This "Skeptic's Collection" column was first published in October of 2014. But in light of the recent mass shootings in, e.g., Las Vegas, NV, Sutherland Springs, TX, and Parkland, FL, it seems appropriate to reprint it now, especially given that the bravery, eloquence, and conscience of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the latter city seem to have eventuated -- at least so we may hope -- a kind of moral conversion of the public debate on gun control. This column may well also be published as an essay in the Be-Zine, the other e-periodical for which I write. That is quite all right. To quote Mao Zedong: "Let a hundred flowers bloom". I want to add my modest impetus to the newly "woke" consciousness regarding the Second Amendment.
A well-regulated militia,
I am learning – the hard way – to get knee-jerkingly suspicious every time someone mentions the phrase “moral equivalency” – and certainly when anyone attempts to employ moral equivalency in arguments. I suppose there are occasions when that term, and that rhetorical tactic, are justified, but I have not encountered any examples lately, least of all examples in real life. In fact, I would even make bold to say that at least 90% of the time – and I mean for that number to be interpreted quite literally – entities and acts that are said to be “morally equivalent” are anything but. Most of the time “morally equivalency” could be more accurately rephrased as “moral imbecility”. Two examples leap to mine immediately.
President Trump – two words that make about as much sense when us
In last week’s “Skeptic’s Collection" column, I started out discussing the multiple reasons that monotheistic religion is fundamentally inconsistent with the most basic tenets of any free society founded on and governed by principles derived from the European Enlightenment. I ended up, in the last couple paragraphs – and against my initial intent – discussing Donald Trump and the similarities between Trump and any monotheistic god. As I said at the time and said just now, that was not my original intent, which in the beginning was to just discuss the conflict between monotheistic religion and liberal (in the classical Enlightenment sense) societies. But, upon reflection, I discovered that this is an area where the tail really should wag the dog: the dog idea of conflict between mono