Someone gave me a copy of Glen Beck’s new book on gun control, entitled, appropriately enough, Control. Now I do have some issues with Mr. Beck, which I won’t go into here. I don’t think it’s profitable for the people in the liberty movement to devour each other over perceived ideological impurities. Beck, love him or hate him, is a very visible voice that is, at least when his handlers don’t pull his chain too hard, encouraging people to think about liberty and he’s probably a fine fellow to read if you are slowly detoxing from the ‘government is good’ mindset.
Having said that, the book is, over all, a very good collection of studies done by the gun control crowd which are then debunked, and quotes from the gun control crowd which are then examined in light of the facts. My issue with the book and it’s approach may seem like a minor point to some, but to me the very subtlety of it makes it a dangerous point.
In it, over and over again, Mr. Beck makes the case that all we gun folks want is a reasonable exercise of our rights. Nobody is asking for RPG’s to be legal, nobody wants a machine gun; all we want is what’s reasonable. This sent up a big red flag for me. Who decides what’s reasonable?
For Beck to say it’s unreasonable for me to own a grenade launcher is the ideological twin of Feinstein saying it’s unreasonable for me to own a 30 round magazine. In both cases, someone else has appealed to some external standard to decide for me what I should and should not have.
Now I may well decide on my own, if I were allowed the choice, that a grenade launcher is impractical for me. I’ve made that decision with a variety of legal weapons, over issues of cost or practicality. Ultimately I should be the one that decides what’s reasonable for me, not Glenn Beck and certainly not Feinstein. In my estimation, anytime you surrender that decision to somebody else, whether you keep the articles you wanted to keep or not, you’ve lost the issue on a philosophical level.
That philosophical surrender leads to your next loss as somebody else redefines what’s ‘reasonable’. Before long you’re disputing about what we’re asking to be legal. Since when do we ‘ask’ for freedom? As a friend of mine once said “a freedom that you have to ask for is a privilege’.
If I was a more conspiracy-minded sort of guy ( wait a minute here) I would entertain the notion that the Glenn Becks of the world are there to keep liberty folks from wandering too far off the reservation, and from thinking too deeply or from looking at things a certain way. As long as we stay busy reacting to the other side’s definition of reasonable, and as long as we keep asking for permission to exercise our rights, we can still be controlled. Or am I overthinking it?