What Price Would You Pay for Safety? The European/American Dichotomy

Recently I was involved in a rather heated on-line discussion over gun rights. The most strident gun control advocate was an Australian who insisted that the US must come to its senses and follow Australia’s lead by confiscating all guns. A chorus of European posters agreed and chastised the Americans for refusing to agree with the wisdom of dispensing with the Second Amendment.

On that particular message board which is associated with an artistic topic, very few members are pro-gun (or very few are willing to admit it). But enough of us were represented to draw up a pretty clear contrast between the two sides.

Basically, the anti-gun thesis is:
1) The more guns there are, the more gun deaths there will be.
2) The only ones who should have guns are the police.

The pro-gun points are:
1) A disarmed citizenry is basically an invitation to tyranny.
2) If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns.
3) The additional risk associated with common gun ownership is warranted by the advantages associated with points 1 and 2.

The two sides metaphorically shouted at each other until both sides were blue in the face. No convincing occurred. This is typical. But since this is my blog, I thought I’d summarize my impressions.

I think the basic difference is based on what part of life is most essential. For Europeans and many countries colonized by them the greatest good is security. This translates into the desire for an orderly existence where society controls as many aspects of life as possible and everybody agrees what everybody should be doing.

Americans think that if you aren’t allowed to make your own decisions then you are basically a slave.

The European model has the advantage of minimizing risk. Everyone has healthcare, employment guarantees, pension guarantees, public transportation, etc.

Americans don’t have those things (except poor Americans and illegal aliens). But we prefer it that way. We’d rather be able to live the way we want rather than be told how we have to live (at least up till now).

But the disturbing aspect of all this is the similarity between the European point of view and the Occupy Wall Street mind set. It appears you can turn Americans into serfs. All it takes is getting to them when they’re young and away from their families.