The American Hero Shoots Straight

September 23, 2018

The American Hero shoots straight.


From John Russel to the Man with No Name, from Hawkeye to Chris Kyle, Americans love the man who hits what he aims at. Cowboys or cops, soldiers or spies, even the noble gangster or bandit, all of these draw the love and admiration of patriots--if they're good with a gun.


We all love the man who can put hot lead on target from a distance because it is useful. The man who can shoot is the man who can defend his family or put food on the table. But the straight-shooter is not just a man with a skill. It's a personality.


Think of the Gunslinger, or Riddick. Think of Dan Evans, Bob Lee Swagger, or Will Kane. Think of John Rambo. Their talents with the gun are extensions of a shared personality. They hold their tongue, but when they speak, their words hit home. They are rhetorical snipers. They do not "spray and pray" like silver-tongued sophists. Other nations have their talking victors. The heroes of Shakespeare and Homer always have something to say. But in America, we love the man who keeps his mouth closed.


Who knows why this is the case. Maybe it's our Nordic inheritance. Maybe it's our Christian culture, where "sin" means to miss the mark, where it is what comes out of your mouth that makes you unclean. Maybe it's our admiration for the Amerindian warrior nobility, whose disdain for idle talk is matched only by the ancient Spartans. Half of those Western gunslingers and soldier-snipers are part Indian. Whatever the reason, America loves the "straight-shooter"--the man who speaks the truth and otherwise keeps quiet.


Most public talk you hear these days is a kind of spaghetti test. Politicians, pundits, and professors are always trying out different ways of saying the same thing, hoping that something will stick. They use focus groups and A/B testing to pursue popularity and palatability, not truth. They always have some new and plausible-sounding manner of saying what they said yesterday. They make themselves pleasing to hear, and so they are tolerated. Sometimes even liked. The talking-class is always trying to interpret and spin the actions of others, forever casting doubt on intentions and motivations to keep things murky, and give themselves security.


The enemies of America hope to intimidate patriots. Sometimes with violence, but mostly with words. "Patriarchy," "structural violence," "oppression of marginalized peoples," and other crafty phrases designed to confuse and to brow-beat ordinary people into submission. They redefine their words to mean anything other than their given meanings. "Violence" is saying something offensive, while destroying a town is "free speech." Innocuous compliments are defined as bigotry, while overt animosity against whites and males is dismissed as impossible.


In the end, it’s all just words.


Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the Muslim Student Association were born from words. They bear the mark of their creators: the politicians, the pundits, and the professors. They were made and validated by words, and they live by words divorced from deeds. They say you must answer their ten-dollar words and their twisted garden-path ideas. They say that if you don’t, it’s because you aren’t experienced enough, aren’t empathetic enough, or just aren’t smart enough to be taken seriously.


And they hate the American hero.


They hate the straight-shooter because he doesn't play their game. Many conservatives try to win the game, thinking that the rules are set, and that if only they try hard enough, they might win over those who hate them and have no interest in playing fair. But the American hero doesn’t fall into that trap. He doesn’t play rigged games because he knows he doesn’t have to. He is comfortable sitting back and calling it like he sees it.


They hate the American hero because his existence proves that no one has to answer empty words.


You don’t owe them an explanation. You don't owe anyone an apology.


That is why the talkers hate America. There is no place for them in a country that loves the straight-shooter.


The man Americans love most is the man who has no need of empty words, and sees through them. The American hero shoots down talkers with his silence. And our love for the straight-shooter stands as a living condemnation of everything the talkers are: empty words.


It is the American way. And there's nothing the talkers can say.


Just ask Benjamin Martin or Gran Torino.

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