Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gun bullies and right-wing nihilism

This comment to the James Fallows blog puts the gun nut phenomenon in political perspective:

We need "responsible" gun owners to help police the "from cold dead fingers," Joe Manchin shooting cap-and-trade for a campaign ad, bullshit bravado that dominates right wing gun culture. All of that bravado, like almost all bravado, is based on an irrational fear. The government is going to take my gun. Bullshit. And we all need to attack it as bullshit. It is the same level of bullshit as That negro is gonna rape my daughter. It's the exact same irrational fear of the other. While the angry gun culture may not carry out most shootings, they are willing to tolerate them, just as much of America was long willing to tolerate lynchings, because of this primal/tribal fear. 

The NRA, like the Klan before it, is kind of a shiny object. It's hugely important, but it's the wider bullying gun culture that is the core of the problem. If the NRA suddenly moderates into reasonableness, a new nasty "NRA" will form to accomodate the bullies. That would actually be progress. We need to split gun people. If we can reduce the gun rhetoric pollution in the air somewhat through shaming, that may make these explosions less common. Think of it like global warming. Hard to attribute any specific storm to warming, but the pattern is there. Reduce the mass media fuel a bit, and maybe the storms become less frequent...

One place where I think this moment is different than others is the growing sense in the country---even among conservatives---that right wing cultural nihilism is the greatest short and long-term challenge we face. The fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, voter suppression, global warming, keep your government out of Medicare, etc. 

The resistance to any effort to combat gun violence with something other than guns needs to be understood---the NRA needs to be understood---as a subsidiary of right-wing nihilism. The same cultural instinct that unskews polls and restricts voting to factor out minorities is the same that wants to renege on our national bills is the same that responds to the execution-style murder of 20 children by calling for us to arm the same teachers they despise as union members...