April 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This video comes from an April 22 address given by Senator Mike Lee, of Utah, at the Heritage Foundation. At nearly 24 minutes, it is pretty long, and he spends most of the time looking at his podium. However, the content of the speech provides one of the best expressions of the conservative cause that I’ve ever seen. Whatever your political position, this is worth your time. I’ve provided the text for convenience.
Thank you very much, Matt.
I also of course want to offer my best wishes to you all as the Heritage Foundation embarks on an exciting new era. And I also just want to make clear that when I spent my first year in the Senate joking that Jim DeMint should run for president… this isn’t what I had in mind.
You know, the thing that makes Jim DeMint a great leader is the same thing that has always made people like Matt Spaulding and the Heritage Foundation itself so valuable. That is, your shared insistence on making the positive case for conservatism: what conservatives are for.
In Washington, it is common for both parties to succumb to easy negativity. Republicans and Democrats stand opposed to each other, obviously, and outspoken partisanship gets the headlines. This negativity is unappealing on both sides. That helps explain why the federal government is increasingly held in such low regard by the American people.
But for the Left, the defensive crouch at least makes sense. Liberalism’s main purpose today is to defend its past gains from conservative reform. But negativity on the Right, to my mind, makes no sense at all.
The Left has created this false narrative that liberals are for things, and conservatives are againstthings. When we concede this narrative, even just implicitly, we concede the debate… before it even begins. And yet too many of us – elected conservatives especially – do it anyway. We take the bait. A liberal proposes an idea, we explain why it won’t work, and we think we’ve won the debate. But even if we do, we reinforce that false narrative… winning battles while losing the war.
This must be frustrating to the scholars of the Heritage Foundation, who work every day producing new ideas for conservatives to be for. But it should be even more frustrating to the conservatives around the country that we elected conservatives all serve. After all, they know what they’re for: why don’t we? Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy in Washington to forget.
In Washington, we debate public policy so persistently that we can lose sight of the fact that policies are means, not ends. We say we are for lower taxes, or less regulation, or spending restraint. But those are just policies we advocate. They’re not what we’re really for. What we’re really for are the good things those policies will yield to the American people.
What we’re really for is the kind of society those policies would allow the American people to create, together. Together. If there is one idea too often missing from our debate today that’s it: together.
In the last few years, we conservatives seem to have abandoned words like “together,” “compassion,” and “community”… as if their only possible meanings were as a secret code for statism. This is a mistake. Collective action doesn’t only – or even usually - mean government action.
Conservatives cannot surrender the idea of community to the Left, when it is the vitality of ourcommunities upon which our entire philosophy depends. Nor can we allow one politician’s occasional conflation of “compassion” and “bigger government” to discourage us from emphasizing the moral core of our worldview.
Conservatism is ultimately not about the bills we want to pass, but the nation we want to be. If conservatives want the American people to support our agenda for the government, we have to do a better job of showing them our vision for society. And re-connecting our agenda to it.
We need to remind the American people – and perhaps, too, the Republican Party itself – that the true and proper end of political subsidiarity is social solidarity.
Ours has never been a vision of isolated, atomized loners. It is a vision of husbands and wives; parents and children; neighbors and neighborhoods; volunteers and congregations; bosses and employees; businesses and customers; clubs, teams, groups, associations… and friends.
The essence of human freedom, of civilization itself, is cooperation. This is something conservatives should celebrate. It’s what conservatism is all about. Freedom doesn’t mean “you’re on your own.” It means “we’re all in this together.”
Our vision of American freedom is of two separate but mutually reinforcing institutions: a free enterprise economy and a voluntary civil society. History has shown both of these organic systems to be extremely efficient at delivering goods and services. But these two systems are not good because they work. They work because they are good.
Together, they work for everyone because they impel everyone… to work together. They harness individuals’ self-interest to the common good of the community, and ultimately the nation. They work because in a free market economy and voluntary civil society, whatever your career or your cause, your success depends on your service. The only way to look out for yourself is to look out for those around you. The only way to get ahead is to help other people do the same.
What, exactly, are all those supposedly cut-throat, exploitive businessmen and women competing for? To figure out the best way to help the most people. That’s what the free market does. It rewards people for putting their God-given talents and their own exertions in the service of their neighbors. Whatever money they earn is the wealth they create, value they add to other people’s lives.
No matter who you are or what you’re after, the first question anyone in a free market must ask him or herself is: how can I help? What problems need to be solved? What can I do to improve other people’s lives?
