Monday, March 13, 2006

Slowly, Slowly, These Gun Nuts Work Their Way With Me

This morning, I awoke to find an anonymous commenter had left me a long, drawn-out anonymous comment about my stance on abortion. Well, actually, she left it complaining about Egalia's stance on abortion, but minor details--such as the fact that Tiny Cat Pants is not Tennessee Guerilla Women--never dissuade the angry, passive-aggressive cowards. However, in going through her comment, attempting to make sense of it, I was reminded of the guys over at Say Uncle. We'll come back to this. Conservatives often complain about the "nanny state," how liberals tend to get behind all these social programs that are basically enacted to make it more difficult for us to enjoy ourselves. But in reading anonymous's comments, I was struck hard by the consistency of her position--that people's private behavior that doesn't affect her is open to her censure. Holy shit. This isn't just a "nanny state;" this is a "busy-body state." So, I've been thinking all morning about what it might mean to think about the busy-body state. I hate to use the word "reframing," but I think it fits. What if I reframe the way I think about judging appropriate government intervention as the difference between encouraging a busy-body state and not? Which brings us back to the gun nuts, in the first place. I'm interested in hearing their take on this, because I think this has been their big complaint and I just didn't get it. See, I've been thinking about the whole gun issue as a broad, panicked public safety issue--guns are dangerous, therefore we must get guns off the streets--and haven't been too concerned with the implications of that. But today I read over at Say Uncle about the Democratic candidate for governor pushing the assault rifle ban by referring to the DC snipers, even though the guns the snipers used wouldn't have been affected by the ban and about efforts to ban colored guns, and I'm starting to wrap my head around the idea that there's a lot of busy-body-ing that is involved with gun control--that the gun-control crowd, in their efforts to make life difficult for the few gun owners who can't control themselves, want to enact sweeping legislation to make all gun owners' lives difficult, even though most gun owners have a legitimate Constitutionally protected right to own guns and their gun ownership will never adversely affect the anti-gun people. Isn't this almost the exact same situation with abortion? Here you have a moral issue that has been turned into a legislative issue by people who believe that women cannot control themselves and that sweeping legislation must be enacted to make all women's lives difficult, even though women have many legitimate reasons for needing abortions and what those women do almost never adversely affects the anti-abortion people. Even as I write this, I know that there are some pro-gun people out there who are going to be upset with me linking them up with the likes of pro-abortion me. I'm not saying that everyone needs to accept that they are moral equivalents--clearly I'm not saying that at all. But what I'm saying is that, in both cases, I start to get a sense of the shape and form of the busy-body state, in which grown folks who are presumably capable of making their own decisions, would have to prove to the state that they deserve to be able to make those decisions. The funny thing about the busy-body state is that liberals and conservatives both love it--to different ends, but everyone wants to stick his nose in and get some say in the private behavior of his neighbor, even if that behavior doesn't affect him. And so, I suspect that we'll have to look for interesting alliances on the left and the right to oppose it.

8 Comments:

Blogger Exador said...

Your argument won't go far with the anti-abortion crowd because they do not believe that it is just your body. They believe that the fetus is a seperate human being that deserves protection in the same way that society has an obligation to protect a child from being killed by a stranger.

The best arguement that I see in the pro-gun arena is that more peoples' persons and property are protected by private citizens with a gun, then are harmed by criminals with guns. Even without all the other arguments, this alone is reason enough to not ban guns.
Along with this is the cliche' that "if outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". Not only is this common sense, it has been proven in countries like Australia and England.
There are currently more guns than people in this country. You can't just wish them all away.

3/13/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger saraclark said...

You will have to pry my assualt weapon from my cold dead hands, after my illegal abortion. I hate to be snarky, but that's what the voice inside my head said when I read this.

Well said, Aunt B.

Actually this morning, I am more concerned that the Feds (I forget which acronym) are going to try to get all backyard, private fowl owners to register their flocks, so that when the bird flu arrives, it will make it easier to find them and kill them. Cockatoos, love birds and chickens, Uncle Sam is looking for them all. It's going to be a weird day.

3/13/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Sara, I guess that's one way to quietly put an end to cock fighting...

Boy Scout, I think you're right about the anti-abortion crowd, but the fact remains that, even if it is a human being, it's not separate. Plus, I don't think they really think of it as murder in exactly the same way, because how many anti-abortion folks are advocating tossing women who have abortions in jail? None that I know of.

3/13/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

You will get my gun when you pry it from my fetuses cold dead hands.

Gladys Kravitz for President!

3/13/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

how many anti-abortion folks are advocating tossing women who have abortions in jail?

Only because it's politically expediant. It's far easier to demagogue the doctors than allow Planned Parenthood to march out a bunch of poor, teenage girls in front of the news cameras to tell their story of being put in jail.

If you criminalize the doctors, you get the same result, acually better results, because the doctors are easier to track down, and are less willing to break the law. Arresting one doctor prevents hundreds of abortions. Arresting the mothers only stops one at a time.

It's the same reason they make exceptions for rape and incest. If you truly believe that abortion is killing a human being, then there could not be an exception for the circumstances. Some of the hard core crowd come out and say this, but the more politically savvy give the exception, for now.

3/13/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Very nice piece. I can't help but be reminded of the old libertarian slogan, "We're Pro-Choice on EVERYTHING".

3/13/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

I'm a little bit conservative and a whole lot libertarian and I want the dadgum government to stay the heck out of my life.

Reminds me of the old sarcastic line: "We're from the government and we're here to help you". That's wwhen you know whatever problems you had just got worse.

3/13/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous refugee said...

As you suggest, there’s a very strong theoretical intersection between the right to own firearms and the right to have an abortion. They both involve immediate, life-and-death decisions, and invoking those rights takes power away from the government and puts it in the hands of The People.

But there’s a strong practical intersection as well: the most common exception to abortion bans is in the case of rape. One of the best ways to avoid rape is for women to carry a gun. Anybody who supports abortion rights should also be a strong Second Amendment advocate. Arming women reduces the need for abortion in the first place.

To be blunt, if you are willing to kill an innocent for your own benefit, you should be willing to kill a rapist not only in your defense, but in defense of the other women in your community.

Also, I can’t resist adding an old Second Amendment argument: If the Constitution protects the Right to Abortion, which is never mentioned anywhere, shouldn’t it all the more strongly protect the right to keep and bear arms, which it very carefully and prominently does mention?

(*sigh* I await the argument that arming women against rape is unacceptable because if rape dies down, it will weaken the argument for abortion acceptable to most right-to-lifers.)

3/14/2006 12:56:00 PM  

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