The Fake Gun Control Debate

The Fake Gun Control Debate, by Scott Adams.

If you’re new to the concept of the Persuasion Filter, I use the term to explain how a person trained in the art of persuasion sees the world. The main distinction is that trained persuaders see humans as fundamentally irrational, yet hardwired at birth to believe we have common sense.

The Persuasion Filter describes a world in which no one involved in the gun debate, on either side, is engaged in honest, rational debate. But we sure FEEL as if we’re being honest and rational. And therefore, logically, if the folks on the other side of the issue don’t see things the same way, they must be lying, hallucinating, stupid, or mentally ill. …

If you look at the gun debate through the Persuasion Filter, you see people who are pursuing their own self-interest as they see it at the expense of other people. But humans can’t say that directly. To do so would make us appear to be bad people in the eyes of society.

AR-15

For example, anti-gun people know that some people would be safer with guns in the house for self-defense. I know a single mom with two teenage daughters who gunned-down a documented sex offender who broke into her home in the middle of the night. No charges were filed. She was safer with a gun, and she knew it. That’s why she had one. So the anti-gun folks (the most extreme of them anyway) would accept a world in which my friend and her daughters were sexually assaulted in their own home so long as it makes their own risk a bit lower. But they can’t say that. So instead, they point to England and say whatever works there would totally work here. That might be true. But it isn’t rational. There are too many differences to be confident we’d have the same outcome.

Many pro-gun folks feel safer owning guns. Or they might simply enjoy guns for sporting purposes. They might also prefer gun ownership to lower the risk of a despot taking over, or simply because gun ownership is a freedom granted in the Constitution. But the unspoken part of those preferences includes the knowledge that some number of innocent people, including children, will die because of current gun laws. To be fair, guns will save some people as well. But no doubt about it, some innocent people will die whenever guns are easy to obtain.

We humans can’t say aloud that we prefer our position on guns (either pro or con) even though we know that getting our way will mean certain death to innocent people. So instead, we concoct irrational arguments about how places such as Chicago or Tokyo tell us all we need to know about the effectiveness of gun control. They don’t.

Personally, I judge my gun risk to be similar to that of my friend who shot the sex offender in her house. As a public figure, my risk is higher than average. So if I want a right to own a gun for self-defense, I have to accept the fact that innocent people will die should the laws of the land go my way.