Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Irrationality of the Megan McArdles

My God -- now we are blaming people for not rushing mass murderers???

What the hell is this world coming to?

The Newtown Connecticut shooting has shook up the nation, rightfully so. But perhaps nothing that has appeared has a higher product of stupidity-times-reputation than Megan McArdle:
"I'd also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once." 
This is clear proof that even seemingly smart people can be total morons, and it is especially good proof that the libertarian philosophy ultimately comes up against hard reality where it no longer has anything useful to say, which is exactly why it hasn't made any headway in the real arena of governance.

This is just completely stupid. It reminds us of John Derbyshire's idiocy after the Virginia Tech shooting:
"Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn’t anyone rush the guy? It’s not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness’ sake–one of them reportedly a .22.  At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him. Handguns aren’t very accurate, even at close range. I shoot mine all the time at the range, and I still can’t hit squat. I doubt this guy was any better than I am. And even if hit, a .22 needs to find something important to do real damage–your chances aren’t bad.  Yes, yes, I know it’s easy to say these things: but didn’t the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything?"
Derbyshire, of course, has never faced the slightest bit of harm. Neither did McArdle. Neither of them has any conception at all of what it means to rush a shooter who is spraying bullets, trying to kill everyone in sight.

The real question that is pressing down on America is: why are some people acting completely irratrionally? Why do some people think the government is out to get them, that the economy is going to collapse and we will go Red Dawn, that the gumint is going to lock us all up in concentration camps.

If even someone as purportedly smart as Megan McArdle is thinking so irrationally, what has gone wrong here? We really need to figure this out.


John Callender said...

Did you actually read her whole post? The rush-the-bad-guys line, in context, is not craziness. She's just being very complete in listing every possible response she can think of. A lot of the people I've seen mocking that part of her piece clearly either 1) didn't read the whole thing, or 2) are being intentionally dishonest about what she actually wrote.

David Appell said...

No -- I read her excerpt. I was very clear.... Why do I need to hear more?

David Appell said...

Bullshit. "Rushing the shooter" is not a response -- it is an absurdity.

Wise up. Be responsible for your world.

John Callender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Callender said...

You don't _need_ to hear more. But if you want to comment intelligently on what she actually wrote, and be worthy of your audience's attention, you should read it before presuming to interpret it. As someone who _did_ read it, I assert that the passage you are quoting does not mean what you think it does, due to the enclosing (mostly preceding) context. Your might cling to your original take even after reading the whole thing (you'd be highly motivated to do so, given that you've already planted a stake in the ground). But at least that would constitute an interesting, and potentially illuminating, response to her actual argument. As it stands, your statements about McArdle's "irrationality" and "stupidity", and of people like her being "total morons" and "completely stupid", is just a lot of uninformed ad hominem.

It's ironic. By taking a small part of her piece out of context and ignoring her larger argument, apparently so you can make an emotionally satisfying (but false to fact) pronouncement about what you (mistakenly) believe she was saying, you're doing exactly what her piece actually does talk about: Letting your own emotional needs, rather than logic and evidence, dictate your response to the situation.

Dano said...

Creepy little gun fetishizers who want to turn our country into a creepy militarized state to satisfy their creepy cowboy fantasies are creepy.