Losing Their Religion

 

Over at Chronicles, Dan Gifford has a tremendous article about the cultural disconnect between gun owners and the shapers and influencers of modern society. Here’s a sample, but read the whole thing, it’s really worth your while.

America’s almost entirely liberal chattering class has for years undermined the fundamental right to keep and bear arms by creating false metaphors based on academic frauds and emotionally charged language. Disseminated through pop culture, these pejorative factoids are now ostensibly unshakable. And unfortunately, the ability of the average Second Amendment defender to reject the chatterers’ use of the negative term “gun lobby” has been woefully insufficient because the typical Second Amendment defender tends to be a literalist who is disconnected from popular culture.

The cultural gulf between gun owners and those who favor civilian disarmament is huge, and right now, it’s not getting any smaller. The chattering classes in the Northeast are amazed when “Duck Dynasty” or The Passion of the Christ become hits, and then they attempt to capitalize on that success with tone-deaf efforts such as the Noah movie and similar attempts to speak the language of a country they’ve never been to.

By that same token, we on the right incessantly mock the excesses of left-liberal culture. The antics of today’s social justice warriors and the ongoing confusion over self-declared genders (and even races) provide plenty of grist for right-wing humor mills.

We don’t understand their culture, and they don’t understand ours. However, just as there are distinctly religious elements to “our” culture, there are religious elements to “their” culture, and those elements are becoming more noticeable all the time.

This changes the equation. Gun culture, as the Gifford article notes, tends to frame arguments in terms of a left-brained, literalist world view, while the anti-gun forces, by their own admission, use emotion. We’ve known that for years now, but we’ve not done a good job fighting back, as we lack the mental framework needed to create a strategy to counter an emotional appeal.

However, we do know how to counter a religion that’s encroaching on our territory. We need to start thinking in terms of proselytization, not rationalization. We need to talk about the how wonderful it is to respect individuals for who they are, without wondering whether the tacos we’re eating are appropriating someone else’s culture. We need to take them to gun range and go shooting with them, because, as I’ve said before, guns are the gateway drug to freedom.

In short, we need to have fun.

Andrew Breitbart opened the door to this with his “happy warrior” mentality, and in some ways, Milo (and others) are picking up the banner and continuing to lead the charge. As a Facebook friend of mine once said, in a culture war, never bet against the side that’s having more fun. We need to show the world that conservative ideals are fun, and expose liberals as the Neo-Puritans they really are.

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  1. Profile photo of Douglas Member

    Kevin Creighton: The cultural gulf between gun owners and those who favor civilian disarmament is huge, and right now, it’s not getting any smaller. The chattering classes in the Northeast are amazed when “Duck Dynasty” or The Passion of the Christ become hits, and then they attempt to capitalize on that success with tone-deaf efforts such as the Noah movie and similar attempts to speak the language of a country they’ve never been to.

    It’s not just gun owners, it’s the larger Right Wing as a whole. We’re very much two different countries (at least). And we flat-out hate each other. I’m completely in agreement with John Derbyshire’s “Cold Civil War” thesis. This is why I’m completely unsympathetic to arguments for “But we have to engage with the culture!” . There is no “culture”. There are cultures. And ours is not theirs, and vice-versa. Trying to engage them on their own turf… movies, TV, etc, is madness, because they own that turf. Every single successful Right Wing cultural edifice succeeds because it doesn’t engage them. It ignores and mocks them. Things like Fox News and the NRA and Rush Limbaugh are for us. To Hell with what they think. Roll your own is the only way. Go around them.

    Kevin Creighton: … conservative ideals are fun

    “Normal” would be better branding, as “conservative” is basically shorthand for that, but has stodgy branding and people understand “normal”, and like it.

    • #1
    • April 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm
    • Like6 likes
  2. Profile photo of Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Douglas (View Comment):
    “Normal” would be better branding, as “conservative” is basically shorthand for that, but has stodgy branding and people understand “normal”, and like it.

    Normal is boring. Normal is… normal. Normal is Bud Light, a Toyota Camry and Applebee’s.

    I want fun. I want excitement. I want the heady rush of freedom.

    • #2
    • April 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm
    • Like1 like
  3. Profile photo of Kyle Kirker Coolidge

    “We’ve known that for years now, but we’ve not done a good job fighting back, as we lack the mental framework needed to create a strategy to counter an emotional appeal.”

    So true. The argument “they want to take your guns away” is the only one that has ever worked for us, and that is the emotional appeal. I say we stick with it.

