COMMON UNDERSTANDING

I loathe the fact that I'm about to bring up political theory for the second time in one calendar year but it's not my fault that modern conservatives hold such deeply illogical beliefs that we have to go back to square goddamn one with these people to try to make sense of them.

In an introductory course on American Government one does not linger on theory. Basically (with one, maybe two class periods available to talk about the basic concepts in politics, the Constitution, and the founding period before moving on to the dozen other topics we have to cover in a semester) most of us hit Locke, Hobbes, Paine, and the rest of the "This is why people choose to govern themselves and to be governed" stuff. There is no heavy lifting. With the time pressure involved, most of us are satisfied if the students grasp the idea of the Social Contract, collective action problems, and the freedom vs. security relationship. I linger on the last two. They are important, so if the students walk away with nothing else I want them to get that.

I explain freedom and security as two opposing ends with a slider on the scale inbetween. We could achieve perfect security, for example, only by giving up all freedom; if everyone were chained in a small box and fed through a tube then nobody could commit crimes against their neighbors. On the other end of the spectrum we achieve perfect freedom in pure anarchy by giving up any semblance of security. Everyone can do anything and you have to sleep sometime. Life is elemental and sad because no meaningful economic or cooperative activity can take place. So in practice every society sets its preferences at some point between the two, accepting that by giving ourselves freedoms we are forfeiting the idea of complete safety. By giving Americans the freedom to move about as they please and buy whatever they can afford (including some things that could be used to do harm) we are choosing (reasonably) to live with some risk. We're never completely safe. As I tell the students, the only way to guarantee that you won't be stabbed on the way to your next class is to create a society in which either cutlery or the right to walk around outside are forbidden. It's certainly not likely to happen, and that's why we choose to live with the minuscule risk that it will.

This is all incredibly simple, yet here I am explaining it because half of adult Americans do not appear to understand it. At one moment we appear to believe that we can protect ourselves from a nebulous and ephemeral threat and at the next moment we are willing to increase vastly the risks to ourselves and to society. The same people, for example, who oppose admitting Syrian refugees because doing so might pose the slightest increase in risk of danger from terrorism are most vocally in favor of letting everyone carry any kind of gun anywhere and at all times. We're so concerned about our security that we are willing to let Syrian refugees die (literally) to protect ourselves, yet we don't see a problem with handing out powerful, high-capacity firearms to any possibly unstable, possibly deranged white guy who can pass a laughable background check (or use one of the many loopholes in gun sales to circumvent even that) and hand over the purchase price. Our national principles can be jettisoned when we're confronted with scary brown refugees but when we deal with the desire some of us have to avoid being murdered at work or school our freedoms are sacrosanct.

The only way to turn that mental detritus into something consistent is to realize that these people accept the risk of being around armed-to-the-teeth dumbasses inasmuch as they assume that the arming will be limited to people like themselves and the violence they meet out will be limited to the dark, scary Other. They certainly aren't envisioning groups of black male teenagers or Mexican immigrants or guys named Hassan walking around open-carrying .223 rifles. They're envisioning themselves and other rednecks enjoying the freedom of being armed and serving as self-contained judge-jury-executioner units. Similarly, they are fine with immigrants who look or act sufficiently like themselves but crap the bed at the mere thought of anyone dressed differently, non-Christian, with a Foreign Name, or, God forbid, dark skinned.

In short, you're unlikely to see the massive proliferation of guns throughout our society as a threat to your security if you picture yourself and people like you, with whom you share an understanding of who is and is not a Threat, as the ones doing all the shooting. In that light it makes perfect sense.

Be Sociable, Share!

58 Responses to “COMMON UNDERSTANDING”

  1. Mo Says:

    Pretty sure these are the same people who, ever since Reagan, have felt themselves personally to be large and in charge, in the catbird seat, during every Republican presidency. Vicarious power.

    And now we have Trump, fascist dreamboat Mussolini in a used car salesman's suit and pink tie.

    President with Alzheimers…fratboy prez choking on pretzels…Trumpolini… it would be hilariously funny if they weren't fucking up everything for the rest of us.

  2. HoosierPoli Says:

    Typo: "the violence they mete out". Other than that, nothing to add. In group, out group explains 95 percent of human behavior.

