Why do Democrats Hate the Bill of Rights?

Right now, Americans are more divided politically than at anytime since the Civil War. The reason is that half the country–Democrats–have moved so far to the left that they no longer support the traditional and uniquely American freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Democrats gave up on the Second Amendment decades ago. Thirty years ago, Democratic candidates often won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Now they rarely do.

Democrats are shakey at best on the Fourth Amendment, as evinced by their lack of concern over the government’s domestic spying. They think the Tenth Amendment is a joke. And now they are turning on the First Amendment. Here’s a former Chairman of the Democrat Party:

And here’s the same statement from the Democrat Mayor of Portland.

Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Polls show that also the Democrat rank and file oppose free speech.

If the government is allowed to censor ‘hate speech’ then the government will be in the business of censoring speech, and the First Amendment will effectively become null and void. Anybody who claims some sort of ‘hate speech’ exception to the First Amendment has, as Reason‘s headline correctly states, abandoned the First Amendment.

If you require more evidence that the left opposes speech, just take a look at the college campuses. The universities are dominated by the political left. That’s where the left, more than anywhere else in America, gets to set the rules. And under the left’s rules, free speech is suppressed more than anywhere else in America. Speech is tightly regulated officially by speech codes, and unofficially by leftist mobs. Both faculty and students fear to speak their minds. The campuses offer a peek at what the left would do if it had the power. It would crush free speech.

Interestingly, the modern liberal’s hostility to free speech is a relatively recent development. Fifty years ago, Democrats were actually more strongly committed to free speech than were Republicans. James Burnham in his classic 1964 analysis of modern liberalism, The Suicide of the West, comments several times throughout the book on the modern liberal’s almost fanatical devotion to free speech. But that was following a period during the Cold War when attempts were made to censor the speech of communists. In those days, unlike today, liberals also liked Russia. They flipped on both Russia and speech for the same reason–both ceased to be communist causes.

American freedom is uniquely defined by the Bill of Rights, and in particular the First and Second Amendments. In the rest of the world, only a very few isolated places, such as San Marino, recognize anything like a citizen’s Second Amendment right to self defense. And essentially no place else in the world respects anything like a First Amendment right to free expression. Even in the English-speaking countries like the U.K. and its Commonwealth, which share a common legacy of political rights with the U.S., ‘hate speech’ is illegal and the state can and does persecute and prosecute citizens for their speech.

In their indifference (at best) or hostility (at worst) to the First and Second Amendments, Democrats are definitely in the majority, if not in the United States, then in the world. If Democrats had their way, the Bill of Rights would effectively whither away, and the United States would become a lot more like the rest of the world.

Becoming more like everyplace else might not sound so bad, but here’s the thing–the U.S. is supposed to be different. The U.S. was founded to be different, primarily in elevating the ordinary man. In America, unlike Europe and the rest of the world, the ordinary man was very big. He was a citizen, not a subject. But now when the ordinary man tries to exercise his uniquely American rights, Democrats condemn him for ‘clinging to guns and religion.’ Essentially Democrats have given up on America.

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, she would have appointed a Supreme Court majority hostile to both the First and Second Amendments, and a Court that also would have acceded to her administration’s inevitable lawlessness. This would mark the end of America as an oasis of ordered liberty.

If the Democrats succeed in destroying American freedom, then maybe it’s time for some of us to plan our escape. Brazil, for instance, starts to look relatively good. No Bill of Rights, but at least the food and weather are better.

Gun Rights Trump ‘Studies’

At the Clinton News Network, Fareed Zakaria reports on a new study on guns by liberal professors in Boston. The study claims that having a gun in the home makes people statistically less safe.

The study was apparently funded by anti-gun organizations, so I doubt the results are credible. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume the results are accurate–owning a gun makes you statistically less safe. I suppose that means that people should think carefully before buying a gun. But Zakaria seems to believe that the result implies we must infringe on the public’s right to bear arms.

Saving lives is a very strong argument in favor of public policy. But saving lives is not a sufficient argument for abrogating the right of self defense, which is a fundamental human right. You could show me incontrovertible proof that banning guns would save lives, and I would still oppose banning guns.

