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Book Discussion: "Deer Hunting With Jesus"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Sam1911, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Hi!

    Has anyone read Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus?

    I got this out of the library yesterday and have started reading it now for the second time!

    As sort of a disclaimer, it is a book on "America's Class War," written by an admittedly socialist-leaning journalist. It is also a very provocative and insightful book.

    Chapter 4 "The Valley of the Gun" will knock your socks off. Seldom has anyone of a leftist perspective taken such a clear and powerful stand for the right of the citizen to bear arms, the truth and clarity of the Second Amendment, and the embarrassing fallacy of the Democratic viewpoint on gun ownership.

    He quotes Cottrol, Kleck, Joyce Malcom, and John Lott, as well as NIJ and GAO reports on firearms uses. He pokes at the ACLU for dropping the ball as "the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bill of Rights." He tears apart GCA '86 and rips open the racist and anti-immigrant roots of the Sullivan law and NFA '34.
    He derides our mid-20th-century deflection of the 2nd A. into the realm of deer and duck hunters. He quotes figures on poor, inner-city women using weapons to stop rape and assault.

    This guy *GETS IT.* Oh, and he wants nationalized heath care, strong unions, an end of globalization and a lot of other stuff that many of us here would disagree strongly on.

    This is a challenging book, but, I honestly believe that every one of us would benefit from reading it. I harbor no socialist leanings. That often had me angry or irritated at the directions he took. Bageant points an uncomfortable beam of light on the effects of a lot of our traditional institutions. I find this sort of social introspection to be very stimulating but occasionally hard to swallow. I applaud his work and accept his journalistic account. I do not agree with many of his implications and the conclusions that he seems to direct his reader towards, but I still value his insights and commentary. From a practical standpoint, we'd better have answers to his points because there will be increasing multitudes of voters asking the same questions and voicing the same concerns. If we drive them into the arms of the Democrats by having no valid counterpoints, we're going to lose a lot more than just face.

    And, yeah, even his pro-gun chapter shines that harsh light on us as well. He writes in strong favor of the right to carry a weapon to protect yourself but also records a very uncomfortable conversation with some strongly racist dudes who also are licensed CCW permit holders. On another topic, as a former editor at "Military History Magazine" he has become disturbed with what he sees as a cult of the mechanics of killing -- he cites all the video's he was sent from the Iraq war of insurgents' heads exploding from sniper bullets, etc -- and he all-but names those of us who choose to collect and cherish military surplus weapons as members of this cult. Pretty strong words. Again, I *mostly* disagree. But I certainly have had my share of conversations with guys who were more than a little jazzed by seeing some "rag head get to his 73 virgins" or whatever over and over again on his computer screen.

    I'd love to discuss this book. It is NOT a sycophantic pro-conservative hug-fest. It is also oddly compassionate and the stories are of a lot of people we all probably know. His comments and experiences can't be easily dismissed. And, in this socially and politically muddled time, many of the things he rails against -- in the name of liberalism -- are the same as many of us here have railed against in the name of conservatism...or whatever.

    Somebody read this book and lets discuss it!

    -Sam
     
  2. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Sounds like a very interesting book. I just ordered a copy on Amazon.

    One thing though, is the more I look into different political systems, the more it seems like execution is far more important than the system itself. Like the Canadian and Japanese health care systems are both largely socialist. But health care in Canada is probably the best in the world, while Japan is just about the worst industrialized country to get sick in.

    I'd bet dollars to rubles that if you used a time machine and some kinda magical thought-swapping thing to switch political philosophies between George Washington and Karl Marx, while changing nothing else about them, the USA would still be one of the free-est countries on earth, and "capitalist Russia" would've still been a craphole. Just because of how those men and especially their successors implemented their ideals.

    Socialism and capitalism can be equally used for the good of the people, or the good of the privileged few. It's morality and intent which make the real difference. Just like guns. It's the man who holds it that's the friend or enemy, not the gun itself.
     
  3. BruceRDucer

    BruceRDucer Member

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    Sam1911:

    Thanks for the heads-up on this book. Chapter 4 sounds especially interesting.

    When you can cite propositions from someone you generally don't agree with, you are developing a strong and eclectic basis for your own 2nd Amendment positions.

