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You don’t love your kids

February 11, 2019

That’s today’s “there are no new pro-gun control arguments” posting. It is the fourth in a series. You can find the numbers 1-3

  1. here,
  2. here,
  3. and here

The one I’m dealing with today is not so much an argument as it is an accusation. The title of this posting doesn’t really do it justice, though. Typically, it takes some form of “you love your guns more than you love your kids,” or perhaps “guns are more important to you than kids. Occasionally, you’ll get a true gem like “your toys and murder weapons are more important to you than the lives of innocent children.” How do you respond to something like that?

First, recognize, again, that it’s not an argument but an accusation. It’s an accusation with a purpose, though. It is intended

  • to produce guilt
  • to provide cover for the accuser who has no real argument to make (think of it as a supposedly adult version of “Oh, yeah? Well, you’re stupid and you stink! So, there!”)
  • to forestall anything approximating real, reasoned discussion

That’s it. That’s all it’s for.

Perhaps you are thinking you could respond with one of the following:

  • I value liberty over the illusion of safety provided by a government that cannot guarantee my safety or that of my children
  • It is, in part, because of my love for my children that I am armed, because it is my job to protect them
  • I want my children to be free, not merely “safe”

I have bad news. None of those will matter. Once a person, especially one who does not know you, chooses to attack your character, you can be assured there are no arguments you can make that will sway him or her. That person is not interested in discussion, but only in feeling good as a result of attempting to force others to accept his or her point of view. People like this will lie and engage in any kind of outrageous character assassination in pursuit feeling good about themselves. That’s simply the nature of authoritarians and busybodies (two largely overlapping groups) – others must agree and comply.

There is, however, a response that can be effective, depending on the setting. It takes some effort to phrase just right, and the argument is rather involved, but it goes something like this: “Fuck you.”*

The reality is that people who make such accusations are probably best dealt with by allowing their words to accumulate over time. Others will, hopefully, come to see them for what they are. Sometimes, though, the temptation to lash out, if only verbally, can be a little overwhelming. The problem, of course, is that it leaves you playing their game and unless you’re willing to engage in total war tactics, you’ll likely come out looking at least as bad as the other person. If you do (verbally) kill everyone, poison the wells and salt the earth, you just look like a jerk, which sort of limits your ability to reach any fence-sitters.

*Historically, I have been more inclined to use a rejoinder known as a “right cross” but I am told it is not as acceptable as it once was. It’s also not effective on various forums. Probably better to just walk away. But, sometimes, I think “you know, I could set him up with a jab and then…”


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  1. Name calling makes me look clever | retiredmustang

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