Sunday Ruminations, or “Hey Garçon! (Ego) Check, Please!”
As a student of philosophy and political theory, I must say I honestly believe that you are one of this century’s foremost thinkers on those subjects. I hope that your value becomes more widely appreciated. Have you thought about writing a book?
Flattery will get you
everywhere nowhere, Lucian. (Suckup!) ( j/k!)
I’ve thought about it, but I doubt I could sell it.
I’ve thought about it a lot more than that, though, so I’ve decided to expound on the topic a bit today.
I’ve been studying the topic of individual rights, with special emphasis on the right to arms of course, since about 1994. I’ve read dozens of books and easily thousands of essays, articles, trial decisions and dissents, web-posts, and papers in that time. From 1995 through 2000 I played around in the Usenet newsgroups; mostly in the napalm-splashed mosh-pit of talk.politics.guns. In late 2000 I was one of the early posters to the now-defunct Themestream.com, where I wrote a couple dozen essays, and even had a couple reprinted at EnterStageRight.com and KeepandBearArms.com. I’ve been a member of AR15.com since Themestream folded. In 2002 I invested eight months and over 1800 posts at DemocraticUnderground.com (link left cold on purpose). I’ve been running this blog for over two years now, starting a little over a year after DU’s administrator “Skinner” personally kicked me out of his approved-members-only groupthink echo chamber. All told, I’ve written probably well in excess of a million words on the topic (with side trips to education, current affairs, and other sundry matters).
You’d think it would be fairly easy to assemble a book out of all that. Maybe. If some university somewhere offered a Master’s program in the 2nd Amendment, I’m willing to bet I could sit down and whip up a qualifying thesis in fairly short order, but the thing I’ve discovered is that this subject is pretty complex, and consequently pretty dry. On the surface, of course, it’s very straightforward, but decades of propaganda, of urbanization, of changing demographics, have altered the beliefs and perceptions of a large proportion of the population. And therein lies the rub.
Sure, I could write a book, but who would read it? I’ve noted before that TSM is largely preaching to the choir. I view my time spent at DU as some of the most challenging and educational (though I often felt as though I needed to be wearing a pressurized biohazard environment suit). Being challenged to defend your beliefs and to defeat another’s using verifiable fact and accurate citations is very educational, even when it’s an obvious exercise in futility. I haven’t had much of that recently, so when I stumbled upon Alex at Ian Hamet’s Banana Oil! blog I felt like I had the opportunity once again to actually argue a point or six, futility be damned.
Alex said this at one point in our ongoing exchange:
This entire blog is written to demean, make fun of, belittle and generally harass those who don’t agree with you.
Nope. It’s written to illuminate, expose, correct and educate. The demeaning, belittling, and harassing is just an extra added side benefit. Dr. Michael S. Brown wrote one time that the anti-gun crusade has been a decades-long slow-motion hate crime against guns and gun owners, and I for one am just a bit weary of it. Giving some back is occasionally cathartic.
But it wouldn’t make a very good book, I think. Too much of that is too off-putting. And too much dry exposition is as well.
I’m well aware that I am nowhere near as eloquent as Bill Whittle. Nor am I as wickedly humorous (or quick) as James Lileks, or as surgically observant as Theodore Dalrymple, or even as technically precise as Steven Den Beste. But most of all, I’m starkly aware that even if I wrote a book, the people who most need to read it would be those least likely to.
Writing a book on “philosophy and political theory” would be a huge amount of effort with very little return on investment. I’m mostly a technically proficient essayist. I can live with that. Apparently so can the two or three hundred or so of you who read this blog on a regular basis. (And most of you wouldn’t buy the book anyway!)