Thursday, 22 November 2018

The media and Gun Control

A Conversation with the Enemies of Freedom

Benedictus Dominus, Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad praelium, et digitos meos ad bellum (Ps. CXL iii).
Blessed be the Lord, my God, who traineth my hands to the battle, and my fingers to the fight.

            The media are calling for 'a conversation' about gun control in the wake of the Parkland
shootings or, to be more precise, media types the world over are calling for America to have such a conversation. The trouble is that, whenever one attempts to converse with them, they just shout louder and louder to drown out anything and everything anybody else might have to say on the subject i.e. they use the tactic they use on all manner of subjects where they have a collective view and want to rule all other positions inadmissible – try having a conversation with them about stengthening laws against homosexual practice or abortion.  They are, however, right in telling us that it is time to reconsider the firearms question.

            The problem, which has been highly visible since the Parkland shootings, is that generations have grown up having been fed nothing but gun control propaganda from birth leaving young people, at least, unable to imagine that the alternative is preferable.  The generation of telegenic teens now protesting in front of the cameras in favour of gun control in America is at the younger end of the same generation in which over half say they would prefer socialism or communism to capitalism.  The situation in Britain and Europe where there is an even narrower range of opinion across the media, and we are accustomed to an even broader scope of State action, is naturally far worse as there are no longer any societal forces pushing back against the siren voices of statism on our side of the Atlantic.  People have forgotten what a free society looks like; and, when we present them with the argument that to have the choice to bear arms is the natural state of affairs, and that to affirm it as a natural right is a necessary safeguard to secure freedom against its enemies within as well as without the country, they reply, as they have been conditioned to reply, that they trust the State to look after them, and they want it to, and think it should have a monopoly of force and all the means it finds necessary to accomplish its beneficent ends.

            Hence we need to reconsider the guns issue, and have as much of a conversation as we can before we are silenced, not because we are wrong in principle, but because the simple arguments of old have been rendered ineffective by the force of statist propaganda pumped out by our would-be rulers in the media (as described in the earlier post Enemies of Freedom).  The time has come to put forward a more positive view of the matter, a more explicitly Catholic view, starting from first principles.

            The essential difference between the modern socialist State and the natural law State is that the modern socialist State begins at the top, with the State and its institutions, and then imposes itself upon the people as an external power regulating their lives as individuals, members of families, and members of any groups to which they might belong; such a State does things to, with or for the people, but it is not of the people, and does not provide government by the people, it provides only a politics of us and them. The natural law State, on the other hand, proceeds 'from the ground up', starting with the people as it finds them in their natural condition, as individuals born into families who form families themselves, and come together with others for various purposes.  The Catholic State then builds upon the foundation of the natural law State, and informs it at the political level  by the union it creates between Church and State, enabling the State to benefit from the infallible guidance of Church teaching in all that pertains to faith and morality. 

            The family is, in the words of Pius XII, “the primary cell of society” which means that society begins there, and any attempt to give a society a political identity as a people or nation should also begin there, and so must any attempt to give a nation a political expression, any attempt to embody it for collective action, as a State if such attempts are to respect the divine order of natural law, by which I mean to respect the fundamental truths of human nature.  All the institutions of a State that is ordered towards integral human development must respect human nature so that every individual can flourish in both the natural and the supernatural orders.  They must all, therefore, begin with families and their individual members, giving people the opportunity to exercise their abilities, capacities and virtues to the fullest extent.  That means every aspect of life in society begins with families and their members: health and welfare, education, policing, defence, food production and procurement, business, energy, transport, culture and the arts, religion, everything.  The right to bear arms is an integral element of several aspects of building and living in such a free society (in forming, for instance, a posse and a militia, or even simply choosing to eat meat), and establishing it as the basis of a Catholic State.  It is intrinsic to the rights to found a family and to hold private property as the final guaranty of those rights.  That is the positive vision we need to promote, so “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition and we'll all stay free”.  

By Prayer Crusader St Philip Howard.

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