The free market does not allow anyone to take; it impels everyone to give.
The same process works in our voluntary civil society. Conservatives’ commitment to civil society begins, of course, with the family, and the paramount, indispensable institution of marriage. But it doesn’t end there. Just as individuals depend on free enterprise to protect them from economic oppression, familiesdepend on mediating institutions to protect them from social isolation.
That is where the social entrepreneurs of our civil society come in. Just like for-profit businesses, non-profit religious, civic, cultural, and charitable institutions also succeed only to the extent that they serve the needs of the community around them.
Forced to compete for voluntary donations, the most successful mediating institutions in a free civil society are at least as innovative and efficient as profitable companies. If someone wants to make the world a better place, a free civil society requires that he or she do it well.
Social entrepreneurs know that only the best soup kitchens, the best community theater companies, and the best youth soccer leagues – and for that matter, the best conservative think tanks – will survive.
So they serve. They serve their donors by spending their resources wisely. They serve their communities by making them better places to live. And they serve their beneficiaries, by meeting needs together better than they can meet them alone.
Freedom doesn’t divide us. Big government does. It’s big government that turns citizens into supplicants, capitalists into cronies, and cooperative communities into competing special interests.
Freedom, by contrast, unites us. It pulls us together, and aligns our interests. It draws us out of ourselves and into the lives of our friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers. It draws us upward, toward the best version of ourselves.
The free market and civil society are not things more Americans need protection from. They’re things more Americans need access to.
Liberals scoff at all this. They attack free enterprise as a failed theory that privileges the rich, exploits the poor, and threatens the middle class.
But our own history proves the opposite. Free enterprise is the only economic system that does not privilege the rich. Instead it incentivizes them put their wealth to productive use serving other people… or eventually lose it all.
Free enterprise is the greatest weapon against poverty ever conceived by man. If the free market exploits the poor, how do liberals explain how the richest nation in human history mostly descends from immigrants who originally came here with nothing?
Nor does free enterprise threaten the middle class. Free enterprise is what created the middle class in the first place. The free market created the wealth that liberated millions of American families from subsistence farming, opening up opportunities for the pursuit of happiness never known before or since in government-directed economies.
Progressives are equally dismissive of our voluntary civil society. They simply do not trust free individuals and organic communities to look out for each other, or solve problems without supervision.
They think only government – only they – possess the moral enlightenment to do that. To be blunt, elite progressives in Washington don’t really believe in communities at all. No, they believein community organizers. Self-anointed strangers, preferably ones with Ivy League degrees, fashionable ideological grievances, and a political agenda to redress those grievances. For progressives believe the only valid purpose of “community” is to accomplish the agenda of the state.
But we know from our own lives that the true purpose of our communities is instead to accomplisheverything else. To enliven our days. To ennoble our children. To strengthen our families. To unite our neighborhoods. To pursue our happiness, and protect our freedom to do so.
This vision of America conservatives seek is not an Ayn Rand novel. It’s a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie: a society of “plain, ordinary kindness, and a little looking out for the other fellow, too.”
The great obstacle to realizing this vision today is government dysfunction. This is where our vision must inform our agenda. What reforms will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses? For young couples to get married and start new families? And for individuals everywhere to come together to bring to life flourishing new partnerships and communities?
What should government do – and just as important, not do – to allow the free market to create new economic opportunity and to allow civil society to create new social capital? We conservatives are not against government. The free market and civil society depend on a just, transparent, and accountable government to enforce the rule of law.
What we are against are two pervasive problems that grow on government like mold on perfectly good bread: corruption and inefficiency. It is government corruption and inefficiency that today stand between the American people and the economy and society they deserve.
To combat those pathologies, a new conservative reform agenda should center around three basic principles: equality, diversity, and sustainability.
The first and most important of these principles is equality. The only way for the free market and civil society to function… to tie personal success to interpersonal service… to align the interests of the strong and the weak… is to have everyone play by the same rules.
Defying this principle is how our government has always corrupted itself, our free market, and our civil society. In the past, the problem was political discrimination that held the dis-connected down. Today, government’s specialty is dispensing political privileges to prop the well-connected up.
In either case, the corruption is the same: official inequality … twisting the law to deem some people “more equal than others”… making it harder for some to succeed even when they serve, and harder for others to fail even when they don’t. And so we have corporate welfare: big businesses receiving direct and indirect subsidies that smaller companies don’t. We have un-civil society: politicians funding large, well-connected non-profit institutions based on political favoritism rather than merit.
