The middle ground

The anti-freedom bigots have pushed things so far that people don’t have a clue of where “the middle” is. Example:

What the two sides don’t acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense. Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere – not just by licensed dealers – without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.

The name-calling and breath-holding have made us all forget that a middle ground is possible.

I have long had a hot-button about people that want to be in “the middle” and those who create the perception of “the middle”. People, in general, don’t want to be considered extremists or even a short distance from what they perceive as “the center”. Most people are comfortable only when they are with the majority and when the perception of “the center” moves they tend to move with it. “Wimps” doesn’t begin to express my disgust for people like this who decline and/or refuse to think for themselves.

That aside as a inalterable trait of human nature we now must deal with it and perhaps use it to our advantage.

Perception of “the center” is created in at least three ways:

  1. Labeling your opponent, no matter how “moderate” their stand, as “an extremist”.
  2. Labeling your own position as “moderate”.
  3. Advocates for a position who attempt to “stake out the middle ground” and abandon the extreme position.

The anti-freedom bigots label the NRA as “an extremist” organization and claim they are advocates for “reasonable measures”. Check and check on points one and two. The NRA has, in essence, abandoned class three devices and agreed with the NICS background check. Check on point three. This makes it difficult for us to make progress in repealing oppressive gun laws due to the majority of people who believe “the middle” is somewhere close to the current state of our laws.

This “middle ground” mentality and the desire to stake out a more “extreme position” was an additional motivating factor for me to create Boomershoot. By being an advocate for long range precision rifles and recreational explosives I enable others to feel more comfortable with less “extreme” positions. I push as an “extreme” advocate for freedom to make it more comfortable for others to move in my direction.

But what is really missing in the debate is an identification of where the real extremes are.

Obviously one extreme is a complete ban on firearm ownership with a death penalty for even the slightest infraction for possession of a firearm or any component of a firearm or, plans, documents, or materials with the intent to make a firearm or component of a firearm.

So what is the other extreme?

The anti-freedom bigots would have us believe it’s allowing people to carry concealed firearms or teaching children or young adults how to shoot. But with only a small amount of thought most people will realize this isn’t all that extreme. It’s just that that position has been labeled as extreme.

How about the GOA who claim they are a “no-compromise gun lobby” and who want our gun rights back? Surely they are staking out the extremist position, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Part of the other extremist position would be where firearms ownership, training, practice, and continuous (24 by 7 with no exceptions) possession of a loaded firearm is mandatory for everyone. The other part of this extremist position would be when government funds are used to accomplish those goals and it’s a death penalty offense for anyone who attempted to avoid or change these requirements.

With those definitions of extremism the “the middle ground” should be pretty clear–“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Not infringed in the slightest. No law that places any restriction or ownership requirement on anyone. That is the true “middle ground”.

9 thoughts on “The middle ground

  1. I think of the “extremes” as a circle around a center. The center moves based on your point of view. You can have more than 2 extremes. That’s why calling someone on either side “extreme” is both true and meaningless at the same time. I can easily call this author extreme, because I believe any government restriction on the God-given rights of lawful individuals is an extreme position, with the constitution at the center.

    But basically, your point is correct.

  2. Then there is the issue of right and wrong. “Extremism”, as an epithet, is a dumb word anyway. How about “extremely good” or “extremely learned” or “extremely honest” or “extremely committed to the American Principles of Liberty”?

    As Ayn Rand put it (paraphrased): Would you find it virtuous to “moderate” your food with poison?

    And I say: Should we “moderate” justice with a healthy dose of injustice? How about we “moderate” respect for property rights with some good old theft? Shall we “moderate” respect for women with a little bit of rape now and then? How about we “moderate” neighborly conduct with some vandalism and some spreading of vicious rumors? I see plenty of attempts at “moderating” rationality with irrationality, strength with weakness, victory with defeat, and success with failure. Moderates feel no compunction whatsoever about “moderating” respect for human rights with a nice, reasonable amount of spitting contempt for human rights.

