Supreme Court 2A second amendment
Courtesy Jeff Hulbert

Public opinion polls show that as mass shootings and other gun violence has increased in America, Republicans actually oppose gun safety efforts even more. Predictably — and far more logically — Democrats and liberals respond to mass shootings and other gun-violence tragedies with greater support for gun safety laws.

Death anxiety has a profound influence on American politics in other ways as well: In red-state regions where coronavirus rates (and death rates) are highest, support for Donald Trump during the 2020 Election was also at its highest. In essence, death and sickness have made Trump’s followers increasingly loyal to him and the Republican Party.

Ultimately, America’s inability to create and enforce effective gun laws is rooted in competing conceptions of freedom. Conservatives emphasize “negative freedom” and a belief that government should be shrunk down to the bare minimum, and that “freedom from” is the most important aspect of democracy and human existence.

Liberals, progressives and other more humane thinkers understand that government can play a positive role in society. In this conception, “positive freedom” means that citizens can live better and more productive lives where, for example, they are free from anxieties about being killed in a mass shooting, or free from the fear that they may fall ill and not have access to health care, or free from the fear that their environment is dangerously polluted.

To state this equation differently, a gun owner’s freedom ends at the boundaries and limits of public safety. Likewise, the “personal freedom” not to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic ends at the health and safety of other people.

A healthy democracy always involves a balance between these positive and negative understandings of freedom.

— Chauncey DeVega in Conservatives are mad at Michael Moore again — because he’s right about gun culture

71 COMMENTS

  1. So the freedom to make my own choices, not be limited by the wrongs others commit or the feelings of fear that some may have is a “negative freedom?”

    Wut?!?!?!

    • I first heard of this concept of negative vs. positive ‘freedoms’ back in 2008 when BHO was running. It’s just another euphemism for communism. Kind of like calling a pro-abortion stance pro-choice. The stuff we want we’ll call ‘positive’ and the stuff they want we’ll call ‘negative’. But there is no difference between freedom from ‘fear’ and ‘anxiety’ over illness and violence and freedom from fear and anxiety over an overbearing government. The positive freedoms they promise come at a cost that they ignore and they deride anyone who mentions it. The government can’t give you anything without first taking it away from somebody else.

    • Despite the unfortunate connotations Gov mentions, the terms / distinctions are legitimate and have existed for much longer than BHO.

      “Negative rights” are rights to be left alone, and are the only rights that actually exist.

      “Positive rights” are “rights” to get free shit from the government. Since government doesn’t actually produce anything, they equate to “rights” for the government to steal things for you from the people who actually earned and deserve them.

      No one can have a “right” to the product of another’s labor except through reciprocity and free individual consent – ever, under any circumstances, for any reason. That would be a right to slavery, the exact opposite / negation of rights.

      • Umm… Yeah, like I said, it’s a euphemism for communism. And I didn’t mean to imply that nothing exists until I’m aware of it.

      • “No one can have a “right” to the product of another’s labor except through reciprocity and free individual consent“

        Perhaps you could mention that observation to those who claim that slavery in the American south was a benevolent institution…

        • ‘…those who claim that slavery in the American south was a benevolent institution…’

          ???

        • Name one, you inept, lying, POS. Name ONE person who has a significant position in culture or politics who says that. Or admit that you are a pathetic liar, in addition to being an ignorant POS.

          Minor IQ, you get less sane, and more detached from reality, the more you post. Maybe you should take a break from commenting on TTAG . . . God knows, no one will miss you.

        • More of your “white guilt” for your privilege? Anyone would think you have shame that your ancestors may have owned slaves.

      • “‘Positive rights’ are ‘rights’ to get free shit from the government.”

        This is true. And, we have enshrined a few positive rights in our Constitution. We have the positive right to as many trials as the prosecutor invites us to consume. No matter how may times he may prosecute someone, that person has a right to a very expensive trial which he will never have to pay for if he is acquitted.

        We also have a positive right to have convicted criminals to be incarcerated at public expense for the security of the law-abiding.

        And, a national defense against foreign enemies.

