Disclaimer: This has not been completed or edited, but since it's been sitting around on my hard drive for two years, I'm posting it now or never.
See Part 1 and Part 2.
Antagonistic hoplophobes are the ones who are trying to take our guns, not just lackeys as we saw earlier. They are the inspiration and background workers of the anti-gun movement. We have malicious ones; outright tyrants who want no armed opposition and privateers all too happy to collect a paycheck. Then we have zealots (true believers), egotists who can reconsider their stance, but to do so would risk damage to their own self-perception and jeopardize their goals.
Zealots believe in gun control for one of two reasons; one, they think it will actually help reduce violence; or two, they do not believe that average people should have guns. Though the execution of gun control may be particularly ugly, a fiction that the hoplophobe is doing the right thing exists in their minds. These paternal figures are the parents who put their feet down, believing they are doing the best for their children, only pushing their kids further away.
In their hearts, the zealot’s internal motivation for their anti-gun viewpoint is probably a sincere belief that government knows best and can provide the solutions for our problems, if only we listen and obey. Thus Leftists think they will solve poverty with welfare, inequality with identity politics, and violence with gun control. A desire to cure the ills of mankind have been warped by a system and ideology that cannot possibly be wrong. While individuals within the Leftist movement desire to do good, they don’t care how their vision of “good” is achieved, leading to totalitarian ends.
Anecdotal evidence, studies, statistics, and public opinion do not matter the the hoplopaths. Established structures tend to resist unconventional solutions that go against their nature. Not legislating gun control seems irresponsible to a lawmaker who may also be compelled to act out of emotion (or the emotions of their constituents). Aggressive law enforcement and harsh punishment, shown time and time again as the way to reduce crime, goes against the social justice ideals of liberals. Encouraging citizens to arm themselves and with guns resist gun violence--deterrence--seems counterproductive.
Egocentric thought is inflexible and self-reinforcing. Being self-centered, conflicting information is deflected or incorporated to reinforce the perception of the superiority of the individual, leading to a cyclical pattern of thought. These thinkers are often the hardest to successfully convert because a challenge to their beliefs and opinions is, to them, an assault against their very selves. Even a hint that they could be wrong is painful, so we see the underlying defense mechanism outwardly manifested as stubbornness.
Egocentric thinkers will gravitate to persons and causes that validate their thought patterns. Michael Bloomberg for example, acts as if he alone knows what is good for the lesser people beneath him. Egocentrism, being focused on itself, fails to take into account the validity of others’ thoughts, opinions, and preferences. Having no experience with guns and living a life of upper class safety, Bloomberg sees no need for the public to have them because he has no need of them.
He had led a very successful life abstaining from large sodas and guns, so if those two things are major contributors to obesity and violence, than forcefully removing them should correct the issue. “If I could succeed without them, then so can you.” This conclusion isn’t obvious to us jumbo cola drinking, low and middle-class gun-toters, so he must use his tools, political influence and money, to save us from ourselves. Thus, the ends justify the means.
Since he is an egoist, it does not enter his mind to objectively reconsider his opinions as he considers himself to know best. The unacceptable alternative would be for him to invalidate his entire life experience vis a vis guns and perhaps lead to an uncomfortable personal evaluation of himself and other areas where he may be wrong. For a proud man, this is practically impossible. The powerful and rich men with the “father knows best” attitude are in a dangerous symbiotic relationship with the ideological tyrants.
The malicious support include totalitarians who wish to ban guns to eliminate any armed resistance; they have no pretense about good. The privateering political careerist takes the helm of an anti-gun organization for the pay. Neither of these have a shred of decency in their motivations. The distinction between the malicious and the egoist is functionally nil; even if the elite does not wish to control the rabble for the rabble’s good, the last thing the elite want are being dispossessed of their wealth and power by armed peasants.
A tyrant like Stalin is easy to understand. The type hoplopath whose motivation I cannot wrap my head around are the leaders of these movements and the employees of anti-gun groups. There is no doubt these employees are intelligent enough to understand and analyze objective data and arguments. It is a form of political sociopathy; they don’t care who gets hurt. If this is a war, then the hireling of Everytown who organizes the volunteers is a mercenary, doing the job because it was available and the ideals an extension of their Democrat views.
