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The following is by Joshua Grabow in response to Tim McNabb’s post yesterday:

This is a libertarian response to Tim McNabb’s piece on progressivism and 2A rights. I’ve made the point before that I think we should emphasize our similarities and not seek to “purify” the pro-gun community, outside of the basic litmus test that one must actually support gun rights to be considered “pro-gun.” That said, what Mr. McNabb laid out is true, although only to a certain extent. The endgame of liberal progressivism is control. That much is easily ascertained. But then again, so is the endgame of conservatism. So this is my “pox on all your houses” rant. Sort of . . .

Mr. McNabb may be correct that the Kelo decision, Supreme Court packing and a thousand other liberal progressive programs have exceeded the scope of the Constitution and violated the rights of the populace. But so too has the conservative Republican program.

I’ve made this point before as well – Ronald Reagan was a gun-controller. So was Nixon. The Patriot Act is probably the single largest infringement on due-process rights ever enacted, and that was done by “conservatives.” And before someone goes “no-true-Scotsman” on me, yes, conservatives DO have to answer for the actions of their elected officials, just as progressives do. Medicare Part D, the War on Drugs, the militarization of the police forces, the War on Terror. From where I sit on the political aisle, conservatives have precious little moral high ground from which to snipe at progressives about “the Constitution” and “limited government.”

Now note, I am not charging Mr. McNabb personally with supporting all of those insults to common decency and freedom. I’m merely pointing out that it is hypocritical to foist the entire political agenda of the left on everyone who might support parts of it. Both sides have good and bad points. I find liberals (generally) much better on due-process rights and legal matters in general. I like conservatives better on gun rights and foreign policy. Liberals are awful on economics and conservatives are neanderthal on social issues. It all leaves me solidly on the fence when election time rolls around.

But what should be the goal here at TTAG be in the gun community? I’ll tell you what my goal is. To foster the cross-pollination of ideas between conservatives and liberals in the hopes that the worst of each can be moderated and the best of each can be accentuated. I see points of hope all around me. Conservatives are learning that the police are not the answer to everything and I’m seeing erosion on the support for the drug war. Liberals must confront the anti-gun bias of their side and either defend it or switch allegiance.

I want this process to continue and I find our cause ill-served by Mr. McNabb’s post. I understand the emotion that motivated it, but I think some serious introspection might have alleviated the need to break out the torches. More even than the substantive arguments that he makes, the rhetoric used is not going to foster a “big tent” approach to gun rights.

Mr. McNabb, I disagree with you. I disagree with your arguments, and I disagree with your tone. And to all the commentators who piled on, your additions were in some cases actually worse. It’s one thing for a guy to write an editorial. Hell, we let mikeb302000 post around here and he most definitely fails the basic gun-support test. It’s another for the community here as a whole to castigate one half the political spectrum.

At the risk of an irony overload, I’ll quote scripture: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” If that’s too vague, let me be more specific. Let he who has never voted for anyone who reduced freedom in this nation write the first editorial against one political movement. And no, not voting doesn’t count. We’ve all done it if we’ve voted in more than an election or two. So let’s set our own houses in order before carrying the battle into the gun community.

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  1. Best post on this subject I’ve seen. The two party system is a lie. If you vote straight Republican and call yourself in favor of small government you are a fool or a liar.

    • I’ve been so perturbed by both the Repubs & Dems so long that for many years I’ve been voting for candidates from the party that comes closest to my ideal, the Libertarian Party. Many will say that since they typically have no chance of winning, I have wasted my vote. I beg to differ. Our vote is nothing more than a means to communicate. If you vote for one of the Big Two while deploring what they’re doing, that’s a wasted vote. You sent the message: “Keep doing what you’re doing.” A non-vote will be taken as “I’m ok with the status quo”, if you’re not ok with how things are, that’s a wasted vote. Recent history seems to support my position since the Tea Party has more in common with the Libertarians than with much of the main stream Repub party. So you’ve got to ask yourself every year at voting time, “Am I doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?” Vote your conscience, not just for someone that can win while holding your nose. Eventually, either different parties will emerge or the existing parties will evolve into something better.

      Also, I do agree with Mr. Zimmerman’s point. We’re probably never going to convert the hardcore left wingers. The most we can typically hope for is to sway those on the fence. That won’t happen with wild anti-liberal screeds like Mr. McNabb’s article. Of course, I would never suggest Mr. McNabb be censored in any way. I just hope he will think more about a winning strategy before he vents next time.

  2. So on social issues. It was the Republicans that freed the slaves, let the blacks vote, voted to end segregation. This alone makes me wonder why so many blacks vote for their slave masters.

    • This was before the party shift at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Today’s Republicans were the democrats of the 19th century. Honest Abe would have been a liberal democrat by today’s standards.

      • In Harry Turtledove’s alternate history of the Civil War (fiction to be sure, but anybody who has read HT can attest to the level of background knowledge he has), Lincoln ends up as the leader of the Communist Party in the USA. I thought that was interesting and believable.

    • Joecr, this is silly at best. You are looking at history that is literally old-news. What the Republicans did in 1861 has nothing to do with today. Look to the 1950s and 60s–in what way did the republican party do in that era to enhance civil rights? Remember the Republican “Southern Strategy”? That is where the party is now.

      • Perhaps you should go examine the Congressional Record regarding who voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Democrats weren’t the ones who passed it.

