July 23, 2012

Gun Debate Dysfunction

AP / Damian Dovarganes
Regarding the latest tragedy that one might think would lead to a debate on gun regulation, but has not so far, I have come to a sad conclusion. I believe that Liberals have to step back and allow Conservatives to discover for themselves that restrictions on gun ownership are not an expression of burgeoning governmental tyranny but indeed are a necessary component of a civilized society. As long as Liberals continue to advocate for stricter gun control, most Conservatives will instinctively recoil from it.

Those who have followed my blog are likely aware that I am convinced that modern American Conservatism is better characterized as a reaction to American Liberalism -- Anti-Liberalism, if you will -- than an organic analysis of the human condition that developed independent of any other philosophy. (There are certainly Conservative thinkers, e.g., Edmund Burke, that could provide a strong basis for a true Conservatism, but they are rarely quoted by politicians or pundits.) The conversation on the right side of the aisle with respect to gun regulation is completely dominated by the NRA. The tack of this organization is purely reactionary -- they do not actively advocate for any restrictions but sometimes concede to them when pressed. This approach pushes the inertia of the debate towards a zero-regulation mindset.

Therefore, I think the President and other Liberals are wise to pull back from this debate. As these sorts of tragedies continue and increase in frequency (the statistics do support this sad conclusion), Conservatives will be forced to take ownership over this problem and propose common-sense regulation instead of wasting their energies demonizing Liberals.