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Your Problem With Guns or Gays Is Not Political

July 10, 2014 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner

Last month I did something I’d done only once before: I went to a range and shot some guns. Lots of guns. All shapes, ages and sizes.

This is a very strange thing to do for a guy born British. Guns feature nowhere in British culture.

Accordingly, I was unsurprised by the reaction of my mother when I called home and told her that I’d had a great time learning about firearms and discovering I wasn’t a bad shot, even with a World War II Enfield. “That’s the last thing I’d ever imagine you’d enjoy doing,” she said to me. She wasn’t being judgmental: It was an expression of genuine surprise.

“That’s because you just can’t imagine why nice or normal people would enjoy guns,” I replied. “Because you don’t know any. No Brits know any.”

Mom thoughtfully agreed.

Many decent people who have no interest in guns simply can’t imagine what it must be like to be someone who is passionate about something whose primary purpose is to kill people. Although the gun debate is waged using words, logic and fact (by both sides, to different ends, of course), the arguments constructed using these three tools are not what brings people to their pro- or anti-gun position. Rather, most people are emotionally or intuitively committed to a position first and deploy these tools retroactively in defense of their position. Despite what we like to think, we form most if not all of our political views this way. Studies show, time and time again, that David Hume was right when he claimed:

[A]s reasoning is not the source, whence either disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles.

What most anti-gun people are really feeling (rather than thinking) is that there has to be something strange about you if you like guns. I mean, why would you get turned on by something whose primary purpose is to kill people? If you do, you can’t be like me. You are sufficiently different that I am suspicious of your worldview, or your motives, or both. You are culturally “other.”

Productive engagement, and the pervasive acceptance of individual rights, involves bridging such …read more

Source: ROBIN KOERNER BLOG

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