Ethics Observations On A Reductio Ad Absurdum In The Ongoing Gun Control Train Wreck

Nursery schoolers expressing their contempt for the NRA. Or they would, if they could spell it…

This story would be a KABOOM, except for some reason my head didn’t explode, perhaps because at some level I expected something like this, as I know that anti-gun zealots are without shame or common sense.

From NBC:

Students across the nation walked out of school Wednesday in honor of the victims of the Parkland shooting last month, including a group of New London kindergarteners….While people involved in the walkout involving a group of 5-year-olds at Harbor Elementary School said the demonstration was about school safety, student safety and parent permission have been called into question. 

…New London Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephen Tracy said he didn’t have a problem with the safety message, but he and the principal didn’t know about the march ahead of time and there was no written permission from parents. “When you’re going to do something like that, in connection with something that, let’s face it, is controversial, you need to seek the approval of the principal and the parents before you involve 5-year-olds in something like that,” Tracy said.

…Harbor Elementary’s crossing guard Joyce Powers said she saw the children escorted in two lines by teachers who were carrying signs that read “enough.” “I thought it was pushing it with that age group,” Powers said. “I don’t think they understood what was actually happening.”

Tracy said he’s talked to the two teachers involved but would not say if any disciplinary measures were taken.


  • Can we say THIS is an example of children being used as props in the anti-gun left’s attempt to exploit the Parkland shooting to the maximum extent?

I think we can.

  • There is no question that the 5-year-olds were less safe having left the classroom  than they were in it.

The teachers didn’t care, apparently.

  • Children were made part of a political demonstration without the permission of their parents. It should not matter whether the parents agreed or did not agree with the ant-gun rights message.

Never mind:  it is unethical to use children as political props whether the parents approve or not.

  • The teachers and parents quoted elsewhere in the news story used the deceptive euphemism “safety drill” to describe the demo9nstration. That is a lie. What did that “Enough” sign mean—enough safety? And what a coincidence that a “safety drill” just happened to be held when older students were skipping class to protest the existence of guns and the Second Amendment!

Here’s what this was: an unconscionable use of toddlers to stand for political issues they can’t possibly understand.

  • One nice thing about zealots who believe that the ends justify the means is that they almost always expose their true, ethics-free character by not knowing where the ethics lines get too thick to cross without undermining a cause.

This was an example of that phenomenon.

  • The high school protesters funded by Democratic anti-gun activists and the kindergarten protest organized by teacher ideologues who care more about their political agenda than their young charges differ only in age and degree of ignorance. Both groups are being exploited and indoctrinated, and neither group should be treated as respectable participants in the policy debate.


Pointer: Jazz Shaw

37 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On A Reductio Ad Absurdum In The Ongoing Gun Control Train Wreck

  1. I don’t see this as a difference of degree at all. High school middle school students are old enough to make an informed choice on whether to participate in something like these walkouts. Kindergarteners are not.

    • Here is the parallel: Both students are being exploited. Neither group has sufficient experience, breadth, depth, education, self-awareness or experience to have useful or valid positions on the topic. The kindergartners are less damaging to public discourse, because they can’t fake it. David Hogg, et al., can, at least to those who want to be fooled, or to fool others.

      Slogans like “Your right to own gun doesn’t trump my right to live” and “If it only saves one life” are kindergarten-level reasoning and argument, if not rhetoric. The 5-years old would just say, “Guns are bad.” There’s no substantive difference, however.

      • But those slogans were invented by adults, not high schoolers. So should we argue that there’s no real difference between adult protesters and kindergarteners?

        I do not agree that teenagers can’t have useful or valid positions on political topics. Their level of understanding is limited, not non-existent. They’re still learning. I may not necessarily find their rhetoric convincing, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring their passion or their desire to get involved. Yes, some adults are exploiting them for their own ends, but the response to that should be to keep the kids’ arguments in perspective, knowing that they’re still kids, and offering resources for them to become more informed. Not insisting they shut up.

        • But Chris, national debates over policy are not the forum for, as you correctly characterize it, limited and nascent opinions. That’s what classroom debates are for. Should we have 12-year-old op-ed writers as well? MSNBC shows hosted by 14 year olds? Aren’t Joy Reid, Hannity and Don Lemon bad enough? The more incompetent and emotion based opinions that are part of a national debate, the less chance we have at arriving at a rational and practical solution.

          Good point about those slogans being devised by adults. Sigh.

          • I think the media has given the opinions of these kids far too much coverage.

            I think the walkouts are a healthy way for students to begin exploring their involvement in politics.

