“The problem goes beyond the absurd conceit that a conversation about guns had yet to begin prior to this week.” [Darleen Click]
Awakened to that urgency, proponents of more gun control have understandably taken to the Internet in recent days to argue that epidemic gun violence in America makes tighter firearm restrictions an urgent imperative. I happen to agree at least that the gun show loophole ought to be closed. Before I go any farther, I hereby urge any legislator inclined to listen to pass such a bill now.
Yet I am troubled by something I’ve noticed in many of the calls for more robust gun control: the conceit that it’s a subject America has yet to debate – that “the gun lobby” has somehow imposed its will on an unwilling citizenry, and that “a conversation about guns” must begin now. I’m all for more conversation about guns. It’s just that we’ve already been having one for decades. [...]
In short, gun control is a perennial controversy, the sort of controversial issue that Gallup tracks on an annual basis.
So what has been the result of decades of sustained public debate?
“Americans’ support for stricter gun control laws has gradually declined over the last two decades, from 78% when this question was first asked in 1990 to 49% in 2008, and 44% in 2009 and again this year,” Gallup reported in 2010 survey results. Said the organization in 2011:
A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.
There isn’t anything wrong with gun control advocates lamenting what, by their lights, is a public that’s reaching wrongheaded conclusions on the subject and is trending in the wrong direction.
But too many pieces I’ve read make a mockery of robust debate in a pluralistic society by ignoring the fact that current policy is largely (though not entirely) a reflection of the U.S. public disagreeing with gun reformers. The average American is far more likely than the average journalist or academic to identify with gun culture, to insist that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms, to exercise that right, and to support various state conceal-and-carry laws. Perhaps persuasion can move the citizenry to favor a different status quo. That’s always a hurdle to clear in a democracy. Yet the ability to engage and persuade fellow citizens is undermined when public discourse obscures rather than confronts the relevant disagreements.
Friedersdorf goes on to cite some media examples of the kind of hysterical demagoguery and conceit endemic of the “We know what’s best for you stupid masses” Progressives.
Social media has been even worse … with Proggs calling for the murder of the NRA president and members.
Irony has never been a Leftist strong-suit.
Obama’s speech declared “We can’t tolerate this anymore.” Implication being that someone somewhere tolerates mass murder.
That isn’t just conceited rhetoric, that’s unconscionable slander.
Tags: gun control, media meltdown, newtown