2019s evening news program is usually an oasis in the desert. Individual rights vs national security essay Dangerous Drift from Reason, by Andrew C. Fox’s Bret Baier’s evening news program is usually an oasis in the desert.
Police Shootings — Black vs. African Americans, the paper claims, are two and a half times more likely than Caucasian Americans to be killed by police. The social justice warriors can’t have that, of course. So, making like Olympic judges from the old Soviet bloc they so resemble, today’s narrative repairmen knead the numbers to make the story come out right. Blacks, by contrast account for an outsize 24 percent of the deaths despite being only 13 percent of population. The premise of this exercise is ludicrous. The elephant in the room, the fundamental to which we must never refer, is propensity toward criminality.
This is not a matter of conjecture. Overwhelmingly, the victims of black crime are black people. 4 percent of black homicide victims are killed in police interactions. What would happen if police were to default from their duty to serve and protect — the position demagogues are increasingly pressuring cops into. American society had abandoned its most oppressed communities to a dystopia of crime, poverty, drug abuse, and hopelessness — and don’t you dare mention who is doing the oppressing.
To brand the cops as villains regardless of whether they are active or passive is play-acting, not problem-solving. But the narrative won’t hold. Charlotte this week, the involved police are themselves black. Sadly, this legerdemain has been a boon for the narrative. It is not an individual cop’s race that matters. Presto: The African-American cop is no longer a change agent moving us toward a better, more integrated, more harmonious society.
When he dons the blue uniform, he is just another perpetuator of a hate legacy. It is all well and good — even necessary — to find thematic ways to express truth, to teach its lessons. It is a transcendent bit of fact-based wisdom that allows us to navigate the world as we actually experience it. A narrative, to the contrary, is an excuse for avoiding reality and acting against our best interests. The most consequential organization in radical Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood. Laying the groundwork for its American network, the Brotherhood gave pride of place to an intellectual enterprise, the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
It is not a slogan or an idle phrase. The mission traces back to the ninth century. Its purpose was to defeat human reason. In this fundamentalist interpretation, Islam is a revealed, non-negotiable truth. Reason, rather than hailed as mankind’s path to knowledge and salvation, is condemned for diverting us from dogma. Knowledge therefore has to be Islamized — reality must be bent and history revised to accord with the Muslim narrative.
But with the demise of reason comes the demise of progress, of the wisdom that enables us to solve problems. That is why Islamic societies stagnated, and why the resurgence of fundamentalism has made them even more backward and dysfunctional. It is this way with every totalitarian ideology. We’d be foolish to assume it can’t happen to us. Slaves to narrative are fugitives from reason.
Another sickening mass shooting, and another dispiriting round of debates about the place of guns in American life. And, just as many of the gun-control measures proposed are not germane to the events people wish to see stopped, neither are many of the arguments about gun rights generally. Charles Cooke has taken on Bret Stephens. And, I suppose it falls to me to take on the assertion, made in the New York Times by Michael Schermer, that guns in the hands of citizens aren’t a bulwark against tyranny. Yes, an armed citizenry can be a safeguard against tyranny. Pistol at a rally in support of an open-carry gun law in Romulus, Mich. History shows that an armed citizenry can, in fact, challenge a government it sees as unjust.
But, of course, they are. I’m a squish on the gun stuff. And I’m skeptical about the utility of an unqualified right to acquire weapons of such lethality. My colleague Kevin Williamson says that the right to bear arms makes us citizens and not subjects. And I agree, up to a point.
I just wouldn’t assume that any adult U. Vegas casinos would be disqualified from this burden of citizenship, on account of his manifestly dissolute and aimless life. To call him a citizen is to reduce the term to a legal fiction, a kind of wish about what Americans should be, rather than a recognition of what we are. A man who turns large sums of his worldly wealth over to the algorithmic swings of video poker, in order to get comps, is a man who remains subject to his own appetites, and vulnerable to some tough creditors. The ornaments of a free man do not suit him. But let’s put my useless doubts to one side. Gun-rights advocates also make the grandiose claim that gun ownership is a deterrent against tyrannical governments.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That may have made sense in the 1770s, when breech-loading flintlock muskets were the primary weapons tyrants used to conquer other peoples and subdue their own citizens who could, in turn, equalize the power equation by arming themselves with equivalent firepower. But that is no longer true. If you think stock piling firearms from the local Guns and Guitars store, where the Las Vegas shooter purchased some of his many weapons, and dressing up in camouflage and body armor is going to protect you from an American military capable of delivering tanks and armored vehicles full of Navy SEALs to your door, you’re delusional. Schermer invokes the massacres at Ruby Ridge and at Waco, Texas, as further evidence that guns are not sufficient to protect you from a determined government. He offers instead for protection the rule of law, and a good lawyer to defend you.