I spend waaaay too much time online. (If I spent as much time at the range as I do Facebook, I could qualify for Top Shot.) Anywho, I got into it recently with a couple of people of the far-Left persuasion, one of whom was from California. You know. The Home of Legislation Designed To Drive Gun Manufacturers Out of Business. Now I don’t mean to insult the Conservatives that live in the Golden State (yes, Virginia, there ARE Conservatives in California. I know two of them personally). But I’ve always wondered why the most vocal of Californians seem to be Hell-bent for leather to ban guns, ban oil, ban nuclear energy, fast food, and every other thing that makes America great. And I think I have an idea why, courtesy of a flame war on Facebook.
Conversations on Facebook are weird. You can post something innocuous (or seemingly so) and two or three comments later, find yourself miles away from the original topic, and poles apart from the opinions expressed by others. Case in point, any discussion that touches on politics, religion, or guns.
I was typing along, minding my own business, when a bomb-thrower/far-left/self-described “merry prankster” decided to lob a little verbal napalm my way. In a totally unrelated topic, he introduced the subject of my affinity for guns. Of course it wasn’t said like “well…you like guns, so you must be a Conservative nutjob.” Nope. He was far less subtle than that.
It was more in the vein of likening an appreciation for guns with an accusation of being under-endowed (in a sort of Representative Weiner sort of way). I tend not to bother responding to taunts like that, but they devolved further. His next salvo had to do with a prominent right-wing talk show host, and a completely bogus rumor some loon started, trying to force him to deny that he was guilty of rape and murder.
That case ended up in the courts. Facebook’s only court is the court of public opinion, and your only hope is to out-articulate your opponent. While dealing with these ether-heathen, one of them (from California no less) played the “politically correct” card. They said they couldn’t believe how insensitive and bigoted I was, not caring about “the people.”
I’ve heard this crap before. A lot. It’s not always about guns. Sometimes it’s about the “economic justice” B.S. (code words for “soak the rich”/income redistribution), immigration policy (“Illegal aliens?! How cruel and bigoted…they’re not aliens! They are undocumented workers), and, of course “You Conservatives/Tea Partiers hate the poor and just want the fat cats to screw us all.”)
[Note: I’m not rich. And I may be a few pounds over my fighting weight, but I’m not really fat. Really.]
So I’ve heard the arguments. Ad infinitum. But WHY do they believe what they do? Then one of them said “I hope I never have to live in a world where you have to scratch and claw your way to the top. It’s not fun. It’s not fair. In the America I want to live in, everyone is equal.”
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. I get it. It’s Animal Farm, writ large. Only they either haven’t read the last chapter, where some are more equal than others, or they think they’re gonna be in the ruling class. They haven’t thought things through, and they aren’t interested in what we have to say about things. (Not that we’re that eager to listen to them, but that’s only because they’ve had the floor for most of the last 50 years.)
In the words of Strother Martin, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”
As I told one liberal friend, “we both want a better America. We just differ on how to get there, and what America will look like when we do.” And that’s the rub. You see, fundamentally, I believe the only way to have an America, period (and not some MexiCanaMerica) is to get back to the vision of our Founding Fathers, which includes the Second Amendment guarantees that private citizens have the right to defend themselves.
I believe that the Second Amendment is the one that guarantees us all the other ones in the Bill of Rights. And I believe that the tenants of Progressivism endanger the Constitution and our rights as Americans. So is it really true that Conservatives ♥ The Constitution, and Progressives don’t?
If you study the Constitution, you begin to see it as this amazing machine, with gears and springs and levers that all work together as one well-oiled, balanced machine. Balance. That’s the key word. As in checks and balances. Separation of powers. States rights. And you begin to realize that, monkeying with the Constitution is not something to be taken lightly.
Changing one piece of it is like pulling a wheel off your car. Sure, the motor might still work, but you won’t get very far. Generally speaking, the Left looks at the Constitution as something that needs tinkering – a “living document” that can be interpreted according to the needs, desires, and political winds of the day. The Right sees it more like the Ten Commandments – writ large in stone, and not to be trifled with lightly.
From a philosophical point of view, that plays out in the realm of goals, dreams and aspirations – not to mention our respective worldviews. Those on the Left seem to fall into two categories.
In the first category are those well-meaning people who want the world to become a better place, and assume that, if only all the bad people would just cooperate and Do The Right Thing, then we’d all be better off. They believe that the laws they want to pass offer a way to force people to do the ‘right’ thing, and create the world as they see it.