    • #3
    • April 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm
    • Like4 likes
  4. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    Kevin Creighton: We need to show the world that conservative ideals are fun, and expose liberals as the Neo-Puritans they really are.

    You’re not going to win over anti-gun statists with shooting ranges, let alone hunting. Hollywood’s enjoyment of shoot-em-up action films doesn’t seem to have made many converts. But you might stress that a society in which citizens are not utterly dependent upon police officers for self-defense is a relaxed society. And since so many hippies imagine themselves rebels, some might consider the tools of rebellion significant.

    Otherwise, there’s Yosemite Sam’s approach. Tell them to dance. One of you might as well have some fun. 😉

    • #4
    • April 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm
    • Like6 likes
  5. Profile photo of Spin Inactive

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    Normal is Bud Light

    Beer snob.

    • #5
    • April 5, 2017 at 3:55 pm
    • Like3 likes
  6. Profile photo of JimGoneWild Member

    Kevin Creighton: We need to take them to gun range and go shooting with them, because, as I’ve said before, guns are the gateway drug to freedom.

    I’ve converted a few non-believers this way. I missed one, a roommate, while living in New Jersey. We would argue for hours, but I always won because he was a car buff and I used the race car analogy: Any car with stripes should be outlawed. Why? Because the stripes make it a race car and race cars shouldn’t be on the streets. I knew this would get under his skin and make him think about what he is really saying. I would continue: Any car with mag wheels, hood scoop, big tires, spoilers, loud exhaust or an engine over 100 horsepower is a race car. On and on. This analogy works well, when used the gun grabber mentality of high capacity mags, pistol grips, etc., all being bad. And it drove him mad–he couldn’t argue against my logic.

    One day a friend and I were headed to the range and I invited my roommate. He had to be somewhere else but as he headed out the door–and his girlfriend well out of earshot–he turn to me and said, “I do want to go to the range next time, but you just can’t tell anyone.”

    Sadly, we never got the opportunity.

    • #6
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm
    • Like5 likes
  7. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    Many a woman that I have seen fire a small arm for the first time, converts on the spot. They come away with a feeling of power they have never known. If we win over women, the men will follow.

    • #7
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm
    • Like12 likes
  8. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    I guess “fun” isn’t a high priority to me; it sounds frivolous. I think satisfaction, joy, freedom, engagement, self-sufficiency speak to me more directly. I love to have fun, but it’s not at the top of my list, even when I fire my gun. Appreciate the article, Kevin!

    • #8
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm
    • Like2 likes
  9. Profile photo of Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Spin (View Comment):

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    Normal is Bud Light

    Beer snob.

    Yes. Your point being… ?

    • #9
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    • Like2 likes
  10. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    • #10
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm
    • Like5 likes
  11. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    Oh, I think a lot of us understand their culture.

    • #11
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm
    • Like15 likes
  12. Profile photo of Doug Watt Member

    The cultural aspect is interesting. I would assume that most residents of the City of New York consider themselves far more sophisticated and civilized than the residents of my small corner of Arizona. They would do well to remember that in spite of very tight gun ownership laws they have still have a 30,000+ member police department. Arizona is a very pro-gun ownership state. Oregon also is a shall issue state.

    When @titustechera stayed with me on his Romanian Tocqueville Tour of the United States we went to the Pima County Pistol Club with my Glock 17 and we blew through enough rounds to conquer a small Latin American country. We had to provide ID to shoot. When the range master was informed that Titus was from Romania and on a tour of the US he thanked Titus for including Arizona in his tour.

    Taking someone to a well run range that has never fired a gun before is the best thing you can do to be a good ambassador for the right to bear arms and to demonstrate responsible gun ownership. As someone who has done police work I believe that a private citizen has the right to not only own a firearm, they also have the right to carry a firearm.

    P.S. Titus is a very accurate shooter.

    • #12
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm
    • Like8 likes
  13. Profile photo of OmegaPaladin Coolidge

    I was raised in an anti-gun family, and it was the rational discussion of the insanity of the assault weapons ban that changed my mind

    I recommend a focus on defense and protecting yourself – stories of self-defense to create a narrative of success and survival

    • #13
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm
    • Like4 likes
  14. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Oh, I think a lot of us understand their culture.

