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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 [email protected], or post it below.

The truth about guns shall set us free. Or at least help keep us that way.

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  1. Well written. I studied political science(and so the degree is utterly useless). I came up with my own simple philosophy that can be applied to the 2nd Amendment debate pretty well I think.

    Simply put, Conservatism is based on rational thought and evidence leading to a decision that will bring about the best outcome possible. Liberalism is based on emotion and hope leading to a decision that has the best of intentions but the least practicality. When applied to the 2A, its basically a gun has a better chance of saving my life than it does of taking it vs. guns kill people and if we get rid of them people wont die as much. Rationally, the first statement makes sense, while the second one can be rationalized if one ignores the facts.

    The attacks on you can be linked to this emotional response. The individual saw something that he did not agree with, and got far too emotional about it and started calling names rather than making a rational argument against guns. When I feel the same way about something, an anti-firearm piece for example, I take the time to gather a bit of evidence before saying something about it.

  2. I’m a fairly liberal college student and I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here. Do I think that Average Joe needs to have a closet full of guns? No. But do I think that Average Joe should be allowed to spend his money as he wishes? Yes. I do not see guns as a barrier to any kind of social reform by the people, rather as a tool used by private citizens for self-defense, property defense, sport, and even recreation. Gun ownership shouldn’t be such a divisive article in American politics. I personally own a pistol, and I’m considering getting my CCL, and I don’t think any of my friends would be dismayed at the prospect. While I disagree with many traditionally Conservative positions, I also find a couple of Liberal stances distasteful. So, to sum up, I DO like “certain planks of the Progressive platform but part ways with them over the Second Amendment”. On the other hand, the Conservative movement has little appeal to me. While sites like this one and “The Firearm Blog” are excellent examples of both rational political argument and “guns sans politics” respectively, many other websites and blogs that promote classical Conservative views seem irrational and incendiary in nature.
    Long-time lurker, first-time poster.

  3. Well written Brad! It brought to mind the quote by Suzanna Hupp:
    “How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual; as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of.”

  4. “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

    Winston Churchill

    • Call it early childhood indoctrination but I’ve been a conservative since before I was in high school… Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, the call of unbridled individual liberties beckons to me… Hello Ron Paul!

  5. Good article! Thanks for writing it in a nice level-headed, disarming tone. The way a message is received has a lot to do with the way it is delivered. Well done.

  6. It’s not clear to me how you think the liberal position on gun ownership is incongruent with the rest of their belief system. Other than, restricting or eliminating the Second Amendment is a violation of one’s civil rights and liberals “claim” to be champions of civil rights. In reality, they are not supporters of civil, statutory or constitutional rights.

    They consider the Second Amendment to be anachronism. They believe, that in a modern and civilized world, it is no longer necessary.

    • Agreed. But I was trying to present a sort of “Unified Field Theory” for gun rights to account for the (few) Liberals that support Progressive policies and still see value in the Second Amendment.

  7. Brad, these are the sort of things you should steer clear of…

    I’ll tell you my story. I did all this sort of stuff on Facebook all the time, with friends of friends, and the one I would of never thought would of got me from getting a job was: opposing government funding of medical research.

    I was at a internship for prop trading and a couple days before I got basically kicked out is that I would be hired at the end and would have a 500k capital to work with, but the guy in charge looked at my Facebook and because his wife was breast cancer survivor he seemed to take offense to it and basically said it straight to my face that this was why he fired me. Now I knew there was laws against this, but being the principled constitution believer, I did not try to sue and that’s what I told this guy.

    • Chase – I realized some time ago that RF and I will be the some of the first ones up againsqt the wall, should the Statists have their way with the country. But it has also been said that, all that is necessary for evil to flourish, is for good men to do nothing. I will not allow the Left to dominate the discourse, and rule by intimidation. If I’m going to go down, it will be swinging. And I fervently believe the reason that the Rules for Radicals playbook works, is that our side plays by the rules, and their side believes that the end justifies the means – by any means necessary.

  8. Trick question: If I describe a jurisdiction as having “liberal gun laws,” what does that entail?

    • Ah, semantics. If you asked me to describe my political philosophy, in classical terms, I’m a liberal – a CLASSICAL liberal, in other words, someone who believes in the least government possible to get the job done. Unlike many of my Conserevative brethren, I want the government out of my bedroom AND the boardroom. Much like the word “Progressive,” the Left has hijacked the meaning. So it wasn’t a trick question at all.

