Winning the culture wars

A few days ago one of the women I met online in my nine dates with six women in nine days adventure sent me an email asking information about a local gun range and instructor for a female friend of hers.

Yesterday I had my semi-annual eye exam (yes, my eyesight is quite good). I wore an Insights Training sweatshirt. As I walked in the door a female patient looked at me and said, “Insights! Are you an instructor?” “No”, I told her, “I’m just a student of theirs.”

It turns out she had worked at Weapons Safety Inc. (a gun shop and range) when Insights did a lot of their classes there and hence was quite familiar with Insights. The female optometrist asked the other patient a little about what it was like to work there and then it was back to business.

As I was waiting the female receptionist was talking to still another female patient about LASIK and told her that her ex had bad eyes and wore very thick glasses. He then had LASIK and the next year was able to win a rifle competition he had no chance of winning with his previous eyes. The woman she was talking to didn’t seem the least bit fazed.

This was all in the Seattle area. Historically Seattle is very anti-gun.

We have essentially won the culture war on guns. We need to keep taking new people to the range (I had another one scheduled for 2:00 PM today but she became ill and we are rescheduling) but short of a major screw up the worst case in the next decade or so is that progress toward our end goal is halted.

But there is another culture war that looks every bit as bad as things did for gun rights advocates 15 years ago.

We have long known something was very wrong with our country. The gun issue was/is just one symptom. TSA is a big deal. The war on drugs is a big deal. The government involvement in health care is a big deal. The welfare state is a big deal. The government involvement in education is a big deal. The national debt is a huge deal.

Looking at the bigger picture there are just so many things wrong that it is easy to want to just run away, create Galt’s Gulch, or encourage secession. 15 years ago the gun rights situation looked hopeless too. As Tam said if you arrived as a time traveler at a gun store in 1995 and told them the future of gun ownership in 2012 they would have found the time travel part the most believable part of your story.

I’m not saying “everything is going to be okay”. In fact in at least one way we have essentially a mathematical proof that it’s game over and we are just watching the clock run out. But the question is, what do we do about it?

Some people are buying gold and silver. Lots of people are buying guns and ammo. But you can’t eat gold or silver. You can eat a bullet, but one is your lifetime limit and few people consider the Smith and Wesson retirement plan the best they can do. Stockpiling food and water in the city, at best, will only get you by as long as your supplies last. And even if you join up with a like minded tribe deep in the woods it’s going to be at best a couple of generations until the latest fashion debate is about how to arrange which type of bird feather on your fur coat and there is talk of an “assault weapon ban” on crossbows with the real agenda of getting rid of all bows and arrows and maybe spears too.

I think there may be a better way. I have the big vision but I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to implement it. It’s sort of like I know I need a bridge across this dangerous ravine. I know a fair amount about different types of bridges but none of them seem to be feasible. I suppose it’s possible the “ravine” is actually the “Grand Canyon” and we simply don’t have the “technology”, money, and/or time to build such a bridge in the time we have left. But if you consider 1995 the darkest days in the gun wars and a win being clearly visible by 2003 (most people predicted the AWB probably wasn’t going to be renewed) then that only took eight years.

One way to look at that is those eight years is that they were essentially a politically delaying action until we got our culture war game on. I claim a similar situation exists today. I’m sure freedom has not yet reached it’s nadir but there is a fair amount of political action that will slow the descent. If we can get our culture game going for freedom then we might be able pull out a win before the clock runs out.

The problem is I don’t see how to win the culture war. I don’t see that we have effective weapons in this culture war. I don’t even see how to fight the culture war. People are certainly trying but we are rapidly losing.

With guns we could take people to the range and the anti-gun people didn’t have anti-gun ranges to compete with us. The anti-freedom people have “free stuff” and “security” to offer. It’s all a lie in the long, or even intermediate, term but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is here and now. The media shows the sick getting treatment, the hungry being fed, and the TSA proclaiming the world is a safer place when they find eight ounces of toothpaste in grandmas carryon luggage. The hidden costs and the cancerous belief that more government is the solution to every problem are difficult to see and in the “distant” future of a few years from now.

What are the freedom games that would be the equivalent of USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge, and Boomershoot? Something that quickly engages people and gives almost immediate feedback would be ideal. It is a video game? But maybe the definition of “immediate” can be stretched a bit. Perhaps it is an experimental city with no taxes on income, capital gains, or sales. Or maybe it is teaching philosophy in our schools.

