April 13, 2008

"Cling to Guns" vs. Golf

Barack Obama's remarks to San Francisco supporters on all the various things that are the opiates of the masses in Pennsylvania reminded me that when I was about nine, just like the kid in the movie classic "Christmas Story," I relentlessly nagged my parents into getting me a BB gun. But, living in a dense suburb, there really wasn't much to do with a BB gun, so before I could put my eye out with it, I was on to nagging for other toys. Around my 13th birthday, some friends talked me into trying golf at the tiny par-3 course a few blocks away, and I was instantly infatuated.

I suspect golf took the place in my life that hunting would have filled if I had grown up differently. Golf is a suburbanized form of hunting. You wander around a landscape using a long stick to violently project a pellet into the distance. There's a big overlap in the demographic among hunters and golfers -- male and heterosexual -- but golf tends to appeal more to the fastidious white collar class who shrink at the blood in bloodsports. We like to shoot birdies, but in the metaphorical sense that golf provides. (Let me be clear -- I don't have any emotional or moral aversion toward killing animals. It's the gutting and cleaning of them after the fun part of shooting them that grosses me out.)

So, hunting has been in decline for a long time, with golf rising to replace it. (Obama, for example, is a slightly above average golfer, with a 16 handicap.) Now, golf is in decline, too, as the concept of "going outside" strikes the new generation as so Second Millennium. Why go outdoors when you can stay inside and shoot bad guys on your screen?

Still, while guys who like guns mostly like guns because they like guns, there is a functional dimension to the gun control debate that is omnipresent, but nobody wants to spell out: As I wrote in my Baby Gap article in 2004:

The endless gun-control brouhaha, which on the surface appears to be a bitter battle between liberal and conservative whites, also features a cryptic racial angle. What blue-region white liberals actually want is for the government to disarm the dangerous urban minorities that threaten their children’s safety. Red-region white conservatives, insulated by distance from the Crips and the Bloods, don’t care that white liberals’ kids are in peril. ...

White liberals, angered by white conservatives’ lack of racial solidarity with them, yet bereft of any vocabulary for expressing such a verboten concept, pretend that they need gun control to protect them from gun-crazy rural rednecks, such as the ones Michael Moore demonized in “Bowling for Columbine,” thus further enraging red-region Republicans.

Still:

In sparsely populated Republican areas, where police response times are slow and the chances of drilling an innocent bystander are slim, guns make more sense for self-defense than in the cities and suburbs.

In contrast, in Britain, where there are fierce gun control laws, rural dwellers are constantly subjected to "Clockwork Orange"-style home invasions by urban criminals who drive out from the city. In contrast, due to gun ownership and, likely, the greater effectiveness of racial profiling in America, crime rates in the exurbs and rural areas tend to be very low. When Congressman Denny Hastert suddenly became Speaker of the House, and thus second in line of succession to the Presidency, the Secret Service came out to change the locks on his house in a far suburb of Chicago so nobody could let themselves in and steal national security documents. They discovered he didn't have any locks on his house.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Golf may be a stand-in for hunting but so are video games. And despite your past postings on the subject, the most popular forms of gaming are online communicative activities requiring group coordination. Ultimately I think it's likely that males require some kind of outlet for this sort of aggressive group activity, and games and hunting are closer to the evolutionary reasons than golf is. Plus golf is boring.

Anonymous said...

Men in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan continue to hunt...see Nimrod Nation..."We like the woods"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s17lKTdRAXo

testing99 said...

Steve, I don't think you get the politics of Gun Control.

What do rich white Billionaires in San Francisco care if Pennsylvania people hunt, or have CCW? Locally they made sure that's impossible in either SF or CA as a whole. So why are they bothered by PA gun owners?

Because they want to PUNISH other whites, in concert with poor blacks. Blacks don't want gun control either, the last thing they'd want is for their militias er ... Gangs to be disarmed. That's what keeps them from being ethnically cleansed by Latino Gangs or gentrification yuppies. A few dead grannies and schoolkids are a small price to pay. They don't get guns anyway from the gun store, but from gangs that smuggle them in. The preferred gun is the Makarov. Small, cheap, and made by the millions in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, the working/middle class wants to keep their guns for more than just hunting. Rather for personal protection. Particularly in cities. Where handguns make sense and have always made sense: Smith and Wesson in the 19th Century marketed "ladies guns" precisely for that reason, protection.


"Shall Issue" has proven to be a winning issue, because handguns in the possession of properly vetted and trained people have a huge voting "market." Most states are not like CA, where political influence allows Sean Penn or Robert Black concealed weapons permits, denying them to the working mother in the convenience store.

Here the politics are quite naked. Rich white yuppies want to deny protection to the average person, while Blacks and Latinos want unarmed victims. It's quite simple.

Obama likes that coalition. Punish whites by denying them an "equalizer" and make them easy prey for Black and Latino gangs. Make the rich happy by giving them something that everyone else can't have -- security.

After all, rich and poor alike can get the same base consumer goods. If the Rich are the only ones with security, why then that's the whole point of being rich isn't it?

Born Again Democrat said...

I have never had a lock on my house.

