Thursday, April 19, 2007

A culture of self-defense vs. a culture of voodoo guns

Today is Patriot's Day. Two great essays deserve linking:

From Michelle Malkin: "Missing At Virginia Tech: A Culture of Self-Defense". No doubt she will be savagely attacked for this, but she's spot-on.

From The Volokh Conspiracy: "Zero Tolerance Comes To Campus". The ninnies at Yale have banned realistic loking weapons in their theatrical productions. No, it's not a parody. One of the commenters, "Fub", was particularly perceptive:

I think something more underlies these silly rituals. What makes these ritual bannings of depictions or imitations of real weapons politically effective (among those for whom they are effective) is a very primitive human thought process: belief in sympathetic magic.

The actual object, the weapon, is imbued with magical power. Its very presence magically causes harm. It causes people to behave in evil ways. The rationale commonly offered is that the mere presence of a weapon makes people more prone to violence.

Sympathetic magic is the belief that what one does with an imitation of the thing with magical power will affect the actual thing. For example, in a magical religious context we see the image of a deity addressed, or given gifts or sacrifices. The magical deity is affected through the treatment of its image, and so performs its magic for the one who gives the image a gift.

In the imitation weapon banning context we have first the belief that the object, the actual weapon, is magic and causes those in its presence to behave in an evil manner. The sympathetic magical belief is that by banning the image or the imitation weapon, the magical power of real weapons to cause people to be violent will be lessened, or the real weapons will stay away from the presence of the faithful.

A more elaborate way of saying "liberalism is a mental disorder"?

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