            I don’t think either their media appearances nor the walkouts should control the debate over gun control.

        • I have tried different formula in an attempt to understanding what we see unfolding in the media-world. But if we look more deeper into the present and what is going on and try to analyze it and categorize it, , I think we might be able to approach some basic statements.

          The reason why the High School Kids Anti-Gun thing is so strange and weird is because it is not popular in a real sense. It appears to have been set in motion at the extreme other pole. Like a fake ‘grass-roots’ movement. The State through its media agents, and for various different reasons, has deviously taken up this ‘struggle’ and pretends that it is ‘popular’.

          But I have a feeling that it is best understood as mirroring a Maoist praxis. This sound sensationalist but it really is not.

          The State and with help from private corporate interests and wealthy persons, is establishing what looks like a Maoist-style propaganda campaign which proceeds, like a performance mimicking social fire. But on closer examination it was set in motion by the State and its affiliates.

          These kids are fashioned into ‘Cultural Heroes’ and quickly given social platforms and a standing which they did not earn. It is sort of like Maoist activism in a MTV age. This is the 2018 equivalent of the Maosit ‘mass line’ which places in their mouth the ideological objectives in an effort to enforce policy objectives. But behind this mass-line manifestation there are other philosophical, tactical, leadership and organizational objectives. This fits into a larger pattern of social engineering in which all the primary structures that define society are brought into question. And new identifications are insisted upon. This is like revolutionary praxis. It is engineered behind-the-scenes but is made to seem natural and spontaneous.

          One of the inborn duties of a Communist lies in the incessant effort to carry out propaganda among the people so as to educate them, to wage relentless war against all reactionary and mistaken conceptions and principles, and to promote as well as to raise the political consciousness of the masses’

          These techniques and this ‘praxis’, in my view, are becomming more transparent.

          • “These kids are fashioned into ‘Cultural Heroes’ and quickly given social platforms and a standing which they did not earn.”

            So how does one define how, or when, someone has earned a standing on a social platform? And who gets to determine when that has occurred?

            • First you would have to accept that the social platform and standing they got (a million followers on Twitter and such) was not ‘earned’. It was given more or less. If you did not accept that, then I guess you’d say I have no argument.

              As an example of someone who ‘earned’ her spreading fame, I would propose Lauren Southern. She slowly worked for her following by creating interesting YouTube videos. And over a few years built up an organic following.

              With he recent even in which she was interrogated by British officials under a terrorism act, and then turned away from entering Britain, and this news item even getting TV time on the Tucker Carlson show, she will now get a tremendous boost and, in my opinion, ‘earned’ it.

              But if one has really done nothing at all and was selected, more or less, by the Maoist MSM and elevated to cultural standing, that does not constitute earning one’s reputation.

              • We are increasingly learning just how the progressive social media platforms have a thumb on the scale, promoting some messages, suppressing others.

                Facebook has been systematically suppressing conventional conservative views, in one example. A local talk show host, Joe Pags, has tracked his numbers for years. Those numbers have suddenly gone sideways, with gains from one day missing the next in ways that are suspicious. This phenomenon has been commented upon across the conservative blogosphere in recent months.

                We have also found that one can ‘rent’ followers from purveyors of fake accounts.

                Take the two together and there is little doubt the ‘fame’ is being bestowed upon these young skulls full of mush, as Rush would say.

      • I think there is a big difference between teenagers and 5 year olds in this regard. Some of the teenagers have no problem with educating themselves, knowing what the situation is, and coming up with valid reasoning of how they see a set of situations. Not all of them, but then look how many adults have the same knee-jerk reactions on both sides of many issues.

        I also think there is a difference in exploitation. The teenage students understand what they’re doing. Others may be exploiting the situation for their own profits of course, but for the students themselves this is how they feel about the situation. They should be able to protest if they feel the situation is warranted in their view. So long as they’re not rioting, or being destructive.

        The little kids, is another story. That is a shameless exploitation of young children to push an agenda that the kids themselves have no understanding to whatsoever.

  2. My larger worry is whether what we have seen, regardless of age of student, is indicative of how subjects and topics are handled in the realm of course content and classroom discussion.

    In short, are these protests a public sign of not-so-public daily indoctrination? Even more worrying, does it begin at 5 years old?

    While some may be dismissive of the breadth and depth of undemocratic, anti-Constitutional, subversion via Alinskyite communism, this the kind of evidence which seems to make my point.

    • adimagejim wrote, “In short, are these protests a public sign of not-so-public daily indoctrination? Even more worrying, does it begin at 5 years old?”

