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AWR Hawkins, Ph.D.
AWR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for HumanEvents.com, Pajamas Media, Townhall.com, and Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com, BigHollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, and BigJournalism.com. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in the summer of 2010.
On June 28, while most people were still trying to wrap their minds around the Obamacare decision, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Seventeen Democrats and every Republican but two voted for the charges because of Holder’s ongoing refusal to comply with the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious. Holder is the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt.
In an era where many politicians give lip service to gun rights while seeking election and then do their best to undermine those rights once in office, it’s refreshing to see Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and that state’s GOP-led legislature passing laws that restore rights which courts have stripped away from Indiana citizens in recent years.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an op-ed explaining what it means for free men to act free. Because of the overwhelmingly positive reaction to that piece, I thought I’d elaborate with an example of a free man acting free.
Jack’s beanstalk, Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet, and Tina Dupuy’s gun control article
So as not to leave Harvard’s Jill Lepore precariously perched out on a limb waving her “guns kill” flag all alone, Tina Dupuy, the managing editor of the website Crooks and Liars, has crawled out on the limb as well. And she’s done so with an embarrassingly incoherent article in which she tries to convince gun owners that they support gun control, whether they want to admit it or not. Seriously.
When we think about what characterizes free men, what qualities or habits they usually exhibit, there are a handful of traits that seem to show themselves again and again. For instance, free men speak their minds: which is not the same thing as saying they run their mouths. Rather, it is simply to point out that when something needs to be said, a free man will often say it. And free men abide by the intuitive, internal witness to right and wrong embedded in them by God, through nature. In truth, they not only abide by it — they actually nurture it and expect others to abide by it as well. Thus they still live by maxims such as, “a man’s word is his bond.”
A recent article in The New Yorker titled “American Battleground,” by Harvard’s Jill Lepore, has been gnawing at me ever since I critiqued it last week for The Daily Caller. As I wrote then, it is a convoluted piece of quasi-academic work that is intended to make gun owners question the founders’ position on private gun ownership and, if possible, open 21st-century American minds to the idea of more gun control.
We've arrived at that place Ben Franklin warned us of when he shared his concern that one day Americans would trade liberty for security. He had a frightful anticipation that a day might come when the citizens of this country would exchange their liberties, risky as they were, for the comfort and security offered by government. And here we are, with food stamp usage at its highest in U.S. history, Obama phones in our pockets, U.S. autoworkers propped up by government bailouts, 99 weeks of Obama money via unemployment checks, three meals a day provided in public schools and the list goes on ad nauseam.
When George Washington wrote that “free people ought … to be armed,” he gave us a clue as to the kind of America the Founders envisioned. It was one where the government stayed within its bounds, carrying out its limited duties while leaving the people free to exercise their rights and liberties. Thomas Jefferson spoke to this when he described the “good government” as one that “shall restrain men from injuring one another [and] shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” In other words, the “good government” is one that enforces the law, thus preserving order, but otherwise remains within the limited parameters established for it, so that people can go about their business, whatever that business may be.
The Founders who “drafted and ratified the Second Amendment surely knew that the right they were enshrining carried a risk of misuse,” but risk is an integral aspect of freedom. For example, because we are free to speak our minds, we run the risk of hearing things we don’t want to hear, and of saying things others don’t want to hear. Because we have a God-given right to security in our own things, we run the risk of having people use their possessions in ways of which we don’t approve, and they likewise run the risk that we might use our possessions in a way they find repulsive. However, that’s the price of freedom, and an overreaching government that tries to squash the right in order to remove the risk is a government that has violated the people’s trust.
In January, President Obama nixed the Keystone XL pipeline, which “would have carried as much as 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota and Montana along a 1,661-mile path to Texas refineries.” Since that time, the price of gasoline has approached $5 a gallon in many parts of the country, yet Obama has criticized Republicans for trying to make the price of gas into an election-year issue.