It’s no surprise that liberals, up to and including President Obama, raced to turn the Charleston church killings into a political prop for the same-old, same-old gun control measures. One of the important differences between Left and Right in America today is that liberals are never, ever told to view even the most catastrophic defeat as the death of a political movement, while conservatives are assured every political paper cut is fatal.
Gun control took a historic drubbing after the Left’s ugly attempt to politicize the Newtown massacre, but there was never a sense that the American peoples’ obvious determination to retain their Second Amendment rights represented a firm and final answer. Liberals get to rerun the same tired plays, over and over again, year after year, until they eventually wear down resistance and get what they want… at which point they immediately declare the matter settled for all eternity, no further discussion permitted.
That’s why we’re right back to the same absurd demands for gun-control measures that have absolutely nothing to do with the incident at hand, coupled with the vigorous shushing of anyone who mentions that spree killers have a coldly logical predilection for carrying out their “missions” in guaranteed gun-free zones.
After listening to President Obama fume that congressional leaders (by which he means Republicans, of course) need to “come to grips” with gun control and “do something about it,” David Harsanyi at The Federalist asks, “OK. What?”
As David points out, South Carolina already has plenty of gun control laws, and Charleston killer Dylann Roof didn’t find any “loopholes” in them – he simply ignored them, or took advantage of failures in the systems liberals loudly demanded for years.
Some of the details of the case have yet to be released by the police, but running through every scenario consistent with the facts we have, it’s impossible to find a single measure openly advocated by the gun control lobby that would have made a difference – very much including the post-Newtown Toomey-Manchin bill that went down in flames, whose restrictions explicitly exempted the sort of family gun transfer that appears to have armed Roof.
As for the measure so many gun-control fetishists dream of, but cannot openly express, Harsanyi observes that universal gun confiscation is “a nonstarter politically, unfeasible in reality, and, by the way, completely unconstitutional.”
There’s more than sheer opportunism at work in the latest push for gun control, more than just the accumulated rage of a Left made absolutely furious by its long string of political defeats on the road to repealing the Second Amendment. It’s not really a bug in the program that each new pile of gun-control proposals would inconvenience the law-abiding, while doing little or nothing to thwart whatever crime supposedly inspired them. It’s a feature, and it’s not unique to gun control.
Gun control, you see, is a major part of the Left’s grand project to make law-abiding Americans feel like criminals. Normal people who “work hard and play by the rules” tend to believe their contact with the enforcement arm of government should be light and infrequent. The immense punitive power of the State is directed primarily at criminals. To lay the groundwork for making government larger and more powerful, it is necessary to make the bulk of the population view themselves as villains and feel a sense of guilt.
Guilt is the fuel that drives the engine of collectivism. It’s what makes people believe a gigantic compulsive State is necessary to deliver “social justice,” because the wretched masses are incapable of demonstrating the proper degree of compassion and fairness. It’s vital to tipping the scales of morality away from individual responsibility, in favor of enforced political “consensus.”
Look at how much of the Left’s economic rhetoric is based on the presumption that people don’t have a fair claim to their own property and income. In other words, you’re supposed to feel like a thief for earning a good living – you stole the fruits of your success, in some vague and indefinite way, from less fortunate people you exploited along the way. It’s amazing how much mileage liberals can get out of whining about “income inequality” without ever saying exactly what those they plan to assess millions of dollars in fines against did wrong. They do this by making nearly every taxpayer feel faintly guilty about even the most modest accumulation of wealth.
The disturbing fad for speech and thought control is also a guilt-delivery system. We’re now supposed to feel like outlaws for harboring every politically incorrect thought. Say the wrong thing, especially if you say it online or in front of a news camera, and you’ll be destroyed. A sense of reverence for tradition and natural law is treated as an offense against society. Normal people end up feeling perpetually guilty for merely contemplating the idea of normality. Students emerge from universities as nervous wrecks, terrified at the thought of uttering someone else’s “trigger” phrase or transgressing against some assumed “identity.”
In the days since the Charleston horror, liberal pundits and Internet trolls have delighted in accusing the innocent masses of racism, implying they have some sort of deep-rooted sympathy for Dylann Roof’s abhorrent views. It doesn’t matter how broad and deep revulsion against Roof runs across non-liberal America – you folks all secretly agree with at least part of what he reportedly said before opening fire, the Left just knows it!
And when they can’t find anyone who agrees even slightly with a creature like Roof, the Left accuses innocent people with conservative leanings of inspiring him, the same way they despicably tried to smear conservatives for creating a “Climate of Hate” leading to the Tucson shootings.
Climate of Hate rhetoric is back in a big way this week. “The Republican Party has weaponized its supporters, made violence a virtue and, with almost every pronouncement for 50 years, given them an enemy politicized, racialized and indivisible,” rails Jeb Lund at Rolling Stone. (Safe link to Newsbusters here, since I’d never dream of sending people to a hate site like Rolling Stone.)
The phantom menace of “right-wing extremists” is once again bandied about, as if this one drug-addicted vermin from Charleston was strike recon for an oncoming army. The upshot is that you’re supposed to feel like an outcast for holding the conservative views that the vast majority of Americans practice in their everyday lives. If you resist the Left’s transformative efforts, you’re giving aid and comfort to a terrorist insurgency.
The Church of Global Warming excels at condemning ordinary people as sinners, teaching them from as young an age as possible that every facet of First World life is a crime against nature, especially when the grubby Little People do it. When the Church grants special dispensation to powerful left-wing politicians, entertainers, and billionaire environmentalists to spew as much carbon into the atmosphere as they please, what they’re effectively saying is that unauthorized use of fossil fuels is a crime. You middle-class boobs are trespassing into space reserved for the aristocracy when you buy a plane ticket, but you have no right to object when President Obama burns a few hundred thousand pounds of jet fuel for a couple of fundraisers and golf in Hollywood.
Gun control zealotry is a master stroke in the guilt game, because it teaches people to feel ashamed of a right the Founding Fathers explicitly guaranteed them, second only to the rights of free speech and religion. The rhetoric tossed around after a headline gun crime is often explicitly worded to make law-abiding, innocent people feel like accomplices in the crime. If you happen to belong to the National Rifle Association, liberals invest a great deal of energy in trying to make you feel as if you were right there alongside every killer, helping them reload.
Notice also how often the gun-control lobby argues that owning a gun is inherently dangerous, even for the most responsible licensees. You’re supposed to believe you are recklessly putting your family at dramatically increased risk of injury or death by insisting on your silly little Second Amendment. Guilt, guilt, guilt… you gun owners are as big a menace to your wives and children as anyone who might come smashing in through the bedroom window.
Taken in sum, the Left’s vision is of a mean-spirited, petty, selfish, irresponsible, childish electorate that cannot be trusted with most of its nominal rights… in much the same way certain rights are denied to felons. Actually, they’re not as interested in punishing actual felons as they are in pre-judging the law-abiding and sentencing them to diminished lives, with no possibility of parole. They’re also not interested in how their ideology leaves decent people vulnerable to the depredations of violent felons. Just don’t ask any of the big-time gun control supporters to disarm their security. Armed protection is another one of those aristocratic privileges the smallfolk have no business coveting.