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Old 10-12-2017, 01:10 PM   #1
W*GS
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Default Superstition helps explain how people think about gun laws

Superstition helps explain how people think about gun laws
A large number of Republican voters indulge in magical thinking



The Onion put it best: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” An accurate summary of gun-control opponents’ response to America’s periodic gun massacres, the headline was also familiar. The satirical website has run it, with few alterations to an accompanying spoof article, five times: after six people were murdered in California in 2014; after nine were murdered in South Carolina, nine in Oregon and 14 in California in 2015; and after the killing of 58 and maiming of 489 people by a lone gunman in Las Vegas on October 1st.

Satire thrives where the usual checks on human folly fail. In this case it points to the fact that America, despite having a gun-murder rate 25 times higher than that of other developed countries, has no serious debate on how to reduce the killing, because Republican lawmakers refuse to countenance the only thing that easily would. By making it even a bit harder for killers to get guns—as action taken in Australia, Britain and Canada shows—America would have fewer gun deaths. Yet only a quarter of Republican voters accept that demonstrable truth. Most say America would have less crime if only more Americans were armed.

The usual explanation for this delusion is brilliantly effective lobbying by gun clubs. Since the 1970s the National Rifle Association, supported by gun makers, has recast what was once a public- safety issue into an argument about liberty: if you believe gun ownership is a thin red line against government tyranny, as the NRA claims, it scarcely matters whether it also leads to more killing. At the same time, the lobbyists have bullied Republican lawmakers so thoroughly that none dares speak against them. Asked for his position on gun control this week, Paul Ryan said he’d rather talk about cutting taxes. The Onion could not improve on that.

Yet though Republican voters have moved markedly against gun control over the course of the NRA’s lobbying, it alone cannot explain that shift. Many Republican voters are more selective in their support for guns than the ideologues; they tend to be momentarily keener on gun controls after a massacre, for example. It also seems notable that the same people who believe guns make America safer are also likely to hold a number of other irrational views. Around half of Republicans do not believe in evolution or anthropogenic climate change. They have also just elected as president a man who has suggested vaccines cause autism. Donald Trump’s insurgency in itself suggests that any explanation of Republican attitudes rooted in conservative ideology should be treated with caution.

A forthcoming book by the political scientists Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood, “Enchanted America”, offers an alternative explanation. It argues that people who believe guns make America safer, among other fallacies, display a strain of superstition that has always existed in American politics, on the right and the left, but which in recent decades has concentrated on the right, and now threatens to subsume it. Its proponents, who the authors call “intuitionists”, understand the world on the basis of feelings and gut instinct, not doctrine or empirical facts, even when confronted with them. “Much of what looks like an ideological gap in this country”, the authors write, “is due more to the power of these innate intuitions than abstract principles or values.”

Understand that, they argue, and it becomes easier to comprehend that the judgments such voters reach in times of economic and cultural change, like the present, will be governed by fear. This is both an instinctive response to uncertainty and a self-validating one, as Mr Oliver illustrates by quoting his five-year-old son: “If there’s no monster in the closet, then why am I scared?” The refusal of millions of people to accept some limits on gun ownership, even though this would make their families safer, reflects the same white-knuckled logic.

How has such a rich, well-governed place come to this? Richard Hofstadter’s classic essay, “The Paranoid Style in America Politics”, offers another clue. Written in 1964, it locates the anger and paranoia that had characterised the Goldwater insurgency—in effect, an extreme case of intuitionism—in a long history of populist resentment and apocalyptic rhetoric. For Hofstadter, the paranoid style was a persistent but marginal “psychic phenomenon”, with a potential to take off in certain circumstances. The most propitious, he mused, would be “a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable”. It is possible to read America’s subsequent political history, dominated by the civil-rights struggle, the culture wars and the intractable partisanship they spawned, as proof of that conjecture.

