It can sometimes feel like a never-ending fight; to be one of the few libertarians in a pro-gun group.  The greater struggle is less in the reconciliation of one’s own inner philosophical substructure, but one’s interactions with his allies in the gun fight.

 

Is there more to the gun-rights issue than left vs right?

To look at it through the lens of conventional demographics, one observes the commonly held belief that gun rights are a partisan issue with (modern) liberals supporting civil disarmament, and conservatives generally opposing it.  This oversimplification of the issue can mislead well-intentioned parties into taking sides which may not suit their own beliefs in the greater scope.  This oversimplification can also mislead other well-intentioned activists to create a false set of qualifying criteria one must meet to fit the role of “pro-gun”.

Within the firearm advocacy camp, we have our own subspecies, to which one can self-identify, or label each-other with.  For example, the deer hunter who prefers a vintage bolt action rifle, blaze orange outerwear, exotic custom calibres, and a spirit of appreciation for the old ways may pejoratively call his nephew a Mall Ninja.  That nephew, who prefers military-pattern rifles, tactical outerwear with  MOLLE, a full-capacity magazine of NATO-standard ammunition, and venerates martial culture may label his uncle a Fudd.  Neither the rifle one prefers, nor the clothes one wears cause conflict; the underlying viewpoints which go with these accoutrements do.  Fudds will often (but not always) opine that Mall Ninjas bring unwanted attention and frightening stigma to the firearm community, handing the anti-gunners ample fodder.  Fudds may even go as far as to agree with anti-gunners on the need to remove military-pattern rifles from civilian hands.  The Mall Ninjas (along with many of those in the  spectrum between the two archetypes) object to being “thrown under the bus”.  I should note that I do not use these words to offend, or even endorse them as accurate labels.  I use them simply as shorthand.

Using these two fellas as examples to bookend the spectrum of social dynamics and politics within the firearm community shows that we are not an entirely homogenous mass which actually works in our favor:  When the anti-gunners try to control the narrative and open fire on us as an echo chamber of the worst prejudices one can name, their volley falls flat.  Observe the viva voce allies we have representing us publically (in large part thanks to the NRA).

 

Colion Noire, a very articulate and charismatic black dude who is a lawyer by trade.

 

Chris Cheng, an openly gay Asian dude, former Google employee, and marksmanship champ.

 

 

The truth of our diversity is an absolute defense against those who’d smear us as dogmatic bigots.  Why then is it so controversial to be anti-war in the gun community?

I suspect that it might be because there are some commonalities between the Fudds and the Mall Ninjas (again, no offense intended by the use of these labels).  Generally, Fudds carry the torch of the old ways: veneration of the state, nationalistic pride, and an appreciation for one’s ancestors’ roles in the unfolding of history.  Given that they subscribe to the narrative of history as written by the victors and as taught in government schools, one owes them some forgiveness given the origin of their bias.   Meanwhile, the Mall Ninjas have an admiration for the discipline, sacrifice, and training required of a person to transform him (or her) self into a warrior.  Given that the martial tradition has existed for millennia, one can’t unsympathetically impugn these people for believing that armies exist for a reason, and that therefore war must be considered natural, moral, and just.  This is all very common, accepted, and taken as tautological, but when both ends of a spectrum of one’s fellows have inborn and ingrained beliefs that “might is always right”, it makes it hard to find open ears to the message of peace.

 

 

Oversimplification of the morality of foreign intervention.

Part of what prompted me to write this essay is a recent online conversation I had with an ally in the fight for firearm liberties.  I posted up the following image which offers a contrast between the ideas of non-interventionism vs isolationism:

nonint

My friend opened up a dialogue by suggesting that neither North Korea nor Switzerland have contributed in the defeat of tyranny.  I pointed out that the notion of “the defeat of tyranny” makes use of Utopian rhetoric, and I reminded him of the greater than 1 million Iraqi who’ve died as a result of the foreign interventions of the United States government.   He countered by citing how the Swiss banks had accepted stolen gold during the Nazi regime (ignoring that much of it was stored elsewhere, such as in Merkers mine).  As if by habit, reflex, or perhaps nature, he took this opportunity to segue into attacking the morality of non-interventionism by implying that the blood and ashes of 6 million Jews was more on the hands of the Americans than on those of the Nazis.  I asked him if he was attempting to build an argument based on the premise that bystanders are more guilty than the perpetrators of violence are.  He superlatively agreed that he was indeed.  He attempted to claim high-ground, stating that the moral compass he inherited from his parents guided him, and that one does not have the luxury of picking-and-choosing whom one stands up for.  Is this true?  For that matter, does one get to choose whom one allies with?

Let’s unpackage my friend’s position and compare it to the record of history:  He cites the righteous valor of the U.S. government stepping in to dish out punishment to the Nazis for their atrocities.  While doing so, he ignores who was calling out for allied help:  The USSR’s autocratic dictator, Josef Stalin.  Yes, Churchill and Roosevelt entered into an alliance with the USSR in exchange for the pledge of aid in the war against Japan.  Although the USSR and the USA of that era are not usually considered natural bedfellows, they managed to join hands in cooperation in large part due to Germany’s successful campaign against the USSR, and the USA’s fury over the Pearl Harbor bombing.  I believe that this answers one question I have about my friend’s moral compass:  One can indeed choose with whom to form an alliance.

Next, let’s explore my other question about my friend’s moral compass.  While attempting to elicit my contrition by summoning the ghosts of 6 million Jews to make me feel shame, he ignores the other holocaust, known as “Holodomor“.   Not even a decade had passed since the 1932-1933 period when Stalin starved an estimated 2.4 to 7.5 million of my Ukrainian ancestors to death, up to the time when the USA and USSR formed an alliance in 1941.  Contrary to my friend’s assertion, one can indeed choose whom one stands up for when guided by his parents’ moral compass.  Apparently this magical magnetic tool of moral pilotage also allows one to fight tyranny by allying with tyrants.  Maybe it’s not magic.  Maybe it’s just short memory.  Maybe it’s willful blindness.  Whichever way, if one looks at today’s foreign policy situation one sees that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

Same Team?

Despite our disagreements on foreign policy, I’m sure that my friend and I can agree that as men who fight for our rights to self-defense, property, and security, we ought to try and avoid spraying each-other with friendly fire.  It’s better to save the logical big guns and argument-piercing ammunition for the true enemies of liberty.  After all, the purpose of debate is not to score points, sling zingers, or claim bragging rights.  The purpose of debate is to have the truth brought to the fore.  If you, the reader, can identify with this struggle, don’t be discouraged:  If you can part ways with the logically contradictory beliefs you once held, you can explain to others how to do so.  If you can stand firm against the angry reactions, vitriol, and accusations of “not supporting the troops” you attract, you shall never be moved.  If you can change just one mind by speaking the truth as you know it, that one mind changed may beget another mind changed, and before you know it, you’ve been a part of a new tradition worthy of veneration.

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