        • perhaps you should look at how voters, representatives and majorities shifted at the time

  3. ****Ronald Reagan was a gun-controller. So was Nixon. The Patriot Act is probably the single largest infringement on due-process rights ever enacted, and that was done by “conservatives.” And before someone goes “no-true-Scotsman” on me, yes, conservatives DO have to answer for the actions of their elected officials, just as progressives do. Medicare Part D, the War on Drugs, the militarization of the police forces, the War on Terror. From where I sit on the political aisle, conservatives have precious little moral high ground from which to snipe at progressives about “the Constitution” and “limited government.”*****

    Here’s the problem with your argument;the Constitution, though an important foundation of gun rights, isn’t the point .99% of gun control legislation on the books in America is a miserable failure in their stated goal of reducing crime. A debate on the merits of a policy makes sense only if the policy is effective . If all the policy does is enable the very crooks its intended to punish, then its a failed law and should be stricken from the books. Debating the merits of gun control thus is like debating the merits of the Flat Earth theory.

    We know its a bunk theory,concretely, just like we know the Brady Background Check system has so many holes and bureaucratic issues with records that a lot of convicted crooks probably can buy arms anyway due to sheer disorganization. Look at the Virginia Tech shooter, who passed his point of sale background check.

    How many people have been saved by the NFA act?
    Which crime was prevented by mandating a tax stamp for a suppressor?
    When has ‘may issue’ ccw prevented a sexual assault or crime?
    Which crook has ever stated “I WUZ gonna kill that guy, but I couldn’t get a gat because I needz a FOID card?”

    The issue we who keep and bear arms have against so called “Progressives” is because such people keep repetitively advocating a failed system as a solution to a problem the 2nd Amendment already adresses. Folks who say “reasonable gun control is good” are like a doctor advocating leech treatment for a mosquito bite. The principles and laws of gun control, like the Ptolemy model of Astronomy, are obsolete artifacts of failed theory. Unlike gay marriage, healthcare, or other issues which demand reasoned discussion, the ‘discussion’ on gun control should have ended long ago. Its a proven failure-and I will never understand why so called “progressives” can’t figure that out.

    • Not sure what your point is mate, I do agree with most of it, and I don’t see how it contradicts what I wrote. If your point is that gun control is impractical and counterproductive (and it is), but the Drug War isn’t, I’d have to disagree in the strongest possible terms.

  4. The political “disease” in the US is the belief that there are valid ideas and valid people, and the rest are beneath contempt – and it infects both parties. That’s not democracy, that’s fascism. And a recipe for chaos.

  5. RF hire this kid. I enjoyed the tone and the content and for once I read a political argument on this site without shaking my head in disgust. Plus he didn’t toss in a random foreign phrase to impress the rabble. I think in addition to following the four gun laws, this site should also strive to follow Orwell’s 6 laws for writing.

      • I consider myself liberal/progressive on most issues. I get along with liberals and conservatives equally well so long as they aren’t closed minded butt-holes, (and both groups have them in equal numbers, and they tend to be the loud ones).

        My response to these posts is that I read them and wonder where these ideas of liberals/progressives come from since they don’t describe me at all or the bulk of the people I know who consider themselves lib/progressive.

        I’ve also noticed that the bulk of the conservatives I know are nothing like the equally ridiculous caricature believed by a lot of liberals. The lie about what each group is like is so convincingly bought by everyone that no one actually takes the time to get to know enough normal liberals if they are conservative or normal conservatives if they are liberal. That is moronic.

        Most people are “normal”. Normal doesn’t make good television and don’t rile people up enough or scare them enough to donate money to political campaigns though, so the conservative media-political arm and the liberal media-political arm peddle these nonsensical caricatures of each other. It’s all about the Benjamins.

        It is simple divide and conquer. Make half of the normal people demonize and promise destruction to the other half of the normal people. Make sure they hate each other enough that they don’t mix and mingle and find out that they were lied to. Meanwhile the “overlords” of the left and right media and political groups make tons of money off of us all, and we’re too busy fighting each other like idiots to notice.

        When I read this anti-lib or anti-con crap anywhere I feel depressed that people are so effectively sold on this grand lie and are so effectively being utilized as tools for a bunch of power-consolidating money grubbing politicians and media outlets who don’t care at all about any of us “small folks”.

        How all of this affects who likes guns is that normal people, conservative or liberal, who don’t have the luxury of living ins squeaky clean safe places with responsive well paid police departments and actually have to face the reality of the world tend to like and own guns. Folks who live in insulated communities where they don’t have anything to be afraid of (who also happen to be people with inordinate amounts of power in business and government) “don’t like” guns. They are nothing but a threat to them, and they have no use to them in their day to day life like most other people do. That’s why you see even conservative politicians who are generally super-pro gun stop short when it comes to letting guns around where THEY conduct their day to day business.

        It’s us and them fellas, and “them” knows it ensures that we don’t.



  6. The PATRIOT Act and most of the other “war on terror” measures passed with strong bipartisan support in Congress. The Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of then-Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman. Medicare Part D was a Bush-led preemptive strike to avoid the Dems passing even costlier legislation, and was passed with strong Dem support. That’s not to absolve Republicans for any of those things, but rather to say that from a partisan perspective, they are a wash.

    Personally, while I am not a libertarian, I have a lot of sympathy for many libertarian positions, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the libertarians within the conservative movement to temper some of the stupider excesses of the social-con and Washington-insider wings of the conservative coalition.