  3. waldoh Says:

    Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

    Two minutes hate________________

    The film and its accompanying auditory and visual cues (which include a grinding noise that Orwell describes as "of some monstrous machine running without oil") are a form of brainwashing to Party members, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for [the enemy of the day] and the current enemy superstate….
    The film becomes more surreal as it progresses, with [Sander's] face morphing into a sheep as enemy soldiers advance on the viewers, before one such soldier charges at the screen, submachine gun blazing. He morphs, finally, into the face of Big Brother at the end of the two minutes. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant "B-B!…B-B!" over and over again, ritualistically…. the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is said to satisfy the citizens' subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the [-] government and toward external enemies (which probably do not even exist), the Party minimises subversive thought and behaviour.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Minutes_Hate

  4. Arjun Jobil Says:

    Unfortunately, the scale between freedom and security isn't that clear-cut. Often an increase in security measures limits freedom without any actual increase in security. Current case in point: TSA.

  5. GunstarGreen Says:

    To test the convictions of any "Second Amendment Rights Supporter", one need only suggest that they walk alone, at night, through any given inner-city neighborhood.

    In almost all cases, you will find that they are much less gung-ho about the idea of everyone being armed when faced with a situation where the armed individuals are a collection of dark people.

  6. svnski Says:

    I came across this Reddit sub https://www.reddit.com/r/edc (Every Day Carry) today and am still wrapping my head around the number of people posing their tiny hand guns and knives. It's insane, like they actually think they'll have time to deploy their weapon before they get fucked over. I know it's a very specific subset of people posting there, but it's still weird…

    The logical inconsistency you describe isn't just limited to refugees. Us humans are good at it, unfortunately.

  7. Major Kong Says:

    In the Air Force I was actually rated to carry a concealed weapon.

    In a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11, they issued us full size Beretta 92 pistols any time we carried passengers on the KC-135.

    It went something like:

    "Here, conceal this under your flight suit."

    to which I responded:

    "Where? I barely have room for ME under my flight suit."

    I think it ended up being stashed somewhere next to my seat.

  8. Wim Says:

    Do your students ever express an opinion about this massive proliferation? And if so, have you noticed any marked changes from region to region?

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    Trump… Somehow I cannot escape the thought that he's only engaged in presidential politics for his own amusement. Secretly (and perhaps not so secretly) he's laughing at the rubes that take him seriously.

  10. Dave Dell Says:

    Sorry, that was off topic. The topic of security/freedom balance and the theories behind them should have been taught in 9th grade civics class. Instead we had "how a bill becomes law" and big maps of the world with Communist countries in red, U.S. supporting countries in blue, and "third world" former colonies in black.

  11. Skipper Says:

    It's only being made worse with the current Cultural Revolution 2.0 on campuses, in which students are demanding "safe spaces," and faculty and administration are failing them by not telling them they're full of shit. Once you leave mommy and daddy's house — assuming that was safe — there are no "safe spaces." Someone is going to call you a name. Someone is going to spit in your milk. Someone is going to steal your shoe. Part of growing up is learning how to deal with that and how to take preventive measures to protect yourself.

    As I said on the FB rant, if some knuckle dragger carrying a gun comes into a store, church, or restaurant while I'm there, I vacate the premises immediately — do not stop to explain, pay the bill, check out, pass Go, or collect $200. As soon as I figure I'm out of harm's way, I call the police, report a person with a gun, and let the police sort it out. I would not try to decide whether it was a deranged person with a grievance or a sane second-amendment advocate making a point (I know, I know — oxymoron).

  12. Dbp Says:

    Svnski
    Not everyone who does edc stuff tthinks they're going to Rambo on any given day, though that is prevalent. I consider myself an EDCer in a loose sense, knife and flashlight and several other small gizmos depending on the situation I'm going to. Mostly for their potential practical application. No gun though, and I don't think my knife will ever end up being used in a violent situation, but it does get used pretty often.
    There definitely are Edc people who think that any minute now they'll save the day and be the big hero they think they are. Those people are generally cowards afraid to leave their house without a gun. Many are what you could consider to be "posers" as they carry a lot of shit they'll never use or they accumulate a lot of edc stuff they never carry or use. These people and Rambos are not really trustable or safe to be around "Hey look at my expensive switchblade knife I don't know how to hand- oops!"

