Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Exchange With A Very Serious White Guy of the Future on Guns

Upgraded and adapted from the Moot, another exchange with Robot Cultist "Mark Plus":

Suppose in an alternate universe Adam Lanza broke into one of the Koch brothers' meetings and murdered 27 members of the One Percent. Would progressives use that as an excuse for calling for more gun control? Or would they instead hail him as a hero and a martyr for "social justice"?

The left isn't coming to cut off your shriveled white penis, Mr. "Plus," you big Minus. All the camps, the showers of bullets, the Knocks on the Door that suffuse your boring balding life of comparative privilege with imaginary threat and persecution are projections. Progressives are not you.

No doubt many of the victims of gun violence in this terrible blood-soaked year have been politically conservative -- nobody cares about that when assessing the pointless waste of their lives and potential in violence! Progressive democratically minded people do not see such catastrophes as "excuses" to extend "control" over your freedom to carelessly ramapage through the world or whatever it is you think you are entitled to -- we see evidence of a terrible shared problem that can be ameliorated through our collaborative address, in part through the agency we avail ourselves of by means of our accountable democratic governance.

Your vision of the left, like the fantasy of your white male prerogatives, sounds like something out of a surreal fever dream of the fifties -- and even then it scarcely matched what most of the left or anybody else was really about. Most in the US left condemned totalitarian dictatorship quite as vociferously as the right did, though the left tended less to try to use such condemnation as an excuse for curtailing civil liberties at home and shift budgetary priorities to fund ruinous mega-militarism instead of useful social programs like the right did and always does.

The left doesn't have to kill the Koch Brothers, we have only to expose their plutocratic agenda to a world that will reject it in their own best interest, we don't have to torture the rich, we have only to tax them their fair share to maintain the social order from which they have benefited so much, we don't have to put wingnuts in camps, but only to ridicule them into harmless marginality in a world that is diversifying secularizing and planetizing more and more with every minute of every day.

Why doesn't the left celebrate Lanza for his authenticity in the face of death and his rejection of the values of an oppressive bourgeois society, the way Norman Mailer celebrates the violent "existentialist" and "psychopath" in his famous essay, "The White Negro"? Because Lanza chose victims inconvenient for that purpose, perhaps?

Norman Mailer? In his essay about the Beats? What, you think Lanza gunning down down kids is like Ginsberg's poetry? Wow, you "futurists" are so retro! Not to mention seriously fucked in the head, if I may put the point bluntly. I don't think anybody has the whole story on this latest of so many mass shootings, but it appears that Lanza's mommy was a gun-nut and Lanza himself distressed and suicidal. I'll leave patriarchal white-racist gun-nuts of the right like you to celebrate such needlessly distressed "heroic" bearings of self and the "poetry" of the harm they cause and express.

I would indeed be well pleased to celebrate a society that saw the signs of distress in the Lanza household and provided mental health care and social support to help that family with its problems so that its members could connect with their potential for a measure of real happiness, creative expressivity, and heroism in a world with many shared problems calling for address. I would also celebrate a polity that had the good sense to keep multiple ammunition clips and multi-gun arsenals out of private hands.

The evidence is in: houses with guns in them are houses in which the chances of death by accident or suicide skyrocket and in which even the chances of getting shot fatally by an intruder rises. Domestic violence in which guns are involved are lethal, while without them they are far less likely to be. Nobody needs an assault rifle or multiple ammunition clips to hunt, banning the private ownership of such weapons harms a marginal minority of gun nuts who shouldn't have guns anyway. Anybody who enjoys shooting or collecting guns for sport or hobby should balance their pleasure in that activity with its objective public safety threat: shooting guns in authorized ranges which store the guns on premises, and collecting historical weapons that are rendered nonfunctional are reasonable compromises. Background checks for all gun purchases including online and gun-show purchases, making licensing contingent on taking a gun safety course, encouraging health officials to ask questions about gun ownership and placement in the house of patients who show signs of suicidal depression and anger management issues are all perfectly reasonable regulations and best professional practices backed by multiple studies to deal with palpably objective problems of gun violence. People like "futurists" who claim to respect empirical findings don't get to pick and choose the results that count.

(Of course, if futurists really cared about consensus science they wouldn't sign up for cryonics -- which I understand you are a late-coming critic of, while still holding on to the rest of Robot Cult program for now -- for neither would they pretend that warp drives or Drexlerian nanobots or cyber-angelic uploads into Holodeck Heaven were on the horizon either -- and then they wouldn't have a hell of a lot to say now would they?)


jimf said...

> [I[f futurists really cared about consensus science
> they wouldn't sign up for cryonics -- which I understand
> you are a late-coming critic of, while still holding
> on to the rest of Robot Cult program for now. . .

It's the other way around -- Mr. Potts has rejected "the rest of the
Robot Cult program" (the Drexlerian nanotech, the "uploading",
the "Singularity", Kurzweil, Yudkowsky, et al.) while
clinging to (Good Old-Fashioned) Cryonics. In other words,
he's willing to make the effort to get his brain frozen,
or otherwise preserved, with the best technology available now
(or in the near, clearly foreseeable future), without having a clue
how it would ever get reinstantiated as a living organism.

Admirable, in a way. (But only "in a way"! ;-> ).

Dale Carrico said...

Ah, so he's a 70s-style cryonics crank (like the handful of mostly white US male techno-immortalists who watched Ettinger with Carson on the Tonight Show) instead of a 90s-style cryonics crank (like the handful of mostly white US male techno-immortalists who fell in love with Drexler's nonsensical nanobots and Moravek's "Pigs in Cyberspace" -- real title)? It can be so hard to keep all the cranks properly sorted as an objective observer of the Robot Cult!

jollyspaniard said...

There's a lot of BS about gun use and self defence.

One myth is that you need them to defend yourself against bears. You're actually better off with a can of pepper spray, it's smaller, easier to use, won't kill anyone and has a better chance of stopping the bear. A lot of people have been killed by bears in retaliation for being shot.

Around the home I suspect you're much better off using a hammmer if you're suprised by an intruder.

There's something deeply dysfunctional about gun violence in the USA. The only country like it than I can think of is South Africa and for similar reasons. You won't hear those reasons mentioned on Fox but it's worth considering and worth taking on. Good luck, you're going to need it.