    I'm very happy that you discovered this. :)
     
  4. Waddison

    Waddison member

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    Not hardly. :mad:

    :barf::barf::barf:

    Capitalism was a result of freedom. Communism created and facilitated USSR's "craphole", as you put it. And that "CH" fertilized Stallin and his ilk.
    Don't even try to make the two systems morally equivalent! :fire: :fire: :fire:

    And by the way. You have Japan and Canada reversed. The Canadians are coming to the US for their urgent health care needs because of the rationed care and waiting times. Not so with Japanese.
    Incidentally, FWIW, my wife was born and raised in Japan and came to the US in her early 20's. (All of her family is still there.) She suffered from a terrible gall bladder condition as a child (until her late teens) and spent lots of time in the medical system. She states that patients do not have to wait to be checked into a facility, and they are kept until their condition cured or released by the physician.

    However, comparing the two systems and countries is like comparing apples and oranges. The ONLY thing they have in common is they are both fruit. Japan and Canada are both made up of people, but their societies and their customs are not even close to similar.
    But that's all just my humble opinion.

    And that's all I have to say about that. :neener:

    Waddison
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Interesting points Ryan. I know someone who recently immigrated back from Canada where he'd lived for a few years. His account of the health system was mixed. Good for some stuff, lousy for others. He knew many people who had come to the U.S. for various procedures.

    I don't believe capitalism and socialism to be equal. (I don't think that's actually what you said, either.) However, execution does play an enormous role. Any student of history will feel a great deal of rage at abuses committed by certain people in the names of both systems (in fact, of ALL systems). And, much that is good in our capitalistic, "western" world today was built -- could not have otherwise existed, even -- through vast exploitation of many desperate members of our "classless" society. And yet, we do hold that more people are more free and have more opportunity than their counterparts under socialist systems.

    Bageant would point out that the opportunities available to the working-class folks he knows in his small town -- who combine two incomes to produce around $35,000 a year, if they're lucky -- are essentially false. Too much debt, to little access to education, too poor health, no equity in worthless property or no property at all, etc. He would say that they have no more legitimate avenue for escaping their situation than someone living in serfdom. I disagree fundamentally with his view of the *possibilities* available to them, but I certainly agree that the likelihood of personal betterment is probably not much better.

    Anyway, his writing on gun ownership is simply beautiful. I went into that chapter fearing at first that he would caricaturize us all as either Elmer Fudd or Rambo-wannabees, but his respectful and soulful treatment of the traditions of hunting and caring for game, and guns as well, were so reminiscent of my own upbringing that I just about got a lump in my throat. So then I was sure he'd lapse into the old saws about how that was then and this is now and you don't need an AK-47 to kill a deer or whatever. But he didn't head that way at all. In fact, when he lambasted Obama and Hillary as having no clue how an inner city 2nd-shift worker might legitimately need to have a gun for protection while running from streetlight to streetlight after getting off the bus on their way home sometime after midnight in a lousy neighborhood -- well I could have CHEERED!

    Having laid all that out so clearly (along with ripping up the anti-gun arguments right and left) he really had me on the hook when he turned his view towards a few ugly spots in our little gun society. Having made his bones (in my opinion) with his astoundingly strong support of the 2nd Amendment, he "earned" the right to point out that some of us are not perfect. Had he opened up his case by talking about the racists among us, or those who have given themselves over to blood-lust, he would have found a very unfavorable ear (in me at least). He paints a picture of a large issue. In that picture there is great, even overwhelming good, and there are some stains. And while his words on those two points were not comfortable to read, they are legitimate. They are concerns we voice in forums like this one every week.

    I guess I'm fascinated because this guy's direction seems so foreign to my own and yet, on this issue, he sees "us" clearly -- as we do. Where we are right, and where we're still screwed up. I'm impressed.

    -Sam
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Folks, our scope doesn't include anything outside the firearms/RKBA realm. We've tried a broader "rights" discussion range here only to find that even at THR that there were people who were not mature enough to treat others with different opinions with the same respect they themselves expected to be given. So, we don't engage in political and "rights" discussions outside of our highly focused area.

    Please refocus your discussion on the direct firearms/RKBA aspects of the book and author.
     
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes, I was a little worried about that, but ran right into it anyway. I won't go into any further discussions beyond the RKBA content.

    Thanks for the head's up.

    -Sam
     
  8. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Adding it to the bookshelf at Stickertramp.

    You know, it's imperative that we understand the mindset that equates "gun ownership" with "bubba" out here in flyover country, so that we can work to change that stereotype. I'm thinking that this could be valuable reading - and not just the parts that we'll agree with.
     
  9. antsi

    antsi Member

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    Why should gun owners and/or RKBA-ers have to assume responsibility for jerks like this?

    Should every proponent of freedom of the press be held responsible for the ideas contained in Mein Kampf?

    If I am commited to preservation of free speech, then yes, I am commited to preservation of a Klansman's right to spout their nonsense. It doesn't mean that I agree with their nonsense, though, and it doesn't mean I'm morally accountable for their ideas.

