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Understanding left-wing enthusiasm for gun control

in a piece comparing responses to the riots in London and Los Angeles, Joy McCain gets at the essence of liberal support of gun control:

The left is right to fear firearms, since exercise of that particular freedom and experience of that self-sufficiency (however limited it is in scope) can be a “gateway drug” to other forms of independent thought and action.

It’s all about wresting control from individuals and delivering power to the state, an entity which, they believe, will run by those better and brighter than the common man (or woman) and so better able to tell such commonfolk how to run their lives.

Perhaps that is also why gay leaders refuse to embrace policies (e.g., concealed carry) which would give gay individuals another tool to protect ourselves.

Guess it’s part of that equality notion for the gay community rather than that freedom ideal for gay individuals.  To have equality, they contend, you must needs have a stronger state.

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13 Comments

  1. You’re overthinking it. Progressives are not, by and large, rational people. They don’t hate guns because it is lnked in their minds to individual empowerment; they just hate guns… viscerally. And, in their minds, Government exists to make that which they don’t like go away. It’s no more complex than that.

    Comment by V the K — August 11, 2011 @ 8:45 pm - August 11, 2011

  2. Dan, check out this link, detailing a 5000% increase in the sale of baseball bats via amazon.uk.

    Interesting….

    Comment by Eric Olsen — August 11, 2011 @ 8:47 pm - August 11, 2011

  3. The left is right to fear firearms, since exercise of that particular freedom and experience of that self-sufficiency (however limited it is in scope) can be a “gateway drug” to other forms of independent thought and action.

    A very nice strawman, appeals to just enough stereotypes to sound plausible to certain right-wingers, but also just clownish enough that you’re actually able to knock it down.

    It’s all about wresting control from individuals and delivering power to the state, an entity which, they believe, will run by those better and brighter than the common man (or woman) and so better able to tell such commonfolk how to run their lives.

    Amusingly, you get somewhat closer to what actual left-wingers (as opposed to the ones in your head) think, though with a good dose of well-poisoning just in case I was about to take you seriously.

    The simple idea behind the ‘left-wing enthusiasm for gun control’ is the flipside of the right-wing ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ rhetoric, that plentiful supply of guns leads to more gun crime and that the ‘heroic civilian vigilante’ archetype spoken of by right-wingers is too rarely found in reality to make much of a difference.

    Myself, I’m increasingly agnostic towards gun control. The United States has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, but also very high firearm-related death rates.

    Conversely though, Switzerland is commonly cited as a counter-example as they too have high gun ownership rates but much lower rates of firearm-related deaths, indicating that people do kill people, as it seems from this that guns are much more dangerous in the hands of Americans than the Swiss.

    But as I look at that, the figures for the UK catch my eye. I recall being mocked about gun bans in Britain, but the numbers speak for themselves. 15.22 deaths per 100,000 in the United States, 6.4 deaths per 100,000 in Switzerland, but 0.46 and 0.38 deaths per 100,000 in England and Wales respectively.

    Go further down to Japan (with near-zero gun ownership) and the figure falls to 0.07 per 100,000. Now these are not small gaps, the Swiss may have half the deaths the Americans have, but England and Wales of less than one tenth of that, and the Japanese one hundredth! Also while the Swiss gun ownership rate is high, it’s only about half the United States, making the correlation startlingly neat…

    So now I think I just convinced myself back into gun control. I really wasn’t expecting that. Maybe someone who isn’t NorthDallasThirty or ILoveCapitalism can try to convince me otherwise? Actually, they can try too, they just won’t succeed and will probably be counterproductive in their efforts, but don’t let me stop either of you.

    Comment by Serenity — August 11, 2011 @ 11:40 pm - August 11, 2011

  4. As an addendum, on reflection the ‘individualism vs. collectivism’ rhetoric may be pretty accurate here.

    The conservative position is “What if some guy broke into my house tonight with gun and threatened my family?”. Obviously, you want a gun in case that happens, and thus want loose gun control laws are favoured to make sure you can do that.

    The liberal position is “Which policy results in the least gun crime overall?”. By what I just listed, tight gun control laws seem to be the best at doing this. It also seems to make sense, if it’s hard to get guns, people are less likely to actually use one for criminal purposes. Sure, you can kill someone without a gun, but the army uses lots of guns for a very good reason. They make it a lot easier!

    So the former is a very individualistic mentality, and individual doing what they think is best for their needs and the needs of their family. The latter is a more collective thing, doing what you think is best for society as a whole.

