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How Did We Get Here, Part I: The Culture War

It seems almost hard to believe. On the Tuesday before the horrible tragedy in Newtown, we were celebrating a significant court victory, where a three judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling which said that Illinois blanket ban on carry was unconstitutional. The following Tuesday, we would be returned to the 1990s, in terms of where we are on the issue. What happened? There are a lot of unspoken agreements in politics. Often times it’s that each side really doesn’t want to go through the pain of antagonizing the other, and the recognition that often times in politics, once certain forces are put into motion, they can be difficult to stop. There are still many places in the country where gun control can move if proponents of it are antagonized. The reason we have gotten here is largely due to our own success.

We are threatening the unspoken agreement that you rednecks in flyover country can have your guns, but we sophisticated people in New York and Chicago get to have “enlightened” gun laws so we don’t ever have to associate with people like you, and don’t have to be around your icky guns or listen to your icky gun talk. But the writing is starting to appear on the walls, and the powers that be in those two bastions of gun prohibition don’t like what they are reading. Despite losses here and there, when it comes to the battle in the federal courts, we’re winning on the big and important stuff.

Coastal elites, for the most part, absolutely hate the idea of civilians with firearms, and there’s plenty of bipartisan consensus on that in certain areas. The Second Amendment has almost always been a movement of ordinary people standing up for their rights and that too is more bipartisan than many people often acknowledge. Who are our elites? Wayne LaPierre may have a graduate degree from Boston College, but he’s from Roanoke, Virginia. I doubt most New Yorkers or Chicagoans could even tell you Roanoke is in Virginia, let alone where. Chris Cox is from West Tennessee and a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, in the heart of what coastal elites dub flyover country. Harlan Carter, who founded the modern NRA, had a law enforcement background. Neal Knox, who was right there with him, published a gun magazine, and before that was a journalist. The elites on our issue often have credentials that don’t look vastly different than yours or mine.

To the extent that the fight for gun rights is lead by ordinary people from far away, unknown places, I don’t think the costal elites were all that concerned about it. After all, they didn’t know anyone in their circles who practiced such barbarity as owning guns, or shooting guns. If someone did carry one, well, they are the right kind of people after all, and the city can be a dangerous place. But it’s not something spoken of in polite circles. But stand up for that right? For the common man? Well, civilized people just don’t do that. But it’s not political advocacy that’s really tipped the scales. The legal advocacy is what has brought us here. We have plenty of great contributions in the legal fight from people of no great pedigree, and who live and practice in flyover country, but then we also have Harvard GradsYale men, and other folks with Ivy degrees, who have been instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront of law. It’s the legal side of the movement that’s most threatening to elites like Mayor Rahm and Bloomberg, and even President Obama, because the legal side is what is bringing these ideas into their cities. The people who are leading that charge aren’t pot bellied rednecks, but people with pedigree. People who don’t fit the stereotype.

We’ve shown tremendous success in the cultural war in the past several years. More women are learning to shoot than ever. More minorities than ever before are standing up for their rights and demanding they be permitted to legally exercise them. It was starting to be OK to be a liberal Democrat, own a gun, and enjoy shooting. Urban foodies are taking up hunting. The face of the gun culture looks less and less like the beer gutted OFWG of costal elite lore every day. We are being successful evangelists, and broadening the appeal of the issue.

Victory in the culture war provides a foundation for the gun culture we know and enjoy to enter places like New York and Chicago. They know this, and at some level, I believe the ultimate goal of the current attack isn’t necessarily to get legislation passed, though they will certainly try. No, the current attack is meant to shame people out of the idea of supporting gun rights, because gun rights are what those people do. I believe many coastal elites have a deep anxiety that not only will those people start to spring up like dandelions in their fair cities, but more importantly, they may have to do business with them, to socialize with them, and to hear talk of AK v. AR, 9mm v. .45, or to have to listen to someone who should, by all rights, be one of them, talking about their new carry piece, and the thought of that drives them crazy.

The messaging in this current attack is that those people are monsters, who don’t care about dead children. There’s a reason for that, and it says a lot more about who they are than it says about who we are. We are ultimately here because they have nothing to lose. If they awaken the sleeping giant, and only make him angry and determined, they have lost nothing, since they were losing anyway. If they achieve some victory, well, that’s something. Perhaps it can slow or stop the inevitable. But even if we beat them back everywhere, if they can achieve some measure of shame, if nothing else, they can remind the right kind of people who the wrong kind of people are, and maybe they won’t have to worry about having those kinds of people at their dinner parties.