A perverted symbiotic relationship
There is an extreme to this kind of control, shown time and time again by communist regimes. The regime is an egoist that cannot admit wrong, while the leader is a tyrant who cannot afford to allow any potential leverage over their power. The Bolsheviks wanted Communism, but they needed Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky to get it, not learning the lesson of the tsars that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Communists and socialists don’t admit defeat after a failed century of their politics; instead they say that Marx’s theories have never been properly implemented. The ideologues resist human nature choosing to believe that past implementation has never been done correctly. To succeed, the state behaves like a parent disciplining an unruly child, increasing punitive measures until they get what they want. In every communist regime, human nature and the need to exercise power to subvert the public’s will lead to a dictatorship.
Take a stroll through newspapers of over a hundred years ago. Firearm licensing, carry bans, registration, and outright disarmament have been proposed over and over again. We’ve tried very restrictive gun policies, even though they may not have been implemented in any of our lifetimes. Gun control has failed dismally in the past and continues to do so today. The problem of implementation has never been a problem as Chicago in particular has shown; criminal nature does not bend to government’s demand.
The Work of Moral Corruption
So what makes someone “good” into an antagonist hoplopath? Those drawn to power are not humble people. Political ambition and hubris make it impossible for an antagonist to reverse course without loss of face, influence, and position. They gain nothing by admitting gun control is a stunning failure and alienate their power base if they admit that cultural factors (often tied to race) are the reason behind violence. Complex solutions are difficult and often conflict with other agendas so the right solution for the problem dies in favor of the expedient one. And the evil specter of civilian disarmament laughs as laws get progressively more restrictive.
Solving gun violence is never about targeting the roots of the problem; gangs, drugs, mental illness, a flawed criminal justice system, or broken homes. Instead, the “gun violence” problem is couched in the politically correct way of legislating against guns. It is easier to pass a law regulating guns and “do something” than it is to address why someone decides to shoot. Take some the Brady Campaign. The Brady Campaign was originally founded by what I would term an emotional hoplopath; a robbery victim. Before it was re-named with the addition of James Brady, wounded by President Reagan’s would-be assassin it was called Handgun Control Inc.
Hoplopaths cannot admit they are wrong, for reasons of ego or politics. If they admit that race, class, and culture are the main causes of violence, they have betrayed the other tenets of their Leftist faith. Unpredictable violence is a problem because there is no real way to accurately predict which and when an otherwise non-violent person will snap. This suggests the only defense is a good guy with a gun or accepting that a certain quotient of violence is inevitable. Both views are anathema in the hoplopath community.
The self-proclaimed “enlightened” Leftist or elitist can never give voice to the above facts. If their colleagues won’t punish them, then their own consciousness will. Fault lines of thought quake against one another because reality cannot conform to opinion, and the mind of the hoplopath will not conform to reality. The only way to escape this is with self-deception by blaming guns and the bitter-clingers who cleave to the Second Amendment.
Self-deception as we’ve seen earlier works the same way within the zealot hoplophobe to resolve the intellectual conflict. The ego of those who feel they know better turns into them into a seeker of success by any means. Power is a corruptive influence, never more so when one is seeking to control matters of life or death. The overarching desire to eradicate guns and their associated violence is fast-spreading and deadly rot. A true believer, bereft of absolute morals, once corrupted, is capable of anything.
I do not believe in conspiracy theories. There is no long-standing plan written in the books of secret society somewhere on how to disarm and subjugate man. What I do believe in is evil. Evil is a force like gravity. It makes bad ideas and bad people stick together. Evil is a contagious disease that makes good things rot from the inside out. Evil snowballs: bad legislation gets worse, registration is used for confiscation, licensing is used to deny, gun-free zones get people killed, etc. One bad idea compounds another and allows for abuses to occur.
Thus we see first-hand witnesses to assassinations like Dianne Feinstein say things like “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in.” Brokenhearted parents, college students from violent neighborhoods, and police chiefs transform under the soul-altering power of evil. Mentally incapable of seeing the hypocrisy of visiting violence upon gun owners to stem violence, the wills of the hoplopaths combine to form an unholy religion. Many motivations, one goal, and no scruples. The right combination just sort of coalesces into the anti-gun movement arrayed against us.