        Perhaps there are a few others that I don’t recall. There are not many. A government can’t create too many positive rights because soon it will run out of other peoples’ tax money.

        A polity that chooses to be governed by consent of the governed must be especially judicious about enshrining positive rights in its constitution. It is much more reasonable to be reckless in voting itself “entitlements” which can be given by legislatures because it can easily vote those entitlements away by choosing different legislators. Rights, not so much.

        • MarkPA,
          Interesting perspective, but none of the things you mentioned are really individual rights to freebies.

          A trial isn’t really an individual “right” in the sense that the “beneficiary” can’t forgo it without losing something of equal or greater value. The state spends a fortune trying to prove you’re guilty, and possibly a pittance to defend you (but only if you’re indigent – and even that wasn’t in the Constitution). If you’re innocent, “the process is the punishment” (and may be worse). The only people who could be considered “beneficiaries” in a sense comparable to any other individual right would be guilty criminals who escape the just degree of punishment on a technicality – a symptom or side-effect of systemic failures, not the Founders’ intent.

          At the time of the founding, incarceration was hardly the universal punishment it is today, nor was it much of a public expense. The idea of paying criminals to sit around watching TV, smoking cigarettes, enjoying snacks and commissary privileges, etc. in air-conditioned comfort is today’s. Prisoner labor used to sustain prisons or even return benefits to society.

          National defense is basically a service the taxpayers provide themselves (collectively – military protection is even less of an individual entitlement than police protection), an investment of a small proportion of one’s earnings to save the rest from anarchy and war, with an umbrella “free-rider effect” for everyone else. It is also a responsibility that the Framers expected to return to individuals and states between wars.

          Note as well that the US at its founding funded its (minor) expenses with consumption-based taxes affecting essentially everyone. The redistributionism inherent in the concept of “positive rights” today – the situation where about half the population are lifelong recipients of social spending and pay few or no taxes, while productive self-made men like the Founders pay almost all taxes, and have roughly zero likelihood of receiving entitlements (or deriving real benefit from them even if they did) -simply did not exist.

  2. Actually “gun nuts” are only fearful of the thing the second ammendment was actually created for…..totalitarian government overreach! We’re all gonna die, but we’re gonna die free men!!!

    • This.

      Plus, it’s all made up. Red states have higher covid? Lol, prove it. Dem cities are hot spots for their “died with rona” propaganda.

      • Montana Actual,

        It isn’t just the ‘rona stats that are being manipulated – Leftists would lie if the truth would serve them better.

        Overall, red states and states that avoided extreme lockdowns, mask mandates, etc. have fared just as well, and usually better, in the ‘rona than have blue states.

        Overall, red states have “better” crime and murder rates – and the only reason it is even CLOSE is that many red states have significant urban areas, which are run almost exclusively by Dimocrats. Remove the crime stats for the urban areas, and the red states FAR outperform blue states on ‘rona, crime rates, etc.

        But the Leftists CAN’T be honest about any of that, can they?

      • It’s not about proving fuck all. Stop asking for this.

        Let’s look at the “reality” of public perception vis a vis Covid and then ask why this matters. It matters because of that “epidemic of gun violence” canard as I will show you.

        Polling indicates that your average American believes that 7% of the country has died. In the UK the average citizen believes that the death toll is 9%.

        Further, as I pointed out yesterday about Gallup/Franklin Templeton’s findings:

        “71% of Republicans overestimate the hospitalization rate, 28% by 10x or more. Independents do the same by 78%, 35% by 10x or more while 89% of Democrats overestimate the hospitalization rate with 41% overestimating it by 10x or more.

        Democrats got the answer correct 10% of the time to Independents 20% to Republicans 28%. On a multiple choice question for what is, arguably, the topic of the decade at this point.”

        Now WTAF does this matter?

        Because humans are hard-wired to fear disease and those things discussed as a disease. There is a .67 correlation between a widespread belief that a dangerous disease is on the loose and a desire for totalitarian government. This has been studied to Hell and back across dozens of countries and down to provincial and local levels. The data to support this correlation is actually voluminous and quite good quality.

