Nods Approvingly

True to my words that I made with my fingers, this is mostly going to be a reblog of @Abyschan‘s Tumblr post from last night.

Mostly because I get hella frustrated trying to talk to people about tender topics without it all devolving into a  contest of who can make the bigger asshole of themselves in an argument. Go have a ball with the List of fallacies on Wikipedia and try to tell yourself that the last good argument you were in didn’t involve some of these, or maybe that was the entirety of the conversation to begin with. Well, this is what happens when you let people have their way with a fallacy, and then you break the shit out of their argument in spite of it.

As I put it on Facebook, for my slower minded family to understand, some people find it more fun to be snarky in an argument than have their opinion rendered meaningless under the weight of logic and facts.

So lately with the gun debate raging, I’ve been seeing a lot of people throwing around this argument in snarky retaliation to whenever they’re presented with another long list of children being sacrificed to their ever-loving gunmetal gods. Yanno, apart from the general“the parents were incompetent and are at fault for this, not the guns themselves!” or the ever so pleasant “well those children were retarded anyways for [insert excuse, ranging from pointless to ridiculous, here], so that’s the gene pool cleaned up a bit!”

In general, I’ve been seeing this a posted a LOT on news articles comment sections; rule of thumb for the internet, even looking at the comment sections of anything is a bad idea, but as some people go unchallenged (actually just are ignored by most) the ideas spread to other corners of the internet, and not just comment sections. Then we really start getting pissed off from having to deal with comments section-grade arguments sprouting out of your extended family’s Facebook feeds, thus making it really hard to post your annual perfunctory communique of ”Happy Birthday” on their timeline. Or, God forbid, tumblr…

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3 thoughts on “Nods Approvingly

  1. As a friendly counterpoint – I’m surprised at people like this who miss the point of the gun debate from the point of view of some gun owners and the Constitution. The point of guns is to kill of course, and the further point is to afford the individual a measure of deadly force against the government. Its part of a system of checks and balances.

    Most US citizens probably do not believe that they will ever need that kind of protection, and so they are more than willing to give up that right to the government. For others, this is a foolish move that changes the balance of power between the government and its people.

    However, people on both sides want to make this about safety – about protecting individuals. Now car wrecks are an okay point to bring up, because the question becomes where to draw the line in the government’s involvement in the safety of the individual. Its a high order conflict because there is no objective line to be drawn when you are dealing with measuring diminishing returns, only a sharing of opinions about where to end that investment.

    As for fallacies – people use them all the time for a reason, and that is because logic itself is a particular system of arguing that is not used in day to day life. As a man-made system like any other, it has its own shortcomings and limitations. So I rarely worry about someone defending their beliefs with one.

    As I said, friendly rejoinder. I’m not slobbering over the keyboard, and I have no particular dog in the fight. I understand the angst on both sides and thus sympathize with both. (-:

    • I think they’re well aware of the argument that guns are needed to defend themselves from government tyranny, or whatever 15 other ways it’s going to be said. The counter argument is quite direct that we do not use, nor would you use, guns to fight against government tyranny. The facts supporting this are any number of civil rights movements since the civil war that were won peacefully and by moving the country as a whole into action. Womes Suffrage was not won with an assault rifle. The Civil Rights Act was not won with an assault rifle.

      Another point to make, it’s a slippery slope fallacy by the way, is that guns as a mechanism to overthrow the government are not enough. The US Military is by far the most powerful military force the world has ever seen. That’s the enemy at hand. You need tanks, jets, drones, hundreds of thousands of extremely well trained soldiers, and quite the stockpile of nuclear weapons to shake our government with a show of force.

      The weapons we use to overthrow tyranny in the modern age is media. The device almost everyone in our country carries around in their pocket is enough. A camera, a cellphone, the internet, the exposure of injustice to the rest of the world. This gets results, this changes the world. In the 60’s, they had to march millions onto the National Mall to make a statement and it took years. Today we have the technology to get this done in weeks. Guns have no serious place in our society aside from a throwback to an age were we literally had enemies sailing across an ocean in ships to land on our shores and invade our country. The “guns” of the 1700’s are now aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons, and the internet.

      • I understand, and I can see the evidence for the other side as well (though I don’t wish to argue back, so I leave that aside). In this, we are now arguing the use of weapons in protecting a people from tyranny, and your h/t blogger is quite right – arguments about car accidents or sports are ridiculous at this end of the pool.

        My point is simply that if the argument is at the other end of the pool, where the praxis is public safety, and not the use of weapons in opposing tyranny, then I’m not sure that we can say its fallacious to draw evidence from other aspects of government involvement in public safety to argue how deeply this aspect should be regulated.

        I’ll also say I’m not sure why you would want to exclude this evidence if you are for tighter controls on gun sales – after all, you could make the argument that traffic fatalities would be far worse without the training and registration procedures in place for motor vehicles!

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