It would probably be feasible to demonstrate convincingly that banning cars and forcing everyone to ride public transportation would save lives. But banning cars would also significantly reduce people’s freedom, and so I would oppose it. Just as I would also oppose banning ladders and swimming pools and many other things that would save lives.

Saving lives is important. But it’s not the only thing. Life also has to be worth living.

If Fareed Zakaria thinks that owning a gun will make him less safe, then he’s free not to own one. But if I decide I still want to own a gun, that’s my right, and he needs to respect that.

Guns Don’t Kill People…

…people kill people. The correlation across countries between gun ownership and homicides is actually negative; more guns, fewer homicides, on average. See the world map below.

One exception to the rule is the U.K., where the homicide rate is low and a virtual ban on handguns means that gun ownership is also low.

But is the U.K.’s gun ban responsible for the low homicide rate? History suggests not, because the U.K. already had a low homicide rate well before the gun ban.

Prior to recent decades, Britons actually enjoyed relatively free access to guns. In fact, during the Victorian era, guns, drugs, and prostitutes were all perfectly legal and readily available. This is known as Peak Civilization.

One hundred years ago, New York actually had stricter gun laws, known as Sullivan Laws, than London did. But despite New York’s strict laws and London’s loose laws, the homicide rate was much higher in New York than in London. In fact, following the enactment of the Sullivan Laws in 1911, New York’s homicide rate increased by 18 percent.

As John Lott likes to point out, there is no recorded instance in world history of a nation decreasing its homicide rate by imposing gun control.

An example that gun control advocates often cite is Australia, which implemented a massive gun buyback in 1996, and then saw its homicide rate decline for years afterward.

It’s not clear, however, that we can ascribe the decline in Australia’s homicide rate to gun control, because even before the buyback, the country’s homicide rate was already declining. Furthermore, during the same time period, the homicide rate in the United States experienced a decline similar to Australia’s, despite the fact that U.S. gun laws during this period were liberalized, with ‘shall issue’ permits for concealed carry becoming available in nearly every U.S. state.

There are two major reasons why gun control does not reduce homicide. First, gun laws tend to disarm only the law-abiding people, while leaving the thugs armed.

Second, if people really want to kill, they’ll find a way even without guns. During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Hutu majority murdered over 500,000 of the Tutsi minority using mostly machetes and clubs. A lot of those Tutsies might have been saved if only they’d had some guns.

When guns were scarce in South Korea and gangsters wanted to take out a guy with a hit job, they would use a samurai sword.

The only people who benefit from gun control are criminals and politicians (but then I repeat myself).

Criminals like gun control because it disarms their victims.

Politicians like gun control for the same reason.

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UK Authorities Still Failing to Protect Children from Rape Gangs

Two years after a horrifying investigation revealed that organized gangs of Pakistanis sexually abused and trafficked at least 1,400 underage girls in the city of Rotherham, witnesses say that police have still not managed to shut down the gangs.

Express.co.uk has pieced together shocking testimony from victims, campaigners and local residents in a large-scale investigation series being revealed throughout this week.

They all told us how police and the local council is still “failing” thousands of vulnerable girls.

It reveals how organised, criminal gangs of paedophiles are still using the town as their own personal fiefdom, peddling underage girls for sex as part of a multi-million pound crime empire.

The men are predominantly from the city of Mirpur in the disputed region of Kashmir, on the border between Pakistan and India.

[…]

In shocking testimony the father of one girl who was raped by the criminal gangs told how packs of young Kashmiri men linked to her abuser still turn up outside his home to intimidate the family.

One of the ways the grooming gangs were able to get away with their crimes for so long was due to a coordinated campaign of witness intimidation, which made the girls and their families too scared to speak out.

Recalling a series of incidents which took place in March this year, he said: “Every night for 13 nights out of 14 between midnight and 1am we had people coming and knocking on the door saying it was takeaways. We don’t really eat takeaways, and when we looked through the spy hole they had no food and you could see a car full of Asians.

“We had my granddaughter for the day nine weeks ago and we took the dog for a walk. On the way back I noticed two BMWs full of Asians.

