The Hundredth Meridian

In Praise of Firearms

Apparently from the conviction that one lie is as good (or as bad) as another, the left has never been known to let a lying cause die, if it could help it.  I have read that Michael A. Bellesiles’ Arming America: The Story of a National Gun Culture (published by Knopf and awarded the 2001 Bancroft Prize in History before the book was discovered to include citations of nonexistent sources and other sins against the scholarly tradition) is being released in a revised edition by something called Soft Skull Press in New York City.  I have always thought intellectual dishonesty to be dishonesty of the worst and most unforgivable sort, far more serious an offense than insider trading, say, or bank robbery, for the reason that what is sinned against in this instance is truth, and truth is infinitely more important than money.  To be careless of the truth is to despise Truth.

It is unpleasant to think of someone despising Truth.  It is nearly impossible, however, to conceive of anyone despising guns, as Professor Bellesiles (if, after his dismissal from Emory University, he is still professing anything) obviously must despise them.  It is possible, of course, that he is not a fool or a barbarian but merely a hypocrite, in which case I would not think nearly so badly of him.  As an old friend of the family (married to a Rothschild, she had fled Paris just before the fall) often remarked when I was...

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