We have venture SOCIALISM: politicians funneling taxpayer money to politically correct businesses that cannot attract real investors. We have regulatory capture: industry leaders influencing the rules governing their sectors to protect their interests and hamstringing innovative challengers.
The first step in a true conservative reform agenda must be to end this kind of preferential policymaking. Beyond simply being the right thing to do, it is a pre-requisite for earning the moral authority and political credibility to do anything else.
Why should the American people trust our ideas about middle-class entitlements… when we’re still propping up big banks? Why should they trust us to fix the tax code while we use their tax dollars to create artificial markets for uncompetitive industries? Why should they trust our vision of a free civil society when we give special privileges to supposed non-profits like Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, agricultural check-off programs, and the Export-Import Bank?
And perhaps most important, why should Americans trust us at all, when too often, we don’t really trust them? When we vote for major legislation… negotiated in secret… without debating it… without evenreading it… deliberately excluding the American people from their own government?
To conservatives, equality needs to mean equality for everyone.
The second principle to guide our agenda is diversity. Or, as you might have heard it called elsewhere: “federalism.” The biggest reason the federal government makes too many mistakes is that it makes too many decisions. Most of these are decisions the federal government doesn’t have to make – and therefore shouldn’t.
Every state in the union has a functioning, constitutional government. And just as important, each state has a unique political and cultural history, with unique traditions, values, and priorities.
Progressives today are fundamentally intolerant of this diversity. They insist on imposing their values on everyone. To them, the fifty states are just another so-called “community” to be “organized,” brought to heel by their betters in Washington.
This flies in the face of the Founders and the Constitution, of course. But it also flies in the face of common sense and experience. The usurpation of state authority is why our national politics is so dysfunctional and rancorous. We expect one institution – the federal government – to set policies that govern the lives of 300 million people, spread across a continent. Of course it’s going to get most of it wrong.
That’s why successful organizations in the free market and civil society are moving in the opposite direction. While government consolidates, businesses delegate and decentralize. While Washington insists it knows everything, effective organizations increasingly rely on diffuse social networks and customizable problem solving.
We should not be surprised that as Washington has assumed greater control over transportation, education, labor, welfare, health care, home mortgage lending, and so much else… all of those increasingly centralized systems are failing.
Conservatives should seize this opportunity not to impose our ideas on these systems, but to crowd-source the solutions to the states. Let the unique perspectives and values of each state craft its own policies, and see what works and what doesn’t.
If Vermont’s pursuit of happiness leads it to want more government, and Utah’s less, who are politicians from the other 48 states to tell them they can’t have it? Would we tolerate this kind of official intolerance in any other part of American life?
A Pew study just last week found that Americans trust their state governments twice as much as the federal government, and their local governments even more. This shouldn’t be a surprise – it should be a hint. State and local governments are more responsive, representative, and accountable than Washington, D.C. It’s time to make them more powerful, too.
In the past, conservatives given federal power have been tempted to overuse it. We must resist this temptation. If we want to be a diverse movement, we must be a tolerant movement.
The price of allowing conservative states to be conservative is allowing liberal states to be liberal. Call it subsidiarity. Call it federalism. Call it constitutionalism. But we must make this fundamental principle of pluralistic diversity a pillar of our agenda.
And that brings us to our third guiding principle.
Once we eliminate policy privilege and restore policy diversity, we can start ensuring policy sustainability. Once the federal government stops doing things it shouldn’t, it can start doing the things it should, better.
That means national defense and intelligence, federal law enforcement and the courts, immigration, intellectual property, and even the senior entitlement programs whose fiscal outlook threatens our future solvency and very survival.
Once we clear unessential policies from the books, federal politicians will no longer be able to hide: from the public, or their constitutional responsibilities. Congress will be forced to work together to reform the problems government has created in our health care system.
We can fundamentally reform and modernize our regulatory system. We will be forced to rescue our senior entitlement programs from bankruptcy. And we can reform our tax system to eliminate the corporate code’s bias in favor of big businesses over small businesses… and the individual code’s bias against saving, investing, and especially against parents, our ultimate investor class.
That is how we turn the federal government’s unsustainable liabilities into sustainable assets.
The bottom line of all of this is that conservatives in that building need to start doing what conservatives in this building already do: think long and hard about what we believe, why we believe it, and most of all, remember to put first things first.
