Friday, November 6, 2015

Modern Conservatism In a Nutshell...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

After decades of "compassionate conservatism," "a thousand points of light," and "Morning in America," dark talk of class warfare on the right can seem like a strange throwback. So accustomed are we to the sunny Reagan and the populist Tea Party that we've forgotten a basic truth about conservatism: It is a reaction to democratic movements from below, movements like Occupy Wall Street that threaten to reorder society from the bottom up, redistributing power and resources from those who have much to those who have not so much. With the roar against the ruling classes growing ever louder, the right seems to be reverting to type. It thus behooves us to take a second look at the conservative tradition, not just its current incarnation but also across time, for that tradition provides us with an understanding of why the conservative responds to Occupy Wall Street as he does.

Since the modern era began, men and women in subordinate positions have marched against their superiors. They have gathered under different banners—the labor movement, feminism, abolition, socialism—and shouted different slogans: freedom, equality, democracy, revolution. In virtually every instance, their superiors have resisted them. That march and démarche of democracy is one of the main stories of modern politics. And it is the second half of that story, the démarche, that drives the development of ideas we call conservative. For that is what conservatism is: a meditation on, and theoretical rendition of, the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.

If one has taken the time to analyze the political, economic, social, and military trends over the past 35 plus years they cannot escape the reality and truth of the above statements.

A nation founded on liberal political philosophies and enlightened views has, in the modern era, become the battleground of conservative and reactionary politicians and wealthy special interests who desire nothing less than to "take America back". Given their way the USA wil become a modern day feudalist society.



  1. The current GOP does not reflect the tenets of liberty...but I'm not sure how you could claim that the Democrats are any closer to classical liberalism than the GOP is.

    1. I didn't get that from his commentary. In some senses the Democrats today share a lot more of the "live and let live" social philosophy of the classical liberals than do the Republicans, however the socio-economic tenets are pretty well represented in GOP rhetoric, the failure to do anything about these having more to do with reality standing in the way than some political weakness on the part of the GOP.


  2. Frankly my concern is with the GOP. It's disingenuous and false claims. Conservative BS about balancing budgets, reducing the national debt, concern for individual liberty, creating jobs, immigration control, and its poor performance with respect to civil rights, etc has led me to walk away from conservstism. There is no future in the dogmatic conservatism of the tea party or the GOP.

    Liberals/democrats certainly place too much faith in government to solve all societies problems. On the other hand conservatives place too little and at the same time try to control peoples personal and private affairs. I'm sure you know of what I am referring.

    Liberals/dems are more closely aligned with classical liberalism, unless you believe as conservatives do that time, knowledge, and society should have stopped advancing in 1787. I pretty damned certain the Founding Fathers would disagree with that.

    Conservatives should read more of Thomas Paine and understand the concept of the social contract.

  3. Conservatives should read more of Thomas Paine and understand the concept of the social contract.

    I agree, but as with most subjects....I'm not going to give the Democrats a pass. Their understanding of the fundamental tenets of the 2nd and 10th as flawed as the GOPs understanding of the premise behind the 1st and 4th Amendments.

    Both parties would be well served to spend some serious time on self education. Neither will though....since both are primarily concerned with gaining and maintaining power...instead of the good of the nation.

    1. I know how you feel about the 2nd Amendment (insane) but what do you think the Dems are not getting with the 10th?

      As for education, they are all well-educated, the problem is their characters, and there, when it comes to being good or bad or indifferent, the Dems these days are simply better people, and THAT is really sad. I can clearly remember when that wasn't the case.


    2. Well, since what you call 'insane' is completely in line with the Constitution - and - natural can probably guess what I think of that editorializing.

      The 10th Amendment? You do know the purpose of said Amendment - correct? The Democrats have shown a reflexive and institutional history of performing end runs around the Constitution, because it's politically expedient...and they've conned the masses. This is where again I would disagree with you. I think Constitutional education among polity and politicians alike, is woefully [near criminally in the case of elected officials] inadequate.

    3. 10th - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      9th - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      You might be asking yourself: Doesn't the tenth contradict the Ninth Amendment? Why state that the Constitution does not disparage unenumerated personal rights, then say that any powers not specifically laid out in the Constitution are reserved for the states?


