Gun control advocates offer a lot to object to when facts and logic are what we’re focused on, but there are also matters of their attitudes and the values that they hold that raise more serious questions about their end goals. One reliable example of this is Mike Weisser of The Huffington Post. His latest article, “Sometimes The ‘Other Side’ Isn’t Worth Listening To,” illustrates the insufferable smugness of those who reject the idea that each person has basic rights not subject to the approval of the busybodies.
Weisser leads off by quoting the founder of the Million Mom March, Donna Dees-Thomases as saying, “I refuse to debate the other side,” referring to supporters of gun rights. Dees-Thomases has been demanding gun control since the end of the last millennium, along the way forming common cause with The Brady Campaign, Michael Bloomberg, and Moms Demand Action — all the usual players.
A refusal to debate is a tricky thing. When someone we agree with won’t take part in a discussion, the natural response to be understanding. Why waste time with clearly irrational people? Weisser cites an economist, Paul Baran, who rejected the opportunity to debate a student in Germany in 1934, a student who later rose in the ranks of the S.S. His explanation: “a meaningful discussion of human affairs can only be conducted with humans; one wastes one’s time talking to beasts about matters related to people.”
Is a Nazi worth debating? Considering the fact that members of their party were self-confessed liars who when they told the truth about their intentions called for and then committed some of the greatest evils in human existence, no, there is no point to address them directly. We should spend time explaining to rational people what’s wrong with bad ideas, but giving true believers our time suggests a measure of legitimacy that they don’t deserve.
Nazis were evil. Some people are delusional. Biologist Richard Dawkins famously won’t engage with young-Earth creationists and rightly so, since the idea that our planet is a mere six thousand years old has been well, truly, and repeatedly busted. And yet, Bill Nye did advance into the lion’s den to fight with Ken Ham, arguing that the debate was for members of the audience who were willing to consider the evidence.
But questions of science are answered by evidence alone, not how we feel about it. As physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson pointed out, science is true whether we believe it or not. If someone wants to have a debate about how many Americans die each year due to gunfire, that’s not really something worth spending the time on. We know the answer, and while there might be some wiggle room on the exact figure, the FBI does a good job collecting these data.
There is a necessary discussion to have, though, on what we value both individually and as a society and what we are will do and can do to reduce firearms deaths. Weisser constantly insists that firearms offer no benefit regarding self-defense, despite what the National Academies Press reported, and he regards using firearms for that purpose as the kind of beastly action that Paul Baran described. These are things worthy of debate. As are questions about the meaning of rights and the nature of a free society.
The smug refusal to participate in the marketplace of ideas doesn’t sound like a principled stand against evil or foolishness. It bears a much stronger resemblance to cowardice, and that comes as no surprise. When someone is ready to hand over the protection of his life to others, he’s also likely to have no interest in defending his ideas.
The good news, as with the Nye-Ham debate, honest people are watching, and seeing one person ready with facts and logic, while another won’t engage, is good for our side.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.