Are You Honest with Yourself?
On minority rights
Political progressives share a concern for minority rights. It is not legitimate, in the progressive view, for a majority to impose its cultural assumptions on a minority. We expect that minorities should be free to enjoy and express their own culture, and we value learning about other cultures. Or so we like to think.
What is culture? We take it for granted that an Indian fishing for salmon in BC or spearing walleye in Ontario is not only gathering food, but expressing his culture. It is unquestioned, in the progressive view, that he is not only fishing, but expressing fundamental ideas about his relationship to the river, to the fish, and to the Earth. Fishing is part of his culture.
Take, then, a man whose Anglo-Irish family came to Canada around 1800, who parks his nice, shiny SUV and walks down to the river in $400 Gore-Tex waders and $200 felt-soled wading boots. He fishes using a $1000 graphite fly rod and a $60 plastic-coated line for fish that, before the late nineteenth century, were not even found in these waters. And he's not even fishing for food. He's going to let them all go, every last one. He's just doing it just for fun.
He's probably a fucking banker, too.
Is sport fishing an expression of his "culture?"
Answer carefully. Bear in mind that the earliest known English language work on fishing, The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle (late 14th, early 15th century) deals not only with how to fish, but with the spiritual side of fishing:
Salomon in hys paraboles seith that a glad spirit maket a flowryng age -- That ys to sey, a feyr age & a longe. And sith hyt ys so, j aske this questyon, "Wyche bynne the menys & cause to reduse a man to a mery spryte?" Truly, vn-to my sympul discrescon, it semyth me, good & honest dysportes and games in wyche a mans hert joythe with-owt any repentans.
In other words, sport is good for your heart and soul, because it is good clean fun. Those are the opening sentences of the Treatise. The whole point of the thing is that fishing is good for your soul, not that fish taste good when you fry them with butter and onions. The Treatise is not only the first English book on fishing; it's also the first English book on fishing for sport.
That same thread is taken up by Izaak Walton in The Compleat Angler (1653). The Compleat Angler is not only a handy instruction book for the 17th century fisherman, but an argument for fishing as a form of sport (in its original sense of "recreation") and as a spiritual refuge. Some read it, in fact, as a religious allegory. It's often said that the three most-reprinted books in English are The Holy Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and The Compleat Angler.
Now, let's return to the fly-fisherman I earlier encouraged you to sneer at. Did you notice that he is fishing with a hand-tied fly, a fly that reflects his mastery of the centuries-old craft of fly-tying? Did you see that he's fishing in early December, by a perversely unproductive method? Were you aware that he probably won't even see a fish today, much less catch one? And did you, puzzled, ask him why he was there?
Of course you didn't, because I'm a manipulative bastard, and I didn't tell you those things.
But now that you know that what he's doing involves a centuries-old literature, a complex craft, and an ineffable spiritual component that puts our banker out on the river when he has almost no chance of catching anything but a bad cold, does your view of his "culture" change?
It should, for he's expressing fundamental ideas about his relationship to the river, the fish, and the Earth, not to mention the value of tradition, and the virtue of hard work and perseverance. And his, like almost all "cultures," is a minority culture. He represents, at best, about 10 percent of Canadians.
This brings me, dear reader, neatly to a point on which I now intend to skewer you: amidst the reactions to Paul Martin's proposed handgun ban, there are obviously a wide range of opinions, and all of them are honest, save one.
That's the idea that there is no reason to own a gun in Canada.
This idea is an assumption that the rights -- to free expression, for almost everything we do expresses something -- of a small minority of Canadians are unimportant. Not only that, it dismisses the ideas and the culture of those Canadians out of hand, with no effort to understand them. (And please, if you say this is not a cultural question, I hope you've never let the words "gun culture" pass your lips.) Canadians who own guns clearly have their reasons. Do you understand them?
Chances are, the people who say this have based their ideas of gun owners upon stereotypes, just as I encouraged you to do with my fly-fishing banker.
We have a word for people who think that way. We call them bigots.
Argue, if you will, that a handgun ban will be an effective public safety measure. But don't argue that the rights of gun owners can be dismissed by a single sentence: "There's no reason to own a gun in this country."
P.S. to forestall some obvious comments: I do not own, and have never owned, any firearms. And although Canadian gun owners do not have the right to keep and bear arms, they do have a broad right to continue to live their lives freely within the law, and to do as they please, which is inherent in the very notion of a "free" society.
Soooooooooooooooooo did he get you? If yes, you deserved it and need to go to critical thinking school and come back when you finish and tell us all about it.
The Most important lesson to be learned from the above is that a vast majority of Canadians have been hoodwinked by the left wing fanatics who have convinced the common folk that they don't know how to think for themselves and the Libranos know what's best for you. Down in the States the fight to maintain the right to keep and bear arms is constantly under attack. The Left wants to not only take our arms away but everything else also. The fight to remain free is one of eternal vigilance. We must fight tooth and nail to keep the bureaucrats off our backs.
I nods to Babbling Brooks.