The Big Debate: Godwin?

Joe summarizes a debate that’s happened within the community that I’ve been following but haven’t joined in. Joanna I think makes some good points too. Partly because I don’t fall cleanly on one side or another. It can’t be denied that a very significant motivation for gun control is a form of cultural condescension, and a any bit of discussion on the Internets quickly reveals that many people have a prejudiced view of the kind of people gun owners are, and associate gun ownership with certain cultural stereotypes. It might not be racism, or anti-semitism, but it’s a similar form of intolerance nonetheless, and that should be pointed out. But in doing that, I do think we need to be careful about what we compare ourselves to. Not everyone who believes in gun control has a bigoted view of gun ownership, and not every discussion of gun owners is necessarily driven by cultural prejudice.

But Joe is fundamentally correct that the cultural condescension can’t go unchecked, or it’ll grow, and it is often useful to point out how it’s not that different from other forms of intolerance. But more often that not, I think the prescription for that is for people to learn that reality doesn’t match the stereotypes they have in their head, which means they have to learn they have gun owners and shooters in their social circles. One of the reasons I think cities like New York and Chicago have become such wonderful breeding grounds for these attitudes is it’s highly unlikely political and cultural elites will have gun owners within their circles of friends. This is a product of the legal environment in these places, which hopefully we can change soon.

8 thoughts on “The Big Debate: Godwin?”

  1. I’d say the idea that you can reach the truly culturally condescending elites has limited value at best.

    I know.

    Because of my job, I come into daily contact with several folks who consider themselves to be very superior elites compared to the fly-over red-state peasants who own guns.

    Those elites who have truly condescending attitudes cannot be reached no matter how you might try.

    They’re simply too smart, too sophisticated, too urbane and cosmopolitan.

    They are just better than all you bumpkin knuckle-draggers who own those silly guns. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.

    Here’s an analogy. In the late 19th and early 20th century, there were some black civil rights leaders who felt that to be accepted as being as good as whites, blacks had to perform better than whites.

    They had to be better students, better dressers, have more polished manners, etc. etc. etc just be considered as good as.

    Of course, that idea experienced a backlash in the 1960s or so with black civil rights leaders who went the other way, with the “Back to Africa” style clothes, hairdos, names, etc.

    Part of the reason for that backlash was that no matter how well a black man might dress, speak, perform at his job, he wasn’t going to be accepted by the true bigots.

    You cannot dress nice enough, cannot be polite enough, cannot be good at your job enough to make the Klan change their minds about you.

    When it comes to those who truly think they are elites, who truly condescend when it comes to gun owners, you are basically encountering the anti-gun Klan.

    No matter the education, the polish, the social graces they might show, the anti-gun Klan is just as big a stinking dog-crap pile of bigoted, prejudiced rotteness as the other more famous Klan.

    In other words, don’t go out of your way to convert the truly condescending ones.

    They cannot be reached, because you are merely a silly peasant, and they are just smarter than you are.

    I learned the hard way about these bigots, and quit trying myself about 10 years ago.

  2. There’s always going to be some folks who can’t be reached, but I’ve had folks display some majority condescending attitudes toward gun ownership moderate their views, at least to my face, after they found out I was a shooter.

    The advantage we have that racial minorities did not is that we can hide who we are until people get to know us, then spring it on them. It would be like, in terms of racial intolerance, if people could get to know you, like you, then you suddenly wipe off the makeup and reveal you’re really a black person. That can be rather shocking to people, but it can also be educational.

    Sure, there are people who will just shun you if you tell them what your hobby is, or that you keep a gun for self-defense. But even if the people who moderated their view only did it to my face, that’s at least progress, but you now at least have them realizing their intolerance is a liability in at least one relationship.

  3. Uh huh…major condescending attitudes until they found out you were a shooter, then they moderated….at least in your presence.

    I’ve had the same experience several times.

    And then I’ve read their blogs that they think they’ve concealed with cutesy little nomme de plumes, or overheard them in the next office, or out in the hallway when they didn’t realize I was in my office, or when they thought they were out of earshot.

    Bigoted pieces of crap typically stay bigoted pieces of crap unless they have a truly dramatic “Road to Damascus” type experience.

  4. Joe Huffman puts forward a good argument for “1931”. I think that’s a little conservative if you try to force gun rights into the nazi Germany paradigm.

    I think of things on a different continuum, because I don’t believe gun owners will be the only ones pigeonholed, but I could see our rights almost evaporating with people like Cass Sunstein pulling strings. I see it more as phases of communism (which I’m sure some would disagree with), where we’re in the “revolution” phase, which is closely followed by the extinguishing of the middle class.

    If I’m right, gun owners wouldn’t be the only ones (we’d just be high priority). Which is why gun owners need to take a seat at the table of any groups pushing for limited government (ie tea parties).

    While logistically it seems impossible to put a full ban/registration in place, it’s important to remember that we’re not far from it. If you look at how quickly some nations parted with individual firearm rights and know the players here, we’re not far enough NOT to be a screaming minority. So whether you’re on the side of invoking Godwin’s law or not, it’s worth having the debate. Thanks for posting it.

  5. I tried to leave this comment at Joe’s place but it would’t take.

    Joe, I’d like to offer a contrary view. As Linoge said, you’re very gifted in wordcraft, but that doesn’t make your pleonastic premise a valid one.

    Comparing the persecution of gun owners to the Jews of 1930s and 1940s Germany is ridiculous. It’s nothing more than another example of “grandiose victimism.” I invented that expression for posts just like this one.

    The problem is, it’s a great post you’ve put together with all your talent of discerning truth from falsity and all that, and when some of your readers take it into their minds, it pushes them towards an edge that they’re already dangerously close to. No one is coming for their guns, yet you heard what Straightarrow said, “I know not what others will do, but people will die before they put me or mine in a 40&8. Nor will I wait until they are comfortable enough to make the attempt.” That’s sick, Joe. That’s dangerous.

    It’s irresponsible of you to foment such volatile attitudes. Joanna said it right.”IT’S NOT KRISTALNACHT.” But that’s not the message you’re pushing to your followers, is it, Joe.

    Sebastian, About that condescension, I think it’s a good reminder. I often forget that most gun owners are responsible people. When I do think about it, I realize there is only a percentage of bad apples, and the question often gets around to how big is that percentage.

    Thanks for posting the comment I left for Joe. I think it was technical problems on his site or maybe on my own server.

  6. MikeB,

    Sorry for the technical difficulties. Captcha appears to time out if you wait too long and you have to reenter it.

    I’ve turned if off for now. I may have to turn it back on if the spammers notice.

    Do you have anything other than “proof by vigorous assertion” that I am wrong?

    And you apparently have a reading comprehension problem because I specifically said it was not Kristallnacht and it was not like anything past 1931, let alone anything in the 1940s.

    There are people “coming for my guns”. If I were to attempt to travel with my everyday guns and ammo through California, or New Jersey, or Chicago, or New York City, and probably a few other jurisdictions I, if caught, would spend the rest of my life in jail. Bloomberg has specially called for the banning of guns and ammo that I own and recommend to others.

    Again, it is very clear you are unable or unwilling to determine truth from falsity.

  7. “No one is coming for their guns”

    And yet we have sitting U.S. Senators who not only support all manner of gun control but have actually stated they’d ban and confiscate everything if given the chance. A certain female Senator from CA comes to mind……

    The societal views towards, and treatment of gun owners in some areas of this country does parallel the treatment of Jews during the early years of the Nazi’s. One only need look at the views of some of MikeB’s blog buddies to see this in action. Just look at the attitudes towards gun owners in major anti-gun strongholds.

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