Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A brace of winners from Butler Shaffer

...which is nothing at all unusual.  Shaffer's online collection The Wizards of Ozymandias remains one of the titanic works for me, and his archive at Lew Rockwell often reads like he's still going on the same theme.

In "When Will They Figure It Out?", in discussing the fallout of the recent Tucson shooting, we get this money quote:
Those who, like this gunman, resort to violence in response to whatever grievances they hold, have reduced themselves to self-destructive acts of utter desperation. I have always rejected the use of violence – whether against the state or other individuals – not so much because of what it would do to them, but what it would do to me. I oppose political systems because I believe that a free, productive, and peaceful society can arise only through the voluntary acts of cooperative individuals; that efforts to impose order by violent means will always work to the destruction of society, as is now occurring. Were I to sanction violence as a solution to the problems our thinking has created, would be to admit that I have been wrong in my assumptions. As I have told a few people who work within political systems, "if I thought that violence could be used to accomplish my ends, I’d join you guys!"

And just a few days later, in "In Defense of Clear Thinking", he's got more:
Another example of the disordered thinking produced by the failure to develop causal explanations of events began occurring right after the recent shootings in Tucson. How easily have people fallen for the statist lines that these killings were "caused" by private gun ownership, talk radio, the Internet, hostile rhetoric, or some mushy sense of a "failure to get along." I am surprised that the statists have not tried to exploit the shootings as another symptom of global warming! The comments made by politicians, government officials, and media flaks, have all acknowledged the presence of an atmosphere of anger in America, but none have addressed the cause of such widespread resentment.

The voices of institutionalism – whose function it is to constantly remind us that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" – will reject notions that the forces of the status quo have any causal connection to the violence and other aggression that surrounds us. When, during the 2008 Republican presidential "debates," Ron Paul introduced the idea of "blowback" as an explanation for the terrorism of 9/11, Rudy Giuliani revealed himself as intellectually unfit for any government office by expressing shock and resentment at Paul’s analysis. What Paul was explicating, of course, was the "frustration-aggression" hypothesis: if X attacks Y, Y may choose to retaliate by attacking X. Children on the playground understand this basic fact, even if former New York City mayors do not. Those with even a rudimentary understanding of physics will recognize the proposition as Newton’s "third law of motion."

As usual, worth the read-in-full.

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