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The academic roots of the anti-gun movement.

I was driving the length of California during the summer of 1982 just as the battle lines over Proposition 15 were beginning to form. In fact I had just adorned the rear bumper of my car with the first bumper stickers to appear in this most early period of the campaign. One sticker read "Poland Has Gun Control" and the second sticker proclaimed "Vote No on the Gum Initiative." Proposition 15 was still without a number at this time and most people were unaware of the initiative. So, during my trip I was stopping from time to time to spread the word.

Needing gas at one point during my trip, I left the highway and ventured into a small city. This city is among a select group of municipalities known as college or university towns. A large public university occupies most of this particular city and nearly half of the population either works at or attends the institution.

I pulled into a self-serve gas station and filled my hungry auto with over-priced unleaded. I then approached the pay booth with travelers check in hand to settle this newly acquired debt. Seated in the booth behind a wall of glass was a young college coed. This young lady could not have been more than 19 or 20 years of age and the logo on her blouse identified her as a student.

While I was dutifully filling in the required information on the travelers check this young lady leaned forward and looked over my shoulder. She then returned to a rested posture and glared at me as if I were a naughty child. Then she barked, "You really don't believe that nonsense do you?"

Being the quick-witted orator that I am, I responded with a profound, "Huh?"

"Those bumper stickers on your car, you don't really buy that junk, do you?" she restated.

Thinking that I had an opportunity to win a convert to my side I decided to explain. "Those stickers have to do with the gun initiative that's going to be on the November ballot. It's nothing more than a elaborate hoax for taking guns away from the law-abiding citizen. Do you know anything about it?"

She leaned forward again, glared into my eyes this time and with pride stated: "I know all about it!"

"You mean you support it?" I asked.

"Absolutely!" she fired back.

"Certainly you must realize then that this initiative will do nothing to cut crime, in fact, criminals can't even be forced to comply with it. If it passes it will cost the taxpayers a fortune and eventually deprive the law-abiding citizen of his only credible means of self-defense. Surely you don't really want these things to happen, do you?" I asked.

She answered me with a voice that was becoming slow and laced with anger. "What we want is to take the guns away from those idiots that like to sleep with them next to their beds."

At this point I handed her the check, turned and left without saying another word. I felt cold and frustrated because this young college coed represented the most fundamental element behind the gun-control forces. She cared nothing about reducing crime, or the right of self-defense. She simply hated guns with the same single-minded intensity that one can find in the fanatic member of a religious cult. Her anti-gun cult mentality is, however, not rooted in the charismatic power of one individual leader but rather is programmed into her by the true source of most anti-gun sentiment, the academic community.

My experience in the self-serve gas station was, in itself, certainly not a significent event during the November 1982 campaign. However, the powers that this brainwashed young coed represented are profoundly significant and if not confronted directly, eventually could result in the banning of all firearms.

Where firearms are concerned the dominant reaction in this nation's colleges and universities is one of revulsion. The movement for oppressive gun control and outright gun bans, stemming from this nation's campuses, is generally not challenged on the campuses themselves. As if pronouncing religious dogma the academics have spoken with infallibility and little if any opposition is seriously considered. In fact, an analysis of voter trends after the November 1982 election provides evidence pointing to the academic community as the hard-rock base for the gun-control movement. The following quotes are from Californians Against The Gun Initiative (CAGI) Manager George Young as the appeared in the May/June 1983 issue of Gun Owner. "Only one income group escaped CAGI's grasp--families making over $100,000 per year," and "college students, too, were difficult to turn around."

The reason why families with incomes over $100,000 per year vote predominantly in favor of gun control is generally misunderstood. The first explanation that comes to mind is that this group is financially so well off that they can easily afford a variety of security systems and therefore have little need for guns. I am sure that there is some truth to this theory but it is not the primary reason. The primary reason is the fact that this wealthy group is also the most educated group in our culture. It is unfortunately true that the more formal education one has the greater the chance that one may become anti-gun. The social and political prejudices of liberal professors can take their toll after 4,6, or 8 years of study. This influence is as sinister as it is subtle; you don't even know it's happening--it is brainwashing at its best.

As I stated in the preceding paragragh the anti-gun message being disseminated on many of our campuses is, for the most part, a subtle message that is mixed into many subjects. The results of this message can be, however, quite overt and dramatic. The following are just a few examples that illustrate the academic influence behind anti-gun activities.

Recently the city of New Haven, connecticut enacted a law making it illegal to sell handguns in the city. A court in Connecticut, however, threw the ordinance out because Connecticut has the same type of state preemption law as California. What is so special about New Haven and why should it want such an ordinance? Because New Haven is the home of Yale University and the group that pushed for this ordinance was, in fact, a student gun control group with connections to a national gun control organization.

