Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Choosing our own ground to defend hunting & firearms

Below is just an excerpt from an excellent article

Isn't it time we stopped letting our enemies set the agenda and choose the grounds for battle? After all, the gun and hunting prohibitionists include the media and the governing and intellectual elites, so are far too powerful and devious to resist with mere facts and truth. As well, we need to adopt the techniques developed and proven by this century's successful dissident and protest movements.

Two of these techniques are especially powerful, yet we make little use of them. The first is to develop a simple, coherent and attractive story that bundles your claims in populist form so that they can be marketed as being both Truth and essential to the welfare of society. The second of course is to seize control of the terms of debate and this is what I will mostly be discussing.

For example, our opponents are allowed to claim all sorts of imagined social and ethical advantages for banning guns, hunting and much of our culture while manoeuvring us into only being allowed to argue our case on grounds of strict utility. In other words, we have allowed ourselves to be restricted to the single argument that a law will cause no reduction at all in the rate of death by firearm.

Even then we are denied a fair hearing and the argument that it is pointless to stop death by one means if it then simply occurs by another is dismissed as irrelevant. Yet there is so much more that should be considered. For a beginning, I suggest we force recognition of three facts.

1. Restrictive and discriminative laws have harmful side effects.

They harm both society and individuals and they are harming us. As there are many of us a lot of harm is being caused. That restrictive and discriminative laws are harmful and wrong is now so well acknowledged that it needs no further argument. Only the most willful and selective blindness allows our persecutors to pretend that somehow this doesn't count in our case.

2. Firearms and hunting are an ancient part of the Western European Dreaming and indeed of many cultures.

Weapons, hunting and the like are, after all, deep and ancient parts of human nature, though of course how this is expressed, in fact, if it is expressed, varies widely between individuals, the sexes and ethnic groups. Firearms and hunting with firearms in particular are an especially characteristic and ancient part of the Western European Dreaming and part of that group's multicultural rights. Hunting is one of the primary ways we have always bound ourselves to nature, both a practical resource gathering activity and a sacrament that allows humans to enter into the great web of life. Likewise, being able to trust ordinary citizens with weapons is a good marker of a healthy and fairy free society. This is also of necessity generally a society in which the rulers have agreed to forgo the grosser excesses of power.

It is useful to remember that over much of the world, especially Europe and those areas that came under European control, wildlife survived largely because influential classes and individuals liked to hunt. And yes, they also liked having the non-game species and non-timber trees around as well, but they were able to justify setting aside and managing large, near natural areas because of the hunting and timber they provided.

Doubt this, then check areas of the world where the influential classes weren't so universally keen on hunting, shooting and fishing. Horizon to horizon peasants, or sterile, commercial farms on the good lands and the marginal lands that should more properly have been left to forestry and hunting flogged back to bare rocky hillside or desert.

The mistake even hunters and shooters make is to think of what they are doing as a sport; it isn't, it's more of the nature of a cultural tradition or a religious sacrament. In fact, I've always thought that describing hunting as a sport was rather inappropriate, demeaning of nature and the animals we take. Target shooting maybe, hunting no. So when you see a bunch of guys heading out to the range or a duck hunt, some with sons (and yes, even daughters) in tow, just think of a bunch of blokes in funny leather shorts off to folk dancing, or a crowd of Catholics off to Sunday Mass and you'll get the right idea.

We too have rights to our own culture and we too are part of the Multicultural. To seek to destroy our culture is no different from attempting to destroy any other minority culture. Worse in fact for ours is no mere cultural tradition or minor religion, ours is more ancient than humanity itself, was one of the very forces that molded us into what we are.

3. We have been hurt and our health, wellbeing and connections with society damaged by being attacked and having hatred incited against us.

When we are persecuted, lied about and attacked in terms that would be unacceptable if we were a more fashionable minority group it does real damage, both to us and to society. When a hostile, unified government and media ignores our views and needs and worse, whips up public hysteria against us, they subject us to real discrimination and cause us the kind of harm that other persecuted minorities suffer. We too are victims.

Notice how even partial public acceptance of these points would totally change the terms of argument. The whole debate would be moved to ground much more favorable to us.

Georgia: Macon homeowner fatally shoots burglar: "Macon police say a 75-year-old man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was burglarizing the older man's home this afternoon in the Peach Orchard neighborhood. ... The older man entered his Irwin Avenue home and saw two men inside at about 2:15 p.m., Fletcher said. One man jumped out a window. Fletcher said Baker, the other man, was shot in the head."

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