Language as a Tool of War by Tom Reynolds
In Lt. Colonel Wayne Phelps’ book “On Killing Remotely”, he discusses the psychological aspects of killing by Remotely Piloted Vehicles (what we generally refer to as drones). Many of the strategies and issues that Phelps discusses can easily be applied to the left’s strategies against just about everything, but especially against the 2nd Amendment.
Phelps writes extensively about the long-practiced need to “dehumanize” your opponent in order to deal with the moral and ethical problems of taking a human life. “The more humanity that is observed in an enemy…the more difficult it becomes to kill them.”
He explains how this is done, “One of the major ways this dehumanizing process occurs is by changing what the enemy is called into something particularly degrading or demeaning”. As an example, he points out that, “In World War II, the allies referred to the Germans as Krauts and the Japanese as nips or slants”. (Before the left starts calling that proof that Americans are all racists, Phelps also pointed out that, “The list of American nicknames given by the Germans and Japanese included Joes, foreign devils, dogfaces, yanks, round eyes and Amis (short for Americans)”.)
Phelps writes that, “…this kind of vernacular falls outside the bounds of acceptable behavior in today’s society”.
Oh yeah? “Outside the bounds of acceptable behavior in today’s society”?
Disagree with the left and you are labelled a racist, Nazi, Hitler, white supremacist, etc. The left views these dehumanizing and demeaning terms as within the bounds of their acceptable behavior and they have no problems using those terms to dehumanize defenders of 2A. The goal is to dehumanize their opponents so that there are no moral or ethical qualms about leaving the opponent dead both politically and under the judicial system.
Phelps continues, “These sobriquets for the enemy don’t always have to be demeaning in nature to deny humanity”. In human beings, it is a positive attribute to have common sense / good judgment. Since the left labels all their gun control as “Common Sense” (by implication it is good judgment), anyone who opposes their positions must lack common sense / have bad judgment. Labelling themselves as “Common Sense” demeans those that support the 2nd Amendment and creates the impression that those opposed to 2A’s have the moral high ground.
Phelps points out that the importance of achieving the “moral high ground” can’t be overstated. Warriors want to fight for a “just war”. If one fights for a just cause, “…the enemy’s cause is unjust and their intentions are evil, therefore the enemy themselves is evil…it elevates the killer to an almost hero-like status in their mind”.
If we look at the “moral high ground” strategy from a 2nd Amendment viewpoint, we are surrounded by a liberal media that trumpets every story that reflects poorly on the 2nd Amendment. Therefore, guns are evil and gun control is a “just cause”. Guns are objects, not people, so there are no moral or ethical down sides to criticizing them. If, by association, gun owners get grouped with these evil objects, that’s just collateral damage as far as the left is concerned.
When does the anti 2A media publicize any of the thousands of stories where guns are used in self-defense, since this would give 2A the moral high ground? When have you ever seen a story contain: “they’d probably be alive if only they had a gun”; “she could have saved herself from being raped if she’d had a gun”. If, every day, CNN carried a story on guns saving a life, the left’s self-perceived moral high ground would crumble. Their self-conceived heroic stature would be gone.
Phelps further writes, “Differences in religion, language, race or ethnicity, values, beliefs and social norms all serve to move the enemy further away from one’s perspective of what it means to be human...They’re not like us and their cause is unjust.” The left loves Critical Race Theory which accuses all white people of being racist simply because they are white; being white makes one unjust. Being white is supposed to divide us because of our skin color while being black does not divide us. The left media loves stories about “white” supremacists having guns. When do they cover stories about Black Lives Matter and Antifa having guns? (Oh wait, last summer’s riots were all peaceful protests so BLM and Antifa don’t need guns?) According to Barack Obama, the reasons people would not vote for him, “…they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them…" Wow. Sounds like Phelps had Obama - and not drones - in mind when he wrote his book. Obama dehumanized people by rejecting the 1st and 2nd Amendments as well as civil rights law in that one sentence.
The difficulty for 2A defenders is that we actually want to unite, not divide, so the use of dehumanizing language is denied us; we don’t need to morally and ethically justify our stance to ourselves, the Constitution has already done that. But we can and should call out the left when they unfairly use these terms.
We do have a winning strategy readily available, all we have to do is for the millions of gun owners to summon the energy to use it. There are thousands of examples of guns being used in self-defense, but they rarely get seen outside of the 2A movement. It’s easy to find them. Publicize them on social media and bury the media in so many of them that a few, perhaps, will have some second thoughts on the Second Amendment and give us some air time or print space.