A useful way to experience the lunacy of Progressives is to discuss guns with your local lefty. Most people understand that gun control is worthless as a tool to control crime or even reduce gun accidents. The people using guns in crime are by definition not the sort to obey gun laws. Similarly, the people inclined to shoot themselves or friends while playing William Tell will find some way to off themselves, no matter what you do. The only result of gun control is to harass honest citizens exercising their rights as citizens.
The mountain of data in support of liberalized gun laws is beyond dispute. Even if you are not inclined to dig into the details, the fundamental logic is manifest. People who abide by the laws are, by definition, not the sort to break the laws. That means people who break the law are not interested in any new laws you are passing. Therefore, passing gun laws will only inconvenience those who follow the law and do nothing to stop the criminals. At best, gun laws are just a tool of the state to go after the more clever street gangs.
Despite all this, Progressives obsess over gun laws. This story from a few months ago is a good example. The people who support this sort of stuff know nothing about guns, gun culture or gun shows. Yet, they remain convinced that gun shows resemble an arms bizarre in the Middle East, where bearded men buy and sell military gear. Further, they remain convinced that gun shows are exempt from the thousands of gun laws on the books. They are convinced that “gun show loophole” is a real thing.
That’s what makes guns a useful topic for understanding the Prog mind. All of us have had the experience where the Prog friend or relative starts going on about guns. Someone then steps forward to correct all of their errors about guns and gun laws. Then someone gently explains to them the anti-logic at the core of gun control. The Prog will take correction, nod along and seem to understand the material, but then soon after they will be repeating the same gun control slogans they were saying the last time.
It’s tempting to think it is a mental illness and to some degree it is. It’s just the nature of the fanatic. They see only that which confirms the nature of their fanaticism. That simple and seemingly effective conversation you had with the blue haired girl at the office about guns may as well have been in Swahili. As soon as she confronted disconfirmation, her receptors shut down and she went onto autopilot, appearing to comprehend what you were saying, but not really hearing any of it. You were Charlie Brown’s teacher.
It’s why it is an error to think they are stupid or dishonest. Those things may be true, but the reality is, they don’t know they are doing it. It’s as natural to them as blinking is to the living. Gun control has become an obsession with Progs, because they are convinced it harms white people, particularly white men. Again, this is not malice of forethought. It is instinctual as the Prog faith is an explicit rejection of the culture created by western white males. Gun control reminds them of this and it makes them feel good, so they embrace it.
This is why gun control has been a political topic for more than fifty years. G. Gordon Liddy, when he was in the Nixon administration, worked on gun control. That was the early 1970’s. His task was to help craft regulations to get the so-called “Saturday Night Special” off the streets, particularity the streets of DC. That term came into the lexicon via the Gun Control Act of 1968. In other words, like the “gun show loophole”, 1960’s Prog fanatics invented a phrase to market gun control, despite the fact there was no such thing.
That’s what makes the gun issue useful in understanding the Prog mind. Gun control as a social policy has been thoroughly discredited, but that does not dissuade the Left from pushing gun control. It’s why it is pointless to think you can change their mind or get them to reconsider their position. The Prog is beyond the reach of facts and reason. They are the truest of true believers committed to a cause they put above all else. You can no more talk them out of their beliefs than talk a Muslim out of his faith.
This applies to all issues, not just guns. Take a look at this video of Tucker Carlson talking with the neocon nutter, Ralph Peters. The neocons have been wrong about everything with regards to foreign policy. Despite the disastrous results, they continue to advocate for the same polices that have been discredited by reality. At one point, Peters admits to having been wrong about Iraq, but then seamlessly presses the case for repeating the mistake in Syria. It’s as if he tuned out his own admission of failure.
The lesson here is that there’s no point in trying to reason with a fanatic. Whether or not the neocons are the Trotsky wing of the Progs or the Buckleyites is debatable, but there is no debate about their fanaticism with regards to Muslims and the Russians. The endless fake news about Russia and the election is rooted in neocon fanaticism. They are sure Putin is Tsar Alexander III threatening to impose the May Laws on Manhattan. The abject lunacy of it, like the lunacy of gun control, has no effect on the mind of these fanatics.
There’s another lesson here. The NRA has been the one effective organization in the culture wars of the last half century. They do not win every fight, but they have managed to claw back territory after having lost some fights in the 60’s and 70’s. The reason is they avoided party politics and the temptations of political access, They stuck to building majorities in favor of their issues. They win because they transcend Washington politics and build large coalitions in favor of gun rights. Our team can learn a lot from the NRA.