“What A Ridiculous Argument”

I rarely use the word “stupid” to characterize people. The word should be used sparingly, where appropriate and mostly to express for effect how absurd or obviously foolish someone is being. It’s a word usually directed at someone’s idea or argument, when that idea or argument is completely ridiculous.

Like saying the world is flat or that the Earth is merely a few thousand years old. At this point in our history, after all we have learned, we don’t need to waste time taking people seriously who hold such ideas.  As I have said often, these ideas and the people who argue for them need to be ridiculed, not treated as if they are legitimate.

In that context, I saw something on CNN last night that made me better appreciate one of its hosts, Piers Morgan. I’m not a fan, to say the least, but he did something last night that tells me that the gun lobby in this country can be overcome, partly by ridiculing its ridiculous calls for more guns in the culture.

Since the mass slaughter of women and children at Sandy Hook, many of the reactionary laissez-faire gun advocates have been in hiding. But some have had the nerve to show up and defend the indefensible, that we need more guns in our lives. One of those was Larry Pratt, the head of Gun Owners of America.

On Piers Morgan’s show Tuesday night, Pratt offered us that peculiar we-need-more-guns argument, one that seems to be a mainstream argument among gun zealots. It goes like this: if only people in that elementary school were armed, things would have turned out much  better. I am going to give Pratt the benefit of the doubt that he’s not talking about arming the children, even though yesterday a sixth grader in Utah brought a gun and ammo to school to, he said, protect himself.

And since most of us, at least right now, believe kids shouldn’t be hauling guns in their backpacks, Pratt was talking about the adults at Sandy Hook. Okay. The adults at Sandy Hook are mostly teachers. Are we now going to require teachers, in addition to their other responsibilities, to strap on pistols in the morning, as they prepare for a day at school? At least a couple of Republican governors, so far, have suggested that might be okay with them.

Now, most people fully embracing the 21st century know that idea is preposterous and should be the object of much derision. And last night, during Morgan’s interview with Larry Pratt, it was:

PRATT: …America is not the Wild West that you are depicting. We only have the problems in our cities, and unhappily, in our schools where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.

I honestly don’t understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It’s incomprehensible.

MORGAN: You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?

PRATT: It seems to me that you’re morally obtuse. You seem to prefer being a victim to being able to prevail over the criminal element. And I don’t know why you want to be the criminal’s friend.

MORGAN: What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. You don’t — you don’t actually give —

PRATT: You have no —

MORGAN: You don’t give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America? You don’t actually care…

I submit to you that it is time that gun zealots like Larry Pratt be subjected to such ridicule, just like those who believe the Earth is only a few thousand years old because an ancient book tells them it is.

And speaking of such people, by now we have all heard former governor and current Fox man Mike Huckabee say this:

We’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place for carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, responsibility, accountability?

In a better world, Huckabee, who is suggesting here that secularization is responsible for the slaughter at Sandy Hook, would be laughed off the public stage. He would be the butt of a thousand jokes. Any appearance on television would invoke a Piers Morgan response:

You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?  What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever.

Instead, Huckabee enjoys much respect for his Iron Age religious views, as do most of the extremists who argue and lobby for fewer restrictions on guns, all in accordance with an 18th-century frontier philosophy of self-defense, a philosophy born in a time when there were no weapons that could slaughter women and children in a few insanely violent minutes.

And perhaps that tells us more than anything else what is wrong with our country. And perhaps, just perhaps, Piers Morgan’s handling of Larry Pratt on Tuesday night might be a signal that we will no longer treat with undue respect such nonsense.

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5 Comments

  1. Here’s an excellent rebuttal to the dumb butt, Huckabee, from Jake Matthews. Wish I’d written it: “{An Open Letter} Dear Mike Huckabee’s God —-

    Dear Mike Huckabee’s God

    Recently, Mike Huckabee said the reason a madman burst into an elementary school and killed dozens of people, including tiny defenseless children, is because you let it happen. He said you were mad at us because we don’t pray enough in school. He basically said you got mad because we started letting children from Jewish families and Muslim families and non-religious families go to our schools, and we told the adults who work in our schools not to force those children to pray to you. Apparently, you have a lot in common with my high school girlfriend. She was jealous to the point of crazy.

    First of all, let me say that I think Mike Huckabee is wrong about you. I personally think you are proud of us for letting children of all and no religions mingle together and think their own thoughts. I don’t think you are one of those insecure gods who needs mortals to make laws ensuring that everyone worship you.

    Mike Huckabee apparently thinks you’re too weak to win people’s hearts on your own. He thinks you need the American government’s help to win you converts. In his ideal America, freedom of conscience is traded for the freedom of teachers to force feed students their notion of you.

    He also apparently thinks that a tragedy of these proportions–and this is the worst thing that has happened down here in a long time–can be reduced to something as simplistic and stupid as you being pissy.

