Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm Not a Conservative, I (Theoretically) Like Pot!

Megan McArdle (Replying to: Stephen B) August 28, 2009 9:35 AM

Liberals tend to confuse libertarians with kinder gentler conservatives. We disagree vehemently with them on many issues--drugs, social issues, etc--but we are in complete agreement on guns.

What these threads have made clear is that a number of liberals are simply unable to comprehend that anyone genuinely believes in an important right to bear arms for self-defense. Obviously, if you think I'm making it all up for some obscure fetishistic reason, this all seems kind of crazy. But the overwhelming majority of libertarians believe in a right to bear arms that is as important as the rest of the bill of rights. The philosophical and practical aspects of this are at least as well thought out as any liberal position, precisely because we're constantly challenged on it. Aside from drugs and civil liberties, this is the area where we are most in agreement.

This isn't the place to go into the very long arguments about guns, but this has nothing to do with any attempt to reaffirm my place as a staunch American conservative, which I am not in any way. Rather, I'm reaffirming something that I actually believe, which is that the second amendment protects an important individual right, and that people legally exercising that right do not pose any significant threat to others. Doing so in some circumstances may be a bad idea, and I think that this is one of those circumstances, just as there are many forms of speech that I would fight to the death to protect, even though I think they are wrong. But demanding that we restrict that right because of a trivial increase in an already small relative risk is the same sort of thing that had us gutting the bill of rights to go after drugs (Clinton) or terrorism (Bush).
Brandishing a LOADED FIREARM at peaceful public meetings does not make you a threat to other people, because it's totally a form of speech. Sure, Megan doesn't know what it's saying, because she can't acknowledge the weapons are being brought as implicit threats, but it's still totally protected.
And it's a trivial increase in the danger of gun violence for extremist militia supporters and members of an eliminationist church to bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings, especially when it has become an article of faith among said armed folk that their opponents are gonna beat them up, like they did a black guy who totally wasn't hamming it up for propaganda purposes and hadn't helped push over someone he disagreed with before being knocked down by someone trying to aid the person already on the ground.


Anonymous said...

"Liberals tend to confuse libertarians with kinder gentler conservatives"

No, we just think you're all cold-hearted fucking assholes.

fudu said...

Ach, well, no need to make a big deal of it, what's a little intimidation between fellow citizens?

Always wondered what the famous libertarians opposition to coercion looked like in practice, now I know. Thanks Megan!

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