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1 jvic  Mon, Jan 6, 2014 8:09:18pm

1.

Read the whole thing.

Indeed. Hopefully it’s acceptable to excerpt the closing sentences of the last paragraph, regarding the Guns & Ammo readership:

Well, what those readers “want,” apparently, is what so many want nowadays: They want never to be challenged; they want never to hear an opinion with which they disagree — even from a friend and an ally; they want never to hear anything that offends them. And that, I’m afraid, is a problem of national proportions.

It’s a problem which goes well beyond Second Amendment controversies, and is not restricted to any particular part of the political spectrum.

2. The G&A editors’ pandering to extremism may work in the short run. However, I suspect we’re in a vicious circle which cannot go on indefinitely. Rather than informing its audience, G&A contributed to its debasement. At the end of such unchecked processes is, as Ben Franklin warned, an electorate too uninformed and too cognitively undisciplined to maintain a democratic republic.

3. As of this writing, Cooke’s piece has attracted over 400 comments. My spot check of them was not encouraging. It’s ironic that people who howl the loudest about “liberty” are so instrumental in leading us toward the calamity which Franklin feared: “…the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

2 Dark_Falcon  Mon, Jan 6, 2014 8:18:36pm

re: #1 jvic

The following is an interesting comment from the NRO comment thread. While unyielding, it is noteworthy for being more clearheaded than most such comments and it is also not shrill:

Avatar
David Gillies
• 41 minutes ago

The function of a magazine or newspaper is to reflect the views of its readership, not to shape it (well, that and to sell classified ads). That’s obviously a dreadful affront to the amour propre of the average journalist, who likes to think himself the standard bearer of truth and enlightenment, but it’s nonetheless the case. Metcalf was fired over what was essentially an error of judgement, but as errors of judgement go, it was a doozy. The real problem, as Second Amendment supporters know, is that all concessions to the anti-gun crows, no matter how small and apparently innocuous, are pocketed with no quid pro quo. This is the classic tactic of terrorists (e.g. the PLO and IRA). It can be very effective. The only counter is absolutely rigid adherence to certain inviolable policies. Where Metcalf made his mistake was in thinking that the other side was arguing in good faith. That he was treated shabbily was undeniable; the blame lies even more squarely on the editorial board. His defenestration was ugly, but alas necessary. It was his bad luck to find himself in the Admiral Byng role.
• Reply •Share >

3 jvic  Mon, Jan 6, 2014 8:31:57pm
The real problem, as Second Amendment supporters know, is that all concessions to the anti-gun crows, no matter how small and apparently innocuous, are pocketed with no quid pro quo. This is the classic tactic of terrorists (e.g. the PLO and IRA).

Not shrill? I beg to differ, DF.

(However, well before I read that comment, it was in my mind that if somebody should have been fired—-which I do not concede—-it should have been the editor who approved the piece.)

4 Romantic Heretic  Mon, Jan 6, 2014 8:50:29pm

re: #2 Dark_Falcon

That comment is a grammatically correct and erudite example of the Manichaean worldview. There is only good and only evil, black and white, no nuance ever. Nuance is the enemy trying to infiltrate and corrupt purity.

It’s pretty sad shit, really.

5 BusyMonster  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 6:36:45am

re: #2 Dark_Falcon

The following is an interesting comment from the NRO comment thread. While unyielding, it is noteworthy for being more clearheaded than most such comments and it is also not shrill:

I would say that “written without a fusillade of hateful expletives” is different than “clearheaded.” The POV expressed here is still asinine and childish beyond belief:

Where Metcalf made his mistake was in thinking that the other side was
arguing in good faith.

6 Dark_Falcon  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 6:46:33am

re: #4 Romantic Heretic

That comment is a grammatically correct and erudite example of the Manichaean worldview. There is only good and only evil, black and white, no nuance ever. Nuance is the enemy trying to infiltrate and corrupt purity.

It’s pretty sad shit, really.

I’d say its more a comment by someone who thinks he’d like nuance, but feels forced into rigidity by implacable foes. He’s not as right about that as he seems, though his concerns to point to an important truth for gun owners.