        However, this is linked to another issue. Humans are also tribalistic and that tribalism comes out very, very, very aggressively in the face of a “foreign group” which is seen as a “disease vector”. Evolutionary bio gives us a very good explanation for this behavior but that’s a bit long for this post. Suffice to say, we’re hard-wired to avoid disease and we’re hard wired to avoid things that we perceive give us diseases. Go back and watch the “pipe scene” from Inglorious Basterds for a damned insightful, and mildly amusing, talk on this.

        Here’s the real problem: What do we do with disease vectors, both historically and instinctively? We burn them. We try to utterly annihilate them.

        See where this is going? Why masking Karens are so angry? They’ve been exposed to an effective emotional manipulation that triggers deep seated evolutionary programming. It’s fucking dangerous to play with this kind of thing. It doesn’t just breed hate, it breeds contempt and, worse, disgust.

        That’s what they’ve done with Covid, setting people against each other even though there’s virtually no data that actually backs up any of the public policy positions.

        And this is what they’re trying to do to you over guns with the “gun violence epidemic”/”it’s a public heath crisis!”. It’s not just about getting mushbrained docs and nurses on board. It’s an attempt to open up very, very powerful programming in the brain as part of a divide an conquer strategy. It’s nearly unbelievably dangerous to turn people against each other this way. But they’ve shown that they’re willing to do it already. That they’ll exploit it to effectively make leaving a country illegal. And that, in the immediate, they’ll garner massive support for these kind of policies. By the time people realize they’ve fucked up…. it’s too late.

        • I seem to remember this on an episode of the old ‘Outer Limits’ TV show–something to do with a feared alien invasion and everyone turning viciously on their neighbors in the belief that THEY were aliens. Life imitating art, yes?

  3. Interesting use of the words “negative freedom and positive freedom”.
    Since negative rights (freedom) are understood to be natural rights and positive rights (freedom) are understood as rights created by legislation/govt., and that some rights take precedent over other rights, when this is flawed thinking/understanding in how rights work as indicated at the end of his screed.
    The 9th Amendment clearly states:
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    So I guess what I understood from this article is that leftists believe they know whats best in how people should live and that your rights negative or positive should be at the whim of the mob.
    Chauncey DeVega’s understanding of rights and privileges are pretty bad. IMO.

    • Obviously. They want mob rule. Chop and Chaz extended.

      Where else did we see white people segregating “black only” zones before? Oh, that’s right… Dems love segregation, racism, and the limiting of freedoms.

    • You should read the Soviet Constitution.

      Those are “positive freedoms”. The Soviets even used a similar phrase. It’s a list of all the things the government must do for you [poorly] and not much about limiting what they can do to you. This is the sort of thing the Notorious RBG championed in Egypt years back.

      Yes, it’s an advertising method for totalitarianism. It’s not new.

  4. “Liberals, progressives and other more humane thinkers”… Whom exactly does Chauncey DeVega think he is? It would seem that his conception of “Positive Freedom” sounds more like ideals out of the “Communist Manifesto” or “1984”! We mere, mortal humans are getting pretty “fed-up” with all of the “Double Speaking”!

    • When communism was new you could sell the utopian dream to people, but now that it’s been tried (repeatedly) and proven to be a dystopian nightmare you must resort to double speak in order to sell it.

  5. “Mr. (DeVega), what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    • Folks, I don’t care if Salon published a pro-gun article, they gave a mouthpiece to a fucking pedophile, and then let him publish a follow up where he called everyone who sent in hate mail a monster! I have NO respect for them as a publication, and I don’t care to hear what they think at all.

  6. I can’t wait to find out what sentient traffic cone and amateur Mike Huckabee impersonator Geoff PR has to say about this important issue!

    Just kidding. Who cares?

    I’d also like to add that this DeVaga lady is a fool!

    • You care and it’s obvious to all. You are obsessed with a stranger on the internet. You have a problem

      • Gluteus,

        His problems are LEGION. I will admit, his unhealthy, creepy, stalker-like fixation on Geoff is . . . borderline perverted. But Geoff appears to find it amusing, and seems to glory in his ability to trigger Mock Man (or whatever stupid handle he’s using for any particular comment), so I just ignore him . . . he’s too stupid to waste time on.

