Thinking about Parkland

Robert Tracinski brought us a thoughtful post over the weekend at The Federalist.

Early this week, I wrote an article taking the Parkland kids to task for spreading a lot of bunkum, not just about guns, but about the general state of the world — which I backed up with some facts and figures, and even some charts and graphs.

In response, I got a lot of the usual hate mail, but what struck me was how the general response was summed up in this exchange.

Logic and facts: what have they ever done for us?

The hyping of the Parkland kids is one giant appeal to emotion. The approach is to go to a school where a shooting happened and carefully select a small number of kids who are reasonably articulate and willing to go along with the full gun-control agenda. Ignore the ones who don’t. Then give these kids the backing of well-funded and well-connected advocacy groups. Fly them around the country and book them on cable TV shows. Then insist that these 17-year-olds are invested with absolute moral authority, and if anyone challenges this, scream at them for being insensitive to the victims of a horrific crime and basically hating children and wanting to see them die.

This only works on two conditions. First, it works because the media cooperates. If the NRA flew pro-Second Amendment kids around and tried to book them on news shows, the media would suddenly develop professional ethics and either turn them down or grill them about being shills for the gun lobby. But the other Parkland kids are treated as concerned citizens, and no one in the media thinks they are under any obligation to note that the kids are basically being bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg.

But the second condition is more important: This works because people want it to work. It aligns with their preconceptions and resonates with their emotions. So they assume that emotional power will sweep away all opposition.

If you are on the left, you are probably now feeling outrage that I am dismissing your advocacy of gun control as mere emotionalism. If you are on the right, you are probably feeling smugly superior to those lefties who are always so invested in their “feels.”

For the benefit of both sides, let me flip the script. Let’s say that instead of invoking the Parkland kids, I were to invoke the parents of Kate Steinle.

Remember her? She was the young woman who was killed in San Francisco by a bullet fired from a gun held by an illegal immigrant. (Prosecutors were unable to prove the shooting was not an accident, which is why he got off on only a weapons charge.) Steinle’s death couldn’t be used to make the case for gun control, because she was shot with a handgun stolen from the car of a law enforcement officer, someone whose weapon would not be banned. But the shooter was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been previously deported multiple times, who was released onto the streets of a “sanctuary city.” So this shooting could be used to make the case against sanctuary cities and against Mexican immigrants in general. Which is precisely what Donald Trump did.

Yet the form of the argument is exactly the same in the one case as in the other. It was an emotional appeal to the idea that if only one senseless death could be prevented by taking drastic action, then we’re required to do it — and you’re a monster who doesn’t care about human life if you raise any objections.

Keep reading.

He’s correct, of course, the right did do the same thing in the Kate Steinle case. It was an appeal to emotion, not facts. The right is better than his, at least we better be. Objective fact is not the realm of the Randists, although they do a better job of it than most, they go too far. Emotion matters, but it is not the overwhelming paragon that it often appears that the left thinks it is.

That’s one of the reasons for the old maxim, “Hard cases make bad law”.

Facts Matter.

In truth, when our founders designed out government, one of the reasons they designed the Senate as they did, at a remove for the electorate (elected by the legislature) and for a six year term, was simply to slow things down, to let emotions cool. That was an inherent feature of the design, which the irrational left couldn’t abide, and so the Wilson Government spearheaded it’s repeal. They were wrong, it helps us to maintain an objective, fact based law, not one based on capricious fallible emotion.

Part of their genius, overthrown by much smaller men.

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

5 Responses to Thinking about Parkland

  1. the unit says:

    I read that in the end when a decision is finally made it’s final determining factor is emotion. I guess there is a study to show that. Don’t think the article where I read it gave a source. Maybe the statement was based on emotion. 🙂
    My favorite comment I read about Trumps future meet with Kim was “Mr. President, don’t come back waving a piece of paper.”
    Maybe Chamberlain’s decision and his piece of paper was based on emotion. Wishful appeasement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Emotion matters, certainly. And likely that article is right, eventually emotion tends to be the decider, but wise people first review the evidence and fact. Funny how often I’ve changed my mind after doing that. And no, I’m not claiming to be wise! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yeah, graduating from college in ’66 with a job in the bag, evidence and fact told me the Plymouth Belvedere would provide the transportation I needed. I bought the Chrysler 300 2 dr. coupe for some reason. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I hear ya!!! 🙂

          Like

  2. Reblogged this on Boudica2015.

    Like

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