Next up is how we got here politically.

61 Responses to “How Did We Get Here, Part I: The Culture War”

  1. Exurbankevin says:

    Spot-on. The elite’s idea is to make gun ownership something other than normal, because once people understand that the guns they own are the gateway drug to freedom, who knows where that will end up? Why, we might start thinking we don’t need a big nanny state to watch over us, and what will become of the powerful when we realize we don’t need or want their power anymore?

    • Harold says:

      And that brings up one thing that I think is driving our success, a loss in a belief of the competence of the state, especially the nanny state (Bloomberg is a big help there, and too delicious for the MSM to not report, right?).

      While you could e.g. go back to e.g. Death Wish and Dirty Harry, I date its contemporary beginnings to the government’s feckless domestic response to 9/11, from Bush telling us the only, or at least best way we could help was to shop, to the contemptible TSA. The media’s portrayal of Katrina played into that, and much of what really happened as well (e.g. police stealing Cadillacs to flee the city, that picture of a zillion flooded school buses, etc. etc.).

      And now we have Team Obama, with the Republicans not really resisting, hurdling us towards financial doom, and plenty of pictures of e.g. the Greeks not responding … constructively to this problem. In general he’s feckless, and a lot of people realize that, and those of us old enough to remember Carter, well, it’s an odd rerun of his Administration in many ways. Nixon’s too.

      So if you’re concerned about the state’s competence in existential stuff like that, what’s one of the most direct ways to help protect you and yours?

      • Andy says:

        I’ve always considered Watergate as the inflection point for trust in the Federal gov. The trend has been downhill since.

        I wonder if there’s polling data that far back?

        • Harold says:

          Hmmm, could be. I can remember the sinking feeling I felt when we came down from the mountain we were camping on for supplies and heard that Nixon had resigned (August 1974). Death Wish was released a couple of weeks before that, but the concept was already in the Zeitgeist, Dirty Harry is from 1971. Although these weren’t so much Federal, except for rules of evidence and the like and I don’t remember those being emphasized as Federal mandates in Dirty Harry (haven’t seen the other movie).

          And, well, yes, it was an inflection point, but wasn’t LBJ’s mishandling of Vietnam just as profound if not more so? Or what about the ’60s race riots? I got the impression from my intense studies of this period that a lot of people felt “Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control”. (When I politically came of age I realized the America I thought I had been raised in was gone, and started investigating why.)

          (Granted LBJ was dealt an absolutely rotten hand by JFK and his brain trust arranging the deposing and inevitable assassination of the President of Vietnam and his brother 20 days before JFK’s assassination (which is an inflection point many pick); it took years and perhaps the election of Nixon before we were even vaguely trusted again. But his and DoD Secretary McNamara’s inept micromanaging were utterly ruinous—and micromanaging wouldn’t have engendered trust. The latter also forced the AR-15 and 5.56x45mm on the very corrupt US Army (well, especially that part of it).)

          • Andy says:

            So, I think we are in some agreement. I did specify point, as the actual time where the curve turned down. But, I think of it as a curve, not a jagged line. I thought about the time before that, and I think the 60’s is where the curve began to flatten, Watergate was just the final straw.

            And, I was considering it more in the view of the general populace. While the 60’s are considered broadly as a decade of turmoil (citing events you already stated), the broad percentage of America was not affected at that time. Haight-Ashbury, Woodstock, Birmingham, Selma… all images on their screen, or entries in their newspaper. While those events had long lasting effect that rippled through society, I would say that they were felt over a much longer period. Thus, the 60’s were when the curve began to flatten, opinion began to change or at least kernels of thought planted.

            I’d also say that Carter just sent it to a further descent, Reagan had a chance but Iran-Contra blunted it, H.W. had a chance with 1st Persian Gulf but killed it with “read my lips”, Clinton-> Oval Office Sex, W-> Gulf II, Obama…?

            • Harold says:

              This is one of the reasons I focus on the Vietnam War, because it touched a lot more people than all those events that were “images on their screen, or entries in their newspaper”. Maybe not enough to be significant, but 150,000 wounded enough to require hospitalization, and look at this chart of deaths by year. 1969 was bad, but equal to 1967 and a big peak in-between (one source says Tet was only 1,536). Not quite 4/5th of the deaths under LBJ.

              I can say that in the heartland (“flyover country”) there was great frustration and anger over the lives wasted by LBJ’s ineptness. I can remember the maxim “Don’t send our boys there with one hand tied behind their back” from my mother, who had quite a few uncles fight in WWII (to this day she won’t buy a Japanese car).

