This little clip on what James for-god’s-sake Taylor thinks about gun control is of no interest in itself. Taylor has been familiar to me since high school. And at no time in my life from then till now have I found myself wondering, “What does James Taylor think about this?” The clip only confirms that I was wise not to care about that.
Yesterday while cutting tiny snippets off plastic parts, I got to thinking about sources of information. There was a talk-show gasbag on GC Guy’s radio, and he asked callers over and over what they thought about some foreign issue. And over and over the callers either parroted what the news had been saying about that issue, or said the opposite. I was too filled with the ennui of tiny snippets to get up and change the channel. I don’t even remember what the issue was, but I do remember thinking – over and over – that nobody would give the honest answer, which is “I don’t know.” I have no serious opinion about Mali, or Algeria, or Benghazi, or anything of the sort because all I could possibly know about those things is what I’ve been told, which is very little and probably most of that is here-today-gone-tomorrow lies. So on what basis would I form an opinion? I have a strong opinion about the sources of information on those topics, but on the topics themselves I have nothing but ignorance.
So James Taylor believes I should make sacrifices to my freedom in order to safeguard children whom I don’t personally threaten, even though those sacrifices would make no difference to the safety of those children at all. He believes this because he has been told – over and over – that “the majority of us feel strongly” the same way, and that that is somehow a conclusive reason for action.
Macro thinking based on micro information. With no apparent concern for the accuracy of the information on which he bases his opinion, he not only allows that opinion to guide his own actions but is prepared to cheer his wise rulers on as they impose those same actions on everybody. In this way, he has been told, some hypothetical children somewhere will be safer in some nebulous way. Perhaps they’ll only “feel safer,” which – he has been told – is a blessing in itself.
I find that utterly contemptible. Maybe this whole “global village” thing was a bad idea. I don’t know.