Marc Montoni from IPR comments in response to Robert Capozzi:
… gun extremism tends to evoke a certain image …
You know, it might be instructive for some people to “embed” in some of the alleged “extremist” groups before dismissing a particular point of view as “extremist”. Take the above use of “gun extremism”, for example. The Virginia Citiizens’ Defense League is probably one of the most extreme pro-gun organizations I know of. Their members often refer to the NRA as a gun-control group, for example. Many of their members have become extremely active in the open-carry movement, and they sponsor heavily-attended rallies at the state capitol to press their agenda.
A few years ago, they were widely referred to as “extreme”; however, they have gotten a heckuva lot of their legislative agenda put into place by constantly calling for what they want, and going back year after year until they’ve gotten it. VCDL is largely responsible for improving Virginia’s concealed carry permit laws, and has educated thousands of law enforcement personnell the right of Virginia citizens to carry openly. If the organization survives and continues to prosper, I have little doubt that in ten years Virginia will have “Vermont carry” (meaning the repeal of laws requiring citizens to have government permission (nee license) in order to carry concealed).
In other words, gun extremism has become mainstream, simply because the gun extremists refused to waver in demanding what they really wanted.
And I know a certain someone is going to yank out that old, tired “private newks” bullshit, so let’s nip that in the bud in advance. Here is a perfectly Libertarian answer to the “private newks” red herring.
As an example, let’s consider the case of Bruce E. Ivins. (and yes, I am aware that even his case may be a concoction.) In any event, as the government fumbled its way through the anthrax case, lo and behold it turned out that the only WMD attack on our nation was a sophisticated product traced to the government’s own biological weapons labs.
Yes, I would say a libertarian case could be made to say that weapons too dangerous for individuals to have can be banned — but only if the government is the first entity that has to comply with the ban. Try thinking about an insurance-based model, both for the government and honest (private) sectors — rather than the current monopoly-on-force model. I’ve said this before, and don’t intend to change my mind.
I have yet to find a VCDL position that wasn’t perfectly compatible with the old, “extremist” LP platform position on guns/self defense/weapons. I have met some folks in the VCDL who have taken their conversion to “gun extremism” and applied it, over time, to other areas of their political philosophy — which means if I’m having a discussion with a few of them, and the subject of repealing drug prohibition comes up, their reaction is likely to be more favorable than that of a random voter in the street.
I think “extremist groups” represent our “best bet” outreach opportunities. These are the groups who have figured out that for “coexistence” to happen in a proto-socialist semi-police-state means that you have to get up off your duff and beat the drums constantly for the reforms you seek.
In my mind, the only real problem facing the LP and libertarianism in general is that there are WAY too many “libertarians” who can’t be bothered to:
– organize their own precict
– pick up a petition form
– run for office
– run an information table (even in their own precinct)
– write letters to the editor, or
– meet with legislators.
However, they just LOVE to waste what must amount to THOUSANDS of hours every month (collectively) sitting behind a computer screen writing breathless screeds about all of the things that are wrong with the LP, and dispensing their own peculiar “wisdom” on how to “fix” the LP. The peculiar wisdom that seems to be “politically correct” within the LP at this moment is that the now-deleted Platform and the consistent Libertarians who were comfortable with it are just a bunch of “extremists”.
Only WORK works. If you are spending more time talking to other libertarians about how flawed their efforts are, then you’re working for the enemy. Stop worrying about the platform, pledge, pragmatism, whatever, and instead do what is really necessary to build a proper political party:
It simply never ceases to amaze me how quick some are to participate in online discussions yet can’t be bothered to commit even one real political act a week.