              So I think that had a great impact, although different in kind from a Presidential scandal resulting in a resignation.

              Me, I was focused on the Apollo program, which of course sent the opposite message, to the point that for a very long while it was considered to be devastating to say “If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we [something not at all like it].” I suppose it encouraged Hubris which was inevitably followed by Nemesis.

              Anyway, I’m old enough to remember much of this stuff, as it happened or freshly afterwards, but not enough to make the considered judgement you’re making without a lot more examination. Either thesis is supportable and at this distance I’m not sure it matters.

              Except … Watergate did so much lasting and extreme damage to our political system, right down to our utterly broken budgeting system, although the insistence your opponents are literal criminals is lethally corrosive. The campaign finance “reforms” also play strongly into our broken presidential nomination system, but George McGovern with plenty of help gets most of the blame, I gather (after the 1968 Chicago (!) debacle he helped set up a system that, surprise surprise, he won the next nomination in).

              • aerodawg says:

                I saw an interesting analysis that the downfall in trust of the gov’t was due to economic and demographic factors.

                Basically, up through the 60s, the low level gov’t staff was comprised of people who had gotten their civil service jobs in the 30s, during the depression. During the 30s those were some of the only jobs available, so the gov’t was selective and ended up with a high proportion of smart, competent individuals. That’s why people from that time period have a much higher view of gov’t than some of us younger folks.

                As those people started to retire/die, times were better, civil service was more secure and less competitive, so you end up with a bunch of worthless warts staffing the gov’t. Since those are the people the public dealt with in the interim, that’s why we have a much more dim view of gov’t…

                • Harold says:

                  I’ve read about that too as a factor, as well as it getting smeared out a bit since during, say, the calendar ’60s “public service” became a more accepted thing. Think Kennedy’s Peace Corps, “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”, etc. Although I don’t have numbers, I know some fraction of the competent went into the Civil Service because of that Zeitgeist. (And note Obama’s “anything but capitalism” version of it.)

                  We also might want to look at charts of the attitudes towards politicians: public servants or our only distinctly native American criminal class?

                  And I think few who we’d care to voluntarily associate with can deny that today our ruling class is breathtakingly incompetent and even white line criminal (our favorite tax cheat), to the point they are collectively an existential threat to the Republic and our lives. We don’t know when or how the hammer(s) will fall, or, better, the Gods of the Copybook Headings will return, but I sure know I expect them before I expect to die of natural causes—due to medical issues this is potentially an existential threat to me.

                  • Andy says:

                    Good thread, lots of thought food. Anyone got any references? Sounds like a good topic that someone would have written on by now.

  2. Clay says:

    This whole debate right now feels like the Battle of the Bulge to me. The second amendment has intruded on to what use to be the homeland of gun control and I think the people there who always hated guns are lashing out one last time before their strength is finally depleted.

    • I’ve had that same feeling and have often used the same analogy. It’s time to send the gun prohibitionists back to wherever just like the Allies sent Joachim Pieper and his Waffen SS back to Germany on foot and minus their Panzers.

      Sebastian has a great post here and one that should be forwarded to all our friends and acquaintances.

  3. Jerry Johnson says:

    I encourage each of you to go to the following site in order to send our government masters an email.

    http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/1358153639sxc7bb5ppcv

    The site hosted by Ruger is entirely automatic and easy. No fuss and no money out of pocket.

    We are going to get screwed, it is what government does and it does it very well. So at least send an easy to do email that will notify our politicians of our cry to not infringe on our god given rights and abide by the constitution. Our founding fathers were truly brilliant in the writing of the constitution and put the second amendment there to safeguard us from the inevitable corruption of politicians and bureaucrats.

    Thank you in advance and please pass along the information to your family and friends.
    Sincerely,
    Jerry Johnson

    • Nathaniel says:

      Done. I’ve been sending this link around too. It’s a great one.

    • Bitter says:

      Actually, I would suggest that folks get the information on their own and write their own letters if at all possible. Form letters like this don’t make much of an impact. If your friends and family need help writing their letters, offer up some assistance.

      • Alpheus says:

        I would second this notion. One reason why I have been hesitant to using such a form is because I’d like to customize the issue for my State representatives–namely, to emphasise the need for Constitutional Carry, and for a Pre-emption Nullification bill with teeth.

  4. Matt says:

    This has even worked to an extent for me. My mother-in-law, who is very anti-gun, has adopted an agreeable tone on the subject and is actually not accepting her traditional sources of information on guns such as the news media.