      When the Tenth Amendment was originally proposed, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states; it applied only to federal law. States had their own constitutions and their own bills of rights. Some states also had slavery, which was protected under the Tenth Amendment. The American Civil War made it clear that this wasn't a workable system, so the Fourteenth Amendment extended the Bill of Rights and made it applicable to both state and federal law. For this reason, the Tenth Amendment, while still relevant, no longer holds as much power as it once did.

      Tenth Amendment and Desegregation:

      The last major Tenth Amendment battle took place as the result of 1960s civil rights legislation, which attempted to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment against Southern states that continued to impose second-class citizenship on black residents. Subsequently, most references to "state's rights" in the common political vernacular are actually veiled references to segregation--unfortunate, given that the question of federal vs.state's rights is a legitimate issue that the Supreme Court has been attempting to resolve for two centuries.


    4. I'd have to ask you to illuminate the desired end state of reciting a tract from the intrepid legal scholars at Are you somehow implying that there is virtually no power the federal government cannot exercise, or grant to itself?

  4. As well, classical liberalism is not a populist or very democratic philosophy. Mob rule is to be avoided. Ethnic nationalism would be considered superfluous and unnecessarily dangerous to the mind of the classical liberal, for instance. Though it could be said (and Lord knows I've said it) that classical liberalism does smack quite a bit of Social Darwinism it is not the goal of it. Conservatism, if thought of as prudence, caution, a healthy dose of cynicism, assuming-the-worst sort of way of thinking, aligns fine with classical conservatism, but modern American conservatism is not about any of those things. Expeditionary wars, heavy debt spending, millions arrested and imprisoned, ethnic scapegoating, government-enforced morality, these are not conservative or classical liberal ideas in action. These are dumb, lowest common political denominator, mob rule, bad ideas. The Dems are less like that, and so more aligned with the classical liberal in total. So are libertarians. It's been heading this way for years, but the swing seems to be more acute today. The right wing in this country is in dire need of a new epistemology.


  5. You have to go back BEFORE the Reagan presidency to find a Republican Party that had not sold out completely to the wealthy elites and did not exist solely to serve their interests.

    Agree completely with Jersey's comment on how the 2nd amendment views of a particular blogger are insane. Being a former commenter on his blog (which I absolutely do not miss) I have firsthand knowledge of his specific insanity (strong support of gun nuttery).

  6. Jersey - I know how you feel about the 2nd Amendment (insane...

    CI - Well, since what you call 'insane' is completely in line with the Constitution - and - natural rights......

    Frankly neither is insane. Interpretation of the meaning of the 2'nd and the wording "a well regulated militia" has been debated a long time. Fact is 1787 and 2015 are two distinctly different eras. What actually made perfect sense in 1776 and 1787 may not make perfect sense in 2015.

    The right to own and use firearms responsibly and safely is not the issue. Government requiring the proper training, background checks, waiting periods, and registration seems to be something conservatives fear. Guns kill in the hands of an unbalanced and angry individual or group of angry unbalanced individuals.

    It is, from my perspective, the conservatives that are being anal and less than rational on this. Oh, and the NRA and firearm manufacturers as well. And I will stop short of calling the NRA a criminal organization. Misguided and foolish absolutely!

    More on the 10th later.

    1. Repeal the 2nd Amendment then. Why don't the stalwart liberals invest n some intellectual integrity and pursue their actual goal? Perfidious circumvention of the Constitution and ignorance of the actual meaning and intent behind the Amendment, do not become the Democratic Party.

      Not terribly sure why you brought the NRA into a discussion on the role of government.....reflex perhaps?

    2. Repeal? Insane.

      I have heard but a handful of liberals state they wish the 2'md repealed, and yes the ones I have heard this from are genuinely wacko in other ways as well. Wanting uniform and reasonable registration coupled with things I mentioned is FAR from lacking intellectually integrity sir.

      Your gross generalizations and specific reference to "Perfidious circumvention of the Constitution ignorance of the actual meaning and intent behind the Amendment..." does not become you sir.

      The GOP and the Tea Party are strong supporters of the NRA, and, the NRA has its trigger happy fingers manipulating lawmakers to continue bowing to special interests of the firearm industry.

      Methinks the reflex is all your sir.

