Marijuana is often referred to as the “gateway drug”–the first illicit drug that any drug user tries–not particularly harmful in and of itself, but once a person has become a drug user, then moving on to stronger, more dangerous drugs, the theory goes, becomes much easier. Evaluating that theory is beyond the scope of this article, but it occurs to me that there is a kind of parallel in the passage of liberty-crushing laws.
It’s not likely, after all, that all advocates of restrictive gun laws intend to lay the groundwork for tyranny and genocide. Some, no doubt, truly believe that just the “right” combination of gun laws will not only save many lives, but do so without turning citizens into serfs. The logic and the historical literacy of such people is open to question, as is their understanding of what constitutes true liberty, but in many cases, their motives are probably benign.
Unfortunately, once they get a taste of the power to disarm the people, “for our own good,” they are not likely to be able to resist exercising that power again. And again. And again. Thus in the UK, where gun laws were not all that much more restrictive than those of the U.S., until the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 severely restricted shotguns, and opened the door to the near total disarmament of British subjects (those who obey the law, anyway) today.
Now, handguns are banned, to the point that Olympic shooters have to leave the country to train; possession and use of knives (showing a peeping Tom that you have one is a crime)–and even BB guns–is subject to myriad laws, and the people are so thoroughly defenseless that a soldier can be beheaded on the street by any jihadist willing to defy the laws regarding blades (and those regarding beheading people, of course).
And now that government officials have decided that they, and not you, are best qualified to decide how you can be trusted to defend yourself (not at all, basically)–now that they have decided that they, and not you, own your most basic fundamental right as a living organism, what aspect of your life can they be compelled to leave to your control? Why shouldn’t they be empowered to mandate how your health is maintained? Why shouldn’t they unleash the full punitive power of taxation on those who question the benign, munificent wisdom of the state?
But really, even that misses the full point about “gun control” and “gateway tyranny.” Because it’s not really the government officials who need to be conditioned to authoritarianism. A great many of the people willing to put themselves through the indignities of politics and campaigning, just for the chance of winning the power of writing the laws to which the rest of us are subjected, are already fully on board with the idea of exercising power over the people. If they hadn’t been, they would have chosen a line of work in which one’s “success” was not measured in the number of laws–the number of restrictions and obligations imposed on one’s countrymen, in other words–one manages to implement.
No, it is We the People who must be disabused of the archaic, right-wing notion that government must serve us, and exists only to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. To do that, the people must be disarmed–not only because an armed citizenry can (of course) resist an out-of-control government–but because a citizenry that even thinks that the people, and not the government, are responsible for maintaining their rights, is a citizenry that will not bow to the “progressive” authoritarianism of the collective.
Simply banning guns by diktat is no longer enough to foster that cud-chewing attitude of utter government dependency–if the hundreds of millions of guns already in the country are not enough, if smuggling them over our porous borders is (somehow) made impractical, if 3-D printing of more guns is not yet quite ready for prime time, there’s still building them the old-fashioned way. The guns, and more importantly, the spirit of defiance will still be here.
So, no–merely banning guns from on high is no longer enough. The people must be convinced to submit to the citizen disarmament agenda voluntarily. The ostensibly “conservative” Charles Krauthammer articulated the sick idea as honestly as anybody:
Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. Its purpose is to spark debate, highlight the issue, make the case that the arms race between criminals and citizens is as dangerous as it is pointless.
Whatever executive orders Obama writes, whatever laws Congress passes, and even whatever alterations are amended into the Constitution, it is We the People–down to the last three percent–who must submit to disarmament–and therefore to complete government control of every aspect of our lives–if the gateway to tyranny is to be irrevocably crossed.
On this Memorial Day, let us vow not to dishonor the sacrifices of the men and women who fought and died for our freedoms. Let us vow to keep that gateway forever closed. Let us vow to convey an unambiguous message to every government official who wishes to open that gateway:
You shall not pass.
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- Remembering those who fought, died protecting all our freedoms