It is perhaps no accident that the first example Dictionary.com uses under its definition of “culture war” is “a culture war over the right to own a gun.”
This example is the result of a deep narrative that has been meticulously, and dishonestly, established by gun-control advocates who know that treating the Second Amendment as a fungible thing caught in the throes of a culture war can lead people to conclude that a compromise between warring sides must be found. And compromising a constitutional right is an incremental type of trap that would erode any civil liberty into dust.
For this reason I have disagreed in this column before that this is an actual culture war.
That declaration is just too convenient for gun-control groups; also, it is more accurate to say this is a struggle between elites—many of whom have armed security—and a gigantic swath of the general public.
To substantiate this second point, I would point out that today’s anti-Second Amendment elites control mainstream-media outlets, many academic institutions, much of Hollywood and more. Still, as they’re a small, mostly well-heeled and protected class of people, these elites have never been able to create large membership associations to support their gun-control positions. (Who wants to join an anti-American-freedom association anyway?)
Meanwhile, on the other side, there are well over 100 million American gun owners. These gun owners fit into every demographic pollsters can separate us into, and millions of these citizens are members of the NRA.
To speak in terms an academic in a liberal arts department can understand, this is almost a bourgeoisie versus the proletariat situation. In this case, the bourgeoisie are the gun-control elites and the proletariat are, as in the French usage, the working class. But I did say “almost,” as again, gun owners fit into every demographic, socio-economic and otherwise.
Still, I must admit that, in certain contexts, an elites versus a dominant percentage of the population scenario can be called a culture war; after all, Dictionary.com does define “culture war” as: “[A] conflict or struggle for dominance between groups within a society or between societies, arising from their differing beliefs, practices, etc.” And this can be categorized as a disagreement between two groups “arising from their differing beliefs,” but, again, the gun-owning segment of America is so diverse it feels dishonest to call them a group—though many gun-control advocates like to claim most gun owners are white, middle-aged guys from the South, this simply isn’t true.
I bring this all up and try to nail it down because it is actually the swing voter who mostly gets news and opinion (I realize there is no longer much of a distinction between the presentation of these two categories) from mainstream-media outlets, on social-media platforms or from comedians on late-night television and all of these media are mostly controlled by the gun-control elites. Given this, it can feel surprising that the struggle for Second Amendment freedom has made so much progress.
But then, that’s freedom for you. With guns, people can feel freedom in their hands; even Hollywood has to give the hero a gun to defeat the villain.
Such is the struggle in this—okay, I’ll call it this even if it is deceptive—“culture war.”