Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A thought on noodling

Gene Callahan finds "noodling" -- the practice of fishing by sticking your hand in a catfish's gill, out its mouth, and dragging it out of the water -- horrifying.

So do I. But as I mention in comments (not yet posted -- he moderates), it's not the snakes that scare me. It's the fact that you're playing in the fish's environment, by the fish's rules, and any fish big enough to be "noodled" is big enough to decide he'd rather have you stay awhile down there than come up here with you, and quite possibly make that decision stick.

This strikes me as very much analogous to libertarians pursuing social and political change through the electoral process. We're out of our environment; the statists are in theirs. We're trying to drag something heavy to the top of the water; they've got weight and inertia on their side. For us to win requires a great amount of energy and craft. All they have to do to win is chomp down, lie there and wait for us to drown.

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