    We get force fed it

    • #14
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm
    • Like8 likes
  15. Profile photo of Doug Kimball Member

    Remember the old “blasting cap” public service announcements broadcast on TV and included in magazines in the 60s? Touch one and die was the mantra. One had to wonder who it was who was so illiberally losing these little explosive devices. They certainly seemed to be common given all the time dedicated to warning everyone about them. To Liberals, guns are the “blasting caps” of modernity. People leave them randomly about, ready to go off with the slightest disturbance. They are a source of extreme anxiety. I’ve had relatives from back east tell me that they can’t come to my house for fear that one of my hand guns will appear out of nowhere and shoot them. I’m down to a single shot gun having sold all my handguns when prices were really high. I want one of those new Kimber 357 mag revolvers, as my main gun. I need to replace my Kimber 1911 45 (sold for more than twice what I paid) in case those relatives decide it’s now safe to come to AZ for a visit.

    • #15
    • April 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm
    • Like7 likes
  16. Profile photo of Douglas Baringer Coolidge

    @Doug Kimball: Yes, You will really like the Kimber 6s revolver. Very smooth action, nice trigger & good sight picture. I personally would not recommend using full house .357 mag loads in it. Much too light.

    • #16
    • April 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm
    • Like2 likes
  17. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I guess “fun” isn’t a high priority to me; it sounds frivolous. I think satisfaction, joy, freedom, engagement, self-sufficiency speak to me more directly. I love to have fun, but it’s not at the top of my list, even when I fire my gun. Appreciate the article, Kevin!

    “Frivolity, frivolity!” [William Christopher as “Fr. Mulcahy” voice] Awww, lighten up, SQ…Fun is fundamental! (Have you ever done anything “just because” – and enjoyed it – for its own sake? 🙂

    • #17
    • April 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm
    • Like2 likes
  18. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    “Frivolity, frivolity!” [William Christopher as “Fr. Mulcahy” voice] Awww, lighten up, SQ…Fun is fundamental! (Have you ever done anything “just because” – and enjoyed it – for its own sake? 🙂

    Yes, Nanda, I have. I said, “I love to have fun, but it’s not at the top of my list, even when I fire my gun.” I’m just talking about firing a gun, and how using the word “fun” with people who hate them might seem frivolous. So Nanda, is having fun in life at the very top of your list?

    • #18
    • April 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm
    • Like2 likes
  19. Profile photo of Douglas Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Oh, I think a lot of us understand their culture.

    Yes. Yes we do.

    • #19
    • April 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm
    • Like12 likes
  20. Profile photo of Nanda Panjandrum Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    “Frivolity, frivolity!” [William Christopher as “Fr. Mulcahy” voice] Awww, lighten up, SQ…Fun is fundamental! (Have you ever done anything “just because” – and enjoyed it – for its own sake? 🙂

    Yes, Nanda, I have. I said, “I love to have fun, but it’s not at the top of my list, even when I fire my gun.” I’m just talking about firing a gun, and how using the word “fun” with people who hate them might seem frivolous. So Nanda, is having fun in life at the very top of your list?

    The fact that I’m alive, nearly 60, able to communicate, surrounded by family and friends, bathed in the healing, sustaining love of G-d leaves me no choice but to put it at the top of my list: Admittedly, some days are more challenging than others, but life is too much of a gift not to put fun first. (I do get your point, my friend. Did you like my Fr. Mulcahy imitation?) 🙂

    • #20
    • April 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm
    • Like4 likes
  21. Profile photo of Kevin Creighton Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    Oh, I think a lot of us understand their culture.

    Do we want the constant hectoring to continue? Do we want to hear, time afte time after @!$!#% time, how we need to be more “woke” or more green or more like our masters in the Beltway say is the right way to life, or do we want supplant their culture with our own?

    I have an eschatology, and it’s based on Revelations and Daniel and a bunch of other books of the Bible. I don’t want Al Gore to supplant that view with his carbon-fueled vision of the end times.

    • #21
    • April 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm
    • Like6 likes
  22. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    P.S. Titus is a very accurate shooter.

    Well, those KGB/GRU guys ‘n gals usually are.

    • #22
    • April 5, 2017 at 7:37 pm
    • Like7 likes
  23. Profile photo of Boss Mongo Member

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    I have an eschatology,

    Hey, Mister: we got a CoC, here…

    • #23
    • April 5, 2017 at 7:39 pm
    • Like11 likes
  24. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    Kevin Creighton: By that same token, we on the right incessantly mock the excesses of left-liberal culture.

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve that mockery. Not all “cultures” are equal.

