Diary

The New York Times and your constitutional rights

The brave editors of The New York Times decided to publish an editorial on the front page . . . as though most of their front page stories aren’t editorials:

Here is the text of the editorial, but I remain unmoved. Like President Obama, like the rest of the left, the editors of the Times want to do everything that they can to not blame the killers, to not blame Islamism, but to try to take action by attacking the rights of people who have not committed crimes, of people who are blameless, rather than going after the blameworthy.

Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

Even the editors understand that, when it comes to criminals, gun control doesn’t work; they have already admitted that.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. 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.

Trying without succeeding doesn’t seem like much of an argument to me. But read the words of the editors: they blame politicians, and say that the “voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs.” Does that not mean that the voters, the people in our democratic representative republic, approve the choices by those politicians not to infringe on our constitutional rights?

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

I wonder: would the editors of The New York Times say that the freedom of the press, the freedom that they exercise every day, ought to be subject to “reasonable regulation?” Perhaps they like Barack Hussein Obama, but Mr Obama will not be President 15 months from now, and who is to say that the next President — imagine if it’s Donald Trump! — would not want to impose real restrictions on the freedom of the press, restrictions that he might claim were “reasonable”? Indeed, published this very same day, is a Times article “95,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump’s Tongue,” decrying the Republican front-runner’s tendencies to use an “us vs them” style:

While many candidates appeal to the passions and patriotism of their crowds, Mr. Trump appears unrivaled in his ability to forge bonds with a sizable segment of Americans over anxieties about a changing nation, economic insecurities, ferocious enemies and emboldened minorities (like the first black president, whose heritage and intelligence he has all but encouraged supporters to malign).

“‘We vs. them’ creates a threatening dynamic, where ‘they’ are evil or crazy or ignorant and ‘we’ need a candidate who sees the threat and can alleviate it,” said Matt Motyl, a political psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who is studying how the 2016 presidential candidates speak. “He appeals to the masses and makes them feel powerful again: ‘We’ need to build a wall on the Mexican border — not ‘I,’ but ‘we.’ ”

In another pattern, Mr. Trump tends to attack a person rather than an idea or a situation, like calling political opponents “stupid” (at least 30 times), “horrible” (14 times), “weak” (13 times) and other names, and criticizing foreign leaders, journalists and so-called anchor babies. He bragged on Thursday about psyching out Jeb Bush by repeatedly calling him “low-energy,” but he spends far less time contrasting Mr. Bush’s policies with his own proposals, which are scant.

The Times does not like Mr Trump’s “demagoguery:”1

And on Friday night in Raleigh, he mocked people who reportedly did not contact the authorities with concerns about the California shooting suspects for fear of racial profiling.

“Can anybody be that dumb?” Mr. Trump said. “We have become so politically correct that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing. We don’t know what we’re doing.”

The specter of violence looms over much of his speech, which is infused with words like kill, destroy and fight. For a man who speaks off the cuff, he always remembers to bring up the Islamic State’s “chopping off heads.” And he has expressed enthusiasm for torturing enemies beyond waterboarding. Last month, after several men hit a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his rallies, Mr. Trump said, “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”

The Times, as a good leftist newspaper, absolutely abhors the notion that we might take distinctions concerning people based on race of ethnicity,2 editorializing that we should Fear Ignorance, Not Muslims, and telling us that Muslim Refugees From War Aren’t the Enemy, but saying that we should instead fear law-abiding American citizens exercising their constitutional rights because a few crazies and jihadi break the law and kill people.3

The last thing I would ever do is depend on the left to protect my rights. In our good neighbor to the north, the left are trying to get climate change deniers criminally prosecuted, and I have little doubt that the editors of the Times would cheer that. Liberal writer S E Smith, obviously a city-dweller, asked, “What private individual needs to own a long gun?” Today being the second Saturday of deer season in Pennsylvania,4 something which probably makes a city-slicker nauseated, I can understand why some people would need to own a long gun. While I don’t hunt, I have several friends who were planning on being out in the woods today, and they will be using their sport to put meat on their tables.5

Let’s face facts: the left in the United States are no longer just the people with whom we have polite disagreements. Rather, they have become the people who believe that they should use the power of government, the police power of the state, to force everybody to live the way that the left say that they should. For the left, government no longer exists to protect people from having others trample on their rights, no longer has anything resembling a libertarian bent, but is as fascist as anything Benito Mussolini ever even dreamed of in requiring others to comply.
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1 – Demagoguery is my changing of the word to fit the line properly; the Times’ direct quote is, “Mr. Trump has built one of the most surprising political movements in decades and, historians say, echoing the appeals of some demagogues of the past century.”
2 – Except, of course, where Affirmative Action is concerned; on that, the editors absolutely approve of taking such distinctions.
3 – Yet, strangely enough, the editors were very concerned about the rights of the American people being compromised by the NSA surveillance program. I guess that the rationale that the Supreme Court has used in allowing Affirmative Action in some cases, that it is a “compelling government interest,” doesn’t apply to trying to protect Americans from Islamist terrorists.
4 – Technically, it’s the second Saturday of rifle season; muzzle-loader and archery deer seasons have already passed.
5 – And for more than a meal or two; some of them own large chest freezers, and they’ll have deer meat (no one calls it venison around here) throughout the coming year.