Let's Be Reasonable

My last post was 6 months ago, but that doesn't mean I haven't been arguing with the proverbial fence post. Most of my political writings have been directed toward commenting on facebook posts, though I realize it's even less productive than this blog. Since the election I've tried to be Switzerland, but sometimes I slip. It happened last week, and yes, it was about gun control. I feel that the "conversation" requires a more extensive comment which would not be well suited to a facebook format, so I'm putting it here.

The Cliff's Notes version of the facebook conversation goes like this:

  1. Known conservative and therefore dangerous Oklahoman Shane (who is also known to be armed) posts link to an article regarding Joe Biden's "executive order" comment on gun control options.
  2. Shane is condescendingly chided and implied to be over reacting by known liberal and therefore intelligent Californian, DL. Shane graciously ignores the implication.
  3. Wild card John posts a link from infamously biased crooksandliars blog attempting to portray gun owners as crazed and angry. John also poo-poos the idea that the administration can do anything on their own.
  4. Unreasonable, known trouble maker and erstwhile Texan blogger, Dexter, posts relatively short diatribe attempting to show that yes, the government is quite capable of violating the constitution to serve their own purposes. Another dangerous Oklahoman, too smart to get involved, simply "likes" Dexter's comment.
  5. blah, blah, blah ... time goes by
  6. DL again scolds and implies that other commenters are ignorant by suggesting they all believe Obama is a tyrant.*
  7. Dexter tries to deny he is unreasonable.
  8. DL is having none of that and immediately positions himself again as the adult in the room.

If you're interested, the full conversation is below (if you can read the bad screen shot), and after that is my final, extensive, exhaustive and incredibly unreasonable comment on this little, representative slice of facebook political discussion.

Despite what the media portrays as pervasive public outrage over our gun-loving society, DL is absolutely correct. No one is going to propose a ban on all guns. It would be political suicide. Suggesting that a gun ban is the long term goal, however, will get you labeled a nut or worse, even though there is plenty of historical evidence to show that governments like to disarm their citizens. History, of course, doesn't apply to us. It's not just us; any current society is always so much more advanced, intelligent and worldly than their forebears that they need not rely on history, which leads them directly to their destiny ... repeating history.

The politics of gun control are well understood by everyone. What few people understand, or admit, is the intellectual dishonesty of gun control supporters. As Ben Shapiro so ably demonstrated in a debate with Piers Morgan, if the pro gun control crowd was sincerely interested in stopping children from being shot, they would advocate a hand gun ban, not an assault weapon ban. They would own up to their long term goal, the ban on all guns (the one they won't propose). Some might say they are just being smart politicians, but they are truly just cowards, afraid that their idea will lose in any honest debate. They are content to nibble around the edges, putting the camel's nose in the tent, taking that inch like they have on every entitlement, tax, regulation and socially destructive initiative for 100+ years. Of course, that's much easier to do when you take the long view and have no qualms about being dishonest in the present to achieve future goals.

The one critical judgement to make on any politician is this question of intellectual honesty. Do they do what they say? Do they openly articulate principles you agree with, and act on those principles? Are they "a leader doing what supporters asked" or an "ideologue with an agenda?" The difference is easily recognized. One is a leader and the other is a politician. Barack Obama, and the vast majority of our elected "leaders," are politicians, and very few have the intellectual honesty, and the character that supports it, to lead effectively.

A leader would propose the constructive ideas we need. Obama doesn't do that. It's not politically feasible. He farmed out healthcare to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, financial reform to Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and now gun control to Joe Biden. He bangs the drum about "asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more" and then exempts his ultra-wealthy supporters (whose primary income is capital gains) by raising taxes only on income earners. He leverages his faith and church membership until it becomes a political liability and then, poof, it no longer reflects his views. One would think that in order to follow a leader you would have to know what they stand for, but Obama is impossible to pin down. It makes him a good politician, one that presents himself as having character, but demonstrates none. Obviously, you can be elected to lead without character, but you will never lead effectively.

