Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why the RKBA movement turns off highly-educated urban dwellers.

A little speculation, spurred on by some of the remarks made at the Bill of Rights Day event held today in Phoenix:

Educated people, even highly educated people, are seemingly more prone to holding crazy positions on two topics more than any others: gun control and anthropogenic global warming. To slander scientists and make silly statements about the state of climatology is nearly a tribal trust signifier among both conservatives and libertarians; among highly educated urban dwellers--especially academics and graduate students--to oppose any and all forms of gun liberalization is a similar shibboleth. Try challenging either on facts, or asking the latter just where passage of shall-issue concealed carry has proved problematic. The answers you get will be amusing.

Both AGW deniers and hoplophobes deserve public and private shaming, as their positions are not rational. But it's worth keeping in mind that they're not rational and tailoring one's rhetoric accordingly. One cannot say that anticapitalists have dominated environmentalism, but they're screaming the loudest. To the uninitiated, that is what environmentalism is: opposition to humanity, liberty, civilization, and markets. This is why it's important to be the visible environmentalist. You want your peers to think of you, and not the unwashed, half-deranged lifestyle-activist, when they think of people who take seriously scientific studies of Man's effect on the climate (or, more generally, his fouling of the nest).

The RKBA movement has its own lifestyle-activists, who signal clearly (if incorrectly) to the uninitiated that people who advocate liberalization of firearms laws are Not Like Us. Do you know the type? Think of the person who believes that the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms is to give a universal heckler's veto over the government by means of murder. Some official isn't following your ab initio interpretation of the Constitution? Shoot him and put his "head on a pike", to borrow the phrase I heard one too many times tonight. A thousand Carl Dregas, that's the ticket. Every man, woman, and child, rightly or wrongly, can draw a line in the sand and shoot officials who cross it. Natural rights all the way!

I propose a rule. You can call it Kalafut's Rule, if you will. If you consider yourself a respectable person, do not hide your beliefs. It is better that your neighbors and colleagues think of you and not the screaming, outlandish bozo when they read of activism concerning this issue or that, or when they hear that a bill that you would support has been introduced at the legislature. If you've taken the only honest position on global warming that isn't "I don't know enough", be the visible supporter of the AGW hypothesis. And if you support RKBA, be the visible RKBA supporter.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The difference between Democrats and the rest of us.

Democrats, like presumed President-Elect Barack Obama speak of "creating jobs". The rest of us: classical-liberals, conservatives, Libertarians, Republicans, moderates, speak of prosperity and wealth.

If increasing the quantity of "jobs", whatever that even means, is the proper object of economic policy and the route to prosperity, then I recommend that the Federal government fund a major public works program. Create a five hundred foot tall memorial to Franklin Roosevelt, out of Lego (green lego, if you like), atop Mt McKinley. Then coat it with silver and put it into orbit at L2.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wilkinson's especially astute remark on Naomi Klein

We all know by now that Naomi Klein writes and speaks about matters she never bothered to study. It's also become evident that, like most of the far-leftists I've encountered who are younger than 75, she's so far from being an analytic thinker as to sound not just dippy but pseudo-insane. And she rarely misses an opportunity to remind us of these two points. Take her recent speech at the University of Chicago, as reported in the New Yorker:
My grandparents were pretty hard-core Marxists, and in the thirties and forties they believed fervently in the dream of egalitarianism that the Soviet Union represented,” Klein told the audience in Chicago. “They had their illusions shattered by the reality of gulags, of extreme repression, hypocrisy, Stalin’s pact with Hitler. . . . The left has been held accountable for the crimes committed in the name of its extreme ideologies, and I believe that’s been a very healthy process. . . . When you start issuing policy prescriptions, when you start advising heads of state, you no longer have the luxury of only being judged on how you think your ideas will affect the world. You begin having to contend with how they actually affect the world, even when that reality contradicts all of your utopian theories.

The difference is so elementary I'd expect even the slouching illiterates and grade-beggars taking noncalculus physics at the State Megauniversity from which I've posting this message to spot it: Repression followed from revolutionary socialism as a consequence of the ideology. Repression in a few states that (to Klein, at least) are nominally free-marketeer merely happened in the same place and, to a person who sees time in "eras" and not in minutes and seconds, the same time. It's worth noting that market reforms only came to Chile after several years of the repressive regime. To claim that repression somehow followed from free-marketeer economic advice is, to anyone with a civilized idea of time, absurd. But even in other cases the causal link has not been established, and Klein has not lifted a finger to try to establish it. Guilt-by-association is easier and association-by-error is easier still.

It is clear that Klein is not an intellectual in the narrow sense and that ideas are not driving her writing. Will Wilkinson remarks on what might make her tick:
Klein and her husband, Avi Lewis, come off as so saturated in familial left-wing politics that their ideology, such as it is, seems less a set of propositions that might be true or false than an ethnic identity or tribal commitment that can neither be chosen nor forsaken. Bred-in-the-bone cultural assumptions rarely cohere when articulated; their logic is emotional.

There's more; the whole post is worthwhile.