Madison, Wisconsin is the only city in the state of Wisconsin where it is illegal to sell or in any way transfer the ownership of a handgun. Madison is also the home of the largest and most liberal university in the state, the huge University of Wisconsin at Madison campus. THis university is so big that it dominates the entire city and it is so liberal that it has earned the nickname of "the Berkeley of the midwest." The anti-gunners in Madison are very active.

Speaking of Berkeley, let's not forget that immediately after San Francisco passed its now defunct gun ban, the city of Berkeley followed with an identical ordinance. What's in Berkeley? The oldest and most liberal campus of the University of California.

Morton Grove is not the only city in the country that now has a gun ban in effect; there is one other. Evanston, Illinois (only a couple of miles from Morton Grove) has decided to mimic its affluent and liberal neighbor by enacting an identical ordinance. What is so special about Evanston? You guessed it, it's the home of Northwestern University, another liberal academic giant of the midwest.

The anti-gun crowd is active even in places like Houston, Texas. For example, not long ago ads appeared in the student newspaper at the University of Houstong. The ads showed targets with images super-imposed within them. The images were the likes of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and, of course, a plea soliciting support for more gun control completed these ads. These tasteless ads are significant because they show the anti-gunners turning to the academic community for support.

According to the 17th edition of The College Handbook there are about 3,000 institutions of higher education in the United States. Out of all of these institutions about 450 of them or 15 percent are concentrated in only three states. The thing that makes these figures interesting is that the states in question here (New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts) are the three states that have within them the strictest and most complex gun control laws. Now, there are other states with sizeable numbers of academic institutions in them. But, because the three states mentioned above are grouped together in one relatively small area of the country, the influence of their colleges and universities is quite intense. What I'm talking about are many of the very liberal Ivy League type schools like Harvard, Princeton, Rugers, etc. These institutions are the core of the liberal eastern intellectual establishment that you hear so much about and their position on the gun issue is definitely not pro-gun.

At this point, perhaps, the most pertinent question presents itself. Why is the dominant opinion in academia cornerning the private ownership of firearms so staunchly anti-gun? The answer to this question is not complex, but first must be addressed from an historical context because the very origins of the university concept itself, predetermined that the bulk of today's academics would be anti-gun.

The university, as we know it today, had its origins in medieval Europe. Certainly it is true that the roots of today's university can be traced back even beyond classical times, but the structure and mentality of the university in modern American can best be understodd by tracing its evolution back to those centuries just preceding the Renaissance period.

Medieval Europe was a time of very clear class distinctions and virtually no upward mobility. The continent was divided into countries ruled over by kings with absolute power. Even countries were subdivided into areas governed by feudal lords and they too ruled with absolute autonomy over their domains. The church also had a great deal of power and often this power was greater than that of kings. So what we see at this time is an upper ruling class composed of kings, nobleman and the clergy. Over whom did they rule? They ruled over everybody else--the peasants. To be the average citizen at this time in history usually meant being poor, having no civil rights and no hope that either you or your children or your grandchildren would ever live a better life.

If you were a member of the ruling class, then your future and that of your descendants looked pretty good, that is unless your neighboring king or feudal lord decided to wage war on you; then you could have lost your head. Otherwise things looked rosy.

Academia in medieval Europe was not set up to teach someone a profession nor to provide upward economic mobility and certainly not to elevate social status. Academic institutions at this time were solely the prerogative of the ruling classes and the purpose was to nurture the intellectual development of an elite class of human beings. This word, elite, is important and I suggest that you make a special note of it, because the attitude that it represents is still very much with us today and is what this article is really all about.

The attitude of the common man or peasant towards this academic elite understandably became one of both contempt and envy. Contempt because academia represented his oppressors, and envy because being able to enter a university meant becoming a member of the elite.

Now let's move ahead a few hundred years to the colonization of the New World (America). The people that settled the New World were seeking to free themselves from the political, economic and religious tyranny of the European ruling class. As a result of this flight, the ruling class was for the most part left behind and America became a land of peasants. However, no sooner had America been formed than its new citizens began to build colleges and universities. This was because Americans still maintained their European love-hate attitude towards academia. These early Americans believed that they could resolve this love-hate dilemma by creating institutions of their own that would provide upward mobility for a greater segment of the population. Since a new political system that gave power to the people through representative government was now in effect the threat of perpetuating an oppressive elite was lessened.

