I see that my old Derbyshire-the-reactionary post still has some life in it! Transhumanist/monarchist Mike Anissimov has written a response to it, using it as a jump-off point to quote Julius Evola. I’m not familiar with Evola beyond what I’ve run into recently, but he’s notable for being a critic of Mussolini, from the right.
Rather that re-hash the fundamental argument (“the Whig-Protestant consensus of modernity” is not so bad in my book), I’ll just say, hi Mr. Anissimov, hi futurists, hi monarchists, thanks for stopping by. Glad to hear you think I described your movement with some accuracy.
One thing though: who’s gonna be king?
2:53 pm • 10 October 2013
I’ve had a “guns post” half in the can for a long time. Since before the Sandy Hook massacre, if I remember right. The Navy Yard shootings are a good enough reason to dig it up and hit Publish. It could have been any other mass shooting between then and now, which roll through American life like weather.
It’s clear as a bell that political actors in America’s early independence wanted an armed populace. However you might crack wise about a “well-regulated militia,” (read: slave patrol, fyi) or make nitpicky jokes about 18th century muskets vs. contemporary automatic weapons, this is the hill you have to climb. It’s on the books. It IS the book.
America is more lethal to itself than it might otherwise be because of the mass availability of guns. People kill people, with guns. No really, guns kill people. That’s what they’re for, and they do it well.
That said, I think current liberal thinking on gun control is misguided. I’m in favor of basically nothing except a nice, steep, Pigovian tax on ammunition. It’s not a new idea. Let me play wonk for a sec. (I had this thing festooned with links, but I got rid of most of them; I feel like justification for this is all out there).
All we should try to do, and all we need to do, is reduce the number of shootings, period. Trying to make any other distinction is useless. Just bring the number of shootings down, and do it by making each shot more expensive. We did it with cigarettes. We did it with fuel economy. It’s a public health problem.
Forget about good guns vs. bad guns. The AR-15 is now a fetish object, for gun nuts and grabbers alike. But it’s not a stable category. There are hundreds of models by dozens of makers. It’s not like saying “Ford Taurus,” it’s like saying “mid-size domestic sedan.” Calling it a “military rifle” is equally meaningless; the military could and does purchase any number of small arms in different calibers, barrel lengths, and so on. There’s nothing special about 5.56mm. You’re not talking about anything you can draw a clear line around.
Hunting weapons are chambered in much more powerful rounds, and nobody is talking about restricting those. If I recall correctly, James Holmes killed most of his victims with a shotgun and not his AR-type rifle, whose extended drum magazine failed. And nobody is talking about restricting shotguns either. The scariness doesn’t rest on anything tangible.
More importantly, the AR-15 or any other “military style” rifle is not what’s killing us. It’s scary, but as numbers go, not the greatest public danger. Most people die by “good guns” i.e. the low-caliber pistols that nobody anywhere is talking about restricting.
Absurdly well-armed mass shooting events drive the issue in the news, but it’s the steady drip of homicide, accident and suicide with the smallest arms that make up the lion’s share of gun death. We need to bend the whole line down, not pick and choose by which gun looks more “tactical” on a magazine cover.
Forget about good gun owners vs bad ones. Trying to prevent the delusional, unstable or already-violent from getting a gun sounds like a simple thing. But you’re either talking about maintaining lists of the convicted (simple enough), or lists of the mentally ill which, frankly, I’m against.
For all that political risk, civil liberties danger and public resource expenditure setting it up, I don’t think you’d get very much safety out of it.
Let me say it again, mass shootings make the news, but it’s the constant numbing hum of homicide, accident and suicide that’s killing us. We need to make each shot more expensive. Gun death is not fantastical; almost none of it is done by the insane or “professional”. People are killed by people they know, either spur of the moment or by mistake. Or by themselves, We can make all of it less common.
The guns don’t know what they’re doing, and don’t care. We need more of them to lie empty. The number of guns is not going down (already 200+ million, and they don’t wear out). The median quality of American mental health is not going to change, and I don’t trust anyone to pick and choose, and wouldn’t want to anyway — it’s the “good” shooters you have to worry about as much as the bad. Anybody can lose it. Anybody can miss.
It’s worth noting, as an aside, that the number of homicides has gone down, while the number of shootings has not (as much). This is entirely due to improvements in emergency medicine, driven by the frequency of gun violence itself, and (my own unexamined theory) spill-over improvements from a decade of battlefield medicine. We are shooting each other and ourselves about much as we used to, but our doctors are getting better at keeping us breathing.
12:59 pm • 17 September 2013
Bizarre sentence, yesterday
From Peter Baker in garbled Times style.
The twists and turns in the Syria debate have whipsawed the nation’s capital and by some accounts imperiled Mr. Obama’s presidency. Democrats are mystified and in some cases livid with Mr. Obama for asking Congress to decide the matter instead of simply ordering one or two days of strikes and getting it over with.
Kudos on getting “whipsawed” in there, but what the hell are you talking about? Can you let us in on which Democrats are mystified and in some cases livid, maybe? I’d like to know.
