Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was a liberal Democrat’s fantasy. In this fourth and final installment of the film franchise launched by Richard Donner, Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel rids the planet of all of its nuclear weapons by rounding them up and launching them into the heart of the sun. The nations of the Earth rejoice as a new era of world peace begins.
Superman thinks about nuclear weapons the way liberals think about nuclear weapons and guns: If we get rid of them both, we get rid of the death and violence of which they are the “cause.”
To President Obama and his fellow partisans who are now itching to add ever-stricter “gun control” measures to the mountain of such laws that are already on the books, I propose that we follow their logic all of the way through and aim to divest everyone of access to guns.
For years, those on the left have mocked their opponents who have insisted that it isn’t guns, but people, that “kill.” But if this is so, then not only should we seek to prevent the average law-abiding citizen from bearing arms. Police officers and secret service members, soldiers and professional bodyguards, should be prevented from doing so as well.
The heart of logic is consistency.
Yet it isn’t just formal consistency that is at stake here. There is also the issue of fairness.
The concept of a “state of nature” figures prominently in “the social contract” strain of the liberal tradition. According to this approach, (government-) organized society is like a contract. As long as its members consent to its terms, it is legitimate. The biggest non-negotiable of such terms is the demand that in signing on to society, so to speak, individuals agree to abandon the right to be judge, jury, and executioner that belongs to them in “the state of nature” when each is on his own.
In spite of their many differences, all of the great social contract theorists agree that unless individuals were willing to forfeit or delegate this right, there could be no state or society. This is a cost to being a member of society, for it makes the task of self-defense more difficult than it otherwise would be in a state of nature.
But it is a cost that everyone must be willing to pay if they want to reap the benefits to be had from living in society.
However, in our society, not everyone is willing to shoulder this burden of self-restraint.
Namely, the privileged, society’s top one percent especially, have escaped paying their fair share of this burden that has been unequally distributed among the remaining 99 percent. Worst, it is the top one percent — like President Obama and his allies in government and Big Media — who seek to make the burden all that much heavier while doing nothing to lift a finger to chip in.
Obama is not paying his fair share.
Neither are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo paying their fair share.
Obama, Bloomberg, and Cuomo don’t have to worry about their homes being burglarized. They don’t have to worry about their children’s schools being shot up by a demented gunman. They don’t have to worry about being physically assaulted on the street or in a crowded movie theater.
They and the rest of the one percent, whether its members are politicians or celebrities, have abundant access to armed bodyguards and security of various sorts. The 99 percent have no such resources. Because they have only their own guns to rely upon, the latter are already at a disadvantage relative to the former. There is no level playing field here. But Obama and his ilk in the 1 percent want to disadvantage the disadvantaged even further by making it that much more difficult for them to defend themselves.
We are in dire need of a dramatic redistribution of goods and burdens. Such a scheme demands that Obama and the one percent make the same “sacrifice” that they are now demanding of the 99 percent and, thus, drastically reduce, if not altogether abandon, the firepower currently at their fingertips.
Of course, not for a moment will they consider this. There is, though, another option of which lovers of equality and fairness can avail themselves: Obama and the one percent can remedy the unequal distribution of burdens that they have imposed upon the backs of the 99 percent by removing the obstacles to self-defense that they continue to throw up.
After all, nothing says equality like a gun. With a firearm, the weakest and smallest can topple the strongest and largest without breaking a sweat.
Unfortunately, there is about as much of a chance that Obama and company will consider this possibility as there is that they will consider the first.