    While the GOP has been far from perfect on gun rights, they’re still a lot better than the Dems and progressive movement – Assault Weapons Ban? Jihads against regular capacity mags?

    Also, at the risk of making a “Scotsman” argument, it seems pretty clear to me that the conservative base is better on gun rights than the GOP in Washington, while the Dems in Washington are actually better than the liberal/progressive base.

    • Sorry mate, I don’t care the tactical reasons, Bush and his Republican majorities get the blame for the PA and Med-D. I realize most dems voted for them, but that doesn’t make them less of a violation. And I do agree that in general, the GOP is better on gun rights, in fact, I said that in my article. That alone does not wash out their attacks on liberty on other fronts. I’m not knocking anyone who votes republican, but you have to understand that given free reign, there’s not much difference between the parties. My favorite saying (which I believe I can claim to have originated) is that the only differences between Republicans and Democrats is who they want to give my money to and what their excuse is for abridging my freedom.

      • With the exception of a few true fiscal conservatives (and there are some in the GOP, though a they are a sadly small minority), ALL politicians want to spend your money (or your progeny’s money) to buy your votes, and you have to watch them 24/7 to make sure it doesn’t happen.

        The good thing about the GOP is that they rely heavily on the rural and southern vote, which means that it is easier to get them to see reason (i.e. scare them) on gun rights issues. The bad thing about the GOP is that even when in power they do a poor job of reigning in the permanent bureaucracy, who are happy to invent new rules and enforcement methods even in the absence of authorizing legislation (see also the EPA).

  7. I didn’t take from Tim’s article that the GOP was the end all be all political parties in the US. There is no denying however that one party is more inclined to more freedom, and one to less. Please vote accordingly.

    • I didn’t take that either, but he was pretty strong on the conservative VS. progressive front. My point is that both ideologies are flawed (as are all ideologies, even mine), and the corresponding political parties are both enemies of freedom. How you vote is your business, but in the gun community, we should not be seeking to attack those who support us on gun rights but disagree on (for instance) gay marriage.

      • Despite my preference for the GOP (nose firmly pinched), I completely agree that people who agree on issues should be willing to work together and form coalitions to push those issues, regardless of where they stand on other political points. I honestly don’t understand how liberal (in the true sense) carry laws are not considered gay rights and women’s rights issues, since it is not the 200lb rapist or the homophobic mob that will benefit the most from being armed, but rather their intended victims. I would love to see gun rights become so “American as Apple Pie” that no politician is willing to mess with them. I would happily forgo the slight advantage that the GOP gets as a sometimes-defender of gun rights to have the issue taken off the political table entirely.

        • Have you ever heard of the Pink Pistols? It’s a group very much devoted to the idea that LGBTQ peeps in fear of violence should be proficient keepers and bearers of arms.

      • I think that you might be confusing some terms here. Republican ≠ Conservative, just as Democrat ≠(necessarily) Progressive. There are most certainly progressive Republicans, and there are certainly some Democrat members of Congress who are to the right of some Republicans (I don’t think that you could actually call a single Democrat in Congress a conservative though). Its not a fight between parties, its a fight between ideologies: more personal freedom vs. more government control. The list of progressive Republicans is a long and proud one, starting with Lincoln. Both Roosevelts, Eisenhower, and both Bushes were all progressives.

    • Jeebus – what a sh*t disturber I am.

      First, I am not a fan of either the GOP or the Democrats. I tend to vote GOP as the lesser of two evils, because as . My critique was of the philosophy, not a party or any given agenda items.

      When I pointed out an agenda item, I only did it as a means to illustrate the philosophy behind it.

      • And the rebuttal does a fine job of pointing out how the philosophy of the right is just as dangerous as the philosophy of the left. Lesser of two evils is not a lesser of two evils: it just depends on what rights you hold dearest.

      • Voting for the lesser of two evils is an immoral concept. It’s like someone asking you to choose between rape or murder. I choose neither.

        • Yes, but in a two party system, you are still going to get one or the other. Also, there’s more to participatory democracy than just voting in general elections – in many ways the candidate nomination process is even more important.

        • if you get one or the other and both are bad you still don’t have to legitimize either to act in your name. that kind of thinking will also lessen the chance of ever getting more variety than two parties.

      • Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, wouldnt the right thing to do would be to abstain? Youre simply lending your legitimacy to evil by engaging in the process.

        • “Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, wouldnt the right thing to do would be to abstain?”

          Absolutely not. That kind of thinking is why the greater of two evils usually wins. Hold your nose, vote for the candidate most aligned with your beliefs. Then work like hell to get the next set of candidates more in tune with said beliefs. Swing the pendulum in your direction.

          All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing
          -Edmund Burke

        • Dieing a death from a thousand cuts is preferable to accelerating the inevitable civil war? You might want to re-read that quote your posting, your voting for evil, even if it is the lesser of two, which means you can not be a good man. Thanks baby boomer for the position we’re in.

        • I think you should be able to vote +1 for a candidate OR -1 for a candidate. If neither candidate makes over some positive proportion of total voters then it is a “do over” with new candidates.


        • And abstaining with the intent to delegitimatize the government is not “do[ing] nothing”.

          More than ~10% of the population is ineligible to vote, along with another ~40% abstaining. The government is increasingly finding it difficult to be recognized as legitimate. The remaining ~50% seem to all say they vote for evil.

        • And those stats are for the US presidential election. Voter turnout for congressional, state, county or city level is far lower.