  9. I’m not sure that I agree or fully understand the “infinite” wealth litmus test. I would have reversed the associations of conservative and liberal from that test.

    I’m thinking of Krugman et al. when I say this. I believe one of Krugman’s basic tenets is that massive debts today aren’t a big deal because the economy will be so much bigger when it’s time to pay them off so it’s no big deal. Dump money on bailouts, health care for everyone, stimulus crap, etc. No problem dude, down the road we are going to be so much richer so quit your worrying. Unless of course, we can’t grow our way out of the problem. So, in these terms, I think of liberals of the infinite wealth mentality and conservatives of the mindset that maybe there are finite resources.

    Just look at health care. Liberals don’t see any limit in the amount of health care resources available. They think everybody can get low cost, innovative, high-quality health care. I believe there are limited resources and the best way I know how to allocate them is through cost. Yeah, it sucks to be poor — you can’t buy the safest cars, send your kids to the best schools, live in the safest neighborhoods, eat the healthiest food, and have the best health care. I think that if I have more money, I should be able to buy better health care than someone with less money. Likewise for someone with more money than me. I don’t believe it’s an infinite resource. I see this resource just like the wealth issue from your article. See my confusion?

    Jason B.

    • Yep. But the problem here is you’re confusing wealth and assets. Dame Margaret Thatcher put it best, when she opined, “The problem with socialism is that, eventually, you run out of other people’s money.”

  10. From someone who lives in the SF Bay Area; well done.
    There’s a bunch of different ways to compare and contrast the two ideologies and the factual vs emotional one is definitely valid, though you’ll have a hard time getting a liberal to admit it. My personal favorite is the collectivist vs individualist comparison which has the potential to generate converts. It hadn’t occurred to me (it should have) until I saw a YouTube video explaining it. Here’s a link to the guy’s channel:

    Most importantly: Think for yourself, and think carefully.
    Again; very well written and reasoned.

    • Good short intro — wish they had kept the music a little softer, though.

      My two filter questions which I use to determine whether I even want to engage an individual in discussion:

      1. Do you believe citizens exist to ensure the survival of government or do you believe government exists to ensure the survival of its citizens?

      2: Under what conditions is it moral for a group to do things which would be immoral when done by any member of the group?

      You’d be surprised at some of the answers I’ve gotten.

  11. I’m libertarian-leaning, and I do see an issue with the infinite wealth idea. If that can be interpreted to mean poverty can be eliminated (with infinite wealth, why not?), then I would disagree with it. There will always be mental health, temporary setbacks, etc. that will cause hardship and/or poverty. The best way IMNSHO to ameliorate those is to empower individuals, families, and non-government actors such as churches by leaving them alone and letting them prosper. But there will always be people that need help.

    I see the wealth train as a moving bell curve. It’s never going to be evenly distributed and there will always be the trailing tail of poverty. But the standard of living for all can keep rising for all if it was allowed to.

    • Even Christ said that there will always be poor among us. (And if he doesn’t know, who would?) My point is that, because wealth IS created, anyone can rise out of poverty with hard work, determination, and a little luck. The “Haves” are not to blame for the plight of the “Have-Nots,” and should not be forced to do penance or pay reparations for/to them.

  12. Tell us why you think private gun ownership and/or support for the Second Amendment isn’t just a Conservative thing.

    If it were that simple, we would have gun control legislation pass every time the Dems controlled Congress. Conversely, it would be dismantled and common sense gun rights pushed forward whenever the GOP controlled Congress. Neither is true.

    We have friends on both sides of the aisle. We have enemies on both sides of the aisle. We’ve had a pro-gun Congress for decades up including the last session before the GOP regained control. Its even more pro-gun this session as pro-gun Dems were replaced by even more pro-gun Republicans.

    The issue is both regional and urban vs rural in many part of the country.

    • It’s not a “friends” versus “enemies” issue.

      It’s a “what can I do to get re-elected” or “what can I do to avoid being kicked out of my cushy job” issue.

      You could get Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein to vote for National Constitutional Carry –IF– they thought they’d lose their job if they voted otherwise.

