Adam Gopnik On Guns As Symbols

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 3 months ago

The New Yorker:

Away from the world for August, in a house without Internet or television and only spotty, the-satellite-must-be-passing-over phone reception, I was, until Wednesday, thinking more or less benign thoughts about gun owners, if not guns. As I chronicled last year, I have only just learned how to drive, and, license in hand, or in glove compartment, I’ve been driving for the first time on the little winding roads of the beach town where we’ve spent vacations for the past thirty years. Despite having been anti-car and ostentatiously pro-bike for all those years, I have to admit that I love being in the driver’s seat. The overwhelming rush of freedom and possibility, the sense of autonomy—no need to request a lift, no UBER app to press—is overwhelming. You get in, and you go.

This in turn made me realize, a little more empathetically, what I had only intuited before—that guns, for many Americans, are a sort of secondary, symbolic car: another powerful symbol of autonomy and independence. The attachment to them that so many Americans show—unique among the civilized peoples of the world, and at a cost so grave that the rest of that world often turns away, appalled—is nonetheless understandable to anyone who comes late to driving: to have potentially lethal power within your grasp is an immensely empowering drug. Cars are obviously in a different category, because their benign use is so much greater than their lethal one. But they are tools of the same country, of which I am now a citizen.

[ … ]

For the deeper truth is that cars are not, or not only, symbols of autonomy. They are, in every sense, vehicles of it. Guns, however, have an almost entirely symbolic function. No lives are saved, and no intruders are repelled; the dense and hysterical mythology of gun love has been refuted again and again.

The few useful social functions that guns do have—in hunting or in killing varmints, as a rural man such as my father has to do—can be preserved even with tight regulations, as in Canada.

Good heavens.  What a child.  Take note: killing varmints is the only legitimate function for guns.  Here’s a fact for Adam – modern game management practices increases herd size and health.  Period.  But in order to comport with his world view, he would rather see herds suffering and starving and the herd unhealthy.  Hunting anything but varmints is anathema to him.

But that’s not the most significant illogical leap he makes.  If you took note before, take careful note now.  “No lives are saved, and no intruders are repelled.”  Adam knows.  Forget that lives are saved every day and intruders repelled on a regular basis because men and women have guns.  And forget that whether something has utility isn’t a stipulation for rights and liberties.  Adam knows better than you and (in yet another flaw in his thinking) wants the bad men in government with guns to enforce his idea of “better.”  At heart, collectivists are control freaks.

Their utility is denied because he starts there as a pre-theoretical commitment.  He presupposes that to be the case, and in logical or rhetorical parlance, it’s called presupposing the consequent.  He reasons in a circle, and most collectivists make the equivalent or some related error.  But of course, Adam is cocooned inside a world of his own making, sure to suffer himself if society breaks or even falters.  That car and newfound freedom he adores won’t save him.  My guns won’t save me either if God calls and it’s my time.  But at least I will have attempted to effect my moral duty of self defense.


Comments

  1. On August 31, 2015 at 12:01 pm, TexTopCat said:

    Good comments, too bad more people will not read and understand.

  2. On August 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm, Archer said:

    “Despite having been anti-car and ostentatiously pro-bike for all
    those years, I have to admit that I love being in the driver’s seat. The
    overwhelming rush of freedom and possibility, the sense of autonomy—no
    need to request a lift, no UBER app to press—is overwhelming. You get
    in, and you go.

    “This in turn made me realize, a little more empathetically, what I had only intuited before—that guns, for many Americans, are a sort of secondary, symbolic car: another powerful symbol of autonomy and independence.”

    Disappointing. He comes so close to “getting it”, but then lets his preconceived notions rule the final outcome. He hates guns so much that even when presented (by proxy) with all the “autonomy and independence” the tools of self-rule provide, he still cannot understand the appeal.

    His mind opened a window, but closed the door.

  3. On August 31, 2015 at 4:41 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Archer, you managed to put into writing that which I couldn’t quite verbalize.

    So close…yet so far.

    I’ll stick with the low-hanging fruit on this one: “No lives are saved, and no intruders are repelled; the dense and hysterical mythology of gun love has been refuted again and again.” is an absolutely idiotic, stupid statement. Any third-grader that knows how to use google can disprove this many times over. This Adam Gopnik truly is a libturd, apparently incapable of using logic and reason.

  4. On August 31, 2015 at 9:08 pm, Carl Stevenson said:

    You’re too polite in calling him a child. Children can be intelligent, even if they are naive.
    Adam is a fucking moron.

  5. On September 4, 2015 at 9:55 pm, will_ford said:

    HERE! HERE ! CARL!!

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published August 30th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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