the nra, their propaganda, and the merging of state and corporate powers
Thomas Paine once wrote:
“That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.”
To highlight reality in the context of today, this quote could be adjusted as:
“That there are men in this country who get their living by the symbols of patriotism, and by keeping up the quarrels between differing cultures, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of this country, make it their study to sow discord and cultivate prejudices between citizens, it becomes the more unpardonable.”
In the great context of the guiding spirit of our nation, the federal government is an instrument that is, in theory, designed and empowered to serve and protect the natural rights of its citizenry. It is the opinion of Liberal Gun Owners that the federal and state governments are bound-in-spirit to this service. These entities are ostensibly bound to serve; not as gods, kings, and rulers, but as stewards, facilitators, and peers. The federal government is bound to achieve their duties while maintaining, at most, a minimal dose of intrusion. As of the drafting of the 14th Amendment, the individual states have been tempered. They too are also bound to the same spirit of duty, but are still given a slight edge as it relates to empowerment. Of course, within this theoretical construct, throughout our history, there are many ways in which the federal and state entities have failed their duties - through either over-acting or under-acting.
Confusingly mixed within the range of these failures is an essential threshold of which this country has been forewarned. There exists a threshold where the involvement between state and corporate powers becomes excessively interwoven. It is the scenario where the two power structures become enmeshed to the point where it is no longer adequately possible to distinguish one from the other - at least to the educated eye. It is the point where the entanglement acts, mostly in a covert manner, to skew events in a way that is most beneficial to the entanglement itself. It is the critical point at which, truly, the governmental powers can no longer adequately fulfill their duty as protectors of natural rights. It is also the critical point at which an enmeshed organization, who claims to be principled, can no longer maintain honesty in that claim. In a society now rife with state-corporate impropriety, we recognize the realities of being involved with the gun industry. Liberal Gun Owners recognizes that their are far more egregious examples of state-corporate impropriety. However, into our most critical example of toxic, corporate-state fusions, we place the special trio of the government of the United States Of America, the firearms industry, and The National Rifle Association.
As an aside, the concept of morality is not something that LGO wishes to concede to the puritanical definition wielded by examples in modern religion. Reasonably, morality defines the fair treatment of humans, by humans. It needs no other complexity. The current, extensive state-corporate imbroglio is an immoral beast. While there are indeed companies or organizations that attempt to bring morality or principles into their operations, they pale in comparison to the entirety. It is our opinion that it is currently impossible for the federal government to meet its mandated role while existing in such a tight tangle with Corporate America. Reasonably, in the realm of human beings, there is no way to fully limit the influence that money has on power or law. The argument could perhaps be made that governmental duties could be met successfully at some level of entanglement which could be considered more mild. However, we feel that an effective government cannot exist once the critical state-corporate threshold has been passed. The United States of America has long since passed this threshold, and it is our opinion that it worsens daily. Whether or not it can be reversed, at all, is a matter of debate for our community. Dealing with the full effects of toxic government in America will be addressed, by Liberal Gun Owners, in a separate work.
This brings us to our viewpoint on The National Rifle Association. As organizations go, The NRA is a strong example of an organizational hypocrite. While they espouse the forthright principles woven into the intentions of The American Experiment, they simultaneously foment cultural division in our country. The NRA uses both positive and negative propaganda, in concert with other misinformation, to leverage gun owner's beliefs for the purpose of stoking conservative rabidity, achieving political victories and increasing revenues for the firearms industry. We believe that the majority of this is fully intended, of course. We also believe that, like most other organizations, parts of the NRA operational structure are just not aware enough or intelligent enough to realize what they are helping to facilitate. Additionally, no propaganda can be effective without the propaganda machine producing simultaneous, beneficial effects. The NRA can be quite beneficial. The average person will not open themselves up to being manipulated unless they are receiving some form of benefit. In addition, the average person will often remain closed to manipulation unless the manipulating organization skillfully uses the symbols and cultural affirmations of the targeted culture. Ultimately, it is the opinion of Liberal Gun Owners that there is no scheme on planet Earth that is more effective than the strategy which uses a person's most fundamental interests, and their strongest fundamental beliefs as leverage to sell them on exaggerated claims, falsehoods, and extreme thought. The NRA thoroughly employs this strategy, and they are able to do so by using the symbols of American patriotism and foundational American principles. Its faults nicely ensconced behind the colors of our country.