What, exactly, is Barack Obama's position on gun control? In campaigns he says he supports the Second Amendment. In practice his justice department executes Fast & Furious to implicate the gun industry in Mexican drug lord violence to create a gun crisis. ("Never let a crisis go to waste.") He says "I have no intention of taking away folks' guns", but supports local gun bans as in DC, Chicago, NYC which do exactly that. He is dismissive of "bitter clingers," effectively letting people with faith and/or guns know that he considers them ignorant, yet somehow expects** them to accept his leadership on this issue. He voted against every concealed carry law while a State Senator, except the one that allowed retired police officers to carry. Unsurprisingly, he was working on acquiring political support from the Fraternal Order of Police at the time. As always with politicians, getting elected trumps principle.

The gun debate*** that the media and the administration (and DL) are demanding after Newtown is, quite simply, another manufactured crisis for the federal government to insert itself in ... like healthcare, like finance reform, like the unending 'fiscal cliff' and 'debt limit' crises. Obama is not interested in proposing any constructive ideas to stop gun violence in our schools because he knows it won't and can't be solved by a policy or legislation. Obamacare didn't "fix" our healthcare problem ... it simply pushed us in the direction of socialized medicine. Finance reform didn't "fix" the financial markets, it simply gave the government more control. Raising the marginal tax rates solved nothing for either the debt, the deficit or the budget; it only gave the appearance of 'action' and provides the false political cover of "protecting the middle class." An assault weapon ban or other gun control law won't "fix" school shootings ... it will simply push us in the direction of being an unarmed, and therefore vulnerable and dependent, society.

You cannot have a constructive debate on gun policy if one side lies about their position. If we are honest the debate question is, which is better, an armed society or an unarmed one? It really is that simple and we can have that debate. And once gun control nuts**** are honest about that, they should take one more bold step and admit they are fundamentally, irrevocably and principally interested in empowering the state to control the citizen. That is the path of gun control. That is why it is expressly forbidden in the constitution. That is why gun control nuts lie to themselves and everyone else. They cannot accept or admit to the basic truth of the question at hand.

Here's my constructive idea. Require gun training in schools. Take away the ignorance and fear of guns and teach responsibility and respect. Teach them safety. Teach them control. Give them confidence. Undermine victim mentality. Show them the science and engineering involved. Provide another competitive arena, a practical activity, a tangible demonstration of how to be responsible. Teach them the history of guns, their influence on culture and that responsible use differs from criminal use. Allow them to compare for themselves the un-reality of video games and movies to the true destructive power of weapons. Teach them that actions have consequences. Build a stronger society, not a weaker one.

It seems to me there are only two paths to take ... we either go down the "control" path with bans, restrictions, the shaming of gun owners and the elevation of the state, or we go down the path of "empowerment" where we raise our expectations of others, promote trust and respect of individuals and re-ignite the concept of self reliance in our society. Until we are willing to start the debate there, at the honest and fundamental conflict between the individual and the state that the gun control issue represents, there will be no constructive debate. The right is honest about their position. They openly admit that this is about the citizen vs. the state and they are on the side of the citizen. The left (which includes squishy Republicans) can't afford to be honest. It might cost them an election, which they value more than principle.

* For the record, I think he's too stupid and gutless to be a good tyrant.
** That's not quite accurate. He doesn't 'expect' so much as 'demand'.
*** The debate is settled in The Bill of Rights. If you want to debate it your statement should not be  "let's talk about guns," it should be "let's repeal the Second Amendment."
**** have you ever noticed that if you are pro-gun you are a "gun nut," but if you are pro-gun-control you are an "advocate?"

1 comment:

  1. But...why are you writing this post now that our savior has won the election? I mean--we all know that Trump will turn back the tide of decades (maybe centuries) of federal overreach? It seems like that maybe you haven't drunk the right pitcher of cool-aid...