Home > civil liberties, law, philosophy > Gun Control Paradigm Shift

Gun Control Paradigm Shift

Matt Zwolinski offers his reaction to Adam Winkler’s account of the Black Panthers opposing gun control in the late 1960s and how it ties to bleeding heart libertarianism:

For me, this article provides a dramatic illustration of a fundamental theme of bleeding heart libertarianism: the special importance of liberty for oppressed and marginalized groups.  Today, we see opposition to gun control as a primarily white, male, Republican issue.  But it was exactly that white, male, Republican group that was the most vociferous in supporting gun control when the people carrying the guns were young, black, militant men and women.  The suppression of liberty in the case of guns – much like the suppression of liberty in the case of drugs – was largely motivated by racist fears about the abuse of that liberty by the “other.”  And even if the suppression of liberty is perfectly general in form, it is almost always the marginalized “other” who suffers most by its loss.

Very interesting to see just how far the pendulum has swung in the past few decades.  I strongly suggest reading the entire Winkler article in The Atlantic, “The Secret History of Guns,” as well as Matt’s entire reaction piece over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

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