      • “Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, wouldnt the right thing to do would be to abstain? Youre simply lending your legitimacy to evil by engaging in the process.”

        You should do what your conscience tells you. That said, the way to influence government is to be indispensable to candidates seeking office. Be a supporter, adviser, contributor, mentor to a candidate early in their career and you’ll have influence. Too much of politics is short ball. It takes years to make a congressional candidate, a decade to make a senator.

        • Wow, not trying to attack you, but you seem incredibly naive if you think you’ll influence anything be by being a support/contributor; unless you have the means to contribute absurd amounts of money like a corporation or super pac. The only way you’ll be a adviser/mentor is if that candidate all ready shares yours opinions, at which point, your not really influencing anything, at least in a meaningful manner. As I said before your just supporting evil, even if it is the lesser of the two. Which begs the question, why were you on your high horse in the last article, if you acknowledge the candidate of your ideology is inherently evil?

      • Tim, it sounds like you’re back peddling, and I don’t think you have to. You’re more right than wrong and this guy criticizing you is more wrong than right.

        I’ll simplify.

        Republicans = Conservatives = Gun Rights advocates

        Democrats = Liberals = Gun Control advocates

        I know there’s some overlap, but just some.

        • The statistics on gun ownership suggest the overlap is a lot more than “some” as the gap in gun ownership between republicans and democrats has closed dramatically over the past 10 years. As of 2005 23% of democrats owned guns, 41% of republicans, and 27% of independents. Also it is far more likely for democrats to under-report and republicans to over-report on this issue. The reasons reported for gun ownership were 67% for defense against crime, 66% target shooting, and 58% for hunting.


        • Don, you forget. This is Mike. Statistics means your argument is weak. You need “honesty,” “logic,” “reason,” and “common sense” to make your point.

          Anyway, Mike, whenever you say “some” without quoting a figure or providing a source, you are being intentionally vague and intellectually dishonest.
          I could say “Some people like the taste of lead” and so long as 2 people do, it would be true. But if the way I’m using it implies a significant number, I’d be being dishonest. Same thing if I imply “some” to mean an insignificant number when it is actually a significant number.

        • Which surveys? The one Don mentioned showed that 23% of Democrats owned guns compared to 41% of Republicans. Where do you get 15%?

    • Joshua Writes:

      “How you vote is your business, but in the gun community, we should not be seeking to attack those who support us on gun rights but disagree on (for instance) gay marriage.”

      I illustrated how Progressiveness is on a collision course with gun rights, because the same philosophy that allows fining a farmer for growing too much food is the same philosophy that will eventually confiscate all guns.

      You all are projecting way to much on me as to the relative merits of an agenda item. I am talking about ideology and philosophy, not specifics.

      • So do you agree when Joshua says: “in the gun community, we should not be seeking to attack those who support us on gun rights but disagree on (for instance) gay marriage.”


      • Fair enough Tim:) I’m not projecting anything, I’m saying, many “progressives” support things like gay marriage, while “conservatives” are less likely to. I don’t rant here in the gun community about things like that, because here, 2A is the only thing that matters. Our issue may be equivocation of terms. When I say R or D, I mean the parties, when I say Con or Prog, I mean the ideologies. Ideologies are not identical to parties, by any means, but they are linked. When you start to talk about progressive conservatives, I’m sorry, but that smacks of No-True-Scotsman to me. My point was, if you want to purify a movement, purify the GOP of it’s big-government tendencies before you try to toss the (few) progressives out of the pro-gun movement. Same goes for the other side.

      • you are arguing from an assumed ideological purity of a perceived monolithic set of values. it hasn’t worked like that in the past and I do not see it changing in the future.

      • “So do you agree when Joshua says: “in the gun community, we should not be seeking to attack those who support us on gun rights but disagree on (for instance) gay marriage.””

        I neither agree or disagree because it is a Non sequitur. I have no beef with a guy who supports gun rights and supports gay marriage. The guy may be informed by a progressive philosophy or a libertarian one. Plus, gay marriage as an issue has no direct effect on the 2nd Amendment that I can discern.

        Do not infer what I have not implied.

        • Tim, I have to ask you to define “conservatism” and inform me as to how you think it differs from libertarianism. It’s easy enough to use the terms, but people keep equivocating on the meaning. If “Conservative” means only maximum freedom and minimum government, that’s a Libertarian. “Conservative” generally denotes traditionalist and/or religious rooting, which naturally leads in the direction I’ve decried.

    • “There is no denying however that one party is more inclined to more freedom, and one to less.”

      Really not sure which one that might be…could you clarify maybe? With specific examples of said party pushing pro-freedom agendas? Because apart from the Libertarian Party or the Constitutionalist Party, I don’t see which one you could be referring to.

      • One party pushes for more taxes, one for less. One party pushes for more gun control, one for less. Now, you can cite exceptions to the rule all day long, but it will not change the general direction each party wants to take this country, and you know it.

        • With the amount of borrowing/printing of money in the last 10 years, taxes are irrelevant as far as actually fiscally limiting govt’s capabilities. In general, Reps are more friendly on gun rights, but I still don’t trust them with it AT ALL. It’s well documented that Reagan, the Rep hero, advanced gun control policies in Cali as part of his racist policies. Romney put the AWB in place in Mass. You might consider them the lesser of two evils, but compromising with evil will never make evil less so. It just might slow the rate of decline. I refer back to my first post in this thread.

