The Pencil Today:

Power Politics

So many of my pals on the Left were aghast that some nearly toothless gun control measures lost in the Senate last month. How can this be? they shrieked. Ninety percent of Americans backed it!

To which I reply, So what?

I don’t care if 99.9 percent of the citizens of this holy land are screaming from the rooftops for even the most tepid law to keep artillery out of the hands of mental patients and tots. This isn’t their holy land; it’s the holy land of those who’ve successfully organized — and are backed up by an industry iron triangle. And nobody’s done a better job of organizing in the last few decades than the National Rifle Association.

As I type this, some 70,000 people are attempting to conceal their tumescence at the NRA annual convention in Houston. The gun porn racket throws itself a fap party every single year, and it’s always the biggest show in town.

CNN Photo

Image from CNN

Think: 70,000 would pack Lucas Oil Stadium to the rafters. In essense, the NRA has its own annual Super Bowl.

So I don’t care how many of us want, wish, and pray for stricter gun control laws. Until we can put together an outfit of the magnitude of the NRA, one that spends dough by the bushelsful, that thinks in lockstep with its manufacturing sponsors, and that supports enough lobbyists to populate a medium-sized city, all we’re going to be doing is wanting, wishing, and praying.

And The Enemy Is….

Whenever the subject is the NRA my thoughts turn, naturally, to my friends on the Right. The wing-nut faction of that gang feels it needs its guns not only to cuddle with at night but to protect itself from the jackbooted thugs of the Centers for Disease Control and other brutal armies. There is an enemy that the Right has night sweats about, and it’s not always brown- or black-skinned. It’s the federal government, which is code for the second coming, in the Right’s fever dreams, of Nazi Germany.


US Government Employees At Their Annual Picnic

The feds as bad guys has been an article of faith among those to the right of Bob Hope since the Days of the New Deal. There’ve been countless villains who’ve wanted to foist a crushing big government on us in those 80-plus years, according to that train of thought. The current bete noir is the “regulatory state,” which the Tea Party and other deep thinkers equate with the Gestapo.

And all this time I thought government regulations did things like keep factory managers from dumping vats of cyanide into streams. Shows what I know.

The Ayn Rand wing knows better. Here’s how journalist Thomas Frank explains it all:

The age of the giant corporation is here to stay of course, and as long as it is, big government must be on hand to curb its abuses. When the system is corrupted, as it clearly was in the case of the bailouts — and the subprime lending spree, and the West Virginia mine disaster, and the BP oil spill — the obvious answer is to clean up government so it can perform its police function properly

But that’s not how the revivified Right understands things. Instead…, they find, conveniently, that we can only cure its ills by doing away with the big government side of the equation — with the regulating and taxing and pension-giving side.

And thus our choices are spread before us. On the one hand, the small-business utopia; on the other “socialism.” One system is “capitalism,” the “American Way of Life”; it is in harmony with the rhythms of nature itself; but the other is something alien, something impure, something dishonest.

— From Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right, Picador (MacMillan), 2012

Cool! At least 70,000 people fondling barrels at this very moment down in Houston think I’m alien and impure. Thanks for the compliment!

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. dave paglis, illiterate, racist homophobe and now, dumpster diver says:

    Mike I agree the NRA was the chief reason the bill was defeated but the Jimmy Stewart side of me thinks another big reason was most people realized the reforms were largely toothless. Why not fight for something along the lines of mandatory registration and ballistics identification of every firearm manufactured. Sure, it probably won’t pass but if you are going to fight a losing battle do it over something meaningful.

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