What Activism Matters Anymore?

I have to admit, I’m done arguing with conspiracy theorists. We don’t have mass shootings for a good while, and then we get two at a moment when it’s most convenient to the gun control crowd; even desperately needed. The pattern is there. I’m not going to waste time talking anyone out of weaving a yard with it.

No, I’m not going all CIA trained killers or crisis actors: I still don’t believe in the big conspiracy (though I do think little ones can happen). I’m just done arguing with that crowd. You do you.

If you ask me, the timing is explained by mass shootings being a media driven phenomena, and these killers are very concerned that their act earn them the notoriety they seek. So they are very tuned to the news cycle, and are probably aware when they are primed to get coverage. That’s not when there are pandemics and riots dominating the news.

I feel like most of the politicians are pretty well polarized into one camp or another at this point, just like everybody else, and there’s not a whole lot we’re going to do other than keep some of the more soft pro-2A folks in line. Does arguing with people on social media work? Probably not. I’ve come to the conclusion social media is useful for sharing cat pictures and pictures of your rugrats for the grandparents, and that’s about it. People who spew politics all day on social media are boors, and who wants to be a boor?

So I go back to keeping local institutions healthy, which, perhaps too conveniently, is what I’m currently involved with. But I didn’t exactly think I was saving the world when this blog was at its height of popularity and activity. The country’s institutions are broken. NRA is horribly broken. Conservative Inc has never worked. If we’re going to rebuild those after the realignment is finished tearing everything up, we’ll need local civil society. Steel those institutions and people, and get them ready to fight, and then help pick up the pieces once we reach a new center.

14 thoughts on “What Activism Matters Anymore?”

  1. It matters. Do you want to live in Virginia? From probably the strongest grassroots gun state in the country to full on socialist take over in less than 20 years. And this would’ve happened a lot sooner but for VCDL in the gun arena, and some other groups in their respective lanes.

    What happened there is coming to other east coast states too.

    But if you don’t have vocal gun rights orgs bringing the fight to weak kneed, surrender monkey politicians, you won’t have much to blog about except how cool it was when it was still legal for you to own firearms.

    1. Virginia is facing the issue of taking in a huge number of immigrants into Northern Virginia who don’t value gun rights and federal agencies moving there. Obama’s policy toward Virginia did a lot to move it into the blue column.

      And keeping local (I should have included state in that) organizations healthy is exactly what I was speaking of. Our national institutions are hopelessly broken right now.

      1. That’s true, but the immigrants you are speaking about are from New York and New Jersey. VA and especially up north has a large illegal immigrant population that doesn’t vote and a large legal immigrant population that votes at the same rate as their respective demographic in other states. So the issue isn’t so much legal immigration from south of the border, it’s northern flight.

        Obviously keeping the ball rolling forward is huge, especially after “signature wins” to prepare for the rainy day.

  2. But I do admit that my enthusiasm for grassroots activism has been severely affected by the fact that nearly everyone I’ve ever encountered through it has been thoroughly and completely full of shit. There are exceptions, of course, but being a true believer takes a certain quality I do not have.

    1. “being a true believer takes a certain quality I do not have.”

      Very astute. I recommend the classic book The True Believer by Eric Hoffer to anyone who hasn’t read it. I credit some of the close escapes I’ve had in life, to having read it.

      I consider myself a recovering True Believer, inclined to fall off the wagon more often than I care to admit.

      Anyway, if you analyze much of what I preach around here, a common theme in it is “don’t take everything that’s handed to you at face value.”

      1. I don’t expect people to be perfect. One of my tenets is that we can get still accomplish great things with very flawed and imperfect people.

        But I am questioning where online is going as a tool for the gun rights movement. But these days, I think the big issue is a lack of… I’m not sure what to call it. But “information hygiene” is one of them. The other is recognizing the line between being an advocate and being a boor. Most political activity I see on social media is boorish: just people spewing, yelling, or otherwise not being interested in ideas. But mostly that’s because I follow friends and family, and for most of them, I don’t really care to listen to their political opinions.

        I’m advocated for aggressive normalcy for a some time, but it seems things are getting worse, not better.

      2. “I recommend the classic book The True Believer by Eric Hoffer to anyone who hasn’t read it.”

