In my last two posts (three if you include the book review) I have done my best to indicate that while I disagree with you, I do hear what you’re saying. I’m now asking, do you hear me?
In a surprising turn of events for me, whereas I initially wanted to effectively smear your claim, I have instead concluded that at the root of your claim, you are calling for the law. This is a very reasonable claim, a very humane claim. But there is a problem with it.
You think these shootings, the school ones especially, evidence that we are living in a state of chaos–in some situation similar to that which is before the law–and you desire to do something about it.
However, the law is already here. We are not in a state of chaos in the United States of America. Several hundred, perhaps even one thousand people have broken the law in the last twenty years in ways that previously seemed unimaginable. This is new, yes, but it is not chaos.
Hear me now. These events do not indicate that we have returned to the state of nature. They do not even indicate that we are in a trajectory towards the return to the state of nature.
Do you hear me? I’m asking you to listen. I listened to you. It’s the least you can do.
The law is not determined by elections. You (meaning literally you, the person reading this, and not meaning the generic “anyone”), you cannot vote the law out or in.
What to do?
The only option you have is to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that is a very real option which I do believe we (you and I–folks who disagree) should examine through civil discourse. But I wonder if you even know how it is done? If you do not, then you definitely are in no position to accomplish this possibly desirable task.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but I say this is the only option you have because I believe that every other option is anarchy–a subversive dismantling of the law. And this dismantling is a step in the opposite direction of what you want if you really want to keep certain firearms out of the hands of civilians while in the hands of the warriors.
In pictures from the marches, I saw a sign which said, “America, the world is watching.”
Do you hear them?
If you amend the Constitution, then we follow the footsteps and stand on the shoulders of our founders and teach the watching world the law. If you pass any other legislation–any whatsoever–then we demonstrate that we do not value the law. This, again, is the opposite of what you have said you desire.
And this is the precise point of disagreement.
Do you hear me?
The amendment is the precise point because I am confused by why you think there is any other option. I will listen and read anything you have which you think will help me see your point more clearly. I want the shootings to stop as much as you do.
Do you hear me?
I am slowly working on the new novel, the one filled with all the sex and violence you can handle (and desire)–and probably more–but I haven’t been writing it that often.
And obviously I haven’t been blogging much.
And I still don’t have a post for you.
But I do finally have the desire to share this video of a speech I gave at one of my beloved toastmasters competitions back in 2012 and in doing so finally pull back the curtain on my never-requested-but-just-the-same-deliberately-hidden appearance. I don’t have the hair or beard these days, but yes, the rumors are true, I am still that good looking. 😉 (for the ladies.) (Fellas: sorry, but you shouldn’t need an emoticon to calm you down.)
Oh. And Happy Birthday…Djyaa-nit.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
Five days had passed. He still wasn’t able to focus. He couldn’t believe what the President had said–what the President had done.
His friends were sick of listening to him rant. He felt like his co-workers were starting to be more than annoyed. But he couldn’t relent. He was in shock that the President of the United States of America had come to the conclusion that his best play was to say what he did. He was so angry. Rage had descended upon him as if an avalanche.
Five days was too long. He knew this. Academically, he knew he needed to get over it. But he was a man of integrity. He couldn’t pin down the reason, but he felt his integrity was under attack. As of this moment, though, he knew the time had come. He had related to everyone what he felt, and he had reached the point of diminishing returns. He knew he needed to just ignore it. He just didn’t know how to do that.
Instructions for How To Ignore:
Step 1 – Decide that acknowledging an experience, regardless of it’s truth, hurts more than it helps.
Step 2 – Lie. Deliberately convince yourself that you didn’t experience or aren’t experiencing the event in question.
Dear Mr. Keefe,
I am writing to you in response to one of your recent works, “The Civilian Need for Military-Style Assault Weapons.”
Here’s the thing, civilians who argue for the right to own “military-style assault weapons” are not arguing that they need to own them for hunting purposes. The reason civilians need to be able to own assault weapons is to maintain the ability to prevent and/or defeat tyranny.
It was during my second deployment that the idea struck me. It doesn’t matter how many planes/boats/tanks the US has. The reason we are running the show in Iraq and Afghanistan is because we have more guns and bullets than the enemy. Before 2003, I might have had to argue my point simply on principle (still a winning argument), but after a decade of fighting men armed only with assault rifles, I can convince you with practical experience as well. How else do you explain these last ten years during which the most powerful military in the world hasn’t been able to definitively defeat men armed only with assault weapons?