There are, however, a percentage of those on the Left that see the Progressive agenda as creating two classes of people – the ruling class, and everybody else. They realize that as long as they are running the show, THEY’LL be okay.
Conservatives – true Conservatives (like those in the Tea Party caucus, not the RINOs we have running around inside the Beltway calling themselves Conservatives) believe that people succeed when they rely on themselves, that entitlements are morally no different than economic slavery, and that while not everyone will succeed in a Capitalistic, free market economy, more people will succeed than in any other system – especially including Socialism.
We see the world in realistic terms – sometimes bad things happen, and you do what you can to protect yourself from them.
Gun ownership is largely the purview of the Right. Few Liberals (comparatively speaking) support private gun ownership. I believe this is due to that fundamentally different worldview. Conservatives believe in self-reliance. Progressives believe in turning over our lives to the State. (I know that’s a sweeping generalization. But no matter which side you’re on, take the partisan hat off for a sec, and think things through. I’ll bet you agree more than disagree with that analysis.)
If you want to dig deeper, I’ll share this with you. It’s the most non-political, politically-neutral test I’ve been able to devise for if, deep down, you’re a Conservative or a Liberal. And the question itself may surprise you. Here it is:
Do you believe that there is a finite amount of wealth in the world,
or do you believe that wealth is or can be created,
with a potentially limitless amount of wealth in the world?
Think about that for a second. It’s an important question. If you believe that there is a finite amount of wealth in the world, then you also believe that there are “Haves” and “Have Nots,” and more importantly, the “Haves” have their wealth at the expense of the Have Nots.
If you believe wealth is created, then the wealth of the “Haves” does not affect the wealth of the Have Nots. That, boys and girls, is the foundation of two conflicting philosophies – with Conservativism/Capitalism/Free Markets on the side of infinite wealth, and Socialism/Marxism/Communism/Statism on the side of finite wealth.
Now I’m the first to admit that we’re all being handed a pack of lies by both parties. The Left’s stock-in-trade is class envy/class warfare. Which only makes sense if you believe that there is a finite amount of wealth in the world. Ultimately, Socialists believe in “social” or “economic justice” the twin euphamisms du jour for the forced redistribution of wealth.
If you’re a Conservative, you believe that whatever you earn, you should get to keep most of it, and the government has no business redistributing your hard earned profits to someone who didn’t earn them, no matter how noble the reason. But just as the Democrats have largely abandoned the populism that got them to the dance in the first place, in exchange for being beholden to special interests like the unions and far-Left groups like the ones who want amnesty for illegals.
Republicans are just as bad. They’ve largely abandoned the “smaller is better” philosophy in regards to government and taxes, and lined up at the trough with the other pork barrel aficionados. Even worse, many of them (McCain and Romney, I’m talkin’ ’bout YOU) have espoused support for the Progressive agenda of things like carbon taxes and amnesty.
There’s no real difference between many in the GOP and the DEMs. Think of the DEMs as “Progressive” and a lot of the GOP as “Progressive Lite.” So how does this relate to guns? Simple.
Progressives see the world and believe that they can change human nature, legislating behavior modification so that they can bring about change – world peace, no wars, no violence, no poverty – you name it. They see guns as part of the problem, useful ONLY for the ‘ruling class’ to enforce their rule and subjugation of the rest of us. Conservatives see guns as the one thing that private citizens can own that will stop the oppression of the government when and if it gets out of hand.
Now there are some Liberals who will disagree with me. (See below, about five minutes after I post this.) But if you ask them to share their beliefs, I think you’ll find that they like certain planks of the Progressive platform, but part ways with them over the Second Amendment. In my book, that means they aren’t completely on board with the Socialist agenda. (Which is cool…I’m of the opinion that EVERYbody should think for themselves, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on.) I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many Conservatives that object to the private ownership of guns.
That’s not to say that all Conservatives are right and Progressives are wrong. But it’s hard for me to imagine that Progressives can reconcile private gun ownership with the rest of their beliefs.
Now, having tossed down the gauntlet, so to speak, I’d like to invite any of our Liberal or Progressive readers to pen an Op-Ed that tells their side of the story, from their perspective. Tell us why you think private gun ownership and/or support for the Second Amendment isn’t just a Conservative thing. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it below.
The truth about guns shall set us free. Or at least help keep us that way.