        One caution: Eric Hoffer was self-educated, I presume by reading other social philosophers from no later than the early 20th century. His style was archaic, I assume from emulating the authors he had read. Younger readers can find that off-putting. I treasure the book, but when I recommended it to my own sons, they were pretty much “WTF?”

        When I was a kid I started reading books from the beginning of the last century, when even “boys’ books” were written in stilted English, so I’m kind of used to it; people a generation or more younger may not be able to get past it.

        I tried to get my grandson to read Ernest Thompson Seton’s Rolf in the the Woods (1911), which I loved at his age and had spent hours reenacting scenarios from it, and he was really “WTF?”

        I think there’s a message about the evolution of culture buried in that.

    1. It sounds like they’re applying the same standards for guns, that we applauded when they applied them to drugs.

      Of course drugs don’t have their own amendment in the constitution, but the rest of the search-and-seizure principles would seem to apply.

      That’s what law-and-order gets ya. Not advocating for drug abuse, but just sayin’.

      (I was at the NRA “secret” meeting in Harrisburg where the NRA gave AG Mike Fisher his “Defender of Justice Award” for pushing legislation that would have gutted our state constitution’s Article I provisions limiting warrantless search-and-seizure.)

      1. The NRA has never been a gun rights org. They had an entirely different focus when formed. They were always a .gov supporting enterprise, and the gun rights angle was superimposed on them by those who recognized that there might not be any guns to train with if the .gov wasn’t reined in, along with a major influence of those who realized that it could be a huge money maker to scare people just like politicians do it.

        I’m reminded of the history of Colt as an example. After Sam Colt died, the company eventually got taken over by people who were really lousy at making money. This became their corporate DNA, as each generation of management hires the same type of people to replace them. How bad were they? Colt lost money during WW2! The big question is how long will it take the new buyers to toss every management body associated with them? If they don’t do this, they will end up regretting their purchase.

        The NRA requires a complete flush of the management to fix their problems. There is no other viable fix.

  3. “What Activism Matters Anymore?”

    What I would suggest might be a fit for you would be to work in some way toward recapturing the Republican Party from the Trumpites who took it over. I’m suggesting that based on my assumption that you still have a level of faith in the Republican Party that I never had.

    The only party I ever embraced was the Libertarian Party, which of course was a farm team for the Republicans in my day, though we never admitted it. But, the Republicans used to poach people with perceived “potential” from the LP whenever they could.

    I remember the “Libertarian Republican Organizing Committee” (LROC), which I now believe was a front, and of course the “Republican Liberty Caucus” still exists. Back in the ’90s I always thought people who involved themselves with those things were more likely to find their libertarianism perverted, than they were to influence the Republican Party in any way, and I think I was right. What I see referred to as “libertarian” these days defies any definition I ever knew, and I used to be pretty gullible.

    Whatever faction takes over the existing Republican Party will win the near-future factional fight. I’m falling back on some of my old LP rap here, but both the Republicans and Democrats have so rigged the American electoral system for themselves that there is no hope for a “third party” to be anything but a spoiler, at best. A third party cannot win major elections on its own merits. So, whichever “conservative” faction is forced to the outside of the existing system is destined to lose.

    Of course, a faction with infinite patience could start now to infiltrate the Republican Party, the way the faction that would become the Trumpites did, over 40 – 50 years, but I’m not sure the Republican Party or the country has that long.

    1. So, you never liked the Republicans, and yet you want to toss the one change that made a difference in the party, which was/is Trump. Looks to me that you don’t want to see any changes that might make a difference in the political landscape. I suspect that you REALLY won’t like his replacement, as that person should be much more intense.

      1. “Looks to me that you don’t want to see any changes that might make a difference…”

        I could also put a gun to my fucking head and pull the trigger, and experience a real difference. That’s pretty much what the NRA et al did when they bedded down with Trump. Nothing bad that is going to befall gun owners in the near future couldn’t have been predicted from the NRA formalizing the linkage between “gun rights” and Trump’s bullshit alt-right issues.

        I’ve made the analogy before to Admiral Yamamoto’s successful attack on Pearl Harbor. He immediately reflected “I fear we have but awakened a slumbering giant and filled him with a new resolve…” Japan’s “success” at Pearl Harbor was analogous to Trump’s successful election in 2016.

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