Monday, October 15, 2012

Expediency and the NRA

There have been a number of anti-NRA articles floating around on the internet.  I understand where people are coming from with these.  I am generally a moderately libertarian person, but, when it comes to weapons, I am more extremely libertarian.  I don't care if my neighbor owns a fully functional tank or RPGs so long as everybody can have them.  Most people will choose not to mine their front lawns any more than most people will fence it off and fill it with sorely aggrieved pit bulls.  Generally speaking, murder, mayhem, and reckless endangerment can be prosecuted as crimes.  There is no need to outlaw inanimate objects.  If drones ever become self-aware and self-directing, they can be prosecuted, too.  This will never apply to a sawed-off shotgun or butterfly knife.

I am reminded of the story about the lady who was stopped by a policeman.  In the course of the stop, she informed the officer that she had three guns in her car.  "What are you afraid of?" he asked.

She replied, "Not a damn thing."  

(I mainly rely on my cadre of acutely trained attack-cats -- my dog is generally only interested in warning off the UPS truck.  The dog is always impressed with herself when Brown rolls off in a cloud of dust.  Her work is done.  In other words, she is like a lot of politicians -- but smarter.)     

You can dismiss the NRA as a self-perpetuating, perpetually threatened organization that survives mainly because of the very gun laws it, for the most part, opposes.  I tend to agree with that.  However, we do owe Wayne LaPierre gratitude for nailing the Clinton Administration years ago when he said on national television that if Clinton were really serious about gun crimes, he could enforce the laws already on the books. 

Yes, the NRA has endorsed a very questionable gun-rights supporter in Mitt Romney.  Yes, the NRA let their old buddy, Harry Reid, slide in 2010 by not endorsing his opponent.  Yes, the NRA, for decades, endorsed Democrats like Ike Skelton, the late Harold Volkmer, and John Dingell who could be counted on, generally, to stand up against incursions against the Second Amendment.  (The 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act known as the FOPA did address ATF abuses but was otherwise a mixed bag.)

The NRA will argue that their concern is the Second Amendment and that votes and stances on other issues have no impact on their mission.  In some cases that is true, but some of us see the Constitution and Bill of Rights as a whole.  Attacking the right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure is of a piece with the right to keep and bear arms.  The excessive expansion of police powers corrodes the rights of individuals to defend themselves and to be secure in their persons and their property.  It would be good if the NRA did more to recognize this reality -- in my opinion.

Nevertheless, the NRA has been true to this narrowly-defined mission, resulting in a broader base of support and a wider appeal.  You don't have to be a radical libertarian or paleo-conservative in order to support the NRA.  A lot of people with socialist leanings understand the value of supporting the Second Amendment.  A lot of social conservatives with otherwise statist leanings also recognize the Second Amendment's value.  I am in league with anyone will to stand up for the right to keep and bear arms, and so is the NRA.  Thus we come to the reality of political expediency.

Too many, especially among the "principled" conservatives and libertarians, think that electing a president is akin to electing a local church pastor.  I want my pastor to be a sold-out, dedicated, dogmatic, doctrinaire disciple of Jesus Christ, pure, plain, and simple.  That ain't gonna happen with the president.  The people in my church all generally agree with me or they would be going to that apostate church across the street.  The view of the American electorate encompasses a much broader spectrum of opinion.  The "right" ranges from people like me and Ron Paul who are for the least possible government to more moderate folks like George Bush and Mitt Romney.  John McCain and Lindsay Graham are Republicans.  Tell me this is not a Big Tent.  It's a freaking Circus Tent.  And the Democrat Party is just an Insane Clown Cluster (and "cluster", I remind you, is only half a word).

So, in a country like ours, which is the best there is, any time you are dealing with politics, you are inevitably choosing the lesser of evils.  Government is evil.  It will always be evil.  Until Jesus comes back and rules, we are stuck with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and it is going to suck.  We will do the  best we can with the choices we have to work with.  Right now that comes down a picking the guy who may have met his wife at a New Christy Minstrels audition.

Personally, I think Romney is weak on the Second Amendment.  I don't know about Ryan.  Just because he is a hunter and from Wisconsin does not mean he is reliable -- but he's probably better than Romney.  With Obama and company, you have Fast and Furious -- an attempt to create support for more restrictions on firearms that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and a couple of American agents.  Holder and Obama supported and enabled murder to undermine the Second Amendment.  Romney may be weak in support but Obama is strong in opposition.  The choice is actually pretty easy.

Full disclosure:  I bumped my NRA membership out five more years, and I was sorely tempted to go with a lifetime membership.  The NRA is pounding Obama in the swing states.  I recommend helping them out.  Lesser evil is better than greater evil.   


  1. I can't figure out those who can't figure out the "lesser of two evils" concept. Especially when Delta E is so large this time. When I was going door to door this weekend I met a rather large, tatooed lady who was undecided. She didn't like either candidate. I presented the lesser of two evils argument to her and we talked a bit further when she then said she would vote for Obama if she were to vote. I didn't press the issue further and bid her good day.

    As for the NRA. I was infuriated when they endorsed Reid and Perriello in 2010. I agree, I wish they would consider the other nine ammendments before making an endorsement. After that, I swore I would never give them another dime. But I came to my senses and realized they do much good, so I continue to support them. (Well, I think I do. Our membership may have lapsed.)

  2. My wife has had a similar experience to the tattooed lady with her sister in Wisconsin who liked Obama because "he seems like such a nice man." My wife kept telling her all the stuff she knew, and her sister finally said, "I guess they are both crooks." She's not registered, and I told my wife all summer not to encourage her.

    Recently she reported that all her boys and at least one of the girls -- she has six kids -- were voting for Romney. She was kind of shocked, I think. Interestingly, Ryan would fit right in a line-up with her boys. I don't think you could pick him out as a stray if you didn't know him. As their uncle says, "Dey have dem munchkin faces."

    On the other hand, solving the debt/entitlement crisis is probably beyond Romney or Ryan or anybody else. I am hopeful, though, that they have the sense to "stop digging".