    I'm tired of every gun owner being judged by association of the creepy guy with the Nazi paraphernalia selling copies of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" at the gun show.
     
  10. yesit'sloaded

    yesit'sloaded Member

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    I'd rather the idiots be able to speak and let us know they are idiots.
     
  11. bogie

    bogie Member

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    That's why I'll go find the promoter at a gun show where I spot a Nazi or Klucker table... Because those jerks are EAGER to be interviewed...

    And before someone says that they have a right to free speech - The promoter has a right to not rent space to them, and won't if enough of us NORMAL gun owners bitch about the lowlifes.
     
  12. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Problem is, the association is a lot closer than you may think. The staff here at THR manage to keep those sentiments off the forums, but it's not like that everywhere.

    There's one particularly popular forum, frequented by several very popular "experts" on various topics, which is absolutely teeming with nazis. Or at least it was a couple years ago. I only lasted a month.

    Comments like "no wonder we kicked their asses in WWII" (regarding some kind of Filipino martial art which was obviously intended to get money out of tourists) and "if blacks would all just go back to Africa, crime would be way lower" were not only tolerated, but would typically be followed by a round of back-patting and agreement. About half the items in the buy/sell/trade forums were nazi crap, including a gigantic 8 foot swastika flag that sold for like $60.

    It's a hard association to kick, because the association is there. Neo-nazis love guns, and unfortunately, they probably make up a good % of people going to expensive, fancy training classes, and they also probably account for a significant minority of all the internet talk about guns. There are probably some reading this thread right now. One time I did a google search to try and find more info about Wolf 7.62x39mm ammo, and it gave me a thread on a white supremecist forum which had secondhand info from AR15.com about terminal effectiveness. It was the 0.1% of info on AR15.com that was factual, too. They were talking about what's best to shoot blacks and Jews with, and eventually settled on the exact same ammo that I did (before reading that crap).

    It's not right that all gun owners should be judged by what those morons say and do, but it will happen. And it's no different from everyone assuming that a black person who speaks in ebonics and owns guns is automatically a gangbanger, or that a southerner who owns guns is a hick who shoots at traffic signs and people's pets for fun.

    Everyone fits some kind of stereotype, and you're always going to catch flak and ignorant comments from someone, for reasons which make sense only to them.
     
  13. antsi

    antsi Member

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    I realize that people may make that association or have that perception. That doesn't mean the perception is justified or accurate, though.

    It is no more rational than judging a woman at your workplace by the actions of a crazy lady you saw on the news who drowned her kids. They may have one thing - their sex - in common. But that doesn't mean the woman you work with is somehow associated with the child killer, or should be viewed as especially suspect where children are concerned, or shouldn't be trusted with water.

    Similarly, the argument that some gun owners are racists, or that some gun forums have a strong racist presence, doesn't mean that gun ownership is predominantly a racist activity, or that gun owners are any more racist than any other group of people.
     
  14. Nate C.

    Nate C. Member

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    I had not even heard of this book until I read the original post herein. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads-up. I will go find the book.
     
  15. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Even so, some people will think it is. If 50%, or even 25% or 10% of women drowned their babies, there would be people who think that all women are baby-drowners.

    About all you can do is either ignore it, or try and prove people wrong by visibly living well. And if you shave your head, stop.
     
  16. Gentleman Ranker

    Gentleman Ranker Member

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    Another take.

    I haven't read this book yet, but I've looked at some Amazon reviews and the author's blog, and have put it on hold at the library. Thanks to the OP for bringing it up.

    I agree with the mods that debating politics or "the class war" is probably not a good idea to do here. There are plenty of other places for that in any case.

    I do think that, apart from Bageant's RKBA chapter, two things might come from listening to a pro-RKBA discussion from a "radical progressive".

    1. Many antis are unsalvageable, but some just haven't really thought about the issue very hard. Bageant may have some perspectives that would be useful in an RKBA argument (though I'm wondering just what substantive argument would be new at this point), and he might be an interesting place to point "soft" antis to shake up their worldview a bit.

    2. A "guns and class" discussion could get gunnies thinking some about division within their own ranks. Sure it's fun to argue 9mm v. .45 for the nth time amongst ourselves, but when the CCW people start bashing the open carriers, or the duck hunters start on them both, I can hear Josh Sugarmann laughing in the background. I'm not going to push some fuzzy bunny "all get along" rubbish, but it wouldn't hurt to remember that RKBA isn't just

    • deer hunting

    • sporting clays

    • tactical games

    • bullseye targets

    • self-defense

    • collecting

    • whatever else it is you do
    Family feuds are inevitable and probably healthy if done with restraint, but ultimately RKBA is RKBA. From what I can tell, part of Bageant's point (whether he is right or wrong) is that the people he writes about are acting against their own self-interest. Whether they are or not, it's worth thinking about whether some of our family feuds don't sometimes go against the best interests of all of us.