For conservatives, the first thing is not our agenda of political subsidiarity – it’s our vision of social solidarity. It is a vision of society as an interwoven and interdependent network of individuals, families, communities, businesses, churches, formal and informal groups working together to meet each other’s needs and enrich each other’s lives.
It is of a free market economy that grants everyone a “fair chance and an unfettered start in the race of life.” It is of a voluntary civil society that strengthens our communities, protects the vulnerable, and minds the gaps to make sure no one gets left behind. And it is of a just, tolerant, and sustainable federal government that protects and complements free enterprise and civil society, rather than presuming to replace them.
This vision will not realize itself. The Left, the inertia of the status quo, and the entire economy of this city stand arrayed against it. Realizing it will sometimes require conservatives to take on entrenched interests, pet policies, and political third-rails. Many of these will be interests traditionally aligned with – and financially generous to – the establishments of both parties.
And sometimes, it will require us to stand up for those no one else will: the unborn child in the womb, the poor student in the failing school, the reformed father languishing in prison, the single mom trapped in poverty, and the splintering neighborhoods that desperately need them all.
But if we believe this vision is worth the American people being for, it’s worth elected conservatives fighting for. What we are fighting for is not just individual freedom, but the strong, vibrant communities free individuals form. The freedom to earn a good living, and build a good life: that is what conservatives are for.
Thank you very much.
April 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
I would like to hear an answer to this question: Do the rights of women to decide on the birth of their children supersede the rights of U.S. citizens to own guns? Or to put it in Piers Morgan’s words, does the “right of a child not to be blown away” also imply a child’s right not to have its spinal cord severed with scissors as part of a late-term abortion procedure? I’ll get back to that in a second.
Morgan’s charge is nonsense. Of course children—and all people—have a right not to be murdered. We have homicide laws for that very reason. He uses this to suggest that people should not have guns, or at least certain arbitrary categories of guns. This same logic would say that prohibition should be reinstated because people have a right not to be a victim of drunk driving. For that matter, we should ban cars, which killed over 32,000 people in 2011.
The media has been all over this gun issue, to the point of suggesting that photos of the dead Sandy Hook victims should be released in order to stir the nation to tighten gun regulations. But when it comes to the equally disturbing practice of abortion, there is no talk of releasing photos, or even discussing the victims of people like Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who gets paid to “flip the body of the baby over and snip its neck with a pair of scissors to ensure ‘fetal demise.’”
Conservative blog site HotAir has a good take on the story here.
Gosnell is facing a minimum 20 years in prison, and possibly the death penalty. That’s the good news, because his estimated 100 victims did have a right to life—regardless of the parent—and he took it. The bad news is that the media has brushed the story under the rug. If you’ve heard of it before now, it was likely from a conservative source.
The tacit message from those in the media, who are overwhelmingly liberal, is that either the public already agrees with their skewed views of justice, or certain injustices are not worth discussing because they harm the agenda. Likely, it’s both. They believe that the majority is behind them, and certain types of injustice warrant discussion because they fuel the fire of “progress” against those cantankerous old world conservatives.
We are supposed to take immediate action against second amendment liberties because we care about children, but at the same time ignore the infanticide happening right in front of us in the name of individual liberty. There is neither logical nor moral consistency in this argument, unless the goal is not really justice, but ideology.
This shouldn’t be a political issue—indeed, the video below shows that many see this as a form of intentional racial oppression, though I would disagree with that characterization. That blacks are the overwhelming majority of abortion victims is a matter less of design than the realities of extremely high pregnancy rates among blacks. This 20-minute video, produced by the 3801 Lancaster Project, tells the story up to the point of Gosnell’s arrest. The trial has been going for months, with many gruesome new details surfacing. And though clinics like this are operating all over the country, all the media wants to talk about is Sandy Hook and guns.
April 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When I was in high school, I joined a religious student organization. I will never forget one particular conversation in which we were trying to parse out a complex ethical question. After a good deal of struggle and pressure, our faculty advisor finally stepped in to suggest a solution. His comments were helpful, but brief, and he asked us not to tell anyone of his interjection. It was against the law.
Until the last few decades, speaking about faith in public school was common, not controversial: the very small percent of Americans who were not Christians still lived by a Christian-like philosophy of life, and the purpose of schools was much simpler. A system of public education was exactly that—basic education of the general public. Children were taught by their neighbors, parent-teacher associations were the norm, and moral instruction was a part of everyday life wherever children and adults should meet.