    Dear Mike Huckabee’s God, a mentally ill individual armed with three weapons that a teacher described as “the kind that fire over and over and over”–automatic weapons, in technical parlance–burst into a building full of smiling teachers and happy students just before Christmas and this fat son of a bitch wants to conclude that it happened because we don’t pray well enough and we don’t say the right magic God-pleasing words in our public places. He says we aren’t a religious enough nation for you to take care of our babies. Is that right, God? Is that the kind of God you are?

    I have a real problem with Mike Huckabee. If he’s right in what he says, then I don’t think you’re a god at all. I think you’re a demon.

    But he isn’t right. He’s a Pharisee, a rule-maker for others who is crossing the street to avoid getting his hands dirty making real decisions about real changes that will help real hurting people. He’s a white-washed tomb, a false prophet who doesn’t peddle Jesus but rather a certain cultural orthodoxy.

    Dear Mike Huckabee’s God, I think your servant is stupid, for lack of a gentler term. I think he lacks a nuanced view of this nuanced world you’ve created. I also think he needs to preach more sermons about gluttony, instead of focusing so much on “those other people’s” sins.

    Mike Huckabee’s God, I think you are pleased when we humans make wise decisions. It isn’t wise for Mike Huckabee to pretend that mental health services in our nation are fine and it’s our praying that’s out-of-whack. It isn’t wise for Mike Huckabee to pretend that the gun-runner’s advocacy group, the NRA, insisting that legal and easy-to-obtain machine guns in the hands of any and all people without so much as a registration isn’t the reason why the US has 10,000 gun deaths a year while other industrialized nations have under 1000.

    Mike Huckabee and his allies would apparently have us believe that the occasional classroom full of shot children is an appropriate price to pay for our right to keep and bear fully-automatic people-killers, and that if we want the killing to stop we just need to be more like him, a corpulent master-prayer who happens to know all the holy answers and who is probably in line for a plumb spot when we finally wise up and start the American theocracy he lusts after.

    Dear Mike Huckabee’s God, please forgive me for being judgmental, but I think Mike Huckabee is a charlatan.

    He says we kicked God out of school. Last time I checked, China kicked you out of their schools too, didn’t they? And yet the worst thing you allowed there recently was a man with a knife injuring 22 students. I wish this guy in Connecticut had been armed with a knife. Maybe you want us to be more like China? I guess we need to ask Mike if that’s what you’re thinking.

    Mike Huckabee apparently believes guns don’t kill people. God does.

    I don’t think you do. I think people with their heads where the sun don’t shine–people like Mike Huckabee and the NRA and the stingy bastards who won’t spend a tax dollar on mental health services for struggling Americans–are the real dangers. I think they blame you to take the heat off of them.

    If I’m wrong and Mike Huckabee is right, Mike Huckabee’s God, then I have to let you know that you and I are done. I’ll find a nicer God.

    And if I’m right and the Huckster is wrong, then I ask that you pull the scales from Mike Huckabee’s eyes so he can stop being so prideful and actively harmful to this nation. His pretense that he knows your heart is nothing but pathetic human arrogance. His pretense that he knows your mind says more about his own lack of humility than your lack of compassion. Please forgive him for slandering you and pretending he speaks for you to the rest of us.

    If he does speak for you, you either need a new ad man, or we need a new God.

    Amen.”

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  2. Gee, General, you’re being pretty mean to the Huckster here. After all, he’s only following his God manual. On the other hand, it is beginning to look like maybe he got mired down in Leviticus lately. 🙄

    P.S. – did you ever read that stuff? For some strange reason I hadn’t until the other day. Unbelievable! (pun intended).

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  3. jdhight

     /  December 19, 2012

    It is crazy, isn’t it. The religious hypocrites select the passages that relate to their cause and forget the rest. As pathetic as it is, many of the “flock” follow their clueless leaders.

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  4. “I rarely use the word “stupid” to characterize people. The word should be used sparingly, where appropriate and mostly to express for effect how absurd or obviously foolish someone is being.”

    No one has to call another person stupid when it’s much easier and more socially correct to attribute the stupid statement to their behaviors. It’s really no different than calling someone a schizophrenic vs identifying the as a person with schizophrenia.

    Mike Huckabee is person with a lot of stupid beliefs or who says a lot of stupid things. In short, Mike Huckabee is an ignorant person who beliefs and says stupid things. I was thinking of having a trophy made labeled the Dan Quayle award. Mike Huckabee could be a future recipient if he could just dumb Sarah Palin out of the way.

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  5. Yes, Jim –
    There’s a lot of crazy shit in the OT (and a bit in NT, too) that literalist demagogues like Huckabee — well — they can’t really address it without sounding like idiots. Woops! Too late.

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