    The reason is those “icky guns” including several EBRs were in her house for several years with me. Suddenly, here’s a normal, professional mid-30s something urban dweller with a gun habit. And nothing bad happened!

    She may not like them but she has recognized that there is nothing bad happening as a result. She acknowledges these attacks on gun owners are not the solution because she can see the direct impact to me and her daughter as a result. She knows I’m not unstable, responsible and knowledgeable. It becomes very tough to be the wrong type of people when you’re around one every day.

    It is quite a sea change from 6 years ago when she was horrified to see me cleaning an AR and asked if it was real. Her osmotic exposure to the Four Rules and the fact it was simply a day in, day out object that didn’t jump out of the cabinet has helped to change things. She didn’t know for those years I kept a loaded .45 in the house. Once I got her over “In this neighborhood?” and my comment “Do criminals never rob nice areas?”, she acknowledged that it did no harm and being prepared for an unlikely wasn’t a bad thing.

    It becomes really hard to dehumanize us once you know someone who is a shooter.

    • StevieY43 says:

      I’ve had a similar experience myself. My goal is to represent gun owners as well as I possibly can. I had a friend mention to me the other day that he didn’t expect push-back from someone “like me” (30ish, socially liberal, faculty at an academic medical center) when he posted a gun control puff-piece on Facebook.

      • henry8 says:

        As another socially liberal academic – my friends are getting used to my 2A viewpoint, and a number of them have quietly admitted to firearms experience, ownership and even CCW. :-)

        • Harold says:

          Ah, yes, let us not forget the extreme danger of a preference cascade which must be worrying some of our enemies. If that happens it’s all over for generations.

        • Andy says:

          Now if they can publicly admit and tell their congress that they do not care for further restriction…

          • Harold says:

            The first step is simply voting them out. A whole lot of Congress critters were sent home to spend more time with their families after the 1994 AW ban because they didn’t realize that a whole lot of voters would reveal their preferences in the privacy of a voting booth, whatever they’d say to a random nosy voice on a phone line asking them if they owned guns or supported allowing people to own baby killing assault weapons (Stockton).

            We have to continue to change the Zeitgeist, after we recover from this mess, and take it to our enemy’s heartland before more will speak out. And NY state might be a win/win if you have no connection to the state, in that if the gun grabbers win their extremes, hopefully overreach, might have interesting results.

            Hmmm, maybe the prices of Garands will go down ( 1/2 :-).

  5. Patrick says:

    They do have something to lose: Congress

    It’s hard to take high perspective now in 2013, but 1994 was the last time they went to the mat on this. I cannot help but wonder (hopefully) that with history as a guide here, 2014 is going to look like 1996. We have more gun owners, more carriers and more jurisprudence than we did in 1994. Hell, we can even call ourselves “exercisers of a civil right” without the other side arguing against us.

    I think two things need to be explored:

    – Obama cares very much about Gun Control and cares very little about those who might lose future elections because of it. He hates the NRA for opposing him so openly, and he has always sneered at the gun owner. His narcissism is so elevated, I have no doubt that he would willingly toss the party to the wolves to get a landmark Gun Control law into the system, whether it be at the state or federal level.

    – Progressive governors looking to get nominated saw Obama get re-eleceted under the ugliest of odds. They are assuming they will have it easy. The problem is, they are not Obama. Nobody named O’Malley or Cuomo will get the near-religious outpouring of support that Obama got.

    Add the two up, toss in some billionaire douchebaggery, and you got where we are today.

    • Harold says:

      I keep seeing these references to Cuomo running in 2016 and wonder what drugs he or these people saying this are on. (Of course, in truth they’re in a bubble.)

      Although I would note David “Spengler” Goldman’s comment about Clinton and Obama before the latter was elected, that America had no defenses against men like them who’d been abandoned by multiple fathers.

      (Not true for Cuomo, per Wikipedia his father “has been married for more than fifty years to his wife Matilda.”)

  6. Bill C. says:

    I for one won’t be shamed or deterred, but the contrary I’ll be showing up at more dinner parties, church gatherings, etc. Let them be the haters and discriminators in front of everyone else and show them as the ones to be ashamed. Make them live up to their own standards while I invite more people to the range.

  7. Regular Guy says:

    Wow, what a fine post!!

  8. Andrew says:

    So we were doing great a few months ago. Now they’ve counterattacked and brought the big guns and new recruits.

    Are we still winning, or are we about to have a loss that erases two decades of hard-fought gains?

    • Sebastian says:

      Hard to say. All we can do is rally the troops and hope we lick the bastards.