Freefalling
There has since been plenty of irrational behaviour on the left, too, including hostility to genetically modified food and the current tendency of left-wing bloggers to see a Russian under every rock. Yet the fact that the losers in America’s cultural struggles—including fundamentalist Christians, rural whites and other traditional folk—were on the right has made it the domain of unreason. The election of Mr Trump sealed that. As an irreligious sometime pro-choice proponent of gun control, he was an implausible Republican champion. Still, his supporters backed him because, in their guts, where intuitive choices are made, they felt he was on their side, so none of that mattered.

On guns and much else, this suggests, Republican leaders have been directing the views of their supporters much less than they thought. They, and their NRA auxiliaries, could not have turned Republican voters on to gun ownership so dramatically had the issue not spoken to their pre-existing fears and fantasies. And much good has such pandering done the leaders. It has given them Mr Trump for a boss and a civil war, between populists and true conservatives, upon which their party could founder. It has also left them, in the wake of America’s worst civilian massacre in a century, with nothing to say.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:59 PM   #2
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Spot-on.

The Trumpistas and NRA sock puppets who view themselves as "alphas" are really just bed wetters who are afraid of their own shadows.

That's why it's so easy for authoritarians and demagogues like Dotard Don to stampede the herd via xenophobia and by invoking just the right boogeyman.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:07 PM   #3
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The Onion is right, it just missed a key extra sentence.

"No Way To Prevent This [without trampling all over the rights that defined this nation. In actuality, we could prevent almost all mass shootings by placing every individual in their own cage to ensure they don't hurt others but that wouldn't be ethical or right.]"
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:12 PM   #4
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^

Case in point.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:32 PM   #5
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A forthcoming book by the political scientists Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood, “Enchanted America”, offers an alternative explanation. It argues that people who believe guns make America safer, among other fallacies, display a strain of superstition that has always existed in American politics, on the right and the left, but which in recent decades has concentrated on the right, and now threatens to subsume it. Its proponents, who the authors call “intuitionists”, understand the world on the basis of feelings and gut instinct, not doctrine or empirical facts, even when confronted with them. “Much of what looks like an ideological gap in this country”, the authors write, “is due more to the power of these innate intuitions than abstract principles or values.”

Imagine if the lefts “intuitionists” like the anti-vaccinators held as much sway as the gun “intuitionists”, we would be dealing with constant outbreaks such as whooping cough, measles, and polio, in addition to increased childhood deaths because anti-vaccinators don't want big government limiting their liberty by telling them how to raise their kids in a nanny state. Thank god we have inoculated our selves, at least here in CA, against this magical thinking
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:59 PM   #6
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People need to realize that us humans are literally the most evil living creatures in our solar system. Maybe universe. We are evil and will do evil things no matter the tool we use. We Americans also live in a free country, and in a free country where people have rights, those rights can be abused. It doesn't mean you remove those rights. You certainly don't give up literally the only right you have that protects all others. Well, you can. Just don't force the rest of us to.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:59 PM   #7
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I've noticed a few things about this latest mass murder. One, nobody really cares. There's been far more outrage in the media over the sex assaults of a Hollywood producer than there was about the Las Vegas massacre. The entire government pretty much just went, "Meh." Ryan said, maybe we'll look into the bump stock thing and the media (and the people) went, yeah, whatever, so he dropped it a few days later. Everybody knows that the lobbies own the government and nothing will be done without their permission, so why get worked up over it? Let the corporations own the country. Who gives a ****?

America has pretty much become a dysfunctional society. We get used to the new normal so quickly that we spare little time for outrage. We adapt and yawn. We're outraged for about ten minutes. Then, we get over it. One guy kills 58 people and so what, the next guy will kill 75 and wound 600. There's probably some nut job out there right now saying, "I could beat that." Will we do anything to stop him? No. He can buy ten thousand rounds of ammo, but he sure as hell won't be buying two packages of Sudafed, I guarantee you that. People are dying in Puerto Rico and we're like, that has nothing to do with us. So what? They would probably have died anyway, from something. We are bombarded with outrages almost daily and have become immune to them. Frankly, I think a large part of the country is medicated, or self-medicating.

