Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Wiser, or just older?

In his post Left Behind, Callimachus of Done with Mirrors waxes eloquent on his political views and how he no longer identifies himself with 'the left.'

His piece is well written and he touches on several good topics, among them one of my favorite themes, that people aren't so bad if you get to know them:

I spent much of the '80s and '90s in active, public disputation with "the right." When I thought of "them" I pictured zealous, pious, ignorant, self-assured demagogues of crusading ideologies, inflexible mean men clad in expensive suits and cheap ethics.Yet, as a small-town newspaper editor, the people I dealt with on the "right," with three or four odious exceptions, were fine and decent.

On the whole, my old adversaries never forgot that their opponents were human beings. And thus they never stopped being human themselves. I wish I could say the same of the humanists around me today.

On gun control:

I came of age associating firearms with Christian enthusiasm, flag-waving patriotism, fondness for the military, and other irrational fixations of the right-wing loonies in this country.

I was of the "why would you need an AK-47 to hunt a deer" school of gun control.

My commitment to freedom of speech was solid; anything this side of "shouting fire in a crowded theater," I endorsed. So, I set myself the task of devising an argument against the Second Amendment that wouldn't also involve, and constrict, the First.I couldn't do it, of course. They are of a piece. Would you say that the framers of the Bill of Rights never imagined the destructive power of modern weaponry? Then neither did they imagine the reach and scope of the modern media -- visual as well as printed, and all the more powerful for its pretense of unbias.

You don't need an AK-47 to shoot a white-tail deer, but neither do you need to dunk a crucifix in a piss-pot to make art. Guns kill people -- when people use them for that purpose. So do words. Or were we never serious about that bit about the pen being mightier than the sword?

He also speaks of introspection, 9/11, gay marriage, Kurds, and the Cold War.