        • “You might consider them the lesser of two evils, but compromising with evil will never make evil less so”

          Are you suggesting that gun rights have eroded since the days of Reagan? Bush 41? Because they haven’t. I voted for both because they represented a better choice than the alternative. Do you think if Carter or Mondale or Dukakis had won that conceal carry would be as wide spread as it is today?

  8. And when you have the government subsidizing corn production so we can both enrich corporations and create a useless alternative energy, you have a system that will do what ever the oligarchs want. If there comes a time when corporations want guns gone, there is a damn good chance that the bought and paid for representatives will Go along with it so they will continue getting corporate largess.

  9. Okay, I get it. I’m supposed to believe that Durban, Schumer, Feinstein, Lautenberg, Boxer, Franken, Kohl and the rest of that progressive gang of thieves are good for me.

    Pardon my laughing fit. Even the so-called “progressives” know that new-style “liberalism” is an insult to human intelligence, which is why they had to make up a new name for it. John Kennedy, “Scoop” Jackson and similar Democrats were “old-style” liberals. Sometimes I agreed with them, sometimes I disagreed with them, but I always respected them. This new group of “progressives” are America-killers for whom I have nothing but contempt.

    • Hmm, I don’t know who you are replying to, but if it’s me, might I suggest a class in English, as you clearly didn’t read what I wrote.

      • Yes, Tarrou, my English skills were a great disappointment to my family. On the other hand, after practicing law for over thirty years, I have a very well-developed BS detector and it’s going off like a fire alarm.

        • I have to think you’re engaging in a bit of mood affiliation here. I never even insinuated that I supported any of the people you listed, nor any of their policies, nor that anyone else should either. If you got something different out of it, then I can’t help you. What is written is written. Apparently, your “BS” detector is going off because I’m not slamming democrats hard enough? Did you miss the part where I agreed with McNabb about the destructiveness of the progressive agenda? Or are you being intentionally obtuse?

    • @Ralph.

      Well said, sir!

      (Alas, I have more than a full time job, which limits the length of most of my comments)

  10. The real problem is all of this political cheerleading. People on both sides treat politics like they treat sports. “Our team is the best! Your team sucks!”

    The one great constant is that all politicians are crooks and liars. It doesn’t matter what letter they put behind their name. They are out to help themselves and those around them. They don’t give a damn about you unless you can do something for them.

    Power does not corrupt, rather the corrupt are attracted to power. Yes, there are Democrats who want to take away guns and your ability to buy a super-sized Coke. There are Republicans who want to take away your right to worship as you like or have sex with another consenting adult. Instead of discussing issues and thinking about the consequences of them, too many people just cheer for their team.

  11. The two largest most dangerous and destructive gangs in America are the Democrat and Republican Parties. Today’s typical modern-era liberals and conservatives have drifted very far from the earlier values and ideological definitions of those words. It often seems that the bickering I observe between the two sides is a classic result of the intended manipulations of the elites playing off the sheeple against each other in a game of divide and conquer using the classical Machiavellian strategy. The two Parties exist to continue rationalizing the slight hope that the people are still free and not hard-working serfs and cannon-fodder slaves. The real enemy of the followers of the left and right are not each other. The real enemy of the people are those who are controlling them like puppets.

    • Religion, ideology, their dogmas, and their true believers are the enemy of the man who values freethought, free inquiry, and liberty.

      • I’ve lived in two very liberal big cities for the past 20 years. It is interesting that many very liberal progressive people who look down upon traditional religion are not aware that they are following a new religion called Progressivism. Any political ideology taken too far is just another religion being used by people to guide them so they don’t have to think too deeply (or at all) and to rationalize away their behavior.

        • Why do you assume that progressives cannot be deeply religious? As I posted earlier, political ideology is not deterministic. You can hold a view that seems to fit one ideology and another from a completely different side of the political spectrum. As far as religion is concerned, you will find devout believers in all corners of the political spectrum.

  12. a) that’s why the Tea Party offers a glimmer of hope. I pray that the spark is not extinguished by the megalomaniac power-grabbers in both major political parties.

    b) for a libertarian philosophical view of freedom, you might try

    c) philosophy is not reality. Just ask the ancient Athenians as they were being crushed by Sparta. Crippling our country by voting for Harry Reid because he is highly-ranked by the NRA is classic penny wise and dollar foolish. Or more appropriately, tactical thinking as opposed to strategic thinking.

    • Your point is a good one, those attempting to separate philosophy from its practical outcomes need to work on their reality monitoring. But ultimately, politics boils down to priorities. We all basically want the same things, but some are more important. If you are a single issue voter, and that issue is gun rights, then Harry Reid might be the guy for you. But few of us vote solely on one issue, and so all issues can come to be conflated.

      My point (and yes, I’m pummeling this horse posthumously): I’d rather see conservatives criticizing their own party for subsidizing oil and corn than criticizing fellow gun rights supporters who are on the other side of the political aisle. Just as I’d rather see progressives evangelize their own party that 2A is one of the rights they should be supporting, rather than castigating the NRA for “racism”, or whatever.

    • “Crippling our country by voting for Harry Reid because he is highly-ranked by the NRA is classic penny wise and dollar foolish.”

      Here here!

  13. I think the point being missed by many of the responses is this – one’s position on the Second Amendment does not determine one’s place on the political spectrum. According to Gallup polling 55% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats have a gun in their home. That gap has been closing year-after-year.

    As a community, we should not assume that support of the Second Amendment means that an individual fits within a specific political ideology.

