L. Neil Smith, Who Loves Ya?


The depressing story about the Ohio cops killing a man with a toy in his hands reminded me of an essay that once-prolific, always-mediocre science fiction author L. Neil Smith claims is his most influential work. In that essay, Smith says that, though he is not a one-issue voter, he only asks any candidate one question, which is where they are on gun rights (more exactly, do they agree that anyone of any age without ID or other filter should be able to buy a gun and walk around with it at all times?). His argument is beguiling. He says that, if they want to regulate guns, it means they don’t trust you and, if they don’t trust you, why should you trust them? The false equivalence in that is easy to see, but the challenge in dealing with a (mediocre, even) wordsmith is not in the logic, but in the rhetoric. Smith’s equation isn’t persuasive because of its logic (which it lacks), but because of its pith (which can go days without a sip of sense). I’ve wondered for a long time if there weren’t some way to meet him on his own ground, and I think maybe I’ve finally got it.

It is this: If L. Neil Smith thinks we should trust everyone, why does he carry gun?

You know, I feel better already.

Author: FirewallNOVA Left

I'm the voice from left of center at FirewallNOVA. Sometimes pretty far left, sometimes pretty close to center. Sometimes maybe not left of center at all. But, mostly, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal or, if not, the crowd on the other side tends to think I am. I can live with that.