Denialism: using denial to avoid an uncomfortable truth. By definition, it is irrational and perseveres in the face of verifiable or undisputed information.
Critical to their identity; i.e. a person well-established and involved in an anti-gun movement, to whom the social and professional connections and status they have achieved would be lost if they reversed their views to conform with reality. If they cannot believe in gun control anymore, what can they believe in?
People tend to support ideas and positions when supporting information (facts, figures, stories, news, experiences) are more easily recalled confirming, rather than denying, the belief. The more graphic the information (such as drive-by shooting news segment), the more likely it is to be recalled, due to both its luridness and the perception that is is more important to remember. The media helps this misperception of crime, violence, and guns as the more heinous a crime, the more “newsworthy” it is.
Violence tends to have a greater impact on memory as it often involved the actual or perceived threat of harm. That information is remembered and recalled with greater detail because it may be useful for survival. Vigilance to violence can increase the perception of high violence because the person is now paying more attention to it, causing a bias of confirmation.
Uncommon, but memorable events
Things that cause feelings of dread or other unpleasant feelings wanted to be dealt with and dismissed quickly by the psyche, which tries to find the easiest way to resolve the dilemma, accurate or not.
The increase statute and importance of negative perceptions in the mind communicates greater risk; not because the risk is actually great, but because the perceptions of danger are greater than the non-dangerous alternative.
The more violence is covered in the media--the longer the coverage, the more urgent the presentation, the more frequent the occurrence--the more importance the average public assigns to violence.
The frequency of violent news serves as the only experience many have of violence; if someone is being murdered every night at 11, violence must be rampant.
Gun control through the the latter half of the 20th century has largely been experimental. During the Wild West days, legislators in particular thought that banning concealed carry would stem the tide of often impulsive murders and violence. During in this time, bans were implemented, dropped, re-instituted, ignored, and penalties stiffened. In the 1920s and ‘30s, it was thought that a machine gun ban and even a originally a pistol ban would stop the dramatic rampage of violence that Prohibition and the new automobile society brought. What really happened to bring the most peaceful time in American history (aside from today) was a change in society’s attitude towards violence and killing.
Gun laws failed spectacularly and only took hold as the older generations, the ones who didn’t mind a little killing, died off. Civilization spread and urbanization brought with it law, order, and police. Even so, that wasn’t enough. On and off, more gun control was called for, usually for no other specific reason than it was felt the need to own guns for self-defense was dead. California banned open carry, the 1968 Gun Control Act was passed, and handgun ownership dropped. Then crime began to rise to crisis levels in the 1970s and ‘80s. By the end of the century, shall-issue concealed weapon permits were the norm and expanding from state to state.
Even though crime has once again reached historic lows, hoplopaths are waging battle like they never have before. They do so precisely because the Second Amendment is popular again. Americans are buying guns and carrying them. Gang violence, the failure of liberal policies in minority, urban communities controlled by Democrats, is hyped up along school shootings and terrorist acts as reasons to incrementally enact draconian gun laws. Why? America is as safe as it ever has been, due in part to citizens willing to protect themselves with firearms. It doesn’t make sense; only in the gang and in impoverished minority communities is violence acceptable. The majority of Americans abhor the idea of killing a man for anything outside of self-defense and convict the killers of even the most unsympathetic of victims.
Until recently, gun control was largely a moralistic crusade with altruistic motives; not that every gun law didn’t have some racist or authoritarian motive behind it. Concerted efforts by anti-gun groups eventually supplanted the anti-violence crusades, usually led by legislators, prominent citizens, and newspaper editors (much like Prohibition was fought for) instead of billionaire backed groups dedicated to the eradication of civilian firearm ownership. What changed was the drift from mild Wilsonian progressivism to the socialist inspired progressivism of today.
Modern progressivism holds that the powers that be--the government and political elite--know better and it is acceptable to accomplish their goals, for the good of society, by any means necessary. Reality does not jive with the means or ends leftists attempt to seek and as a result, their policies fail spectacularly, even as leftists deny the failure. Had guns simply continued to decline in popularity as they had been for so many decades, gun control probably wouldn’t have been adopted as central tenet of the new leftist faith.
