Who says leftist government can’t be efficient and responsive? Within minutes of the Sandy Hook massacre, Democratic legislators and their news media shills sprang into action, rounding up the usual NRA suspects and targeting anyone else who thinks that gun control is not the antidote to mass murder.
Even President Obama couldn’t help himself, injecting into his heartfelt consoling of the nation a gun-control warning of his own — all the while decrying the politicization of the issue.
As Rahm Emanuel might say, “Never let a good tragedy go to waste.”
Mind you, most of today’s “progressives” believe that statutes restricting personal behavior are repugnant — and totally ineffective — when the subject is sex or drugs. But when the conversation turns to guns, their aversion to prohibition suddenly evaporates, and they transfigure into an avatar of Jonathan Edwards, ascending the pulpit in white wig and black cassock to sternly deliver “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Government,” calling for a repentance and restraint even their BDSM friends couldn’t imagine.
Their only doubt seems to be the steadfastness of the faithful. Chris Matthews worried aloud last week that liberals will end up retreating from the gun-control front — as they have before — while conservative ardor will remain undiminished.
He’s right to worry, but not because of Democratic complacency or fear of political reprisals. The left’s problem is that it lacks an argument sensible enough to take seriously after the initial emotional energy has drained.
Gun-control rhetoric is sloganeering at its worst and demagoguery at its most dangerous, not only because its simplistic prescriptions won’t work in the real world (as in the gun-control paradises of Norway and Scotland) but because wasting time indulging in it keeps us from having a productive discussion about what actually causes these deadly outbursts, and what — if anything — we can do to minimize them.
History is clear: If the prime suspect in these mass murders is guns — their availability and their improved killing efficiency — then the early decades of the twentieth century should have been littered with massacres by lone gunmen far in excess of anything we see today. And they weren’t, even though fully automatic Thompson submachine guns — capable of a staggering 1,500 rounds per minute — were available from the Sears catalog with no questions asked.
As for the infamous “crime of the century”— the 1924 murder of a 14-year-old boy by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb — it’s now the “crime of the month” in modern America.
So, what is it? What’s so diabolically different about today that a steady stream of horrific crimes is becoming the new normal?
What’s triggering these sociopaths, especially these young males? Is it a steady diet of perverse video games and blood-and-guts action movies? Television’s glorification of outlaws and outcasts? Our dependence on psychiatric medication? A spike in the incidence of mental illness? The narcissism of the age?
Maybe it’s all of the above. These phenomena can certainly help create a culture where bipedal bacteria can easily multiply. But even these are only symptoms of the underlying problem: a cancer that’s been metastasizing in this country for a half-century.
It’s the libertine agenda of the left — an insidious humanism that has progressed from the sexual revolution to the proliferation of abortion, to the celebration of drugs, to today’s hostility toward religion.
It’s a Faustian bargain that gives individuals greater freedom in the pursuit of a panoply of pleasures and, in return, gives social engineers increasing control over every other area of their lives — hence, the itchy fingers of Orwellian oligarchs last weekend dying to get at those guns.
The result has been a moral weakening of the individual, and the unraveling, in just 50 years, of much of the fabric of 400 years of American society — its values and strictures, its family structure, its ethos of self-discipline, self-sacrifice and interpersonal responsibility, and the collective conscience that weaves it all together.
We shouldn’t be surprised. But we Christians should be concerned enough to continue to fight the good fight at the ballot box, and to spread the news about God’s grace, forgiveness and expectations — with a greater sense of urgency than ever before.
We should also obey scripture by praying for our leaders and working with them however and whenever we can.
So go ahead, Mr. President, help to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and limit magazine clips to 10 rounds each if it will make the country feel safer. I’ll pray that it does.
But, please, do me a favor. The next time you quote the Bible, make it the Lord speaking to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you …”
And then, if you would, save a few tears for the 3,000 unborn children who will be slaughtered today in America with the full consent of Democrats who are sobbing in front of the cameras for only those precious 20.
Timothy Philen is an author and songwriter. He served for 15 years as a Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church in America.