Anonymous said...

You haven't lived until you've watched a group of dweeby Hollywood liberal guys (usually teleivison writing staffs) tour one of the big LA prop warehouses/armories and eagerly line up to fire off the array of automatic weapons on display there-- purely for research purposes, of course. The bottom line is, guns are incredibly fun, and to paraphrase the Russian newspaper the Exile, you could put an AK into John Pilger's hands and he'd probably turn into a 14-year old playing war.

So maybe the red staters should try, you know, talking to their big city liberal brethren and invite them out for some shooting? Surely the onus of cross-cultural white guy understanding isn't entirely on blue staters.

NateF said...

What about golf vs trap, skeet and sporting clays? I don't like the blood aspect of hunting either. That's a shame, in a way, since the thought of teaching my labrador to do something useful is a very appealing notion to me and probably a lot of other suburban types as well.

But, anyway, the above games combine fun hunting substitutes with the virtues of firearm use and ownership. They're kind of like mixing some of the better aspects of golf with the 4th of July. Also, can even the most serious
golfer honestly say that a stack $1000 golf clubs is somehow intrinsically cooler than a comparably priced, Italian made
Berreta
over/under shotgun?

Alex said...

Yeah, videogames might be moving in on golf. No going outside, and the average gamer age is getting older.

Videogames got big as home entertainment in the form of running through little obstacle courses but as the technology has allowed them to be about shooting that genre has dominated.

For what it's worth, golf sims have been reasonably successful but not so much hunting sims.

SFG said...

For the record, I may be a blue-state liberal, but I am pro-gun, for the entirely unscientific reason that I want one. I've also come to the conclusion that it's really not worth fighting with the ruralites over this one; they're very attached to their guns, and we have policies like universal healthcare they're more likely to take a liking to.

Most liberals see guns as the cause of violence, as it's much easier to kill people with guns, and blame the higher rate of violence in the USA vis-a-vis Europe. We also see them as resulting in school shootings like Columbine and Virginia Tech. (Though in my nastier moments I see geeks shooting jocks as an argument against gun control. Make the football team think twice about stuffing the computer club's heads in the toilet.)

Punishing rural whites...um, no. It's more contempt than real hatred, I think, but I don't move in the most rarefied Upper West Side circles so maybe I'm wrong here. Look at something like Thomas Frank's 'What's the Matter with Kansas?': he honestly feels sorry for the blue-collar guys voting against themselves. I also liked Jim Goad's 'Redneck Manifesto'.

Anonymous said...

"(Though in my nastier moments I see geeks shooting jocks as an argument against gun control. Make the football team think twice about stuffing the computer club's heads in the toilet.)"

Haha! As the saying goes, "An armed society is a polite society."

I liked anonymous's suggestion that red staters invite blue staters shooting. I was raised on a farm in the Midwest. Ironically enough I'm somewhat indifferent to hunting, but I do enjoy target shooting. I was in Las Vegas a couple months ago. While there I went to The Gun Store on Tropicana St. and fired multiple fully automatic weapons. I really enjoyed it. I've noticed since then on a travel website that tourists from gun hostile places like the UK and Australia go there to fire automatic rifles and machine guns and rave about it.
I think guys are sort of hard wired to like guns like they are other gadgets. I've also noticed in gun control debates that when talking to a gun control advocate there is usually a 50/50 chance or higher that they've never fired a gun. Gun control would be a less contentious issue in our society if city folk had a shooting buddy.

simon newman said...

Looking at it from a UK perspective, it seems to me that the main Constitutional argument for gun ownership, the maintenance of liberty, is rarely addressed in the US debates. Here in the UK guns were banned over the 20th century in government actions that were mostly illegal and certainly unconstitutional, being contrary to the 1688 Bill of Rights. This has allowed our government to become much more totalitarian and intrusive than it was 100 years ago. In much of the US, government officials are still constrained from arbitrary tyrannical action because of gun ownership - an armed society is a free society, as Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince ("First thing you do, take their weapons").

Anonymous said...

Heh, that is the pivotal scene of the first "Death Wish" movie. Out here in the country, we do things different...

There is an urban legend that movie had urban white crowds standing up and cheering, and blacks leaving the theater.

Even nice old black ladies will put in a word of defense for the latest thug on trial. It's their version of the "they're just good old boys out to have some fun" argument. When they see whites cheering for self-defense, that directly threatens their local militias, as testing99 said quite rightly.

It's the same reason that juries acquitted Bernie Goetz no matter how many times the "right thinking" prosecutor tried to railroad him. There really is some self-flagellation in the liberal mindset. Liberals like to see a white sacrifice once in a while. Unfortunately, it is human beings being offered as sacrificial calfs.

SFG said...

You could be right, actually. While the elites are much more partisan, very often the opposition's rank and file is much more reasonable. I mean, liberal talking heads might hate ruralites but your average Northeastern mom just thinks Oklahoma is boring and backward. I had one dude who wanted to take me shooting when I spent some time in the suburbs but I never took him up on it (honestly, he did kind of give me the creeps).