  13. teemangrove Says:

    Like millions of my fellow Americans, I've watched or attended hundreds of events which are prefaced by the national anthem. And oh how the crowd enjoys bringing the song home: "O'er the land of the freeeeee and the home…of the…braaaave "

    Then something like the Parisian bombings/shootings occur.

    And the freeeeee don't flinch when the state muscles into their lives (access to phone records, nearly limitless use of force by police, etc.) Actually, they think these "law and order" steps are a good idea.

    And the braaaave fill their pants with wet fear. (Am I in the minority by feeling embarrassed when I hear pundits and candidates ask the question "can the president keep us safe?" It makes me picture an adult trying to hide in their mother's skirt.)

    But perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on my fellow citizens. I'm fearful, and would easily give up my 2nd Amendment freedom to feel more secure.

  14. Kris Says:

    Question- couldn't "redneck" be construed as both a racist and classist term? I have been seeing an awful lot of "hick" and "redneck" talk in the media lately from the most politically correct sides. You can't have it both way folks…either all people are equal and deserve to not be belittled by their race or class, or they're not.

  15. Skipper Says:

    And white supremacists shoot peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors in Minneapolis. And the country continues to circle the drain.

    @teemangrove — in my experience, by the time they get to the last line of the national anthem, most spectators are either cheering, hooting and hollering, or swilling their beer — or all three.

  16. Yaron Says:

    Presenting security and freedom as two sides of a single scale is both wrong, and something that can create very bad problems if taken as real.

    In the "everyone is chained to a wall and being fed through a tube" scenario, which you present as very high security (because everyone else is also chained and so couldn't attack you) a fault with the control of the feeding systems can get *everyone* killed. That's not good security. Getting *everyone* killed in total anarchy would be much much much harder (especially considering that WMDs require a lot of cooperation and knowledge to create and deploy, which is not an option in the total anarchy scenario). It's not security on one side and freedom on the other, it's some types of security on one side and other types of security on the other.

    On the other hand the "Pure anarchy" scenario doesn't really get you total freedom. If your neighbors would shoot anyone driving on Saturday then you're not free, you absolutely have to either move or to kill them. It's not just a loss of security, it's a loss of freedom. It's not security on one side and freedom on the other, it's some types of freedom on one side and other types of freedom on the other.

    And one of the (current) main problems of taking this false scale as real is of course that it then becomes very easy to present to people a security/freedom limiting choice as if it's required in order to gain the other.
    Government wants more power (limit freedom of population)? Great, explain to everyone that it's the only way to increase security.
    Claims that this limitation of freedom isn't required to increase security? Obviously false, since freedom and security are opposite edges on a scale then obviously gaining security requires losing some freedom.
    Claims that this limitation of freedom doesn't actually increase security? Obviously false, since freedom and security are opposite edges on a scale then obviously to gain security you have to give up some freedom.

    There are cases where some freedoms contrast with some securities. But there are cases where some freedoms and some securities don't contrast, and even complement. And there are cases where some freedoms contrast with other freedoms, and some securities contrast with other securities. Presenting this as a freedom vs security scale is, again, both wrong and ripe for abuse.

  17. Major Kong Says:

    The way I see it:

    There are very few scenarios so dire that I would need a concealed handgun, yet not so dire that I'd still be in a position to employ the weapon by the time I figured out what was going on.

  18. Eric Says:

    The problem is, perhaps, that neither student nor adult can grasp the concept if what it must be like to live in Country X. What does it take fir whiny student to give up everything but the clothes on them and run? We are what, 5 generations out from war in this country? 3 generations out from immigrants with horrible experiences that might be relayed so anyone grasps the reasons why refugees exist, anywhere, anyhow?

    The old adage says you can't learn from history if you don't know it, but people constantly say to me "the news is depressing" so they ignore it. They have no connection to the reality of the past or the reality of the present, so we are fucked.

    I'm off to buy a Beretta and a concealed carry permit to protect myself from the Gun Humpers. Cuz life is just like James Bond!!!