      “If you can indoctrinate them when they’re children, you will have them forever!” Adolf Hitler

      Related: Something interesting I found this morning, the website for The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt no longer works. Hmmmm….

        • Alizia Tyler wrote on March 15, 2018 at 1:34 pmMarch 15, 2018 at 1:34 pm, “When I use a winkie it means ‘though I have contrary ideas and may express them directly, I mean no personal offense…”

          Do you see anything inconsistent with your personal guidelines for using a 😉 and this particular use of a 😉 ?

          If I read your personal guidelines for using a 😉 correctly then I can take this new comment (“Too many dummies trying to access it crashed the site I was told. 😉 “) as meaning that you really do think that I’m a dummy but I’m not supposed to take offense at you having or sharing that opinion. Right?

          Consistency can make a difference. 😉 😉 😉

          • [From King Lear]

            That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
            And follows but for form,
            Will pack when it begins to rain
            And leave thee in the storm.
            But I will tarry. The fool will stay.
            And let the wise man fly.
            The knave turns fool that runs away;
            The fool, no knave, perdie*.

            Where learned you this, Fool?
            Not i’ th’ stocks, fool.

            *by God

            I came acorss this video and what she says here is very interesting. The ideas I encountered in 9 minutes here, I must confess, trump months of reading the rather predictable opinions of the classic American cuckservative. (God help us!)

            She points out that Benjamin Bloom said that ‘the purpose of education is to change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students’, and this is obviously a neo-Maoist form of social engineering which one local educator is so deeply involved in. She goes on to describe Bloom’s praxis as ‘challenging the student’s fixed beliefs’ and that in the span of one hour, he could get them to go from some fixed point all the way over to another point altogether. That is, undermine their ideas and replace them.

            America and Americanism within the Americanopolis has devised an astounding system of mass-manipulation along these lines and has pecome perverse and dangerous. I refer to it disparagingly as ‘the Walmart America’.

            What I have spent a great deal of time writing about is pretty much just this: how we and our culture have been assaulted by ‘elite’ persons with specific ideas about how our ‘fixed ideas’ must be changed. For example those that have always been important to people about race & culture, or about gender and sexuality, or the traditional family, or about the foundations of Occidental ideation in the Greco-Christian forms.

            My assertion is that ‘America’ has profoundly gone off the rails in so many different areas and has become a danger to itself and to others. That is a radical twist on the core idea, don’t you think? In this sense the sick and twisted America that Iserbyt speaks about (though she did not use those words) needs to be confronted and challenged. And the only way to do that is through harsh confrontation. You can’t battle American arrogance with niceties …

            As I describe a ‘European self-awareness project’ and the breaking out of from the hyper-liberal regime of thought which subsumes the progressive as well as the conservative-cuckservative, I propose radical revisionism and a spirited, bold and dedicated reconsideration fo the core ideas that have informed European culture, and then identifying everything that has become a destructive agent to that. That project of ‘identification’ is dangerous but will be fruitful. It means examining many sacred cows and it means confronting people at a ‘personal’ level and to the degree that their selves get bound up with false-identifications. This means, in this sense, the degree that their free-thinking has been molded and shifted from the strong idea-cores toward other things. I define the main tool used as ‘sexual manipulation’. Dumbing down and sexual seduction seem to go hand-in-slimey-hand (as it were).

            And not only am I as a sole person interested in this, but there is a wide and growing movement of people who define themselves as ‘right-winf critics of American conservatism’, in American and in Europe, who see the American pseudo-conservatism as an obstacle that has to be confronted.

            So, as I have read your writing over the last 2-3 years (yipes, has so much time gone by?) I have to say that I am not sure where to locate you within the project that Iserbyt defines. If one did follow her ideas forward they are, afterall, quite radical.

            The fact of the matter is, Dear Zoltar, I do not think of you as a ‘dummy’ but I do place you within a category of thinker who seems to stand on the edge of powerful ideas but who is not himself really involved in them. I see you as I see many so-called ‘conservatives’: as cuckservatives. (I have fairly thorough definitions of what I mean by using such words and it can all be carefully explained.)

            In any case, my only purpose here and anywhere is to engage with powerful ideas on the basis of which a genuine and powerful renovation movement can begin to form itself. That is the meaning of the present for me: interchange and preparation. I much prefer challenge and confrontation to simply sharing, Eyore-like, complaints about the present.

            • Alizia Tyler wrote, “I have to say that I am not sure where to locate you within the project that Iserbyt defines.”

