Quote of the day—Mike Arst

He uses the word “little” as a verbal bludgeon, as in his frequent repetition of the phrase “hypocritical little nitwit.”

The purpose of using the word that way is to belittle: literally, to make little. When someone is depicted as “little,” for a moment he might appear (to the flamer) to have become smaller and less threatening. When the flamer is hooked on such talk, it seems likely to me he has revealed that he’s afraid of something — and he has to make the thing that frightens him into a small, harmless, even ludicrous object. But it doesn’t work; he has to go on doing this kind of thing because he can’t stop being afraid. He’s doing it to you today; he’ll do it to another guy tomorrow. (Each time, he’ll think it is a victory for him; in fact it does nothing for him — he’s just a little slow to realize it <g>)

Back in the days when I was very anti-gun, I tended to think of “gun nuts” as drooling, knuckle-dragging morons. Cavemen. Uneducated. Beer-drinking slobs who could barely read and who probably beat up their wives a lot. Maybe they were even all closet Nazis, eh? Etc., etc., etc. It was an image that came instantly to mind. I would talk about “gun nuts” that same way with friends of like mind. It all made such perfect sense to us.

But if ever I came across a “gun nut” in person I would be silent — especially if it was someone dressed in, say, hunting cammos. Or I might see “gun nuts” on TV and make a snide comment about them, but seeing them made me feel a bit afraid (something I didn’t reveal to other people). It wasn’t rational, but it wasn’t surprising considering how I’d been raised. It wasn’t until a long time later that I realized what I’d been doing: trying to make the “gun nuts” almost into sub-humans in my mind, and paint them as ridiculous and stupid so that they shrank in stature and were less scary to me. (But as I said, this doesn’t work. No amount of sneering made me feel less afraid.)

I have no doubt that some small percentage of “gun people” (those few who are outright fascistically-minded) “deserve” every bit of fear I had for them — then and now. But for crying out loud . . . what a stupid, prejudicial way to think about an entire group of people, with no distinctions made. It took some years to realize what a big lie there was in imagining myself enlightened and non-bigoted — all the while that I’d been thinking like a garden-variety bigot. That was one of the fun things about the ’60s and ’70s: You could fantasize that you were on a higher plane of consciousness than “those” people — and be every bit as bigoted and vicious as you thought they were. You didn’t have to hold yourself accountable, nor wonder if you weren’t being two-faced about it. By definition, as a more “enlightened” person, you didn’t have any of those problems. Only other people had such problems. It was all so convenient . . .

Mike Arst
December 1998
Rack Jite — Liberal Hate Monger
[This is an attempt to answer the comment from MTHead on perhaps why anti-gun people so frequently confirm Markley’s Law.—Joe]

5 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Mike Arst

  1. Thanks Joe! He’s right in that it doesn’t work in a civilized society. Not where hypocrisy is allowed shames ones senses anyway. To me belittlement and ridicule has been a part of human nature since we began to speak. A powerful tool. Used by all one way or another.
    And it works wonderfully in a communist society if your Joe Stalin. That’s the part I don’t understand. How intelligent, educated people can get played so easy? It puzzles me how someone can be in a pinnacle of human success and seem to have lost all reason and forethought?
    The same way I’ve pondered some very intelligent people I’ve known that drank themselves to death.

    • IQ =/= wisdom, and knowing what the “right and proper” thing to do is often does not coincide with an individual having the self-restraint or discipline to actually follow through. People are, generally, lazy, and don’t act on things that are difficult or inconvenient until they have no choice.

      Take something as simple as homework. I’m a teacher, and I have my own kids. Every day I have to deal with kids who KNOW!!! they should study, exercise more, practice until perfect, etc., but do not, because youtube cat videos, snapchat, ESPN, or in a few cases even books that are more enticing. Behind nearly every obese person is a person who knows most of how to change their diet, and that they need to exercise more, but….. don’t.

  2. I am in a conversation (or was) with my state senator via email. She exhibits the same tendencies. In not one of our correspondences has she not attempted to pidgin hole me. First it was “You are just another NRA member following instructions.” Then it was “you are a shooting range owner/operator/member”. In all my interactions with her, she has always responded to her self assigned label of me.

    My wife states “I hate her! I met her in person and when she heard that I was a teacher she proceeded to assume all of my concerns and issues based on me being a teacher. She didn’t listen to me. Just responded to a generic teacher.”

    When I wrote about a bill she introduced, her response was “you just don’t understand, it isn’t really going to shut down shooting ranges.” (It doesn’t directly, it just makes the financial and legal risks so high that nobody would want to operate a shooting range). Her next was “I know people who have been told by clubs and even police that the stray bullet that whizzed by her head as she walked down her driveway was just a ricochet so she shouldn’t worry. You and I both know that is BS.”

    If there are bullets that are leaving the range under power, then it is a safety issue that can be addressed. Of course this story is just as likely as an actor in downtown Chicago in the dead of night in freezing weather being attacked by MAGA wearing white people.

    She went from you don’t understand. To your just following orders. To “feels”

    She ended by telling me: I do not really want state government to get between ranges and their communities. I hope that you all, on your own, will move to encourage the handful of ranges that are giving the rest a bad name to shape up and improve community relations.

    • The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. She obviously deems her voters to be the size of ants, generic and undifferentiated, so when she needs them, one size of benefit fits all, and when they need to be extinguished, a single can of Raid will suffice, and after all, compared to her, we are just ants.

  3. He hits on something I realized a _long_ time ago: It never ceases to amaze me how comfortable progressives are in their bigotries.

    I walk in a lot of circles, and while conservatives are always very sheepish if they say something that might even be construed as ‘racist’, nothing similar can be said of progressives.

    A great example is that it’s very common to hear progressives paint conservatives as racist against “brown people” (i.e. anyone non-white). But the thing is, in my 50 years on this planet, I’ve NEVER heard a conservative/republican even use the term “Brown People” or even lump all minorities together in any event. That term: “Brown People” and that concept: “anyone who is non-white” are EXCLUSIVELY from the left.

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