I’ve been saying for close to twenty years that gun control is the debate that tips the hard left’s hand on civil liberties. While Democrats have claimed to be the party of the little guy for the past eighty years, gun control was always the debate where the Democrats lined up with the “elites” against the peasants – and, as Glenn Reynolds notes, where the peasants organized themselves over the course of the past fifteen years and beat the “elites”. And beat them so thoroughly that most of the Democratic Party has abandoned the issue.
Is it symptomatic that we’re seeing what may be the first Daily Kos diary on trying to make guns a liberal issue?
Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies [Although they usually don’t – Ed]. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.
Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms.
When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check rational thought at the door. They dismiss approximately 40% of American households that own one or more guns, and those who fight to protect the Second Amendment, as “gun nuts.” [I believe the term was “bitter, gun-clinging Jeebus freaks”, or something to that effect – Ed.] They argue for greater restrictions. And they pursue these policies at the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise vote for Democrats.
And there the writer is correct. The 1994 Republican landslide was as much a reaction to the 1994 Crime Bill as to Hillarycare. In Minnesota, it’s a better-than-fair guess that Rod Grams beat Ann Wynia for the Senate seat because of the backlash over the Crime Bill and the organization of Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement.
And they do so in a way that is wholly inconsistent with their approach to all of our other civil liberties.
Those who fight against Second Amendment rights cite statistics about gun violence, as if such numbers are evidence enough that our rights should be restricted. But Chicago and Washington DC, the two cities from which came the most recent Supreme Court decisions on Second Amendment rights, had some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, and also some of the highest rates of violent crime. Clearly, such restrictions do not correlate with preventing crime.
It’d be unseemly to say “I told you so” to someone who is agreeing with me…
So rather than continuing to fight for greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights, it is time for liberals to defend Second Amendment rights as vigorously as they fight to protect all of our other rights. Because it is by fighting to protect each right that we protect all rights.
The obvious answer, of course, is that while grass-roots idealistic “liberals” may indeed be about “fighting to protect all rights”, the overall high-level goal of the movement is to empower government. And while having the peasants running around making statues of the Virgin Mary out of elephant dung doesn’t infringe government power, a bunch of citizens with guns does.
Atypically of a Kos kolumn, it’s worth a read; well-reasoned enough to have been written by a conservative on the issue.
Typically for a Kos kolumn, the commenters largely belie the notion that the hard left has learned to think on this issue.