Harry Hope's Saloon

This blog takes it's name from the setting for O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh -- a lousy gin-mill; a smoked-out, greasy dive where the habitues have all landed, it seems, permanently. Their lives, in each case, are paralyzed by fear and laziness. Like my own.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

So much for homogeneity in academia...

More on Ward from the Rocky Mountain News:

Another controversial Churchill essay is his Pacifism as Pathology, a treatise contending that nonviolent protest is ineffective and a sure loser.

His defiant stance is underscored in big and small trappings of his life; on the side of the refrigerator in his kitchen, along with more mundane items, is a small patch bearing the silhouette of an assault rifle, and the words, "Peace Through Superior Firepower."

Interesting dude. This may be worth getting a hold of. Most striking for me is how close this sounds to the frightened stereotype of armed citizen advocacy that I encounter with regularity from leftist acquaintances. Although I don't want to leap to conclusions without having read his full explication, I suspect that I support civilian gun ownership for reasons almost diametrically opposed to Churchill's. My support is for local, immediate deterrence to personal crime, the self as the primary source of personal defense, and a reduced reliance on massive bureaucracy for local civility and morality. I see guns, in essence, as tonic against explosions of violence in two respects: first, by reducing the local crime (including that committed by police!) that can set them off, and second, by allowing individual decisions to react to the problem locally and proportionally. Peace, in other words, comes not from besting a threat through active use of weaponry, but from staking out one's personal sphere sufficiently that aggression becomes too costly at the level of local decision-making. In a diverse society, making civility pragmatic is an important precursor to healthy cross-pollenation of ideas and traditions, although this latter societal value naturally requires a bit more than a healthy set of thorns.

But to think of oneself as among the oppressed, and aiming to amass sufficient firepower (literally and metaphorically) to defeat the oppressor, seems to me exactly the wrong way to go.

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