Comments: Culture

Excellent post and very astute.

I would say that the people whom I am trying to reach are not the dedicated anti-gunners. They, in my experience, are actually quite rare (and are most commonly found on the faculty of college campuses). Much more common, and the person whom we CAN reach, is the person among the vast majority of Americans who simply don't have an opinion on the issue: They've never been exposed to firearms, they've never had a need for one and don't ever forsee having need for one so they simply don't care about it one way or the other.

Also among the reachable are the poeple who support gun rights in a general way but think of it in terms of hunting or sporting purposes...not in terms of the right to have the means to defend against tyrranical government or foreign invasion. Those are the ones who don't support a total gun ban, but do support "reasonable restrictions" because they just don't see a "need" for me to own an M-16A2 and a case of hand grenades.

We may never be able to convert the dedicated Anti-gunners who, as you mentioned, are basically just socialists without the fancy uniforms and red flags...but the vast majority of Americans are reachable if we make the attempt to do so, put the argument in terms that make sense to them, and expose them to their own potential for self-reliance and individualism.

Thanks again for a great post.

Posted by Sailorcurt at April 11, 2006 08:14 AM

Sorry about the typos, I was on the way out the door and I'm in a hurry.

Posted by Sailorcurt at April 11, 2006 08:15 AM

Outstanding piece. I'll be linking to it as soon as I get home.

Posted by Kevin Baker at April 11, 2006 01:12 PM

Well done!


Posted by geekWitha.45 at April 12, 2006 09:39 AM

Personally, I think the "cultural gap" thing is true, but there's an element in it that's not mentioned above: Nice Affluent White Liberals Like Us™ just damn well don't like "the gun nuts", "the rednecks", "the Christians", etc. They feel about 'em more or less the same way David Duke feels about black people: "They" need to be put in their place, and kept in their place, and anything "they" want to do that "we" don't, ought to be banned just to teach "them" a lesson. This is partly regionalism, and partly a class thing. In my experience, Nice Affluent White Liberals Like Us™ bring up the class thing with remarkable regularity when you try to talk to them about guns.

On top of that, there's some very real fear. I've come to think that these are people who feel physically helpless in a very profound way, to the point where they figure violence will always, without any conceivable exception, be to their disadvantage. Resistance is always futile, in their minds. When they're sympathetic to "the troops", they always imagine the troops to be witless, confused little bunny rabbits, helpless to resist the Big Bad Jihadis. When they conceive of our military as being able to take care of itself, that's when they start calling them war criminals. Because they can no longer think of the troops as "us", if the troops are competent.

"Us", in their minds, is always physically helpless. When they start spewing invective at gun owners, it's either the class thing, or it's the "compensation" thing. I don't think it's that they simply can't imagine anybody actually being male; it's more like, in dim way, they can, and they don't think they qualify. Maybe they're still making excuses for not standing up to the bully in third grade.

But not all of them get as worked up about it as that, and there's another thing going on here, too: When you favor gay rights, and you're pro-choice, and you don't much care for religion (least of all the "Bible-believing Christian" variety), and you're still stuck in the NAWLLU™ consensus-reality that minorities can't feed themselves without a handout from the Great White NAWLLU™, you tend to believe in gun control just simply because everybody who agrees with you about everything else seems to believe in it, and the people who oppose it seem to be associated with a lot of views that you find really objectionable. They believe it by default.

I really think that from a libertarian angle, you can reach at least some of these people, the go-along-with-the-crowd crowd (I'm living proof).

Posted by P. Froward at April 12, 2006 06:04 PM

Well stated, but you knew that.

One thing I like to point out when involved in such discussions is that no matter who has the guns, mistakes will be made. The question is, "Who should have the right to make mistakes? Individuals? Or the Government?

That is what power is all about. Deciding who gets the right to make mistakes. If you think that individuals should not have guns because they might shoot the place up (intentionally, or by accident), then you are ignoring the fact that when governments make mistakes (with guns, vaccines, earthmovers, or taxes; it doesn't matter what), the mistakes are intrinsically bigger. Further, you have to ignore the myriad examples of cops shooting people accidentally on purpose (or their own feet, ala the DEA agent), or making mistakes far worse than the vast majority of individuals would make, once "group think" takes over.

How many people who are against civilian gun ownership are true pacifists who don't think the government should have guns? Very few, I would bet.

Posted by indiana at April 18, 2006 08:54 PM

Wow! I haven't seen a keener analysis of this subject in quite a while. Well done.

Posted by Fred at April 18, 2006 11:03 PM
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