Abortion, marriage, guns, and inconsistency

January 15th, 2013  |  Published in Social justice

Pro-choice, pro-choice, anti-choice: abortion, marriage equality, and gun ownership respectively – unequivocal, straightforward and, yes, inconsistent. I’m not trying to convert anyone, and I’m not about to change my views, but I do find myself prodding the pro-pro-anti muddle with the urge to tidy it up.

The thing is, I want people to be free to make their own informed choices about abortion, marriage, and many other things, but would happily ban gun ownership – informed, responsible, entitled, whatever. Guns erode community safety in a way other individual freedoms do not; and in that contest – community safety versus individual freedom – safety gets my vote.

Oscar Wilde described consistency as the last refuge of the unimaginative, so perhaps I could embrace inconsistency. But, if inconsistency blurs, as it can, into hypocrisy, the result might be imaginative, but also morally compromised. How would I/anyone hold our heads up then?

Angst aside, my pro-pro-anti positions hold: In particular, GUNS ARE BAD (to misquote South Park). If my neighbours carry guns, I feel unsafe. If I carry a gun, my neighbours feel unsafe. As more and more people carry guns, fear breeds fear, driving a retreat into fundamentalism (with its allure of comforting certainty).

Fundamentalism holds no appeal as a solution for inconsistency, and I’m not ready for acceptance. Nor am I comforted by reading Australia’s “Guns policy saving lives” (click here). There are more guns, it seems, since Howard’s 1997 buyback, but that’s okay, apparently, because there are more people, and we’re providing such a good example for the Americans. No one knows who owns how many guns. Never mind; if we implement a national firearms register we can “help to ensure that Australian firearms do not fall into the wrong hands.” Really! Whose hands are the right ones to hold a gun?

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2 comments on “Abortion, marriage, guns, and inconsistency”

  1. joanbeckwith says:

    Exactly. It doesn’t make sense to me either, or probably a lot of people I know, but it’s still an idea with a lot of power (or, at least, the people who hold the idea also hold a lot of power).

  2. Arden says:

    Yeah, I don’t know, the idea that gun ownership should be a right doesn’t make sense to me at all. How is it a right to be able to effortlessly maim and kill? It’s not like they have any other function. It’s illegal to privately own a million things that kill, I don’t see why guns should be special.

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