For most of America's history this system has worked. For without a European-type aristocracy to influence and a ballot box to block their natural tendencies at social and economic engineering, the elitists amon gour academics have been, to large degree, held in check. Being locked in their ivory towers these elitists have only grown in their contempt for the common man that they now served. Seeing themselves as surrounded in hostile communities these progessive thinkers naturally have felt the need to separate and elevate themselves as much as possible from the attitudes and beliefs of the general population.

In other words, whatever position Mr. Joe Average Citizen takes on a specific topic, the true academic elitist must take an opposite position. The logic is simple; Mr. Joe Average Citizen is, in the eyes of the elitist, the possessor of an inferior and clouded mentality and since the elitist is mentally superior and enlightened, the truth must therefore always be the opposite of what Mr. Joe Average Citizen thinks. This, by the way, is also the best way that I have come up with to describe a liberal.

I have seen this attitude displayed many times by professors on different university faculties. For example, a colleague of mine had been denied tenure and was also having difficulty in securing another academic position. Out of necessity he had begin seeking employment outside of academia. According to him the thought of taking an ordinary job and working side-by-side with the common man was a very depressing thought, indeed. At the last minute he did find another teaching post and to borrow a phrase from some fundamentalist friends of mine, he displayed an ecstasy similar to that of being "born again."

Throughout most of American history our academic elitists have tried to be as influential as they could and have created as many counter culture disciples as possible. But, until recent history their efforts have also been limited by another factor--cost. Even though one's nobility was no longer a concern, few Americans could afford the cost of higher education. So, for the common man his dream of upward mobility was refocused, he would work and save so that his children could go to college. Few Americans realize the extraordinary degree to which this dream for their children has been fulfilled. Also, few Americans recognize that the realization of this dream has, at the same time, given the academic elitists an amount of power and influence far greater than even the elitists themselves ever hoped for.

Shortly after World War II this country went on a public college and university building binge. During the 1950s and 1960s campuses were springing up almost as often as McDonald's and Burger King hamburger stands do today. In many areas of the country attending college after high school has become the rule rather than the exception. When you add the G.I. Bill, a greater number of scholarships and grants, various types of state and federal student loans and the lower cost of taxpayer supported public higher education, you can see how the cost barrier was broken.

One of the most, if not the most, significant effects of this higher educational explosion has been the inflation of entry level qualifications for many professions and occupations. Jobs that once required only a high school diploma now demand a bachelors degree. In some fields now only advanced degrees are seriously considered when a few decades ago some college was deemed an advantage. Now, all of those major professions, social institutions and government bureaucracies that form and rule over our society are completely dominated by the highly educated. The liberal academic elitists have had more than ample opportunity to train and spread their disciples everywhere!

In the 1950s, our public grammar schools and high schools were the first to feel the impact of the academic elitists. A growing number of new teachers and administrators began to steer the purpose of our schools away from the basic skills needed to function in society and embarked upon their quest of remaking society with a decidedly liberal bias. Today the elitists own our public education system and the results of at least three decades of this dominance are only now becoming known. Far too many of today's public schools graduates can barely read and have little or no knowledge of history, math or the sciences. But more importantly their lives are rooted in a system of values that are nearly the exact opposite of their parents and the ones that this republic was built on. When the subject of firearms, hunting or self-defense is raised, I assure you that the promoters of this social engineering have little to say, to our children, about today's gun owner that is particularly complimentary.

The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest organization representing this country's professional educators. Since the majority of this nation's public school teachers are members, the NEA easily qualifies as one of America's largest unions. The NEA is also one of the most powerful elements in the academic elitist's camp, because this Association has taken stands on many political, social and economic issues. Education is only one of the NEA's concerns. Nearly every position taken by the NEA can be considered liberal including their official stand on gun control. The following policy statements can be found in Resolution no. H-25 (passed in 1982) on page 153 of Today's Education, The Journal of the National Education Association, 1983-84 Annual Edition. "The National Education Association believes that stricter gun control legislation is needed . . . The Association supports legislation that provides for prescriptive controls on the manufacture, ditribution, and sale of handguns . . ." The NEA is an academic elitist's dream come true, because nearly all of its members are college or university graduates that spend their entire careers tied to the very educational establishment that created them.

Some of the main line churches in this country have also become dominated by the academic elitists and their values. Churches that once taught clear and consistent dogma now dispense a muddled theology where right and wrong has been replaced with circumstantial "maybes." By challenging the lasting values necessary to the formation of a conscience the elitists have been able to bring their liberal social engineering to religion.

