When I left BC back in 1998 I was happy to discover that the most pernicious elements of politically correct forms of argumentation had not, as of yet, penetrated the political culture in Ontario. Now do not get me wrong there are many elements to the campaign for “political correctness” (the phrase reeks of the most pungent extremes of Maoism) that I was and continue to be in agreement with. No it is not OK to ignore, discount, or ridicule the arguments of others based on any affiliation to any group: “natural” or as the sages say “otherwise”.
(Be patient the hammer is coming down)
Arguments must be judged on their merits: logic teaches us that which reason dictates.
And part of logic is premises, so I am open and to and consider it necessary to revisit both the ontological and epistemological assumptions embedded in any truth claims. But here logic is an aid not a judge. That is to say, with certain changes in perspective the seeming veracity of an argument may crumble.
Let me give an example. Liberal economists are fond of taking policy positions based on their definition of efficiency which looks something like this. Policy X will increase John’s income by 15$ but decrease Jane’s income by 5$. Should policy X be pursued? The liberal economist will answer yes because there is an implied gain of 10$. Now we are free to make any number of responses. A) 10$ is better than zero so yes implement policy X. B) I appreciate there is 10$ to be had there but we must compensate Jane because in my moral universe Jane should not be made worse off to better John. Etc.
The point is in both responses I am told what the pay-off is and what the values motivating the choices are. And I can pick one or present another option from a different set of values. I can even contest whether or not the estimations of the gains and losses are reasonable. That is, maybe I estimate John’s potential gains at 8$ and Jane’s losses at 8$ in which case we are just shuffling the redistributive deck without a rational as to why. Logic is not a judge it is a guide. It makes us formulate our first, second and third order positions in a clear manner. If this blog has, and it certainly has, taken a hard line against liberal economists it is precisely because they hold their first order positions as sacrosanct.
Ok. So how does the tenor of the Gun Registry debate stack-up. Not very well. In fact, it does not pass the smell test. Exhibit A, a post that is in the feed over at Progressive Bloggers by Real Canadian Polititics
Putting the registry in perspective
Conservatives, and many other Canadians, are upset about Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s decision to force his MPs to save the gun registry, but Liberal MP Scott Simms really put it in perspective today.
Simms was one of the eight Liberal MPs that voted in favour of scrapping the registry at second reading, but he has now told his colleagues that he has changed his mind, not only because Ignatieff ordered him too, but for his own personal reasons too.
Simms father, Reginald Simms, took his own life with a long gun in June of this year, prompting his son to change his vote, stating that even if the registry saves only one life, it will be worth it.
Simms has more than his father to think, he also stated that after the second reading he looked up into the gallery and saw a woman crying. He mouthed the words, “I’m sorry” to her, and now he plans to make good on his “mistake.” It is believed that the woman in the gallery was Suzanne Laplante-Edwards, the mother of a girl killed in the L’Ecole Polytechnique massacre. It is unclear whether she will be in the gallery tonight.
Are you following the logic in the above quote dear reader? If you are not saying to yourself
what the fucking hell is going on here (WTFHIGOH) then you are part of the problem I am identifying. How for the love of all that is profane does the gun registry have anything whatsoever to do with the suicide of this liberal member’s father, with his choice to take his own life, or with the masacre de L’Ecole Polytechnique? It boggles the mind.
Where is the logic here? Mr Simms registers his long gun and in that darkest of moments before he musters the courage to take his own life he says to himself: “I registered this rifle I better not commit suicide.” Yep that is exactly the mental process at work.
When twenty-five-year-old Marc Lépine made a choice to use his legally obtained riffle to massacre 14 women and wound 10 women just for being women do we really think that if the extra legal step had been there to register his arm after already legally obtaining it that he would have said to himself: “I legally obtained this riffle but because I had to register it I will reflect on my deeply held misogynist values and reconsider the course of action I am about to take.” (?)
I am not being glib here. What is the connection between registration and potential use? Registration is not gun control it is at best an imperfect system of riffle tracking. But neither the right nor the centre nor the left want to have an adult conversation.
Mother’s milk to left, mother’s milk in the centre, and mother’s milk on the right.
Reason be damned lets legislate!