That truth is that there are those on the left who simply hate guns and view any compromise as temporary and only a prelude to the next round of restrictions. Normally, I’d be accused of invoking the Magical Balance Fairy for saying this, so to guard against that I offer the recent bills in California (which would have banned all semi-auto rifles that can accept a detachable magazine) and New Jersey (which would have banned .50 cal rifles). Both bills were vetoed by governors who are not in the NRA’s corner, but nevertheless concluded the bills would not make their states safer. Both bills reflected little more than animus towards guns and a desire to show that the bill’s originators were ‘doing something’ in the wake of Sandy Hook.

It is that kind of fundamental opposition to guns ranged against those who are fundamentally unwilling to accept any restriction on guns that makes the sorts of compromises that Rachel Maddow floated on the air and RWC floated here impossible. Durable compromise cannot be reached while the debate is driven by extremists who will ultimately accept nothing short of total victory.

7 jvic  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 9:05:19am

re: #6 Dark_Falcon

That truth is that there are those on the left who simply hate guns and view any compromise as temporary and only a prelude to the next round of restrictions. Normally, I’d be accused of invoking the Magical Balance Fairy for saying this, so to guard against that I offer the recent bills <snip>. Both bills were vetoed by governors who are not in the NRA’s corner, but nevertheless concluded the bills would not make their states safer. Both bills reflected little more than animus towards guns and a desire to show that the bill’s originators were ‘doing something’ in the wake of Sandy Hook.

It is that kind of fundamental opposition to guns ranged against those who are fundamentally unwilling to accept any restriction on guns that makes the sorts of compromises that Rachel Maddow floated on the air and RWC floated here impossible. Durable compromise cannot be reached while the debate is driven by extremists who will ultimately accept nothing short of total victory.

I completely agree with these paragraphs, in particular with the final sentence. They apply to much more than the Second Amendment debate.

How and why this unfortunate situation arose & continues, and how it can be improved, are important topics which I don’t have time to discuss right this moment.

8 Romantic Heretic  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 10:38:11am

re: #6 Dark_Falcon

Sorry, Dark. But the person making that comment said nothing about some people on the left being unalterably set on taking everyone’s guns.

Where Metcalf made his mistake was in thinking that the other side was arguing in good faith.

In this the author did not differentiate between those seeking a wise compromise and those seeking to destroy the Second Amendment. He makes it clear that the other side has no intention of compromising at all and the only way to counter them is to support the Second Amendment no matter who gets hurt.

Comparing people supporting gun control to terrorists was also typical behaviour of a person who see the world in only black and white.

9 William Barnett-Lewis  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 1:54:03pm

The bigger problem is that there is little willingness to compromise on both sides. Compromise has, historically in the legislature, implied giving something to one side to get something for the other side. One possible example that could happen in the 2nd amendment debates would be if those who want universal background checks offered to repeal the Hughes amendment of 1986 - this would be a true compromise that would pass easily in less polarized circumstances. Now? I doubt it because there is too much fear and distrust between the sides.

10 Dark_Falcon  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 2:15:30pm

re: #9 William Barnett-Lewis

The bigger problem is that there is little willingness to compromise on both sides. Compromise has, historically in the legislature, implied giving something to one side to get something for the other side. One possible example that could happen in the 2nd amendment debates would be if those who want universal background checks offered to repeal the Hughes amendment of 1986 - this would be a true compromise that would pass easily in less polarized circumstances. Now? I doubt it because there is too much fear and distrust between the sides.

And that fear and distrust exist in large part because the extremes drive the debate. Any compromise requires a willingness on the part of a faction’s mainstream to tell its extremists “No, what we have is good enough and we’re sticking with it.” Nowadays that is extremely hard for anyone on the right to do that, as the reaction of the extremists would be to revolt. And Democrats in non-‘Blue Dog’ areas would gain few benefits from such a compromise, rather they tend to be politically rewarded for being hostile to firearms.

This feeds back into the ‘crisis atmosphere’ talked about in the article that was the subject of my previous Page. They rhetorical stakes are made so high that people to whom an issue matters deeply see compromise as betrayal and see ‘anything to win’ tactics as justified. The stakes have to be lowered in people’s minds for compromise to occur. Sadly, I do not know how such a lowering can be accomplished.

