Thursday, August 27, 2009

What an Asshole

My Last Word on Guns:

Liberals are to blame for all of this. Carrying a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public meeting is a form of free speech, akin to telling someone to shut up or you'll punch them. Totally protected.

Jason Zengerle indicates that the real point is that openly carrying weapons at a protest makes it harder for the Secret Service to do their job. Probably. On the other hand, lots of things make it harder for the Secret Service to do their job. Protesting is much harder on the Secret Service--almost certainly harder than one guy openly carrying a gun, because the protesters are a crowd of people who have to be watched constantly for suspicious movements. Should we ban protesting? Or force the people who do it off the premises and into a park eight blocks away? [Like Bush did?]
Dear Jason Zengerle,

You're not helping. Maybe if you left eventheliberalnewrepublic you might make better arguments.


The point, Megan, is that people who are bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings are wrong to do so. You can't even argue against that point, so you spend hundreds of words dancing around it and pretending they're not at least seeking to make use of the threat of violence against those who disagree with them.
Of course not. Expression in a free society is important--important enough even to let us risk the president's life, as we are indisputably doing every time we allow a protest, or for that matter a crowd, near him. You can say, well, free speech is really important, and carrying a gun isn't, but that's begging the question. I'm going to stop discussing this after the post, because what it comes down to is liberals saying, "Conservatives with guns make me extraordinarily anxious and upset," and clearly, they're right. Nonetheless. Carrying a gun is clearly an attempt to make some sort of political statement, though we may not know what--rather like flag burning. And the supreme court takes a very dim view of "Fighting words" type excuses to limit constitutional rights.
Her royal highness is finished with us lowly commoners who dare to question her word, but she will remind us to learn our place.
Btw, that's not begging the question. Begging the question is saying that since murderers are criminals only criminals use guns for murder. In my limited knowledge there is no legal precedent for calling bringing a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public meeting a speech act. If anything, it is constrictive of free speech, as the threat of violence is now being offered to those who might disagree with the armed man. An armed man who even Megan seems to have finally noticed attends a church led by a man who has called for Obama's death. (Which is negated by Obama's former scary black man pastor, of course.)
Nonetheless, I take the narrow position: openly carrying a gun to a protest is idiotic. Our president isn't the only one who has had a totally lunatic pastor. But there's really very little statistical evidence that it's likely to cause anyone any problems except their own stress. People who are planning to commit violence are probably going to try to conceal it until the last moment. And the other people aren't going to pick fights with the guy with the gun. Furthermore, these protests are hardly some variation on the Seattle WTO fights. They're small and, other than the gun freak show and the LaRouchies with Hitler signs, pretty boring. [My emphasis]
Whoops, there it is, the point. They brought guns to intimidate their opponents, Megan. And yet you think liberals are committing hate crimes by suggesting people who "debate" in this manner might take that weapon off their shoulder or out of the holster at some point. People who consider a pastor who's called for Obama's death and the death penalty for ALL gays and lesbians a great American couldn't possibly be capable of eliminationist acts. Stats she made up and didn't ever actually cite sources for totally prove it won't happen, because the extreme right has never engaged in acts of violence against people in the US. The KKK and militias don't count, because.
Notice also that she's now only speaking of acts of planned violence. Push them goalposts back, this kicker has a strong leg.
People carrying guns are acting like jerks. So are the liberals who have created a giant scary amalgam of a right-wing protester, who has done every bad thing that every protester has ever done. More than one person has now asked me how I can defend someone who shows up at a rally holding a gun in one hand and a picture of Obama-as-Hitler in the other, and starts screaming about death panels?
Moreover, having created this horrifying bogeyman, the next rhetorical move is to claim that this constitutes the whole of the opposition to your program.
A boogeyman based merely on what these actual folk are actually saying. How dare we slander them with their own words and professed beliefs. It means Megan has to deal with people asking her how she can defend them, and that pisses her off. Remember, Megan's mood is what's important here.
Does any of this sound oddly familiar? Wait a second . . . it'll come to you . . . yes, that's right, it's 2003 all over again! Coldplay's on the radio, Elizabeth Smart is being reunited with her family, and the rest of America is trying to rip each other's throats out, rhetorically speaking. The party in power is busy branding the opposition as something close to traitors because they are skeptical about a speculative venture that the majority just knows is going to turn out beautifully . . . Meanwhile, the opposition is staging increasingly freakish demonstrations, while the loud lunatic fringe starts looking for fascist jackboots and death squads behind every tree. The party labels have switched, but the vitriol, and the emotional tenor of the debate, seems very much the same. You'd think that the various players would have learned something from our last outing.
Wow, fuck you too lady. We who were RIGHT about the Iraq War are the same as people who bring guns to meetings about fucking health care reform and claim all sorts of crazy shit about Obama. Sure, we had truthers in our mix, but so does your fellow libertarian Ron Paul, Megan, and we were not being led by them. And just because WE WERE FUCKING RIGHT and thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died needlessly doesn't suggest we had any reason to be upset. After all, if Obama wins thousands of lives might be saved, we're still trying to get in the way of the great American death machine, fuck us.
I'm done talking about this now. To me, liberals sound like the pro-war crowd did in 2002--positive that they're right, and constructing a lot of arguments around their ability to imagine what is going on in the heads of people they don't know very well, and like even less. Too many conservatives sound like the lunatics heading the ANSWER brigade, who were not content to say that Bush et. al. were really, really wrong about invading Iraq--no, nothing would do but that they also be secret fascists looking for ways to increase the net stock of suffering in the world. And too many on the right are letting these morons talk uninterrupted, including me, I suppose, because I can't bear to spend any of my precious life moments listening to Rush Limbaugh or someone even worse.
They are the right, Megan. You're not "letting" them talk, you're enabling their worst impulses because you have to to stay in their good graces. You went straight from calling them idiots to blaming the left for having been FUCKING RIGHT ABOUT THE WAR. And our passions resulted in massive non violent protests, which you were so willing to tolerate you only suggested preemptive violence against us. But that was our fault for making you think about things you don't like.
I hated it then, and I hate it now. This country can survive Bush, Obama, or anyone else who is likely to get elected. It cannot survive the moral equivalent of civil war.
Which would be the fault of the people disagreeing with her even after she's taken her ball home.
Update: I should add that Zengerle asks me what, besides a bet, I would take as proof that liberals are 100% serious in their beliefs about protesters. Well, I think revealed preference is the best cue, but I would take a non-bet bet. That is: what would falsify your belief that these people are the vanguard of a rising tide of dangerous right-wing militia action?
My belief could be falsified in many ways: on the record statements from the protesters, a shooting incident started by someone who arrived at a rally openly carrying, a plot uncovered by a law enforcement agency. Obviously, I hope it's not the case.
Two of these things have happened. She really doesn't care about reality, she just wants to be able to think her stupid thoughts untroubled. Maybe we should get shot at once or twice, to learn our place.


clever pseudonym said...

"To me, liberals sound like the pro-war crowd did in 2002--positive that they're right, and constructing a lot of arguments around their ability to imagine what is going on in the heads of people they don't know very well, and like even less."

Does Megan forget that back in 2002, she was the very person she is describing here? She writes "they" as if she wasn't one of them.

Chad said...

"Carrying a gun is clearly an attempt to make some sort of political statement, though we may not know what."

If only she was writing a satire of a right-wing pundit piece...that one sentence would be immediately praised as absolutely hilarious.