Conflation to Coalition

Conflation to Coalitions


There is power in cooperation


By Jeff Knox


(August 19, 2009) The growing dissatisfaction of more and more citizens with the direction of our government and our nation presents a recruiting opportunity for rights activists.  We are already being grouped together with these folks as objects of ridicule for the talking heads on the television so why not put their conflation to good use?

Here’s how negative conflation works: Some neo-Nazis and KKK’ers oppose taxes, government control of healthcare, and gun control.  Some “fringe groups” like “Sovereign Citizens,” the Constitutional Militia movement, the Minuteman project, and “Birthers” (those who question Obama’s U.S. birth and his eligibility to serve as President,) have some members who have ties with groups like neo-Nazis and KKK’ers.  Some of these avowed racist people and groups agree with and participate in such things as the “Tea Party” protests and the protests which have been taking place at Town Hall meetings around the country.  Therefore, all of the people at the Town Hall protests and all of the people at the Tea Party protests, and all of the people who support, encourage, or agree with the people at these protests, along with all opponents of high taxes, supporters of the Second Amendment, advocates for constitutional government, and opponents of government-controlled healthcare are painted with the broad brush of racism, anti-Semitism, and wild conspiracy theorists, and are declared to be radicals with “ties” to neo-Nazis and the KKK.

Obviously that’s idiotic, but the little thread of truth which “ties” all of these people and groups together is that there are racists, anti-Semites, and kooks supporting these causes.  It doesn’t matter to the detractors and the media that the racists, anti-Semites, and kooks are a very small minority within these mainstream movements, the mere fact that they are participating and supporting these movements and causes allows the enemy to leap to their conclusions.  The fact that there are racists, anti-Semites, and kooks on the other side of all of these issues never seems to capture the same level of attention somehow.

The lesson rights activists should be drawing from this though is not one of exclusion, but one of inclusion.  Not the inclusion of avowed racists into rights organizations – racism is antithetical to any discussion of rights and their participation damages the movement’s credibility.  But the vast majority of Second Amendment supporters also strongly support the rest of the Constitution.  Many opponents of excessive taxation and deficit spending also oppose increased government control of such things as healthcare and, most importantly, a majority of all of these groups tends to support the right to arms.

While the diverse members of these various groups and causes might not agree on everything, they are natural allies in many areas.  Building alliances with members of these is a good way to advance the cause and expand the base.

Too often rights activists allow their cause to be segregated when integration is in the best interests of the movement.  Building relationships and alliances with compatible groups and individuals by working with them in support of their issues is a great way for rights activists to spread the gun rights message and bring these allies to the table in support of the Second Amendment.

There is no need for agreement on everything or for everyone to hold the same values and priorities as long as there is agreement on core concepts.  Do you oppose high taxes and deficits, object to the idea of government control of the healthcare system, or oppose illegal immigration?  Join the groups that are fighting those fights and invite them to join the fight for the Second Amendment.  Many of these folks will need to be educated about rights issues, but they will be people eager to learn and understand as opposed to the folks activists spend most of their time talking to – those who agree with them and those who will never agree with them.

There is no doubt that some opponents of the government healthcare plan and some of those who support the Tea Party events are also opponents of Second Amendment rights, but the vast majority are going to be sympathetic to, and supportive of the right to arms and that means that with a little education and encouragement they could become serious rights activists.  At the least it is likely that many of them would be willing to turn out in support of the rights cause as a way of returning the courtesy you showed them when you marched in their rally.  So get involved in other causes.  Learn from their tactics and strategies, and then bring as many of them as you can over to the side of the Second Amendment.  Let our opponents’ negative conflation draw us together and energize us to turn some of that conflation into powerful coalitions.


Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included.    Text is available at    To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Knox Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA  20108.   

©Copyright 2009 Neal Knox Associates