        • ‘i JuSt IgNoRe HiM’!!! LOD writes at the end of 4 sentence paragraph about the person he’s ‘ignoring’. Look in the mirror to see the real pervert, 🤡.

        • Be that as it may, I will caution you to season your words about Geoff well for some day you might have to eat them.
          My experience with Geoff has been fruitful and he has helped me get in touch with my feminine side. And that’s not a bad thing.
          BTW, Mock Man is an out-of-employment fluffier from the Golden Age of Porn.

        • It’s truly unfortunate that your ability to parse plain English is so . . . lacking. In the first instance, p***-brain, I was communicating with Gluteus, NOT YOU. No one around here (except Geoff, when he’s feeling like abusing you) has any desire to communicate with you. And trust me, p***-brain, we are laughing AT you, not with you.

        • Gluteus,

          I have no issue with Geoff. I find his obsession with the brainless Mock Man to be a little weird, but he has ample reason to abuse the little POS.

        • “…his unhealthy, creepy, stalker-like fixation on Geoff is . . . borderline perverted. But Geoff appears to find it amusing…”

          Oh, do I ever!

          Little ‘mockie’ is my own personal punch-toy, and I revel in the opportunity to insult and torment it… 🙂

    • Sonny, you really don’t have to shame yourself by coming here to self-pleasure in front of the adults; If you need self-gratification, find a damp corner somewhere and, if you wriggle into it just so, you just MIGHT be able to have sex with yourself–without a keyboard.

    • “Just kidding. Who cares?”

      You do, dumbass. 😉 If you didn’t, you wouldn’t say anything.

      Why else do you continue? You can’t help yourself, so obsessed are you. That’s your autism, son.

      But, I’m sorry to say, Like Deborah, I have zero interest in sleeping with you… 😉

      • But, Geoff, “Mock Man love you LOONNGG time! And he so HORNY!” If only you were into having carnal knowledge of . . . whatever it is that Mock Man “identifies as”, it would be the pinnacle of his life.

  7. Gun control = less death (in the eyes of gun control proponents)
    So opposing gun control = fear of death?

    Liberals admitting the democide end game?

    • Because they think guns have a miasma of evil that infects those close by and causes otherwise innocent people to commit crimes and violence. They truly believe if guns disappeared, along with ALL of the people than owned them, the world would be a peaceful utopia. Note that this completely ignores the last 5 thousand years of history for which guns have been around for about 10% of that time.

  8. “Liberals, progressives and other more humane thinkers understand that government can play a positive role in society.”

    Yeah, I just bet they do.

    We, on the other hand, know better.

    Anyways –

    New York City is trying out an experiment that will be *fascinating* to watch play out –

    The NYCPD no longer has the protection of qualified immunity :

    TTAG isn’t allowing me to post links. Google NYPD and Qualified Immunity and read all about it.

    I wonder how many cops will quit…

    • I wonder how many cops will quit…

      Probably they’ll just be choosy about what they decide to enforce and investigate then retire as early as possible all the while the dept. will be unable to hire any new officers so they’ll fill the void with “social workers” and those gangster thug “violence interrupters” who will use their newfound status with the city to expand their criminal enterprises.

    • You will get “smile and wave” enforcement.

      Look, an assault on the street! Smile and wave.

      That guy just robbed that store. Smile and wave.

      I think someone is getting murdered. Smile and wave.

      You will fully be on your own in NYC, and you are disarmed in violation of the constitution. They city rulers don’t care as the peasants should never be armed as they won’t vote for them anymore to keep them as a ruler.

  9. “Death anxiety has a profound influence on American politics in other ways as well: In red-state regions where coronavirus rates (and death rates) are highest, support for Donald Trump during the 2020 Election was also at its highest. In essence, death and sickness have made Trump’s followers increasingly loyal to him and the Republican Party.”

    Uh, wouldn’t that indicate that Republicans and conservatives have LESS “death anxiety” than the terrified sheep that supported blue state lockdowns and continue to scream and throw histrionic fits every time somebody reopens their business or takes off a mask?