Starting in the mid 1900s, education took on a stronger state purpose, and became politicized into a vehicle of social change. In the landmark case Emerson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court provided a new—and misguided—interpretation of the First Amendment. Drawing from one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters, they declared a “strict wall of separation between church and state.” A casual letter from Jefferson, the most atheistic and radical of the founders, is hardly appropriate for such a sweeping interpretation, but nonetheless, this enabled the schoolhouse to be seen as the secular alternative to the community church. It was there that legal debates could be won, traditions challenged and worldviews shaped.
Surely, most of those pushing for change had benign intentions. While there were militant atheists among the ranks, most were simply calling for justice. They believed education could help address racism and close the opportunity gap between blacks and whites. And they were mostly right. But the greater call for equality also took on a project to erase religious “oppression.” If the state can have nothing to do with the church, they argued, then education run by the state can have nothing to do with moral or biblical instruction.In short, public education must be secular education.
When people think of “secular education” they interpret this to mean that it does not push a dogmatic religious perspective. That’s correct, but this does not mean it does not push a perspective or dogma all its own. The question becomes: what is that dogma? The answer: a secular one, of course. There is no God, therefore man has no inherent purpose and there are no eternal or universal values. It is important to understand that secular education does this by default.
When people think of “secular education” they interpret this to mean that it does not push a dogmatic religious perspective. That’s correct, but this does not mean it does not push a perspective or dogma all its own.
Secular education does teach a kind of right and wrong, which is essentially the Golden Rule. And it suffices to an extent, as all major moral philosophies tend to center around its dictum. But while it may be a good rule of manners and basic kindness, it is rather hollow as a coherent and holistic guide to real life.
The public education system has become a 13-year program of secular indoctrination, centered around a concept of “political correctness” by which we are taught never to cast judgment, and never to speak of faith. The vast majority of a public school student’s time is spend in a social environment in which no one acknowledges a divine power, morality is diluted down to simply being nice, and the only eternal truths are math and science. School is where one goes to learn about the world from educated people; where one becomes enlightened. Since no one speaks of religion, it is quickly dismissed from public discourse, and we become comfortable with our silence.
Considering that evenings and weekends are spent in the temples of Hollywood and New York, it is no surprise why our culture has become increasingly unable to express a coherent value system. We talk of human dignity, but glorify pornography. We praise hard work, but demonize the success. We speak of humility and sacrifice, but worship abusive celebrities. Our comedy is more degrading, our drama is more sexualized and our family sitcoms are a thing of the past.
If I may digress for a moment, did anyone catch the Oscars this year? If not, you missed Seth MacFarlane’s stellar performance of We Saw Your Boobs. Yes, in this little number, Macfarlane sings about all of the women who have bared all for their art. Certainly, this is what the women had in mind when they created these films. Surely, they appreciate someone of their own echelon admitting to the world that it’s not really art, just a little light pornography so males have a reason to watch, and we all know it, so we may as well laugh about it. Watch the video of the song here, and pay special attention to the faces of the women as they are mentioned. What is that? Betrayal? Humiliation? Disgust at Macfarlane’s cheap and degrading idea of entertainment at their expense? This kind of mindless and self-absorbed garbage is what comedy has become.
What’s so wrong with a guy jumping on stage in a tux and singing about boobs at an awards ceremony?
Ok, back to education. What’s so wrong with a guy jumping on stage in a tux and singing about boobs at an awards ceremony? A lot, really. But how would we know? If public schools teach us that girls are really no different than us, why shouldn’t we just treat them like one of the guys? And if there’s nothing especially sacred about nudity, sex or marriage, why can’t we have fun with it all? If life is about having a good time and sharing a few laughs before we die, aren’t people just being uptight for no reason? Why can’t we sing about boobs at an awards ceremony, or a wedding reception for that matter?
The Victorian era was all about manners and decorum. To the extent that a person’s worth was wrapped up in shallow outward appearances, it is good that we broke free. And the unprecedented rights and opportunities available to men and women of all races in America is a testament to a truly great nation. But in pursuit of political correctness we lost something important. Today, people are less confident in their faith, and place less value in marriage and parenthood. They remain like children in many respects well into their twenties, and mock the traditions of their grandparents. Yet, they still yearn for community, belonging and purpose.
We are in desperate need of a moral renaissance in education, and we are seeing it emerge in private, charter and home-based schools. People are recognizing that we have failed generations. In order to embrace perfect equality, our public school system had to forgo casting judgment; treating all things as deserving equal respect. Intentionally or not, it marginalized religion and debased humanity. We no longer have the language of truth, and have therefore lost the definition of goodness and beauty.
