Who are the gun nuts?

Pat Buchanan asks a good question: Why do intelligent people believe armed citizens are less safe than unarmed ones? When the question is put that way, it does seem to defy common sense. What’s so bad about the ability to defend yourself?

There’s a lot to be said for Buchanan’s answer, that the media spike stories about routine use of guns in self defense. That answer isn’t the whole story though, since it doesn’t explain why the media report things as they do—why they sincerely believe that the truth of the situation is captured by describing only bad results and never good results of legal private possession of firearms.

The answer to that question seems to belong, like most obvious political irrationality, to the metaphysics of politics. If we are citizens, and public safety is our own work, then it makes sense for us to have the means of participating in that work and carrying it forward. If, on the other hand, we are basically passive followers of impulse, units of production and consumption in the custody of the managerial state, then there does seem to be something bizarre about letting us play with guns. From that point of view anything that suggests private possession of guns becomes frightening and intolerable, even—in a recent case—the accidental presence of a capgun in a high school junior’s car, which resulted in his immediate expulsion from school.

1 thought on “Who are the gun nuts?”

  1. It seems crystal-clear that
    It seems crystal-clear that at least one important gun-banning faction (maybe the most important and influential but it hides itself very well) consists of radical left-wing political types who want to disarm individuals and groups likely to resist leftist plans for society’s transformation. I feel that the most important benefit and purpose of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms is that it constitutes a bulwark against tyranny—sort of an implicit counterthreat against government overreach, along the lines of, “Don’t Tread On Me, government!” I feel that the benefits of gun ownership for hunting and for self-defense against violent street crime, burglary, and home-invasion are of secondary importance (though they are of course very important). Governments if they fall into the hands of certain factions are liable at any moment to start killing their own citizens. Our government is no exception. Stalin did it to the Kulaks and many others; Pol Pot and Khieu Sampan did it to everyone who wasn’t a peasant; Hitler to the Jews, the mentally retarded, and others; Saddam Hussein to the Shiites or whoever it was he ordered attacked with poison gas; Janet Reno did it to eighty people at Waco including twenty children. Were we not armed to the teeth—we, the ordinary American citizens—we’d see a lot more Wacos, perpetrated not against religious cults but individuals and groups who happen to have the “wrong” politics.

    The group that allows itself to be disarmed by the government signs its own death-warrant.


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