      So, in that case, would you consider them your “friends”?

      The reason Congress is “pro-gun” is because the anti-gun Dems got handed their heads during Clinton’s mid-term election – and they’re still shy about committing political suicide.

  13. Oh boy, a politics thread!

    I sometimes wonder where I’m at on the political spectrum. I’m probably considered liberal by many: I feel very strongly about the separation of church and state (extreme enough that I don’t think churches should be tax-exempt). I believe marriage, from the state’s point of view, is strictly a civil contract and that the sex of the adults involved should be completely inconsequential. For the most part, I like what the EPA does. I also think global warming is real. I have personally witnessed large corporation’s disregard for anti-trust laws and their willingness to violate these laws for the purpose of stifling competition (they almost always get away with it). I thoroughly believe that capitalism is the best system, but like any economic system it requires regulation. I could take up pages with my beliefs on corporatism, wealth distribution, and why we need fewer billionaires and a lot more millionaires.

    Then there’s my conservative side, and this is where the second amendment comes in. Waiting periods are bullshit. I should be able to buy a genuine M4 for about the same price as I paid for my Bushmaster look-alike. 2A serves multiple purposes, all of which I think were intended by the drafters: 1.) Self defense 2.) A government that fears it’s people 3.) National Security (to quote Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”) Then, there’s the immigration issue. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants; However, I personally witnessed blue-collar construction wages artificially driven down by the supply of Mexican labor during the last construction boom. These Mexicans were generally fine men and hard workers, but were a net-negative economic influence. You don’t see as much Mexican labor around here now that the economy is in the toilet, but I have to wonder about all the dollars that went back to Mexico during the good times. Social programs serve their purpose, but they are totally mismanaged and had bread a class of people more than happy to take full advantage of the dole. I didn’t go to college, but an opportunity at an entry level job and many years of learning and hard work continue to pay off. I tend to reserve a bit of contempt for those who lack pride and feel entitled in the workplace. Once again, I could go on…

    So… Please feel free to tell me what’s wrong with me. Which variety of nutcase am I?

    • 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 I’ve pretty accurately described you there.

    • While I agree with nearly everything you said above, I think you got this wrong:

      “… blue-collar construction wages artificially driven down by the supply of Mexican labor …”

      What you witnessed was a correction after coercive union contracts and minimum wage laws artificially drove wages UP. There is no ‘natural wage’. It is always and everywhere subject to the immutable law of supply and demand. High prices (or wages) send a message out: we need more ‘x’, whether ‘x’ is laundry detergent or workers. It is a signal for those who can supply the signaled need to get to work supplying it.

    • Stephen,

      Why do you want to tax voluntary donations made to a Church? If a religious enterprise made and sold a product for money, they would certainly pay taxes. You are suggesting to tax the money voluntarily given for charity. What do you think the state is going to do with that money? Actually help someone?

      Just because you are anti-religious doesn’t mean you need to attack religious institutions. Freedom is freedom, not just your version of it. By the way, I’m secular like you — I just believe in freedom. Financial freedom is the same as freedom. By taxing religious donations the government is essentially saying “hold on there Chief, we’re in the business of charity, not you. We know how to spend dollars to help people. You’d better cut us in on that”.

      If you really believe in freedom then I believe you are completely wrong-headed about your other “beliefs”.


  14. I’ve got a wee bit of a problem with this little statement:

    “The Right sees [the constitution] more like the Ten Commandments – writ large in stone, and not to be trifled with lightly.”

    really? ever hear of the Patriot act? No child left behind? how about how the Bush administration essentially argued against us in the Heller case?

    Republicans love government power just as much as Democrats do, republicans just want to use that power for “noble” and “manly” goals like security and bringing people to Jesus.

    I’m not sure thats really any better on balance than the Democrats’ goals of social and economic “justice”.

    If you follow the political philosophies of the founders, and you’re well read enough to understand what that means, then you can register with whatever party you want, but brother! you’re a libertarian!

    • You are presuming that the Bush Adminstration was Conservative. It wasn’t. They styled themselves as “NeoCons” – the “kinder and gentler” brand of Conservatism. Sadly, what we got was NOT Conservatism, but Progressive Lite. No real Conservative would have proposed the “Patriot” Act, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, or any of those other programs.