2:20 pm • 10 September 2013
P. E. Gobry talks P. Dickinson
Plus some interesting-enough early history of Business Insider. I’ll put a few li’l bits of it together:
And yet… And yet, I’m a proud feminist, and I have nothing but contempt for the brogrammer culture, which reeks to high heaven of entitlement, privilege, internet-tough-guy-ism and just yuck yuck yuck. This culture really has a negative impact on the advancement of women in technology, which makes us all poorer, and I mean the word “poorer” in the broadest, strongest sense possible
In this, Pax’s tweets always seemed to symbolize this voltairian aspect of Business Insider. At one point, I don’t know if he still would, Pax defined himself as “reactionary.” He’s not even conservative. He’s so right-wing he’s fallen off the spectrum. But he was also a hilarious provocateur. His tweets were just fun. He once argued that arranged marriages are a better system because it ensures no one’s condemned to singleness. Isn’t that the kind of stuff you want to read?
I mean, do I have to spell this out? Do I have to actually say what should be obvious, which is that I have many friends who happen to have some views which I think as repellent and yet I still love and cherish them? Do I have to say that Twitter is a place where people mouth off before thinking, and that this is actually good, and that a world where we constantly self-police what we say is not a good one?
Well, what to make of this? Maybe that if you’re not friends with a guy you don’t have to navigate any cognitive dissonance when his head turns out to be filled with toxic garbage (but that way lies the gulag yeah yeah I know Christian charity and all that). Or, to be banal, it’s not all in a good “voltairian” fun if you’re one of the majority of humanity whose subjugation he’d like to enjoy.
Really though, I’d love to read Gobry write about royalist reaction directly, rather than BI or it’s CTO-emeritus. There aren’t too many monarchs around to support anymore so what is this shit really. He’s more sympathetic to that worldview than I am (that is, more than not at all), I’d love to hear it! Calling it not-conservative-anymore is a cop out. If you ask me.
1:49 pm • 10 September 2013
Toward a Taxonomy of Grody Bullshit
Garance Franke-Ruta digs into the San Diego shitshow. My un-favorite bit:
The only woman [SD Dem chair Jess Durfee] did hear from directly was [Escondido City Council member Olga] Diaz, who recounted how Filner asked her if she was single during the course of an event when Filner was a member of Congress. She said she was married, they discussed to whom, and then he walked away. “What she told me at the time was she did not feel harassed,” Durfee said. “She described it as dirty old mannish and we agreed that it fit that category. We also agreed that it was just sort of a disappointing thing for a member of Congress to say to anyone at an official event …. Obviously from putting that in the context that it was in, there wasn’t a lot I could do with that, given, you know, Bob at the time was a single man.”
3:10 pm • 15 August 2013
Speaking of nostalgia: a closed loop I missed at the time
In April of of 2012 I wrote a post on this here tumblr about John Derbyshire getting fired from National Review, using that as an entree into the sphere of anti-democracy hard right peeps on the web, a continuing toxic fascination of mine.
I didn’t notice at the time, but the man himself noted my review of the situation semi-approvingly a few months later! A “punk-liberal blogger”, haha, I’ll take that.
2:03 pm • 13 August 2013
"What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows"
First reaction: man, I hope so. Second reaction: shrinks considered it a problem? That’s crazy!
Speaking of nostalgia, this crept into mind unbidden a little while ago, along with my 90s country-boy story of hearing it the first time:
…which in my nostalgic recollection was much slower and deeper. Memory as dub.
(Hola amigos, been a while since I rapped at ya.)
12:27 pm • 13 August 2013
Something depressing is happening here.
As far as I can tell, this thing happened in four steps.
Memoirist Alisa Valdes put out a book about falling in love with a strong-jawed real man and throwing away all the self-assertive feminism with which she was raised, called The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story. Here’s one mostly-dismissive review.
Then, Valdes writes a blog post saying “the cowboy,” now her ex, was an abuser and rapist, that the memoir was written while still under his influence, and accusing her publisher of abandoning her and the book. The cowboy, as Valdes further explains, controlled her movements and relationships to her family, raped her when an argument got the better of him, and scared her badly enough that she jumped out of a moving truck. In other words, the subtext of terror and domination that feminist critics had read into her tale of sweet submission to old-timey masculinity was the unvarnished truth. This post is now gone. An archive is available, for now, here. (As an aside, a nice, sweet “crunchy con” calls her a “head case" for her troubles.)
Next, within a day, the post disappears. Valdes has appeared on a Colorado radio show since then, and, I’m told (though I haven’t listened to it myself), pushed the book as very much in the “big-man-fucked-the-uppity-out-of-me” mode. Any word of warning about the real truth about the cowboy is absent. (Mp3 here, correct me if I’m wrong)
And then: "To those of you asking about the disappearance of yesterday’s blog post: I was asked to take it down by my publisher, and did. The end."
And: “ Hi. I need to talk to you!!! (Dirty Girls Social Club author) please email me? email@example.com”
Update: The above was the first I’d heard of this writer. Without saying anything prejudicial, it appears Valdes has been in scraps before, beefing with Wikipedia editors and After Ellen about misrepresenting her mental illness status and her sexuality. She is also somewhat infamous for a “controversial departure" from the L.A. Times in 2000, wherein she wrote that the use of the term "Latino" is "is the most recent attempt at genocide perpetrated against the native people of the Americas."
For what it’s worth, she also wrote a hilarious takedown of Gallagher.
I hate to say it but the truth of this whole strange episode is slipping further away, in my view.
Further Update!: It appears the tweet where Valdes chalked up the disappearance of her blog post to her publisher’s insistence is now gone. As I took no screenshot you’ll have to trust that I quoted it exactly.
1:44 pm • 10 January 2013