Monday, January 17, 2011

Taking my ball and going home

I think I'm pretty much done arguing with Joan Peterson.

Joan wrote a post about Martin Luther King.  I made this comment, preserved here:
One of the things that is routinely ignored in the civil rights struggle is the role of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, and other armed defenders.
Nonviolence works only under ideal conditions--primarily against a civilized, mostly nonviolent opponent. It worked against the governments of the US, and the colonial government of India, but would be useless against a more repressive regime or against violent enemies like the KKK.
The notion that defense will only escalate the violence is not supported by the facts. The KKK was fond of drive-by shootings--until they started taking return fire. At that point, the KKK decided that maybe drive-by shootings weren't a good idea.
It is immoral to use violence to achieve political goals. However, it is also immoral to stand by and allow innocents to be harmed when you have the means to effectively resist--I would much rather see the instigator of a drive by killed than their intended victim injured.
It is also immoral to take the means to resist away from decent people.
Her response:

Whoa there, Sevesteen. Are you sure you want these comments committed to writing? They seem pretty anti-government and leading to what?? " The notion that defense will only escalate the violence is not supported by the facts. The KKK was fond of drive-by shootings--until they started taking return fire. At that point, the KKK decided that maybe drive-by shootings weren't a good idea. " I don't think that is why the KKK stopped shooting people. Where is your evidence for such a statement? I wouldn't bring the KKK into a discussion about Martin Luther King- totally inappropriate and possibly incendiary. Please do not reply. You simply cannot justify what you said to having guns for self defense. Be careful what you are saying.
...and my response to that
Maybe I was not as clear as I should have been, but even re-reading my comment I think you've had to try hard to come up with an anti-governemnt interpretation.  I am not advocating violence against the government,  or even instigating violence against a group as awful as the KKK.  It would be immoral to go hunt down the KKK, to instigate violence against them.
However it is NOT immoral to shoot back at someone in a KKK costume who is shooting at you, your family or your neighbors.  There is a vast difference between immoral terrorist violence as practiced by the KKK, and proper, moral defensive violence.  
If I am unwelcome here, I will abide by that, but to misconstrue my comment and then to say I'm not welcome to clarify?  Of course it is up to you whether you allow this post. 
Unless you specifically say that you want me to continue, this will be the last comment I post on your blog.  I am saying this to keep me honest, and I will be posting a copy of this on my blog, whether or not you approve this post.
I don't mean for this to be 'she hurt my feelings, so I'm going home'.  Rather, if I'm both unwelcome and she's unable to comprehend, there's little point in continuing to waste time posting there--and unless I publicly say 'I won't be posting', I'll be too tempted.


  1. Interestingly, she let the comment through, and then completely changed the tune of her "objection", moving it from your mention of the KKK, to your mention of "oppressive regimes" (though she did mention the "anti-government" nonsense in the first comment).

    From that alone, I would be willing to wager that she knew, full well, your original comment was not meant to be incendiary on MLK day, and now that she had been called on it, she had to move the goalposts.

    However, even that new setting of her goalposts are a blatant distortion of what you said, and a mind-numbing denial of history... even the history of the American government. It would be a lie to say that our government has never been oppressive (Trail of Tears, Japanese internment during WW2, etc.), and it would be sheer foolishness to believe that our government will never be oppressive again. Unfortunately, "sheer foolishness" describes Joan to a T...

  2. She had to pretend that you were an anti-government loony. Honestly, faced with a local and state government that thought allowing the KKK to solve their "Negro problem," what decent person wouldn't be anti-government?

    She worships at the altar of government power. For you to question her gods was blasphemy, and she reacted as only a true believer can to that blasphemy. To her the government is god and god is government. She is rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, her money, her life, her honor, and her self-respect. Who are you to question her religion? To her, Jesus is just a government bureaucrat, dispensing fishes and loaves and free health care.

    Besides, had a whole bunch of blacks in Alabama been shot down by the KKK, that'd just be more blood to dance in while trying to ban firearms. Every dead body, innocent or guilty, is another notch in the club they use to beat us up. How dare MLK and his friends use tools of the devil to advance the work of God? Why, to her, that makes them no better than the racists who were trying to murder them!

    To be honest, it isn't surprising that she reacted so poorly to your argument. You are attacking her whole world view in multiple ways all at once. She has only two choices, change her mind, or attack you. We all know that she's not going to change her mind.

  3. I'm astounded by someone who has an objection to shooting BACK at a Klansman who is shooting at you, or who thinks that the Klan didn't consider the risk of being shot when they shot at black homes and churches.

  4. I thought that your posts were entirely reasonable -- I think what drew her attentions was this line - "...would be useless against a more repressive regime..."

    She believes that anyone who doesn't agree with her must be a violent nutcase and she looks for that in posts that disagree with her.

  5. Personally, I think you'd have better luck arguing with a stump anyway.

  6. To a large extent, I wasn't expecting to change *her* mind--I was hoping she had readers who had not already made up their minds on the subject.

  7. "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."

    --Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. I am all for nonviolence in general, and nonviolent protest especially.

    ...but against certain foes, a refusal to defend yourself and your community merely means that their violence will continue unchecked. The KKK was evil, and that sort of evil violence should be resisted, even if it requires violence in return. Letting the KKK shoot up black houses and churches is itself evil.

  9. Look up Denmark and the Nazis.