    There are bound to be massive arguments over the above (feel free to tell me if I screwed up on the conservative viewpoint), but I think it’s the least strawman-ish way of expressing the differing viewpoints on this issues.

    Comment by Serenity — August 11, 2011 @ 11:47 pm - August 11, 2011

  5. The liberal position is “Which policy results in the least gun crime overall?”.

    Again, the utter lack of intellect on Pomposity’s part.

    Conservatives are thinking about protecting home, property, and family. Liberals like Pomposity are just acting out of a visceral and irrational hatred of guns and could care less about the crime. They don’t care about the person who breaks into the house having the gun; they’re just hellbent on making sure that the homeowner doesn’t have one.

    Furthermore, Pomposity, the problem with liberals and “progressives” like yourself is that you only apply your gun-control laws to law-abiding white people. If it’s gangbangers of color, not only do you not care, you actually order the gun-shop owners to break the law and facilitate the gangbangers getting them. Barack Obama invites to the White House and praises people who sing about shooting police officers. “Progressive” and Obama Party dominated cities like Chicago refuse to arrest, prosecute, or punish gangs and others threatening and using firearms, and in fact turn people loose on the street to threaten and kill law-abiding families.

    So you’re a liar, Pomposity; if you wanted gun control, you’d enforce it regardless of skin color. You don’t, so what that makes clear is that you’re a typical little failure “progressive” acting out your control-freak fantasies, just like your friends off looting and burning shops.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 12, 2011 @ 1:05 am - August 12, 2011

  6. @NDT: Quiet please, adults are talking.

    Comment by Serenity — August 12, 2011 @ 2:09 am - August 12, 2011

  7. The Liberals’ approach to guns and crime prevention reminds me of the current approach to fire-fighting here in my home state…once any people are out of the building they let the fire burn and burn. “You do have insurance, don’t you?…”

    It could just be a smoky wastebasket, but they’ll let it spread and engulf the entire house. And Gods forbid you attempt to re-enter your own home and put it out yourself in the face of their indifference…they’ll have you arrested for “interfering”. They even have specially-deputized firemen as “Fire Police” just to keep the peasants in-line. “We’re in-charge of fires, thank you.” Then they’ll bull-doze the “rubble” so that you can’t salvage anything.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 12, 2011 @ 4:54 am - August 12, 2011

  8. Never understood why liberal leaders (regardless of race, gender, whatever) would oppose gun rights to protect the very people they claim are vulnerable. Perhaps they don’t believe in their own spin.

    Groups such as GOProud deserve credit on this issue. Just visit culturally schizophrenic Amsterdam where men can “marry” men but can’t hold hands in public b/c of Muslim gangs. It’s crazy.

    Comment by Ben — August 12, 2011 @ 5:51 am - August 12, 2011

  9. Senility,

    Let’s look at riots in places like LA and London, and compare them to riots in places like Texas and Arizona.

    As soon as we have riots in Texas and Arizona that is.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 12, 2011 @ 7:40 am - August 12, 2011

  10. I don’t think the desire for gun control has anything to do with fear of self-sufficiency. I think it has more to do with putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound. The types of liberals who want significant gun control cannot admit that gun violence is a result of welfare policies that have encouraged a generation of ghetto-dwelling miscreants who refuse to work for a living and instead seek out crime and gang-activity because it pays better. It’s cultural. And that probably sounds racist and full of stereotypes, and I really don’t care. Probably because I’m a gun owner that realizes that the guns those kinds of liberals are trying to control aren’t the guns that are reached by regulation.

    To VtK’s point above, there are some people who really do have a visceral negative reaction to guns. A few years ago, while having a discussion in our criminal law class, my friend made a comment via Instant Messenger about guns, to which I replied that I was a gun owner. She asked me why, and I told her that I enjoyed sport shooting and had since the Army taught me to shoot, and that the gun had been a gift from my grandfather. Her response? “What kind of sick stocking stuffer is that?” I still have trouble wrapping my mind around why people have that reaction, but maybe that’s because I love to shoot. And I was raised in a house without guns!

    Comment by Neptune — August 12, 2011 @ 10:00 am - August 12, 2011

  11. Liberals hate guns because they don’t actually trust themselves not to somehow go on some berzerk shooting spree if they owned one.

    Comment by Matteo — August 12, 2011 @ 11:32 am - August 12, 2011

  12. Good point Matteo.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 12, 2011 @ 1:40 pm - August 12, 2011

  13. But you must admit, Matteo….the temptation is oh-so-strong somedays. :-)

    Comment by Neptune — August 12, 2011 @ 3:30 pm - August 12, 2011

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