Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Resilience: Champagne or Charlemagne?

My dictionary describes an obsession as "a haunting by a fixed idea."  A haunting is a nagging, continuous fear of the unreal.  A fixed idea is one that cannot be altered, by truth or reason or anything else.

Phobia is listed as "fear, horror, or aversion--of a morbid character."  Morbid is "unwholesome, sickly."

Those of use who shoot cannot help being perplexed when we encounter people who are apparently haunted by a fixed and morbid aversion to our guns.  When first we meet such persons we generally respond with explanations, as is only reasonable.  But with time we discover that often we are not dealing with rational minds.  This is not to say that everyone who is opposed to shooting is mentally aberrant, but it is to say that those who latch on to an unreasonable notion and thereafter refuse to listen to any further discussion of it have problems that are more amenable to psychiatry than to argument.

I coined the term hoplophobia over twenty years ago, not out of pretension but in the sincere belief that we should recognize a very peculiar sociological attitude for what it is--a more or less hysterical neurosis rather than a legitimate political position.


We read of "gun grabbers" and "anti-gun nuts" but these slang terms do not face up to the reasons why such people behave the way they do.  They do not adequately suggest that reason, logic, and truth can have no effect upon one who is irrational on the point under discussion.  You cannot say calmly "Come, let us reason together" to a hoplophobe, because that is what he is--a hoplophobe.  He is not just one who holds an opposing view, he is an obsessive neurotic.  You can speak, write, and illustrate the merits of the case until you drop dead, and no matter how good you are his mind will not be changed.  A victim of hydrophobia will die, horribly, rather than accept the water his body desperately needs.  A victim of hoplophobia will die, probably, before he will accept the fallacy of his emotional fixation for what it is.

Jeff Cooper, To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth (Boulder: Paladin Press 1998), 16-17.

I was curious to see Charlie Hebdo's cover after the the Paris terror attacks, and it is disheartening.  I cannot even understand this mindset.  It is as if a Cornish Rock Cross (McMutant) had designed this cover--"the butchers have knives but we have food and water for eight weeks!"  It is utterly myopic.  Joann Sfar chided people not to #prayforParis because they don't need more religion.  Putting "faith" in entertainment when butchers are not only at the gates, but elected politicians are welcoming them inside, is a death sentence.  One article I read about the latest Hebdo cover described it as "resilience"; I hope the French are resilient, but I hope they are not going to revert to modern McMutant ways of living for the moment.

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