      • Harold says:

        If nothing gets passed at the national level (which I maintain is the way to bet) or beyond the usual suspects, plus I suppose a few states that are going Blue like the special case (Aurora) of Colorado, it will be a shattering victory.

        As the gun grabbers have been saying, if this can’t move the needle, what can? (Well, Enemies Foreign and Domestic has a thousand death scenario from a stadium stampede that could, but beyond that?)

      • Andrew says:

        On the topic of troop rallying, here’s a late Google Trends pull on NRA membership for the past year: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=nra%20membership&date=today%2012-m&cmpt=q

        And here’s life membership (past year): http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%22nra+life+membership%22&date=today+12-m&cmpt=q

        I’ll be interested to see it tomorrow, after the Biden report. I bet we’ll hit 2 million fans on Facebook, too. That’s all going well enough, but I’m still kind of dumbfounded that we could have unprecedented search quantities for membership, massive gun show lines, etc but only 100k new members. Somehow we’re failing to develop those leads.

        • Harold says:

          100K new members was an 18 day snapshot that included the holiday season, but maybe not the Friday when the NRA decloaked, which is when I rejoined. It’s way too early to make judgements based on that one statistic, especially if this turns into a long game nationally. Our Congresscritters do have minor money details to deal with right now, and those are more likely to gain votes than lose them like gun control, and they love their process, DiFi’s bill won’t get through the Judiciary Committee until every Senator on it give a speech during the hearings, etc. etc. etc.

        • Diane says:

          Story in Mother Jones regarding NRA membership: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/nra-membership-numbers

          • Harold says:

            I just glanced at it, but noticed some howlers made out of serious ignorance (well, par for the course from the MSM), e.g. not removing the dead from its rolls (which implies there were more than a million life members) and using audited magazine subscriptions as a proxy when it’s SOP for a household to only get membership levels high enough to get the one each of the ones they want, something I’d expect to see even more of in the Great Recession.

            Many independent groups have noted the NRA is remarkably honest, and the gyrations Mother Jones admits to in self-reported membership don’t exactly support the thesis.

            Oooh, and this could be taken as a sign MJ and company know they’re losing; convincing politicians that the NRA is a paper tiger is of course the only way to convince them not to be wary of our wrath.

            • Sebastian says:

              There’s also how many election ballots go out, which is all lifers and 5 year continuous members. I think that number is over 2 million.

  9. As I said yesterday and you said at the end of your post, they want us to be monsters. They are doing everything they can to make us look insensitive and inhuman.

    It’s for that reason I’m so pissed off at Yeager because honesty his behavior did more damage than any of us probably fully realize. His behavior is a perfect example for those who want to show us as inhuman. They can hold him up and say he was a trainer and educator. They can hold him up and say he represents the culture because of the amount of influence he had on his students.

    We’ve got some serious damage control we need to do and that last paragraph you wrote is spot on regarding what’s happening.

    • Harold says:

      A) I wonder if Yeager is going to be of much consequence in the scheme of things in the long or even short term, and B) this is the mirror of the “no enemies to the Left” principle. Since we’ve lost the greater culture war (“The reality is that there is no culture war. What is occurring now is a pacification effort.”), if we can’t afford the nutballs on our fringe coming to light, we have already lost. Since they of course exist, just like the ones on the other side like the hosts of Obama’s political coming out party, who in the ’70s planned to liquiate the estimated 10% of us who couldn’t be reeducated after the revolution (and the male of which in exquisite timing was featured in the NYT on the morning of 9/11 standing on an American flag).

      So getting incandescently upset over Yeager is beyond pointless, entirely unconstructive and sends important emotional energy into a black hole.

  10. Andy B. says:

    I just want to interject something — after first praising Sebastian on one of the finest posts ever.

    We frequently have debated various aspects of the importance of language and semantics. Allow me to suggest that we search for another, equivalent term for “culture wars.” Indeed our issue involves culture, and it’s a war, but I think “culture war” has become a loaded term with connotations to some people that will not make us friends when every friend is needed. More specifically, it can make enemies by branding us stereotypes we are not.

    I have made no secret of my lack of affection for social conservatism. I see it as just one more manifestation of authoritarianism, which to me is our real enemy, regardless of the issues. But I think if you asked most people (and this would actually be an interesting poll!) to itemize issues that make up the “culture wars,” issues that are rightly defined as “social conservatism” would be close to the top, and gun rights (except maybe now, when the issue is on everyone’s mind) would be close to the bottom. In other words, by using the term “culture wars” we are choosing to bundle our issue with a lot of other issues for which people have developed knee-jerk, visceral opposition, but to which there is no actual connection. (Was Obama’s bundling of “their bibles and their guns” really a slip of the tongue, or was it calculated to accomplish exactly what it did?)

