Slate’s John Ehrenreich wrote a piece to learn why Republicans so value the Second Amendment — and while his facts echo those of articles past, he came to a much more dire conclusion.
Ehrenreich said there is “nothing inevitable” about economic and foreign policy conservatives aligning with social conservatives. Ronald Reagan supported the Brady Bill and a ban on assault weapons, he wrote, and Republicans did not include gun rights in their party platform until 1988.
There is nothing to former President Obama’s argument that those in distressed rural areas embrace gun rights because “they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion,” Ehrenreich said. Gun ownership has declined since the 1970s and support for gun rights is stronger among the affluent, not the bitter-enders Obama described.
Rather, Ehrenreich pointed to the psychological profile the left has pushed on the right for decades.
Psychologists have found differences between conservatives and liberals in personality traits, attitudes and moral standards. They accept and even embrace authority, like convention, prefer order and stability and resist change.
They don’t care about equality or empathy, and they think humans are basically bad. Their moral sense “is less centered on fairness and kindness and more on loyalty, deference to authority and moral and sexual purity.”
These traits make them Second Amendment supporters because of their need for social order, and their acceptance of aggression as part of human nature may lead them to be harder on criminals.
“Similarly,” Ehrenreich writes,” the lower value placed by conservatives on empathy and on equality, combined with their greater resistance to change, may lead to their having less sympathy toward the argument that inequality and poverty are breeding grounds for crime and gun violence.”
We all exaggerate threats and frequency of dangerous events, he said, and the media contributes to that exaggeration. But conservatives “are especially prone to exaggerate risks.” They see the world as more dangerous than liberals and are “especially vulnerable to these distortions. They also tend to repress their own aggressive and sexual impulses more and to identify with aggressors.”
In 2013, conservatives weren’t overly aggressive, they were just duped by the National Rifle Association.
“The marketing department of the gun industry (aka the NRA) has done its job to convince gun lovers, and therefore congressmen from red districts, that any gun law making it a little more difficult to amass guns is somehow the end of all gun rights in America – and end of America as they know it because for some bizarre reason they’re all convinced that Freedom is defined by unlimited gun ownership, wrote one website. It’s a very, very strange world in which these people live and entirely outside the rest of the world. Thank you NRA.”