  19. GunstarGreen Says:

    @Kris: Take note that the average member of the "politically correct" or "social justice" crowd is no less bigotted and prejudiced than any other average human. They're just bigotted and prejudiced against targets that are currently socially acceptable targets. Nowhere is this more clear than when a woman/transgendered person/POC disagrees with their rhetoric — once they fall out of lock-step with the currently-favored ideology, they become socially-acceptable targets, and are subjected to vile and toxic behavior accordingly.

    "There are no bad tactics, only bad targets".

  20. c u n d gulag Says:

    Major Kong,
    That just proves that you're not a REAL 'MURKIN GOOD GUY!

    A REAL one would know instantly who to shoot, and who not to!

    You're missing the "exceptional" gene.
    Sorry…

    *SNARK*
    Lest anyone think otherwise.

  21. SeaTea Says:

    I'm a reasonably well-trained and experienced person when it comes to handguns. I was at a range recently in Illinois and the guy who worked there was watching me shoot. He said "You're from Wisconsin? Man… that's so cool that you can get your concealed carry permit without any test or anything. Do you have yours already?". I just looked at him and asked, "Why would I want to carry a pistol around with me all day?" He looked back at me like I was insane.

    These guys just cannot WAIT to get to be armed all day. Seriously scary shit. If you've ever been to a local shooting range, you know that 95% of the people there are the last people you'd want to have a concealed handgun with them at all times.

  22. Skipper Says:

    @ Gunstar — I agree. Disagreeing with hate speech is so bigoted and prejudiced.

  23. Mo Says:

    if everyone were chained in a small box and fed through a tube then nobody could commit crimes against their neighbors

    Yeah, once you're kicked outta the womb, shit happens.

  24. MH Says:

    Arjun Jobil makes an important point here: there are sometimes tradeoffs here, but treating it like a sliding scale is a dangerous way to simplify things.

    There are plenty of things that make us both less free and less safe, and that's relevant because people who benefit from making us less free (in some specific respect) will often sell if literally on grounds that making us less free in that way will make us more secure – which a great selling point when you can scare the crap out of people.

    There are also things that will make us more of both – increasing the refugee populations/changing out immigration laws/etc. both make us freer/less restricted of a society and make us safer by undercutting enemy propaganda. Civil rights in the US benefited a lot from the fact that the Soviet Union was using the lack of it to turn countries against us – when we passed laws increasing them we increased both freedom and security.

    And it's also bad because 'freedom' just isn't a single, unified thing, and when people talk about it they're often talking about a sort of formal legal freedom which, as often as not, just means that private actors or already privileged people have more freedom to exercise power over other people. And whatever that is it isn't something that makes a society freer overall.

  25. Brian M Says:

    Skipper: That is not an accurate description of some of the tempests in teapots prevalent on social media.

    There is plenty of outright crazy "hate speech" coming from the oh so precious Social Justice Warriors.

    Note that I despise MRAs and the frat boy racists, but there is some scary stuff out there enabled by the internet/Twitter.

  26. GunstarGreen Says:

    Thank you, Skipper, for helping to prove my point. As Brian noted, and as is trivially verifiable by taking a casual stroll down Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr lane, there is a lot of seriously noxious behavior committed by those who use social justice as a shield against criticism. Because it's okay when we do it, as long as we do it to people we've defined as deserving, isn't it? You're not suggesting that it's wrong to "disagree with hate speech", are you?

    There are no bad tactics. Only bad targets.

  27. FDChief Says:

    When I was on active service I was a line medic. Our assigned weapon was a .45 M1911A1, the old-fashioned Colt automatic pistol.

    One day we were at the KD range qualifying (the .45 is one of the few weapons that the Army still uses a known distance (i.e. paper target) range to qualify on) and a bunch of us were talking shit about how good we were shooting.

    Our medical platoon sergeant, who had a combat medical badge and a 101st patch on his right shoulder, fell us out and proceeded to smoke us for a good 20 minutes – pushups, knee-benders, squat-thrusts, the worst of the in-place exercises he could think of plus sprinting in place – and then had us go back on the line and shoot. As a group we barely managed to put a round on the paper, much less inside the target. He then fell us out again.

