DEBATE—The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights » |
Well, the first counter-revolutionary act of every government is to collect the guns, and a necessary element of pre-emptive counter-revolution in the American polity is the disarming of the people. Nobody on the left, nobody interested in the radically democratic transformation of our society, should be interested in helping with that.
Yet all liberal gun-control schemes remain blithely indifferent, when not aggressively dismissive, of these concerns. Somehow, a lot of people have come to imagine that depreciating versus valuing citizens’ gun rights is a left-right dichotomy Only in the ridiculous political discourse of the United States, where Barack Obama is a “marxist” (or any kind of “leftist” at all) can citizens’ right to gun ownership be considered a purely right-wing demand. The notion that an armed populace should have a measure of power of resistance to the heavily armed power of the state is, if anything, a populist principle, and has always been part of the revolutionary democratic traditions of the left. The notion that disarming the people in a capitalist state — and one in severe socio-economic crisis, at that — would be some kind of victory for progressive, democratic forces, something that might help move us toward an emancipatory transformation of society, derives from no position on the political left. As one commentator puts it: “I can’t imagine why anyone would expect the state’s gun control policies to display any less of a class character than other areas of policy. Regardless of the “liberal’ or “progressive’ rhetoric used to defend gun control, you can safely bet it will come down harder on the cottagers than on the gentry, harder on the workers than on the Pinkertons, and harder on the Black Panthers than on murdering cops.
There’s no way around it: The net effect of eliminating the right of citizens to possess firearms will be to increase the power of the armed capitalist state. It will not be a more pacifistic, but a more authoritarian society, one in which the whole panoply of armed police we’ve already come to accept as part of the social landscape will be even more ubiquitous, while citizens’ compliance and submission will be more thoroughly assured. As Patrick Higgins puts it: “The formula for gun control seems pretty obvious to me. Less guns for the people who are most likely to need them, more guns for cops and soldiers and those sympathetic to them.” If you’re good with that, then go for it. I am nDEBATE—The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights » |.