Liberal Bias and Mental Blindness

“War,” World Book Encyclopedia: Volume 21, 1988, pg 24.

I was browsing through an old encyclopedia in my home today, and found this under “War”

Modern warfare has moved away from the days when soldiers with rifles were the most important part of an army. War has been mechanized until it is in large part a contest in producing machinery. In Thomas Jefferson’s day, it made sense to protect “the right to keep and bear arms,” so that people could overthrow a tyrannical government. Today, the private citizen cannot keep the kinds of weapons that would serve this purpose.

The Uzbekistani rebels would disagree.

More seriously, it’s interesting to see an encylopedia written just 13 years after the fall of Saigon state that warfare must be mechanized to defeat a government. Part of it is just mental blindness, but the tome’s liberal bias compounded it.

To think of it in OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) terms, the orientations (“war is mechanized,” “for safety people must be disarmed) implicitly guided the observations (“small arms cannot defeat a government”).

One thought on “Liberal Bias and Mental Blindness”

  1. Gun control, moreso than any other issue, is the one upon which liberals tend to be the least rational. It's an article of faith because the desire for gun control laws is a visceral reaction on the question of security vs. freedom.

    If you view government as omnicomptetent and good and your neighbors as children then you like gun control. If you think government is basically incompetent and at least potentially ill-intentioned and your neighbors are trustworthy then you dislike gun control.

    ( The idea that both government and the general public tend toward incompetency is probably closer to the mark)

    Don't get me wrong, the gun wingnuts are also unreasonable and tempermentally extreme – they just have the better of the empirical data and constitutional arguments. And using slippery slope lobbying tactics themselves they recognize it quite well in their opponents who aim for the eventual abolition of private ownership of firearms.

    So put me on the side of 2nd Amendment freedom.

  2. Agreed.

    One might say that the greater one's faith in vertical bonds, the more one approves of gun control. I've heard this argument presented as “The government should have an absolute monopoly on violence, and private guns take away from that.”

    When not veering wildly off tangent, Michael Moore's “Bowling for Columbine” is a good documentary on the subject. While the second half (which criticizes gun-supporters) gets the most billing, the first half (which is critical of gun-opponents) make great viewing.

  3. I hadn't even realized there was a part in Bowling for Columbine that was critica of gun-oponents – that part didn't make it into the fanatically pro-gun control Chicago Tribune

  4. Indeed. My view of the Michigan Militia was negative /until/ I watched the movie. Moore is extremely sympathetic on both an organizational and personal level. Likewise, I believed Sagan's claim that Canada is “de-gunned” /until/ I saw the movie, which emphasized how easy it is to transport anything across the Detroit-Churchill bridge if you wanted too. (Of course, this was pre-9/11).

    Additionally, the infamous Columbine-survivor-returns-bullets-to-store scene is parrelled earlier by a purchase in peaceful Canada. The movie's goal is to criticize American culture — where Moore has a point — and not gun laws.)

    Moore is complex politically, but he is a marketing genius. He knows exactly what makes movies sell — controversy. Emphasizing the “pollution is more dangerous in LA than gun violence” aspect would't fill seats. But attack military contractors and blam! — money from the sky!

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