The Difficulty Of Language In The Interpretation Of Trump’s View Of Gun Rights

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

There is no shortage of Trump supporters, here on this blog or elsewhere.  And there is no shortage of Trump detractors.  It occurs to me that sometimes language is a barrier to communication rather than the vehicle for it.

Trump might be engaging repeatedly in 3D chess, or he might not.  His art of the deal might be selling out your rights for his benefit, or it might not be.

But in either case, it must be remembered that his predilections are those of a Northeastern progressive, with certain conservative tendencies.  He isn’t a reliable, ideologically committed conservative, or a conservative (or libertarian) based on incorrigible principle.

The strata in which he communicates and flows is ever changing, a non-fixed, malleable, very unpredictable morass of ideas and statements.  The problem comes in because of the nature of language itself.  Language, as American philosopher Gordon H. Clark said, is comprised of words and sentences, all of which is designed as tags and signifiers to help one person communicate a thought to another.

When he says that he supports gun rights, he may not be saying the same thing you think you’re hearing.  Or in other words, gun rights to him means something different than gun rights to you.  It’s a safe bet that gun rights to him means submission to the authorities, full and complete, so that red flag laws wouldn’t be a problem to him.  He believes in no principle that would cause him to oppose red flag laws.

Likewise, the notion that anyone might need or want a stock is silly, and so given that there is no principle to which he can refer to oppose such a ban, he supported it.  His nomination of Barr for AG falls into the same category.  He liked what Barr had to say about the “witch hunt” to which Trump himself was subjected, and thus he will be the next AG.

Trump can appear in front of the NRA and say all sorts of things that sound as if he supports gun rights the way you support gun rights.  He isn’t lying.  he just sees things differently.  His entire world and life view is different.  But when you get past those tags that are supposed to communicate thoughts from one person to another, his ideas are far different from most real gun rights supporters.

You cannot listen to Trump on a pedestrian level, as a freshman in college.  You must understand the nature of language, how it differs from person to person, its potential lack of clarity, and how the tags that are words can be confused, misinterpreted, and misjudged, and thus become vehicles for communicating the wrong thoughts.  Language can be clear, but in order to make it so, the speaker and hearer must arrive at compatible definitions and use the care necessary to define thinking men and women.


Comments

  1. On January 16, 2019 at 8:16 am, Poncho said:

    Or you can assume that he’s lying to achieve their own self-interest. The same as darn near everyone else in government. Or who talks about government. Or wants to be in government.

    I think you are on to something here, and although you and I get to the same place eventually, I think my way is safer.

  2. On January 16, 2019 at 10:05 am, H said:

    Poncho: I’m going to go with “and”. At least some of what Herschel said is obviously true, although it’s curious he doesn’t seem to be consulting his hunting and target shooting son. But it’s also clear he’s promise breaker, as for example he continues to push for more H-1B visas, giving these people a better pathway to citizenship (the one for Indians is now over 100 years long), to support the “great companies” in Silicon Valley that are doing everything they can to make sure 2016 is not repeated, including deplatforming his base. Also to help “Ohio.”

    He and his DoJ have also not lifted a finger to suppress Antifa et. al. who have been literally bloodying his base since 2016, while persecuting people who defend themselves against them. And there’s much more, as someone commented on another site, it appears that while he might care about his people, his base is not a part of that set. Which is one of many reasons halfway through that his Presidency will fail if he fails to build a significant fraction of the Wall.

    No 3D underwater chess explanations needed, or credible after 2 years in office, unless we get an unexpected and Republic ending Storm. He’s just the sort of man who Herschel outlined, but going further, not at all good at keeping his promises. Which was pretty obvious given that he’s on his third wife.

  3. On January 16, 2019 at 11:36 am, June J said:

    Trump was, is and will be a delay in the left’s agenda of total gun control. How much of the progressive socialists’ agenda he will sign off on is yet to be seen.

    Prepare accordingly. Complacency that R’s and Trump will protect our God given rights is not a plan.

  4. On January 16, 2019 at 1:36 pm, BRVTVS said:

    Barr was the AG while Ruby Ridge was going down: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/william-barrs-connection-to-ruby-ridge-defending-fbi-snipers/

  5. On January 17, 2019 at 11:10 am, George said:

    I must agree with everything written here. The only point I would make to go along with Trump not keeping his promises on gun rights is that any of the others would have been as bad or worse.

    Whether you are talking about Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton. In that latter case Cruz is a DC weasel of the highest order. He would no doubt have signed off on the red flag laws. Hillary, well we all know what she would do. Of all candidates in 2016, only Rand Paul might have been good for our gun rights. He also never had a chance of being elected.

    So no great mistake by the gun community in 2016, that cost us anything. We never had anyone to truly advocate for us.

  6. On January 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @George,

    “He would no doubt have signed off on the red flag laws.”

    Prove it.

  7. On January 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm, H said:

    @George: Forget about proof for a moment, make a case for it, starting with your claim he’s “a DC weasel of the highest order.”

  8. On January 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm, Fred said:

    Straw man. Trump is the president and he IS a gun controller. The only valid comparison is his actions vs. the Constitution.

  9. On January 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm, George said:

    I certainly cannot prove it. No more than I can prove that Trump will suddenly become the greatest 2nd amendment supporter of all time. I have my own opinions of Cruz and do not ask anyone else to agree with them. Fred there is no straw man to it. Trump gets no pass from me regarding the 2A and other issues as well.

    Some of my problems with Cruz:

    Cruz was enthusiastically for the H1B program until he was against it. That is when he was running for president. Then he suddenly found out the program was riddled with abuse.

    Cruz co-sponsored the Corker amendment, making Obama’s Iran deal possible. Most other republicans did as well.

    Cruz participated in his buddy Glen Beck’s stupidity of passing out soccer balls to illegals for a photo op. In that jaunt he never said anything about all the criminal aliens coming from other countries. IMO he did this for PR reasons.

    Cruz only renounced his Canadian citizenship a few months before he announced his presidential run.

    House Republicans during the Obama administration tried to pass a bill punishing the Chinese for steeling our intellectual property and currency manipulation. Laura Ingraham asked him if he supported the bill and he basically said no. His reasoning was that avoiding a trade war with China was all important. Note that we have been in a trade war with China for some time, we have just not been fighting it. This one shows me that Cruz is, like most other republicans, wholly owned by the Chamber of Commerce.

    There are other issues with Mr. Cruz but you see where I am going. I am not knocking anyone who supports Cruz. Had Cruz won the nomination I would have voted for him because I think we well could have had WWIII if HC had been elected.

    It is still my opinion that Cruz cannot be trusted. I think he would betray gun owners if he thought it would benefit him. No. I cannot prove it.

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