    3. As an extension of the above ... shooting/RKBA is often thought of as the province of grumpy old white guys (of which I am one). However, there are, to my certain knowledge, all sorts of "minorities" (blacks, gays, even ... DEMOCRATS :eek:) who think that RKBA is a fine thing and needs to be supported. They may not be majorities within their own groups, but they are there. RKBA may not be anyone's be-all end-all issue, but it's worth remembering that there are probably people that you don't know, don't like, or fundamentally disagree with on other issues who can and should be your allies in RKBA. Again, just worth thinking about.

    Just my $.02, and what with inflation, well ...

    regards,

    GR
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  17. Rule556

    Rule556 Member

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    I flipped through a copy at the local library, but didn't pay much attention. I'll make sure to check it out next time I go there.

    Great thread, by the way.
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    GR,

    Well, you hit the nail on the head with the point he's making.

    I'd say the book has a number of points, but a large one is that the "liberal elite" continually miss a great opportunity to sweep the floor with their conservative opponents by understanding and using the working/lowest class (whom Bageant would categorize as about 70% of society), through offering some measures strongly seen to combat their fears, ignorance, and desperate condition.

    One of the biggest roadblocks he sees on that path is the irrational attitude of the Democratic Party and liberals in general towards gun ownership. I think that's the primary reason he included such a well-reasoned, and also very touching, argument against gun control. He surely would like to see that plank pulled out from under the "conservative" platform.

    (I hope this isn't getting too close to political talk. If so, I'll retract, but it will be difficult to discuss this much farther without walking a bit of a fine line. Perhaps we shouldn't try. Mods?)

    -Sam
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  19. macadore

    macadore Member

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  20. macadore

    macadore Member

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    double post
     
  21. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    Canada's health care system is good for minor things, but it doesn't do well on the big things. I'm from there, and would prefer to get sick in the US. There is a reason when someone gets something really difficult they usually come to the US to fix it.
     
  22. danweasel

    danweasel Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on the book. I haven't been able to reserve a spot with that guide service yet. They are always all booked up! I hear though, that one Buck, if you get it there, will feed thousands.

    Just kidding, seriously thanks, I'll check it out.

    Dan
     
  23. danweasel

    danweasel Member

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    I like this thread, by the way.

    An actual discussion of serious issues in our society with people disagreing professionaly? On a gun site? (Man I can't spell) It's about to be closed but it was fun while it lasted.
     
  24. HK G3

    HK G3 Member

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    This thread is interesting.

    Sounds like an argument I was having with an ultra-liberal friend the other day - I was arguing that if the dems dropped the gun-control platform, they would continue to win elections, since RKBA is the largest single-issue voting block.

    He just went rambling on about how dangerous CCW in a college campus would be and so forth, and completely ignored what I was trying to say, but, it's interesting to see an articulate, very left-leaning individual make that argument. I wonder how big his audience actually is amongst dems and other left-wingers, and whether or not they'll listen.
     
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Not sure about the size of his audience on the broader spectrum, but, just for kicks, I read all the reviews of this book on Amazon. A lot of the reviewers (like maybe 20%) mentioned his gun control chapter. Unless I missed one somewhere, NOT ONE offered any disagreement at all. In fact, many praised it and claimed it opened their eyes on the subject.

    Now, this was an utterly non-random sample of people who, for the most part, are huge fans of his so they're going to be a lot more open to his controvercial points than a truly random sample of liberals who don't know Joe from dirt. But it does show that there *are* directions from which many liberals can be approached on the subject.

    When one of their own makes an intellegent and well-argued pro-gun pitch, they could be receptive...or at least will cease hostilities on that point for the moment out of respect for him. If the same argument were to come from a conservative or an NRA publication, they'd ignore it/ridicule it/burn it as a matter of course.

    Will this matter on the larger political scene? I'm guessing not any time soon. Will the Dems change direction and advocate gun ownership? Probably not any sooner than they'll provdie "universal health care" or "real" "universal" "higher" "education." (Quotes indicate contradictory, inflated, and/or false promises...:banghead:) All of which things Joe says would swing the ignorant masses away from "blind devotion" to the Republicans who [????] on them from above.

    -Sam
     
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