Malcolm dissents

Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses and a capital- F Friend of Q, was so appalled by an Adam Gopnik anti- gun rant in the New Yorker that he wrote the furious and sometimes even funny riposte below.

Turns out he was “baited” with an old essay, but the truth remains. Apparently no one at the NYRKR has yet realized that not only is Gopnik’s statement that it is almost impossible to own a gun in Canada wrong (or as we say, a “lie”), but Canada’s only move on guns in recent years was to abandon its flawed, useless, and ruinously expensive long gun registration scheme.

There are dangers to living in a bubble; I am remembering Pauline Kael’s statement that Nixon must have stolen the election because nobody she knew had voted for him.

In Berkeley.

Malcolm:

 I don’t regard myself to be on “the right,” whatever that means in this Fantasia of a current political climate, but I own a pile of guns and have been shooting and hunting with them since childhood. True, certain European countries have stringent gun laws, and some or possibly all of them likely have lower homicide rates than our own experiment-in-progress. On the other hand, it’s not “impossible” to own a gun in Scotland, which still ushers in the Glorious Twelfth in traditional fashion with a lot of booming double-guns and dead grouse in the heather. Meanwhile, following the Velvet Revolution the Czech Republic quickly moved to reverse draconian Soviet regulations designed to keep guns out of the hands of anyone who might pose a threat to the regime, and Czechs are currently about as armed to the teeth as the Swiss, with similarly little trouble. America is a unique situation, with a degree of class and racial and regional diversity that might be described as unprecedented in the history of the world. Frankly, for a heterogeneous, even polyglot nation of 300 million with an estimated one gun per person, it’s somewhat astonishing that gun violence is as rare as it is on a per capita basis, despite the best efforts of a sensationalizing media to portray statistically rare (if undeniably tragic) mass shooting events as some sort of social pandemic. As far as straight gun homicides go, the vast majority are demonstrably related to black market drug trafficking, which itself is a product of foolish, draconian, and totally paternalistic state policy rife with corruption at every level and probably knowingly engineered to prop up excessively militarized domestic law enforcement departments, privatized penal institutions, and for all I know the GDP of Mexico. Don’t even get me going on Big Pharma and whatever barrage of untested drugs-du-jour it wants to ram down the throats of Americans at the earliest possible age, except to say I’d far rather see both legal and illegal drug policy reform than squads of the aforementioned LEO’s coming around to confiscate the guns of American citizens, be they Bobby Seale, Dennis Banks, the Pink Pistols, or myself. And frankly, essays and punditry such as the above, in which some air-conditioned wonk blathers on about sixty or so million American gun owners as though their collective character is somehow flawed, retrograde, inbred, gap-toothed, or otherwise unevolved enough EVEN TO NOTICE THE BLATHER, let alone have a change of heart and whistle kumbaya whilst agreeably handing over the artifacts of their own enthusiasms, are about as insulting as it gets. Let’s not forget that we are talking about people who keep the electrical grid up and the toilets flushing and the trash hauled off and the food magically appearing in the grocery store; stop having this conversation as though it’s solely the purview of a self-congratulatory intellectual class, because that isn’t what stands to have its pastimes and ways of life criminalized. And honestly, I’d love to see one-fiftieth the ire out of the left over Snowden’s current straits as it seems endlessly to have over legally owned firearms in a free nation. So basically, this: if you or Adam Gopnik or Barack Obama want my prized 1924 Mannlicher-Schoenauer, or the 1955 Czech BRNO my son shot his first two elk with, or anything else in the safe, you are all welcome to go purchase your own. You can’t have mine. Get the picture?

Steve again: one more thing I have always wondered about: since most military people and cops I know are firmly pro- gun, just who is going to take our guns away?

Worst Design Idea EVER

From California Home and Design, proving once and for all that everything you suspected about California is true…

To quote them, “Enter the second-floor 1908 library… Designing for a modern family, DeSousa was challenged to fill the shelves with real books when today most are read with an iPad. With the help of Bookbythefoot.com, a site that provides salvage books by the linear foot, DeSousa adorned the shelves with hundreds of paper bound books.”

And painted them all white.

Politicians & Animal Rights vs the right to breed YOUR dogs

By intention I don’t do much politics here- I am neither partisan or, mostly, interested enough. But does ANYONE pay attention to the fact that one socially conservative Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is in bed with HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, and the whole Animal Rights movement, and has been for many years? Worse, he seems to fly totally under the radar. If you care about hunting, or, especially, private dog breeding, Google “Santorum HSUS” or “Animal Rights” or even “Wayne Pacelle”…

A lot of nutty stuff left and right, approving and critical, is available, but some of real substance is up too. Many people think or comment “I’m against puppy mills.” Fine, but much of the proposed legislation, like Governor Perry’s below or some of Santorum’s failed attempts, would not just ban commercial breeders (who in any case have the money to move, fight, rebuild their kennels in technical compliance, or otherwise evade). Such laws would have prohibited my breeding (all of five non- profit pre- homed unique sighthound litters so far), and/ or have stopped me from bringing over my entire hound family, including Ataika, Queen of the World, who we got and lived with for a month in Almaty– she was among other things, including just IMPORTED (apparently inherently evil), under 6 months old. Think she would have been as social and civilized later?*

The very sane Bob Kane on Santorum’s proposed 2005 PAWS bill:

“PAWS has virtually nothing to do with animal welfare or closing Animal Welfare Act “loopholes.” It’s a direct attack on U.S. hobby breeders, hunting dog owners and animal rescuers. PAWS federalizes hobby pet breeding.