    • Of course, owning a gun does not mean one supports the Second Amendment; it only means they themselves want a gun. I wouldn’t put any stock in that implied correlation. A notoriously anti-gun senator pulled a shotgun on a home invader. Hypocrisy is a prevailing hallmark of politicians, naturally, but people in general also.

      And in the spirit of the thread I won’t name parties, but certain people especially have a predisposition towards the “rules are for you, not for me” mentality as well as moral and legal double standards.

      • According to Gallup, 73% of Americans believe that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own guns (2008). You don’t get that kind of response unless that belief is held by a broad spectrum of the American public.

        Generalizations are what harm the image of gun owners, we should be careful to avoid generalizations based on those that campaign to restrict our rights as well.

  14. I talk small issue with saying the end-game of conservatives is control. Republicans are not synonymous with conservatives, and someone saying they are conservative does not make them so. ‘Where you sit on the political aisle’ REPUBLICANS have no room to talk. Conservatives have always and continue to have a statement to make about limiting the government and its attempts to control guns. People who run the government tend to end up desiring more power and control, regardless of party affiliation. As far as I’m concerned, if they do seek this power and control, they lose their conservative badge.

    • You’ll have to define conservatism better if you want to make that argument. Because where I come from the difference between Conservatives and Libertarians has always been that Cons are willing to legislate tradition and morality, while libertarians are not. I do believe that the end-game of conservative dominance is social control. Example: Progressives want to subsidize “green energy” and conservatives want to subsidize “faith-based” charity institutions, and I don’t want to subsidize a damn thing. “Conservatism” cannot be severed from social conservatism, unless you want to throw social cons out.

  15. Not enough people have taken on this post. So I’ll give it a go.

    Joshua, you write this: “Mr. McNabb may be correct that the Kelo decision, Supreme Court packing and a thousand other liberal progressive programs have exceeded the scope of the Constitution and violated the rights of the populace. But so too has the conservative Republican program.”

    Then not long after you write the following: “I find liberals (generally) much better on due-process rights and legal matters in general.”

    I must ask, are you even capable of experiencing cognitive dissonance?

    “At the risk of an irony overload, I’ll quote scripture: ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ If that’s too vague, let me be more specific. Let he who has never voted for anyone who reduced freedom in this nation write the first editorial against one political movement. And no, not voting doesn’t count. We’ve all done it if we’ve voted in more than an election or two. So let’s set our own houses in order before carrying the battle into the gun community.”

    This is nonsensical. Because a person may have voted for someone in the past that they may regret voting for, they should not criticize a political movement that they feel is an enemy to liberty in the present? I’ll do as I please and I do not need your permission or approval.

    I also don’t care for consensus building. Building a bigger tent may be your goal, but it is not mine. I prefer open discussion and debate over mincing words in order to not offend the sensibilities of people who don’t agree with me. If McNabb’s post hurt a progressive’s feelings and turned them away from the gun rights cause, that is their problem. Not his, yours, or mine.

    Mature adults should be able to handle criticism of their beliefs.

    • As to your first charge of cognitive dissonance:

      The word “generally” is the key. Generally, I find liberals more concerned with the process of justice, while conservatives are more concerned with outcomes. For instance, OJ may have been guilty, but the process was fatally flawed. I agree with this strict adherence to the process of law. Maximum restraint on government.

      However, in specific, there are plenty of liberal/progressive legal cases and maneuvers I find odious. Such as Kelo. The current Walker/Kimberlin case is another example. I do not “side” with the progressives on legal matters, it was an example of an area in which they are generally more in line with my own thoughts and opinions, much like conservatives have with my opinions on firearms.

      As to your second charge, please note that I never said you should not criticize those you disagree with. By all means, you should. Debate is good and healthy. But there are probably better venues to do that in than the gun community. We are supporting a basic right here, and all who support that right are welcome. If your partisan leanings are so strong that you cannot share support for a human right with people who disagree with you on other issues, you have a problem. What’s the saying? “A fanatic is someone who won’t change his mind and can’t change the subject.”

      The only litmus test for support of the Second Amendment is……supporting the Second Amendment.

      • This slice of the “gun community” is as fine a place as any to have a discussion or debate about politics. After all, politics and the gun community are inextricably linked and probably always will be.

        Before I continue I should note that I’m just dandy with: progressives, communists, socialists, Democrats, Republicans and whomever else supporting the right to keep and bear arms. I’m glad when someone does. That doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything else or that we should avoid discussing our differences. We damn well should, especially when they’re relevant and huge.

        “We are supporting a basic right here, and all who support that right are welcome.”

        You are aware that you don’t determine who is welcome or unwelcome here, correct? This isn’t your show.

        By the way, you don’t have to worry about my “partisan leanings” being strong because I don’t belong to a political party. And as I stated above, I have no problem with anyone supporting the RKABA even if their politics may be radically different from mine. I’m curious by nature and I like to learn from others I don’t agree with if possible. They don’t get a free pass from me when I think they’re wrong, though.

        Finally, when discussions about where we diverge come up we should foster them rather than discourage them. If someone is offended or doesn’t like someone else’s tone, tough. I won’t bend over backwards to make sure they’re not offended. Nor will I pull any punches. I hope that they won’t either.

        I get the distinct impression that you think that discussion and/or debate about where we differ politically from one another is an unnecessarily divisive exercise and inappropriate here. Am I wrong?

        • Read the last paragraph of Mr. McNabb’s post, and keep in mind the conclusion is where you hit your salient point the hardest.