But the one area where these liberal elitists have done some of their greatest damage in our criminal justice system. Remember that the academic elitist views the values and beliefs of the common man with contempt. Therefore, this country's crime rate must be the result of society's common prejudices and unfair hostility towards the unfortunate. The elitist, in order to be true to his beliefs, has turned much of our criminal justice system around so that society is viewed as guilty and the criminal is considered the victim. The result has been and still is lighter sentences for major crimes, the liberal granting of parole with little or no concern for the risk that society is being asked to take, and an extreme hypertechnical approach to protecting the rights of the accused. We must not forget, however, one of the milestones of liberal jurisprudence, the guiltless juvenile. this enlightened theory states that the juvenile (under 18 years of age) is not mature enough to be considered a criminal. Such a teenager is viewed as a misguided child and his environment is often blamed for his crimes. Because of this attitude 15, 16 and 17-year-old muggers, rapists and even murderers spend only a few months or a couple of years in jail and are then sent back to the streets to repeat their crimes. And of course, the elitist's position on capital punishment is the same as their position on the right to keep and bear arms; they won't even consider it.

Now we come to the national and local media. The influence that the academic elitists have had on our television networks and regional print media, where firearms are concerned, has been profound. They have done such a complete job of capturing most of the media that to properly deal with it here is not possible; another article dealing with the media alone is required.

The academic elitists have managed to push out the traditional standards, values and beliefs of common America in many areas, not just the ones mentioned here. I mention the ones above (education, religion, the justice system and the media) because they contribute most directly to our growing violent crime problem. You must remember that for the most part the elitists have had their way in these particular areas for three to four decades now. Their programs have become law, policy and for all of us a way of life.

Obviously, violent crime has not become a small problem but rather a growing tragedy. All of the enlightened rehabilation projects and guilt-ridden liberal programs have not stemmed the growth of crime but instead has exacerbated it. This is a fact that any American living in fear, behind locked doors and barred windows can certainly testify to!

When we turn to the academic elitist and ask him why his ideas have failed, he must answer in one of two ways. He can answer by saying that everything that he has believed in during the past 30 to 40 years is wrong and that he and his mentors are, in fact, not superior to the rest of us. This he will not do, this he must not do. Because to do so would be to admit that the very basis of his existence (his superiority) is false. Rather than admitting any fault, the academic elitist will exercise his second option, which is pointing his finger back at the common man and his supposed lack of faith in the elitist's enlightened programs. This counter-accusation is, however, unconvincing because the elitists have been in control for so long. There must be someone or something else that they can blame our growing violent crime problem on and therefore take some of the pressure off of themselves. That additional factor is a something and not a someone. This factor is "the gun."

Our would-be ruling class believes that if society can be convinced to attribute the growing violent crime problem to guns then they will not be held accountable for their failures. There is also an added bonus to be had if the average American can be convinced to give up his right to keep and bear arms and that is simply his ability to ultimately resist the tyranny of the benevolent elite.

The late Eric Hoffer was a philosopher who made his living as a longshoreman on San Francisco's docks. Many of Mr. Hoffer's writings have not only come to be accepted in but also praised by some in the academic community. This is somewhat ironic because much of what he said and wrote praised the common things in life. I mention Eric Hoffer because during his later years he saw very clearly the great common people of American losing their collective courage as a result of giving up the power to govern themselves to a few. Mr. Hoffer also saw the danger in allowing the academic community too great an influence over our lives. He was once asked how he thought we should treat our intellectuals and he responded by saying, "I would give them everything that they want, except power!"

Unfortunately Mr. Hoffer's warning may be in vain, because the common people of America have already given the intellectuals or academics everything that they want including power. Perhaps even the power to disarm us forever!

Because of how I make my living I found it necessary to write this article under another name. I am a college-university professor. I spent many years as a student earning the highest degree granted in my field and then many more years teaching at colleges and universities around the country. If there is one thing that I have learned in my career so far it is this. Today on most American campuses anyone holding an opinion that is hostile to the beliefs of the average American can step forward and preach their ideas with little fear of censor. In fact, the communists, socialists, feminists, homosexuals, atheists, etc. can all expect praise and reward for coming out of their closets to speak on our campuses. But should anyone within the academic community speak up in support of traditional American values, particularly the right to keep and bear arms, that person can well expect to be treated with utter contempt.

Oh, there are some colleges and universities that are not dominated by elitists and almost every faculty has a few scholars who believe that the traditional values of America are worth preserving but they are a minority in every sense of the word.

If we are to win the fight to retain our Second Amendment rights, the battle must be carried to our campuses. Because this is where the enemies of free choice live and breed!
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Author:Kavey, Fred
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:Oct 1, 1984
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