Thursday, June 4, 2009

You may not have heard of Eric S. Raymond

by Smitty

  But his style is spot-on. Emphasis mine:
  Occasionally people will show up on the channel looking for project-related help. Some of them become semi-regulars on the channel because they’re often working technical problems for which the project is part of the solution. One of these guys hopped on the channel last night while we happened to be in the middle of a firearms digression, listened for a bit, and then started to spout.

  “Why do you guys think you need firearms?” “Criminals will just take them from you and use them against you.” “They’re useless for anything but killing.” “You can’t seriously think they’re a deterrent against overreaching governments, the cops will just come for you you first.” And on and on and on, the same factually and historically ignorant babble civilian firearms owners are wearily used to hearing - as if civilian firearms had not been culturally and politically decisive in hundreds of struggles for freedom, from the American Revolution clear down to short-stopping Communist counter-coups in Russia and the Baltic States as recently as the 1990s.

  I listened to the others on the channel offer polite, reasoned, factually correct counterarguments to this guy, and get nowhere. And suddenly…suddenly, I understood why. It was because the beliefs the ignoramus was spouting were only surface structure; refuting them one-by-one could do no good without directly confronting the substructure, the emotional underpinnings that made ignoramus unable to consider or evaluate counter-evidence.

  The need, here, was to undermine that substructure. And I saw the way to do it. This is what I said:

  “You speak, but I hear only the bleating of a sheep. Your fear gives power to your enemies.”

  Ignoramus typed another sentence of historical ignorance. My reply was “Baa! Baa! Baaaaa!”

  And another. My reply was more sheep noises, more deliberate mockery. And you know what? A few rounds of this actually worked. Ignoramus protested that he wasn’t a sheep. At which point I asked him “Then why are you disarmed?”


  The conversation afterwards was completely different, and ended up with ignoramus speculating about meeting with one of our regulars in his area to do things with firearms.

  I learned a valuable lesson last night. I’m not normally a fan of mockery and attacks on a man’s character over reasoned argument. But when the real issue is in fact the man’s character - specifically, when the issue is where he fits in terms of Dave Grossman’s seminal essay on sheep, wolves and sheepdogs - then that’s the level on which the argument has to be conducted.
US Foreign policy applications are left as an exercise for the reader.


  1. Beautiful. Just... beautiful. I have had similar experiences and they always come by addressing libs not with counter-arguments, but with the logical and emotional inconsistencies in their own.

  2. When you wrote, *CRACK*, I thought the guy had committed suicide. Whew!

  3. @Steve:
    a) That was ESR's writing, and
    b) I think he was referring to the layers of crap built up in the dude's head.

  4. ESR also did an excellent post on memetic warfare sometime last year. Worth looking up and reading in full.

  5. I'm generally a fan of Eric's - aside from his pagan-based criticism of Christianity. He's definitely worth checking out.

  6. Superb, thanks! Character deficiency masked by a pretense of learning: the central debility of the modern world and especially the self-righteous among us.

    Exposing the character deficiency debilitates the pretense. This is indeed a pivotal discovery and lesson learned. A tipping point of profound leverage.

    Besides fear, the primary driver today, there is jealousy, the secondary and often primary driver, and anger, always somewhere in the deformed caldron of a deficient character.

    One notes also that the character deficient vigorously condemn the question of character as ad hominem. Of course that condemnation demonstrates character deficiency.

    Our National Service Academies and certain private schools are respected because they aim to develop good, full, strong character.

    Were Mohammedans and their fellow-travelers bearing national responsibility to conduct jihad on the jealousy, fear and anger in their own hearts, what a garden of delight and peace this world could be.

    And were their intended victims to uproot the fear and anger in their hearts, and cut their egos clean across, crucify them in fact, what beds of flowers, groves of trees and rivers of water could delight the ground and air and creatures of that garden.

    But until Mohammedans and their fellow-travelers turn their jihads on the evil impulses in their own hearts, and until their victims say "No." to these their intending killers, this war continues without issue.

    Meanwhile, whereas the maintenance of adequate self-and group-defense in the context of localized civil disorder is an essential exercise of our human rights as embodied in the Second Amendment, in the context of a generalized set-to, the question is in which direction military and paramilitary forces point their capabilities and to what strength of resolve and depth of skill self-defending individuals and groups attain should those capabilities point at them.

    My personal estimate is that this cell of cadre bearing the national responsibility is working at breakneck speed to deconstruct the nation and debilitate opposition by conjuring vast and colossal anger therein because it knows that its agenda is offensive to humanity and must be accomplished before, they think, anyone can make to turn on them.

    More and more they appear to me as lying, studdy morons, defectives, dangerous defectives but defectives. And that is the meaning of "character deficiency."