2018-03-29 – There’s a lot of talk about banning guns on the internet in the nearly a week since the #MarchForOurLives. The surprising thing (or not) is that almost all the talk comes from right wingers! You don’t see leftists or centrists talking about banning guns. Even talk about repeal of the 2nd amendment is not about banning guns—at least not on liberal sites.
What’s going on?
Of course, it’s a red herring. Talk about gun bans are meant to fire up the base. But it’s more than that. It reflects a difference in the way people approach life. People on the right see bans as solutions to all problems.
Don’t like drugs? Ban them.
Don’t like abortions? Ban them.
Don’t like same sex relationships? Ban them.
Women and people of color used to be banned, but the bans have broken down. Some still want them.
So apparently, when the right-wing mind tries to imagine what a liberal might do about guns, they imagine we want to ban them. It fits the conservative mode of problem resolution. It’s really peculiar for a group that claims it’s allergic to government power. But that’s the way it is.
It doesn’t really fit the liberal mode. We tend to come up with more complex solutions. We try to accommodate. That’s what right-wingers don’t like about us. We’re all regulatory. We’re wimps.
The problem for the right is that, if they want to create a liberal boogie man over gun rights, it’s going to be pretty namby-pamby if they talk about what liberals really want. Real liberal proposals on guns are honestly not very threatening to “the base.” So they cook something up. And what they cook up is a right-wing fantasy of what liberals may want. It’s a solution created in the image of the right, not the left: a ban of all guns. And they scream it from the house tops.
That’s why you pretty much see talk about broad-based bans only on right-wing sites, not on liberal sites. . . .
[Update:] Between the time I wrote this and the time I had scheduled for this to post, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens published an op-ed in the New York Times advocating for the repeal of the second amendment. This is nonsense and it now muddies the waters of what I wrote above. I’m not going to get into why this is nonsense, but you can read a good rebuttal from Harvard law professor and liberal commentator Laurence Tribe (The Second Amendment Isn’t the Problem – paywall if you’ve read 10 articles at the Washington Post this month).
But Justice Stevens thinking was reflected some time ago, however, by the NYT’s conservative columnist Bret Stephens (To Repeat: Repeal the Second Amendment). This is a conservative idea.
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