Recently, pocket-sized Spartan superwoman Breda decided to refuse introductions to shooting based on an individual’s preexisting ideological views. She caught some flack for it (covered by Tam), and much if it was undeserved and came from people who didn’t have rational discussion on their agenda when they visited her blog anyway.
My thoughts? With all due respect for Breda, I can’t give up on folks that easily, or paint with that broad a brush.
Frankly, I think it’s mostly a non-issue. Most folks who are anti-rights really have little or no interest in a range trip, and won’t ask. But what if they do? Do we turn them down?
I’ve taken lots of folks to the range for the first time. A couple of folks in particular had their minds changed about the nature of firearms, which made them start questioning their other assumptions about liberty and the nature of government. One of these folks went on to vote for Obama. When I questioned him about his reasons, I could not find a single issue on which he agreed with the Obama campaign platform. His reasoning came down to “Well, maybe a different sort of leadership is what we need. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think that America needs a change in the way things are run.”
My friend was being an idiot. He was swindled, fooled, temporarily turned crazy and irrational. He told me that he’s starting to wonder if that was the right choice.
America is full of people who got caught up in the vague hand-waving promise of Hope and Change, but had no real idea what the substance of their own beliefs were, much less those of the candidates. They understandably were swayed by the feel-good “Yes We Can” message that promised rainbow-farting unicorns that pee free healthcare and magically Fix Things For Us. Now they’re seeing that he *didn’t* walk across the water on his way to inauguration, things haven’t been and don’t look like they’re going to be “fixed”, and they’re having second thoughts. Of course, most of them won’t admit it, because human beings hate admitting that they were stupid.
These people are not beyond saving. As a matter of fact, we need them. News flash, kids: We lost on individual rights in the last election, big time. Even the candidate we were hoping would take the white house was himself no great friend of individual liberty and smaller government. What should that tell you? That you should give up on changing minds because it’s obviously a waste of time? That we should only preach to the choir, and board of the doors of the church, refusing to let anyone else in? May it never be! There is no possible outcome to that course of action but the tyranny which we profess to oppose.
If someone who happens to be an acquiantance of yours asks you about firearms and asks you to go shooting with them, and you deny them your help because they at one time bought the lie of Socialism, then what have you done? You’ve driven them straight into the arms of the left wing, who will take their vote and happily continue feeding them rubbish. Congratulations on your idealism and chutzpah, but in your zeal to punish those who have been stupid in the past, you’ve ensured that they will remain stupid for all time.
You can’t be assured that every liberal you take to the range will become a friend of liberty. But if they’ve ASKED you to show and explain to them what shooting is all about, then you’ve seen a glimmer of inquisitiveness that you can pry open into full-blown open-mindedness. If you tell them to pound sand because they voted against liberty in the past, then the lie that the left tells about us will be made into the truth, at least in your case.
Can I use a religious metaphor? Am I allowed to do that?
A guy named Spurgeon once told a story in a sermon:
“You are only to preach to God’s dear people, if you go into that pulpit,” said a deacon once to a minister. Said the minister, “Have you marked them all on the back, that I may know them?” What is the good of this large chapel if I am only to preach to God’s dear people? They are few enough.
Now, the larger point of the sermon was that the desire to reach out to non-believers shouldn’t eliminate the practice of teaching those who are already on board. However, the point remains: If you think that we should only reach out to people who will be accepting of an individual-rights mindset, then how precisely are we to tell who can be converted and who cannot? I’d think we’re ahead of the curve in the situation in question, because the person has already expressed an interest in one facet of individualism.
Unless you think that the $30, $50, or $75 for a range trip is too high a price to pay for an attempt to bring someone into the joy of self-reliant thought. If you do, then that’s fine, but you’ve created more work for the rest of us, who are not content to go shoot our toys at the range and gripe about politicians on the internet.
Who have YOU told about liberty today?