Our president is a ****ing clown show who is threatening to start WWIII. Oh well. Our government is entirely worthless and everybody knows it. In fact, Trump has become the symbol of how worthless our government has become. They shake their heads and go, "Tsk, tsk" but not one of them has the balls to do anything about anything. They couldn't come together to pass a bill to fix a busted street lamp. Our media is pathetic and journalism is dead. Last night I tried to find a story on the California fires. I found five minutes of superficial coverage before they switched to hours more of pundits yapping at each other about how outrageous Trump is or who's the latest actress Harvey fondled - info-tainment with a reality show president. We've become a laughing stock on the pages of history. America is on its last legs. But at least when we fall, everybody will be well armed.

Oh, and another thing: I just read a couple of Cut's posts and forgot to mention, a third of this nation thinks that, not only is everything great, but it's getting better every day! Can't make this **** up.


Last edited by Rohirrim; 10-12-2017 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 10-12-2017, 03:43 PM   #8
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:25 PM   #9
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So i would agree with a tax on weapon sales that go to victims of mass shootings, etc.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:29 PM   #10
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So i would agree with a tax on weapon sales that go to victims of mass shootings, etc.
How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:30 PM   #11
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How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
The military's purpose is to destroy the enemy.

Putting them on civilian law enforcement?

*REALLY* *BAD* *IDEA*.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:32 PM   #12
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How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
States have the national guard if they want. They do not need to put vehicles and troops meant for war, onto American streets.

I already think we live in a police and surveillance state.

Troops on the streets.... doesnt fly with me.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by W*GS View Post
The military's purpose is to destroy the enemy.

Putting them on civilian law enforcement?

*REALLY* *BAD* *IDEA*.
And one that shows he doesn't know squat about the Constitution.
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:34 PM   #14
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How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
Or, you could take the trillions we have been flushing down overseas ****holes (for absolutely no benefit) for decades and start investing in our own American communities - creating jobs, improving infrastructure, schools, parks, etc etc etc

Why, in no time at all, the gun violence would drop precipitously! But of course, if you would rather have armed soldiers in humvees and tanks rolling through the streets of our inner cities...
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:37 PM   #15
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Or, you could take the trillions we have been flushing down overseas ****holes (for absolutely no benefit) for decades and start investing in our own American communities - creating jobs, improving infrastructure, schools, parks, etc etc etc

Why, in no time at all, the gun violence would drop precipitously! But of course, if you would rather have armed soldiers in humvees and tanks rolling through the streets of our inner cities...
I agree with this.

We could help cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago if we didnt spend the last 20 give or take in the Middle East.

We need to leave now.

Like tomorrow.

We dumped 1 trillion into Afghanistan alone to prop up child molesters.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
Or, you could take the trillions we have been flushing down overseas ****holes (for absolutely no benefit) for decades and start investing in our own American communities - creating jobs, improving infrastructure, schools, parks, etc etc etc

Why, in no time at all, the gun violence would drop precipitously! But of course, if you would rather have armed soldiers in humvees and tanks rolling through the streets of our inner cities...
Whatever it takes to do something. We give more of a **** about other countries and regine change than the virtual warzones in our own backyards
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:07 PM   #17
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How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
are you suggesting martial law? because it sounds like you are suggesting martial law.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:29 PM   #18
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are you suggesting martial law? because it sounds like you are suggesting martial law.
In a city where hundreds of people are shot per year I don't think having the guard there to protect the innocent is such a bad idea. Not talking curfews or anything here. Life goes on as normal
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:33 PM   #19
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In a city where hundreds of people are shot per year I don't think having the guard there to protect the innocent is such a bad idea. Not talking curfews or anything here. Life goes on as normal
So you want to transfer the problem we already now have with the relationship between minority communities and the police to a new one involving federal troops armed with advanced weaponry vs those same communities. If you want to see what a real domestic insurgency employing terrorism looks like on a scale far beyond anything you've dreamed of, this would be the perfect way to accomplish it.