    • #24
    • April 5, 2017 at 8:15 pm
    • Like8 likes
  25. Profile photo of Mark Camp Member

    Kevin Creighton (View Comment):
    Normal is Bud Light and Applebee’s

    Is not.

    • #25
    • April 5, 2017 at 8:17 pm
    • Like2 likes
  26. Profile photo of Cow Girl Thatcher

    There is a huge gap between one world, and the other world. I grew up in a place and time where everyone I knew owned multiple guns. They were used to harvest wild animals either to, rid our environment of varmints, or to supplement our food supply. And, frankly, my dad and two of my sisters LOVED the hunt. Me…not so much. Bring me your dead elk, and I’ll turn it into dinner, okay.

    Mr. Cowgirl recounts going down to the hardware store in our small, Wyoming town, and, with his own hard-earned money, buying a .357 magnum pistol and holster. He’d strap it on, and ride his Honda over to his family’s ranch pasture with a friend to shoot ground squirrels. He was 13.

    There are parts of our country where these activities are still a normal part of life. But, it is a shrinking part. So many people live in urban areas now where the only people who own and use guns are using their guns on people. In this world , there isn’t a culture of “normal” people who use guns for recreation, hunting for food, or other non-criminal purposes. In my youthful world, no one would have used their firearms on a human, unless they were sent to a war.

    I don’t see how to change this situation in our country today.

    • #26
    • April 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm
    • Like6 likes
  27. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    The fact that I’m alive, nearly 60, able to communicate, surrounded by family and friends, bathed in the healing, sustaining love of G-d leaves me no choice but to put it at the top of my list: Admittedly, some days are more challenging than others, but life is too much of a gift not to put fun first. (I do get your point, my friend. Did you like my Fr. Mulcahy imitation?) 🙂

    I think we get each other, Nanda! And you do a great Fr. Mulcahy! Maybe the day will come, too, when firing a gun will be fun. I also think that semantics are at play here; I fully enjoy life, but I wouldn’t say it’s fun. I’m glad that you see life that way.

    • #27
    • April 6, 2017 at 6:01 am
    • Like2 likes
  28. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    There is a huge gap between one world, and the other world. I grew up in a place and time where everyone I knew owned multiple guns. They were used to harvest wild animals either to, rid our environment of varmints, or to supplement our food supply. And, frankly, my dad and two of my sisters LOVED the hunt. Me…not so much. Bring me your dead elk, and I’ll turn it into dinner, okay.

    Mr. Cowgirl recounts going down to the hardware store in our small, Wyoming town, and, with his own hard-earned money, buying a .357 magnum pistol and holster. He’d strap it on, and ride his Honda over to his family’s ranch pasture with a friend to shoot ground squirrels. He was 13.

    There are parts of our country where these activities are still a normal part of life. But, it is a shrinking part. So many people live in urban areas now where the only people who own and use guns are using their guns on people. In this world , there isn’t a culture of “normal” people who use guns for recreation, hunting for food, or other non-criminal purposes. In my youthful world, no one would have used their firearms on a human, unless they were sent to a war.

    I don’t see how to change this situation in our country today.

    I don’t see how the culture war ever gets resolved. The two sides cannot agree to disagree and get along. One side will just not let it go. The irony here is, the side with all the guns is not the side that keeps being aggressive.

    No liberal victory can remove the guns that are already out there in the nation. They can win a reduction in supply of new ones, and create problems for ammo. However, that does not address the guns and ammo out there already. More to the point, it would take a huge shift in several states to have no place you can go to get guns.

    In the long run, there is no way for the anti-gun side to win. The guns are already out there, and thanks to 3D printing, it will only get worse.

    • #28
    • April 6, 2017 at 7:08 am
    • Like4 likes
  29. Profile photo of jmelvin Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    In the long run, there is no way for the anti-gun side to win. The guns are already out there, and thanks to 3D printing, it will only get worse.

    Better. With the ease of making them ourselves, the situation is better and less susceptible from harm from the aggressive anti-self defense types.

    • #29
    • April 6, 2017 at 7:22 am
    • Like2 likes
  30. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    jmelvin (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    In the long run, there is no way for the anti-gun side to win. The guns are already out there, and thanks to 3D printing, it will only get worse.

    Better. With the ease of making them ourselves, the situation is better and less susceptible from harm from the aggressive anti-self defense types.

    I mean worse for their side.

    • #30
    • April 6, 2017 at 8:03 am
    • Like4 likes
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