It had been a week of attacks against the Second Amendment, Obama had enacted executive orders against the right to maintain firearms within American society then he held a CNN town hall to justify his imposition. It was clear to me that Obama was functioning from extreme ignorance—not all of it his fault. Growing up in Indonesia as a boy, then in Hawaii by communist sympathizing grandparents he didn’t understand guns and how they applied to American Exceptionalism. Obama doesn’t even believe in American Exceptionalism so he wasn’t close to understanding the role that guns played in maintaining that high measure of quality. But, most people around the country—especially those who work with guns away from the largely democratically run cities in the United States—understand, and I felt it necessary to teach anti-gun people why they were wrong in their basic thinking—especially the president and his radical city dwelling progressive insurgents. Since I was hosting for Matt Clark on 1600 WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan over an early weekend in January 2016 I thought it would be a good time to do a show about how guns benefit society and specifically American Exceptionalism. So I invited on Quick Cal, who is the director of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association and champion shooter of four professional shooting categories and a multiple world record holder to talk about the benefits of firearms training and how it helps nurture an obscure philosophy that is the key to American Exceptionalism called the Cowboy Way. Listen to that epic broadcast here:
Cal and I told several stories from both of our perspectives regarding our value of the Cowboy Way, which as Cal said is a philosophical definition that is minimalist in nature but exemplifies the type of decency typically associated with Christian values—civility toward others, honor, hard work—essentially “do onto others as you’d have others do onto you.” Cal stated that as a young man in the 1960s it was the Cowboy Way that kept him straight and off drugs and alcohol during that turbulent decade and I told a similar story. I have worn a cowboy hat since I was in the fifth grade or some variation of it. When I was very young I recognized a need to distinguish myself from the rest of the world with some kind of hat that said my values were different from the mainstream of society—which appeared to my juvenile eyes to be headed in the wrong direction. People always made fun of it and I learned to have a very thick skin about my hats. Often I would wear a cowboy hat in public knowing and hoping that it would anger the mainstreamers—and I took inward joy at their anger. Twenty years ago wearing such a hat during the post Reagan years took a lot of confidence especially for a young guy like me. I wore it around the U.C. campus when I used to live there and would walk right down Vine Street with it on even though it went against the urban culture so prevalent there. I knew the anger came because unconsciously people knew it symbolized the Cowboy Way which was viewed by progressive society as a backward “unenlightened” approach to living. By wearing my cowboy hats, it was my public affirmation of values and traditional belief—and it distinguished me from my peers in a way which certainly preserved me to my current age.
Once I was invited to a campus rave party in an abandoned house at 2 AM in the morning. I knew nothing good could come of the experience but a friend of mine wanted me to go with him in case he got into some physical confrontation—so I went along to protect him. I showed up dressed in my poncho and a cowboy hat looking like I just stepped out of a spaghetti western—which I have always enjoyed, and I certainly looked strange next to all the “emo” types dressed in black with all the piercings they had before such things were as common as they are today. I figured if they could dress in public with purple Mohawks and studded black clothing that looked more appropriate for the movie set of The Road Warrior, then I could show up looking like I belonged in For A Few Dollars More. To say it was difficult to walk into a party atmosphere with blaring Marilyn Manson music arousing the passions of naked women and drug induced idiots as a perfectly straight cowboy hat wearing traditionalist would be an understatement. But I did it proudly. Being a partier was never a priority for me and I thought at the time that during the most tempting years of my life if I held to my values that it would be very valuable to me later, when I was older. That turned out to be the case and I can understand how following the Cowboy Way kept Quick Cal clean and free of imposition in his life during a similar turbulent period where everyone was wearing tie dye shirts and preaching peace through marijuana smoke and socialism.
Our experience is compelling enough to make a more than reasonable argument against the current tide of fashion. If the trends of our age lead to such destructive living—bad personal conduct, addictive behavior, unreliability as a spouse or parent, and a general menace to society—then why would we accept such a thing as a fact to our reality. There is nothing negative about the Cowboy Way—even if a person isn’t particularly religious. The Cowboy Way is all about having values toward individualized accomplishment which is why the hat always symbolized to me that sentiment. It was hard to go against such tides, but it felt good to survive. Being popular isn’t the most valuable trait in the world if the people who like you are poor quality people. If people made fun of my hat, they were not very high quality people and it made it easy for me to see who was who and why they did what they did. Did they not like the hat because it reminded them of a parental figure they were trying to push out of their head, or had they bought into the commercial advancement of fashion to the extent where their collective ambitions denied individualized thought? I learned a lot during those early years because of the public reactions to my cowboy hats.
Another aspect to the Cowboy Way that Cal and I discussed was the difference between shooting sports which are individualized in nature and the collective based team sports of football, baseball, and soccer. Of course public schools are all about collective based identification. They don’t want people thinking as individuals because their job as designated by the government is to herd people into a particular direction as determined by Beltway desires. So team sports are emphasized to advance children into a more socially appropriate stature. However, individualized sports, like Cowboy Fast Draw, and golf, are all about individual achievement, which is why the current trends are against them. It’s why golf is largely viewed as a sport for the affluent—those who have achieved individualized success. It’s also why progressives—who are collectivists by their nature, hate shooting sports. Shooting a gun is a very individualized endeavor. Golf and the culture of country clubs already have the stigma of being affluent based endeavors that are individualized in their foundations. There is a social component but the associations are largely groups of affluent people talking to other affluent people without the noise of the outside world. I will admit that I enjoy that country club culture. My wife and I enjoy eating at the Elk’s Club Silver Tee restaurant near our home. It’s always nice and they treat the guests in an exclusive way. It’s about being with people who have similar values as you do. You know when you eat there that the booth next to you is a family that are not knuckle draggers. They are typically well employed and somewhat successful as individuals—and that makes the food taste just a bit better. I consider shooting sports to be even more individualized because they serve the dual purpose of being useful in the defense of private property—which is another aspect that collectivists seek to demonize—because it goes against their foundation philosophies.
I made a decision about the Cowboy Way when I was very little, well before I knew why. I knew I liked The Cowboys with John Wayne over the rock group Kiss when I was in the fourth grade. I knew I liked The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly more than Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In general, westerns reflected my values innately, and I was fortunate enough to be stubborn in pursuing those values even though it was against the social grain. I’m glad that I did—now more than ever. Obviously my rejection was against liberalism which I determined as a four-year old, didn’t work. My parents didn’t necessarily preach it to me, and nobody else felt as strongly about conservativism as I did—it’s just something that I’ve always had. It was just something I observed and decided to pursue—not always with clarity, but as a hunch that it was the right thing to do according to my moral compass. It was only over a great many years that I learned why. Most children are afraid of falling and of loud noises because their brains are wired to protect themselves from the unknown. For whatever reason, I knew from a young age that liberalism didn’t work under any circumstance. To this very day nobody can present a strong case in favor of liberalism rationally. When I first started wearing my cowboy hat while still in grade school I knew that the only hope for the human race was to step back to a philosophic period before the progressive era—right around 1890—to those values in American culture. Not the racism, or the limitations against women, but the basic foundations of human decency. The Cowboy Way was the greatest casualty of the progressive era and it is the thing we most need in our modern society. And it was important for the nation to hear from someone who embodies that Cowboy Way in very emphatic ways. That is why I had Quick Cal on WAAM during an important Saturday afternoon in the long history of the human race. People needed to hear an alternative to the madness of liberalism that is destroying America. And they need it fast!
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman
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