Friday, September 20, 2013

Twelve Thoughts on the current debate.

1) Lest somehow someone missed it, I never liked Starbucks coffee in the first place. If you want to score points with me, bring me Tullies/Cafe Vivace/etc. My issue has never before been political, it's just that to my palate, with the exception of their Keurig line, they appear to have an almost religious need to over-roast their beans, leaving a less than amusing charcoal flavor. They have long been in my "better than nothing" category. That their snacks seemed to go to on some kind of "health kick" and become smaller and less yummy some years ago didn't precisely build my interest in their products.Your mileage may vary - but for me, Tullies for the win. Regarding the Keurig cups, they are sort of like the Egg Sausage McMuffin at McDonalds - the one consumable product exception in a glaring wasteland of mediocrity.

I will miss their unusually tidy restrooms alongside nearly every major highway, but not the self-imposed obligation of buying something to "pay the rent."

2) I began visiting Starbucks again with any frequency to throw them my small amount of business out of gratitude for their now-previous neutrality - despite (1) above. Thus, for that time, my purchasing habits were political.

3) I do carry a gun. Big deal. And if a business politely requests I not bring a gun on their premises, concealed or open, short of being willing to go all activist about it all (and I'm not - I have enough on my plate and just don't have the time or energy) I will honor their request. Part of my decision making process is that I seriously doubt, as big as Starbucks is, that anything the Gun Community does is really going to make them change their mind.

4) In a sense I'm grateful to some small extent that I no longer feel an obligation to drink coffee or buy snacks that make it all the way to "adequate" in my estimation in an attempt to reward minimally good behavior.

5) To the extent I have mentioned boycotts, I have not done so with great force - and largely in the context that if ceasing to purchase goods I'm not especially enthralled by from a vendor setting conditions for said goods purchase that I find unacceptable - then call it a boycott. I don't.

As with a variety of other things, you can't boycott someone that has effectively requested you stop doing business with them, no matter how hard you try. You can jump up and down and shout "BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT!" all you want...but if your target has already requested that you just go's not a boycott no matter how much you jump up and down and shout.

6) In general, boycotts are silly and statistically insignificant - to the extent they are effective, IMHO, it is through symbolism rather than actual economic effect. Thus, to the extent I have used the phrase boycott, particularly in light of (5) I expressed myself poorly and further muddied the waters by expressing - for the first time since I started trying to be nice to Starbucks by - my repressed disdain for the majority of their product line flow free.

A better way to express my view, I suspect, would be to rephrase it as "Starbucks is done and has requested that no guns (at all) be brought on their premises. As someone who carries I see no reason, given that I see no gain for the 2A cause or to me personally by doing so, to deny this request in any way. At the same time I recognize that logical consistency requires that barring such a reason (or unlikely as it is, a sudden decision that I stop carrying) that I not frequent Starbucks nor purchase their products (other than, in a moment of desperation, Keurig cups). My palate thanks me (see #1), and logical consistency makes me unhappy less often."

7) I am deeply disappointed with those in the 2nd Amendment Community seemingly so eager to scapegoat the entire Open Carry community and concept for the actions of a few (classically known as "guilt by association" and usually considered as a variant on the ad hominem fallacy) Some of those are folks that I like and deeply respect, which only makes the disappointment sting all the more.

When we scapegoat the entire Open Carry community for the actions of a few imbeciles, we are no better than when our opponents scapegoat the entire 2A community for the actions, no matter how horrific, of a mentally ill or criminal person committing terrible acts with a firearm. We should do better. 

8) Similarly, I am saddened by those in the community falling into the trap known as Fallacy of the Majority  (also argumentum ad populum, or Appeal to Popularity - among other names).Summarized (read the link, highly recommended), this fallacy postulates numerical validation of a theorem - that because a lot of folks believe in some "thing" that it must then be true. This is particularly bothersome in people that you know perfectly well are far too clever to fall into this trap, yet they leap into this logical pit trap gleefully giggling all the way to the intellectual punji sticks. The reality is that belief, regardless of the number of folks holding that belief, does not affect the validity (or lack thereof) of a viewpoint or fact set.

9) I've not seen it named, but I've seen a fair amount of what I'll describe as the Fallacy of Passion in this discussion - the notion that the validity or falsehood of a statement is in any way proven by how loud one shouts, by how passionately one speaks or how enthusiastically one gestures. For good or ill, none of these variants on this fallacy have anything to do with proving or disproving anything - though they may serve to coerce false agreement or silence from the one targeted by such an approach.

10) The broad generalization that "a gun is not and never should be a political tool." I've expounded elsewhere that, like it our not, carry of a firearm is inherently political, and that done properly, open carry is generally beneficial - and that done wrong is a political and cultural disaster for the 2A community. It's hard to realize that "gun owners are evil" is a flawed premise when you never know that you've met any other than passionate political wonks and the occasional hunter.

11) I am deeply grateful for those on the blogs and among the social media that have avoided the fallacies above (and the many many others available). I may not agree on a 1:1 basis, but I enjoy the civility and appreciate the effort made to remain dispassionate.

12) Nothing is to be gained for the 2A community by further association with Starbucks whether protesting, holding FU days, buying a double tall mocha, or in any way failing to observe their request. That bridge has been burned. If it is important to you that you carry and that you maintain secure control of your firearms, in light of the request I see no other polite response other than graciously finding other sources of caffeine and noshes.

Barring serious surprise, I do not expect to comment further on this topic.


Jennifer said...

Personally, I prefer the Egg McMuffin. I think it's because they put crack in it. I agree on all other points.

Anonymous said...


Starbucks has asked same sex couples not to act gay in front of other patrons, because some are offended by it and have raised a huge ruckus about how threatening Gay is. Why, you never know when those people will go off and start having orgies! And it's especially bad around Pride week, when gay people come in to Starbucks and act all up-in-yo-grille about it. You know, holding hands, kissing.... Yuck.

It's OK to be gay, of course, but Starbucks simply asks people to leave their gay outside when they come in to spend money.

No fucking way. I don't go into free fire zones unless it is completely unavoidable (like having to go to the courthouse to ask for protection from our meth-addict violent psychotic neighbors...which we never I have to go back to relying on RKBA).

And I surely don't give my money to bigots who hold my judgment in such low esteem.

Like you I didn't spend ANY money at Starbuck$ till they seemed tolerant of law-abiding RKBA people. I'm content to go back to spending none.

Also the decal's coming off my truck.