              I’m not “within” the project that Iserbyt defines. I have directly referenced Iserbyt fourteen times out of over 1,100 separate blogs posts that I’ve been involved in since I started commenting here in December of 2015. I’ve indirectly referenced to Iserbyt by using the “dumbing down” phrase an additional 110+ times. Here are eleven of those fourteen direct references in reverse chronological order. (the other four references weren’t note worthy)

              “I know that Charlotte Iserbyt is considered to be quite the crackpot by some people but there are some reasonably accurate things that Charlotte Iserbyt said years ago about the dumbing down trend of America and how it would effect the USA, but no one really listened, including me. Look her up if you’re interested but be prepared for a few moments of genuine intelligent enlightenment randomly placed between some really long winded boring stuff. Useful information if you have a tendency to lean that way; my sister really likes this lady. Personally, I think she shared a few valid points about the dumbing down of America, as for loads and loads of accurate predictions and conclusions, not so much.”

              “She talks extensively about the dumbing down of America and she wrote a book specifically about it. You might find some of it interesting, lots of boring stuff there too.”

              “What the hell are we going to do when the majority of the masses are so damned dumbed down that they’ll believe anything they read or hear – oh wait – it seems like we’re already there. Did Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt actually nail the problem, in more than one way?”

              “There is a bunch of over the edge stuff in this but there is also some enlightening things in there.”

              In reply to Jacks blog Proposition: It Is Unethical For Universities To Permit Or Engage In The Political Indoctrination Of Students Without Having Expressly Informed Students Of That Intention Before They Enrolled, I commented “It also brings back a bunch of points in the book written by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt “the deliberate dumbing down of america” “

              “This sequence of events reminds me of some of the things that Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt talked about regarding our education system and what she called “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” and how the education has used behavior modification to “brainwash” students into reacting to things instead of teaching genuine critical thinking skills.”, “Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt really is a conspiracy theorists that is way out there; however, over time it seems like there are more pieces of evidence to support some of her theories from years ago. I think the last campaign season is relative evidence that critical thinking is a thing of the past for a lot of people and reacting emotionally has become the more socially acceptable thing to do.”

              “I think there is nearly a direct relationship that has shown that the “dumber” the population is the more effective propaganda is. Unethical propaganda relies on ignorant people to believe it and spread it via peer pressure. This dumbing down relationship to propaganda is one of the core beliefs of Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt book, “the deliberate dumbing down of America”; are we now beginning to really see the results of what she described?”

              “It’s becoming more and more obvious that many things Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt predicted years ago are coming true.”

              “It seems that our population has been dumbed down to the point that the “masses” no longer have the critical thinking tools to intellectually combat simple things like propaganda memes. I’m not saying that everything she wrote is true, but maybe Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt wasn’t such a conspiracy theory wacko after all.”

              “These stupid snowflakes put their feelings above everything else because that is exactly what they’ve been brainwashed to believe. In their minds, their feelings overrule everything – facts be damned.”, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt”

              “…regardless of the conspiracy theory labels associated with it, there are parts of Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt’s exposé The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America that somehow ring bells today. I know that some people thing she is a complete wacko, but even wackos say things that have a ring of “truth” later; heck even some of the things Ted Kaczynski spewed out about the effects of technology ring some bells today. Is everything these people said “true”, maybe – maybe not, but the possibilities that more of what they said turn out to ring some truth exists.”

              Form your opinions about me in relation to Iserbyt based on what I’ve actually written.

              • OK, but this is sort of what I referred to: I see you as one sitting on a fence, so to speak. And I see you at least to some degree probing around for an analysis that is sufficient to answer pertinent question about ‘why things are the way they are’. I don’t mean any offence by attempting to catalogue you, I see that as a necessary intellectual effort. I make a conscious effort to do the same for everyone who writes here (and in other places). The focus of the Blog is on ethics, that is true, but the context is American Society.

                And by using a phrase like ‘I see you sitting on a fence’ I do not either with that statement mean to offend you, your heirs and assigns, your ancestors or your progeny, or the God your worship, in any way shape or form. My understanding is that a huge populous of America stands in a similar juncture.

                My understanding is that they have been ‘fed’ an interpretation of reality, of the doings of their government and country, constructed largely out of propaganda, but that what has been fed to them, a sort of edifice, a way of seeing, shows cracks.

                And with the seeming rapid rise of a Maoist Progressive Establishment — I have no idea what is the ‘proper’ or correct political-science way to describe *it* — no one knows exactly how to describe what is going on.

                What interests me about Iserbyt is less about if her analysis of things is perfectly correct, but rather that she is working within a general outline that corresponds to a developing critical position. But what I notice is that *many people* get really nervous when the critical analysis, or the interpretaive analysis, veers into a frightening area that, I gather, assaults their ‘certainties’ and faith in the system surrounding them.

