"Progressive" philosopher
upholds Opposite Day truism



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By David Codrea, August 15th 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

"How should people respond to open-carry gun-rights activists?" Jack Russell Weinstein, professor of philosophy and director of the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life at the University of North Dakota asks, unwittingly telling us much about his own biases in a calculated insult masked as an insightful inquiry. He comes across as a stereotypical academic with a Piled Higher and Deeper diploma in the Useless Arts, the kind of guy who prides himself on following in the footsteps of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, all the while coming off more like the Philosophy major in Bill Cosby's "Why is there air?" routine.

Weinstein's answer to his own question is also comedic in a way, but unintentionally, not very funny and lacking in timing, talent and presentation. What it doesn't lack is the all-too familiar "progressive" expectation that someone else needs to pay for your feelings and choices.

"If you're afraid for your life, you just get up and leave," he offers as the proper response to an encounter with armed citizens. "Maybe the restaurant pays the bill themselves, maybe the activists pay the bill."

Evidently, in the absence of being able to read minds, the default assumption that an armed citizen represents a lethal threat justifies a fear and flight reaction, not to mention sticking someone else with the tab. So naturally, the "progressive" Wonkette names Weinstein their "brand new social-media nerdcrush" and the aptly-named Crooks & Liars calls his idea "amazing," albeit "not "quite as sensational as the topless women."

Trust me, they weren't very sensational.

I don't suppose it occurs to Weinstein that if you really want to eat in a "gun free" disarmament zone, they make signs proprietors can post to make their wishes known. Of course, that also announces defenselessness to people neurotic hoplophobes ought to really be afraid of, and the truth is, restaurants are figuring out there's not only more money in it for them to welcome armed citizens, but there can be definite side benefits as well.

Not being an actual scientist, Weinstein doesn't have to prove statistical validity for deeming such hysteria justifiable, nor does he need to explain why the same reaction in the face of armed police is not. After all, it's not like what he's pushing is knowledge, and what does he care that police training, control, and conduct may not be as superior to that of gun rights advocates as he pumps them up to be.

It doesn't matter, because he also has no problem exploiting his "authority" as a Philosophy professor to extend it to psychiatric qualifications.

"The gun-rights activists think that their intent is obvious and that everyone knows what they hope to do," Weinstein instructs. "They believe their minds are transparent. But this is because they are all extreme narcissists."

Narcissistic personality disorder? All of them? Me too? And you, if you're a JPFO supporter?

He's got credentials, research and data to back that diagnosis up?

"It baffles them that we don't all know exactly what they are thinking," he continues, evidently unaware that he's contradicting himself. "They want to be celebrities, heroes, and the centers of attention."

So he doesn't know what gun owners are thinking, but he knows what they believe and what they want? How does that work? And how does baffling us square with no one I know giving a lab rat's behind about how effete useful idiots perceive anything, let alone gun owners?

Again, no matter. Because as he tells us in his video, putting on his Constitutional scholar hat this time, gun owners are not a Constitutionally-protected group, like "traditionally marginalized people" including women, African-Americans, gays and lesbians.

"The right to carry weapons may be, depending on where you are. The right to bear arms certainly is, but of course the right to bear arms doesn't mean the right to bear every arm, it doesn't mean the right to bear all the arms," he explains. "It only means the rights to bear arms."

You can go ahead and wade through that last bit again if you think you can get it to make sense.

"[G]un rights activists do not have a history of institutional discrimination," Weinstein continues. "They haven't been slaves. They weren't subject to the Holocaust. They haven't been beaten in the streets."

If anybody wants to point the irony of that last statement out to him, go for it. I had my fill of the guy right after he claimed some of the open carry protestors had "automatic weapons."

He tells us his concern is merely philosophical, that it's not really about gun control, and that all parties can have their rights respected, except, of course, for the proprietor who gets stuck with the bill. But why Weinstein is limiting the discussion to open carrying, when the preponderance of gun rights activists carry concealed, highlights yet another disconnect. Aren't sneaky gun owners, who hide their weapons every bit the threat to hungry Prozis as their more overt fellow narcissists?

How do we know "concealed carry killers" won't go nuts and start shooting up the joint? After all, we can't read their minds, and if you believe the antis (and who wouldn't?), we're all just mass murderers waiting to happen. Realizing that anyone may be packing, might someone wearing an NRA cap provide probable cause to give a gun-shy gastronome ethical justification to stuff his cheeks and stiff the ... uh ... to quietly usher himself to safety?

For some reason, I'm reminded of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, an alien predator described in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as "a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you – daft as a brush, but very, very ravenous." Maybe if you're armed and run into Professor Weinstein or one of his dine and dash artists, you can keep them from spooking by closing your eyes.

It's curious, though. Philosophy has its root in a Greek word meaning "love of wisdom" and it's supposed to address problems by relying on rational arguments. So how typical, that the absence of wisdom and rationality in Weinstein's premise provides yet another proof of the truism that for "progressives," every day is Opposite Day.

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David Codrea is a field editor at GUNS Magazine, penning their monthly "Rights Watch" column. He provides regular reporting and commentary at Gun Rights Examiner and blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. David Codrea's Archive page.

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