“We were going past and we heard them saying something, but we just ignored it. We got across the road and all of a sudden we started hearing this abuse ‘you white bastards, don’t think your daughter is safe’, things of that nature.

“There was no one else in the street so it was obviously aimed at us. The next moment this big Pakistani guy with a shaven head – he was wearing some sort of robes – put his arm out of the car window and he was waving a tin of lighter fuel shouting ‘we will see, we will see’.”

[…]

He added: “These groomers, these paedophiles are still running this town and the police are still doing what they were doing back in the day – nothing. Children in this town are at risk now and it’s appalling.”

His comments were echoed by a former social worker who helps victims of abuse. They agreed grooming is still happening on an “industrial scale” and said new girls are still coming forward every week with harrowing tales.

[…]

In many instances the abuse is so open that neighbours in the town are aware it is going on.

But they say they feel powerless to act because of police indifference and the vice-like grip the criminal grooming gangs have achieved.

A concerned resident told Express.co.uk he regularly saw cars full of abusers kerb crawling in the area around his home, adding it is an open secret taxi drivers still target local schools at home time in the hope of picking up young girls.

The man – a former university lecturer – said he was “furious” grooming is still going on so openly despite the public outcry.

He said: “It’s not stopped and I’m furious about it. It’s rampant and it’s very, very wrong.

“I’ve seen the young men and they are like dogs on heat outside the house, they won’t go away. They are outside a white girl’s house, the kid is screaming in the kitchen, the men want to get in and screw her but the police aren’t interested.”

If the police won’t do anything, then it falls to citizens to take matters into their own hands. But unfortunately, the UK has no Second Amendment. The government therefore not only fails to rein in the rape gangs, but then actively denies citizens the means of defending themselves from the gang violence and intimidation.

Stories like this serve as a reminder that the National Rifle Association is perhaps the most important civil rights organization in America.

Somebody once said that the job of the police is not to protect the public from criminals, it is to protect the criminals from the rough justice the public would mete out. From that perspective, evidence suggests that UK police are doing their jobs all too well.

Orlando Exposes Political Cynicism

The recent mass shooting in Orlando should be a huge embarrassment for America’s political establishment. The shooting, after all, represents a failure of government in its primary responsibility: safeguarding the American people from violence. To evade responsibility for this abject failure, the political class desperately wants to change the subject by providing a distraction. And so, in order to defect attention and to reframe the issue, they have shifted attention to the issue of gun control. In this endeavor, the political class has been assisted, as usual, by its lapdogs in the national media. The effort , unfortunately, has been successful. Nearly all discussion in Congress and in the media is now focused on gun control, rather than on the failed policies and practices—immigration, political correctness, and an inadequate FBI investigation—that enabled the terrorist attack.

The political class is actually quite fortunate that the terrorist used a gun. Otherwise, if the terrorist had used, say, pressure cooker bombs like the terrorists who blew up the Boston Marathon, the pols would have found it much harder to reframe the issue. In that case, they probably wouldn’t have been able to talk with straight faces about the need for more ‘pressure cooker control.’

Making guns the issue is an exceedingly cynical ploy. Even the intellectual mediocrities populating our political class are smart enough to know that guns will never be eradicated from American society, any more than prohibition eliminated alcohol or drugs. Any attempt to go door-to-door to confiscate 300 million firearms would lead to civil war. As a result, criminals and terrorists who want guns will always find a way to obtain them. Very strict gun control in France did not stop terrorists from shooting up Paris.

The above observations are so patently obvious as to be almost banal in their expression. The more interesting question is what recent events tell us about the nature and character of our current political class. Instead of responding to the attack with candor and sagacity, the political class resorted to cynicism and disingenuousness. Instead of accepting responsibility, the pols, including President Obama, engaged in deflection and ass covering. The political class, as usual, showed itself more interested in evading accountability, and in preserving and enhancing its own power and privileges, than in serving the legitimate interests of the American people.

The political class fails to keep terrorists from entering the country. Then government agencies are too incompetent to catch up with and unravel terrorist plots, even when tipped off. The political class puts the American people in danger, and then tells the people they shouldn’t have guns with which to protect themselves. The political class fails, but suffers no consequences; instead, it’s the people who must give up some of their rights. GTFO.

