Something a tad different for the last Saturday of October – and don’t forget to check out our Tapiture page for more of the Feminine Aesthetic!
This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: The Politics of Victimhood. Excerpt:
The questionable assumption we often accept about suffering is that enduring terrible experiences automatically make one an expert on the broader issues related to the causes of suffering. That’s why like other public victims of gun violence, (former Arizona Congressman Gabrielle) Giffords has spoken out as if her experience has made her an authority on gun policy. Thus she has attacked politicians for disagreeing with her on the issue of guns not by making a coherent argument, but by conjuring up her own experiences and sentimentalizing other victims of gun violence. Having created a fog of emotion, she then argues for policies, such as more restrictive background checks for those buying guns, even though there is no evidence that such procedures keep guns out of the hands of those determined to get them. After all, the man who shot Giffords had undergone a thorough background check. Worse yet, such emotionalism sets aside the critical Constitutional issue––the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
Invoking overt displays of emotions is a staple of the gun-banners; it is likewise a staple of such kooks as anti-vaccine kooks and animal rights lunatics. It is, after all, much easier to try to evoke an emotional response than it is to prepare a fact-based presentation and conduct a dispassionate analysis of the issues.
It’s important to note that, while both parties indulge in these kinds of histrionics, the most passionate appeals to emotion and the most irrational arguments are – with a very few exceptions – made by those on the political Left.
Setting aside gun control for the moment, look at the arguments – and I use the word “argument” in the broadest possible sense – by the radical animal rights nuts. Every argument against animal use, be it for food, research, entertainment, or even keeping as pets, is strictly emotion-based. They argue against eating animals on the basis of the “suffering” of farm animals, even though they have no way of quantifying that suffering, and have no idea of the impact their own diets cause – those diets being by and large the product of monoculture plant agriculture, which causes animal death and suffering in vast quantities.
They neither know nor care about this savage hypocrisy; just like gun-banners neither know nor care that disarming the law-abiding will only produce an entire new set of helpless victims for adherents to the toxic urban thug culture that is infesting many of our larger cities.
Dr. Hanson concludes: The trump card of suffering might be politically useful, but using it is a dishonest tactic that inhibits informed deliberation and debate. Relying on emotion and sentiment, no matter how understandable they are as a response to suffering, have since ancient Athens been the agents of bad policies and dangerous political decisions, and tactics for pursuing political advantage at the expense of the public good. They have no place in our already conflicted and divisive public political discourse.
Today, our Imperial City is awash in politicians, lobbyists and advocates of every stripe, and nine of ten are pushing for policies that are not only bad but, as Dr. Hanson points out, dangerous. They argue with emotion as their opening card, and very little if any pols or anyone else seems able to present a dispassionate analysis of fact.
To someone like yr. obdt. who has for the last ten years or so run a business whose main purpose is teaching problem-solving and cause analysis to high-tech companies all over the world, that is a situation that is increasingly frustrating.
Another hunting season over – this one cut short, as the inestimable Rojito developed some sort of electrical trouble and remains even now in an auto shop in Granby. Mrs. Animal cheerfully drove up from Denver to rescue loyal sidekick Rat and yr. obdt., but we returned to the city with nothing to show for our efforts except, as always, great memories of time spent outdoors. The one outstanding thing in this abbreviated hunt were the numbers of Shiras moose evident in our mountain stomping grounds; we saw no less than four on opening day, a young bull and three cows. That bodes well for yr. obdt. if I ever manage to snag a coveted Colorado moose tag.
And, on this return to regular blogging, let me once more thank Robert Stacy, Smitty and Wombat-socho for the Rule Five links. Appreciated as always, guys!
Speaking of that return to regular blogging, here’s an interesting bit of commentary from Forbes on the United States’ two very different “gun cultures” and how at least one county sheriff sees the two: How Gun-Control Legislation Is Affecting This Election. Excerpt:
Actually, a majority of sheriffs in New York and Colorado publicly oppose the new gun-control laws. Sheriffs are in a unique position to speak out, as nearly all of America’s 3,080 sheriffs are elected. These sheriffs aren’t standing alone like Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” Polls show that a lot of the men and women who protect us support the Second Amendment. In 2013, a survey of police officers by the National Association of Chiefs of Police found that 86.8 percent of those surveyed think “any law-abiding citizen [should] be able to purchase a firearm for sport and self-defense.” Also, a survey done by PoliceOne.com of 15,000 law-enforcement professionals found that almost 90 percent of officers believe that casualties related to guns would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident. More than 80 percent of PoliceOne’s respondents support arming schoolteachers and administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms. Virtually all the survey’s respondents (95 percent) said a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds wouldn’t reduce violent crime.
