The Great Corporate Distraction

Here’s an essay on the fake gun debate – the myth that the government is trying to ban them. That myth is the Great Corporate Distraction, and the gun lobby – the NRA – is trying desperately to get people worked up into believing it.

If you’ve ever wondered what the economics behind this debate is – and the socio-economic background of it is, read on.

2nd Amendment: An Historical Perspective

The anachronistic second amendment, which calls for a well regulated armed militia  took shape as a  compromise worked out by James Madison. It was designed as a way of preventing the U.S. from raising a standing army and embroiling itself in world conflicts. Poor Mr. Madison would be rolling over in his grave to observe what the U.S. military has become today.

The Southern states were clamoring for the Amendment as a means of policing their slaves and protecting the white plantation owners against uprisings by a population of slaves that outnumbered them.

Back then, the average citizen didn’t care to own a gun; they didn’t want the responsibility and the burden of owning a firearm. In fact, even when  states like Massachusetts gave guns away to implement the militias, it still didn’t catch on, and the militias died out.

The real catalyst for the explosion of gun ownership in the United States was the Civil War, when, after the war, embittered Southern insurrectionists refused to put down their guns. That same dynamic carries over to the present day. For instance, recent presidential elections show that today’s red states are yesterday’s slave states.


The Cultural Legacy of the Civil War

What’s going on here? Like an adult who never outgrew his adolescent rebellion, America has never psychotically healed from the scars and divisions of the Civil War.

While we must be mindful of the danger of overgeneralization, red states can sometimes display a remarkably Confederate pattern.  Those who embody the extremes of this mindset might be characterized as follows:

Suspicious of Federal government, they clamor for “individual rights,” – which often manifests as narrow self interest and intolerance toward those who are different. The role of a larger society in which we can pool our resources for the greater good doesn’t interest them. In fact, it angers them to think that they should have to participate in the greater effort of helping one another out.

It can seem ironic that they may also endorse the notion of  a government that acts as an oppressive force, spreading an agenda of control and intolerance domestically and internationally via militarized police action,  a bloated military, activist courts and intolerance of the rights of women, gays and undocumented workers.

Guns and Economics

How do guns figure into this?

Guns play an integral part in the post Civil War mindset. They function as a symbol of narrow self interest, and oppression of the weak.  You may recall that they were used to keep blacks from voting, an agenda that continues to this day, although the weapon of choice is now legislative corruption at the state level – how Civil War!

Guns serve as the symbol of the macho individualist, that mythical self-made man who is an island to himself, like the rugged Marlboro Man who was duped by Big Tobacco into smoking himself into cancer.

That rugged cowboy fairy tale serves a vital economic purpose: it effectively lures the average citizen away from reality, lulling them into a false sense of comfort.

The average but gullible folk who buy into the myth that the Second Amendment was formed to help us protect the “individual” from “tyranny” (Federal government vs. “state’s rights”) are easily influenced and controlled. Anyone who stockpiles weapons is quite easily put down in an increasingly a militarized police state, and hardly represents a threat to tyranny.

Meanwhile, corporate-funded interest groups across the country – pro business organizations, “think tanks” that are really lobbies, the so-called “Tea Party,” and corporate media – have over the course of several decades since the time of Justice Lewis Powell, managed to quietly subvert democracy through a series of rulings and legislative proposals that impart “personhood” to corporations instead of citizens,  culminating in the  ironically named “Citizens United” ruling.

Bread and Circuses

Give people something to vehemently believe in and you can turn their attention from the erosion of their civil, social, intellectual and economic rights by an elite few. Give them gut ideological issues to opine about – like guns, patriotic wars, and abortion, and you can rob them right under their own noses. Not only won’t they be the wiser, but they will even defend you. and vote against their own interests.

It’s no coincidence that the political dynamic is so polarized today. Certain economic interests understood the psychological legacy of the Civil War and decided to use this cultural divide as a means to divide and conquer. They have succeeded so well that the U.S. is today the most militarized nation in history, with the greatest degree of wealth and income disparity in its history.

The Truth About Guns

The truth about guns is that no political entity is attempting to ban them, and they do not make us safer. Statistics clearly show that they make us less safe. As such, it makes no sense to neglect to regulate them as we do every other product.

This has nothing to do with the anachronistic 2nd amendment, and the state militias were long ago supplanted by the largest military force in world history. It has everything to to with common sense in a civil society, democracy, economics and social equity. Considered in proper context, the issue of gun control is a false debate.

Once again, a disclaimer that this blog isn’t about politics and upholds no partisan views. It’s about economics as embodied in the slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid!”