                My observation, to date, in respect to this Blog and its participating audience is that they are like that, generally speaking. They really seem to enjoy clobbering the SJW and have a very harsh criticism of some of the Left-leaning analysis and analysists (take Chomsky as an example), and they seem to think that if they could only beat them back somehow, that things might return to ‘normal’.

                So, I am kind of attempting to answer your critique of me (in case you have not noticed!) in which you say that I am a ‘troll’ who, according to you, is trying to sow conflict. My answer to you is that I strive for confrontation because I get the most from it. It is very related to a modus operandi that developed very early in my family and upbringing (and I am aware of this) where I needed to test the structures and the walls that were placed around me. That is why instead of ‘sarcastic’ I feel that ‘vexatious’ is more accurate. The ‘vex’ cognate has to do with ‘prodding and probing’.

                But here, if I may share the observation, I push on people, their assertions and certainties, and instead of counter-engaging … they go silent. Spartan, Other Bill, Steve in NJ, Humble Talent — there are dozens. But I see that tactic, that strategy, as so common, so predictable. It amounts to deliberately closing the ears and yet this is a time when it is imperative to hear everything.

                And finally when I say that a 😉 serves the purpose of signifying that though I seek confrontation I do not desire to be perceived as ‘an enemy’ or ‘the enemy’, it is a truthful statement.

                On a related note, it seems to me that if one is going to propose a dumbing down, and one that has negative ramifications, that one is bound as a correlary to propose what ‘smartens up’. And if that is true then one is duty bound to try to arrive at the position that where that is defined and expressed.

                • Ms. Tyler,
                  I don’t see much difference between your “I strive for confrontation because I get the most from it.” statement and the definition of a troll.

                  Troll: Those that post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

                  • You are free to insist on that view if it serves you. I won’t put much energy into correcting you. I would, myself, choose not to hold to the definition that you are using. Or, better put, I would modify it.

                    In a blog such as this where the most important issues and questions are brought out and discussed, and in a situation of social and political crisis such that we are facing in the US, it is imperative that ideas confront ideas, that ideas challenge ideas, that perspectives challenge perspectives, and to this end it is necessary, and should be encouraged, that people deliberately choose not to allow themselves to get inflamed or emotional. In order to have discussions at this level it is imperative that a person deliberately choose to remain level-headed no matter when they feel (or imagine) that someone is ‘trolling’ them.

                    But more apropos to something specific in your comment: what is ‘extraneous’ to you may be extraneous because you do not understand the (potential) link to a given topic. To assign ‘extraneousness’ (and many of your terms) to what I do is, in my view, unethical. Through this brow-beating (I think it is called) you make an effort to limit my discourse. But instead of doing that you could just as well make the effort to find out whay I think the way I do. That is more constructive and such constructivity is more ethical than shutting down or out.

                    • Alizia Tyler wrote, “I would, myself, choose not to hold to the definition that you are using.”

                      It’s not my definition.

                      Alizia Tyler wrote, “Or, better put, I would modify it.”

                      So you would choose to bastardize an existing definition so you could somehow be exempted from it thus justifying your trolling (based on the already established definition)? Now you’re sounding just like the political hacks trying to bastardize the definition of a person so they can justify killing a human being in an abortion.

                  • I would also point out that with this sort of comment and focus, you shift the conversation away from ideas to an area that is largely irrelevant. We have been discussing here very interesting and important things. What is to be gained from veering way from that?

  3. The old “only one life..” meme. Consider the idea that an armed person — at home or out-and-about — uses a gun to thwart a crime that put one’s life in jeopardy.

    And its interesting that the crossing guard was the one to see the problem with the kiddie march… not to denigrate crossing guards, this one appears to have been the adult present. I worry that the principal did not pick up on the planned protest and step in.

  4. The superintendent of our school district sent an email in advance of the walkout, explained what it was, how long it would last, where the kids were going, etc. He said elementary schools would not be participating, that if parents wanted their kids to participate, to not bring them to school that morning until afterwards. For Middle school, kids would be directed to a defined space, could not leave the premises, and had to return to class immediately after the 17 minutes. High school, basically the same thing, but since they’re older, they have more freedom to move, leave, etc given that some of them have free periods or whatever was going on with their day.

    • That’s pretty much how it was handled here in South Florida as well. The Middle Schoolers weren’t given a specific defined space, though they were limited to certain areas and not allowed to leave school grounds.

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