“You’re going to need a plan. A state-by-state, county-by-county, street-by-street, door-to door plan. A detailed roadmap to abolition that involves the military and the police and a whole host of informants — and, probably, a hell of a lot of blood, too. Sure, the ACLU won’t like it, especially when you start going around poorer neighborhoods. Sure, there are probably between 20 and 30 million Americans who would rather fight a civil war than let you into their houses. Sure, there is no historical precedent in America for the mass confiscation of a commonly owned item — let alone one that was until recently constitutionally protected. Sure, it’s slightly odd that you think that we can’t deport 11 million people but we can search 123 million homes. But that’s just the price we have to pay. Times have changed.”
—-Charles W. Cooke in a National Review self-described rant in 2015, ” …Aimed at Those Who Would Repeal the Second Amendment”
I missed Cooke’s piece in 2015, but it should be required reading today. Today was “Kill the Second Amendment Day” on social media and among the talking heads on Sunday Morning TV shows, in part because the obligatory coordinated freak-out over any tragic shooting always hits a brick wall of reality that disingenuous talk of “sensible gun reforms” won’t remove, and because for the second time in barely a week, , a New York Times op-ed regular advocated taking a big chunk out of the Bill of Rights. Once again, it was another Times house conservative, Bret Stephens, making the very un-conservative case for abridging individual rights. Earlier it was Ross Douthat wanting to hamstring freedom of speech in order to make “better men.” Stephens wants to repeal the Second Amendment.
I received fair criticism for attributing Douthat’s column to the leftist agenda of the Times, but Stephens’ piece reinforces my theory. For quite a while it has been clear that the Left views the Constitution as an impediment to it ascendance to transformational power the U.S. This has been on display from many angles, on many fronts, and with increasing intensity. Progressives tried to get around the Electoral College to elect Hillary, and attacked that Constitutional device for months. They still regard the Due Process clause as an annoyance and an obstacle to blocking untrustworthy citizens from acquiring guns. During the battle over Obamacare, multiple leaders of the Democratic Party mocked the idea that the Commerce Clause imposed any limits at all on Congressional power, hence its ability, in their eyes, to “pass a law forcing citizens to buy broccoli.” (SCOTUS ruled otherwise, but the individual mandate was rescued by a creative Chief Justice.)
Hillary Clinton proposed excepting political speech in the form of purchased public advocacy for political candidates from the First Amendment. The grass roots Left, along with members of the media and leaders of the Democratic Party like Howard Dean, have not only denied that so-called “hate speech” is protected, but have acted as if it isn’t, and demanded that it shouldn’t be. Majority Democratic states and cities are actively defying federalism in their efforts to prevent the enforcement of immigration laws. Since President Trump’s election, many Democrats in Congress and elsewhere that Constitutional requirements for impeachment should yield to simple numbers: If a party has enough votes, it should be able to remove a President, or at least this one.
I think it’s clever for the Times to use its nominal conservative writers to advance the progressive cause of selectively gutting the cornerstone of everything the United States of America has achieved in two and a half centuries. I also think that is what it has done here.
But I digress.
On “Meet the Press” host this morning, Chuck Todd at least was honest, as opposed to anti-gun activists who either deny that their ultimate goal is banning private gun ownership, or who refuse to acknowledge that all their proposals will be futile as long as the United States has a gun culture bulwarked by the enshrined principle that the government may not infringe the right to bear arms. He directly stated that the Second Amendment was “the problem,” and suggested that it simply had to go:
CHUCK TODD: But isn’t the difficulty here legislatively the constitution? Which is Bret Stephens’ point in The New York Times, he’s calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. And he says, “The United States has, by far, more guns in more hands than any other country in the developed world. It has, by far, the highest incidence of firearms-related homicides and suicides. Correlation is not causation, but since Americans aren’t dramatically crazier than other nationalities, what other explanation is there?” However, it is in our constitution, unlike other western democracies.
Ah, but the United States IS “crazier,” by Stephens’ definition, than other countries and cultures. That’s what makes it unique, and uniquely idealistic. The United States is crazy, other nations (and progressives) believe, because it values individual liberty over safety. It is crazy because it does not, according to its founding documents, believe that the government should have dominance over citizens regarding how they choose to lead their lives. It is crazy because—we are getting into Bizarro World logic now—it does not agree with the rest of the world that big governments solves all problems rather than making unbearable new ones. He falsely begins with the premise that just a few tweaks in the laws, and the U.S. can be just like Europe, because people are the same all over.
