No Concessions

Monday, April 23rd, 2018 Politics

I keep making the same point (here and elsewhere) and not getting any traction, which surprises me: this is the main reason I’m a gun abolitionist. It’s not that I don’t countenance any rebuttals about hunting or self-defense. (I don’t, actually, but that’s beside the point.) It’s that I don’t understand why we’re not allowed to take an extreme position, when the other side does nothing but.

Every time I say “Get rid of the guns” I’m strongly cautioned about how, No, we can’t be so extreme; we have to compromise because lots of good people have firearms and are part of gun “culture” and we mustn’t insult them or risk upsetting them etc….and I say, Why the hell not? Nobody on the NRA side’s worried about upsetting us (or, you know, shooting us) and none of them have the slightest compunctions about using the most insane apocalyptic rhetoric, calling us enemies of America and worse, and absolutely insisting on the most extreme possible position (saying that any encroachment on anyone’s rights to guns in any situation is nothing less than a fundamental Constitutional crime against the flag) no matter who gets insulted or, you know, shot dead.

This is the usual liberal “bring a knife to a gunfight” position. It’s how Obama lost all that ground. “Let’s capitulate!” is always our first response. I hate this. Why can’t we be the extremists? No guns, anywhere, ever. Start from there—it’s a vastly more reasonable position than anything they’re saying (given 2nd Amendment debates etc.)—and then let’s negotiate.

This is what happened with cigarettes, too: the other side had a “give zero ground” tactic. They never settled or lost any civil or criminal suits, ever. They refused to acknowledge that nicotine was addictive (even after finally submitting to those Surgeon General’s warning). Nothing changed until the Brown & Williamson suits in the late ’nineties when they folded…slightly…and pulled ads from magazines and got rid of the billboards and made some other slight concessions. (And the activists who made the tobacco lobby blink, did it by using sweeping rhetoric, saying that the cigarette companies were “guilty of perpetrating the biggest fraud on the public in American history”—they didn’t start by reassuring everyone that “nobody’s against cigarettes” or attempt to prove their “bona fides” by saying they themselves smoked or whatever.)

This is the same thing: we’re dealing with fanatical extremists with lots of money who play for keeps and don’t give up any ground at all. So of course, we start making concessions, appeasing them more and more while they continue to spit on us. It’s the liberal way.