Matt Purple, managing editor of American Conservative, responds to recent demands for Gun Control from sort-of-conservatives Brett Stephens and David Frum writing respectively for those famous conservative organs The New York Times and the Atlantic.
Stephens and Frum arenâ€™t technocrats calibrating the machine of progress; theyâ€™re Wayne Wheeler and Carrie Nation, throwing open our saloon doors and smashing our tumblers. Theirs is a moral crusade against what they perceive to be a national vice. America is sick and only they are enlightened enough to make it better. Perhaps thatâ€™s a bit flippantâ€”some of our nationâ€™s best (and worst) work has been done by those who set out to mend grand societal illsâ€”but we should at least stop pretending that the kids-cup prescriptions of a Senator Chris Murphy can ever accomplish his jumbo-size ends. This is a nation with one firearm for every citizen, a thriving outdoorsman culture, a history of violent lawlessness, a frontier, a Second Amendment. Jamming those spokes is going to require a far larger stick than anything that fits through the ludicrously exaggerated â€œgun show loophole.â€
The reason many of us take the (authentically) Madisonian viewâ€”in addition to our leeriness over a total government monopoly on armsâ€”is that we reject such a crusade as impractical. We see it as premised on a fundamentally false conception of America, one that glosses over her indelible traditions of individualism and defiance. We worry it will result in more polarization and violence rather than less. We observe, too, that the public has lately grown weary of elite designs on their values, their pronouns, their national anthemâ€”enough to elect Donald Trump in the hopes of making it all stop. Presumably an additional betterment campaign against their guns would be met with the same aggravation and pushback. Itâ€™s your move, gentlemen, but is this really where you want to go right now?