The way I see it we can win the culture war in the next few years or we can say George Orwell was off by two generations.

10 thoughts on “Winning the culture wars

  1. You know, the USA already went through the “freedom” era. My mother was born in the days before compulsory education laws. She was forced to quit school in the 7th grade to support her mother and disabled sister. Her brother was forced to quit in the 4th grade. Because there was no “free stuff” for the disabled and the elderly, families had to support them. If you think your taxes are high now, imagine how much money you would have to put out to support everyone related to you via DNA.

    You never mention your family history but it must have been charmed to want to go back to “the good old days.”

  2. I can think of two things.

    One – write a game, a FUN game, sort of like “civilization,” where the only way to win SHORT TERM is to borrow a lot of money and build a lot of stuff NOW, but the only way to win LONG TERM is to avoid debt like the plague. winning short-term can use very high or very low birth-rates, but long-term needs moderate birth-rates. adjusting things like retirement age, money-printing, etc all show the benefits short term of one policy or another, but ALSO the long-term consequences. Make it cheap or free on many platforms. People will get the idea after a while.

    Two – suck it up and fund a parallel system as outlined here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s02SypCcYIc . Kind of rambling, but the basic idea sounds good.

  3. One way to start is to stop being polite to the moochers. Bring personal shame back into their lives every time you can.

    Ever been the person who says something to someone holding up the check-out lane and suddenly find you’re just the FIRST person to say what everyone had been thinking?

    Be a jerk to the single mom struggling with her EBT card PIN. Tell her that it’d go faster if she had some money and if she gets huffy about it, be sure to point out that the government keeps more of your money than you get back and the only thing she should say to you is “thanks.”

    Make those little things cost a little and we might see some changes. I want her to be a timid about using welfare. Someone who really does need it is contrite, someone who’s milking they system will be belligerent. Basically, those who deserve it most want it least.

    For a culture war to succeed you have to insert your culture over theirs and not accept theirs at all.

    I’ve done this in the checkout line, I get some glares from EBT Mom, but I’ve gotten a lot more “thanks for saying it” from other customers.

  4. You can try to reprogram or deprogram.

    Reprogramming keeps people in a mesmerized state, subject to the next clevr programmer who comes along. Deprogramming makes way for rational thought to intervene.

    I think part of what happened with guns is enough people started simply participating in the activity. The threat of losing the freedom to do it caused more and more people to get into it. Enough people are acting on their own as responsible gun owners that the cries of doom and gloom just can’t touch any but the most self-deluded and ignorant people. We won the normalcy bias.

    How does that apply to liberty in general? That’s a bit different. You can’t buy a free life, or start your own business, for under a thousand dollars, like you can buy a gun. Or can you?

    In any case it is living by example and not playing the left’s game. Don’t play their game.

    Are you familiar with the “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” trilogy as a Marxist tool?

    Republicans are either the biggest suckers on the planet, or they have been complicit, but they fall for the thesis, antithesis, synthesis trick every single time. Do not engage. Just let the left know you see the left for what it is.

    There will be a crisis, but as we all experienced in the last 20 years in the gun issue, a crisis CAN lead to some people waking up. We have to be there for them. We don’t win people over by beating them up (unless we’re forced into it) but just by being right. Maybe 10 years from now you’ll be thing how fortunate we were that Obama won a second term. Just remember that the communists have similar thoughts– they want to be the ones “helping” us out of this crisis they’ve engineered.

  5. Check out this map of counties voting AGAINST the Dems:

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/countymaprb512.png (from this page: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/ )

    I wonder, does a complete state have to succeed? How about just carving out a contiguous area of several states? Although, I suspect that a complete state would have to start the ball rolling, and adjacent counties might decide to join up.
    One of the glaring facts about that map is that very little food production areas are voting Dem. Unfortunately, that also brings up thoughts about the distribution of resources in the 1860’s. How would you keep it from going all over hot, like the previous attempt? I’m thinking that initiating a (hopefully) bloodless succession would either saddle DC with all the cost of their entitlement programs, or they would very quickly collapse. Especially if enough states decided they wanted out from under the heavy hand of DC.

    Frankly, I think a slow slide, followed by the inevitable collapse, might be worse than kicking out the props in the near future. The longer it takes, the less likely we are to approve of the end result, due to the projected demographics.

