Carrots and Sticks

A very good essay by Brian Keith up on Joe Huffman’s site describing the divide between the two parts of our movement in terms of “carrots” and “sticks.” I agree with the basic premise. The only thing I would add is that sometimes the things sticks can do can thoroughly screw up what the carrots are trying to accomplish through the political process. That’s not how we’d like it to be, but politicians are not courageous people, and getting the cats to herd the way we want is a tricky and delicate process.

Like I said in a previous post, philosophically, I have no problem with the “I Will Not Comply Crowd.” I live in a state with a similar regime to Washington for handguns, and it’s probably one of the most ignored laws in the commonwealth. I have no problem with civil disobedience.  I don’t disapprove of what the sticks have been doing in Connecticut, because I don’t think there’s anything we carrots can do to help the Nutmeg State, for the time being. We’re challenging the law in federal court, and maybe, maybe down the road we could federally preempt it using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That’s thin gruel, and I recognize that. But we are trying, and I think over the long run we have a good chance of being successful.

The big strategic question of gun rights in the last two years of the Obama Administration is how we defang Bloomberg, because he, without a doubt, is the single biggest threat our gun rights have faced since the 1990s. He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes. He’s not going to be concerned with carrots either, because most of us aren’t billionaires, and don’t have the money to throw around the political process that he does. So what do we do?

12 thoughts on “Carrots and Sticks”

  1. “He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes.”

    Out of context, or even in context, that quote sounds like ‘sticks’ is a code word for ‘threat of force.’

    This isn’t Columbia, the gun community is not the mob, and I would really hate to see this blog on the front of CNN’s website for that quote.

    1. “Sticks” in this case being a metaphor for “threepers,” and “carrot” being the metaphor for “prags,” to use another context. Obviously this blog is an advocate of the carrot approach.

      1. From my original post:

        The Carrot says “I’ll work with you on your terms, follow your rules, and in exchange you’ll give me more political power.”

        The Stick says “Your rules exist to keep me powerless. I will break them and I dare you to try to stop me.”

        At the next rally in Olympia on February 7th, some Sticks will be breaking the law by carrying long guns in to the Gallery of the Legislature.

        The State Patrol will decide to either enforce the ruling of the Legislature making that illegal or enforce the US and WA Constitutions which expressly recognize the right to keep and bear arms.

  2. Bloomberg should not be ignored, but I don’t get the absolute preoccupation with him. He is what he is. No more and no less. He won’t change for us. Instead it appears we change for him?

    Bloomberg does not have votes in Congress. We do. Bloomberg does not have millions of people who are politically active every cycle. We do.

    Bloomberg wants to have what we have. The more we make this about him, the more likely we give him what he wants. Every time we make him the issue, we take our eyes off the ball. The issue is pushing more protections for our rights.

    That means focus on Congress and the legislatures where we can make a difference. I don’t get why people are looking at MAIG/Bloomberg/Soros and completely ignoring the fact that we have a GOP majority in the House and Senate that has promised to take care of us if we voted for them. Yet…nothing. Where is ILA? Where is SAF? Where are the bloggers calling Congresscritters and asking about reciprocity/FOPA/commercial sales protections amendments?

    Respectfully, focus should be: Amendments in Congress, not Billionaires in NYC.

    Stop focusing on the things you cannot change, and instead work on the things you can. I promise Bloomberg is not sitting around worrying about us. He has a plan and he is working it. The fact we spend more time on his minion Shannon Watts than on Mitch McConnell’s yet-unmet campaign promises is to his advantage.

    1. But Bloomberg is powerful in the sense that he has money, and for some reason (little authoritarian bully) he has it in for guns. The rules he is promoting are very insidious. They look benign to the average voter, but what they are intended to do is to erode the gun culture. Look what he’s using MDA for; it’s all a big public relations affair to make guns icky. He won’t succeed in eliminating it in most places, but if his background check crap gets passed in enough states, he can start to erode at gun culture. IMHO, he is to be vehemently opposed at every turn.

  3. I don’t get why people are looking at MAIG/Bloomberg/Soros and completely ignoring the fact that we have a GOP majority in the House and Senate that has promised to take care of us if we voted for them.

    Because Bloomberg has demonstrated his ability to buy elections, and the promises of politicians are worth less than the hot air they’re made of.

  4. Okay, sure Bloomberg is the most dangerous element of the gun-control movement. But the gun-control movement as a whole is in retreat and in danger of imploding, and Bloomberg hurts the movement as much as he helps it.

    The antis have admitted defeat to themselves and to the public when it comes to action at the Federal level. And now they claim they will focus at state level action. But the primary damage they can do at the state level is make gun control worse in states where gun control is already awfully bad. And when they do that it provides the perfect example to the entire nation of the real goals of the gun control movement, exposing their extremism and exposing the true lack of effectiveness of gun-control at controlling crime.

    The creation and enforcement of harsh gun control in Blue States also generates victims of gun-control. The contrast between the extremist Bloomberg and the victims of the laws he promotes can only accelerate our final and total victory over gun control. Bloomberg is a near perfect villain and he is creating near perfect martyrs. How can we lose?

    1. Washington State had very good gun laws for a blue state. Nevada also has decent gun laws. Bloomberg already won a major victory in Washington, and Nevada is almost certainly next. Maybe we’ll get lucky and beat him in Nevada, but I’m not holding my breath.

  5. I believe the question we should be asking is: What would the founders of our nation do? Many of our Rights have already been transformed into privileges…and with that action we get placed on the defensive—hence the continuous degeneration of these privileges…. Take gun rights as an example—we’ve been losing that war for a hundred years now. We continue to use the same losing strategy of using the law…when the fact is the law (our constitutional republic) died long ago. A free People would be willing to give everything to secure their liberties–That willingness appears to have does along with the Republic. Keep playing the game that they control and you’ll always lose.

    1. Even though I’ve only scratched the surface of researching this time period, for my own purposes of family history, the “abuses and usurpations” they suffered don’t come close to what we’re experiencing today. I’m not saying it’s not headed in that direction, but it’s not there right now.

      And our founders did everything humanly possible to avoid it coming to war.

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