It really doesn’t matter what the nature of a political issue amounts to — guns, abortion or sex — one’s stance depends upon one’s level of mental sophistication. The base foundation of the mind is the primitive ego, with intellect being a significant level above. For those whose mindset never rises above the primitive ego, that part of the mind that also dreads change, they experience fear most directly.

Meaning that when it comes to the issue of gun control, those of an ego level mindset see the gun as a critical means of self and family protection. Thus they look upon those who want to infringe upon their right to own guns as an existential threat, causing them to exhibit a most visceral reaction to the gun control camp, a fear of course which the NRA and certain politicians stir with maximum passion for power and profit.

About 40% of the nation’s citizens fit the primitive (conservative) mindset. Thus the modern GOP has become the natural political home for these folks, with Fox News and the rest of the right wing media pandering to their fears.

For those of a more sophisticated mindset, the young and the progressive among us, they see guns, not as a means of protection but rather as a tool of destruction that portends an existential threat, just the reverse of their conservative cousins. Thus it is on the basis of how folks interrupt fear, involving guns and every other political issue that is the true underlying factor that most determines our nation’s political divide.

For too long folks of both mindsets (the primitive and the more advanced) have been going round and round on surface issues seemingly obvious to the primary foundational factor — fear — the primary driver of one’s political outlook. Until that becomes a big part of the national conversation nothing meaningful can happen with gun control and many other issues. As they say you can solve a problem until the problem has been precisely defined.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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