to fill our nation’s political rallies with guns.

Assassination is not the only reason to keep guns out of volatile political events. That fact is perfectly obvious. The presence of guns will attract more people with deep, personal interests in guns. Accidents could happen. Guns could be stolen, from the person wearing it or from the cars in the parking lots. A lot of entirely unnecessary and unfortunate events could occur that would not even be an issue if people could just manage to leave the weapons at home the next time they want to attend a health care town hall McArdle simply ignores any arguments she might lose, which must be very nice for the ego but not so good for actually winning the argument, instead of just declaring it won.
When George Bush was running for the presidency, the Black Panthers showed up at an anti-Bush rally carrying AK-47s, a phenomenon that does happen from time to time, but is apparently not always as interesting as we now find it, which is why virtually all the people getting angry at me seem unaware that left wing groups occasionally do the same thing. Bush ignored them, which is the proper response to such behavior. And, like virtually everyone else who legally carries guns, even to political rallies, they wandered around with their guns for a while and then went home without harming anyone. I think what they did was fine in the sense that it wasn’t particularly dangerous, and they had a right to do it. I also think they were behaving like jerks. But people have a right to behave like jerks. I don’t think that hysterically slandering people necessarily discourages them from the behavior. It may just convince them that there’s no reason to listen to you."

Here we have a repeat of the bad information McArdle attempted to pass on without even a cursory glance to check it out. Her Black Panther incident is wrong, a misinterpretation of incomplete information. What's really interesting, however, is that now McArdle is adding information she couldn't possibly have, embellishing her little story to make it more emphatic. Now the Black Panthers show up waving AK-47s "from time to time" and "left wing groups occasionally do the same thing." One incident has become several, to prove that liberals are just as bad as conservatives. It has now been proven beyond doubt that McArdle is just making up whatever she thinks will help her cause, doing her job of lying to serve her corporate bosses.

McArdle is trying to rescue the reputation of the tea-baggers and tea-bagging events, so that fear of armed men doesn't hurt the careers of her smart set of friends. It's too late; Republican party leaders have already run in fright from town halls and any pretense of grass-roots support has been abandoned for the safety of corporate insiders. The only true thing she says is that she won't listen to any counter-arguments, since the liberal meanies won't accept her authority and automatically believe her stenography.


Mr. Wonderful said...

"the liberal meanies"

I am convinced that the Internet was created solely to generate excellent band names.

"a fervent belief in the bad character of anyone who likes guns too much."

It's fairly amazing how doggedly she ignores the real issue. We can agree or disagree on such peoples' "character." But nowhere does she confront the possibility that people, regardless of their character, act in non-rational ways. They panic, they get suddenly infuriated for reasons not fully known even to them, they provoke others or allow others to provoke them.

Even her admitted villains of the piece, the would-be assassins, are constantly described as being deliberate, calculating and, therefore, predictable.

Libertarianism requires this. It requires the primitive, almost superstitious belief that everyone rationally knows what they're doing all the time, and makes conscious 'choices' accordingly. It's medieval in its simplicity.

Susan of Texas said...

That's because we live in the best of all possible worlds./Candide

Downpuppy said...

A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm.

He shot a man in Reno, just to protect the 2nd amendment.

I hung my head. Dancing on a pony keg, I hung my head.

I'm gonna break this rusty cage & run. CU later!

Jason said...

I'm continually amazed when I read her posts. I doubt she would be capable of feeling guilty if a citizen got shot at one of these protests. Or perhaps I overestimate her ability to understand the toxic, eliminationist ooze in which the right wing is basting itself.

Also, if I may, I'll refer the musically inclined reader to this site (which is at best tangential to the body of your post, though relevant to the title):

Anonymous said...

The gun toters advised law enforcement in advance of their intentions??? Seriously?

"Um, yeah, hi, I just wanted to let you folks know I'm gonna be packin' heat in Portsmouth today, okeydokey? Buh-bye ..."