Modern Prohibition

Kevin Williamson on Prohibition movements:

Our new prohibitionists are a lot like the old ones. The nice corduroy-clad liberals in places such as Georgetown and the Upper West Side use guns as a stand-in for the sort of people who own guns in much the same way as the old WASP prohibitionists used booze as a stand-in for the sort of people who drank too much: Irish and other Catholics, especially immigrants, and especially especially poor immigrants. The horror at “gun culture” is about the culture — rural, conservative, traditionalist, patriotic, self-reliant or at least aspiring to self-reliance — much more than it is about the guns. It’s the same sort of dynamic that gets people worked up about Confederate flags or poor white people with diabetes who shop at Walmart.

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In other words, the material thing they want to ban is a symbol or stand-in for the kind of person they wish didn’t exist.

I honestly don’t think the gun control moment will last. Obama can make executive actions, Congress will fight him on it, but people will keep doing whatever they want to do.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that there are about as many firearms as there are people in the United States, murder rates today are about half of what they were in the Clinton years. Sooner or later we will overhaul our laws for committing insane people so we get less of them shooting up gun-free zones. Gun control will be an issue of the past and people will find some other symbol to get excited about.


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