Risky Business

From Vox, I went to Dr. Helen’s article, “Do Women Commit Mass Murder?” This follows on the heels of reading the Wikipedia entry for hoplophobia, which somebody else linked to. Both items describe certain superstitions that are propagated in the mass media.

The first conceit, that women have no violent tendencies, is the result of unrestrained sentimentality and wishful thinking in men, aided by the collaboration of women who want men to believe that they are always correct. Perhaps we could turn it on its head and describe it as the fear that men exclusively have the capacity (physically, psychologically, and logistically) to commit horrific crimes; that would be manifestly unfair to women, such that it should be rectified by federal legislation empowering them to commit equally horrific crimes. Unfortunately, the mass murderers in the Middle East have already outdone the US on this account, since they have been using suicidal female bombers quite effectively.

On the other hand, if we were to discover that mass murder satisfied an evolutionary imperative, would we need to collectively submit our wills to that impulse and codify it as a sociobiologically determined, unqualified good? That proposal may offend the politically motivated, liberal evolutionists who insist that such a thing cannot have been naturally selected through genetic transmission as a fitness trait; or who claim that if it was, nonbiological social evolution now dictates that we overthrow it and impose some phony, post-Christian ethic ripped from the pages of a pseudoscientific Dr. Feelgood.

The term hoplophobia was coined to encapsulate the morbid and irrational fear of guns: hoplophobia is characterized by “the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user.

I have previously labeled this idea “autonomous technology,” a term I borrowed from Langdon Winner. It was Winner’s analysis of Jacques Ellul that first led me to a reasoned critique of science and technology, about 20 years ago. Following Ellul down the rabbit hole will lead you to the conclusion that society is a technology, language is a technology, philosophy is a technology, science is a technology, and evolutionary theory is a technology (Ellul uses with deliberate ambiguity the French term la technique, which can refer to ‘technique’ or ‘technology’).

Technologies are distinguishable because (1) they can be hacked by humans, that is, used for purposes they were not intended for; and (2) they are the products of self-aware consciousness, and hence not “natural” in the materialistic, mechanistic, animalistic sense. They may be representations of natural patterns and processes, but their human-useful form is not caused by natural patterns and processes.

However, the idolatrous mind seeks to ascribe autonomous, mystical powers to objects such as guns. Interestingly, the same criticism may be applied either to the hoplophobes who twitter when they see a six-year-old with a cap gun, or to the hoplomaniacs who wear camo in their shiny bright purple pickup trucks and fondle their guns frequently.

As with the 9/11/01 event, which was supposedly The Turning Point in the History of the World, Cho’s pre-celebrity tantrum inspired a lot of nonsense about the nature of risk and the dangers of liberty.


Instigate some pointless rambling

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