You can get a surprising number of liberal men to waffle on guns, actually; it's in the DNA, after all. You can also see machismo in the more extreme 'black bloc' types who chain themselves to buildings and take pride in getting arrested.

It's the suburban soccer mom types who freak out at any thought of violence.

Proofreader said...

By all means, don't let Obama's bodyguards cling to their guns!
He's probably impervious to bullets and can walk on water too.

Φ said...

It's the gutting and cleaning of them after the fun part of shooting them that grosses me out.

Don't knock it 'till you try it! Personally, I found the blood and gore of gutting a deer to be excellent preparation for watching my wife give birth.

weston said...

Most liberals see guns as the cause of violence, as it's much easier to kill people with guns, and blame the higher rate of violence in the USA vis-a-vis Europe.

Right, cuz the liberal enforced orthodoxy prevents us all from acknowledging that the real problem here in the US is diversity, not lax gun laws.

Guns don't kill people, dangerous minorities do.

So the gun control debate wholly stems from liberal stupidity.


Look at something like Thomas Frank's 'What's the Matter with Kansas?': he honestly feels sorry for the blue-collar guys voting against themselves.


This is just not true. There isn't anyone looking out for blue-collar whites. Perhaps working class whites would be better off supporting a progressive economic scheme. The problem is to get that you also have to take the gun control, feminism, and a commitment to nation-destroying multiculturalism.

It boils down to the essential bankruptcy of your entire worldview.

It's *not* only about class. It's a confusion that you share with Frank and the Magic Negro. Gun rights are about gun rights and religion is about religion, not economic disaffection. These are important issues in their own right.

Anonymous said...

My blue-state (Massachusetts) urban-dwelling, nurse girlfriend reports that 3 co-workers have acquired firearms IDs and have begun taking shooting lessons.

Gun ownership up here is dictated by your local police chief and they are much more likely to give a pistol permit to a woman.

Pincher Martin said...

The only problem with this analysis by analogy is that golf, like hunting, has also been on the decline for the last decade.

See this NY Times article for one report on this trend: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/nyregion/21golf.html?ei=5087&em=&en=9c9070c4064e72a7&ex=1203829200&pagewanted=all

TGGP said...

testing99, do blacks really oppose gun control? Even the gang members get theirs illegally, so what do they care?
According to this, African-Americans back gun control more than average.

TGGP said...

I have posted a GSS analysis of attitudes toward gun control by race here.

SFG said...

It's *not* only about class. It's a confusion that you share with Frank and the Magic Negro. Gun rights are about gun rights and religion is about religion, not economic disaffection. These are important issues in their own right.

No, I know they're separate issues. I think class is more important than either, not that they're BS issues per se. I've always felt Democrats should go easier on gun owners and religious people (letting people keep their guns and allowing prayer in schools if desired by the students, for example), but I have no way to express that in my local party structure (not that it would matter anyway in a blue state), much less at the national level, and I'm not going to vote for the capitalist-loving Republicans. We have different priorities.

It's just too bad, because I really do see a potential for an alliance that could go a lot of good for the country if we could get rid of the elites running each party. Oh well...

David Davenport said...

... Here in the UK guns were banned over the 20th century in government actions that were mostly illegal and certainly unconstitutional, being contrary to the 1688 Bill of Rights.

I've always wondered if the underlying motive for that was to disarm Irish Republicans, at least in the earlier part of the 20th century.

JUms24 said...

Your 2004 comment was exactly right, Mr. S. Blue-staters simply can't imagine anyone trusting their neighbors. It's too hard to get from the mentality of crime-ridden overcrowded areas to perceiving of life in a small town. They never get a chance to shoot; they have been taught by television from literally before they could speak that everyone with a gun who's not a cop, is a criminal. Simple as that. Thus all non-uniformed ruralites are potential criminals. Absolutely bogus logic, but it's a product of the sharp urban-rural divide.

Blue state elites have often spent more time in Europe than in flyover country. They probably feel more at home there; they've been taught by movies that Europeans are "just like us" while redstaters are banjo players with bad teeth.

Two questions: Will there be a secession? And if so, who will secede from whom? I'd love to live in a country that didn't include Hollywood, Madison Avenue, or the District of Columbia.

simon newman said...

david davenport:
"I've always wondered if the underlying motive for that was to disarm Irish Republicans, at least in the earlier part of the 20th century."

I don't think so, as I recall it was the Labour government after WW2 that did the most to ban guns, when the IRA threat was quiescent.

Incidentally Steve Sailer is mischaracterising our rural home invasions; the perpetrators are hardly ever black urbanites such as West Indian Yardies. They are usually white; often Irish Travellers such as in the Tony Martin case, often professional thieves in the case of the richer targets. Violence is relatively rare (though it may be under-reported). Personally I live in inner city London, in an area with an ethnic mix most white middle-class Americans would regard as uninhabitable. The black (and white/mixed, and Pakistani Muslim) gangs on the streets can be intimidating, but there is not the general widespread black hatred of whites that seems to be common in many US cities. I've had one home invasion in the six years I've been in this house, perp was black, I chased him off, police caught him from fingerprint and he got 3 years, concurrent with the 2 years for a previous burglary he'd been out on bail for.