– People have the right to identify themselves as they see fit. – Mislabeling groups of people is an effort to dehumanize them. – Dehumanization is the first step toward legitimizing pogroms. – Mass vilification is the second step. – Ya know who mislabeled people in order to vilify and eliminate them? Nazis. – Therefore, anyone who misapplies the label “Fascist” to their political enemies is a literal Nazi.
That last step is of course a logical fallacy; it’s employed here deliberately in order to illustrate that calling people fascists merely because one dislikes them is in point of fact the identical fallacy. Even if one applies it to only those with an authoritarian bent is dangerously inaccurate; Stalin and Mao were both absolute rulers, and each was about as far away from fascist as it’s possible to be and still lead a cult of personality.
…and I can’t say it hasn’t happened. In fact, I rather think it may have.
Just over a year ago, I predicted a bloody spring. My premise was that we as a population produce a set percentage of people who go violently insane every year, and the crops from 2020 and 2021 had been festering under lockdown in their parent’s basements, just waiting for a new crowd to form so they could self-destruct in public as rampage shooters. Regrettably, that turned out to be the case, and it’s repeating again this spring.
Sure, “Teflon Don” got marched into court, had to get fingerprinted, and is facing full public disclosure of his hush money payments. It’s embarrassing. On the other hand, nothing he’s accused of has ever garnered more than a fine, not in any case I’ve ever seen. (NOTE: I’m not a lawyer.) The action itself — paying hush money — wasn’t illegal, or even immoral, and every campaign after Eisenhower has had a damage control unit.
My friends, I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking — to talk with the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of banking, but more particularly with the overwhelming majority of you…
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President. 12 March, 1933
It’s been ninety years, and we still haven’t learned the lesson.
It’s finally happened; I’ve lost track of who’s censoring what.
Everyone’s up in arms about the Florida school library mess, and from the outside that seems perfectly reasonable. We can’t be banning books just because we don’t like them, right? I mean, banning Harry Potter just because he’s a wizard is so 1980s.
An awful lot of voices are raised in alarm these days, and that makes sense to me. There are wars, earthquakes, plagues, famine, and economic tough times, and they’re all stacking up a price that society will need to pay sooner rather than later. Our debt to our future keeps growing, and when it finally comes due, the day of reckoning will be painful indeed.
But that’s not people are alarmed about, curiously enough.
Judging by news coverage and the comments, there are two primary schools of thought about the recent train derailment in Ohio: first, that the government is concealing an orchestrated campaign of sabotage against our national infrastructure, and second, that the Powers That Be are using disasters and balloon alerts in order to distract us from the fact that we’re deploying combat troops in Somalia and hundreds of “military advisors” in Ukraine. Apparently, either we’re under attack from a powerful enemy or we’re about to invade somewhere in order to swing the next election.
Every time we have one of these highly-publicized mass-shooting events, or Heaven forfend another rampage killing, there’s always a sententious opinion piece on every news outlet asking “When will it end?”
And yes, the answer is “Never”. In Australia, a single event was enough to inspire the whole country to turn in their guns; New Zealand was similar. In the United States, we’ve had a dozen major shooting rampages, including in elementary schools, and public opinion is fiercely divided. It’s not too much of a stretch to conclude from this that the inevitable continued shootings will convince only scattered individuals while inspiring others to resist what they would term “government overreach”.
So let’s stop asking that particular question and move on to something a bit more proactive.
Excerpts from the radio news: …shooting of a jogger early this morning on a secluded beach in an apparently random attack… …rioting following services which were held in memory of a man who died in police custody… …who were apparently planning to fly to Syria and join the army of the Islamic State… …make an arrest in killing of six, including baby…
Some things that happen are so terrible that you have to ask yourself, not just “Why?”, but “How could a human being even do that?” The statistics on violent crime in this country show a steady decline, but on the other hand, at any given point in time, nearly 3% of the adult population is either in jail, in prison, or under some form of correctional control (probation or parole). Because of the gender gap in prosecution and sentencing, that works out to one in eighteen adult males.
Once again the world has changed on us, and policy, as usual, remains several steps behind.
One solid move made by the Biden Administration has been the recognition of gun kit manufacture as a loophole in crime weapons laws and its subsequent closure. Companies like Polymer80 have been selling build-it-yourself kits without serial number stamping or tracking; i.e. ghost guns* — and doing so legally. Several thousand Polymer80 kit guns have been identified as crime guns. It’s only recently that the rule to treat kits like these as legal pistols has gone through, and even then there are ways around it — such as the 3D printing of homemade, rather than factory-produced, ghost guns.
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