In the discussion thread: How would you feel about a tax on gun & bullet sales to de-cool guns? [View all]
Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)
Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:18 PM
rrneck (17,671 posts)
13. I like the idea of making guns less popular.
Their popularity is a function of any number of things. Part of it is just plain old consumerism. Americans are never satisfied with the stuff they've got. They always want more stuff, better stuff, more complicated stuff, and more accessories for their stuff. I remember when "saturday night specials" were the evil gun du jour. Now everybody's got a five hundred dollar Glock. Then it was "assault weapons". Now we're up to our ass in black rifles. Taxing stuff in an effort to make people not want it just pisses off consumers. They're like teenagers. Tell them they can't have something and it will be the coolest thing in the world.
Beneath plain old consumerism is the American need to fight. I don't mean bar room fighting. I mean the underlying attitude that every day existence in this country is a fight. Why do you think the phrase "war on ______" is so popular? People identify with the concept of fighting to get what they need. Ultimately, every fight is symbolized by a gun. After forty years of dismantling the social safety net and bankrupting the middle class, people on both sides of the political aisle are thinking in terms of fighting in one form or another.
Teabaggers aren't the only ones buying guns. After eight years of those warmongering fascists Democrats are understandably nervous. Guns are unpopular on the left, but don't think for a minute liberals aren't buying the shit out of them. "Political gridlock" and "income disparity" are in danger of becoming balkanization and the kind of class warfare that means more than just occupying public parks. It's on people's minds, and they are buying guns because of it. I doubt it will come to full scale social upheaval, but that won't keep people from buying guns.
You can't tax or regulate cultural change in any meaningful way. If you want to change people's attitudes about something, inspire them to think differently. Inspire them to believe that life isn't a fight, but an adventure. Government can create the context for that inspiration. But it cannot provide it. The inspiration has to come from the arts, and yeah, religion if that's your thing.
Real cultural change doesn't happen by fiat, but by desire.
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