Thursday, August 7, 2008

RE: Guns in America & Europe

Laura writes,

There are pros and cons to the "you're on your own" American way.

And I've met Americans AND Europeans who want attack-trained vs natural
I haven't noticed one wanting much more over the other.

But I DO feel that Europeans are just more old fashioned, and are more
comfortable around animal nature than Americans. Here, we sensationalize and
dramatize so many things, and are so obsessed with liability recently, that
any remotely natural moments of aggression
from a dog are reacted to with fear and god knows what!

We are so removed from dogs, where meat comes from, etc.

Lawrence responds,

Well sure, but I addressed that when I wrote that when I said "America" I
was really writing about "red-state-America." I also said there were
plenty of blue-staters who lusted after a European-type patrimony. One of
the most interesting books I've encountered on the nature of America is
Walter Russell Mead's Special Providence, American Foreign Policy and How it
changed the World. Mead describes four major themes, or traditions, or
lines of thought that have influenced American foreign policy over the
years. It is always dangerous, or at least confusing, to say America is
this or that, because it is easy to say "I've met Americans" who aren't
that. No such description can mean "all Americans without exception." All
we can do is describe, as Mead does, trends, or traditions, or lines of

Mead's book is extremely useful if one wants to understand American Foreign
policy. He traces four major Foreign Policy "Traditions." I can't do
justice to these "Traditions" in a short note, but I can give an idea of
what he is saying:

The first is the "Hamiltonian." Let us seek a course that will enhance
America's economy.

The Second is the "Wilsonian." We have the best system of government in the
World. Let's seek to be evangelistic with it.

The Third is the "Jeffersonian." We have important "rights," so let us do
all we can to preserve them.

The Fourth is the "Jacksonian." We are peaceable unless riled, but if we
are, look out. We can whip anyone in the world.

Mead isn't quite addressing the "traditions" I am interested in here, but we
can get an idea of the complexity of America's foreign policy and perhaps
thereby an idea of the complexity of America. It is not one thing or
another, and, as Mead has said, no individual fits entirely in any of these
traditions. A Jeffersonian, Mead says some place, will be more likely to
join the Civil Liberties Union. The Jacksonian, the NRA. The Jacksonians
are the best fighters, but they don't really believe in foreign wars. The
Hamiltonians and Wilsonians have interests they want America to fight for,
but they aren't fighters; so they have to talk the red-necked Jacksonians
into their causes. Modern Neoconservatives aren't Jacksonian, they are
Wilsonian, but strongly mixed with the Hamiltonians.

Europe has a different set of complexities. Many Europeans are appalled at
the destructive forces they generated over the years. World Wars One and
Two were European Wars that spread. During the Cold War, Western Europe
hunkered down under an American umbrella and resolved to war no more. After
the Cold War, they looked out and were appalled that America didn't see
things quite as they did. While they were hunkered down, we were exercising
our "Containment Policy" to oppose the spread of Communism. Europe, many of
them, are now seeking a Social Structure, a gigantic patrimony that will
protect them forever from War: the European Union. And yet one of its
chief sponsors, France, the French commoners, not the French elites, refused
to ratify it. They have different Traditions over there.

Since Europeans did not rebel, like we Americans did, in any thorough-going
way against the idea of aristocracy, noblesse oblige, and patrimony, they
(much more than in America) continue to want someone to take care of them.
Yes, we do have Welfare-Statists over here. The "cradle to the grave"
European tradition exists over here as well, but not as much and it must
compete against other traditions we have that the Europeans don't have - as
much, "Rugged Individualism," for example. The Rugged Individuals fit most
closely into Mead's Jacksonian Tradition, and

In regard to dogs, in my quest for a smaller version of Trooper, the Plot
Hound was recommended to me by someone awhile back. I looked it up and yes
they were right. It does sound like a smaller version of Trooper. It is
very courageous. They use it against bears in the South, but two things
caused me to drop it from consideration. The first is that it doesn't seem
to exist - much - outside of the Southern States. There wasn't a single
breeder I could find in Blue-State California. The Second thing was, and
this was presented as something good, it has a "clear strong voice." Well,
of course; it is a Southern Hound used to bay all sorts of things so a
"clear strong voice" would be an advantage. But I don't really want a dog
with a "clear strong voice." I much prefer the quietness of our Ridgebacks
- who rarely give voice to anything - at least mine never have.

But notice that the Plot Hound seems to be almost exclusively a "red-state"
dog - and that it thinks for itself in the sense of going off by itself to
do its job. It finds the animal and holds it for the hunter, much as the
original Rhodesian Ridgeback did. Who, here in the U.S. raises dogs to be
Schutzhund trained? Yes, I know there are some, but where are they? I
wonder how popular Schutzhund training is in the states where the Plot Hound
is popular.

And notice one of the things the Rhodesian Ridgeback historian, Helegesen
said: that the British favor a more "Mastiffy look." -- the stolid Mastiff
with a tradition of bringing down poachers who lust after the King's deer.
There is only room in Britain for little hounds to bay little game and the
hue and cry you hear isn't that of their fox hounds, it is the Cradle to the
Grave bleeding heart liberals pleading for the lives of the poor foxes.

Lawrence Helm

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