Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Defense of Gradualism...

I'm reading a lot of negativity in the comments from yesterday's Wyoming carry post.

It's pretty much the same thing we all say every time some state or local .gov lightens up on restrictions we've grown used to: "Not enough!" "Flawed!" "Bastards didn't give us everything!"

And it's true, of course - it's not enough, it's flawed, and the bastards never seem to give us everything we want. It doesn't even matter what "it" is today, those will be the conditions under which it happens. For them to give me everything I want from them, they'd have to go completely away, appoint no new successors, and then - just to make me feel better about the whole thing - they'd pretty much have to march off a cliff into a fjord like a bunch of naked lemmings. Then I might applaud them. So please don't think Uncle Joel has popped his last brain cell and has come here today in defense of "lawmakers."

But let's take a step back.

I don't remember just when Alaska went unrestricted, but prior to that the great final goal of American pistoleros was "Vermont Carry." Remember how utterly silly and unattainable that seemed? It wasn't very long ago. Most of us were happy (I was perplexed and suspicious) that so many states were going "shall-issue." Now shall-issue laws are passé. Three states are unrestricted, it looks like there will soon be a fourth, and I hear people bitching because Vermont doesn't issue a permit for purposes of reciprocity. For people like me who came of age in the era of GCA '68 and impending total bans, it's like living in Bizarro America. How has this happened?

It has happened because while we purists were complaining, other activists were busily chipping away at the supports of gun control. It has happened because the flow of information has reversed itself: Back in the late sixties, information came from the papers and network news shows, and they were all controlled by the same people with the same agenda. Now we can actually talk to each other, and with that ability those activists have gained real power. The ones responsible for the passage of the "not-bad" gun laws we've seen in the past several years were willing, like the gun banners they have so successfully undermined, to settle for half a loaf when they had to, secure in the knowledge that they'd be back for the other half. And it works. It works for our allies, just as years ago it worked for our opponents.

I am a person utterly distrustful of anything having to do with lawmaking and activism in marble halls. I have believed without question for as long as I remember that no good can ever come of anything having to do with a legislature. If it had been left to me and the people like me, firearms would probably be as banned in America now as they are in England. Only soldiers and cops need apply.

But seriously, I look at the things activists on the state and local level have accomplished in terms of gun rights and I wonder how much farther that could be taken, in how many other directions, if only we took that little rock hammer and started industriously chipping away. Unrestricted juries? That'd be nice. Real privacy? State nullification of the more foul federal laws? Dare I whisper - Secession?

Gradualism, people. Gradualism, and getting off the backs of the people who have proven themselves on our side, not beating them up just because they didn't deliver everything we want just right all at once.

It just might be the wave of the future.


Jim said...

Clap. Clap. Clap.

MamaLiberty said...

Two sides to that coin, Joel.

We'll take what we can get, obviously, but we do not forget that what the legislature giveth, it can soooo easily take away.

Some of us just don't intend to forget that little point while we're swilling the bubbly celebrating the new "laws."

I've done my part to work for this "law," but I'm never going to be content with it or get complacent over our "success."

The bastards still have the upper hand, and they know it. All it would take is some "national emergency," a handful of executive orders, and all hell would break loose. Watch for it.

Anonymous said...

even so people like Gary in Montana and the several in Wyoming have made a real difference. I have the same attitude as Joel, but I am glad and not a little surprised that things have gone this way.

Kevin Wilmeth said...

Point well taken, Joel.

I suspect I need to be reminded of that every so often these days, and frankly it's pretty authoritative-sounding coming from you. :-)

I don't know whether I believe in gradualism. Seriously. Something does not feel right about it...whether that is because it is such an obvious strategy of those who would eradicate "my kind" from the earth, or because incremental "success" makes it so easy for everyone to drop their guard...or maybe it's just sheer indignance at the notion that somehow the someone who still claims he owns me, is doing me a favor by tossing a table scrap. I dunno, it's something.

But like it or not, we do live in a world of degrees, and I came of age at a time that does not give me the same perspective it does you.

One thing gradualism (positive gradualism) can do is to provide more footing for more decent people. (Hell, how did I come to be where I'm at now, if not for that? I sure as hell wasn't ready for it all at once, having been quite traditionally trained as a proper statist...only by gradualism in information flow am I even here, now.)

What speaks to me most in your words here, is that our lives have indeed been incrementally improved by the unfettered flow of information. It's been so effective that (quite uncharacteristically, for governments) there have even been some adjustments on the legislative side that do move a little bit closer to rationality in practice, if not in principle.

Again, the point is well taken. Thanks for making it.

(In return, if you ever get the chance to realize what you want out of the murderous tyrants, up here we can certainly supply the fjord. :-)

Winston said...

Agreed. It may not be total freedom on a grand scale like we all masturbate to...but we the people have everything to gain by reclaiming our rights, even if in small steps.