      • Ever hear of the “no true Scotsman” falacy?

        it takes the form:

        Teacher: All Scotsmen enjoy haggis.
        Student: My uncle is a Scotsman, and he doesn’t like haggis!
        Teacher: Well, all true Scotsmen like haggis.

        Look, I suppose you can come up with your own special definition of what “conservative” means. but at that point, its really useless because words are only useful if both parties in a conversation are using the same definition.

        to the public at large, the “conservative” stance is essentially defined by whatever stance the “pop conservatives” take; Limbaugh, Palin, Bachman, Hannity, Rove, (Gingrich until a few weeks ago), etc…

        In most people’s mind, these people are the very essence of “conservative” and I’m fairly certain they all supported the patriot act.

        Name me one national conservative political figure who opposed those unconstitutional Bush initiatives, but couldn’t meaningfully be called a Libertarian (i.e. Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, etc…)

  15. 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.

    Challenge accepted! It’s probably won’t be Op-Ed length (and will be slightly disorganized) but I’ll give it a shot.

    Labels are bullshit. Labels inhibit intellectual discussion. Labels foster stereotypes. People who accept the label of conservative think that they’re the only sane ones left in America, and liberals are pot smoking baby-killing godless hippie amnesty givers who live on government money and want to gut the constitution and install a police state. People who accept the label of liberal think they’re the only sane ones left in America, and conservatives are gay bashing freedom hating beer swigging nationalistic racists who want to gut the constitution and install a police state.

    That is not true, but it’s an easy fiction. It’s so easy to look at the state of America and say “goddamn liberals/conservatives, always screwing things up.”

    Gun rights and gun control supporters also stereotype each other. How many times has this very site posted something about how gun control supporters want to kill you and rape your wife? One only has to look at Mike B for the flip side. Here’s the problem with this: You’re both trying to achieve the same goal. You both want peace. You both want safety. You both want to not be shot dead by a mugger or suffer a home invasion. Your perfect Americas are the exact same places, plus or minus a few steel objects designed to throw lead.

    Ok, so I got slightly off topic there, but I needed to get that off my chest. To directly answer the title of this post: no. Are more gun control supporters on the left of the political spectrum? Yeah. Why? I don’t want to go to far into it (for that would require actual research :P) but here’s the gist of it: some time in the past, one of our political parties added a “gun control” plank to their platform. The other party immediately responded by also adding the plank to their platform, but with the opposite stance. Because, hey, they’re enemies — gotta disagree on everything, right?

    Fast forward to now: most people don’t give a shit about gun control. They vote for a party based on more important things, and simply “inherit” that party’s stance on gun control. And hell, that assumes they bother thinking about any issues — I think a lot of people just inherit the values of their parents/community.

    And fuck it, here’s a link to something actually worth reading: Why liberals should love the Second Amendment.

    Disclaimer: I am what most people would label as a liberal/progressive. Because, you know, progress is good, right? Legalize everything, tax the rich (more) tax corporations (more) cut the military. I see no conflict with these beliefs and the desire for everyone to be able to (easily) own an automatic weapon or carry wherever the hell they feel like it.

    Protip: just stay the fuck away from politics, m’kay? I dislike most firearms websites because there’s so much ranting about Obama grab’n your guns and Clinton trying to create a new world order via the UN and all that other bullshit. Please to not go that route. If you want to talk politics, start up a new blog: “The Truth About Gun Politics.”

  16. Crispin, I make no promises. I go where my pen leads me. But we strive here on TTAG to present all sides of every issue we tackle here. So while we may, occasionally veer into the tall grass of political discourse, unless it directly relates to guns, you won’t find it here.

    Having said that, I have to thank you twice over – once, for picking up the gauntlet, and once, for the link you shared. I never thought, within my lifetime, that I would ever agree with anything found on the Daily Kos website. You’ve proven me wrong. Brilliant article.

    I also agree with you about labels. Labels are to reason what soundbytes are to communication and Cliff Notes are to literature – the refuge of the intellectually lazy. But they are a fact of life, and any political discussion, by definition, must include them.

    I have to take issue with you over your contention that people don’t care about the Second Amendment. I just came back from the NRA Convention, where the Second Amendment Foundation threw a bash for bloggers. The room was filled with people that have a passion for the Second Amendment. The convention show floor was filled with the same kind of people, exhibiting the same sentiments. No, I can’t buy off on that part of your argument one bit.