Leftists have lost the culture war on guns and are losing the legal war in all but the places where they retain a python-like grasp of the legislative and judicial systems. It is only through collusion, fraud, and deception can the abundant evidence for civilian firearm ownership be ignored. In practical terms, the leftists have lost the war, but fight on anyway to make everyone losers.
The strategy of changing rational minds does not work. No one jumps on the wagon when gun teetotalers ride through town anymore. The tide has turned and every day more and more come to the realization that an armed American is a safe and free American. Since leftists can’t beat us, all they can do is try and ban our guns through their political and judicial monopolies. Victory for them is not through persuasion, but by force.
Most who are over 40 today remember the Democratic Party as the one that championed the individual worker, universally getting in bed with unions. Working blue collar men voted Democrat, making the party popular in the industrial centers and mines of the east. As victory after victory was won to make the working American’s life better, the Democrats quickly began to run out of causes to support. Today, JFK would be regarded as a solid conservative. His fair, open-minded approach to civil rights, a change started under Democrat Harry Truman and continued through the Republican Eisenhower administration, morphed into the double-edged sword of the Johnson administration.
Johnson signed civil rights reform into law and created many programs for the poor, which ironically destroyed the black family and brought never-ending waves of socialist programs through Congress. As the evils were cured one by one, the leftist goals had to shift. Curing the ills of society, a noble goal, became a mission to identify or create social evils when none could be readily be found. Democrats began to support feminism, gay rights, more welfare, socialized medicine, soft illegal immigration policies, etc. until their party became what it is today.
Leftist ideology is a utopian desire corrupted by the worst of human nature. In placing the goal of peace, harmony, happiness, and plenty for all above any other consideration, doing evil is justified in the pursuit of obtaining good. Communist advocates today excuse the atrocities of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro explaining that communism was never properly tried, which is false. The problem is that communism is direct contradiction to most societies’ values and thus requires its implementation by force towards those who object to it. It is an ideology perfectly suited to authoritarianism and authoritarianism, following Lord Acton’s observation that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The virtues of the leftist are not in any traditional sense of values. The only permanency in what they champion is their perpetually new underdog. As what they value is consistently changing, leftism is bereft of morality, which is by definition a fixed set of values. Leftist “morality” becomes the waging of the struggle itself. And if the struggle is the most important consideration, overcoming resistance by force or oppression is justified.
Under this perverted morality, which to leftists is an absolute morality, individual choice to resist is regarded as a dangerous aberration which must be crushed. The alternative viewpoint, for instance that gun violence can be deterred by the chance of encountering an armed opponent, is anathema because it means that fellow creature, even if that creature is a murderer or a rapist, may die. To resist the change is wrong. To insist that black and Hispanics in inner cities die because of connections to gangs or drug activity is racist. The underdog can never have blame.
And it is not achievement of the goal that matters, it is the pursuit of whatever “solution” as the social ill that needs cure is ever evolving. As I mentioned before, leftism is constantly in search of a problem to impose a solution on, often to absurd ends. Today, we see basic biology turned upside down and scientific truths denounced as feelings trump reality. With core principles ever changing and logic banished, these absurd causes snowball precisely because obtaining the more reasonable goals leaves a power vacuum that must be filled.
As we saw with the antagonistic hoplopaths, power is the ultimate goal of the leftist. Power does not come in victory. Even total domination is likely going to be unsatisfactory. Power is not holding subjects in your hand, it is ordering them hither and thither, which requires another cause and then another ad infinitum to keep the feeling of power flowing from the infinite struggle. Even if all guns were banned and confiscated, leftism would still seek out to eliminate (with much greater effectiveness) anyone who opposes it while blaming yet something else for continued violence with knives, rocks, and fists.
Leftism is about fitting in with the crowd and doing, believing, or saying whatever is fashionable, including jumping off a bridge because the cool kids are doing it. In other words, embodied perfectly in our new phrase, “virtue signaling.” To fail to consistently toe the line and do so with enthusiasm is a recipe for eventual exile from leftism.
Liberals believe that human nature is good and that external influences are responsible for human frailties, not our own innate nature. Poverty, education, and availability of guns are the forces which impel “oppressed” populations to engage in widespread criminality, not the corruption of culture rooted in flawed humanity.
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Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West