Don’t Help Yourselves

During a discussion, with Cylar Z over at The Hello Kitty of Blogging, I pointed something out…

I get the distinct impression that we’re all arguing about something here that doesn’t have anything to do with guns. Like Mencken said, puritanism is the fear that someone somewhere is having a good time; liberalism is a fear that someone somewhere is taking charge of a situation, protecting themselves, making a profit, doing something to adapt to reality or make life better for themselves in some way.

I was thinking that during the health care debate. I see them pushing toward a single-payer plan and I think…okay…your cousin or your niece or somebody, got a blood condition and ended up dying because they couldn’t get medicine, now you want a guarantee for everybody, I can certainly understand the motive. But then they go on to: After we provide this public “insurance” coverage, you can’t go and supplement that by buying your own plan, or if you go see a doctor and pay for it out of pocket, then you should be fined or jailed. And I think, well, what’s the motivation there? I can only conclude that their passions are tied up in this other thing — nobody should ever be able to help themselves.

Of course, I’m talking about the modern, post-1968 American liberalism, not the classic liberalism.

I was inspired to go down this road because of this article he put up about what’s going on in South Dakota…

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in school, making his state the first to enact such a law since the Newtown shooting tragedy.

The bill was pushed by gun-rights supporters who say arming teachers could help prevent tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six educators died. The law, which goes into effect July 1, will allow school districts to arm teachers and other personnel.

But the measure prompted intense debate in the capital, as several representatives of school boards, school administrators and teachers opposed the bill during committee testimony last month. They said the measure could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.

I can just see it now: Eek, a gun-carrying madman, he’s shooting us, do something. Sorry, I have my pistol and I have my bullets, but I have not been adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations. The whole pattern of thinking suggests someone who wouldn’t know an “emergency situation” if it walked up and kicked him square in the ‘n*rds. Doesn’t the very phrase itself implore whoever might be present to do something fer Chrissakes?

This is the kind of thinking you get when people pay a lower social penalty for yelling “no” than for yelling “yes.” I think I can pretty well guarantee, nobody at the meeting, or interviewed, would stand behind the statement: We think if the situation arises, we will get a better result if the new policy is not in effect. At least, I think that might be true. I think, it isn’t that they actually believe a no-guns policy will bring a better result; I think, in their minds, the objective of bringing a better result is a ship that’s sailed out of sight, it isn’t on-topic anymore.

That’s why I get frustrated when committees decide too many things. We all like to pretend it isn’t true, but committee decisions are mostly about social victories and social defeats. Committee decisions, therefore, tend to be meaningless but nice-sounding, boring bromides. Training! Yeah, you have to have training!

Just like the firefighters who didn’t save that drowning guy. The deep thinkers go through all the right motions and put on this appearance that they’re thinking things through in this “emergency situation,” but their decision ends up being one of “if I’m dangling off the cliff and there’s nobody to pull me up who’s attended the proper training, I’d rather fall.” Just complete balderdash.

I’m trying to understand this thinking. I think what they may be trying to do is point our society in the right direction; like, if we say “you can’t save that guy unless you have been properly trained,” a few years following such a proclamation we’ll have a bunch of people running around who’ve been properly trained, when otherwise, we might not. So they don’t mean to say, I want the guy to drown. They mean to say I want lots of trained people. Kind of like me, when I put my car keys or sunglasses in a very, very special place and thereby force myself to recover my deteriorating abilities to remember things, then end up completely panicked when I can’t find them again.

But I take that sort of silly “opportunity” because it’s a situation in which nobody will pay the penalty if it doesn’t work, save me. That’s the whole point. And it isn’t that I’m trying to do right by others, it’s more like I don’t want to be embarrassed: If I’m losing my faculties and a disaster must ensue, let it be a controlled disaster, which I must endure and sort out in solitude, so I can at least see where I stand.

This does not apply to complete strangers, standing around helplessly, waiting to be mowed down by a guy with a gun. By the only guy around who has a gun…because the teachers might be lacking in the proper training, and so have been disarmed. This makes no sense to me at all. And then you have those other issues. The health care. We have lots of big cars around my area, which annoy me just as much as they annoy the liberals. But you know, a V-8 pickup truck with a ball hitch, say what you want about it, but it is capable. You can’t tow a boat up to Folsom Lake and launch it with one of those silly smart-cars. And the liberals are not annoyed by the same thing that annoys me. They’re seeing someone poisoning the planet — read that as, somebody who has been told what to do by liberals, and failed to obey. I see someone who is extremely likely to not own a boat, who bought a big car so they can sit way up high, feel safe, and drive like a jackass.

Could it be jealousy? The way I was raised, if you and I are doing something and some special challenge emerges, you fix it while I cannot because you prepared yourself somehow…to me, that is a message that I should go get hold of whatever that thing was so that next time I can be ready. So if pliers are needed, you have just taught me I should carry a Leatherman or something. Could it be there are other people out there who, going through the same experience, react with something like “he should not have been able to do anything I can’t do”? That’s about the only way I can make sense of this. I remember the first Mrs. Freeberg used to get upset with me if I used “big words,” which caused a lot of tension because I didn’t know what a big word was. And, if I learned how to do anything she couldn’t do, or grow facial hair, or do anything she couldn’t do. Years after the divorce, I discovered to my surprise that I’d been married to a democrat.

So, maybe that explains everything. “I can’t do that, so I don’t want you doing that either” is the real sentiment, “not unless you’ve been properly trained” is just the window-dressing, the sheep’s-clothing. Helpless people, who’ve lost their ambition for ever extricating themselves from their helplessness, want everyone else to be helpless.

This would fit my operating theory that left-wing politics, in our day and age, are nothing more than failure to mature past about middle or high school. It’s all about doing what you want. The other guy does something you can’t do, you want to go all tall-poppy on that guy and chop him down to size; if you can do something he can’t do, you want to climb to the highest mountain and shout it and brag about it. Obviously, acting on both of those wants is injurious to the long-term functioning of your society, because it requires disparate levels of social allowance — you must be privileged to do things the other guy can’t do. A more egalitarian alignment is required, for the good of a long-functioning and peaceful society. In one of those situations, or another, you must behave in ways not necessarily to your own liking at the time, to be patient, and/or improve yourself. As normal people mature, they learn things like this. But, of course, nobody ever said we were all required to.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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