    "Next time you start thinking how badass you are with this thing, remember; that was just from being a lit-tle winded. When you throw in incoming rounds and people getting fucked up all around you you're gonna be lucky to get a round off, much less hit your target, much less get one in his center of mass. Don't kid yourselves. These popguns are just to make you feel better about yourselves."

    Now imagine some gomer with Rambo fantasies and zero actual training in the same situation. Unsurprisingly, he's most likely to be like these people who end up shooting themselves, or some random bystander, or the kid in the apartment next door.

    Guntards. Jesus wept.

  28. Skipper Says:

    Oh Gunstar, how sad it must be to go through life constantly missing the point — or purposely distorting it.

  29. terraformer Says:

    Ahh, yes. This post the the previous one are why I read G&T. You're on a great streak right now, Ed.

  30. Katydid Says:

    @Gunstar and Kris; the only folks I hear talking about "rednecks" and "hicks" are Sarah Palin and the Duck Dynasty/Alaska Bush/reality tv crowd. Are you calling them "politically correct"?

  31. Kris Says:

    @Katydid

    Did you read the actual article posted here?

    "They're envisioning themselves and other rednecks enjoying the freedom of being armed and serving as self-contained judge-jury-executioner units."

    Here's another example:
    http://gawker.com/dumb-hicks-are-americas-greatest-threat-1743373893

    Why is it ok to use racist slander again poor, uneducated rural white people? You wouldn't use a diminutive slang word to describe poor, urban uneducated black people, right?

    Note there was no actual response to my comment are than more snark. That's the typical reply 99% of the time this gets brought up. It's important to be socially respectful to all people…except those we wish to disagree with and generalize about. Insult and belittle them all you want. Haha! they're dumb and white and poor! Stupid redneck hicks that can't afford education!

  32. Katydid Says:

    @Kris; I'm very familiar with Gawker; it's a Kardasian-heavy site that wants all the clicks it can get. Their writers say all kinds of outrageous stuff to get eyes on the page. Are you imagining they speak for all progressives everywhere? If so, please enlighten us with your views on the National Enquirer. Is Bat-boy being exploited?

  33. Katydid Says:

    Huh, where'd the second paragraph go?

    To finish the thought, you're conveniently overlooking the fact that Sarah Palin and her ilk refer to THEMSELVES as rednecks and hicks. Did you get equally exercised when the Teabaggers proudly named themselves?

  34. Kris Says:

    "Did you get equally exercised when the Teabaggers proudly named themselves?"

    Wow. Ok…so Teabaggers call themselves rednecks and hicks so it's ok for the people that hate them to also do so? Kinda like the argument white people make that "They call themselves the N-word, so why can't we?"

    You realize that's the exact lame argument you are trying to make right? Try again. Tell me why it is ok to use diminutive slang belittling someone because of their race, education, and economic status.

  35. Brian M Says:

    Kris: Because THEY are not a defined victim class, THEY deserve abuse.

    We are all guilty of class-based biases, and I think it is not a bad thing to be reminded of it.

  36. Skepticalist Says:

    All my rowdy redneck friends and acquaintances, remind me that they love being called hicks and rednecks. It's kind of Hank Williams Jr. thing.

    I feel less free because of increased security.

    Gone are the days when cops were guys you could simply talk to. They only threw their weight around when asked to sort things out when absolutely necessary. Not so today. Just asking for directions starts for them an adversary situation. Only after they're sure I'm aware of all the shit they can do to me do they feel safe dealing with an old white guy.

    It's not a pretty thing.

  37. Mo Says:

    So, OK, we need a crisp new term that encompasses "ignorant, dumb, low-class, poor and proud of it."

    And, too, also, one that encompasses "ignorant, dumb, high-class, rich and proud of it."

    Or one stone to hit those two birds.

    "Trumpist"? Sounds too much like "trumpets"…

  38. Thomas Says:

    With regards to the refugee nonsense large parts of the country here seems to be pandering too, I *really* want to make a graphic with the stupidest, goofy-griniest picture of Bill Clinton I can find and caption it "Since 1995, more Americans have gotten blow jobs in the Oval Office than have been killed on American soil by Syrian refugees". I either wish I could find the time to do a survey of major newspapers to verify the truth of my statement, or accept the fact that facts don't matter and post the damn thing anyways.