    3. I would counter good sir, that implying that the federal government has the Constitutional power to enforce registration and licensing of the citizens exercising of the 2nd Amendment.....has all the intellectual integrity of presuming that it can do likewise with the 1st.

      Would you like some statements of elected and influential Americans who have specifically called for the ban of firearms in the hands of the polity?

      There are built-in faults with resting one's premise on vague and subjective premises....such as "reasonable" and "common sense". It's far more honest to rely instead on the logical and the legal.

      And while you take umbrage with gun rights groups and industry lobbyists having sway over some elected you feel likewise when that sway comes from gun control groups and billionaires? Or is this opposition based purely in partisanship?

    4. My umbrage is taken at all special interests that have not, in my educated opinion, the best interests of the individuals of this fine nation. My umbrage is also taken at those special interests that would brush the common good to the curb to advance their own "selfish" interests that are far from being in the long term rational self interests of the nation.

      My view sir is that lobbyists and uber wealthy special interests have no place in the political process. Citizen United ought to overturned by the SCOTUS and serious campaign finance reform ought to be enacted.

      Were I to have my druthers the people of the nation should be financing federal electionbs through a designated federal tax, corporate and business money should be prohibited with the penalties for violation severe and swift.

      Relying on logical is one thing, relying on the legal quite anther. Interesting that much of the legal is focused on how to protect the unethical and give it a veneer of legality, eh?

      Please provide a list of elected officials that have specifically called for banning firearms (or repealing the 2'nd) so I may work against their reelection.

      The linage of your argument against my comments with the 1st is simply a false equivalency for what should be I believe obvious reasons. Free and open political speech does not fire a bullet that can maim or kill. Regulation of ideas is censorship for the purpose of stifling political thought you disapprove of. This is as objectionable to me as kt is to you sir.

      Look at the number of things that require registration and or are regulated in the name of the public interest and public safety. My view is that firearms fall into that general category and should be regulated and registered. Not banned.

    5. My guess would be that RN's "opposition" is motivated solely by nation's problem with gun violence. RN, I think, is an example of someone NOT motivated by partisanship on this issue. Most of those motivated by partisanship on this issue, IMO, are those on the Right who argue there is nothing we can do and that we simply have to live with it. These people seem to me almost as if they are PRO gun violence. Functionally I believe they are.

    6. My view sir is that lobbyists and uber wealthy special interests have no place in the political process. Citizen United ought to overturned by the SCOTUS and serious campaign finance reform ought to be enacted.

      I agree completely.

      Interesting that much of the legal is focused on how to protect the unethical and give it a veneer of legality, eh?

      Before commenting on that generalization....I'd have to know what you were more specifically referring to.

      The linage of your argument against my comments with the 1st is simply a false equivalency for what should be I believe obvious reasons. Free and open political speech does not fire a bullet that can maim or kill.

      Once again, you're ignoring the provisions of enumerated government power versus the Constitution. Both the 1st and the 2nd are enumerated Constitutional rights.....provisioned by the Framers as pre-existing, natural rights.....unable to be infringed, writ large, by the State. That you think gun violence outweighs the intent of the 2A, does not magically grant the State the right to infringe upon the 2nd anymore than it does the 1st.

      Look at the number of things that require registration and or are regulated in the name of the public interest and public safety.

      By all means, go ahead. then look at your list, and identify which of those are enumerated, Constitutional rights. I find it intriguing that someone who self-identifies as a Libertarian, would be so supportive of expanding the scope of the State in contravention of the mechanism put in place to prevent just such a travesty.

      Here are a couple that are handy:

      "If I could have banned them all - 'Mr. and Mrs. America turn in your guns' - I would have!" -Diane Feinstein

      "My view of guns is simple. I hate guns and I cannot imagine why anyone would want to own one. If I had my way, guns for sport would be registered, and all other guns would be banned."
      - Deborah Prothrow-Stith (Dean of Harvard School of Public Health)

      "Brady Bill is "the minimum step" that Congress should take to control handguns. "We need much stricter gun control, and eventually we should bar the ownership of handguns except in a few cases," - Rep. William L. Clay D-St. Louis, Mo

      I think you have to do it a step at a time and I think that is what the NRA is most concerned about, is that it will happen one very small step at a time, so that by the time people have "woken up" to what's happened, it's gone farther than what they feel the consensus of American citizens would be. But it does have to go one step at a time and the beginning of the banning of semi-assault military weapons, that are military weapons, not "household" weapons, is the first step." - Stockton, California Mayor Barbara Fass

      And my personal favorite, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky:

      Of course, I would add Clinton's and Obama's recent adoration of the 'Australian model'.

