Wednesday, 01 August 2012

Proposal: Force Citizens to Own Guns

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When people such as Little Big Gulp Bloomberg propose some new nanny-state law, they often express the hope that “it will become a model for the nation.” But forget about aping sprawling metropolises such as the Big Apple or San Francisco if you want to increase public well-being. There is a better locality to copy: Kennesaw, Georgia.

I propose that we take one of its laws nationwide and require every law-abiding citizen to own a gun. After all, studies have shown that the deterrent criminals fear most is that of an armed prospective victim. And as the apocryphal saying goes, “The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference.”

Yet I’ll go even further and propose that we also eliminate many of the gun-control laws in existence. And since they number in the thousands, it shouldn’t be hard to pare them down by at least 50 percent. Isn’t this the least we could do in the name of increasing freedom and people’s capacity to defend themselves?

Of course, I wouldn’t expect the above to garner much support from the Left; in fact, I’m sure they’d howl. So I’ll tell you what, my liberal friends. If you come to the bargaining table and are willing to compromise, I may settle for the implementation of only a small part of my proposal. And if you really play your cards right, I may agree to keep the laws just the same as they are right now — for the moment, anyway.

Does anyone see what I just did there?

Please now entertain a rhetorical question: Who is it that inspires change, those who propose it or those who don’t? Okay, now, who proposes the change in our society, the liberals or the conservatives? Since we know the answer, I’ll lastly ask: Is it any wonder, then, that all the change we experience pulls us toward the “left”?

My above “proposal” was an exercise. I simply approached the Left the way it always does the Right: with a demand for change that is to be viewed as the new default, with the assumption that a refusal to assent to at least part of it means you’re an “obstructionist.” (For the record, I don’t believe in forcing people to purchase things they don’t want, even if it isn’t healthcare; I do believe in eliminating many gun-control laws, though.)

And how often do we hear this from the Left? People who won’t play the game aren’t credited, as they once were, for being stalwart defenders of tradition; instead, they’re unreasonable, unfair, and uncompromising. They won’t “reach across the aisle,” or they are the “party of ‘No.’” What’s forgotten is that saying yes means being seduced out of ever more freedom with every dark tryst.

Here is a good analogy: Imagine that you inhabit a large nation called Ytrebil. One day an armed horde — a truly alien people known as Slarebil — comes along spoiling for a fight, demanding some of your land. So you put up some resistance but, ultimately, decide that appeasing them by ceding some territory is preferable to warfare. But then something happens. They come back and demand more land next year, and the next, and the next, and the next. And each time, being the reasonable, fair, aisle-reaching, affirmative-lip-action compromiser you are, you cede a little more territory just to keep the peace. The end result of this process, though, is that eventually you won’t even have a piece left.

This gets at the problem of “conservatism.” It is defensive in nature, being concerned with conserving the status quo, but never builds its ramparts high enough to be unscalable or wields its sword boldly enough to slay those who would breach its walls. Liberals ever return to the bargaining table asking for more laws, mandates, regulations or programs, and conservatives are always “reasonable.” In a given instance, this may mean giving the Left only 50, 30, 15, or even just 10 percent of what it demands, but it doesn’t matter. It could be one percent. The end result is the same: After enough time, the Left has everything it wants.

How this bodes for liberty should be obvious. Since a law, regulation, or mandate is by definition the removal of a freedom, and since we continually agree to the creation of more such measures but hardly ever rescind any, every year we are less and less free. It’s called compromising our way to tyranny.

Of course, it would be naïve to think that merely meeting liberal proposals with traditionalist ones is enough to stem the loss of territory. Obviously, as long as the Left retains control of the culture — the media, entertainment, and academia—it will be able to mold thinking and create ever more foot soldiers for its cause. And proposals don’t mean much if you don’t have the votes to pass them. So what can be done to remedy this compromise disorder? Well, this answer will surprise you.

We need to take a lesson from those who make failure to compromise an art form: Muslims.

Did you ever wonder why Muslims are so uncompromising that they regularly extract concessions from Western countries in which they reside? It’s the same reason why orthodox Jews, truly devout Catholics, or any absolutist is uncompromising: They consider their beliefs to have a basis in something beyond themselves that is universal, unchanging, and eternal — namely, Truth. Sure, different absolutists may have different conceptions of it, they may be right or wrong, but if you consider your beliefs rooted in the unbending, you won’t bend on them.

In contrast, the malleable modern man is awash in moral relativism, the notion that what we call “morality” is just a matter of preference. In other words, it doesn’t really exist; it’s ultimately a question of taste, not Truth. And when divorced from that eternal yardstick and rooted only to the rootless — feelings, fads, furors, or fool notions — everything is negotiable. Being reasonable, however, is no substitute for being right.


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