Monday, July 07, 2014

Book Review: Rise of the Anti-Media by Brian Anse Patrick

The Rise of the Anti-Media is a profound academic examination of how the gun culture has been able to triumph in the face of overwhelming opposition from the ruling elite.   This is not a book that is light summer reading.   The issues examined, the research done, and the theory put forward to explain the phenomena, are worthy of serious study.    Information in the book is dense.  Brian Anse Patrick packs a great deal into only 282 pages.  The book captured my attention.  I devoured it in a day, but find myself repeatedly returning for more insight.

It helps to have been intimately involved in many of the subjects discussed.   Nearly everyone who has been involved in second amendment activism during the last five decades will find themselves nodding in agreement as they read this book.  

Rise of the Anti-Media contains an important historical narrative of how we arrived at where we are, but it goes much further.   It develops a theory that explains how it happened and how it works.  This has considerable practical value;  it is not simply of academic interest.   

The historical information alone is worth the time taken to read the book.  Did you know that Franklin Roosevelt vetoed the Uniform Revolver Act that was passed by the New York legislature in 1923, apparently favoring the more restrictive Sullivan act?

The meat of the book, however, is in the theory of how the gun culture created and developed the means to overcome the control of information flow by the ruling elite.   Brian Anse Patrick explicitly details how the gun culture that we know today was precipitated from the existing culture by attacks from the ruling elite; how opposition in the old media helped to grow and solidify it; how it came to form what he terms "horizontal interpretive communities".  

It is through the power of those overlapping communities that the gun culture is able to defeat attacks on the right to keep and bear arms, develop and pass legislation, defeat and elect politicians, and shape the national understanding of the Constitution. 

Here is what Professor Patrick has to say about the power of the NRA:
But NRA is not the source of the power.  The power lies in the matrix of horizontal associations that constitute the new gun culture.  NRA has money because these people provide money, lots of it, regularly.  They are not minions or "rank and file."  Emphatically, they do not serve the NRA; rather, NRA serves them as best it can.
I do not want to give the impression that Rise of the Anti-Media is about the NRA; it is not.   The NRA is covered, but is only a small part of the overall picture.

The focus of the book is on how concealed carry law was reformed across the country.   The book was published in 2010.   It anticipated the triumph of shall issue laws in Wisconsin and Illinois, but does not include them.   While the focus is on concealed carry laws, the theme applies to all the concerns of the gun culture.

If you want to understand the dynamics involved in restoring and creating a strong right to keep and bear arms across the United States, this book will provide answers.   I learned a great deal, and the book helped to solidify much of what I had surmised but did not have the available facts to verify.

The book does not provide a list of suggestions or actions on how to improve the existing strategies and tactics of the gun culture.   The theory of "horizontal interpretive communities" does, however, imply that some changes in emphasis could be useful.    It is left to the reader to determine how to use this new understanding to their advantage.

It is unfortunate that this important work has not received the attention that it deserves.   Much of that may be because it was only available from an academic press at a fairly high price.   The original hardcover sold for $70.   That edition is available on Amazon for $54.99.   The good news is that it is now available on Kindle for only $9.99.

Professor Patrick has informed me that a new edition is coming out in paperback this summer, published by Arktos.   It should retail for about $20.

 ©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

A great resource Dean, thank you for this and your fine writing, too.

Anonymous said...

Gret post Dean. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Great article Dean.
Thanks. ps your capcha catcher is covered by an ad,(camiocam) that is not the correct text validation, so my comment has been spam filtered twice.

dfy said...

My daughter who is applying to UC Berkeley grad school Journalism considers the spelling defence in the first sentence to be a typo and will not read any further into the article

Dean Weingarten said...

Defence is the correct British spelling. This blog originated in Australia.