    I’ll also throw in something my late father taught me: all progress requires change, but not all change is progress. Taxing the rich is a sucker’s game. It never works, and it is ultimately a failure, because it fails to take into account human nature and the miraculous power of monetary motivations. And if you said cut the FAT out of the military budget, I’d agree with that. Streamlining any bureaucracy (when possible) is a nobel thing. It’s also like pulling hen’s teeth.

    One more thing (to steal a riff from S. Jobs). My dad used to say, if you don’t like the program, change the channel. There’s lots to read here. If you don’t like an article, feel free to skip over to something more to your taste. I won’t be offended. If the comments above are any indication, you’re sentiments are in the minority. And like any other free market enterprise, we like to pay attention to what our readers like.

    • I have to take issue with you over your contention that people don’t care about the Second Amendment.

      OK, “nobody” was extremely hyperbolic. What I was trying to say is that people inside a movement (be it gun rights, drug legalization, or free software) often think that everyone else shares the same interest in the topic as they do. And I think looking at the numbers of people attending an NRA convention is not an accurate portrayal of America. DEF CON draws a big crowd, but that sure the hell isn’t the average Joe’s cup of tea coffee.

      If you don’t like an article, feel free to skip over to something more to your taste.

      True, very true. However, there comes a point when “skipping over stuff” becomes “wading through piles of shit*.” I’m going to go out on a limb here guess that you don’t read Daily Kos or Huffington Post very often, even though they occasionally publish stuff you might like.

      Not to say that I’ve had to break out the wading boots for this site — far from it. It’s the third least political firearms website I’ve ever seen (TFB is first, /r/guns second).

      *”shit” in this context meaning things you’d need to be extremely drunk or otherwise impaired to even begin taking seriously. An example I’m sure we can both agree on: the claims of the Westboro Baptist Church.

      It’s also like pulling hen’s teeth.

      Don’t worry, science to the rescue:

  17. There are too many illogical stances on various issues taken by most liberals and conservatives to reasonably argue that anyone’s, let alone any group’s, political leanings are based more on logic than emotion.

  18. 2 cents.

    The founders believed that in order for you to have freedom and liberty for yourself that it was inherent, that you then also grant the same benefit to all others. They saw this as the only way in which individual freedom could survive. They were correct and this is what I and many others believe.

    The difference is that the left has a bunch of “buts” which always challenge these principles and leave them in charge of all the decisions and all of the power. The more power they acquire, the more overbearing and tyrannical they become, until they empower themselves to the point where there is nothing that they forbid themselves. They only forbid others and much of the time, that means even taking a breath.

    Those who are not willing to grant freedom to others are not worthy of trust or consideration but when they have seized the reigns of power and of knowledge and of truthful information, they empower themselves to the point wherein there can be only one response from those who would be free and see their children free as well.

  19. On the resources – they are definitely finite. Were it otherwise, they would have to fill the known universe and beyond, for the known universe is finite.

    As for the difference in views on guns: I think those who see guns as a net good tend to look at the statistics. You stop 2.5 million crimes per year versus 700,000 crimes committed with guns. That’s a plus. Anti-gun types tend to look at individual cases – the story of the “poor 10-year-old” who accidently (negligently) shot him/her self with a gun is persuasive to them – while to the statistically-savvy, such an incident is only a single datum.

    I’ll go further than you dare… in general, men are ruled by reason and women are ruled by emotion. No, it’s nowhere like an iron-clad rule, but the truth is, even if 55% of the men are ruled by thought while 55% of the women are ruled by emotion, you still wind up with today’s dysfunctional government – one that is ruled by emotion (women being the majority of the population). Thus, government doesn’t do the “smart” thing. It does what “feels good”.

    While men generally would say “work and earn”, women tend to “feel” sorry for the “underprivileged” and want to create “programs” that will “help” them. It’s no accident that the majority of Republicans are male, while the majority of Demoncrats are female. Or had you forgotten the “gender gap” so hyped in previous elections?

