Brendan O’Neill on Charlton Heston

Brendan O’Neill writes in the Guardian:

“From great actor and progressive campaigner to reactionary old fart who loved guns: everyone agrees it was a tragic fall from grace. But did Heston really make a dramatic political u-turn? Actually, no. From the 1950s to the 1990s, he remained rather consistent in his commitment to upholding America’s freedoms. It was his liberal critics in the gun control lobby on the east coast and in trendy parts of LA who changed their tune, and made a mad swing from liberalism to authoritarianism.
How gun control came to be seen as a liberal cause is one of life’s great mysteries. In both the US and across Europe, fully paid-up lefties and progressives will tell you with pride, even pomposity, that the American authorities ought to disarm their populace and ban guns.
What a turnaround. Demanding gun control has traditionally been the preserve of reactionary, even racist elements in American society. Up until the 1980s, gun control was mostly a conservative campaign, driven by a conviction amongst right-leaning activists, politicians and lawmakers that ordinary people, especially those of the non-white variety, could not possibly be trusted with guns. Only the state, they believed, should have the right to use fatal physical force.”

Hat tip to David Hardy.