Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chuck Norris' Clueless Analysis of School Shootings

One thing I have never understood is why celebrities in nonacademic fields are granted de facto intellectual respect on the various issues of the day. What makes the opinion of an actor, or an athlete, or a singer, on world events any more valid, and worthy of our attention, than the opinion of the average guy at the bus stop?
From the nonsensical jabber spewing from some of thier mouths, we might easily conclude that the opinion of the guy at the bus stop has more value. Chuck Norris's recent screed on the recent school shootings is a perfect case in point.

Much of the criticism of society from the religious right follows the same pattern: take any tragedy that occurs and, without any kind of data or cross cultural analysis, proclaim that if everyone would simply believe as they do, said problem would disappear. Their thought process models exactly the lunatic who tells you to wear a tinfoil hat to avoid the sickness rays of the aliens, and then when you do get sick, proclaims "I told you so". And of course, never mind that he gets sick too.

With that perspective in tow, take in Chuck Norris' brilliant analysis of the school shootings:

"As I've said in different ways in different settings, we teach our children they are nothing more than glorified apes, yet we don't expect them to act like monkeys. We place our value in things, yet expect our children to value people. We disrespect one another, but expect our children to respect others. We terminate children in the womb, but are surprised when children outside the womb terminate other children. We push God to the side, but expect our children to be godly. We've abandoned moral absolutes, yet expect our children to obey the universal commandment, 'Thou shall not murder.' As James Madison once wrote, 'Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty, as well as the abuses of power.'"

Gee, where do we start? How about noting all the countries in Europe and elsewhere who want little to do with Norris' god and its moral absolutes, who teach evolutionary science unapologetically, and who have safe legal abortion, and yet have nowhere near the kinds of problems with violence that we do? We might also remind Chuck that the nobel ape does not kill it's own at near the proportions we do, especially compared to the murder rates of the pious. Morally speaking, they should be offended at being compared to us, not the other way around. Norris is experiencing ape hatred.

And just where does Norris get the idea that "Thou shall not murder" is a universal commandment? Yahweh had Moses and his merry band murder by the thousands, and that was after Yahweh asked Abraham to murder his own son, and of course let's not forget Yahweh murdering every non-Noahan on the planet, and finally, having his own son murdered to pay a blood price Yahweh set up in the first place. Yahweh would get along well with that character from Dark Angelwho chants "I come in peace" while murdering everyone in sight. What's next, a person whose fortune and fame were made from committing, or pretending to commit, multiple acts of violence calling for nonviolence?


memphisto said...

I often hear that celebrities shouldn't have their views on political subjects reported but I've always considered it a good idea. Its really just a way to have common opinions heard. If we only hear the views of political annalists on politics, scientist on science, artists on art, etc. we get sort of an insular view of those subjects. Letting people who have excelled in other fields comment on a range of subjects broadens the political discourse by allowing views held (no doubt) by thousands of others who don't have a voice in the media be heard. Mr. Morris represents the views of many other people. Publishing these statements of his, and others like him, bring such views into the public discourse.

ScienceAvenger said...

I agree we shouldn't only listen to political analysts. In fact, I'd be in favor of listening to them less, because political strategy is just not the relevant to the average voter's life.

But how is political discourse broadened in a good way by giving someone as ignorant as Norris, or the Klan, or creationists, or Sherry Shepard a pulpit? Shouldn't we be giving the pulpits instead to people who have spent much of their lives studying a subject and actually know what they are talking about?

Finally, given the exceedingly privleged life most celebrities lead, I would hardly consider their opinions to be representative of common people.

Anonymous said...

You ask, "What makes the opinion of an actor, or an athlete, or a singer, on world events any more valid, and worthy of our attention, than the opinion of the average guy at the bus stop?"

Answer: No more than yours. "I have a mathematics background, an interest in science." That makes you well qualified to talk about social ills??

You and Norris are on the same grounds. Just sharing your First Amendment freedom of speech.

Actually his column is very good. Check out past articles at

Anonymous said...

Actually I thought his article was pretty good. While you have some good points, I noted you didn't quote his citations of George Washington or John Adams. Mmmm...interesting. It seems that Chuck would not be the only one accused of bigotry, but so would Washington and Adams. By the way, it was Washington who coupled morality and religion together (not Norris), "reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Could you imagine how commentators would respond if someone were to say these words today?....

George Washington said in his Farewell Address, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

John Adams, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"?

Now who is the bigot???

ScienceAvenger said...

I didn't include the Washington and Adams quotes because they weren't relevant to Norris' argument. Evidence, not tangental quotes from cherry-picked authorities, is what matters here, and Norris hasn't a shred of it.

As for whether the Founding Fathers should be condemned as bigots for their remarks, keep in mind that people have to be judged with consideration given to the time in which they lived. Washington and Adams also owned slaves. Are we to condemn them as bigots for that too?

The FF lived over two centuries ago, and we have learned a lot since then. Norris doesn't have that excuse.

ScienceAvenger said...

But I didn't argue that my sociological analysis deserves the respect of the populace and the media. I understand that is outside my area of expertise. I'm simply arguing that is even MORE the case with Norris (yes, a math degree beats a fighting and acting career on the intellectual credibility scale, sorry).

So that is a red herring, as is your first amendment comment. I'm not arguing that Norris' right to express himself should be curtailed, just that it should be given the credibility he has earned, which is basically none.