April 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In case you missed it, read my post at Values and Capitalism on 3D printing HERE. Moral of the story: creation always outpaces consumption. Hollywood commonly depicts humanity as a virus that constantly feeds on resources until they are used up. People say we must cut back in order to survive. It’s not a new idea, but it is a debunked one. We are limited only by our lack of imagination and faith in the creative power of human beings.
January 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, wrote an excellent book on what he calls “Conscious Capitalism.” I wrote up a book review at ValuesAndCapitalism.com, which received notice by The Mercatus Center, the Marketplace Institute, and The Transom, among others. Go read the review here. Then buy the book.
January 10, 2013 § 3 Comments
Studies consistently show that violence and gun-related crimes in America are at their lowest point in decades. Furthermore, there is no reliable evidence that stricter gun laws do anything to reduce murder rates. Many argue that relaxed gun laws make us safer. Yet, here we are having a tense national debate about gun regulations, as if Congress had nothing else to do. This is the part of politics that makes me want to throw my hands up and walk away. But whether I do or not, the conversation will continue. I may as well give my perspective.
The rage against guns is primarily driven by emotions and naive assumptions. This is how we tie ourselves down with absurd laws: a tragedy occurs, people demand solutions, and it doesn’t matter whether they make sense or whether they are constitutional. Let me take on the second point first.
The full text of the Second Amendment is thus: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
People have been debating the meaning of that for many decades. Anti-gun groups point to the “well-regulated militia” part to suggest that this refers only to military soldiers. But if you understand the social and historical context of the American revolution and founding, you know that interpretation doesn’t fit. The American revolution depended entirely on non-uniformed British civilians having weapons. Where do militias come from in the first place? Certainly not just the government. If that were so, an explicit limit upon government powers would not be necessary.
As with nearly everything in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment was intended to protect “the people” from their government. Peirs Morgan may have a hard time understanding it, but tyranny and civil wars will continue to happen among advanced nations in the modern world—probably not in our lifetime, but its an eventual certainty. Gun control is a slippery slope that has historically led to devastating outcomes in the long-term.
The right interpretation of the amendment is something like this: To remain free, the people must have the right to maintain sufficient defense as to constitute a threat to a potentially tyrannical government.
Some say this interpretation would imply that people could own nuclear weapons. That’s a theoretical supposition that has no bearing on reality, as no one could afford one, and no one would dare put themselves in such a standoff with the federal government—not to mention their neighbors.
Aside from constitutionality, there is the argument that more guns in a society leads to more deaths. It just doesn’t hold up to the data.
But in the name of safety and the false perception that guns are becoming a major problem, many people are just unwilling to let this one go. The debate has turned into an argument over how many bullets should be legal, how much damage they should be able to cause, and how fast someone should be able to shoot them.
Conservatives who want to protect constitutional freedoms, genuine self defense, and common sense policy are being made out as heartless jingoes.
Obama and those who share his views are suggesting that limiting guns to very basic needs for hunting and self defense is a reasonable and moderate position. But “reasonable” depends on the situation. Is ten bullets enough if I’m attacked by several people? Do I want more than a small handgun if I’m in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, or in LA during the Rodney King riots? Is it enough if my government decides I am an enemy? I have no desire to ever shoot anyone, but if my family is ever threatened, I want to have the upper hand.
The right to own the means of defense is a basic right. It is listed in the Bill of Rights immediately after the freedom of religion, speech and assembly. Even if we ignored that and simply based policy on what makes sense, we would still be better off letting responsible citizens carry weapons.
Greater oversight on background checks for criminal records or mental instability are fine with me. I think there’s common ground there, but this president has never been about common ground. He will, as usual, make this a divisive topic and demonize those who disagree with him.
December 17, 2012 § 3 Comments
What happened in Newton several days ago was a horrible and sickening tragedy. I pray for the families and their community.
Given the recent mass shootings, one would get the impression that our nation has been experiencing a sharp rise in gun violence, or violence in general. Fortunately, that’s not true—violent crime has steadily decreased over the last 30 or so years—but it hasn’t stopped the increase in stricter rules, more pat-downs, and uneasy minds. And it hasn’t prevented the national media and some lawmakers from exuberantly passing around accusations and solutions. They are very happy to claim the sky is falling and that they have the answer. We should resist such a reaction.
I strongly encourage you to read Robert Tracinski’s excellent piece on this subject, warning Americans to act responsibly in the face of such tragedy, instead of making it worse. You can read it here.