Rage Bait

January 15, 2013 3:57 a.m.

This email from TPM Reader JS over-simplifies a lot and doesn’t cover a lot of people. There are obviously plenty of female gun aficionados, though it’s obviously an overwhelmingly male scene. It’s a ‘complicated issue’ as we all say about pretty much every issue. But when I read it I could not help think, ‘Yeah, you’re definitely on to something.’

I view gun control from the prism of the gender wars. It’s a last-gasp attempt by lower-income men to hold onto some shred of self-respect: at least a capacity for autonomous violence, if they are left with nothing else.

And they are being left with nothing else, since the job market is increasingly feminized on all but the highest levels, most remaining male-gendered work (except uniformed public service) is increasingly losing income and status, and patriarchy is no longer a particularly strong legal or cultural norm. This is responsible for many things: almost all bad. I call it the Scots-Irishization of lower-income white men.

The politics of this are miserable, at least in the short and medium terms. In a democracy rife with veto points, a passionate small group will preserve the status quo every time. About the only exception to this (and the only small ray of hope) was the civil rights movement of 1915-67. But that’s fifty years, folks. And that movement at least had the advantage of extreme sectionalism: there were no passionate segregationists outside the South.

I despair of rational gun control until some progress is made with this situation. And I only see it getting worse.

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