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Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Thought on Guns

“The intensity of passion on this issue suggests to me that we are experiencing a sort of low-grade war going on between two alternative views of what America is and ought to be. On the one side are those who take bourgeois Europe as a model of a civilized society: a society just, equitable, and democratic; but well ordered, with the lines of authority clearly drawn, and with decisions made rationally and correctly by intelligent men for the entire nation. To such people, hunting is atavistic, personal violence is shameful, and uncontrolled gun ownership is a blot upon civilization.

“On the other side is a group people who do not tend to be especially articulate or literate, and whose world view is rarely expressed in print. Their model is that of the independent frontiersman who takes care of himself and his family with no interference from the state. They are conservative in the sense that they cling to America’s unique pre-modern tradition—a non-feudal society with a sort of medieval liberty at large for everyman. To these people, ‘sociological’ is an epithet. Life is tough and competitive. Manhood means responsibility and caring for your own.”

“That really kind of spells it out,” Reynolds says. “It is a division between two very different views not only of American society, but also life itself.”

From an article called “The Great American Gun War,” published in The Public Interest in 1976 and written by researcher Barry Bruce-Briggs, via Glenn Reynolds

"Memento mori"