Blind faith

I’ve met and talked to a lot of anti-gun activists. With perhaps one exception I always got the impression they were generally nice people. Misguided, sometimes ignorant, and frequently not very bright but they were nice and I wouldn’t have minded having one of them as a neighbor or socializing with them if the topic of guns didn’t come up.

That said we sometimes ascribe evil intent to the anti-gun people. In the case of certain politicians such as Chuck Schumer, the Clintons, and President Obama (none of which I have ever met or talked to) this may be true. But generally there is something else going on. The people just aren’t the “evil type”.

But of course just because someone is a “nice” person doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t inadvertently advocate for and enable something terribly evil all the while believing they were doing good. Like I said, a lot of these people aren’t that bright.

Lorne Gunter said something on this topic that struck me as highly likely (emphasis added):

There are around 340,000 violent crimes reported to police in Canada each year. Just over 2% of those (around 8,000) involve firearms. (There’s another reason to question the initial wisdom of the gun registry: Why was Ottawa expending so much time, effort and taxpayer money on such a tiny percentage of violent crimes, while doing comparatively little to prevent the 98% of murders, robberies, kidnappings, rapes and beatings not committed with a gun?)

Typically, gun crime is committed by street criminals using stolen or contraband weapons. The gun registry never had any effect on this class of thug. Some of the 8,000 violent gun crimes no doubt were committed by licensed owners using registered guns — people who might be tracked or even deterred using a registry system. But since no one in Ottawa ever had any idea how many people are in this latter group, they had no way of determining the usefulness of the registry.

A cynic might say that not knowing was the point all along. Backers of the registry knew it would produce very little impact, so they deliberately didn’t bother collecting data that would confirm the database’s uselessness.

I think the truth is less conspiratorial (and far more arrogant): Backers were so sure the registry would produce tangible benefits, they never thought they might need to show proof. After all, they were experts and they had thought it up, so how could it not work?

It was purely on blind faith that supporters of the registry — police chiefs, victims’ rights groups, women’s shelter operators and grandstanding politicians — assumed that making Canadians register their guns would magically cut down on violent crime.

Faith, in this context, means believing in something without, or even in spite of, evidence. It was, and is, blind faith motivating these people to continue advocating for gun control. As I have pointed out before and some of them have even agreed, they do not know, or care, how to determine truth from falsity.

As an engineer this is abhorrent to me. When I design a filter using an op-amp, a couple capacitors, and resisters I can predict the frequency response within a fraction of a decibel. But I still test it because it’s possible I made a mistake someplace or a part doesn’t meet the vendor’s specification that I used for the design.

When I design an algorithm for estimating the location of a phone based on the presence of visible Wi-Fi access points and cell towers I know pretty darned close what the accuracy is and how long it will take to do the calculations. But I still test it and there is a test team doing their best to shoot my design and implementation down.

I recognize that human behavior is far more complex and less predictable than electronics and software algorithms. But that just screams that tests have to be done on social experiments. Yet, these people are so stupid (or, granted, in some cases malicious) they not only don’t even bother trying to predict the results or think to do tests but cannot imagine why tests would be needed.

These people deserve all the “respect” of a cargo cult or Heaven’s Gate followers.

Unfortunately this faith is not confined to just gun control. It is my hypothesis that this same blind faith template would match most U.S. government program of the last 100 years.

10 thoughts on “Blind faith

  1. I recognize that human behavior is far more complex and less predictable than electronics and software algorithms.

    Ah, but this is where you differ from the Left. These people see human beings as fixed targets–they do not see that people change their behavior in response to external stimuli (laws). They think that outlawing guns means the will no longer exist–they can’t or won’t see that this will simply create a black market. If you think this is a moon bat exception, note that these tend to be the same people who think that raising taxes by a certain amount will give exactly that much increased revenue–they can’t or won’t see that when they raise taxes, people seek to avoid the increased burden that is placed on them (often, in this case, by legal means) and that at some point it actually becomes cheaper to hire an accountant to find loopholes than it would be to pay the tax. I agree that they are not evil, but I think their view of the world is likely based on an even more simplistic and inaccurate model than you have suggested.

