Why a federal response will not prevent gun violence
Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim...
WASHINGTON, December 20, 2012 ― Christmas is just days away, but gun violence and a slaughter of innocents has made it hard to think about peace on earth, good will to men. Newtown was even more unthinkable and more devastating than the tragedy in Aurora.
At a time like this, it would be nice if our leaders focused on the truth and showed their confidence in the wisdom and good will of the American people. Instead, this tragedy has elicited the same response as every other tragedy: more
Joe Biden is on the job to “coordinate government agencies and develop policies to address growing concerns across the nation about guns and gun violence,” reported the New York Daily News. This is code for taking more money and personal responsibility from the people and turning it over to an already swollen federal bureaucracy.
There is no single, centralized answer to violence at the hands of the mentally ill. How to deal with complex situations such as the mentally ill, education, health care, and many others begins with three steps:
1. We must agree that there is such a thing as absolute right and wrong, that these problems aren’t all just a matter of perspective.
2. Let the states and local communities tackle issues, without heavy strings attached, that are not otherwise tasked to the federal government by the Constitution. The fact that a problem is complex or widespread is not enough to make it federal.
3. Return to the principle of individual and local responsibility. So many of us have lived for so long in our federal “parents’” house that it may be hard to find a sense of responsibility, but it must be there, somewhere.
Shouldn’t the government do something?
Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing (if it’s the right nothing), but governments exist to do something. The idea that problems are so vast and intractable that no one can do anything is a cornerstone of modern liberalism. It leads logically to ever increasing levels of government “help” and intervention (this is also known as Progressivism or statism). We’re trained to worship the cult of the “expert” (how many experts are telling us what went wrong in Newtown and how we must fix it?), and thus trust the federal government, which can afford to hire almost unlimited expertise. It has the brains, the training, and the managerial skill to manage all aspects of society and solve all problems.
In theory, government expertise should produce a society of equal men, free of want and ignorance and crime. Liberals believe that humans are infinitely plastic and perfectable. They don’t admit that no matter how we change the laws, humans will always be human, frail, ready to surprise us with acts of savage cruelty and malice or with astonishing wisdom and love. Tehy don’t see the U.S. Constitution and the laws as a framework for a government by and for the imperfect, but as instruments to make us good.
In a 1912 speech Woodrow Wilson, the father of American Progressivism, said that government and constitutions are living and accountable not to Newton (inflexible, unchanging laws of motion) but to Darwin (infinitely variable, always changing, and, in the pseudoscientific understanding of the day, tending to “progress”).
Since the Wilson Administration, and in a tradition vigorously pursued by presidents like Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and even George W. Bush, the government has done more and more, often to no effect.
If there is no absolute right or wrong, if there are no bedrock principles, if instead government follows the laws of Darwin and does what’s relatively good for the here and now, then what it does about anything at any time is left to the whim of whomever has the power to make decisions.
Again in the words of Woodrow Wilson, “…His office [the President of the
Mr. President, was the shooting in
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