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      You are doing just the same thing as what you fear when you alienate social cons as well.

      Most social cons are natural allies to the gun cause. Remember that the gun owners are not the only people that Obama has gone after and tried his “divide and conquer” strategy with. He already tried it with the Catholic Church and pro-lifers. Gun rights are also not at the top of most folks issues list, not even the die hard pro-gun folks.

      The culture war is not just a single issue, it encompasses traditional values as a whole including gun rights. Obama knew just what he was talking about when he listed “guns and religion” in the same sentence. We either all hang together or apart.

      Categorize as you want, but you deride the folks “flyover states” even more with your anti-social con banter.

      • Harold says:

        I would also embrace social conservatives’ authoritarianism if you claim to be a fiscal con … or are merely worried about the end game of the welfare state, or the European social democracy Obama has dragged us quite a ways towards.

        Americans will not let American children stave if they can do anything about it. Nor will we take them away from single mothers. So unless we do something about the ever increasing numbers of the latter the welfare state is going to continue to expand until “we run out of other people’s money” as Marget Thatcher said, referring to the problem with Socialism.

        • Henry Bowman says:

          “Americans will not let American children stave[sic] if they can do anything about it.”

          If this is true, than government welfare using forcibly extracted tax money is unnecessary.

          If this is false, than government welfare using forcibly extracted tax money is undemocratic.

          Either way, government welfare is unjustifiable.

          • Harold says:

            Good points … but this is all in the context of the social conservatives having been pushed into the margins of society, where they have no significant influence on policy (unless you count the Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, already mostly dismantled by Obama, one, and that rather stretches the definition of social conservative).

            They used to be the primary ones who handled this sort of thing and also kept it to manageable numbers through their, well, actually authoritarianism is entirely the wrong word to use. Closer to totalitarianism, really, the authoritarian will by and large leave you alone if your don’t threaten him. But we were all brought up to believe that being forced to wear a scarlet letter was worse than bastardry.

            Anyway, given the way society has evolved since then, the government is, well, more part of the problem than the solution, and worse, one party has adopted this system as an essential part of its coalition (however much of a medium to long term dead end that may be). And as Jerry Pournelle has pointed out, it’s very hard to legitimately change the social contract on people who’ve set up their lives on the current one.

      • Andy B. says:

        “You are doing just the same thing as what you fear when you alienate social cons as well.”

        Thanks for making my point.

        All I did was suggest that language can be subtle but important, and that using a single term — “culture wars” — may be a conscious turnoff to people who don’t buy the whole laundry list of issues that typically defines those “culture wars.” In the process I admitted that I am not a social conservative. But, that became “alienating social cons,” I gather because social cons bask in considering themselves culture warriors,” and like it to be bandied as much as possible.

        See how easily things turn on a word or two? And how loaded the term “culture wars” is?

    • Sebastian says:

      There’s always an issue with using labels. Even here, I speak of costal elites to include Chicago, though I guess that lake is pretty big. I use left-right a lot, even though it’s really a lot more complicated than that. But sometimes it helps to use the simple terms so people know what you mean, or to not overly complicate some other argument that could be a whole different post.

      I see what you are saying about culture wars, but there are two sides to any culture war. I’ll fight with social conservatives on guns if they really care about the issue… but on other culture wars, I’m on their opposite side.

      • Andy B. says:

        Oh, I absolutely agree, that I will fight alongside social conservatives on gun issues. And I have. But I also know not to be surprised if at some point they divert to pursuing the issues that are more important to them, especially when it comes to supporting candidates.

        I knew of one state level group in another state, that given a primary election choice between a candidate who had a pristine public voting record on gun rights, and one with no record except for rhetoric on guns — but a solid record as a pro-life activist — chose to endorse the pro-life activist over the time-proven pro-gun legislator. Their argument for doing so was pragmatic — that “so many of their supporters were pro-life that they’d lose a lot of money if they supported the pro-choicer” — but I knew from the profile of their leadership that that was BS. They may have been a “single issue” RKBA group, but what they were really about was that other culture war issue.

        Here’s a fun exercise: Watch the legislators and candidates that GOA will pull out all stops for. Check how many of them who may have held a public office, have a traceable public record on gun rights, compared to how many have proven credentials as culture warriors. You may be surprised at what you find, though I seldom am.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          Many times the life issue and gun issues go hand in hand with a candidate. Sometimes they do not. Sometimes it’s a matter of extremes. Sometimes the “no exceptions pro-gun” candidate favors some exceptions on abortion. Sometimes vice versa, with very little noticeable difference between an NRA A rating and an A- rating.

