Gun, Liberty, and the Second Amendment

I was in a discussion over the weekend with some Brits, on the shooting in Florida, and of course, gun control came up. Well not actually gun control, which consists of hitting what you’re shooting at, but the right to possess small arms and ammunition. It got a little heated, when their somewhat suppressed anti-Americanism showed up, but you’d have been proud of me, I didn’t even swear, nor did I lose my poor opinion of them that I already had. In any case…

Yesterday, John Hinderaker, over at PowerLine recalled a piece on the subject by English/American Charles W. Cooke from National Review in 2015. It’s a good one, here are some excerpts.

As John says, Coke notes that talk is cheap and encourages them to get on with it and repeal the second amendment.

[H]ere’s the million-dollar question: What the hell are they waiting for? Go on, chaps. Bloody well do it.
***
Man up. Put together a plan, and take those words out of the Constitution.

This will involve hard work, of course. You can’t just sit online and preen to those who already agree with you. No siree. Instead, you’ll have to go around the states — traveling and preaching until the soles of your shoes are thin as paper. You’ll have to lobby Congress, over and over and over again. You’ll have to make ads and shake hands and twist arms and cut deals and suffer all the slings and arrows that will be thrown in your direction. You’ll have to tell anybody who will listen to you that they need to support you; that if they disagree, they’re childish and beholden to the “gun lobby”; that they don’t care enough about children; that their reverence for the Founders is mistaken; that they have blood on their goddamn hands; that they want to own firearms only because their penises are small and they’re not “real men.” And remember, you can’t half-ass it this time. You’re not going out there to tell these people that you want “reform” or that “enough is enough.” You’re going there to solicit their support for removing one of the articles within the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake: It’ll be unpleasant strolling into Pittsburgh or Youngstown or Pueblo and telling blue-collar Democrat after blue-collar Democrat that he only has his guns because he’s not as well endowed as he’d like to be. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. So do it. Start now. Off you go.

And don’t stop there. No, no. There’ll still be a lot of work to be done. As anybody with a passing understanding of America’s constitutional system knows, repealing the Second Amendment won’t in and of itself lead to the end of gun ownership in America. Rather, it will merely free up the federal government to regulate the area, should it wish to do so. Next, you’ll need to craft the laws that bring about change — think of them as modern Volstead Acts — and you’ll need to get them past the opposition. And, if the federal government doesn’t immediately go the whole hog, you’ll need to replicate your efforts in the states, too, 45 of which have their own constitutional protections. Maybe New Jersey and California will go quietly. Maybe. But Idaho won’t. Louisiana won’t. Kentucky won’t. Maine won’t. You’ll need to persuade those sovereignties not to sue and drag their heels, but to do what’s right as defined by you. Unfortunately, that won’t involve vague talk of holding “national conversations” and “doing something” and “fighting back against the NRA.” It’ll mean going to all sorts of groups — unions, churches, PTAs, political meetings, bowling leagues — and telling them not that you want “common-sense reforms,” but that you want their guns, as in Australia or Britain or Japan.

Keep reading, it’s all good. Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has some thought as well.

Every time there is a school shooting or some other high-profile act of violence involving a gun (this time at a school in Florida), everybody pretends that America has never before bothered to consider the tradeoff between liberty and security — and that we haven’t long ago settled the debate on the side of liberty.

There are, after all, a great many ills that could seemingly be solved by placing every person and every aspect of life under the control of government overseers who would manage us for our own good. But most of us realize that such a life would be psychologically intolerable, utterly impossible to implement, and would expose us to the far greater evils that come from an overbearing government, whether through official incompetence or outright malevolence. So we have decided to brave the risks and uncertainties of a free society rather than long for the illusory security of an all-powerful state.

In my experience, the only people who actually think this way are the ones who (likely wrongly) think they’ll be the overseers, which should tell you all you need to know.

It also turns out that, as with the usual gun control measures proposed after a shooting, this one was not necessary to stop it. The FBI had received not one but two tips that the killer was planning a school shooting but failed to follow up. Remember what I was saying earlier about the limitations of relying on government, with all its ineptitude, to guarantee our safety.

Besides, if it’s a matter of balancing liberty versus security, we should remember that we are probably more secure now than we have ever been. Crime is down. The homicide rate remains at or near historic lows. The number of people murdered specifically by means of a gun is lower than it is has been in decades.

So because the authorities (mostly the FBI) have been ineffective at providing us security for the last decade, we should give them more power? I don’t think so. I too vote for liberty over security, not least because as an American, I can provide a fair amount of my own security.

By the way, outside of a few losers, I had lots of British support in that discussion. Good many of them think now just as we do, as was true in 1776, of course. They’ve watched as their government has usurped more power than is warranted, and they are not enthused. And that is why they got Brexit, now to hold it.

 

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

5 Responses to Gun, Liberty, and the Second Amendment

  1. Yes, generally the Left/Right Divide is alive and well also in Britain! The great bane of liberalism exists deeply in both Continental Europe as well as Britain and the British. But America is also under this great battle of modernity & postmodernity, it will take us to The End I am afraid!

    Like

  2. the unit says:

    That’s a nice long recipe telling the left how they have the freedom and liberty to go about it.
    I’ll say it simple by borrowing a headline from a HuffPost article in ’07. “What Is It About No That You Don’t Understand?”
    There, saved them from wasting their time on a foolish endeavor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Freedom is not just for the conservative, but for all who value choice, whether they realize it or not! Sadly we see much more of the idea of Determinism from modernity, see both the materialistic systems of Thomas Hobbes and Benedict Spinoza. And as we have today, with both political and ethical theorizing, which is so much the essence of liberalism!

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        Quite so, and I fear a Hobbesian outcome.

        Like

    • NEO says:

      Quite so! I do believe my mom used that construction on occasion! 🙂

      Like

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