And then there is his fellow Republican Rick Perry, who fails on dumbass grounds anyway but tends to pose as a red blooded western foe of bureaucracy. I call bullshit. From petbreedersandowners.com: “HB1451 created a new state agency, allows for entry into a private residence without the owners presence, establishes a public database to include the private information of pet breeders, established a bounty fund for animal rights activists to report pet breeders to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, and is a contradiction of the key values supposedly upheld by Gov. Perry. These bills were heavily backed by the H$U$, ASPCA, PETA, and other animal rights groups, and promote their agenda.”

Statist meddlers & “botherers” both…

The results can be seen in Continental European countries, where an unholy alliance of government and closed registry breed clubs can now decide who is born. A friend in Germany wrote:

“But here in Germany it is very difficult to breed with brindle salukis. I think you remember the brindle Metzlers dogs. They tried to get permission to breed their bitch Bahia, but in the shows they only got a “good” and that is not good enough for the breeding permissions.”

Priceless unique genetic diversity is being lost for no demonstrable reason at all, and it CAN happen here– intact dogs of my AKC and Saluki Club unacceptable bloodlines are in peril of compulsory sterilization in Albuquerque because of former (Democrat– stupid knows no partisan boundaries) Mayor Marty Chavez’s Orwellianly- named HEART regs. Longdogs and staghounds, types prized and run in New Mexico longer than (I suspect) the authors of such regulations, are mere worthless “mongrels” of course.

[Elaborated from a comment of mine at Atomic Nerds.]

*Meanwhile it seems it is OK for urban shelters to import strays from Mexico to meet the demand caused by the “birth dearth” apparently resulting from too much compulsory spay neuter in pc precincts– look it up…

More Thoughts on Prof. McMahan’s Essay

Reading yesterday’s NYT (online) essay, The Meat Eaters, by Rutgers University professor of philosophy Jeff McMahan (forwarded by reader Daniela and shared below by Steve), I’m almost more puzzled by my own need to comment on the piece than I am amazed by it.

It’s tempting to lump this man’s essay in with the tiresome mass of animal rights propaganda, but I think it’s only superficially similar. This goes deeper, is arguably crazier, and may belong to another tradition entirely.

Professor McMahan’s work is principally atheist, by my reading, secondarily misanthropic, and only for the sake of example concerned with the welfare of animals.

His ignorance of animals and “nature” is obvious (Does he know some deer eat baby birds? Does he know ducks rape and kill each other?) and his ignorance of the human animal (his own animal self!) can be inferred. But I think the misanthropic bent of his argument hints that maybe he knows just enough about himself to be scared and disgusted by what he sees.

This is a very old theme, indeed. Man’s fear and loathing of himself long predates any “animal rights” movement (though it certainly seems to inform it.)

I can’t help but, as a parent of two children, recognize in this line of thinking a child’s deep-seated (and profoundly self-centered) sense of injustice.

Faced with the world’s certain measures of pain, bewilderment and abandonment, reasonable children seek comfort—and if denied that comfort, predictably lash out in self defense. They give hell to their parents, to their siblings, teachers, and tragically often to themselves.

To such a child, it is better to be alone than in the company of fellow sufferers. It is better, some will conclude, even to be dead.

For all the professor’s elaborate argument and educated language, he writes essentially from the perspective of a hurt child, ironically selfish in his lashing out against the “cruelty” of others.

This argument has been taken farther than the professor has yet come. Every religion and entire civilizations (spawning literatures and philosophies he must certainly know) have been created in the attempt to see past the problem of pain.

Although we still argue (obviously) and wonder about this problem, there is at least a shared understanding that the problem is sewn into the system and somehow essential to it.

Whether you chose to see this as life in a Fallen world or simply acknowledge, in the secular sense, that we’re all fucked, every adult must advance from that basic understanding to whatever conclusions can be drawn.

Only a child will chose to sit in a corner, hungry and hurt, while everyone sits at the table and eats what’s given.

Update: Chas’s thoughts here.

Worst Idea EVER?

Darren at Terapod Zoology has uncovered what I think, seriously,may be the worst idea for the future I have ever seen, combining sentimentality, utter ignorance about how the world, society, animals, biology or any science works, along with a readiness (unspoken), to use the most totalitarian means to achieve its impossible goals.

His title says it all: “Predatory animals are bad and should be allowed to go extinct, or should be modified to become kind and herbivorous”. They are serious. “It seems that philosopher David Pearce is honestly proposing that we should feel ethically compelled to eradicate all suffering and cruelty from the natural world in order to create a sort of global vegan paradise where predators don’t exist. Pearce terms this the Abolitionist Project (for more on Pearce and his ideas see this wikipedia article). His plans are, as discussed in depth on his website, theoretically plausible and involve such things as the use of brain implants, behaviour-modifying drugs, and genetic manipulation. Eventually, the lion will, literally, lie down with the lamb, hyaenas will not feel compelled to eat baby elephants alive, and – I presume – ladybirds will not eat aphids, and so on.”

The atempt to rid the world of all suffering might be called, by the religious, “immanentizing the eschaton”– perfecting the world and making paradise on earth, something that every bloody Utopian political project of the past has tried and failed to do. But you don’t have to be religious to be appalled by this– anyone with the SLIGHTEST knowledge of evolution or ecology can instantly see how mad this idea is.

I doubt anyone will ever try to implement this impossible idea, but I give it to you as an example of how far today’s urban intellectuals are fro the biological– the REAL— world.

Read the whole thing and all the comments– most of Darren’s readership feels as I do, but a couple of defenders of the thesis actually exist.