Fulcrum Ruminations

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day of Protest

Very emotional day around the country today. Marches and speeches and signs, celebrities, songs, all the usual stuff associated with demonstrations. The target? Gun violence. Multiple mass shootings in the last decade or so have pushed this issue right into everyone’s faces. Now we’ve a bunch of high school kids leading - well, appearing to lead - a massive new push to rein it in.

On the one hand I find this to be just and proper, citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably and make their voices heard. This is how it’s supposed to work when an issue is getting insufficient attention from the government.

On the other hand, a lot of what I heard today comes straight out of the leftist playbook. Lots of references to corrupt authority (read: established authority that the protestors disagree with), the currently popular “fake news” meme (which seems to mean not news that is false, but rather news that contradicts the Preferred Narrative), calls for greater government intervention. Which means greater government restriction of personal liberty. Restriction of choice. A further retreat from personal responsibility and into the comforting embrace of nanny-state government.

I understand the source of these impulses, I do. The world can be a scary, complicated place and it’s just ever so much easier to turn the hard parts over to someone else. Let the government make the decisions for you. Let them . . . take care of you. That’s what government is for, right? Make the Bad Things go away and let us live in a world of sweetness and light, lollipops and puppy dogs where nothing bad ever happens.

The root of this issue is the Second Amendment. About 250 years ago, our ancestors fought a war with a distant government that had become unresponsive and tyrannical. The lessons learned in that hard-fought struggle were applied to the new federal government formed by the several states. Looming large among those lessons was the need for a free people to be able to protect their essential liberties from a government grown corrupt and oppressive. And although the Second Amendment is written in such a way as to refer to the people’s right to keep and bear arms, what it actually recognizes and guarantees (the Constitution does not grant rights, it recognizes existing intrinsic rights and restrains the government from infringing upon them) is the right of self-defense, both individually and collectively. The First Amendment is the pivot of the entire American experiment, but the Second is the foundation upon which that pivot is balanced. Without the right and capacity to defend yourself, your community, your inherent rights, no other right can exist. And make no mistake, should the Second Amendment fall, the others will be right behind it. It’s a very short step from banning guns to banning talk about guns . . . see Youtube’s recent actions to remove firearms-related content from its service for a splendid example and hint of what’s to come.

Today’s protests are dressed up in the all-to-familiar refrain of “think of the children.” But the people behind these protests, those providing the funding and the scripts and the support, they’re not interested in the children except as pawns to advance an authoritarian agenda. Human beings are not individuals to these people. Individuals have no worth. Only the collective matters, the labor it can provide, the wealth it can create to be exploited, the power it can grant. Leftism, at its core, is a philosophy of childish petulance and fear. Those who adhere to its collectivist ways always see themselves as the elite who should by right be making the decisions for everyone else. Because they’re just so much smarter than anyone else and we’d all be better off if only we had the brains to see things the way they do. Never mind that their ideas only work when enforced by guns and hobnailed boots.

A gun is a thing. An object. An inanimate device. It’s very easy to put your hands on such a thing and take it away from others. It’s a simple fix to a complex problem. Never mind addressing the root causes of the violence we see unfolding, let’s just take the guns away. It’s quick and satisfying. We will have Done Something and the world will be better.

And if liberty dies a little bit more in the process, what’s the harm? We’ve too much of that stuff anyway. People think Incorrect Thoughts, espouse Incorrect Opinions, point out Inconvenient Facts that conflict with our desired world view. Once we’ve turned all that messy stuff over to the government so that the Right People can make the decisions, we’ll be better off. The naughty people with their own ideas will be made to toe the line.

Then we’ll be safe.

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