    7. Interestingly, Hillary didn't seem to support federal firearm regulations in 2008......

  7. Had I the time tit for tat arguments could go on for a very long time. Being reasonable myself and a former hunter I have no problem with a reasonable congressional solution. You sir being a strict constructionist and who discounts the "well regulated militia" line of reasoning have no room for sensible compromise. So, my response is support for constitutional amendment placing restrictions and regulations on firearm ownership. Universally applied across the nation.

    This thread is not devoted to the 2'nd and firearm regulation. But this issue does point out the extreme partisanship that does exist over it on the right.

  8. You may remember that you pursued the 2A line of discussion. When pressed for the legal and logical foundation for what you desire......I see the same tired tactic. Oddest Libertarian I think I've ever seen.

    BTW...if you deign to respond.....where exactly is the "compromise" from the gun control industry?

  9. "I think you have to do it a step at a time and I think that is what the NRA is most concerned about, is that it will happen one very small step at a time," actually, the reverse has happened. Consider that firearms were banned from western municipalities beginning in the 1880s. The NRA has managed to reverse the trend to where in many places they can be carried on college campuses, in churches and fastfood joints. Under the construct of "self protection" the NRA has satisfied their most ardent supporters (while losing many true hunters and sportsmen) while maintaining their clear purpose- lobbying for the mfg and sellers of firearms. As for the 2nd, we note its purpose, not self protection, not swaggering through town with a
    holster, not vigilante justice, not paranoid protection from government interference...but a "well regulated
    militia". That is the causative phrase, that is a simple Amendment which has become loaded with
    NRA baloney, IMO. Compromise from the gun control industry? C'mon now..grieiving mothers, ambushed
    cops, people who consider guns dangerous weapons farmers repairing damage from drunk
    industry? I think not, at least compared to the NRA and its collateral damage which it contiues to ignore.
    (sorry to jump in here, Les)

    1. So you adit that there is no compromise from the gun control industry?

      BTW...if your premise were true, that individual self defense and defense of community were not the prime drivers of the 2nd would be easily able to provide primary sourcing from the ratification era.

  10. No CI that is not what BB Idaho is admitting, certainly not as I read as I read it.

    BB Idaho - "I think you have to do it a step at a time and I think that is what the NRA is most concerned about, is that it will happen one very small step at a time," actually, the reverse has happened. Consider that firearms were banned from western municipalities beginning in the 1880s. The NRA has managed to reverse the trend to where in many places they can be carried on college campuses, in churches and fastfood joints. Under the construct of "self protection" the NRA has satisfied their most ardent supporters (while losing many true hunters and sportsmen) while maintaining their clear purpose- lobbying for the mfg and sellers of firearms.

    BTW, in 1776 and 1787 many, if not most hunted and trapped for their family meat protien sources. Law enforcement, if it existed was often quite removed from outlying regions and getting to a reported crime scene may involves hours of travel if not days.

    CI, with all due respect you are a partisan hard ass on the "right to bear arms" and you obviously see no possibility of reasonable compromise, thus supporting the NRA's bullsh*t that it has been selling for several decades.

    BB Idaho, no need to apologize for jumping in. It is an open thread and your comment as well as timing is more than welcome. Your observations are spot on and accurate IMNHO.

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

    1. The word "compromise" has been proffered twice now......and as yet, my request for what the gun control lobby offers as compromise remains unanswered.

      Why would that be so difficult? But thanks for dragging out the NRA boogeyman yet again.....

  11. CI, my good sir, are you intentionally being obtuse? Perhaps you realize sir you are the one who will brook no compromise. Your agenda seems clear, at least it does to me.

    Compromise means to find common ground on which two opposing groups, in this case firearm control advocates and unfettered open and concealed
    carry advocates (with unlimited magazine capacity) come together and resolve differences resulting in reduced firearm violence. Whether it be suicidal, accidental, or intentional.