          Again, like I say, most do not vote entirely based on gun rights as their top issue. I usually tell fellow pro-lifers who might be “confused” about gun deaths that a trigger pull doesn’t always mean a death of a child whereas an abortion does. To me preservation of innocent life must be of utmost important whenever we debate the gun issues. When I go to the March for Life in DC on the 25th I plan to bring a consistent message to all of our legislators when I personally visit their officers door to door.

  11. HappyWarrior6 says:

    These folks are the real problem:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/new-york-state-senate-coalition_n_2238324.html

    A coalition of “Republicans and Independent Democrats” apparently doesn’t include anything near a bunch of constitutionalists in NY State.

    • Harold says:

      What about the people who voted in these RINOs and DINOs(?), or who allow their nominating process to present them with only such people? (Actually, NY state isn’t entirely bad, there are functioning 3rd parties and ACORN even started up a new one recently which broke the old “Republicans control the Senate” small c part of their constitutional order.)

      It’s a maxim that a people get the government they deserve … and perhaps we should remember Tammany Hall’s gangster Timothy Sullivan and his infamous 1911 Sullivan law, who’s inevitable consequences are playing out in those counties where those with mere handgun possession permits have been outed?

  12. Jacob says:

    While I agree that the current attack on us is based on shame, that really is not the issue. New York and New York City already has a gun culture. As I have said before Democrats (and Republicans) make decisions upon which issues to champion based upon which groups in turn support them. Since ILA refuses to speak with urban Democrats, let alone participate in their election process, their opinion doesn’t count. The image NRA has created for itself is not representative of urban gun owners. It is not representative of urban NRA members either. I’ve spoken with urban NRA members who work for NYC politicians. Instead of focusing on the 2nd as a single issue, NRA has decided to make it a largely conservative, Republican issue. That is what is killing us in places like New York, Chicago, California, etc.

    • Harold says:

      You are again making these allegations, which fly in the face of what most of the rest of us perceive of the NRA, plus the observed facts of e.g. their support of Harry Reid or 53 incumbent Democratic House members they endorsed in 2010 (to much Republican party dismay).

      “Extraordinarily claims demand extraordinary proof”; I don’t know if your claims quite rise to that level, but I’m going to need some specifics before I believe you.

      • Sebastian says:

        If Jacob is speaking of NRA’s messaging, it is definitely tilted more toward reaching rural gun owners. I’m a member of NRA because I understand what they bring to the table, and I have a pretty good idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are, but I find much of NRA’s messaging doesn’t really speak to me on any base emotional level, which I think you really have to do to engage most people. If I were the type to be barely engaged, I would not find much of NRA’s rhetoric compelling to me.

        Of course, this does bring up the issue, that if you do want to reach an urban audience, what do you change?

        • Jacob says:

          You start by getting involved with their elections. Democrats will tell this. It doesn’t have to be a race between and A and an F. It can be a primary between an loudmouth F and a ? who doesn’t care about the issue. Send out a postcard saying to vote against the F. As long there is participation that is all they care about. NRA doesn’t do anything for urban Democrats in New York and that is why they don’t care what NRA thinks. I’ve put resources in urban Democrat races and I get calls from higher up the food chain than anyone from ILA has ever gotten from a New York Democrat.

          • Sebastian says:

            I think part of the problem is you need local people who have a good read on the politics of that district and can give you an idea of which horses are worth betting on. How many primary challenges you’ve put resources into have paid out? I’m not that impressed with a phone call so much as actually defeating a sitting lawmaker.

            • Jacob says:

              You should care about phone calls when they are asking for opinions on pending legislation.

              As for primary stats, it looks to have averaged out to be about a 1 in 3 chance of a successful mission, either to re-elect or defeat an incumbent.

        • Andy B. says:

          I would go back to one of our earlier discussions and suggest hunting up some copies of the American Rifleman from the 1950s or 1960s, and tell me what in their content was attuned to appeal to urban, suburban, or rural members, as opposed to just gun owners and gun hobbyists? Now those were pristine gun and gun rights magazines!

          Why is it necessary to pander to anyone’s “cultural” tastes to produce a gun magazine? My dad and his brother became gun fanciers in South Philadelphia in the 1930s, just because they loved shooting them, down around the dumps and the railroad highline. What did South Philly’s mixed ethnic cultures have to do with any of it? Polish, Irish, Italian and Jewish kids, one generation removed from the old country, met each other while shooting rats, tincans and sparrows.

