Friday, July 21, 2006

Revisiting Semantics

Let us again discuss the question:

"Who needs an AK-47 to go hunting?"

The more I consider it, the more clever this contstruction appears. Of course for the purposes of our discussion, you can substitute the term "military-style semi-automatic rifle" for "AK-47".

The plain answer to the question, of course, is: no one.

Now, when given that answer, the average "gun control" advocate will say, "Correct. Therefore, AK-47s (et al.) should be banned."

The biggest problem, the sneakiest trick, in this question is the unspoken, but implicit assertion that hunting is the ONLY valid use of firearms. Thus, if any particular firearm is not needed for hunting, it is not needed, period.

This then brings us to the problem of the word "need".

Again, we have a sub-textual assertion: If you don't "need" a gun, you ought not have one.

This, in its turn, leads to the questions: "Who 'needs' a gun?" and "Who decides who 'needs' a gun?"

The average "gun control" advocate will steer well clear of the first question and instead focus on the second. He will tell you that the government is best suited to answer that question. And what does the average "gun control" advocate understand by the term: "government"? He understands: people like him - enforcing their will through bureaucratic, regulatory agencies which are mostly unaccountable to the citizenry.

Thus we see - at the end - that what is posited as a simple question is in reality a cunning - if invalid - argument for governmental regulation of firearms.

Fortunately, semantic and sophistic tricks work both ways.

When asked, "Who needs an AK-47 to go hunting?" the truest and best reply is, "Well, that depends on what you're hunting."


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