You gotta give Josh Horwitz [above] props. The Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence‘s anti-gun polemic in the Huffington Post is the worst case of exactly backwards misinformation I’ve ever read. And I bet he knows it. Oh Ye of Little Faith: The Pro-Gun Movement’s Total Disregard for Our Constitution is so absurd I can only conclude that he wrote it just to tweak gun rights advocates’ nipples. Start with this: “Nugent’s remarks [about the whole world sucking and America sucking less] got me thinking about a seldom discussed but critical aspect of the modern pro-gun movement: Its total lack of faith in the system of government established by our Founders in the U.S. Constitution.” Total? Maybe, maybe not. Needless to say, it gets worse . . .
It is that profound lack of faith — more than anything — that is responsible for the insurrectionist ideology (“Second Amendment remedies”) that fuels the movement.
Pro-gun leaders like NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre would have us believe that “the guys with the guns make the rules” in our democracy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, our Founders ratified the Constitution to obviate the need for political violence.
Violence against . . . whom?
Believe it or not, I’m thinking what Horwitz is thinking: the U.S. Constitution was created to remove the need for “political violence.” Provided the violence in question is violence against the people by the government. Like, say Stalin’s purges. Or the Cambodian killing fields. Etc.
If, however, the CSGV jefe thinks the Founding Fathers designed the United States Constitution to stop/prevent/remove the need for violence between political parties or, indeed Americans, I’ve got two words for him: Civil War. How’d that work out for ya?
C’mon. Does Horwitz not realize that “the guys with the guns” making the rules in the U.S. are armed citizens, whose right to keep and bear arms is protected by the Constitution? Maybe not. But I’ve got to believe that no one could seriously suggest the following:
The Founders were telling the world that this brilliant new system of government — this social compact — would secure individual rights on a scale previously unknown in the civilized world. They protected liberty not by creating a libertarian society where every citizen was in it solely for himself, but by establishing a strong, energetic government and stressing civic responsibility.
Which Founding Father believed in a strong energetic government? Name one member of our nation’s founders who didn’t fear the government. But don’t take my word for it Josh. Read the Constitution. The document is all about limiting the government, not energizing it to protect the people.
And while we’re at it, what part of “liberty” couldn’t Mr. Horwitz find in the word “libertarian”? As I said, the gun grabber has it exactly backwards.
Furthermore, what spurred the drafting of the Constitution was a fear that “licentiousness” — freedom taken to excess — was the greatest threat to individual liberty!
Huh? With that kind of baseless “logic” it’s only a matter of time before Horwitz evokes Godwin’s Law:
Perhaps most disturbing are the [NRA’s] endless attempts to conflate our constitutional republic with some of the most brutal and inhumane dictatorships in human history (try Googling “gun control Hitler” sometime). Recently, when my organization, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, asked National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) General Counsel Larry Keane if he felt that individual Americans had a right to shoot and kill government officials in response to what they personally perceived as “tyranny,” Keane tweeted back at us plaintively, “Just like the Jews in the ghettos of Warsaw? The South Sudanese? Kurds? The American colonists?”
Notice the words “personally perceive” insinuated into Horwitz’s question and the word tyranny in quotes. He’s implying that American gun owners are trigger happy gun nuts just looking for an excuse to engage in armed insurrection. And ignoring the obvious indeed unavoidable link between gun control and mass murder.
Keane makes an important, but unintended, point. Countries that kill their own citizens are not democracies. As political scientist R.J. Rummel noted in his 1997 book, Power Kills: Democracy as a Method of Nonviolence, nations with strong democratic institutions do not murder their own citizens.
Note: it’s not the existence of democratic institutions that protects citizens from murder. It’s their strength. If they fail, they weren’t strong. Ipso facto. In other words, it can’t happen here.
Unless it does. Like it did in Germany. Where millions of Jews (not to mention gypsies, gays, communists and just plain folks) were disarmed and then slaughtered. How reassuring is that? Almost as reassuring as Horwitz’s reply to the NRA’s assertion that he’s dangerous naive and more than a little deluded.
It wasn’t my fantasy that the “constructs of government… could keep the brutality of the world at bay.” It was the fantasy of our Founders who traveled to Philadelphia in May of 1787 to correct the deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation and establish a new system of government that could “insure domestic tranquility” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” And while the NRA and the pro-gun movement might have absolutely no faith in their wisdom and foresight, most Americans still do.
One thing: the Preamble to the United States Constitution, the bit that talks about the Founding Fathers’ desire to “insure domestic Tranquility,” doesn’t assign powers to the federal government. Thank God for that.
And thank God for the Second Amendment, whose meaning couldn’t be any clearer. For anyone with an ounce of intellectual vigor or, to steal a phrase from gun grabbers like Mr. Horwitz, an ounce of common sense.