First off I am not a fan of the terms smart or dumb when it comes to definition or description because each must be placed into context along with a multitude of additional factors to even tilt a scale of vagueness in one direction or the other. With that disclaimer:
I recently observed a discussion of a diverse group in that you had recognized authorities from their academic research in different disciplines, teachers from multiple disciplines and different levels from elementary school through colleges and universities, professionals in areas such as accounting, medicine, and law, and others who might not possess or be recognized by degrees or occupation but are well read, articulate, and problem-solvers. The discussion began with thoughts on the concepts of unilateral disarmament and mutually assured destruction. For those not familiar with those concepts, a simplified explanation might be that unilateral disarmament means that one side has no weapons or power while the other side maintains weapons or power. In other words, unless something totally unexpected occurs, one side can expect victory over the other. Mutually assured destruction in a simplified manner means that both sides have the capability of destroying the other side. If a conflict or competition took place, neither side is assured victory; potentially neither side can expect survival as they may both be eliminated by the other.
The discussion moved from those subjects into the current gun control debate. Here both sides desired to frame the discussion solely to strengthen their particular opinion. The interpretations of the Constitution and the “intent” of the Founding Fathers were thrust and parried as they have been since the meeting in Philadelphia in 1787. The topic of “rights” became another point. “It is a right to assure that government will not become tyrannical.” “You argue that it is a right, so what is the origin of that right?” The participants bantered ideas of Enlightenment philosophers, phrases from the Declaration of Independent, and random quotes by Revolutionary era figures, people of the Constitutional period, and into the Federalist period. As most people are already decided upon their own position, these initial two rounds most likely did not sway any of the participants or of those just observing.
The third round, however, saw an alteration in strategy. One side maneuvered to bring in the legitimacy and legality of the Constitution, not from its inception when those 55 men took it upon themselves not to amend the existing government, the Articles of Confederation, but to write a new government which would eventually be ratified by bypassing the existing state governments in favor of specially convened ratifying conventions. The strategy involved the legality in the present. Decisions by the Supreme Court would deliver the knockout blow as the most recent rulings tend to advocate for their side.
At first thought, I expected a counter within the framework of the 5 to 4 votes and how different courts reached different majority decisions at different times in history. I listened intently as they obviously cited Heller to its fullest capacity and with this being a learned group; they even took away a natural counter of McDonald and thus rendered any State versus Federal positions ineffective by bringing the incorporation provisions of the 14th Amendment into the fray. The side landed a powerful and effective combination.
While I am not old enough to have first-hand knowledge of the famous rope-a-dope technique used by Ali against Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, I am of that generation where the story and outcome of that fight were well known by most boys in my age bracket. I witnessed the political ideology version in this gun control discussion. One side crumpled to the law of the land offense after being hit with the combination of both Heller and McDonald. Knockout appeared imminent, but then a sharp counter turned the discussion 180 degrees. If the Supreme Court decision is the deciding factor regarding an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, it must be the deciding factor on all present issues. How can arguments be made in opposition to the Health Care Act or to Roe?
In most discussions I have witnessed or to which I have participated, at this point differing opinions as per ideology would become personal attacks directed at the individual. You are changing the subject. They have nothing to do with each other. That’s a conservative tactic. That’s a liberal tactic. All of these idiotic shots would ring out.
Instead without emotional ranting and influence from one extreme or the other, the acknowledgment became that if you accept that argument for one position, then it must apply to all. Nobody can be 100 percent correct regardless of position because it is not a 50/50 decision between “Yes” and “No.” The number of variables range anywhere from iota to infinity. There is, however, common ground. Neither side achieves unilateral disarmament but both face the possibility of mutual assured destruction if they do not find that balance. Can an ideological idea such as mutual limitations similar to that attempted at the Washington Naval Conference in the 1920s work? Probably not, but that does not mean that an arms race such as seen in the Cold War must happen as well.
Just because someone breaks the rules does not justify another breaking that rule. Doing away with all rules can only result in chaos. Too many rules, even if enforced 100 percent, may lead to rebellion. Politics today seems to be based upon all or nothing. In my opinion that is the flaw. I’ve yet to reach a conclusion if that all or nothing philosophy results from a lack of knowledge about the real history of the United States or if that philosophy results from a simple and selective jumbled opinion which someone believes is history.
At times is there any difference between dumb and smart? Which or is both inclined to mutually assured destruction?