The New York Times, to nobody’s surprise, is all-in to assist its progressive compatriots in using every tragedy involving guns to strip away the core individual right to bear arms. The op-ed pages and website , have, once again, become an oppressive barrage of anti-gun fanaticism and disinformation. Take this morning, for example. There is Timothy Eagan’s claim that the Second Amendment is a “cancer in the Constitution.” “The Second Amendment,” he writes, in the process of declaring the individual right enshrined in the Amendment abd confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court as null and void, “as applied in the last 30 years or so, has become so perverted, twisted and misused that you have to see it now as the second original sin in the founding of this country, after slavery.”
Other aspects of American ideals, traditions, values and cultures that Eagan’s allies on the Left also consider cancers would include, I imagine, the Electoral College, Due Process (see: the Obama Education Department’s now defunct “Dear Colleague” letter), Freedom of Speech (“Hate speech kills!”), Freedom of Religion, Equal Protection, the Commerce Clause and, of course, the requirement that impeachment has to be based on a substantive crime. We get it, Tim: the Constitution is an infuriating roadblock to turning the U.S. and its culture into a clone of Sweden.
Then there is David Brooks, once the token conservative among the Times otherwise leftist columnists until his brain was removed while he slept and thoroughly washed. In today’s exhibit of Brooksian pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook, he bemoans “the left’s massive failure to persuade.” (The failure to persuade in this case is based on an escalating failure to be honest, vilifying adversaries, and the fact that the left’s strategy is based on emotion a biased presumption that the right to bear arms is “a cancer on the Constitution.”) Brooks also begins with that assumption, but as usual buries his motives in false objectivity: he writes, for example,
“The research doesn’t overwhelmingly support either side. Gun control proposals don’t seriously impinge freedom; on the other hand, there’s not much evidence that they would prevent many attacks.”
Then he declares the controversy an “epiphenomenon”—I think I know what that means, but I don’t trust writers who use words like that—to end with,
“Today we need another grand synthesis that can move us beyond the current divide, a synthesis that is neither redneck nor hipster but draws from both worlds to create a new social vision. Progress on guns will be possible when the culture war subsides, but not before.”
Brooks began with the presumption that “progress on guns” means acceptance of the anti-gun position on guns. Of course he did.
The day before, the New York Times’s new token conservative columnist had thrilled the anti-gun Left with his latest column, ‘Repeal the Second Amendment.
He deserves credit in one respect: unlike his liberal colleagues who would kill the individual right to gun ownership by incremental cuts, at least Stephens is honest. His arguments, however, are lazy and shallow. Indeed, the entire piece reads like clickbait , or perhaps something written with an editor’s gun—well, crossbow—at his head.
He writes, “From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder. “States with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides,” noted one exhaustive 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health.” This is a fake and misleading stat arrived at by including suicides among actual murders. Since 1990, the homicide rate has dropped like stone while gun ownership has risen. “More guns mean more murder” is not even a defensible opinion; it certainly isn’t fact. He should have checked with David Brooks on that.
The whole essay is like this, however, He begins by writing, “I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment.” It’s not a “fetish,” and it’s not intrinsically conservative. Belief in the Second Amendment springs from a commitment to individual liberty and inherent suspicion and distrust of expanding governmental power that insists that only the State, and not the citizens it is supposed to serve, should possess deadly force.
In a terrific rebuttal in The Federalist, David Harsanyi writes, “As an American-Jew whose ancestors came here escaping both Nazism and communism, I totally ‘get’ the Second Amendment ‘fetishists.’And when I read columns like the one Stephens wrote today, I definitely get it.” For Stephens’ argument reduces to “Resistance is futile”–Come on, he asks, how are a bunch of pathetic citizen gun owners going to resist the government? Better to just submit: I swear, we can trust these people! I work with them every day! They only want the best for everyone!” Stephens writes like he has Stockholm Syndrome.
Maybe he does. Despite the fact that Stephens “never” understood why the Second Amendment, Ed Driscoll tracked down this tweet by the columnist before he abducted from the Wall Street Journal and Winston Smithed by his Dark Masters at the Times:
Strange: he seemed to understand the importance of self-defense, self-reliance and the deterrence factor of firearms then. Maybe that’s why his arguments now are so poor. Writes Hrasanyi, reading my mind while I read the Times column,
Stephens might as well have written “Eww, guns take them away!” and left it that, but instead he offers debunked arguments and misleading statements that are likely borne out of the frustration of knowing his position is untenable.
Ah, but your bosses are pleased, Bret! Charles Blow is pleased. Tom Friedman is pleased. Paul Krugman is pleased. The Times’ gun-hating, NPR-worshiping subscribers are pleased. After all, what is integrity, accuracy and objectivity compared to the comforting favor of like-minded colleagues and readers?
Picking through the debris of Stephens’ wan arguments–Surely Stephens could not possibly believe that this junk bag would convince anyone with a knowledge of history, law, or more recently, the trending of progressives toward totalitarian methods and rationalizations, much less a Second Amendment supporter!—Harsanyi takes aim at Stephens’ employment of a classic oldie from the progressive playbook, ‘The Constitution doesn’t matter because the country is so different now.’ He writes,
But my favorite part of Stephens’ column is when he asks: “I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War.”
Setting aside the population scale, Stephens might not know that one of the reasons the Federalists, including Madison, opposed the Second Amendment was that they believed concerns over protections from federal government were overblown because there were so many guns in private hands that it was unimaginable any tyrannical army could ever be more powerful than the general public. Others, like Noah Webster, reasoned that, “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
But today, resistance is futile, don’t you see? Bret Stephens has seen the light.
He loves Big Government. More than that, he trusts it.