    Going further, at least one researcher has directly tied the long decay of the United States to the passage of the 19th Amendment. Through wars and depressions, the debt remained fairly constant – until within one generation of women getting the vote. As they voted in greater numbers all manner of social welfare programs sprang into existence. Part of this is for aid of the “less fortunate”, but a lot more of it is aid for themselves. With the evolution of society, women have learned they don’t want to depend on men – but they want the income men earn. What better way to steal that wealth than to have the government do it for them? Tax away a man’s money and use it to build programs that benefit primarily women. In effect, government has become the mac-daddy for all the demoncratic women who won’t tolerate a man. And with “single parent” households pushing 50%, that’s a lot of tax money.

    So it’s not just the gun issue that divides left/right liberal/conservative. It’s basic differences right down to the chromosome level. A man might say that if a woman kicks her husband out of the house she doesn’t deserve a portion of his income for life. Women would say otherwise. [Historical side note: In a day when ONLY MEN could file for divorce, and a divorced woman was considered “damaged goods”, alimony might have made sense. It was compensation to the woman for adverse circumstances over which she had no control. But in a day where either party can file for divorce for any reason – or no reason at all – it has outlived its usefulness. But try to repeal alimony laws. Who do you think will scream?]

    Unfortunately for the liberals, their “put-it-on-my-charge-card” style of government is ending. Unfortunately for the rest of us, their lack of thought is going to drag us down with them.

    Back to guns. It’s not just pro- versus anti-gun. It’s not just Republicraps versus Demoncrats. It’s more basic than that. It’s man versus woman. To the discredit of men, they have let women “win”. (Where else but in western society are women allowed to act so foolishly? Do you think women/Demoncrats would even try this stuff in some place like Saudi Arabia?) We thought we were so wealthy we could afford to indulge women in their desires. We were wrong. One of the many things emotion does not understand, no matter how large, is a budget, or any of those other icky numbers things… like statistics.

  20. Over the last 100 years, virtually every piece of legislation making restrictions on the private ownership of firearms in the UK has been enacted by a Conservative government.
    I am certain the next restrictions will come from them too.
    Politicians of ANY stripe are mostly in favour of disarming the lesser beings whilst arming & protecting themselves at the taxpayers’ expense.

  21. The following is testimony from a former resident of the People’s Republic of California (PRCa):
    I lived in a fairly conservative area of the PRCa, in the northeast part of the state. The Sheriffs in those counties believed that armed, honest citizens were a good idea, because they had about 14 deputies to patrol areas the size of Connecticut. When I was getting my CCW permit signed by one of those Sheriffs (name and county withheld to protect him from the PRCa/KGB -aka Ca Dept. of “Justice”), he said something that stuck with me: “There are two kinds of people in the world. Forget Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, rich/poor – the two kinds of people are those who take personal responsibility for their own lives, and those who will not.”

    To me, that explains anti-gun people. They do not want to take responsibility for their own safety, or any other aspect of their lives. They want the BigNanny gummint to take care of them. This kind of childish, dependent person sees more to appeal to them in the “progressive” ideology, because the “progressives” see government as the solution to every personal problem in our lives. People who take personal responsibility for themselves mostly want to be left alone, without anyone telling them what they “should” do – “for their own good”, of course.

    I escaped the PRCa several years ago, moving to Idaho. Most people in Idaho are members of the LUTHA party: “Leave Us The Hell Alone”. This drives the few “progressives” in Idaho totally batshit crazy, because everyone ignores them and their whining. The “progressives” are less than 20% of the population (19% of the Idaho legislature is Democrat), and they have zero influence on the laws passed in this state. I left the PRCa by driving north through Oregon into Idaho. When I crossed the Snake River into Idaho from Oregon, I started singing “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I’m free at last.” And I hope that last sentence deeply offends all of the “progressive” readers on this site, because I deeply enjoy offending liberals.

  22. Awesome website. I stumbled upon it while checking into the ATF’s questionable (as of late?) practices. The level of writing of both the article AND of the respondents was very impressive. Pete, I particularly enjoyed yours. Very well to point out the elements of personal (ir)responsibility pushing for or against the Nanny State.
    There used to be a joke out there to the effect: “Show me a Liberal and I’ll show you a Conservative that hasn’t been mugged yet”. Just sayin’…. Can’t wait for the next itteration.

  23. I used to be a little left leaning. Then I got a job, started a family, and then a business. I other words, I GREW UP!

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