All because you people need to have unfettered access to as many killing machines as possible.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:55 PM   #20
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I've noticed a few things about this latest mass murder. One, nobody really cares. There's been far more outrage in the media over the sex assaults of a Hollywood producer than there was about the Las Vegas massacre. The entire government pretty much just went, "Meh." Ryan said, maybe we'll look into the bump stock thing and the media (and the people) went, yeah, whatever, so he dropped it a few days later. Everybody knows that the lobbies own the government and nothing will be done without their permission, so why get worked up over it? Let the corporations own the country. Who gives a ****?

America has pretty much become a dysfunctional society. We get used to the new normal so quickly that we spare little time for outrage. We adapt and yawn. We're outraged for about ten minutes. Then, we get over it. One guy kills 58 people and so what, the next guy will kill 75 and wound 600. There's probably some nut job out there right now saying, "I could beat that." Will we do anything to stop him? No. He can buy ten thousand rounds of ammo, but he sure as hell won't be buying two packages of Sudafed, I guarantee you that. People are dying in Puerto Rico and we're like, that has nothing to do with us. So what? They would probably have died anyway, from something. We are bombarded with outrages almost daily and have become immune to them. Frankly, I think a large part of the country is medicated, or self-medicating.

Our president is a ****ing clown show who is threatening to start WWIII. Oh well. Our government is entirely worthless and everybody knows it. In fact, Trump has become the symbol of how worthless our government has become. They shake their heads and go, "Tsk, tsk" but not one of them has the balls to do anything about anything. They couldn't come together to pass a bill to fix a busted street lamp. Our media is pathetic and journalism is dead. Last night I tried to find a story on the California fires. I found five minutes of superficial coverage before they switched to hours more of pundits yapping at each other about how outrageous Trump is or who's the latest actress Harvey fondled - info-tainment with a reality show president. We've become a laughing stock on the pages of history. America is on its last legs. But at least when we fall, everybody will be well armed.

Oh, and another thing: I just read a couple of Cut's posts and forgot to mention, a third of this nation thinks that, not only is everything great, but it's getting better every day! Can't make this **** up.

It really is hard to see how all of this isn't going to end poorly. And really it's not just here. The whole world seems to be falling apart. It makes me glad that I've never had children.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:32 AM   #21
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Wow people are really fired up about my troops in Chicago comment lol. More pissed off at the prospect of our troops helping a city in gun violence crisis than the actual gun violence itself. Oh that's because the gun violence is committed with mostly every day handguns so there goes your AR 15 narrative
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:53 AM   #22
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How about we take our troops out of the middle east put em on the streets of Chicago, DC, Baltimore, LA, etc to stop gang violence. We already pay taxes for them anyway and it would impact much more gun violence victims than the extremely rare "real" mass shooting.
So you want to declare martial law in those cities. Wow. What a sane and logical alternative to, you know, common sense gun laws.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:55 AM   #23
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People need to realize that us humans are literally the most evil living creatures in our solar system. Maybe universe
Thank you. You made the point of the cartoon nicely.

This insane view of humanity you have really explains Americans view that everyone needs to be armed st all times.
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:25 AM   #24
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So you want to declare martial law in those cities. Wow. What a sane and logical alternative to, you know, common sense gun laws.
What common sense gun laws are going to save gun control heaven Chicago? You guys are taking my national guard comment way too seriously and running with it. I just threw it out for the **** of it cause I really can't think of what would help places like Chicago. You can't "jobs" the gangs out of a city
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:27 AM   #25
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Thank you. You made the point of the cartoon nicely.

This insane view of humanity you have really explains Americans view that everyone needs to be armed st all times.
What? Did you finish reading the rest of the post or grow a boner the second you saw the word evil and hit the reply button? What I'm saying is not wrong. Name another creature that kills hundreds of its own species for the **** of it then blasts itself to not deal with the consequences. Hello? We are evil. We are going to do evil things and have been doing evil things long before guns existed. We're the problem, not guns. And until you ban humans this **** will always happen in a free country
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