    Isn’t “death anxiety” exactly what drives authoritarian liberal busybodies to ban or control everything under the sun because they’re constantly terrified that everyone else’s freedom is going to kill them?

    I think our boy Chauncey here is engaging in some Cluster B projection.

  10. I’ll be responsible for what I do, thanks just the same. Group punishment doesn’t even work in pre-school and we’re adults. Chauncey my man you need to get some rest, you’re talking gibberish again.

  11. Let’s talk breathalyzers. If we’re gonna apply the same principles as you apply to so-called “firearms safety” let’s punish the sober drivers on the road for the acts and wrong doings of all the drunks killing people on our roads. We can’t trust a society to remain sober on our roads, we must have all cars be equipped with mandatory breathalyzers

    • That is coming to be sure in one form or another. EVs updated software after you get a DWI will simply render the vehicle inoperable among other things such as only operated in a specific area and times.
      Buttigieg wants an increased gas and carbon tax for infrastructure improvement. In fact, it will serve as a incentive for everyone to adopt EVs as more affordable. Never mind the fact that the electrical grid can not handle the increased load and charging stations have not been built.
      It’s coming because this is what TPTB want to control the way people move.

      • Internal passports will be coming soon. Just like Da Rodina.

        How much of a financial incentive with the local commissar need to approve?

      • You will get from government exactly what you always get from government.

        Whatever you put up with.

        The only way any of this happens is if people accept it.

        And if they do then the 2A is gone. And if that happens then there was never any point in the 2A because no one was going to use it anyway.

  12. “Liberals, progressives and other more humane thinkers understand that government can play a positive role in society.”

    I don’t normally quote Ronald Reagan, but when I do its this one:

    The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

  13. Wow, he did it! He missed the barn!! Ol’ Chauncey Gardner is comically ass backwards. Our side aren’t the ones afraid of death. That’s why we have refused mask mandates and enforced isolation. I don’t need gun control laws because I’m armed to the teeth and not afraid to die.

    Then there’s his “freedom from” projection. It’s Democrats that desire freedom from. They want freedom from hunger, from homelessness, from sickness, from needing a job or paying bills. It’s our side that wants “freedom to”, most succinctly summed up as freedom to be left alone so long as we don’t trespass against others. I’m perfectly willing to except the possibility of all of the possible negative outcomes for my life in exchange for being left the hell alone by the nanny state.

  14. So I guess it is ‘logical’ to sit there and just let someone shoot you with no desire or even a thought of shooting back?

  15. Positive rights are Socialist code for a Communist inspired taking from one person to give to another with the real goal of giving power to the politicians who get to decide who must give and how much, and which of their supporters get the largess and how much. The problem for the politicians and their supporters is the people who they would take from have a say in the matter, and are by far the most likely to be armed so that in the gravest extreme of government tyranny they have the force of arms to fall back on.

  16. The Democrats don’t look for solutions to solve problems they make excuses to create more, they continue to provoke gun owners, blaming guns for what happens always an excuse, never the real reason for what’s causing the mayhem, the violents, why because THEY are obsessed with themselves and are afraid to look in the mirror, knowing they will be looking at the whole problem, objects don’t do violence it’s who, 100% of the time.

  17. Death anxiety. What BS.

    It is a natural instinct to defend oneself, family and other loved ones.

    Government is like fire. When controlled, it can be useful, went unregulated, it kills.

    God ordained government to bear the sword against evil doers. If government did this one thing well, it would address the very anxieties liberals create in their minds. But then liberals couldn’t abuse the function and power government to violate their fellow citizens.

    Liberals should consider the very type of big government they support creates the environment that accomdates recidivism and violent criminals.

    • You have to wonder from which orifice did these ideas come from? And how much recreational pharmaceuticals were taken?

  18. Knowledgeable people oppose gun control laws because the laws are unworkable and don’t solve the problems they are purportedly created to address. Guns are efficient tools, and the criminally-minded will obtain them illegally, make them, or substitute a different tool. The anti-gunners are the death obsessed ones. Except for flare ups of anti-police sentiment, violent crime has been trending lower for decades, but antis make it something of supreme importance. The chances of dying in a random, mass shooting are akin to being killed by lightning or having a fatal reaction to COVID-19 vaccine, but it is the driving force for their desired abuses. There are better uses of legislative time and our money if saving lives and improving the quality of life is the goal. Stripping rights from law-abiding citizens isn’t one of them.