    The extreme view, banning firearms is unacceptable for millions of people. As well as unrestricted is unacceptable to millions.

    Gun control advocates have offered several compromises, mine being stated earlier if you read it. Reasonable and one which would not prevent you from responsibly owning and using firearms for lawful purposes.

    You, and those like you on the other
    hand, have been unwilling to offer a single suggestion. Rather you have stayed fast to your position and simply offered no compromise.

    Now is your chance to do so. What is a compromise you could and would accept?

    We await your answer patiently sir.

    1. The obtuseness is not from my side...and you really are smart enough realize it. The script simply doesn't allow you to be honest.

      Oh, I have a further infringement that I would be wiling to accept.....but before I proffer it...I have repeatedly asked what said compromise would be from the gun control side. You offer up a definition of compromise....but fail to meet your own definition. All you've offered is further infringement upon the Constitutional right that is already far more infringed and burdened than every other...combined.

      You finally answer me with what the gin control side should compromise...and I'll give you mine. This is your chance at intellectual honesty.

      We also awaiting patiently.

    2. You sir are not only obtuse you can count yourself among the intellectually dishonest.

      I offered a definition a compromise , albeit one you dislike and therefore ignore.

      So, be it. This conversation berween you and I is at an end. Until you reply with an honest answer sir.

      Until then, good day.

    3. Please then, restate your "compromise". Perhaps it didn't translate well.

    4. So, you're not going to simply copy/paste your "compromise", to allow for clarity?

  12. CI, you seem like a reasonable person, and having retired from the ammo industry I understand your interest and love of firearms. Help me understand the 'gun control industry': We can understand the NRA interest group- Remington, Winchester, ATK (CCI-Federal) and some dozens of smaller producers and reloaders/
    Glock, Sturm-Ruger, Marlin, Savage, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Freedom Group, Sig-Saur and some hundreds of niche firearms manufacturers. Along with their infrastructure and many customers this is a
    powerful lobbying entity, I think we would all agree. But other than a congresswoman who was shot in the face by a well-armed lunatic, some people who were firearms victims, a few terrified wives of abusers and some well-meaning types/academics, whatever the 'gun control industry' consists of, it is anemic in comparison. I have argued elsewhere that responsible gun owners (who from what I gather reading the
    firearms blogs these days are fast becoming a minority) are sort of caught in the middle and yet are really the mature group that needs to address the problem, if you see any problem. Would it hurt to take another look at gun shows? Would it hurt to treat firearms like most other taxes, licenses? I would offer that less hostility and more thoughtfulness by all sides would be helpful.

    1. Gun control groups, in regards to membership, are anemic compared to gun rights groups. Yet, the gun control side keeps telling us that they have both the moral and popular high ground. Rather interesting strategy....

      But surely you're not unfamiliar with the well heeled supporters and enablers of groups such as Brady, CSGV, Everytown, VPC, etc.....

      Would it hurt to take another look at gun shows?

      My offer of compromise relates directly to gun shows.....yet I'm still waiting for the definition of compromise from the gun control lobby, per the accepted definition of the term.

      Would it hurt to treat firearms like most other taxes, licenses?

      Most other commodities aren't enumerated, Constitutional rights. I have no beef if someone really wants to repeal the 2nd least they're being intellectually honest. But the gun control industry, by and large, pursues an incrementalist strategy based upon willful deceit.

      I would offer that less hostility and more thoughtfulness by all sides would be helpful.

      I agree. Which is why I'm baffled that many in the gun control camp who call for such, engage in rhetoric that is entirely subjective, for emotional effect. I'm not trying to paint you with that brush, but for example....Jared Loughner had one Glock what exactly defines "well armed" versus not "well armed"? This however, pales in comparison to the intentional deceit [per VPC's Josh Sugarcane's admittance] regarding automatic versus semi-automatic weapons. As but one example.

      The gun control industry may one find that it can pursue at least some of it's goals, by engaging with intellectual integrity and honesty.

  13. In June of 1999, two weeks after Rosie “The Queen of Nice” O’Donnell used her TV talk show to confront Tom “I’m the NRA” Selleck about gun violence, she was calling in to “Larry King Live” to promote gun control on CNN. Asked by King if she favored amending the Second Amendment to the Constitution, O’Donnell replied: “I think that we need to seriously consider that. Yes, I do, Larry.”

