Democrats love to claim that ideas they disagree with are violations of the basic American character — and simultaneously to declare that skeptical questioning of their motivations amounts to an intolerable “questioning of their patriotism.”
We keep hearing that everything from building a border fence, to enhanced scrutiny of Islamic radicals, is “not who we are” as Americans. President Obama used a variation on this theme when he denounced Donald Trump’s proposal for the temporary restriction of Muslim immigration by saying, “That’s not the America we want.”
Doesn’t that amount to challenging the patriotism of his opponents – the very charge that drives Democrats into purple-faced rage when it’s directed at them, in even the most tangential manner?
More importantly, while Obama and his party issue Olympian pronouncements about the soul of America, they’re also trying to erase the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Let me send them a clear message, in the very worlds they love to deploy against their adversaries:
The Second Amendment is who we are as Americans.
It’s in the Bill of Rights – second only to freedom of speech, assembly, and religion – for a very good reason. America was born in battle against tyranny. Our Founders wanted all of their descendants to understand that the battle would never be over. Every American is conscripted into the army of freedom, at the moment of his or her birth.
One of the saddest spectacles after the Orlando atrocity was Broadway’s decision to remove guns from a performance of the hit play Hamilton. No worse message could have been sent, no greater insult to founding generations of America could have been rendered. Our independence was not won with jazz hands. America’s revolutionaries were not in any way similar to Islamist terrorists, despite a generation of liberal academics and pundits trying to forge such a connection. The final answer to the Omar Mateens of the world – no matter what creed they represent, or what dark power they swear allegiance to – will always involve guns.
That’s an unpleasant truth, but its unpleasantness doesn’t make it any less true. So much of what the Left says about terrorism, and guns, boils down to emotionalism and feels. That’s because emotionalism is the antithesis of rational thought. Emotional people can be stampeded into silence and submission.
Gun grabbers sound like blithering idiots when they try to explain the precise details of what they want. Most of them are ignorant – perhaps willfully – of what the current gun laws actually say, all the way up to Democrat presidents and presidential candidates. But they can blubber about “scary guns” and “killing machines” and “weapons of war” all day, pressuring the public into making the key emotional concessions that will open the door to the rest of their agenda.
Most of us get through our lives without taking up arms against enemy forces, but we should understand those forces are ever-present, unflagging in their determination to overthrow what the spirit of 1776 created. Not all of those enemies are hostile foreign powers. There have long been dedicated efforts to subvert the Constitution through politics… and political power is always backed up by the threat of violence against the disobedient.
There will always be individuals and groups willing to defy the law to impose their will and desires upon others, from the lone criminal to the organized terrorist gang. They all want soft targets. It is the born duty of every American to deny them. You don’t have to arm yourself if you don’t want to, but you do need to respect the freedom and dignity of those who do. They don’t lose their freedom and dignity because other people use firearms to commit crimes.
That’s because we have this thing called “due process,” which is an absolutely vital component of the American character, unlike the Left’s fantasies about invisible lines in the Constitution that call for open borders. Due process is a restraint upon political power. As such, ambitious politicians find it very frustrating. The louder they rail against it, the more you know it’s working.
Just think about the words for a moment: there is a process by which people can be deprived of individual liberties. That doesn’t just cover individual criminals in the courtroom. It covers all of us, whenever our would-be rulers cook up another brilliant scheme to control our lives.
It matters that President Obama doesn’t have the legal authority to do much of what he does. He loves to justify his power grabs by complaining that Congress is moving too slowly for his taste. The unspoken, but very real, reason he illegally modified ObamaCare on several occasions is because he was terrified of letting Congress have another crack at the law, once his party no longer controlled it.
If there’s one thing that ought to define “conservatism” against “liberalism,” however else we struggle over those terms, it’s that conservatives stand for process and reason – the fortress of established order against political ambition, no matter how righteous those who storm the barricades believe themselves to be. That’s what we should be fighting to “conserve,” and the Second Amendment is a shining example of it.
