I’ve never been much of a movie-goer.
Part of it is that for much of my childhood – the part where real movie addicts got “going to the theater” in their blood – my hometown didn’t even have a theater. There were always other things to do.
Part of it is that I spend so very little time in front of the TV watching things – and while I spend plenty of time in front of the computer, it’s almost always writing, either for work or, well, this. The rare times I sit still and try to just consume, I usually fall asleep.
So the list of great movies I’ve never seen, or seen parts of, but not in sequence, or not the the whole thing, is a very long one.
One of them, until this past weekend, had been Schindler’s List. Believe it or not.
But it was on FX on Saturday night. And I took a rare night of doing nothing, and chugged a Red Bull and watched the whole thing.
Never seen it? Don’t go in on a night when you’re feeling down on the human race. Here’s the scene where the Nazis decide to ship the Jews out of the Krakow Ghetto:
It gets worse, and more depressing.
It’s because humanity, at its core, is rotten. That fact is at the core of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and it’s been proven in the absolute human absence of that worldview, which was one way you could describe the Holocaust.
How to describe humanity? I’ll leave it – partly for a little comic relief – to one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Dr. Perry Cox:
With that in mind, what actually separates us – the United State of America – from what you saw in the video above?
Two centuries of small-“l” liberal democracy? Sure.
A legal system that, at the moment, works? You bet.
But Germany was a western country. It was part of Western Civilization; the home of Bach, Händel, Schubert, Einstein (speaking culturally, not in terms of borders), Kafka, Beethoven. Not a “liberal democracy”, necessarily, by the time Hitler took office – Germany had suffered some very hard times.
And that’s the point.
It took a bad outcome to a war, and a decade and a half of economic misery to turn what was one of the wealthiest, most educated “first world” nations, the culture of Mozart and Schubert, into the stormtroopers. It took a demigogue at the head of a mass movement, one who tapped into long-standing cultural antipathies toward a cultural boogeyman at an opportune time, to turn the nation of Göthe into the nation of Amon Göth:
Has our Democracy ever been threatened with this?
No – leaving out all of history’s imponderable “what ifs“, we have not.
And how do we assure it stays that way?
You really have two options:
Have faith that government will always stay good. Or at least “not evil”. That judges and courts and laws and tradition will always hamstring not only the tyrants and murderers, but the tyrants who are murderers. That, irreducibly, means trusting to human nature. And it can, hypothetically, work. And it can, hypothetically, fail miserably.
But that is the leap of faith that Second Amendment opponents like Alice Hausman and Heather Martens and Rahm Emanuel want you, The People, to take.
The other option?
Make sure the people – no, The People – are equipped to make certain government stays on the straight and narrow. Make sure the people have not only the right to tell the government “you’re getting out of bounds”, but the ability to enforce it.
Want to see what the Second Amendment is about? This is it. Preventing what you see in Schindler’s List – preventing government from turning on the people, from metastasizing into a self-sustaining engine of evil.
That is the choice; trust in human nature’s desire to curb its worst aspects, or counterbalance it with sheer numbers.
I’m not saying the likes of Alice Hausman and Heather Martens are depraved totalitarians.
I am saying that depraved totalitarians need a society full of Hausmans and Martenses and Bidens and Emanuels and Michael Paymars, people more willing to empower government in spite of knowing the failings of human nature than they are to trust The People, to have a shot.
And that’s why some of us fight for the Second Amendment.