    The above may appear to some as evidence of gun bashers running amuck in the media, even favoring a rewrite of the Constitution. I submit it as evidence of just the opposite: how the National Rifle Association and gun lobby have dominated the terms of the media debate on gun control.

    Indeed, media bias in favor of the NRA’s view of the Second Amendment (as protecting individual gun ownership) is so pervasive that even many gun-control supporters seem unaware that the federal high courts have never found a gun law to have violated the Second Amendment.

    The Amendment is only 27 words: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” While the NRA emphasizes only the last 14 words, the U.S. Supreme Court and appeals courts have focused on “well-regulated militia” and “security of a free State” to rule that Second Amendment rights are reserved to states and their militias – nowadays, the National Guards.

    The truth is — and one would hardly know it from the mass media — that since the Supreme Court’s unanimous Miller decision in 1939, all federal appeals courts, whether dominated by liberals or conservatives, have agreed that the Second Amendment does not confer gun rights on individuals. The NRA view, opposed even by such right-wing judges as Robert Bork, has been consistently rejected.


    1. Nice cut-and-paste propaganda. No self respecting citizen would use Rosie O'Donnell as evidence for anything.

      But you would have to square your borrowed opinion with the Militia act for well as finding a single Framer who advocated that the right to bear arms was restricted only to be related to militia service. The preponderance of evidence to the contrary is so exhaustive that not a single gun control groups has ever attempted to make it the driver of a suit before the court. Telling.

  14. Unlike the average media consumer, Douglas Hickman knows this truth. In 1991, he invoked the Second Amendment in suing the City of Los Angeles after failing to get a permit for a concealed weapon. In keeping with dozens of cases since 1939, the Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously: “We follow our sister circuits in holding that the Second Amendment is a right held by the states and does not protect the possession of a weapon by a private citizen.”

    The Hickman decision, like most of the other decisions, went unreported in The New York Times, which once inaccurately reported that “the Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled” on the Second Amendment’s meaning.

    My point is not that the high courts are correctly interpreting the Amendment (some legal scholars, including liberals, say they’re not), or that this unbroken 60-year pattern of decisions will go on forever (a Texas gun owner has found a lower federal court judge who endorses the NRA’s view, and that case may one day reach the Supreme Court).

    My point is journalistic, not legal: If you just learned that federal case law says the Second Amendment does not protect an individual’s right to own guns, do you feel cheated that news outlets have allowed the NRA to impose its Second Amendment worldview on coverage, while marginalizing the federal courts? You’re not alone: Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger referred to gun lobby propaganda on this issue as “one of the greatest pieces of fraud…on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

    Howard Friel, editor of “Guns and the Constitution,” studied news coverage on the issue for an article in Extra!, FAIR’s magazine: “While the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is repeatedly cited in newspapers and on TV, the federal judiciary gets virtually no coverage.” When reporters matter-of-factly describe a politician as “a supporter of the Second Amendment,” the well-established judicial view isn’t even in the picture.

  15. In complaining about bias, conservatives point to surveys indicating that most reporters are personally pro-gun control. But so are most Americans. A more revealing survey finding — from the anti-gun control Second Amendment Foundation — indicated that 69 percent of daily newspapers subscribed to the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    If mainstream journalism were intent on biasing the news in favor of gun control, would reporters be so credulous in accepting the NRA’s view of the Second Amendment?

    I’ve found that news coverage of gun control rarely fails to include “both sides.” Reporting is usually balanced, often predictably so — with gun advocates hailing their sacred Second Amendment rights pitted against gun control advocates arguing for incremental reforms like trigger locks and gun-show background checks that hardly address the enormity of the problem of firearms violence.

    Even though nearly 40 percent of the American public favors banning the sale of handguns, according to recent polls, it’s a proposal deemed too “extreme” for most mainstream media debates. A USA Today columnist dubiously asserted that “such a sweeping measure wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.” .

    Conservatives complain of media bias against the NRA, especially in editorials and op-eds. In fact, the NRA has many allies among opinion-shapers, including some of the biggest voices in talk radio — such as NRA echo chamber G. Gordon Liddy, who told listeners how to kill federal agents.