  2. My experience has been that if you talk with a Believer long enough (and it usually doesn’t take much time at all) their hate begins to surface pretty quickly. They consider themselves to be nice people, and the generally act like nice people, until pressed on issues of general principle.

    When speaking briefly with a young man recently, who was lamenting the “exporting of jobs and money” from the U.S., I simply said; Well, shouldn’t THIS be the place where people come to see to it that their property is safe from confiscation?

    He was a very nice person, very cordial and talkative, but that simple question threw him into a rage and he had to leave, as he put it, “…before I get into trouble”. So there’s bottled up hatred, and even a potentially out-of-control violent rage, inside the polite exterior. They’ll tolerate or even actively promote onerous laws against their neighbors out of what I will call vicarious thuggery.

    I’ve talked with many people who, on first impression, or second impression, or after knowing them for months, suddenly come out with “Nigger” this or “Nigger” that, and I’m blown away. I bet you’ve had similar experiences. Where did THAT come from? It’s the same sort of deal. They may live, even faithfully, by some set of social codes, but a general understanding of liberty and equality (i.e. respect for Mankind) is not among them.

  3. I think that the Leftist/Progressive/Democrat philosophy can also be ascribed to a false belief that man can be perfected.

    They refuse to see that we are broken and sinful and as such will always have sloth, greed, violence, and all the other evils of this world. A quick look at history shows that the human condition has not changed; we’re just more efficient at doing evil.

    So, instead, they think that if they just provide more social education, more economic justice, more governmental assistance programs, more thought/speech controls (e.g. political correctness, hate crimes), more, more, more, more…that all of mankind will renounce nuclear weapons, terrorism, genocides, tyranny, basic criminality, and leaving your lights up way past Christmas or failing to sort your recyclables.

    When the promised unicorns show up, farting peace and goodwill pixie dust, I might entertain their ideas.

    Until then, my shotgun is kept ready to repel all invaders.

    To address the topic of gun registration, I challenge gun control advocates to show me one gun control law that works as advertised or is a bit better than absolutely USELESS.

  4. I’ve come to say that “All Anti-Rights Activists are Jadegold, just some conceal it better than others.”

    Lyle is 100% correct the only reason why these people appear to be nice, friendly, but misguided is because they always control the level of exposure. You only met with Paul Helmke for a short time and he simply dodged your question. Somebody was mentioning in my blog that he spends a good deal of time in the capital building in Minnesota defending gun bills. Because of this he bumps into Joan Peterson frequently, but she has never spoken to him.

    But of course all these people have been caught saying some VERY nasty things about “Those people” when they think they’re surrounded by like-minded people.

    Press them off the facade that they present to people who don’t agree with them and they get indignant VERY quickly, and then do whatever they can to end the discussion.

    To be a supporter of gun control in today’s information age means that you either intentionally avoid the facts, or you know the facts and have simply chosen to support the wrong side.

    The fact that the antis all moderate or close their comment section on their blogs, and pages, I strongly suspect the latter. And as Lyle says, their motivation is hatred.

  5. “As I have pointed out before and some of them have even agreed, they do not know, or care, how to determine truth from falsity.”

    I have to agree; they believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts.

    “Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
    – Thomas Sowell

  6. A short story from long ago – somewhere over two decades or so call it early-mid-1990’s, when I was a lot more politically naive than I am now. I was with some friends in Seattle (a married couple and another gal) who stopped in to say “hi” and drop off a few of things to a family with an infant of just-crawling-around age. I had never met the couple before, and they seemed nice enough. We sat around in a circle chatting pleasantly while the little one crawled around between us and one of the couple I came with took care of whatever business it was they needed to do with the dad of the couple we were visiting. Things went fine for a few minutes, then, somehow, the topic of guns came up; I don’t remember the details of how or why, but it wasn’t me that brought it up. The topic bounced around for a minute or two when I said, something fairly neutral like “well, yes, I’m a gun owner” in reply to a direct question. I didn’t say I was carrying or anything (I wasn’t) or talk about what specific guns I owned. The temperature in the room seemed to drop about 20 degrees, and the mom-homeowner reached over, picked up the kid, and clutched it close to her as if I was about to sprout fangs and devour it. I’m not always the best at picking up the fine details of body language, but this was so obvious and weird everyone in the room felt it like a dog turd squishing up between your toes on a cold spring morning when you step in the wrong place. I asked something like “how else would you defend your home and child against bad people breaking in?” and I just got “the look,” and some comment about a baseball bat. There was an awkward silence, and she could not get us out of her home fast enough, using superficially polite words, but an attitude and body language that belied them. It was an interesting and memorable event that I have reflected upon often.