  39. svnski Says:

    @Dbp: I can see how that works and knew there would be some sane people posting there too. Also the choice of display surface could say a lot about the person!

    But where do they keep all this stuff? Do they always have a bag? Or cargo shorts full to the brim? My EDC is wallet and phone.

  40. Xynzee Says:

    Why is this surprising?

    Americans are highly adept at holding what appear to/should be mutually excluding concepts comfortably in their heads.

    Look at the narrative for how one of the most defining events on the national stage plays out for the War of Southern Treason:
    A) Civil War
    B) War Between the States
    And the lack of all irony award goes to…
    C) War of Northern Agression

    So makes perfect sense to me.

  41. Lless Says:

    Ronald Reagan embraced gun control in California because of the Black Panthers. Now how do we get blacks organized in Texas to present carry permits as voter ID?

  42. el mago Says:

    Off topic and under the wire, como siempre. Just wanted to quote Kerouac (yeah, I know) who said don't get drunk in public, and he knew, and then the other thing is don't post drunk.
    On the other hand, it's all a drunken dumb show, and what remedy but to show compassion? (Paraphrasing Allen Ginsberg.)
    OK. Slinking off into the night now.

  43. Kris Says:

    Katydid, still waiting to hear back on why your hypocritical bigotry is ok. Think hard.

  44. HoosierPoli Says:

    Kris:

    Much like black people have a right to use the n-word because they belong to the group that it refers to, I, as a white person, have the right to use the word 'redneck'. Hope that clears up your completely insincere false equivalence.

  45. Xynzee Says:

    @Hoosier: you're the one making the false equivalency here.

    The way the n-word is amongst the African-American community is completely different than how you are comparing Kris' example.

    The use of the n-word comes from a place of "we're all in this together" and/or shared experience, therefore is utilised in a way that an outsider is not privy to.

    The way, "hick" or "redneck" is being used is not in the same way. It is being wielded in the same way that the n-word was used years ago.

    So Pallid using "hick", "redneck" or "trailer trash", is closer to the n-word in the AA community as it is based on shared experience. Whilst we use them as a pejorative.

  46. Seeker Says:

    Hey, Kris, reading comprehension is not for you, is it?

    Katydid wrote: "Did you get equally exercised when the Teabaggers proudly named themselves?"

    You replied: "Wow. Ok…so Teabaggers call themselves rednecks and hicks. "

    To quote you, "wow" I'm sure some of them do because it's a source of pride to them, but the Teabaggers named themselves the Teabaggers, then some threw a fit because they missed the generally-accepted meaning of the term. But I'm sure that argument is too complexicated for you to follow.

  47. Seeker Says:

    Xynzee, you're not American, are you? Hailing back from at least the Reagan era (which is about as far back as my memory goes), there's been a real effort on the part of some to define themselves as hicks and rednecks, which makes them Rill Murkkkuns, much more realer and Murkkkuner than those who don't define themselves that way. After 9/11, about all you'd hear in the country music genre was aggressive posturing about how rednecks and hicks were the only brave and true citizens of the USA. People like Snowdrift Snooki using the phrase are using it to set themselves up as "better than" everyone else because of their awesome, awesome Murkkkuh-luvvin' creds. Ann Coulter (herself not a redneck) tried to get into it and was somewhat successful by bleating that John Kerry (a man who had fought and been injured multiple times in the Vietnam war) "looks French" and thus was not fit to lead the good-ole'-Murkkkun people.

  48. Katydid Says:

    @Kris; so sorry to make you wait while I went about my life doing things and interacting with people in the real world. You're quite the little martyr, aren't you? I think everyone else has made the points I was making yesterday, which seem to be flying over your head anyway. Skepticalist puts it best; the terms "redneck" and "hick" are proudly celebrated by those who call themselves that, and it's not the grave injury that YOU seem to think it is to refer to people by the terms they define themselves by.

  49. Skepticalist Says:

    You're right. Ann Coulter is certainly not a redneck but she looks like
    Lindsay Lohan on a bad day.

