Moderate or Radical?

I want to clear up some things I said yesterday, and talk about a few issues. I definitely don’t want anyone to think I’m implying that other gun bloggers are extremists, or that more radical bloggers need to pipe down and be quiet. We’re all extremists compared to views of much of the general public, and I think it’s important to be cognizant of that. I also definitely don’t want to imply anything negative toward Ryan Horsley and how he’s handling his situation. Government agents are trying to close Red Trading Post, his family’s business. I don’t blame him at all for fighting back, or the way he’s been fighting back, and I hope he sticks it to them in the end and keeps his FFL.

My post from yesterday can best be summed up as “We have to be careful what we tell people, because there are boneheads out there.” If people show up to take a peek at what inspectors are doing, I really want them to be reasonable, because this kind of thing could get ugly fast if they are not.

David suggested that he’s not critical of the moderates, but that a more radical approach has it’s place, and I think he makes a good point with this. I read David’s blog because he picks up a lot of important stuff other people don’t, and the way he approaches our issue has a lot to do with the difference in content and style. I can’t, and wouldn’t deny him his place.

My objection to the radical approach has less to do with a disagreement with the radicals on many goals, than the fact that I think it’s not politically effective. Politics in a republic is really a debate between factions, and the voters are the ones who get to judge which side has the better arguments. American voters tend to be pragmatic, and not terribly ideological. In many ways this frustrates me, but in societies where that isn’t the case, they resort to violence more often to settle political questions. In the American political climate, you have to appeal to the voter’s sense of pragmatism, which means you need to use arguments they can relate to.

In talking to people about shooting, carrying, and the right to bear arms in general, I’ve had some that look at me like I had just eaten a kitten. Had even more who’s eyes gloss over, or who get that “oh god, I wish this guy would shut up” look. Our ideas and beliefs are pretty radical when presented to your average voter. This is a sad sad state of affairs, but it’s the reality that’s been made for us by a century of progressivism, urbanization, and a uniformly hostile media environment. It will take a long time to undo.

I consider people adhering to a more radical approach to be allies in this fight, but I won’t hide that I think a more incremental and moderate approach is more effective, and I will advocate for that.

UPDATE: Oops… I didn’t intent to close comments.