The current political class is, in a word, despicable. Of course, to a considerable degree, the public gets the political class it deserves. A better class of voter, such as perhaps existed in America’s historical past, would never allow the pols to get away with such transparent cynicism and malfeasance. Our despicable political class reflects, sad to say, the degraded state of the typical American voter.

Why Do Democrats Hate Due Process?

As we noted below, Democrats last week made a push to deny 2nd Amendment rights to people placed by the government on the 700,000-name ‘terror watch list.’ In a Congressional hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Department of Homeland Security official Kelli Burriesci what due process would be afforded to U.S. citizens before their rights were taken away. Burriesci couldn’t cite any. Then Gowdy followed up by asking if Burriesci could think of any other circumstances where citizens were deprived of constitutional rights without due process. She had no answer.

By the way, this Burriesci is typical of the type of high government official we’re seeing more and more of these days. She knows only her talking points, and inspires no confidence that in her high office she’s willing or able to protect the rights of the people. She probably has a fancy Ivy League degree, but 50 bucks says she has never read Thomas Paine or the Federalist Papers. Only good at taking orders, even if those orders say to violate the people’s rights.

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Connecticut Governor Shreds the Constitution

Doyens of the political class this week went off on Donald Trump’s immigration proposals, calling them ‘un-American’ and ‘unconstitutional.’ We’re not endorsing Trump’s plans, but the truth is that most of Trump’s specifics are in fact constitutional, and supported by ample precedent in American history. If un-American and unconstitutional outrages were perpetrated this week, however, they came not from Donald Trump but from Democrats. Specifically, we’re referring to Democrats who demanded that people on the government’s terror watch list be banned from purchasing firearms.

In Washington, DC, Democrats saw their proposal go nowhere, but in Connecticut, the Democrat governor says he will take action.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday defended his plan to prohibit those on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms.

“What I’m saying is in the United States, to have witnessed the sale 2,043 times of guns and ammunition to individuals who are on that list that would otherwise deny them the ability to take a plane, doesn’t make a lot of sense in our state or in our the nation,” Malloy told reporters. “People can argue about the process. We began the process in Washington in the hopes of reaching an agreement. I announced our intentions because I wanted you to know about we’re attempting to do and I believe it is the right discussion to have with respect to gun safety.

Democrat rhetoric on this issue has involved considerable sleight of hand regarding the various lists. When the governor refers to people who are not allowed “to take a plane,” he is referring to the no-fly list. The no-fly list has about 20,000 names, and is a narrow subset of the government’s “consolidated terrorist watch list.” Malloy and DC Democrats, however, intend their gun ban to apply not just to the no-fly list, but to the people on the broader watch list, the vast majority of whom are in fact allowed “to take a plane.” And how many people are on that watch list?

There are about 700,000 people on the watch-list — a point that civil libertarians have made to underscore that many on the list may be family members or acquaintances of people with potential terrorist connections.

Malloy and Obama have disingenuously referred to these people as “suspected terrorists,” but there’s no way that all 700,000 of these people are genuine terrorist suspects. For the few that might be, what the government should be doing is moving to indict or deport them.

The mere existence of these lists is troubling from the standpoint of civil liberties, but to use the lists to actively suppress people’s rights is an outrage. People have a fundamental human right to self-defense, and that right is codified in the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights. In our constitutional republic, citizens lose their rights only through due process. That means citizens are entitled to a presumption of innocence, an opportunity to face their accusers, a trial by a jury of peers, etc. In contrast, ending up on a watch list is merely an administrative act by government functionaries, and involves no due process.

No way in America should anyone be deprived of rights on the mere say-so of an anonymous government functionary. To do so would be un-American, unconstitutional, ‘not who we are as a people’…you know…all the things that Democrats said about Donald Trump this week, but which more accurately describe the Democrats themselves.

The governor noted that between 2001 and 2014, more than 400,000 people died in the United States from firearms. “In that period of time 3,800 Americans died worldwide, in terrorism,” Malloy said.