          I think appealing to any culture — to what, maximize profits? — smacks a little of things being turned around. Is a culture being wooed to gun ownership, or are gun owners being wooed to a culture?

  13. Jacob says:

    I’m hardly alone in this observation. LAID made similar observations about how NRA does not appeal to black people awhile back.

    Notice too that I said urban Democrats. Reid is not an urban Democrat.

    • Harold says:

      That’s entirely different than what you claimed above, and here’s the relevant bits from the second paragraph of his “About Me” bio:

      Rick is both an appointed NRA Training Counselor and an appointed NRA Chief Range Safety Officer. He is credentialed by the NRA (National Rifle Association) to teach the following: Firearms Instructor Training, Range Safety Officer Training, [and 7 less leveraged things]. Moreover, Rick is both a Life Member and a Membership Recruiter for the NRA.

      I’m not feeling a lot of NRA hate from him, although I only glanced at his site, which did convince me he’s really got his act together and his eye on higher level stuff that makes the biggest difference.

      Notice too that I said urban Democrats. Reid is not an urban Democrat.

      You also said:

      NRA has decided to make it a largely conservative, Republican issue.

      Until you make a responsive reply, I’m not going to be replying to you unless you say something truly outrageous.

  14. Henry Bowman says:

    Seriously, I can’t help but feel that what we are seeing today is the last great charge of the Army of Illusion.

    The gun-control camp has always one of the biggest Potemkin Villages ever erected. Handgun Control used to print “ONE MILLION STRONG” on their stationery at a time when they had only something like 10,000 contributors (hey, what’s two orders of magnitude when the ends justify the means?) Go to Charity Navigator and see that the Brady Bunch is rated F for eating all the money sent to them by the useful idiots, and paying it to themselves in salaries. There are multiple gun-control organizations out there with memberships of ZERO, other than the people drawing paychecks.

    There were 20 years or so over which these people drew on their unholy alliances with the liberal media to bluff America into believing that most Americans believed in gun control. These people have big voices and nothing else. All hat, and no cattle.

    And then the CCW revolution started in Florida. 48 times the “big voices” predicted blood in the streets; 48 times it absolutely failed to happen; 48 times America saw these phobics for the fallible and unpopular liars they were.

    Then, when the pro-gun intelligentsia began waking up and fighting back — filing briefs, winning court cases, exposing the victimization of innocents, dethroning and destroying the reputation of their Chosen Rewriter of the Narrative (Bellesiles) — they discovered the problem with bluffs that you can’t back up. They couldn’t get traction on ANYTHING they proposed, even on union-laid asphalt with a new set of tank treads.

    What we are witnessing today is their DEATH KNELL. They have found themselves on familiar playing fields: a random tragedy to exploit, the might of the lamestream media to thumb the tubs with phony video clips of fully-automatic rifles, and what they THINK is a mandate from a new socialist majority in the United States.

    But they’re wrong about that last part, and they will ultimately discover it. The majority of people DO NOT trust the government. The majority of people are NO LONGER frightened of people in their towns carrying “hidden guns.” In the past two months ALONE, more Scary Black Rifles have been sold than the TOTAL NUMBER of law-enforcement officers in the United States. From the vantage point of the bluffers, these people are totally invisible because they are just not part of the accepted worldview.

    Don’t get me wrong, this WILL take effort to fight. But it probably will NOT be the toughest fight we have had to win over the last 30 years, and we WILL win this one. I predict these people will get NOTHING.

    Sadly, this won’t put a final stake through the vampire’s heart, because Gun Control Nuts are less like vampires than they are zombies.

  15. Shootin' Buddy says:

    That was brilliant!

  16. JustSomeGuy says:

    An article in support of your thesis:

    Bitter Clingers Again

    JSG

  17. Carl from Chicago says:

    Just now read this. Fantastic narrative, very insightful and mature.

  18. Will says:

    The NRA had their “Armed Citizen” collection printed in a large book, in the early 90’s, IIRC. Very interesting reading. Coverage starts around 1900.

    The change in the public perception of guns and self-defense, and defense of property, is noticeable as you get closer to the end of the book.

    Really big change in the mid-60’s in the way the media (newspapers, mostly) presents the info. You can see the media bias gathering steam.

    (For the most part, these are newspaper clippings reprinted.) I don’t have access to the book anymore, but it is eye-opening reading about the early 1900’s. Worth reading, if you can lay your hands on it.

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