  50. Michael Says:

    Anyone who uses the phrase "Social Justice Warriors" unironically is a racist, sexist piece of crap who needs to reexamine his or her life choices.

    Brian, I'm glad you found some white college kids that haven't learned to deprogram themselves fully from white male supremacist hatred yet and express themselves with the language and concepts they share with you. I have good news — most of them will return to the fold soon enough.

    The hatred of ordinary bigots for the MRAs is amusing, if only because they pretend that it's their belief systems, instead of the implementations, that are different. MRAs implement male privilege stupid. Doesn't mean they don't share the same belief set.

  51. Skepticalist Says:

    If you attend a gun show and call someone a redneck they'll buy you a beer and give you a bumper sticker stating how proud they are to be included in the designation.

  52. Mo Says:

    Apropos of nothing, two John Kenneth Galbraith quotes:

    "A long day of following a plodding, increasingly reluctant team behind a harrow endlessly back and forth over the uninspiring Ontario terrain persuaded one that all other work was easy."

    "The graduate students with whom I associated in the thirties were uniformly radical, and the most distinguished were communists. I listened to them eagerly and would liked to have joined both the conversation and the Party but here my agricultural background was a real handicap. It mean that, as a matter of formal Marxian doctrine, I was politically immature.
    Among the merits of capitalism to Marx was the fact that it rescued men from the idiocy of rural life.
    I had only very recently been retrieved. I sensed this bar and I knew also that my pride would be deeply hurt by rejection. So I kept outside."

  53. Brian M Says:

    Michael: I assume you will be running the Reeducation Camps that you in your purity have determined are necessary for the rest of us?

    Good way to demonstrate my main point: self righteous posturing and generalizations. Bravo, man.

    Isn't there a Twitter post you need to make now? That will show The System.

  54. greatlaurel Says:

    The sad thing is the brilliant and vile marketing plan from the NRA has worked so very well. Most of the gun buyers are people who really cannot afford all that weaponry. The rural underclass buys an incredible amount of guns and ammo. Rural areas sound like war zones now, there is someone shooting everyday at any time of the day and night.

    The "gun culture" did not exist prior to the massive amount of advertising from the gun manufacturers and the NRA. People used to hunt for food or to kill the varmints that killed the chickens and other poultry. Folks would get a small box of shells for Christmas and maybe for a birthday or Father's Day and those shells lasted the whole year and then some. Just shooting guns every day was not something people did. Target shooting was considered wasteful and unnecessary, only rich people did target shooting. Most men snickered about the silly rich people blasting away.

  55. Barry Says:

    I'm seconding the idea that the 'sliding scale' between freedom and security is simply wrong. We've witnessed a lot of countries where being less free didn't make peole more safe.

  56. Skepticalist Says:

    Just thinking what cool targets drones will make should they become commercial, for good 'ole boys. Much more fun that shooting skeet, even more fun than aiming a laser at Jet Blue.

  57. Gil More Says:

    The slider is invisible. We don't know exactly what security is being used on our behalf and we don't know the extent that it works or doesn't.

    E-mail, cell calls and USPS mail (exterior) are being recorded and that info is held for XX number of days. Has it made us safer ? Who knows.

    TSA has been called security theater but they are grabbing lots of guns that John Q. ConcealedCarry forgot about. Is it working? Seems so.

    I've never been stabbed or heard of a stabbing at Hard Rock Cafe because their security "acquires" Leatherman pocket knifes upon entry. Working? Don't think so.

    We have the highest % of incarceration of all industrialized countries. So many that the state can't or won't house them and they use for profit prisons. What could go wrong there? Not working.

    This isn't Mayberry Rural Free Delivery and Andy ain't the Sheriff. Barney got some DoD surplus and loves the feel of camo in the morning.

  58. NYD3030 Says:

    Anyone who thinks the professionals and college professors who make up the regulars in this comment section could walk into a gun show calling people hicks and rednecks and get a pat on the back and a beer as a response has not spent any time with the gun show crowd. They do not use the term redneck to be inclusive of all white people, and it is absolutely an insult coming out of the mouth of an anthropology post doc at Marxist U.

    You seriously have to know absolutely nothing about poor rural whites to think calling them hicks is not insulting.