    Too often we’re not even talking about whether to violate someone’s rights. Once you’ve “moderated” the only discussion can be about who’s rights are to be violated, when, where, and how much.

    That’s how I view “moderates” – people with zero principles and an overriding desire to blend in, or to feel superior to people who care about things. (Is that extreme enough for you or would you prefer I moderate my reasoned position with some foolishness?)

    What AU H2O said:
    “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

    As elrushbo says, and I paraphrase: Moderates are leftists in denial.

  3. Lyle, well said. I was merely contrasting the “1D line graph” with another “map” of extremism based around a subjective center. What you say makes perfect sense.

    The question remains though, is this actually black/white, right/wrong, or is it all of a relative nature? Most conservatives would side with you in that there is right and wrong, and just because a portion of the population disagrees doesn’t change anything. Most liberals would argue that it is in fact the culture that defines right and wrong. Would I be a “zero principal” moderate to suggest that in fact there is a middle ground between these views, wherein the there are fundamental objective truths that may exist, yet still be tempered with the subjectivity of society’s whims? Is there such a place as this, where rights can remain inviolate, but progressive culture can still do their thing? I think that’s the state of our country today *cough* right or wrong.

    Liberals (socialists) are the biggest enemy of conservative economics, conservative values, basic freedom, and the founding principals of our country. I believe the founding fathers assembled a doctrine that is flexible enough to change without breaking. The constitution is something that won’t crumble just because progressives decide it is “safer” for us to not have guns. The biggest danger is not in fact the “extreme” liberals, rather it is everyone forgets about and/or ignores the constitution. We have to fight the constant dismemberment of our beloved founding documents by _both_ sides of American politics before we can honestly says we support the Second Amendment.

  4. With those definitions of extremism the “the middle ground” should be pretty clear–“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Not infringed in the slightest. No law that places any restriction or ownership requirement on anyone. That is the true “middle ground”.

    How on earth is that the middle of anything? It’s the most extreme (not there’s anything wrong with that!) pro-position held by any real people, calling for the Second Amendment to be construed more broadly than the First or any other. It also appears to be based on an erroneous definition of the meaning of “infringe,” but that’s another discussion.

  5. As I explained in my post a position that advocates no action be taking in regards to the ownership of firearm is the midpoint between the two possible extremes. Those two extremes are 1) Laws and heavy punishment for the possession of firearms and 2) Laws and heavy punishment for NOT possessing firearms. Whether there are people that hold those positions is irrelevant–everyone can be biased in the same direction and all can be on one side of the middle.

    I admit that the definition of “infringed” has to be twisted a little to apply it to the forced possession of firearm but it seems perfectly applicable when applied to restrictions on the possession and/or use of firearms.

  6. The problem with your definition of “middle” is that it proves too much. Whether the issue is guns or anything else, the “middle” position between all possible positions is almost never the middle of the debate. Is zero taxation a “centrist” position, too, on the theory that taxing people $X is just as far to one side of the spectrum as giving the same people $X would be on the other?

    Forced possession of guns wouldn’t “infringe” any right, as there is no right not to bear arms. My point on gun control as an infringement was that the modern definition you link to is not really in synch with the definition that prevailed 1791, which is closer to its etymology (“break” or “crush”) than it is to its modern sense of merely encroaching upon. As the term was used then, you could restrict any right quite a bit without “infringing” it, i.e., destroying it altogether. By that definition, D.C.’s gun ban almost certainly “infringes” the right to bear arms, but other, mildly annoying restrictions probably don’t.

  7. My point on the “middle ground” is that it’s a stupid way to decide your position on something. A lot of people want to be in the “middle” rather than decide what is right, wrong, practical, etc. If people insist on being in “the middle” or that we “compromise” then we can influence them by pointing out the extreme is a long distance from the positions we advocate.

    I wasn’t aware that the definition of “infringe” had changed that much. Interesting… Thanks.

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