by David Beilstein
All the gun legislation hot gas creates an opportunity to look at something unique in American politics. The National Rifle Association – one of the premiere classical liberal organisations in these United States – has kept and grown support throughout succeeding generations.
Until the most recent barrage of anti-gun rabble-rousers – following the criminal murder of dozens of children and adults at Sandy Brook Elementary school – anti-gun proponents have run into an assortment of brick walls (thanks in large measure to the NRA) in efforts to legislate against handguns and other weapons.
What is interesting is how successful the NRA is despite the march of progressive political premises being lapped up by more and more Americans. It would seem Americans have lost the anti-bodies to fight a paternalistic cradle-to-grave nanny government, but they still want the authorities’ hands off their guns.
This is one area classical liberals have seen large-scale victories. But could something else be the cause of such enlightened sensibilities about gun violence and the people’s right to keep and bear arms?
I do have a hunch – call it an educated guess. It is that pro-gun lobbies through much toil on the field of battle in opposition to anti-second Amendment tyrants, have sharpened an effective and convincing apologetic for their cause – one based upon historical fact, human nature, and agile political action. One, thank goodness, light on sentimentality, and heavy on ideological convictions.
Absent from much of the political minutia on the second amendment from pro-gun factions is the compromise ethics of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the bloodless ideological-less panegyrics of the Romney campaign. Gun advocates are aggressive, sharp, and untainted from the fundamentalism that envelops much of the mainstream conservative movement.
Precision matters. The gun lobby has one thing on its agenda – to preserve the rights of men and women in every state to own and keep arms. The gun lobby is not trying to fight a culture war; they’re not trying to recreate and transform natural law. They are trying to preserve individual sovereignty and liberty.
Barry Goldwater was famous for saying the evidence of whether he was doing his job, as a U.S. Senator, was if citizens of Arizona had more individual freedom because of him than without him.
Mr Goldwater famously uttered,
“I seek to repeal laws, not make laws.”
That is the exact opposite direction of the “conservative” cultural warriors – in the bedroom and everywhere else – supposedly protecting individual liberty and trying to turn American into Bible touting revivalist meeting complete with Billy Sunday-like illusions of granger.
If there is a lesson here: keep it simple. Classical liberalism cannot remake anthropology. It cannot make straight what is inherently crooked. And it cannot convert men to God (as religion). What it can do is preserve individual liberty and sovereignty, thus creating a stable and prosperous civil society. One in which the true aims of liberalism are rightly allowed to naturally commence: true progress, but not at the expense of individual autonomy and freedom.