A principle is a foundational rule from which one makes future decisions. Principles must be consistent and may not be dependent upon exterior factors. If exterior factors can change a principle; it isn’t a principle, but rather a general preference with wiggle room.
One may change a principle if they examine it and find that it is not good, and when they do so, they must let go of the old principle and may only claim the new one. Let’s examine two principles relating to wife-beating to illustrate the nature of conflicting principles -v- preferences.
- A husband should only physically discipline his wife when absolutely necessary, and when necessary, the discipline should not be excessively cruel or unreasonable.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the following principle:
- No person should initiate violence against other people, including a spouse.”
The first principle is held by most of the 7 billion people in the world. Some of the world’s most powerful religions accept and teach it while other cultures frown upon it much the same as they frown upon farting in public. There are of course many different specifics regarding the initiation of violent physical actions, ranging from shaking an uncooperative wife by her arms to get her attention, to the extreme of beatings to death as punishment for cheating. These are matters of preference and of degree.
The second principal is held by only a minority of the world’s population. We are a stubborn lot that always have an excuse for why disobedient wives should not be disciplined. This group holds to their principle, even when faced with scenarios like, “If you don’t make sure she knows who is boss, how will you know that you and your kids will have a meal ready at night?” We that hold to the second principal retort that we “do not know how everything would work, but we know that it is wrong to initiate violence.” We are labeled as being dogmatic idealists that refuse to use the sense that is commonly held and fail to understand the problems that would occur in today’s world if women are not forcibly controlled.
With this example under our belts, let’s look at another example, the agreement in principle of the NRA and gun control advocates. Let’s again look at two principles.
- The right of people to keep and bear arms is not absolute, and governments should infringe upon those rights by controlling who owns guns and the types of guns that may be privately held.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the following principle.
- The right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
The first principal is the one held by the NRA, all national governments, the UN, NAA and Dianne Feinstein. There are billions of people that hold this principle, and within all of those minds there are many differing specific preferences. Some might think a rifle magazine for private use should only hold 30 rounds, while others think 29 or 28 or 10 or 3 would be a better number for round capacity. Some think that .30 caliber is as big as a bore as should be allowed for individuals to have, and others think the cap should be .50 caliber or 20 mm.
Some think that those that have demonstrated opposition to government’s preferences and as a result are labeled “felons” should be excluded from being allowed firearms ownership, along with black people, wife-discipliners, gays, atheists and Muslims. These are matters of preference and of degree. All the people with this principle agree that it is necessary and good for governments to control firearms ownership of their subjects. Principles -v- Preferences.
The second principal is held by only a minority of the world’s population, primarily philosophers and those in the peace and freedom movements. These people argue that guns are like books, sticks and other things compiled of atoms. They argue that all humans should be free to own and use whatever atom-compilations they personally choose, and that the risk of people using books, guns or other things in a bad way does not give others the right to preemptively deny the person the right to have that item.
They are labeled as being dogmatic idealists and refuse to use the sense that is commonly held and to understand the problems that would occur in today’s world if individuals were allowed by their governments to have any book, gun or pencil they choose to have.
My point in this article is that the NRA holds the same principles as the anti-gun crowd like the Newtown Action Alliance. They only differ in preference and degree. I happen to be on the side of the second group in both of the above examples. You may of course choose which side you agree with, but to be intellectually honest and consistent, one must accept the good and the bad of following their principles.
If you believe that a savage repeat-offender black atheist felon that is released from prison should not have the right to keep and bear certain arms, you might be wise and your preference might save someone’s life, however, you must admit that you do NOT believe in the principle that the right of people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed upon.
The NRA and Mrs. Feinstein have strong preferences, many that they disagree with each other about, and some that they disagree. In principle however, they agree that the right of people to keep and bear arms should be infringed upon by the government. Neither speak out about a danger of a government being better armed than the subjects it controls. What about the GOA and the JPFO, what is their principle?
So, speaking of intellectual honesty, should I, and people that share my belief in the principle that people’s right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed upon hate the NRA and Mrs. Feinstein? Both the NRA and Dianne, as well as those that fund and otherwise control them are “just people.” Like me, they are wrong about some stuff and right about some stuff. They are “just people” like me, and I will happily be friends with them.
The NRA has an excellent Training Division that is not associated with their government ILA division, and they have another division called the NRA Foundation, that while corrupt, is not at all associated with their government division. I am a big supporter of two of the divisions, and while I cannot support the government wing that fights for a principle that is contrary to the one I hold, I would happily stand alongside Dianne and an NRA ILA attorney and volunteer at a disaster relief soup kitchen, or go out and have a blast shooting clays with them!