Liberals are all about emotion and power. One of their common laments is that it’s silly to let an ancient scrap of parchment, written by old white slave-holders in powdered wigs who couldn’t possibly understand the modern world, stand in the way of the bold “progressive” agenda. There is no more common emotional, unreasonable argument in the universe than children shrieking that their parents couldn’t possibly understand the world they live in. Immature people should not be granted political power, no matter how many college degrees they wave around.
The rule of law means that details must matter. It matters very much that gun-control zealots can’t say exactly what an “assault rifle” is, beyond frippery about what they look like. It matters that they don’t understand – or deliberately confuse – the difference between “machine guns” and “automatic weapons,” which have been effectively impossible for civilians to own for a very long time, with ubiquitous semi-automatic firearms.
It matters that gun control zealots can’t say exactly what law they would have passed to stop any given crime or terrorist attack. They just cry that Something Must Be Done!, and those who stand in their way are bloodthirsty monsters more responsible for Omar Mateen’s unspeakable deeds than the jihad organization he swore fealty to.
The latest gun-control obsession is the idea that people on the “terror watch list” should be stripped of their Second Amendment rights, without due process. That’s an explicit attack on due process and the rule of law, once again proving the Second Amendment’s value as a barricade against tyranny.
Barack Obama’s many scandals, from the IRS targeting of conservative groups to Operation Fast and Furious, teach us a valuable lesson in how easily such a loosely-controlled list could be abused. There is absolutely no reason to trust him, his designated successor, or for that matter any Republican president with such arbitrary power to compromise a Constitutional right.
A common rejoinder to the current gun-control push is that journalists current use technology the Founding Fathers would be even less capable of imagining than semi-automatic firearms, but they’d go ballistic if someone suggested compromising the First Amendment the way they wish to compromise the Second.
I fear that argument might miss the chilling truth that American liberals are already growing comfortable with the notion of treating the First Amendment like that. How many of them tell pollsters that they think “hate speech” isn’t protected by the First Amendment? That’s not much different than making Constitutionally-protected gun rights subordinate to a “watch list” whose membership terms could be defined as fluidly as “hate speech.”
The Second Amendment is who we are, because it teaches us the proper relationship between sovereign citizens and the State. We cannot depend on the State to protect us at all times – that’s just not possible, and it wouldn’t be possible in a nation of this size, and diversity, even if the private ownership of firearms was illegal. Every woman who uses a gun to drive off an unarmed, but highly dangerous, assailant can testify to that.
At the same time, the Second Amendment teaches us about individual responsibility. Gun ownership is one of the clearest possible demonstrations that freedom and responsibility are inseparable. If only we could apply that lesson to every other aspect of our political life!
And finally, the Second Amendment defines the American character, because maintaining it obliges us to be fierce in the defense of our liberties. The Left aims at its broad gun-control targets with huge volleys of emotional artillery because they know one concession will lead to another. “Progressives” are confident they can push every retreat from liberty into a rout, using the government and media powers at their command.
We never should have budged an inch on anything in the Bill of Rights, or permitted the executive branch to view bureaucracy as a siege tower for penetrating the Constitution’s fortress walls. We never should have allowed power to be siphoned from the legislature to the executive and judiciary, rendering Congress the ineffectual joke that so many voters grew disgusted with over the past few years.
It’s funny how the Left keeps telling us that every freedom is dangerous, and should be regulated in accordance with the lowest common denominators of society, but they never view government power as comparably dangerous or subject to abuse. A comparison of the crime rate with Big Government’s failure rate would not be favorable to the statist position… especially if we factored in how much of the crime rate can be attributed to generations of hideous left-wing federal policy and corrupt Democrat local government.
They want to distract us from their failures by shrieking about guns as the instrument of crime. But the Second Amendment is who we are as Americans, because it says our tools are less important than our choices, and that we are to be judged by our choices, not by our ownership of tools.