Trust your extremists

The only reason gun rights aren’t being swept away with everything else in the cultural wars is that the NRA did not give in to its moderates:

The moderates felt rejected by both the NRA hard-liners and the Washington elite. “Because of the political direction the NRA was taking, they weren’t being invited to parties and their wives were not happy,” says Jeff Knox, Neal’s son and director of the Firearms Coalition, which fights for the Second Amendment and against laws restricting guns or ammunition. “Dad was on the phone constantly with various people around the country. He had his copy of the NRA bylaws and Robert’s Rules, highlighted and marked. My father and a lot of local club leaders and state association guys organized their troops.”

Theirs was a grass-roots movement within the NRA. The solution was to use the membership to make changes. The bylaws of the NRA gave members power on the convention floor to vote for changes in the NRA governing structure.

“We were fighting the federal government on one hand and internal NRA on the other hand,” Aquilino says.

In Cincinnati, Knox read the group’s demands, 15 of them, including one that would give the members of the NRA the right to pick the executive vice president, rather than letting the NRA’s board decide. The coup took hours to accomplish. Joe Tartaro, a rebel, remembers the evening as “electric.” The hall’s vending machine ran out of sodas.

By 3:30 in the morning the NRA had a whole new look. Gone were the Old Guard officers, including Maxwell Rich, the ousted executive vice president. The members replaced him with an ideological soul mate of Knox’s named Harlon Carter.

Never, ever, permit a moderate in a position of influence, let alone leadership. They will ALWAYS bollix it up for one reason or another. Always. That is the fatal mistake the churches have made, and it is the reason the Republican Party is undergoing its present meltdown.

If you believe your role in the organization is to temper or restrain others in the organization, that’s fine, there is a need for that sort of advice, but understand that you CANNOT be a leader. You are not suited for it. You will make a hash of it.

That doesn’t mean that the most extreme individual will be the best leader. There will always be competing visions. But “making nice” and “finding common ground” are not strategic visions. They are nothing more than tactics that may or may not be relevant at the moment.

It’s a bit ironic, but most people understand that someone who always wants to surrender or to fight is not to be trusted in leadership. And yet, somehow, they readily fall for the idea that someone who always wants to split the difference is a reasonable person to follow.