Government Security is Just Another Kind of Violence
The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place. Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called "assault" rifles and gun-free zones.
Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government "do something" to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don't obey laws.
The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we're told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.
While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don't agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence. Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets. We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.
Let's not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life and encourage immorality. The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home. U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.
Obviously, I don't want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.
Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided "security," a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.
Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives. We shouldn't settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.
Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.
Posted by johnblenkins on 12/26/12 11:49 AM
Great points raised by R.P.
Just one I would like to add.
There is probably a bigger gun to population ratio in Switzerland
than the US and without doubt to the rest of Europe.
This is due in large part to all Men of age 18- 40 something
have to keep their army guns at home.
Yet not only is the Gun murder rate per pop far less than
almost anywhere in the world so is crime in general. (Banks Excepted)
Sure The Swiss Government holds moral authority as a non aggressive
body which to an extent helps hold the morality of the country.
What is it about the mind set of the Swiss that makes their
desire for blood lust far less than the US and to a lesser extent
the rest of the world.
Sure they have not had a war in more than 500 years.
They are peace loving not confrontational.
Yet because all those guns lie under beds at home they can
raise an army of 600,000 in a geographically difficult
country to invade in hours.
It ain't all down to government action or inaction.
A little look at ourselves might not go amiss.
Posted by 1776 on 12/25/12 03:52 PM
Ron Paul RNC Tribute Video
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Posted by Marten on 12/25/12 03:08 PM
Like the old adage "Violence abroad begets violence at home"
Posted by 1776 on 12/25/12 02:59 PM
Military mystery: How many bases does the US have, anyway? By Gloria Shur Bilchik Published: January 24, 2011
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Posted by 1776 on 12/25/12 02:44 PM
U.S. Army North Rapid Response Force Trains to Counter Rioting Hurricane Victims December 20, 2012
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Posted by kapie9969 on 12/24/12 07:03 PM
I dont hear anything about the abortions performed each day.
The children killed by our military in Iraq and Afganistan.
How many children killed in auto accidents each day.
Its just taking advantage of a horrible tragedy for a gun grab.
What is needed is more attention paid to the mentally ill.
Posted by rossbcan on 12/24/12 05:27 PM
RP: "We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline"
Watched "The Sound of Music Again" last night. The stark moral message and, the high civilization about to be destroyed by WW2 only made me again conclude: we, collectively are no longer morally capable of either creating nor appreciating such a work of art. As well as having so many other potential accomplishments out of reach, unapproved and downright "opposed" by our self-decreed "overlords".
... and, isn't it about time the elves focussed on their REAL job of helping Santa?
Happy holidays, merry Christmas to EVERYONE of all (peaceful) faiths and creeds. A "lump of coal", vigiorously hurled at the rest.
Posted by RED on 12/24/12 05:18 PM
Ron is quite correct in identifying the corruption of societies moral and ethical values as the real cause of most of the problems in this country. It has taken decades for the left wing socialist liberals to corrupt society, and it may take decades to reverse it. One of the areas of chronic abuse that requires correction is out government run school system.
This editorial is more affirmation of my long standing equation: Socialist Liberalism = Political Correctness = Thought Police = False Guilt = TYRANNY!!
Posted by Edgar Friendly on 12/24/12 04:27 PM
Truer words have not been spoken in this Sandy Hook debate, but, amoung the political and elite classes; who will listen to Ron Paul? His own party marginlized him and castrated his political movement within the GOP; only to see thier efforts for naught, with the losing of the election between Mitch romney; the establishment GOP candidate, and the marxist/muslim puppet of the globalist's, Obama Hussein Barack.
Such a small minority of people controlling the fate of a nation ; driving towards it 's untter demise. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to remove them from power to save the billions of Americans suffering now?
Posted by Ri-bo-flavin on 12/24/12 04:13 PM
"We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws."
Exactly! So very well said. There can be no quick-fix for the multifarious mess that we find ourselves in.
Someday, society will just have to learn to take care of itself as it should, without depending on government for all of the (wrong) solutions.
Posted by Patrick_Henry on 12/24/12 02:27 PM
RP is right, as usual!
Posted by dkmeller1 on 12/24/12 01:51 PM
Ron Paul here, as always, is absolutely wonderful!
I don't know how many Daily Bell readers--still less the larger world out there--will listen to him, upon listening to him, will understand him, and upon understanding him, will agree with him.
As always, wishing everybody...
PEACE AND FREEDOM!! especially for the Holidays.
Posted by 1776 on 12/24/12 12:54 PM
How Do You Kill 11 Million People?
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There are 545 Directly, Legally, Morally, Individually Responsible for every problem America faces. 1 President, 9 on the Supreme Court, 100 in the Senate, 435 in the House of Representatives. This is it in nut shell!
We MUST repeal the PATRIOT Act! NOW!
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Posted by rossbcan on 12/24/12 11:25 AM
"might is right" claims to be "moral authority", a self-referential (subjective) logical tautaulogy, a decree.
Need to dispute this "decree of arbitray power" before words can make the transition from meaningless, to meaningful:
Click to view link
Then, we need to do the WTF's regarding EXACTLY what "is moral authority".
I proposes this: "tolerate none to be predator, nor prey"
... and fight, to the death those whom, by behavior (initiate aggression) dispute this most basic requirement for ANY PEACEFUL CIVILIZATION, and, should collective amnesia be lifted, the operative legal / moral principle of the Nuremburg trials, a pretense to deal with Nazis, while glossing over Allied atricities.
The "winner" has written history and Nuremburg was for the "bad guys", by the "good guys" (Dresden, Nagasaki, Hiroshima... ).
following is NOT directed at Ron Paul, but, at those whom "are the problem"
1 JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
- Matthew 7:1-5
I quite scripture, not because I claim moral or any authority from it, but, because, the "best lies are mostly truth"
... and those whom claim to represent / interpret religion, as in law are telling "some REAL whoppers".
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 12/24/12 10:54 AM
Try this thought experiment: Two people face each other. One is limited only to talking while the other will physically try to put his hand over the other's mouth. Who will be successful? Of course, the one putting his hand over the other's mouth. Notice how the hand over the mouth stops the other from talking.
The talking alone method is the law and as this experiment proves, it stops nothing. The hand over the mouth is actual physical action that trumps the limits of the law. If we now release the talker to use physical action to stop the hand of the other, he will be more successful.
Now if we can make this individual action to protect oneself legal, then our civilized society would be a little more peaceful. Just a little, but a little is more than none...