‘If You Like Your Guns, You Can Keep Your Guns’

by | Dec 28, 2020

“And it’s OK to call anyone talking about taking them away your enemy.”

I believe this is one of the most important messages going forward to draw gun owners to the ideas of liberty. I used the plural “ideas” there purposefully. Many people read Rothbard and others and quickly adopt exactly what they’ve written as an ideal that is inflexible. Many attempt to draw people to liberty but only if they’re willing to agree not only politically, but culturally as well. That is a mistake, a big one. This is the building of the “social club for autists” which I frequently invoke.

I chose guns as the subject of this as gun ownership covers both political and cultural issues. Someone like myself who grew up in the inner city did not believe I should own a gun because it was my right to defend myself should the government turn tyrannical. I wanted to own guns to protect myself from the criminals in my neighborhood. Now I live in the South and am surrounded by people who were brought up in a different way. Many were taught that the right to keep and bear arms was to prevent tyranny. Others just like to hunt. These two tend to crossover a great deal. Both are different cultures than the one in which I was raised.

When crafting messaging designed to draw people to your ideas, it would be wise to keep in mind that you are also drawing them to YOU. If they accept that gun rights are sacred, should that be enough for the time being? Is this really the time for purity tests to start? We have seen the impact of the immediate purity test approach coming from those far-left Libertarian Party members and it has been viewed as cancerous to those who seek numbers in a fight against growing tyranny. One would have to conclude that those administering the purity test are blinded to the growth of totalitarianism in the last 10 months. I am forced to believe they endorse every single government mandate that has destroyed countless lives.

If we are going to build an army to fight the lockdowns, mask mandates, and growing push to make vaccines mandatory, we are going to need all the people we can get. To exclude new folks who may have vastly different cultural views than you is counterproductive. And that’s being nice. I would call it suicidal. To push that we only reach out to people on the Left (as I disclosed was the strategy of the former LP Chair in my last article) is to recruit the segment of this society that has revealed itself to be 100% behind the aforementioned mandates. Again, suicide. Instead, meet people where they are. Let them know what you have in common and what you believe is important. If it’s guns, cool. If it’s health freedom/choice, great. As discussions progress, provide more liberty-minded literature. Don’t alienate potential allies because of ideological fervor. Trust me, I have been guilty of this in the past.

About Peter R. Quinones

Peter R. Quinones is managing editor of the Libertarian Institute and hosts the Free Man Beyond the Wall podcast. He released his first book, Freedom Through Memedom – The 31-day Guide to Waking Up to Liberty in November 2017. It reached #4 in the Libertarian Section on Amazon. He has spoken at Liberty Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire and is one of the Executive Producers on the documentary, “The Monopoly on Violence." Contact him at pete@libertarianinstitute.org

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