    The fact that her friends thought I was OK, and I seemed OK in person, became instantly irrelevant to her, and subordinate to the one fact that I owned one or more guns of some type, for any reason. That one fact meant, to her, that I was obvious dangerous and not to be trusted in any way. Irrational, but as I have some to realize, not uncommon.

  7. I too would take issue with the “nice people” gloss, especially the more active. I’ve found that the core of hatred and bile isn’t that far from the surface.

  8. I can’t say that I know any anti-gun activists, but I know a fair number of liberals who are activists for other progressive issues, particularly gay rights. In my experience, they are mostly friendly and intelligent people. They want what’s best for people, at least by their interpretation, and they get frustrated when people fight against what is obviously, to them, the best course of action. I’m sure there are plenty of hostile or malevolent anti-gun activists, but I think we do ourselves a disservice by caricaturing them as something they are not. We can best defeat them if we best understand who they are and how they think.

    I also agree that it’s a travesty that statistics aren’t recorded to ascertain the effectiveness of the Canadian gun registry. As a systems engineer, everything I do is done with an eye toward how it will be tested to ensure that it meets the requirements. I’ve designed plenty of things that worked perfectly on paper, but failed spectacularly in real life due to some tiny neglected detail.

    Given the scope that government action affects our lives, and the complexity of the system involved, it’s the least we can ask that our civil servants include data collection to determine if the legislation is functioning as intended.

  9. As has been said many times; there are the perpetrators and then there are the duped. I suppose there is some continuum along the way between then. There was Jim Jones and then there were his followers. If they all attack you at the air strip at same time, there is little (maybe some, but little) utility in sorting out one from the other, investigating the soul and the motives of each and every one while you’re under fire.

    I figure it would be up to the cult member to demonstrate his good will motives by pausing, listening and investigating. Persons opposed to basic liberty are the ones who must explain themselves. We’re not on trial here. They are. We haven’t attacked anyone’s rights, or advocated for any such thing. When asked to explain themselves, or when presented with alternate views, alternate data and alternate principles (presented with the very principles their own country was founded on in the case of the United States) the anti almost always freaks out and is unable to proceed with a conversation.

    Tell me that comes from good will and not visceral hatred. No. As adults, responsible for their own beliefs and behaviors, they can listen and participate in a discussion without getting hot under the collar and trying to divert the conversation. Yet most can do no such thing.

    You can say that there is good in most people, and I would agree. That such good fails to manifest itself is the problem. People can be led astray. Probably anyone can be led astray under certain circumstances. Nature or nurture? The criminal court judge often doesn’t have to be concerned with defining the root problem, but only with determining whether the crime was committed and passing down a sentence. When there is fierce resistance to any attempt at reason, with an adult, what you want to call it isn’t so important as protecting yourself from them when you’re under attack.

    We’re under attack. It’s eased a little bit in intensity, but we’re under attack. As we speak there are people in jail for technical violations—people who have done no harm, and threatened no harm, to any other person, are in jail. Some are dead– Killed by their government for having a shotgun 1/8” too short or some other such nonsense. Tell your “reasonable” and “well meaning” friends who “care” and have “compassion” to write to their representatives telling them to back off the attacks, release the political prisoners, and push for liberty and equality under the law. If they do that, then and only then will I believe you when you say they “mean well”. Otherwise I’ll say that, although they may have the capacity for good, they’re creeping snakes, waiting to see the next arrest or the next fine or the next confiscation, or the next forced business closure, just for a little vicarious thrill of power over another human being.

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