The forces arrayed against our civil rights are starting to recognize that a single, all-encompassing legal win against the right to keep and bear arms in Congress or the judiciary is just not in the cards for now. So they push in areas where they believe the terrain is favorable for a win — places such as the media and academia. This strategy was explained in a December 2013 article in the old New Republic, which breathlessly mentioned gun banners in the same (virtual) breath as people who protested Apartheid-era South Africa, the tobacco industry, and the fossil fuel industry. They showed surprising restraint in leaving out human chattel slavery, though that may be because those who fight against slavery have often found it advisable to keep firearms and other weapons handy . . .
Anyway, they’re finding that these days, even in the soft underbelly of American politics, a win for their side isn’t guaranteed. The Boston University Board of Trustees recently rejected a proposal to divest from civilian market firearms manufacturers pushed by BU’s own Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ASCRI).
ASCRI’s proposal was to “prohibit new and divest of any existing direct investments in civilian firearm manufacturers until, in the University’s judgment, a level of state and/or federal regulatory control over firearm sale and/or ownership is achieved that merits repeal of this policy….” The Board of Trustees “did not find the ‘overwhelming consensus’ required to support the proposal,” and referred it to its Executive Committee, “which determined that it should not be adopted.”
It’s always nice to see an unexpected win like this especially given Boston U’s own general positions on armed self defense on its campus. But what has me scratching my head is that ASCRI’s proposal specifically targeted manufacturers who make firearms for civilians.
I suppose any involvement Boston University might have with manufacturers of weapons systems from large defense contractors like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, or General Dynamics is okay with people who advocate ‘socially responsible investing’ I mention those companies specifically, because ASCRI does so in their own brief on the subject, which can be found here at slide two.
Not that they I think they should divest from companies such as those, but it would at least allow me to offer them a little respect for intellectual integrity. If you want to claim, a la Lorenzo “LSD” St. DuBois, that if everybody in the world today had a flower instead of a gun, there would be no wars…fine. We can have that conversation because we’re at least being honest with each other.
But to say, “Gosh, it’s socially irresponsible to make handguns and sell them to average people who are just looking to protect themselves and their families and maybe have a little fun at the shooting range. But all you manufacturers of fuel-air explosives, drones, and stand-off missiles, you guys are great – keep being awesome!”… well, isn’t something a little out of balance here?
Let me pose this question to ASCRI members: How is it that an organization dedicated to “socially responsible” investing can argue that civilian firearms manufacturers are somehow more of a scourge on humanity than manufacturers of weapons for the military and other government security services?
Was this just a simple matter of elitists treating average citizens as a peons, undeserving of respect for their basic rights, especially when one could pose as “socially responsible” while doing so?