Monday, December 12, 2005

Comments on Losing the Culture War

Happy Monday, and kudus to Rafe for losing a million bucks on Survivor: Guatamala with style! You rock, dude!

On a slightly more serious note, take a couple of minutes and read the Comments from Hillbilly and Brian on yesterday's post from the Carnival of Cordite. The particular link in question talks about the gun culture losing the cultural war at the same time it is winning the political war. To which Hillbilly replies:
This "losing the culture war" stuff seems to fly in the face of reality.

Wisconsin just passed its own CCW law this week.....Wisconsin..... after Minnesota passed its CCW law......which happened years and years after all but about three or four of the 50 states passed their CCW laws.

Yeah...we're really losing the culture war when you consider the dismal failure of getting CCW in all but about three states, aren't we?

And oh yeah.....shooting sports are now high school varsity sports that you can earn a letter in in states like Georgia and Tennessee....and this all happened in about the last 10 years....really getting hammered in the culture wars there.

And the AWB is now dead after a stupid 10-year experiment....another huge loss in the culture wars.

And more women than at any point in the history of this country are buying guns......another example of how we're getting absolutely killed in the culture wars.....

And NCAA rifle actually got its first bit of network news coverage this past year, and more and more schools are adding rifle as a varsity sport....yep, another hammering in the culture wars for our side.

And ignore any and all victories we might get in the political arena......politics are strictly separate from culture, you know.......we're losing big time in culture, no matter what might happen politically.....

I'm sorry, but when I hear folks whine that we're losing the culture war on guns, all I can muster is a big fat yawn.......
The boy may be from Arkansas (that's light-hearted banter...I'm from Memphis), but he makes a series of really good points. We have made strides that two decades ago would have seemed impossible.

Let me stake out some ground here, and please keep in mind that I was a card-carrying member of the Mainstream Media for most of my adult life, which has shaped — some would say warped — my views. Take a look at the two most successful culture-changing campaigns of our lifetime — the demise of smoking and the mainstreaming of the gay lifestyle.

Discounting the rightness or wrongness of either, the fact is those two campaigns resulted in profound changes in American culture in very short spans of time. The anti-smoking campaign hasn't eliminated smoking, but it has marginalized smokers; that is, culturally, it simply doesn't matter what smokers think. Actions against smoking and smokers are taken without input or consideration from smokers, because their opinions as cultural pyriahs no longer matter.

Conversely, the gay movement has been amazingly successful in insuating itself into the mainstream. Consider that in 1975 gay culture was virtually unknown, so reviled that calling someone "homosexual" in print was de jure libel (the only other guaranteed libel label was "murderer"), and even rumors of homosexuality was a gauranteed career-ender. Three decades later, we discussing gay marriage.

Both of those campaigns succeeded because they were able to control the media and entertainment — smoking through "blunt trauma" big bucks; gays through brilliant grassroots organizing.

About six or seven years ago I wrote a White Paper on the "normalization" of firearms. I suggested that our goal — an addition to our political goals — within the gun culture should be, to paraphrase Brother Shred's comment, seeing guns treated as ordinary objects, and I outlined a series of strategies. That paper led to the the NSSF Media Education Project and the Hollywood stunt/action director initiatives, as well as providing ammunition for the push to put shooting back in high schools and colleges.

My fear was that the antigunners were extremely successful in three areas — placing disinformation in media and entertainment venues; blocking youth access to guns and shooting, and the elimination of access to places to shoot (note how these strategies are based on thee earlier successful campaigns). Success in those three areas had serious long-term implications for all of us.

We made some major strides in the media, Hollywood and youth when the industry decided to pull in their horns.

Culture has the potential to bite us in the butt when we least expect it. Does it matter that our state is a shall-issue state if 80% of the high school age or younger kids think all guns are evil? When those kids start voting, what do you think the implications will be on gun rights?

My main point is that we know how to win the hearts and minds battle. We've just decided that it's not worth the effort — or the expense. I've said before that we're in the Golden Age of Guns...I'd like to make sure we stay there!


Anonymous said...

There have been significant strides made favoring guns. However, complacency will see everything crumble in an instant.

Simply because things may look "good" at present does not mean they will continue. Termites can destroy a building, but it can look okay throughout the process. You have to eliminate the termites to stop the damage.

In a similar vein, the Anti's have shown that they do not give up and will not go away. The only way to eliminate them is to continue to educate everyone, on all fronts, specifically including kids, that guns are not evil. Better education removes many of the fears that lead to the misconceptions gun control is based upon.

Michael, as always, I applaud your efforts. As I have told you in the past, I am willing to try to help where I can.

I would like to see the Media Seminar concept continued, and, perhaps, expanded to the grass roots level. What would it take to organize a seminar to train local clubs representatives to go back to their clubs and have them give the local media the same sort of intro you did on the national level?

Even without the issue of local level media seminars, every club should have someone able to capably represent both their club and shooting to the local media.

Shooters may have made good political progress, but this is not the time to sit back and pat ourselves on the back. I want enough education to allow some sort of common sense so that my kids can wear a shooting sports (Bianchi, Steel Challenge...)related shirt to school and not be sent home to change it, or be made to wear it inside out for the rest of the day.

Just because something has not happened doesn't mean it won't.


Anonymous said...

I just now got around to reading Mr. Bane's response to my comments.

No slight taken at all to the Arkie reference.

I'm proud to be from Arkansas.

But this "culture war" thing really gets to me because of what I see in the gun community, over and over and over.

I see it in gun stores and at ranges and on internet bulletin boards.

Inevitably, some gunnie will make a dour-faced comment like, "Yep, ya better buy whatever guns ya want now, cuz they'll all be illegal in about 15 years."

And, inevitably, some other gunnie there (usually some grizzled grey-beared dude in a weathered NRA baseball cap) will nod and say "Yep, it's just a matter of time. They'll ban then all eventually."

There is a pervasive sense of "doom and gloom" in a wide swath of the gun owning community.

It's not universal, but it's common enough to be rather annoying to me.

It's like Tampa Bay Bucs fans from about 25 years ago....they're so used to losing and being horrible year after year, they can't imagine any other outcomes.

It really gets to me because now is the time to wage maximum cultural warfare. The fields are "white unto harvest."

Now is the time to take non-gunnies to the range. Now is the time to start that youth rifle team you've always thought about doing.

Now is the time to take your kid's Boy Scout troop out for some .22 plinking.

Now is the time, because we do have some momentum on our side.

It is not the time to lapse into the standard old routine of sitting around and predicting that everything is going to come to an end in the next 15 to 20 years.

That's a prediction I've been hearing for the last 30 years....that everything will be over and done with in only about 15 to 20 years....and it hasn't happened yet.

Those Bucs fans from the 1970s could never envision the sad-sacks from Tampa Bay making the playoffs, much less winning a Super Bowl.

But the promised land is only for those who keep the faith and work dilligently.

Now is the time to do the work.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I wonder does Patrick Buchanan know anything about your blog? It looks quite paleoconservative:)