Nick Speaks

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CEI interviews our fearless leader about Reason, pissed-off rock stars, Michael Moore, and other scourges of society.

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  1. I’m surprised that a bright fellow like Nick didn’t get the point of Bowling for Columbine. It’s not so mysterious. Wacko far leftist that he is, Moore isn’t interested in mere trifles like gun control. He is clearly implying that America is (and always has been) inherently evil and that its deep-rooted violence cannot be cured by anything less that a complete social-political revolution–probably along Marxist lines.

  2. NG just chose to focus his comments about the film based on its face value, without wandering off topic into whatever he thinks about Moore in general.

  3. Listen, Wise,
    “Ruthless” is like a placard: Beware the dog.

    “Wise” must first be given the “nihil obstat” by the pack.

    Snarl.

    “Old Fart” are okay.
    I HEAR you.
    bbbrrrrpppppt

  4. “(I)t is a very bad time to be one who wants to be in charge of other people.”

    Great quote – I hope he’s right.

  5. Moore is essentially throwing up his hands and saying, ?I can?t explain this! The one thing I know is that more gun laws aren?t going to change anything.?

    But then at the same time he makes such a big shtink about K-Mart selling bullets and acts like it’s such a big victory when they make some concession on that and then he goes an treats Heston like he’s the Spawn of Satan, presumably because he backs gun rights. True, he even brings up to Heston his thing about Canada, but why else pick on Heston? Because he couldn’t come up with an explanation for gun violence either? Because Heston doesn’t advocate a “social-political revolution” to root out America’s evil? The gun control issue is the only thing that makes a whiff of sense, its contradiction with things that Moore says himself (even to Heston) notwithstanding.

    Wise Old Fart, you might be right, though of course since Moore never comes out and says such a thing it’s difficult to pin it on him. Or does he? FWIW, a friend I saw the flick with said the most “profound” thing about it was its portrayal of America’s “culture of fear,” based I suppose on Moore’s claims that Canadians don’t lock their doors and US news broadcasts are more violent. As if that wandering, slapdash rant could demonstrate anything of any intellectual import. Sigh….

  6. Wise Old Fart,

    I told my other half about your assessment of Moore’s message and she said she agreed with the first part, that Moore was saying America is evil (she brought up Moore’s connecting to Columbine the school’s proximity to companies working on nuclear weapons) but pointed out as I did (without my prompting) that Moore never says the second part. So…we’re left to wonder… 🙂

  7. The heart of Columbine is the cartoon in the middle. It explains that America’s history of violence is tied to our racial history.
    Think of all those smiling lynching parties in the south where people brought their kids and picnic baskets. And all the Indians we had to kill to clear the frontier. The Canadians settled their frontier with minimal genoicde (they still stole the best stuff for the white folks). If you spend 200 years enslaving and killing people and raising your kids to think this is the right way to behave, you’re going to have a violent crazy psychopathic culture. But we all know the real reason — it’s all that porn! Ban the porn! But you libs won’t care so long as you get your damn tax cuts. Congrats.

  8. Wise Yong Faht,

    We won’t care about…what?

    As far as your point goes, that’s a good point about how to interpret the message of the movie. As far as that point goes, that we’re condemned to violence by a violent history, maybe so and maybe not. In lieu of a serious study that makes more than one comparison of one factor with one other nation, it’s the most banal of speculation masquerading as something intellectual.

  9. fyodor, et al.

    Moore doesn’t explicitly say so, but it’s implicit in everything he’s said over the last decade or so. (Cheering on the Fedayeen as “The Revolution” is a dead giveaway.)

    Apologies to Nick if he thought Fatso’s main point was too obvious to need mentioning.

    Baby Ruthy,

    Ever hear of irony?

  10. Imagine a society in which the government considers killing defenseless people an effective problem-solving strategy.

    Government in that society being of the people, by the people, for the people, it is no surprise that individual people sometimes resort to killing other people as a way of dealing with their private problems.

