Joe Huffman notices the virtual snowball fight that I engaged with in the Bradys and brought up the issue of bigotry again. I think it’s pretty undeniable, and thinking about it, bigotry was exactly what angered me about Morford’s editorial. A commenter over at Joe’s seems surprised, and asks, “So are you saying that there is a prejudice against gun owners in the same way there was against Jews and Blacks?”
There is, and not really that specifically gun ownership, but in the culture that surrounds, or perhaps in the culture the bigot perceives surrounds it. It’s a form of cultural condescension — a belief that “we’re” better than “those people.” So in that sense it’s not all that different than prejudices against Jews of Blacks, at least in terms of the factors in human nature that drive the attitude. This is probably why I’m interested in this issue to such a degree, because I find that type of attitude revolting. In a free society, we’re all entitled to an opinion, but no one is entitled to look down on someone else because they think, look, or act differently. That’s the very definition of bigot.
I buy into Joe’s notion to a degree, because you can’t deny someone like Morford is a bigot — he is. The reluctance Joe might sense is real though. I don’t buy the comparisons to the KKK, because the KKK was about a lot more than looking down on black people, and using the political system to deny them their rights. When the anti-gun movement becomes a domestic terrorist operation — when I have anti-gun folks meddling in my personal life, trying to ostracize me from society, or trying to intimidate me into silence, I might change my mind on that. I can deal with the gun control folks looking down on me. Burning a cross on my lawn would be a considerably more serious matter, and they don’t advocate or promote anything of that evil a nature.
The other reluctance I have is that I’m not sure people can really wrap their head around around the concept, both from outside and inside the issue. Morford is an obvious bigot, but not everyone who opposes gun ownership, or favors more gun control, rises to that level or hold deep cultural prejudices. I’ve noticed more than a few times folks on our side labeling as bigots people who simply disagreed with them. I don’t think that adds to the discourse.
But fundamentally, I think Joe is right that many people, like Morford, who hold anti-gun views deeply hate gun owners and the culture that surrounds it. They are bigots by the proper definition of the word. They are better than you, you see. You will be reeducated and brought into their enlightenment. I might not agree that rises to the level of the KKK, but that’s not to say it’s not a dangerous way of thinking. Taken to an extreme, it can end up looking like this. It’s not an attitude I think should exist among reasonable people, which is why I was disappointed to see the Brady Campaign endorsing it, even if I wasn’t all that surprised.