Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why support for gun control is fading away

Eric Raymond has an interesting post that starts with an analogy that most will find familiar and ends with an explanation for why the "middle ground" is less influential in the gun control debate:
Here’s a thought experiment for you. Imagine yourself in an alternate United States where the First Amendment is not as a matter of settled law considered to bar Federal and State governments from almost all interference in free speech. This is less unlikely than it might sound; the modern, rather absolutist interpretation of free-speech liberties did not take form until the early 20th century.

In this alternate America, there are many and bitter arguments about the extent of free-speech rights. The ground of dispute is to what extent the instruments of political and cultural speech (printing presses, radios, telephones, copying machines, computers) should be regulated by government so that use of these instruments does not promote violence, assist criminal enterprises, and disrupt public order.

The weight of history and culture is largely on the pro-free-speech side – the Constitution does say “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. And until the late 1960s there is little actual attempt to control speech instruments.

Then, in 1968, after a series of horrific crimes and assassinations inspired by inflammatory anti-establishment political propaganda, some politicians, prominent celebrities, and public intellectuals launch a “speech control” movement.
Here's his ending:
The members of these organizations know that many people advocating “reasonable restrictions” and advocating “common-sense regulation” are not actually seeking total bans and confiscation. They’re honest dupes, believing ridiculous collective-rights theories because that’s what all the eminent people who gave Prettyisland’s book glowing reviews told them was true. They honestly believe that anyone who doesn’t support “common-sense regulation” is a dangerous, out-of-touch radical.

Free-speech advocates also know that some people speaking the same moderate-sounding language – including most of the leadership of the speech-control movement – are lying, and are using the people in the first group as cat’s paws for an agenda that can only honestly be described as the totalitarian suppression of free speech.

Increasingly, the difference between these groups becomes irrelevant. What has happened is that four decades of strategic deception by the leadership of the speech-control movement has destroyed the credibility of the honest middle. Free-speech activists, unable to read minds, have to assume defensively that everyone using the moderate-middle language of “common-sense regulation” is lying to hide a creeping totalitarian agenda.
Given that the honest middle doesn't know very much about the subject, and given that their motivation is to appear "non-partisan", they increasingly find that rather than being perceived as peacemakers, they are scorned by both sides.  If you want to be a peacemaker, this is bound to be a turn off.

So not put yourself in the position of one of these people, with the Democrats and the MSM (redundancy alert) whipping up a hysterical frenzy over gun control, full of for the children and have you no shame.  Is that going to win you over?  Given that you don't have particularly strong feelings on the matter, you're likely to shrug your shoulders and tune all the gun control ravings out.

Essentially the dial it up to eleven!!!1! strategy of the hard left has alienated the honest middle that used to side with them.  The pro-gun side, of course, is highly motivated and turns out to vote.  Thus, yesterday's disaster for the Democratic Party.

The saying goes that you should assume that any organization is being run by a cabal of its most bitter enemies.  The Democrats are making a run at wrestling the name "Stupid Party" back from the Republicans.


Glen Filthie said...

I think you Yanks - and especially the libertarians - need to take a reall hard look at Canada. Our gun laws were loosened but still asnine; and our supreme court (hork, spit) just ruled that you can be charged with a hate crime if you speak out against certain identifiable groups - even if everything you say is 100% true.

And just now, from Calgary: a certain group of moslems is publishing openly antigay and antisemitical material, is blatantly advocating violence against them...and the fuggin judiciary ruled that there is nothing to see here and that this is not 'hate literature'.

You guys need to realize who your friends are, BP. AND - you need to side with them unless you want leftist loons to run away with your guns, your country and free speech. It drives me nuts when otherwise intelligent people state that conservatives are 'as bad as the progressives' because that just isn't true.

We have a helluva lot more respect for rights and liberties than they do and if people don't thinks so - they will have the errors of their ways shoved down their throats - sideways.

Goober said...

The presser last night was great - Yet another example of him going before a nation that told him “no” and having him explain to us why we really wanted what he was proposing, and how it was just because we couldn’t understand him that we didn’t line up to punch the card for his idea.

I’m getting so sick of being preached to by this pseudo-intellectual lightweight about how I’m so stupid and he’s so smart, and the only reason that I disagree with him is because he is too smart to be able to speak in terms stupid enough for me to understand him.

This wasn’t a failure of communication, Barack – I read you just fine. It’s just that – and I know that this is going to come as a shock to you, so stick with me here – I think what you were pushing for was stupid, poorly-thought-out, rights stripping, reactionary nonsense. Amazingly enough, so did the Senate.

ASM826 said...

It's executive orders to accomplish the task. Next week or so. Expect the worst.