    Unfortunately, I suspect that we are very far along Winston Churchill’s “when you finally fight…”

    Found it:

    “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed;
    if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly;
    you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you
    and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case.
    You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

  6. I think Will (above) is pretty close to it; were a single state to adopt pure freedom principles, at least as much as they can without risking a military invasion from D.C., the goal could be accomplished in reasonably short order. For example, should a state – let’s pick a new, random geographic area and call it, something, say, “The New State of Texas” or “…..Arizona” – undertake measures to make their economy stronger, revamp their laws to support that, manage the regulatory structure to support it, and completely restructure the state’s education industry, it could become quite attractive to own a business and/or work in that random geographic area. What framework would be used? Simple – the U.S. Constitution as written, minus a few things (such as Amendments 16 and 17, among others).

    Since success breeds success, Washington would do whatever it could to make the newly productive and successful state as unproductive and unsuccessful as possible, so the “new state” would at some point be forced to repudiate much of the federal government’s actions and impact as so much of what the fed.gov does now is outside the structure of the Constitution.

    I wonder if the leadership, and more important, the population, of any of the 57 states has a large enough diameter spine to tackle this. It will be tackled by a few states after the collapse, but a state(s) that undertakes the transformation well before that will be ahead of the curve, and it’s possible that a regional movement in this direction might stave off the worst of the collapse.

  7. Just because a state votes Republican, that doesn’t mean that it’s citizens aren’t getting “free stuff” from the government.

    Look at the food stamp program: http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=651&cat=1

    California has 38 million people with 4 million getting food stamps. Texas has 1/3 less population yet it has nearly as many people collecting food stamps. Florida has 1/2 of the population of California yet it has 3.5 million people collecting food stamps. What are you freedom lovers planning to do with these people? If you cut off their free food, don’t you think they are going to get food somewhere? Oh, and Texas HAS a strong economy. Why are so many people collecting food stamps in Texas?

  8. I figure we’re pretty much due for some kind of world war, what will happen? probably annihilate 5 billion or so of the population and we’ll play the same game over again… Hey look at all the jobs it will create when we have to rebuild everything!

  9. @ubu If you look at the tip of Texas down south, you will notice those counties voted Blue. It’s in those counties you will find a large quantities leeching off the government.

    The issue is there is 0 incentive to move on to being self sufficient. Tell me Ubu, why should I work everyday while my neighbor gets foods stamps and housing supplements? Seriously answer the damn question. All of you scream about how fair it is. Tell me, how is it fair for my taxes to go up while someone else refuses to work gets more government assistance.

    You know what the best thing is Ubu, even when my wife was fired over her disability we still didn’t qualify for government assistance. You know that thing keep saying you pay into as a security net in case shit happens. The whole thing is designed to rob from one party using the force of the state to “justify” it and give it to another party. Case in point, who wants a Obamaphone! Think that stuff just magically appears? No someone ends up paying for that.

    Yes I’m pissed because I watch more and more of my paycheck go to taxes, and I’ve got a hike coming this January, while people who don’t work keep getting new flat screen TVs and brand new smartphones.

    Go sell your bullshit someplace else. If you want fair, everyone needs to pay the same % of their income if you’re going to retain an income tax. This is the only way it is fair. Taking from those who work harder to give to those who don’t work, that isn’t fair and honestly provides incentive for people to quit working.

  10. Ubu seems to be running off of the assumption that those who get food stamps will only ever be able to get food via food stamps. That’s a pretty pessimistic world view.

    What are you freedom lovers planning to do with these people?

    I’ll tell you what we’ll do with them. We’ll give them freedom and let them figure it out for themselves. Once the free stuff stops coming, many of them will experience a rapid change of priorities and start working to put food on the table.

    Many will not be able to work adequately to feed themselves. These include the sick and disabled and single moms (who will have a strong disincentive to keep bearing children they cannot provide for). These will turn to churches and other community organizations, which will receive a large influx of donations from the producers in the community due to the large decrease in taxes they will see. These churches and community organizations will be able to provide help on a much more individualized level than the massive federal bureaucracy which currently hands out government largess.

    Many won’t want to accept the responsibility to provide for themselves or seek out help. They will move away to the states which still tax the producers to give to the poor and lazy. As those systems become overwhelmed, producers will move to the free states while moochers will move to the welfare states.

    The idea that society needs government to take care of the poor is a fallacy. The church I belong to does an admirable job of it, completely off of the voluntary donations of church members. The aid is tailored to the receiver’s individual needs and almost always includes helping the receiver become self-sufficient.

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