It’s time to restate this. I posted it last year, and I wonder if anyone really “got it”. It cannot be overstated. Reading Joe’s recent post about the open carry debate among the pro gun rights camp reminded me of it, once again. That debate can be said to be between people with the same basic principles. We’ll see how Rand’s “rules of engagement” as I call them, apply. Last year I noted;
In the essay, Rand defines three rules “…about the working of principles in practice and about the relationship of principles to goals.”
Wait. What? “the working of principles in practice”? What’s that? “The relationship of principles to goals”? Sounds pretty juicy if there’s anything to it. Well, there is.
Leaving out her extensive lead-in:
1. In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.
Open carry verses keeping it hidden so as not to scare or offend anyone. Which position is more consistent with the basic principles of RKBA?
2. In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.
It applies to any situation, but the idea of government “taking care of” the American people, shared by Republicans and Democrats, comes to mind. Democrats win here. Every time. Republicans will never understand this. It’s not in their DNA to understand this rule. It’s in their DNA to deny it. The NRA had a similar problem about 15 years ago, but they seem to be getting over it, like getting over a very long-lasting flu. You cannot collaborate with someone who holds different basic principles and expect a nice outcome. It’s better to do your own thing, unless you want to be the more evil and irrational one.
3. When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side;
Gun control debate. Practicing rule 3, without fully understanding it, is the one and only source of our recent successes. Understand it, Little Grasshopper, and you will go far. Some of us think that we’ve been trying to appear rational as a selling point, or trying to get the opposition to think that we aren’t bad people after all, but it is by simply being rational, and by being rational in a public way, and sometimes in an in-your-face way, that we win. There’s a fine distinction here, but a very important one. Selling ourselves as people is what Republicans do. That argument says, “I’m a nice, decent person, so you should agree with me.” Blech. Selling our ideas, on their own merits, and damn the torpedoes because we know we’re right and we can prove it, we know our opposition is wrong, disastrously wrong, and we can prove that, is what rational people do.
when they (principles) are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
Taking RKBA in light of that last bit; hiding your (our) position (that guns in public are a good thing) or evading it, tends to work in favor of the irrational side (gun restrictions). We’re trying to coddle those who are wrong, trying to sell ourselves in a way tailored so as to appeal to their stupidity and bad behavior. In so doing we lend them an appearance of credibility or legitimacy that they do not deserve. Like it or not, that’s how it works. We have to understand that there are some people who have no credibility, have no legitimacy and deserve no accommodation (anti gunners in this case, or people who are offended or “scared” by visible guns [I think most or all of the "fear" is a cheap act perpetrated for maximum drama]) and we have to be ready to point out why.
I believe there are enough examples in most people’s day-to-day lives that these basic axioms, Rand’s rules of engagement, will be seen as not only valid but very useful once you look at things with them in mind. Working with institutions installing and troublshooting PA systems (I have an appointment tomorrow) I’ve run into all these situations. They’re political events as much as anything else.