Let me state the main assumption in this argument; that is, the point on which we may disagree: every government trends towards tyranny. Our founders recognized this and put a check in place in the hope that it would be enough to prevent the tyranny from occurring. That being, governments should fear (just a little) their people. The real genius, of course, is that an armed population can actually overthrow a tyrannical government, not just threaten to overthrow it.
To sum up, your cartoon totally sets up a straw man in the debate on gun policy in America. By defeating this straw man as soundly as you do, you miss your mark. Rather than offer insight on the gun-control debate in America, you do two negative things. First, you confuse a reason for assault weapon ownership that isn’t worthy of attention for one that is. Second, deliberately setting up a straw man on an issue that restricts my everyday freedom to spend my money as I please actively promotes tyranny. No thank you, Mr. Keefe.
I’m excited to tell you all that I had an opportunity to interview A Mugwump this morning. I thought it was a fascinating conversation, but you judge for yourself.
Captain’s Log – How many ways can we spend money?
A Mugwump – Just two. The two ways we can spend our money are by choice or by compulsion.
CL – What is money?
AM – The dictionaries are wrong on this one. Big time. It’s not complicated. Money is a language. Unlike say, English which can communicate the breadth of the human experience, money can only communicate one thing. Money can only communicate value. Money is a language that communicates one thing. Money communicates value. That’s it. All the talk about recessions, depressions, inflation, the 99%, the 1%, Wall Street, Main Street, all of that is meaningless. Money is a language that communicates value.
CL – Are you saying that people with money are more valuable than people without money?
AM – No. This point is tricky, so pay attention. Money is only money when it is in motion. A dollar in my pocket is not a dollar. It is a piece of paper that looks like a dollar. When I take it out to purchase something, as I hand it to the seller, it transforms into money. It transforms into a communication of value. Whether we have a lot of money or no money has nothing to do with our value. When we choose to spend money, we communicate to others what we value. As I said, money in motion is the language we use to express value.
CL – Okay then, let’s return to the two ways we can spend our money, what is communicated when we choose to spend our money?
AM – When we spend our money by our own choice, we come to an agreement with the seller of the goods as to the value of the product or service. In short, when we choose to spend our money we communicate how much we value the product or service. If we think a particular TV is worth $300 and the person with the TV thinks it is worth $300, we hand over the $300 dollars and the seller hands us the TV. The money transferred communicates the agreed upon value of the TV.
CL – And what about when we are compelled?
AM – It is not the same when we talk about being compelled to spend our money. When we are compelled to spend our money, that money does not communicate the value of a product or service. Instead, when we are compelled to spend our money, the money communicates how much we think we’re worth as an individual. The money that an armed-robber forces us to give him was freely given to us in exchange for the value of a specific application of our time, skill, and/or energy. The armed-robber is giving us nothing of value in return for our money. Therefore, when we pay the armed-robber everything we have to stay alive, we’ve just communicated that we think our time, skill, and energy, in other words, our life, has no value. And the act of paying everything–our time, our skill, and our energy (our life)–to stay alive is another way to define slavery.
CL – Slavery, huh? It sounds like you may be describing the government as an armed-robber. What do you think a government is?
AM – No, you misunderstand. The government is not an armed-robber. It does offer certain valuable things, which a private market cannot, in exchange for our money. What do I think a government is? To my mind, a description that fits all governments that have ever existed, in all time periods, for all cultures, for all nations, would have to be, “Other people making some of our decisions for us.” That is what a government is. A government is nothing more than another person or group of people making some of our decisions for us. I say “some” of our decisions because that’s what this is all about. How many of our decisions should a government make for us? That’s what we are constantly deciding in this life. To me, less is better. But I can see how others might not want the responsibility of decision-making, so they might want others to make the decisions for them.
CL – Of all days, why agree to this interview today?
AM – Today, July 4th, 2013, is a fitting day to remind people of the nature of things. America is the only group we’re all apart of today. And if your readers are anything like me, they know they have value. As a matter of fact, even if they’re nothing like me, I believe they have value. I believe this, not because I have any special knowledge, but because in order to secure my freedom, I must believe and act on the idea that everyone has value. I must act on the idea that no matter who we are, no matter what our background, no matter what mistakes we’ve made, we have value. It’s Independence Day. A holiday helping us remember that our country was founded because citizens disagreed with how/how much of their money they were compelled to spend. In other words, they believed they should be making more decisions than their government let them. It was founded because people believed they were worth more than their government thought. If we want to spend our money as we please, if we want the amount of money we’re compelled to spend to be as little as possible, we need to be reminded that we all have value. Everyone has value.