          He’s basically saying, “I don’t trust any ‘liberal’ on gun rights, and come the revolution, we’re going to shoot you”. All flowery and more cagey, but that’s the essence of it. And THAT sentiment is what I hate. Discuss, debate, but even in this thread, there are the paranoid delusionals raising querulous insinuations that they desire the coming revolution “shooting stage” to come about so they can purge violently those they disagree with. Well son, we are mostly americans here, and we abide the political compact, which I swore to uphold. And talking crazy about killing our political opponents is bad enough without extending that to our own supporters on this issue. It’s ludicrous, un-american and cowardly, given that none of these internet commandos has the slightest idea what they’re talking about. None of them will be “walking the parapet” if violence happens.

  16. Matt, abstaining from an election does nothing. Do you think the politicians care about their “legitimacy”? No, they only care whether or not they won. If only three people out of a hundred million vote, and they win by one vote, they could hardly care less.

    Choosing the lesser of two evils is making the best of a lousy situation. Abstaining is allowing the lousy situation to run completely out of control, out of a misguided desire not to get one’s hands dirty.

    • If the situation is as lousy as you say it is and it comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils in order to prevent “the lousy situation from running out of control”, one must wonder if the system that produced that situation is worth preserving and perpetuating.

      • “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” – Winston Churchill

        Also? This is not an epic battle between good and evil. It is about people trying to do the best they can and the best they know. Sometimes, people are wrong; that doesn’t make them ‘evil’ or ‘the enemy’. It means you have to keep plugging away at educating them until they get it.

        • We’re discussing the “lesser of two evils” concept. I wasn’t the one who brought it up and I’m not calling anyone evil.

          As for your Churchill quote and democracy? Tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.

        • My former teammate at my last job was a level 3 (senior) IT engineer who consistently did his best, the problem was he was a complete moron and didnt even know how to type with all his fingers; he did not have a medical condition which forced him to peck away at the keyboard. I considered him the enemy, would replace the key caps on his keyboard to spell out his name, contradict him in meetings, etc. In the end enough people realized he was worthless and fired. I could have spent my time educating him, but then I wouldnt have been able to get any of my work done, the amount of time required to bring up him up to speed would have been measured in years, and we both would have been fired.

          Or consider this, Hitler (ya I know godwins law) did his best he could and the best he knew, does that mean would should have tried educating him rather than declare Germany the enemy. Feel free to insert whatever your favorite prior political leader we went to war with may be.

        • @matt

          In regards to your co-worker, that basically just makes you a horrible person. Also, ridiculously juvenile.

          In regards to your little Hitler comment, if you seriously believe that there are people in power in this country, right now (Which are who I’m talking about; your fellow countrymen.), that are as evil as Hitler…you are not only juvenile, you have some serious issues dealing with reality. Are they on the margins? Sure. In the capitol? Nonsense. Diane Feinstein (frex) doesn’t limit guns becuase she wants to march you into a death camp. She wants to limit them because she BELIEVES it will make people safer. I happen to think she’s wrong; and I think with enough patience we can either a) educate her and others like her on what’s really happening or b) get someone into office who is educated on these issues.

          But I guess that’s harder than pretending you’re a character from a Schwarzenegger movie who’s ready for the coming apocalypse or something.

          @Michael B
          Tyranny of the majority is less to be feared than the apathy of the majority and the minority. Tocqueville talked about Democratic Despotism in his writings; but I think we have an active enough population that we aren’t there yet. I could wish for more activism; and both the Tea Party and Occupy movements give me hope on that score, at least as long as they are actually active and not just parroting talking points (something I think both groups are guilty of).

          The Churchill thing was more of a way to bring into focus the people who wanted a “new system” becuase ours is “broken”. What? They want some Greek style military junta?

      • It definitely is worth preserving. The two halves of our political landscape work as opposite forces that dull the effect of the extremes. The pull of opposites allows our course to run down the middle with only fleeting swings to the left or right. Constitutional guarantees keep the whole thing from running off the rails altogether. When we do stray off the Constitutional path, we have a very long and deliberative process to make sure that is the case, and pulls us back. In terms of national governance, I don’t see any system out there as solid as our own.

        • We dont run down the middle, we make compromises that allow both parties their own respective extremes. I’m pretty sure Saddam or any other dictator have/had national governance systems far more solid than our own, because they brutally crack down on anyone who dissents.

    • If enough people abstain and further delegitimize the government, and the situation runs completely out of control, then we can finally begin the shooting phase.

      • Spoken like someone who has never been to the “shooting stage”. Someday you’ll grow up, son. Being a bomb-thrower, an outsider, a constant critic is easy. Having the moral courage to perhaps be wrong in the service of a greater good is hard. Even harder it is to put your ideology up against others in an open market of ideas and lose. I’m a Libertarian, I know. I’ve heard this sort of bravado before, and always from guys who ducked and tumbled when the real two-way range kicks up.

      • We’ve been there, and it nearly ruined us. Stating a desire to go back to a state of civil war is ignorance in the extreme.

