Issues of reproductive rights and gun control represent failed approaches
By: Robert E. Meyer
Two recent hot button issues, “reproductive rights” and gun control, represent examples of failed methods for dealing with cultural problems.
It’s no mystery why we have so many unwanted pregnancies and abortions in an environment where contraception is readily available. No matter how much money is spent on contraception education, more will be demanded because the problems of unwed pregnancies keep expanding. Society once frowned on recreational sexual activities, because unwanted pregnancies were bad for the child, for the mother and for society. We supported an ethic of abstinence, and it worked well because the existing social stigmas balanced the impulses of hormones.
Then contraceptives like the birth-control pill came along, and with it unintended ramifications. It provided cover for people who desired illicit sex without consequences, and society cooperated by lowering their expectations, eventually granting approval to the new approach. Rather than just limiting birth rates, it granted social permission for people to engage in recreation sex with or without protection.
The focus became insulating people from the consequences of their activities, rather than avoiding destructive behaviors.
With firearms we take a different approach and blame the instrument as the culprit. People don’t kill people after all, guns do.
I advocate Second Amendment rights, not because I have a fascination with firearms, or because I’m a sportsman or target shooter. Plain and simple, weapons restrictions are the current pivotal front on which the battle for liberty is being fought. The Founders saw private firearms possession as a necessary check in favor of citizens.
“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed — unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46
We put armed marshals on airline flights to enhance security, yet the idea of placing armed guards on duty at schools for the same reason is unthinkable.
Social problems within the United States must be considered within their own cultural context. Simply because murder rates are lower in countries where firearms are publicly restricted, or fewer unwanted pregnancies occur in European countries where birth-control is dispensed like multi-vitamins, doesn’t guarantee the same results with those policies in America. Here in America, we deal with a cultural, ethnic and ideological diversity that is unlike countries used as comparisons. We should recognize (as did Madison) that “liberty’ in some free socialist countries, is a different animal from the concept of liberty we understand here in the United States.
Neither the approach of protecting people from their behaviors, or blaming the instrument are the solutions, but examples of looking in the wrong place. The relationship between liberty and internal governance was elegantly expressed by Robert Winthrop, Speaker of The House of Representatives over 150 years ago.
“All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint…”
Will observing this advice prevent all situations where deranged individuals commits a grave atrocity? Of course not. While it’s gratuitous to blame any particular crime on the disintegration of moral values, it would be naive and irresponsible to suppose they haven’t factored in the coarsening of culture overall, resulted in the proliferation of impulse to violence.
We must choose between the “Land of the free and home of the brave.” or the “Brave new world,” where the central government is wholly responsible for our amusement, our care and our livelihood.