He does not understand his own country, apparently. Neither, I have increasingly come to believe, do progressives. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say they understand it, but they don’t like it.
Journalist Hallie Jackson came back to the idea of banning the Second Amendment a bit later in the discussion:
JACKSON: The bottom line is, this is a philosophical difference here. Because when you have conversations, the one you called an intellectual exercise, about the abolition of the Second Amendment, that is exactly what conservatives are terrified about. That is exactly the conversation that they don’t want to be having because there is a philosophical difference on this. Because this is, as you alluded to in your opening piece here, symbolic in a lot of ways.
TODD: Cornell, the NRA, I think their great strength here has been how they’ve re-messaged gun ownership, and they’ve wrapped it in the flag.
Someone tell Chuck and Hallie that the Bill of Rights is inextricable from the culture, our history, our success, our values, and thus is already “wrapped in the flag.” Don’t blame the NRA for that. Blame Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Madison, Mason and Washington, if you dare.
Then Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher weighed in, making an assertion that also surfaced during Don Lemon’s train wreck debate on gun control. Things are changing! The young and the moms are rising up to take down the Second Amendment!
BELCHER: … But I think something is changing, Chuck. When you look at the way those young people are mobilizing, you look at the way some of the gun organizations are raising money and they’re mobilizing now. If this is a front-and-center issue for suburban moms in this coming election, it will change.
“We shall see,” said Todd.
What shall we see? Cooke’s scenario is exactly right, and so is his challenge as he calls the Democrats’ bluff:
What the hell are they waiting for? Go on, chaps. Bloody well do it. Seriously, try it. Start the process. Stop whining about it on Twitter, and on HBO, and at the Daily Kos. Stop playing with some Thomas Jefferson quote you found on Google. Stop jumping on the news cycle and watching the retweets and viral shares rack up. Go out there and begin the movement in earnest. Don’t fall back on excuses. …And don’t pretend that you’re okay with the Second Amendment in theory, but you’re just appalled by the Heller decision. You’re not. Heller recognized what was obvious to the amendment’s drafters, to the people who debated it, and to the jurists of their era and beyond: That “right of the people” means “right of the people,” as it does everywhere else in both the Bill of Rights and in the common law that preceded it. A Second Amendment without the supposedly pernicious Heller “interpretation” wouldn’t be any impediment to regulation at all. It would be a dead letter. It would be an effective repeal. It would be the end of the right itself. In other words, it would be exactly what you want! Man up. Put together a plan, and take those words out of the Constitution. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take.
This will involve hard work, of course. You can’t just sit online and preen to those who already agree with you. No siree. Instead, you’ll have to go around the states — traveling and preaching until the soles of your shoes are thin as paper. You’ll have to lobby Congress, over and over and over again. You’ll have to make ads and shake hands and twist arms and cut deals and suffer all the slings and arrows that will be thrown in your direction. You’ll have to tell anybody who will listen to you that they need to support you; that if they disagree, they’re childish and beholden to the “gun lobby”; that they don’t care enough about children; that their reverence for the Founders is mistaken; that they have blood on their goddamn hands; that they want to own firearms only because their penises are small and they’re not “real men.” And remember, you can’t half-ass it this time. You’re not going out there to tell these people that you want “reform” or that “enough is enough.” You’re going there to solicit their support for removing one of the articles within the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake: It’ll be unpleasant strolling into Pittsburgh or Youngstown or Pueblo and telling blue-collar Democrat after blue-collar Democrat that he only has his guns because he’s not as well endowed as he’d like to be. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. So do it. Start now. Off you go.
Good for Cooke. There is no hyperbole here, rant though it is. Every one of your smug Facebook friends who make such unconscionable statements as “Republicans care more about the Second Amendment than dead children” need to read it. Those who issue such emotional foolishness need to start looking at reality or shutting up, except for the most cynical and dishonest anti-gun advocates who know that all of their “sensible” proposals boil down to doing what they don’t have the guts or integrity to try: repealing the Second Amendment. That’s why Democrats didn’t go ahead and pass massive gun bans when they had an anti-gun President and both Houses of Congress. They just want to use these tragedies to stir up more fear and partisan hate for political gain. Oh, your Democrat and progressive friends on social media are sincere. They just don’t know what they are talking about.
They should read Cooke’s rant.