  16. Given the inflammatory utterances from NRA leaders, toned down after the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed by ardent member Timothy McVeigh, the NRA has not fared all that badly in the media. One board member wrote that masked federal agents are “scarier than the Nazis” and should be “targets.” Another declared: “The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to threaten the government.”

    Only after Oklahoma City did national media notice official NRA rhetoric about the “storm-trooper tactics” of firearms agents, a.k.a. “jack-booted government thugs,” who have the green light to “murder law-abiding citizens.”

    Gun advocates are right to gripe about the sometimes hysterical coverage, especially on television, that follows school, workplace or other mass shootings. They are wrong, however, to blame a pro-gun-control bias; the real culprit behind overhyped coverage is corporate-driven, ratings-hungry, tabloid-oriented media that have updated the “if it bleeds, it leads” slogan with a dictum more appropriate to the 24-hour news environment: “If they’re dead, we’re live.”

    In fact, given the quantity of coverage devoted to school shootings perpetrated by kids as young as 11, it’s startling how little reporting has focused on the efforts of the NRA and the gun industry to market guns to youth. A Violence Policy Center report, “Start ‘Em Young: Recruitment of Kids to the Gun Culture,” offers graphic details of ads, catalogues and campaigns aimed at attracting kids, even preteens, to shooting. Until 1994, the firearms industry distributed a pamphlet, “When Your Youngster Wants a Gun,” saying that “some youngsters are ready to start at 10” as gun owners.

    It’s basic journalistic instinct, not bias, that prompts reporters to point out that the gun-related crime and death rate in the U.S. is many times higher than that of any other advanced industrial country (in 1994, there were 142.4 gun deaths per million people in the U.S.; 4.1 in England and Wales; 0.5 in Japan). NRA supporters complain that reporters move too quickly from these stark statistical comparisons to differences in gun regulation — relatively lax in the U.S., very strict in most advanced countries.

    Frankly, a correlation between gun laws and gun deaths is too obvious to ignore. Mainstream journalists do often ignore another key factor contributing to our much higher violent crime rate: poverty. The U.S. is the only advanced industrial country with so much of it. But we’ll leave media and poverty for a future debate.

    A version of this appeared in Brill’s Content (2/00).


  17. Now CI, you can either respond with the alleged compromise you have or you can take your condescending arrogant a*s elsewhere.

    The above copy and paste no doubt annoys you because you have no valid response you can offer, and you know it. Frankly, I disagree with BB Idaho, he thinks you are reasonable, I think you are an extremist and frankly a dangerous one at that.

    God day sir. You may return or not. However, if you return with the same condescending arrogant attitude you WILL be deleted.

    1. You mistake confidence for condescension. Is it because I've no need to borrow option pieces to defend my position? The above OpEd annoys me because it's lazy. It's a writer complaining about Conservatives complaining....and narrowly focused on the use of the NRA boogeyman as an appeal to emotion. Why won't you restate the "compromise" you say you posted previously?

      I told you that I would proffer mine, but as I've asked first, and repeatedly....I think the honorable course is for you to simply copy/paste what you say you've offered

    2. Sorry CI. you are done on this thread.

      Be annoyed all you want it with the article, matters not to me.

      I do not borrow either, and I've stated my opinions many times as well as here. I cannot help if you chose not to read.

      I am confident as well. Confident that my stated posistion is the rational and correct one. It is what it is.

      The NRA is an extreme organization influencing many, or trying to with their bogeyman arguments that they know are false.

      No appeal to emotion from me, I look at reality, hard data. the world today, and I form my position. reread the entire thread if you like, I am not spending one more second concerning myself with you.

      Good day sir.


As this site encourages free speech and expression any and all honest political commentary is acceptable. Comments with cursing or vulgar language will not be posted.

Effective 8/12/13 Anonymous commenting has been disabled. This unfortunate action was made necessary due to the volume of Anonymous comments that are either off topic or serve only to disrupt honest discourse..

I apologizes for any inconvenience this necessary action may cause the honest Anonymous who would comment here, respect proper decorum and leave comments of value. However, The multitude of trollish attack comments from both the left and right has necessitated this action.

Thank you for your understanding... The management.