Selling out

A little over two months ago, I joined the NRA. Not long after joining, I mentioned it on Twitter, tagging the NRA and “March for Lives”. One person replied – hidden tweet, but I still saw the notification – that my opinion had been “bought and paid for” by the NRA.

And David Hogg said on Twitter last week, “Anyone who supports an NRA sellout is an NRA sellout”. Huh…

Someone who never receives money from the NRA is, by definition, not a “sellout” to the NRA. And it’s evidence of a major problem having to explain what a sellout actually is.

A sellout is someone who expresses a different opinion or takes a different action than they otherwise would in exchange for some form of consideration, typically money. A quick example would be if I were to suddenly become a staunch gun control advocate after receiving money from Michael Bloomberg.

Again, someone who does not receive money from the NRA, by definition, is not an “NRA sellout”. Nor can that person’s opinion be said to have been “bought and paid for” by the NRA. Because that person received no consideration in exchange for their opinion.

Same if a person already supports gun rights ahead of receiving any consideration from the NRA or any gun rights group. Because “selling out” means a change of action or opinion after receiving consideration. As a clear example, we can turn to the Simpsons and Season 9, episode 15 – “The Last Temptation of Krust”:

Contrary to Hogg, donating money to a person who supports gun rights doesn’t make you an “NRA sellout”. Donating money to or joining the NRA or another gun rights organization doesn’t make you an “NRA sellout”. Since the only way someone could be an “NRA sellout” is if they previously didn’t support gun rights and only started supporting gun rights after receiving money from the NRA.

And this isn’t just about the misuse of “sellout”, but also the belief among many on the left that the NRA owns and controls the opinions of gun rights advocates. And they don’t.