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Friday, April 27, 2007

Most Dumb Harmon

Those of you who are from Maine and read the editorial page of the Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram are familiar with M.D. Harmon, the paper's resident right-wing neanderthal (well, he and op-ed page editor John Porter, who never misses an opportunity to point out that the removal of Saddam Hussein was justification enough to invade Iraq) and card-carrying member of the U.S. Talban. I don't often pay too much attention to him; he rarely comes up with anything original even for a right-winger, usually just parroting back the national party line on any number of issues. Unlike some of the more sophisticated members of the fringe, however, he's not really able to be circumspect about some of his party's own hypocritical stands. Take, for example, his opinion piece from today on casino gambling. The slant of his piece is that voters shold take the opportunity to vote down the expansion of gambling in the state, a position with which I don't necessarily disagree; however, one of the reasons he gives for opposing gambling is that people simply can't be trusted in front of the one-armed bandit:

"But no booster blinded by dollar signs ever says, Suicides! Thefts! Addiction! Bankruptcy! So when the stories of personal ruin, like the man on Mount Desert arrested for stealing $23,000 from the store window where he worked to gamble away in bangor, appear as inside-the-paper briefs, they can be discounted as a one-off event rather than the beginning of a trend (as has happened everywhere else in the country)."

Now compare this to the tone of an article he wrote on March 16, where the issue, not surprisingly, was gun ownership. Harmon is one of those guys who compensates for his lack of dick by indulging in tough-guy gun talk:

" 'The Population of the Nanny State, being composed of irresponsible rednecks, rejects and retards, must not be allowed to have Arms.- The Second Amendment as seen through liberal eyes, according to Human Events columnist Mack Johnson.

That's how many on the left would indeed phrase the amendment..."

The article then went on to discuss a case ruled on by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in favor of an individual, and Harmon lauded it as a landmark case for the right of the individual to own a functional gun, ending with, "the strength and depth of this ruling will cheer every American who values freedom."

Ok, so, what Mr. Harmon is saying is that anyone who wants to impose regulations on gun ownership in this country is a nanny-stater because s/he obviously believes that Americans as a rule are too stupid to own guns. Fine. A lot of rednecks-who really are too stupid to own even a cell phone, much less a gun-make that argument all the time. But why, then, if people are smart enough to be trusted with guns, can't they be trusted with a slot machine? I mean, these are the same people he's talking about, generally. Does walking into a casino suddenly lower your IQ by 10 points? I hate to tell you, M.D., but laws or bans aimed at saving people from themselves is the very definition of "nanny state." And let's substitute a few choice words in your sentence about "personal ruin" and see what we come up with...

"So when the stories of gun violence, like the student at Virginia Tech who shot 32 people on campus before taking his own life, appear as front page banners which horrify the nation for days, they can be discounted as a one-off event rather than the continuation of a trend (as has happened everywhere else in the country)."

See what I mean? Pure hypocrisy. He doesn't want guns further regulated so in this case, gun owners have every right to monitor their own behavior without federal or state interference. He does want gambling regulated (eliminated), so people suddenly can't be trusted with their own impulses. I'm not saying he's right or wrong, actually, I'm saying it's a typical right-wing ploy. The philosophy of personal freedom extends only to the cases they champion-gun ownership, property rights. It ends at who you sleep with and what you choose to do with a pregnancy. Then it's well within the interests of the government to regulate your every move.

Mr. Harmon has no good explanation either for his paradoxical stances in these cases-I know because I emailed him and asked. I got a reply back stating that the right to bear arms was protected by the Second Amendment (duh), but the right to gamble was not. Nowhere did he reply to my point about why he thinks regulating guns is nanny-stating but regulating slots is in the public interest. His overall point was summed up in this sentence:

"The left’s concerns are immaterial, as they violate the Constitution. Banning casinos, as I noted, does not"

He also gave me no reply when I asked if he would defend the right to abortion as stringently on the simple basis that it is lawful, as he does gun ownership (Harmon is a strident pro-birther). I mean, in that case, applying that standard, the right's concerns are immaterial, correct? His reply:

"Abortion isn’t defended by law. It was established by a vote of the Supreme Court."


Sooo, this is what we currently have on Mr. Harmon:

1. Guns are ok because people are smart enough to handle them.
2. Casinos are not ok because people are not smart enough to handle them
3. Guns are ok because they're protected by the Constitution.
4. Abortion is not ok even though the Supreme Court held that abortion was a constitutional right that the states could only abridge after the first six months of pregnancy.

I'm sure it all makes perfect sense to him, and the rest of his ilk. That's what's so friggin' sad.

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