    Guns are the most efficient problem-solving tools available today. Unless you are trying to get rid of an inconvenient wife or business associate and feel the need to be subtle about it, you will probably opt for a gun.

    Besides, in today’s hectic world, very few of us have the leisure to indulge in the emotional release that a drawn-out matthew-shepard-style killing can bring. We have children to feed, classes to get to, insurance policies to sell. For most of us the problems that need solving are not of the deep-seated, psychological variety, anyway. One does not undergo chemotherapy for a head cold.

    This does not mean, of course, that guns cannot afford the emotional-problem solver the same kind of relief fence posts and nails can. For sometimes it is not the quality of the killing but the quantity which cures. One cannot effectively treat rabies with only one dose of RabAvert IM?.

    As the old saw has it, “Guns do not kill people. People kill people.” And people just may be more likely to kill people in a society where the government and its sovereign accomplices the people ritually dispose of their human problems.

    Moore failed to take into account the possibility that government (as an expression of the society from which it springs) is the great teacher-by-example. If he had, perhaps he would not have been left “grasping for an explanation for gun violence in America”.

  11. Raymond,

    There’s some people who do crimes so heinous, it doesn’t seem right to have the taxpayers pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep the bastards alive. What else do you think we should do? Granted, innocent people have been killed by the state, but when there’s no ambiguity, why NOT fry the fuckers?

  12. Granted, innocent people have been killed by the state,

    Innocent, the mentally retarded, child offenders…

    but when there’s no ambiguity, why NOT fry the fuckers?

    Because

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men

  13. W.O.F.,
    Pay no attention to me. I was just jerking your bobber.

    What I liked best about what Nick said was “the right to exit.”
    Many libertarians think government is about protecting liberty. I don’t buy it, but what if governments were a little more about protecting those who live under dictators? … protecting their right to exit those countries and enter countries where freedom is greater?
    A few dollars spent that way instead of on “defense” would be infinitely more cost effective, not to mention humane.

  14. And people just may be more likely to kill people in a society where the government and its sovereign accomplices the people ritually dispose of their human problems.

    Yup. And they might not be, too. Perfectly fine hypothesis. If you know of anyone who’s studied it seriously, let me know.

  15. Fyodor, I think a few hours of internet research will disprove Raymond’s hypothesis: the murder rate in US states with the death penalty is lower than the murder rate in US states without the death penalty. After conrolling for urbanization and other obvious predictors of murder rate, you will find essentially zero difference between state’s murder rates based on the death penalty.

    Capital punishment opponents use this fact to show that it does not deter murder; this fact works against them when they make the “capital punishment creates a culture of violence” argument.

  16. I was just jerking your bobber. –Ruthless

    For this relief much thanks. It’s been awhile. How much do I owe you?

    BTW, how much should we depend on this whole deterrence argument when discussing the death penalty? What if public executions and televised torture had proven substantial deterrent effects? What if rounding up random people, without bothering too much about whether they’re actually guilty of anything, and putting them to death led to a dramatic decrease in crime? I’m not sure such utilitarian concerns quite get at the crux of the issue. But what the hell do I know? Ignore my ramblings, I’m just a confused old man from the sticks.

  17. US Murder Rates – with non-death-penalty states in yellow.

    Average of murder rates among death penalty states in 2003: 5.3
    Average of murder rates among non-death penalty states in 2003: 2.9

    Here‘s a bit more on the same topic.

    While not about capital punishment per se, this page is interesting. It contains several lists (which do not, unfortunately, list _all_ countries) dealing with murder rates and incarceration, as well as this statement:

    Rather than reducing violent crimes like murder, the international data shows that countries with the highest incarceration rates also have the highest murder rates–murder rates per 100,000 population increase by 1 for each 40 additional prison inmates per 100,000 population.

    (Note that some of the data are from 1985 to 1995. Since then, several countries on the list have abolished capital punishment.)

    On this page, we find “the big four” of state killers, along with the other countries which carried out executions in 2003. It is a proud, noble group of nations famous for their protection of fundamental human rights, and one to which the US must be proud to belong.

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