  17. I really appreciated this post AND all the follow up comments. It has certainly been educational for me, and given me much to ponder over tonight. As to our 2 party system, I can only hope that we can develop a strong viable third party, be it the “Tea Party” or the Libertarian party. And I wish the Dem and Rep parties AND the mass media would welcome a third party into the mix. Nope, in this year’s election cycle we had the national committees spending huge piles of money to prevent “outsiders” from getting on primary ballots, and blocking them from debates, and even when Dr. Paul (as an example) was allowed in the debates, he was forced to sit in the corner and not often asked any questions by the mass media. As for my political views? I am against the Patriot Act and have been since the beginning. I see the whole act as a HUGE intrusion of government into the rights and privacy of citizens. I’m against the war of drugs, it has been proven to me over the years to not be working. I am against subsidies for pretty much everything. I want my federal government to negotiate treaties and trade with other foreign governments, protect me from dangerous imports be it food or tires or lead in my paint, keep an eye on large corporations that they don’t take over state and local governments at the expense of the people, and protect my OFWG butt from crazy nations like North Korea. I don’t want my government at any level telling me what I can read, what I can eat, what I can wear, who I pray to (or not to), and if they are going to collect taxes off my labor to feed some family that can’t/won’t work, I think that family should have as a condition of getting that “free” money, that they write a thank you letter to me and send it with a family photo in a holiday card, make it my birthday if you want, so at least I can put a face and name to the people that I am helping to feed and shelter with the sweat of my brow.

    • There will be no viable third party. Either one of the two existing parties will capture the ideology of the third party and use it to sideline that party or one of the exisiting parties will be replaced as the Republicans replaced the Whigs in the late 1800’s.

      The first past the post voting system is very hostile to third parties capturing anywhere near a majority.

    • “I want my federal government to… protect me from dangerous imports be it food… I don’t want my government at any level telling me… what I can eat”
      Huh? How does that work? What if you want to eat something that the government considers dangerous?

  18. Well now some politicians want to mandate how much sugar I can consume. I don’t care which political party someone calls their own, such actions violate the principle of liberty. When will the sheeple wake up and demand less from government — a lot less?

    • they do demand less, the problem was if the politicians did less, then they would be out of a job, their job requires that they continue to restrict our liberties, it is simply what they do. that is why you need to abstain from the political process.

    • The people will demand less when they keep on meeting every tragedy or problem the country faces with “There oughtta be a law!” But this will never happen a) because people can never agree on what law there ought to be, and b) the politicians would not allow us to put them out of work. I mean, think about it: humans have devised systems of laws for thousands of years, yet we have multiple political bodies writing new ones every day. And there are millions of lawyers and thousands of courts interpreting and applying those laws, and none of them can agree on anything either.

    • The government cannot control your sugar consumption, but it has the right and the responsibility to make sure a corporation does not provide a product that is, by its very nature, dangerous to consume.

  19. Ya know, through this whole multi-post fiasco, a couple things keep coming to mind.

    Firstly, as true as it may be that the party system and political manipulation are designed to keep the voters squabbling amongst each other rather than rallying against an overreaching government, it can’t be ignored that each party does GENERALLY attract a certain type of person. Many other issues clash, many other personality traits and customs clash, and sometimes these issues have far more potential for disaster than the 2A. I would put forth that, in general, someone who identifies as a conservative and someone who identifies as a progressive would be less compatible as buddies, no matter what their 2A opinions are.

    Aside from obvious exceptions to this assertion, another sizable factor is how much each person truly cares about politics in general.

    So, all this talk about party affiliation not mattering at all when it comes to our mutual love of guns is a bit unrealistic. One common agreement does not an ally make.

    Which leads into the second point, which is WHY does a group of people support guns and/or the 2A? Do they support it solely for the fact that it lets them get guns, and should legislation arise that limits the freedom yet doesn’t affect them specifically, would they care? Do they support it because it lets them hunt (ignoring the true purpose of the 2A)? Do they support it along with “reasonable” and “common sense” control? Do they support it for only so long as it’s convenient for them to? Do their other political opinions, tendencies, voting records, and actions suggest that they’ll leave the 2A high and dry when push comes to shove?

    People can claim stances and avow support all they want; the truth is more elusive, and perhaps sometimes impossible to know for sure. But I’m far more interested in the “why” of support than the empty claim of support.

    In the end, as a libertarian, I know that the 2A, like any freedom, belongs to any and all from any political walk. That doesn’t mean trust should be given so easily. Someone being an American does not automatically mean they are on your side, just like someone claiming support of the 2A does not automatically make them an ally. This goes for politicians and anyone around you.

    • Mostly true mate, but I think you overestimate personal differences. Most of my friends are liberal to libertarian and my family is pretty solid conservative. There’s never been much of an issue mixing those people due to politics, though there are some intense debates from time to time. When it comes to range time, we talk guns, not so much politics.

  20. This is a good discussion. We need to get back to the government that our forefathers built. Limited gov. Each person is responsible for their actions. True we have to many laws that muddy the waters. Take the 10 commandments and remove the religious part. They cover all aspects of living together. Besides most would agree if your in a fire fight you don’t care about the other persons politics or beliefs as long as they have your back and a good eye and shoot strait. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  21. “To foster the cross-pollination of ideas between conservatives and liberals in the hopes that the worst of each can be moderated and the best of each can be accentuated.”
    Ah, to compromise. As the lion compromises with the lamb. As the flame compromises with the tinder.
    To be armed and free or disarmed and enslaved. Where is the middle ground in that.

    • Good reading skills mate. I am proposing keeping as many people involved in INCREASING support for an armed populace, not chasing off supporters because we don’t like their union membership, or sexuality or whatever. I support and brook no compromise on gun rights. But I will not support reducing our political footprint in order to satisfy any peripheral concerns.


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