Cops – at least the cops surveyed here – are people of uncommonly good sense, probably in part because of the inexorable onslaught of human stupidity they deal with on a daily basis. An old retired state policeman once told me that every criminal he ever dealt with had a combination of three personality traits, greedy, mean and stupid – that proportions varied but all three were universally present.
These, of course, are the people that will completely and totally ignore any gun control legislation, no matter how well-intentioned, that ignorant state or Imperial legislators may pass.
There is a gun culture in the United States, a culture of responsible, law-abiding shooters and hunters. Some keep guns for recreation, some for sport, some for defense, some (like yr. obdt.) for all of the above. Of all the nations in the world, only the United States, in its Constitution, recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as an inalienable right that we retain by virtue of being free, law-abiding citizens. And those of us who choose to own guns, for any reasons, don’t like seeing politicians who are utterly ignorant of the differences between citizen and thug try to abrogate those rights.
That’s why three former Colorado legislators find themselves unemployed now. That’s in part why Governor Hickenlooper finds himself in a tight race against a GOP challenger now.
If you’re wondering about the sources of the toothsome Gingermageddon totty, check out our Tapiture page!
Since today marks the beginning of our annual excursion afield in pursuit of a winter’s venison, I thought I’d present a few thoughts on the hunt, yr. obdt.’s history in such, and the state of hunting in America today.
I was born into a family of farmers and outdoor people. The Old Man hunted and fished most of his life. Both of my grandfathers were outdoor types, and fishing trips with both of them are among my earliest and fondest memories.
Since I was old enough to carry a .22 rifle in the woods, I did so – almost constantly. Growing up in the hills, woods and fields of Allamakee County, Iowa presented plenty of opportunities to do so. The endless summers of youth were long, in part because of my anxious awaiting of the opening of squirrel season in late August, the first of many small game seasons to open. Hunting squirrels with a .22 teaches a boy to be quiet in the woods; it teaches him how to look over the terrain, to plan and execute a stalk, and how to shoot carefully.
Later in the year, I always laid aside rifle for shotgun when seasons for ruffed grouse and later, pheasant and Hungarian partridge opened. In December, it was deer season – and hunting whitetails on the Old Man’s place in Allamakee County stuck me with a love of big-game hunting that has stuck with me ever since.
Moving to Colorado when I left the Army in 1989 was the icing on the cake.
Folks hunt for a variety of reasons. Some hunt for trophies – and as every state requires, by law, the removal of all edible portions of a legally taken game animal, ‘trophy hunting’ as such should carry no animus.
Some hunt simply because they like to spend time wandering woods and fields, and that’s fine too.
Some hunt because they like eating wild game. Why not? It’s additive-free, lean, healthy meat – you don’t get any more ‘free-range’ than an animal you’ve hunted and killed in the wild.
I have hunted for 40 years or so for all of those reasons, mostly the second and third. I like the chance at a big buck or trophy bull as much as anyone, and it’s no secret I like to eat. You won’t find any better eating than an elk steak cooked over an open fire. And, there’s no better way to kill a few days than bumming around mountains, fields and forests.
So tomorrow starts the annual ritual. The bloodwind calls. It’s time to hunt.
Reports that ISIS has surrounded Baghdad and is quickly closing in on the Baghdad International Airport (armed with MANPADS, no less) are troubling. Baghdad itself has been rocked by a series of VBIED attacks in the past 24 hours by ISIS, indicating that the battle for Baghdad has begun.
The possible fall of Baghdad could be the most significant development in the War on Terror since 9/11. And yet many among the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” were not long ago mocking such a scenario.
So what happens if such a situation comes to pass? Here are five key implications (by no means limited to these) if Baghdad falls to ISIS:
By all means examine the five points, but it is the first of them that has the most repercussions, should it come to pass: 1) ISIS will not be claiming to the be the Islamic State, they will BE the Islamic State.
At present ISIS are, religious pretensions aside, a gang of bandits at best, a large body of non-uniformed franc-tireurs at worst. Like their fellows in al-Qaeda and other organized Islamic terror groups, they are not uniformed military, they are not afforded the protections covering soldiers in the Geneva Protocols and other recognized international laws of war, and in fact may be shot or hanged immediately on capture.
So, we should make no bones about killing these people – preferably before they capture enough of Baghdad to claim nation-state status.
Here’s the rub; ISIS will not and can not be defeated without intensive ground fighting. The United States can’t at present provide ground forces for this; our forces have been cut back too far, have been stretched too thin, and the American people are too war-weary. None of the nations in the region seem too anxious to take this on.
So what happens in this scenario: ISIS gains control of Baghdad and therefore Iraq, sets themselves up as a regional caliphate, obtains nuclear weapons from either Pakistan or Iran – and uses them on either Israel or America? What will the Israeli or American people demand be done in response? One would suspect the response would be catastrophic – for ISIS.
What global holocaust will ensue then?