Specifically, instead of The NRA using its claim as a principled organization to engage in proper journalism and reporting, it engages in the production of informational tripe - presenting information that is poorly researched and a paltry mirroring of easily gathered stereotypes and memes. Prominent video releases, by NRATV, have been strong examples of this divisive and inflammatory content, designed to appeal to its base. Again, this is a base which is adequately comprised of people whose cultural identification with patriotic symbols makes them supremely susceptible to manipulations of perception which use the same symbols. Liberal Gun Owners is in full agreement that the anti-firearms sentiment amongst the left is unfortunate. We do not support the conclusion that the sentiment is culture-wide. We also do not support the conclusions that the potential violence to be propagated by leftists groups like Anti-Fa are anywhere near the level that is forecasted in NRA propaganda.
Liberal Gun Owners marks The National Rifle Association as blatant propagandists. We also mark them as shills for the corporate interests of the firearms industry. We also mark the firearms industry itself as complicit propagandists for their lack of discernment and action as it relates to The NRA's ridiculous efforts. Ultimately, The NRA advertises itself as a paragon of American purity, while simultaneously denying their role, (vis-a-vis the firearms industry) in the quintessential anti-American mechanism: the state-corporate merger.
We are fully aware of the shadow side of our own culture. We have been in the unique position of dealing with it for the past 10 years. There is ignorance on our side. There is impropriety. There is manipulation of information. There are ridiculous claims. There are small groups of misguided, immature revolutionaries who create damage. There is greed. Liberal Gun Owners is not denying any of this. We have removed our share of immature liberals and leftists from our own community, and we have had to break away from liberal-culture-at-large in order to enjoy ourselves and to be better people. We acknowledge our own shadow, and we work diligently against its effects. However, the anti-firearms boogeyman is nowhere near the level that it is portrayed in the reporting of conservative culture. For the most part, guns are not important to liberals. They don't consider them in their daily lives. There's more apathy than aversion. That's the appropriate valuation of the liberal majority. As such, it is here where we make the statement to conservatives that they are, indeed, being manipulated. The shadow of the left is nowhere near the level that it is portrayed on NRATV or anywhere else. Is there egregious, unacceptable behavior on the left? There is indeed. But it is no more prevalent than the shadowy conduct on the right.
It is an unfortunate era when we must finally conclude that the NRA has used the past 50 years to morph itself from a helpful, educational organization into a toxic political behemoth. A behemoth who claims to be principled but chooses its path based on the shadows and echoes of a propagandized conservative culture - a culture that The NRA itself is helping to craft. Liberal Gun Owners concludes that The National Rifle Association combines both a false image of principle and a track record of being somewhat beneficial to compose a front for what they really are: a toxic behemoth that purposefully stokes the tensions between liberals and conservatives in its efforts to gain a stronger political position and more annual sales for its masters.
We realize the paradox in which we have awakened. To be sure, we understand the apparent hypocrisy that we shoulder. We love firearms, and those firearms are produced by an industry that strongly contributes to the state-corporate merger, and that turns its head to the propaganda efforts involved in increasing the current division in our country. We love firearms, and those firearms are inextricably linked to the existence of The National Rifle Association, of whom we disapprove.
Liberal Gun Owners will do everything in its power to not fully remain in this hypocrisy. It is our opinion that as a small organization, LGO has no real chance of truly impacting the firearms industry at-large. However, we can and will make efforts to support our own members in their firearms-related endeavors. In the future, Liberal Gun Owners will be entering the market with our own endeavors. We have accepted that we will never be fully able to shed our hypocrisy. We can, however, make a commitment to reducing it. Even if we create products and offer services at the cottage level, we see that as an honorable choice, and one of the few things that we can engage in to combat the behemoth.