Thu Mar, 15 2007
Beyerstein: "It might make sense be armed if you were someone who couldnít call the cops (e.g., a drug dealer), or if you kept your entire lifesavings in uninsured jewels in a candy dish on the kitchen table. But does anyone really want to risk physical violence to protect their consumer electronics? Thatís what insurance is for."(my comment on this post at Tim Blair's place.)
This sort of smug disdain for other peoples' honestly-gained values is simply outrageous. "Consumer electronics", huh? Nevermind that the money that people spend on things that they want from life represents the very time of their life devoted to acquiring these things. In any case, it's all disposable to Beyerstein.
Take a good look at this photograph. That guitar has been in my family since 1966: my father played it all the time I was growing up, to include the years that he spent teaching me how to play. He used to tell me that it would be mine someday "after you see that pine box dropping into the ground with my body in it". I've owned a lot of guitars in my own adult years, but my father died in 2003 and this one is mine, now, just like he said.
I can't tell you what that thing is worth to me in terms of family history: it's priceless. Nonetheless, the vintage market at large is telling me that its value is running at about fifteen thousand dollars, today. (It's a 1962 Gibson ES-355 in Cherry Red, with real PAF pickups and manufactured without stereo output or Varitone.)
Already, I could hear the likes of Beyerstein moaning, "Well if it's so valuable, then why don't you keep it in a safe or something?" The reason is because it's a practical value: I actually play the thing every day when I'm home. I actually have seven guitars in this place, and that ES-335 of my Dad's is very special even without accounting for the collectible value. It feels and sounds terrific and it's not intended to be an investment or museum piece: it's meant to be played. So it hangs on the wall or sits on a guitar-stand right at the corner of my desk where I can take it in hand on the merest whim. This is because it's mine and that's how I want it.
It's pretty bloody easy for someone like Beyerstein to sit around and crack snide about other peoples' treasures and "insurance". When the context includes the matter of intruders doing manifest harm to innocent people, it's an unconscionable outrage.
My position is obvious:
If it ever came to the choice between that guitar and an intruder intent on taking it, I've got 147-grain Hydra-Shoks that say he's right-now dead on the right-now spot.
Look: everybody gets to make up their own mind about things like this. That's why we have minds. However, "freedom" means that we are not forced to live according to any but our own judgments: in a condition of freedom, we are not bound to live according to someone else's idea of what's good for us, and it's in details like this that this becomes crucially important. People like Beyerstein would forcibly substitute their judgment for mine, in a matter of values which they simply are not competent to judge, because of the individual nature of values. It is nothing for her to dismiss something like my guitar as "insurable", and that's exactly what her judgment means to me: nothing at all.
And there is nothing in the world that she can do about it.