11 Renaissance_Man  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 4:11:23pm

re: #6 Dark_Falcon

It is that kind of fundamental opposition to guns ranged against those who are fundamentally unwilling to accept any restriction on guns that makes the sorts of compromises that Rachel Maddow floated on the air and RWC floated here impossible. Durable compromise cannot be reached while the debate is driven by extremists who will ultimately accept nothing short of total victory.

That’s not true at all. It’s simply false to suggest that the biggest obstacle to any sort of gun regulation, whether you might consider it ‘common sense’ or not, is that there is a clash of ‘extremists’ on ‘both sides’, and that neither is willing to accept anything short of total victory. That’s patently rubbish.

The biggest obstacle to any gun regulation isn’t that ‘both sides’ won’t accept compromise, it’s that guns are sacred in American culture and politics. It’s the giant, obvious elephant in the room. If someone proposes a gun regulation of any kind, there aren’t endless hours of newsreel and pages of print devoted to arguing that it doesn’t go far enough. There aren’t millions of dollars spent to gin up fear and anger that it won’t totally ban guns. There aren’t threats from large national organisations that the representative in question will get buried in the polls if he doesn’t make the regulation tougher. None of this happens. Only the Cult of the Gun threatens excommunication.

‘Both sides’ don’t get in the way of ‘compromise’. That’s not the problem at all. The problem is that culturally, guns are sacred. So sacred that even after the execution of twenty five year olds, the first thing the President of the United States, the most powerful public figure in the world, has to do is apologise to guns.

12 No Country For Old Haters  Tue, Jan 7, 2014 4:54:21pm

re: #2 Dark_Falcon

The real problem, as Second Amendment supporters know, is that all concessions to the anti-gun crows, no matter how small and apparently innocuous, are pocketed with no quid pro quo.

Even what you thought was a less-deranged comment demonstrates a serious problem with the poster. This gun-nut thinks they should get some kind of reward in exchange for being remotely reasonable, as if being reasonable isn’t a basic requirement to participate in civilization.

It reminds me of the jackass congressman who said “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” regarding the shutdown.

If these wingnut-gun-people weren’t insane, they’d be the ones lobbying to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, rather than seeing it as a concession to Liberals. Instead they’re building arsenals, fantasizing about overthrowing the government, and pretending that dangerous idiots like George Zimmerman are heroes.

13 Feline Fearless Leader  Wed, Jan 8, 2014 5:20:58am

I’ll take issue with another part of the comment:

The function of a magazine or newspaper is to reflect the views of its readership, not to shape it (well, that and to sell classified ads).

Yes, at base a publication exists as a business, so they have to develop a readership and sell ads. However, any publication that is also not attempting to shape opinion via education of its readership about issues via articles or expressing view points via editorial and opinion pieces *has no soul*.

That a publication should only reflect the views of the readership has the relationship exactly wrong. A publication normally wants to establish itself as a leader, not as a mirror. Leaders lead, they do not sit there and pander in order to maintain their popularity and profitability margins. The latter is more stable, but ultimately sterile.

14 Dark_Falcon  Wed, Jan 8, 2014 8:24:00am

re: #13 Feline Fearless Leader

I’ll take issue with another part of the comment:

Yes, at base a publication exists as a business, so they have to develop a readership and sell ads. However, any publication that is also not attempting to shape opinion via education of its readership about issues via articles or expressing view points via editorial and opinion pieces *has no soul*.

That a publication should only reflect the views of the readership has the relationship exactly wrong. A publication normally wants to establish itself as a leader, not as a mirror. Leaders lead, they do not sit there and pander in order to maintain their popularity and profitability margins. The latter is more stable, but ultimately sterile.

That’s what Charles Cooke thinks as well, as do I. I included ‘David Gillies’ comment because I felt it gave a concise presentation of the position supporting the termination of Metcalf’s employment. I don’t agree with Mr. ‘Gillies’, but his comment was well enough written to be accessible.

15 Schadenboner  Wed, Jan 8, 2014 8:35:26am

Hey, rightists. You want to know what political correctness is?

(Crickets.)

16 philosophus invidius  Fri, Jan 10, 2014 11:56:19am

“The time for ceding some rational points is gone.”—Richard Venola, a former editor of Guns & Ammo


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