My first words to Dave Rubin were: “So you bought a gun?”
“Yeah, I did,” replied Dave slowly, contemplatively, before pausing. In the pregnant pause I thought, as I always do in the first syllables of these encounters with well-known people I have often listened to, but have never spoken to: weird, I’d know that voice in the dark.
Dave Rubin, if you haven’t come across him, has a popular podcast called “The Rubin Report,” and is often a guest on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and on many other cable TV popular shows. He was once loudly politically progressive, but has since, thanks to honest investigation, moved to the middle on most issues. He now describes himself as “classically liberal,” a label often used to define a belief system predicated on the basic tenets of individual liberty, as once espoused by the English philosopher John Stewart Mill in his very readable mid-19th century tome On Liberty.
Naturally, these individual liberties must include the right to keep and bear arms, as a person’s liberty cannot be protected if they can’t defend their own life. This, says Rubin, is something he has always understood. And, though he didn’t say so when we spoke, perhaps this seed of underlying truth in his belief system is part of what allowed him to grow intellectually.
Whatever the case, Rubin hasn’t been secretive about his decision to buy a gun for self-defense; actually, he has been brazen about this big step. He announced, via a video posted on YouTube, that he is now the proud owner of a semi-automatic pistol. He is so straightforward about it, in fact, that in this video he actually apologizes for posting a photo of himself with a gun on Instagram, as he, as untrained new gun owners often will, was shown holding the gun with his finger on the trigger. He was soon corrected by friends who own guns, and admitted he has a lot to learn—starting with the NRA Gun Safety Rules. He said he would soon get the proper training.
This development, of course, makes him just one of millions of Americans who have become new gun owners this year. And, as an openly gay southern Californian, he doesn’t fit the mainstream media’s stereotype of the “typical gun owner.”
A1F: So you bought a gun? Dave Rubin: Yes, I did. I have always been a supporter of the individual right to keep and bear arms, but, at 44 years old, this is my first gun. I am excited to learn to shoot. It is good to know I can defend myself until help arrives. It is an empowering feeling. Strange and new, of course, but also a connection somehow to something very quintessentially American—something the rest of the world is envious of or should be.
A1F: How long did it take you to get the gun? Dave Rubin: About 14 days. California has a mandatory waiting period. I am glad I didn’t need it sooner. I think a lot of people who have had problems with Second Amendment rights, but who are now waking up to reality, are finding out just how hard it is to legally use this right in California.
A1F: Did you also buy a safe? Dave Rubin: Yes, I did. I am also learning about safe gun storage.
A1F: How are you seeking training? Dave Rubin: Friends will take me to a local range next week. I am starting to learn there are a lot of resources out there. I wish the media would tell more people about what really constitutes gun safety.
A1F: How has the reaction been? Dave Rubin: Wonderful, really. West Hollywood, which is maybe the gayest place on earth, hasn’t been spared. It’s scary out there. Now a lot of my lifelong liberal friends are buying guns or talking about buying guns. We can’t all have security details.
A1F: Do you sense this will affect the politics of new gun owners? Dave Rubin: It has to affect how people think and vote. When you realize you need this right, you are then likely to become suspicious of someone who is telling you they want to take the Second Amendment away, as Joe Biden is now doing in very explicit ways on his campaign website and with his weird quotes. Biden clearly doesn’t trust the average American with his or her freedom. The left used to appreciate our individual rights. When I realized they don’t anymore, I also realized they left me.
A1F: Tell us about your best-seller: Don’t Burn This Book. Dave Rubin: The original title of this book was Why I Left the Left. But I decided that wasn’t the book I wanted to write. You don’t need me to go on for 250 pages about how the left has completely lost its mind. You already know this—at least on an intellectual level—and you can probably appreciate why I, a former lifelong lefty, have changed my allegiance. This is because the left is now regressive, not progressive. It has replaced the battle of ideas with a battle of feelings, while trading honesty with outrage.
So, instead of retracing why I left the left, what many need is a book about how to leave the left—and where to go next. Part of this adventure, for me, has been buying a gun and learning to shoot.