  19. “In red-state regions where coronavirus rates (and death rates) are highest, support for Donald Trump during the 2020 Election was also at its highest.” The four states with the highest coronavirus death rates all went to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

  20. Anxiety is a fast lane of traffic , rotting carcass, hungry gut, and a rusty Ford pickup with a rebel flag.
    Head on a swivel boys, head on a swivel.

  21. Article so biased you don’t need to be apart of politics to see it.

    Degradation of the family, societal values, intrusive government, improper socio economic policies, and the absence of God. The few root causes of a lot of our problems.

  22. “America’s inability to create and enforce effective gun laws is rooted in competing conceptions of freedom.” – WRONG!!! It’s rooted in a difference of opinion as to what gun laws would actually be effective in addressing the problem.

  23. ““positive freedom” means that citizens can live better and more productive lives where, for example, they are free from anxieties about being killed in a mass shooting,”

    So, he favors government cracking down on those who promote that fear through inflated “mass shooting” numbers???

    • Negative anxiety: feeling down, bad, out of sorts due to being dumped, wrong time of the month.
      Positive anxiety being happy because tonight’s the night!
      In other words:
      Negative anxiety, can’t wait for things to be over.
      Positive anxiety, can’t wait for things to happen.
      Are you ready for some happy anxiety?

  24. They don’t want a “balance of negative and positive” freedoms. They want their way. Always. All the time. Regardless of who else is negatively impacted, or if we end up with a lowest-common-denominator authoritarian nanny state tut-tuting over every aspect of our lives.

    “freedoms” 3 & 4 of FDR’s “four freedoms” have always been bunk, and always will be. Whoever claims to be able to protect you from ever having to worry about need or fear can only provide that to you at the cost of your agency.

  25. Anyone who uses the term “Negitive rights” and or “positive rights”. That person is an enemy of human rights. And I don’t care how much formal education they have. I don’t care what position they hold. College professor, politian, or Bureau rat.
    They are the enemy.

  26. Hear is what I hear from Democrats:
    1. Your are stupid, racist and irredeemable beyond belief.
    2. Nothing can say or do will redeem you.
    3. We know what is best despite your lying eyes.
    4. Now listen to us while we impart our Devine wisdom.
    5. Why won’t you listen?
    6. See, we were right, you are an idiot.
    7. Why won’t you listen?
    8. It’s for you own good, although you are not good.
    9. There is obviously no reason to talk to you.

  27. De Vega said: “Liberals, progressives and other more humane thinkers understand that government can play a positive role in society.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…….Looks like I got my daily joke

    She also said: “Some of these “super-owners” have dozens of guns. They are overwhelmingly white and male. …”

    Oh the horror, whiter, maler, and gunnier than she is….Hide the women and children……

    Another typical dried up hag from Salon, who is so insanely stupid with her inner venom and satanic hate of all that is good, that she has no reason to live except to insult the people who are much better than she is, more honest, more kind, more patriotic, more loving, and, of course, much, much more intelligent.

    I ALMOST feel sorry for her empty life, devoid of love and spirituality, living on a flat plane of nothingness, with no hope… 🙂 🙂

  28. You can tell a dumbass liberal wrote this BS!
    “Negative Freedom”!? Negative Freedom means not having the Right to own a firearm because someone else committed a crime with theirs! Are they going to ban everyone’s cars because someone drives impaired or texts and drives causing innocent deaths!?
    We have a Constitutional Right to have firearms, driving is a Privilege. There’s a VERY big difference between the two!

  29. Another hard-hitting article from Salon.

    Remember when Salon released an article celebrating pedophiles?

    Salon hopes you don’t remember, but with a little searching, you can find that gem.

    Seriously, FOAD

  30. I wasn’t the best at college level math but what arcane fuckery are they using to try to make “red states” have higher death rates or overall body counts than NY, NJ, and the other states that shipped covid positive patients into nursing homes?

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