And here’s the number of lives that Malloy’s gun ban will save: approximately zero. One way or another, the real terrorists will always be able to acquire guns and bombs, as recent events in France have shown.

We know Democrats are desperate right now to look tough on terrorism, and are using this gun proposal as a way to put Republicans on the defensive. Instead of playing political games, however, they should be trying to figure out how to keep terrorists out of the country, and how to catch those who are already here.

Finally, here’s our message for Connecticut voters. Please try to up your game from now on by electing only governors who respect due process and the Constitution. Thanks and have a nice day.

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Hate Speech from the New York Times

Suppose that anytime something bad happens, Janie blames Jimmy, even though Jimmy has nothing to do with it. In response to the problem, Janie always proposes changes in house rules that would punish Jimmy, but do nothing to solve the problem. Furthermore, Janie, like anyone else with normal reasoning skills, should understand that Jimmy is not culpable, and also that the new rules will not fix the problem. Yet Janie nonetheless proposes the new rules, again and again, every time the problem occurs.

In this situation, would it be reasonable to conclude that Janie has it in for Jimmy? That maybe Janie just plain hates Jimmy? We think so. Likewise, leftists and their house organ, The New York Times, just plain hate law-abiding Americans in flyover country who are part of America’s gun culture. How else to explain why, in response to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, the New York Times would launch an attack against law-abiding gun owners?

It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.
[…]
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

You like your gun and enjoy shooting it and like that it offers you some security against the thugs and terrorists that our dysfunctional government allows to roam freely. But the New York Times doesn’t care; they have decided that you have to give up your gun ‘for the good of your fellow citizens.’ Never mind that fewer guns in the hands of the good guys will not help your fellow citizens. Now that we know ISIS terrorists are going around shooting up Western countries, you might expect that someone who cared about his fellow citizens would sympathize with their desire to arm themselves for the purpose of self defense. But the New York Times does not care. The government allows terrorists to shoot up American citizens, and the Times proposes to make the citizens defenseless by disarming them.

Of course, the proposal is not a serious attempt at problem solving. Even the Times must understand that, as a practical matter, they could never ‘drastically’ reduce the number of guns. By some estimates, draconian measures in Australia succeeded in removing no more than 40% of the guns in circulation. Moreover, new laws will not stop ISIS terrorists. Even the French understand now, if they did not before, that we can’t fight ISIS with gun control. The solution is not gun control, but terrorist control.

Why would the New York Times propose new gun laws if they know the laws won’t work? Answer: Janie hates Jimmy. Leftists apparently have a psychological need to believe that the vast swath of Americans who “cling to their guns and religion” are stupid and evil. This makes the leftists feel somewhat better about their vile selves. The Times’ editorial is hate speech.

Shifting the conversation to gun control also provides a useful political diversion from the utter failure of leftist governance under President Failure McWorstSinceWilson. As Glenn Reynolds explained,

Remember, when we’re talking about gun control, we’re not talking about how Obama told us us that ISIS was the JV team, or how he’s importing lots of poorly “vetted” middle eastern Muslims, or how he has botched Syria and Libya, or how his hashtag campaign against Boko Haram failed, or how the domestic protections against terror are looking porous and ineffectual, or how . . . well, you get the idea. Plus, gun control is a tribal rallying cry for uninformed Obama supporters. Or, to be less redundant, Obama supporters.

The issue of terrorist mass shootings is serious, but the New York Times’ proposal is not. Why, therefore, should we take what they say seriously on other issues? Seems to us the New York Times can be safely ignored.

By the way, this marks the first time that the Times editorialized (explicitly) on its front page since 1920, which perhaps not coincidentally was also the last time the United States had a president (Wilson) as bad as Obama. At that time, the Times

lamented the nomination of Warren G. Harding as the Republican presidential candidate. It was a move, The Times wrote, that would “be received with astonishment and dismay by the party whose suffrages he invites.”

Harding ended up winning by 26 percentage points, the largest victory margin in the history of U.S. presidential elections. Harding carried even the home of the Times, New York City. Seems that as early as 1920 people had figured out that the New York Times can be safely ignored.

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