The Las Vegas and Texas church shootings sparked anew the gun-control debate. While opium is the leading cause of death in American, over gun violence and car accidents, it cannot be ignored that individuals are murdered by guns. Something must be done. Jimmy Kimmel called for a common sense approach to gun-control. A reasonable, common sense approach to limiting murders is not only an acceptable legal pursuit, but moral one. One common sense approach is to advocate for a virtue-based society, education, and to foster a culture of life. Unfortunately, as long as modern-liberalism controls the education system and thought process of the mass media, this common sense approach won’t happen. Stopping or limiting murders will not happen through modern-liberal principles.
Gun-control arguments rest mainly on the principle that guns are inherently evil because they have the capability to kill, are used in mass murders, and mass murders happen too often. The other argument is that the Second Amendment wasn’t intended to allow the buying of automatic and semi-automatic weapons; these are not necessary for self-defense. Jimmy Kimmel raised this. Some argue for a full repeal of the Second Amendment, while others argue for bans on types of weapons or accessories. Many gun-control advocates use the term “assault weapons” when referring to standard rifles or semi-automatic weapons.
Unless a waiver is granted, people cannot purchase automatic weapons. Semi-automatic weapons require the shooter to pull the trigger each time he or she wants to shoot a bullet, so are not “assault weapons” in the way talking heads mean.
Our Founders enacted the Second Amendment as an enumerable right. Having come from Europe, the Founders knew how governments forcefully violated its unarmed citizen’s natural rights. The Second Amendment was an insurance that American citizens could defend themselves against a tyrannical government, or other groups who could forcefully violate their natural rights.
James Madison in the Federalist Papers (No. 46), for example, stated:
“notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments…it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned…Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power…”
Some will say that the Second Amendment was established, with James Madison in mind, so only the militia could possess weapons, and, the militia is the National Guard. The militia includes the National Guard. There is also an “unorganized militia” which includes citizens not in the National Guard (10 USC § 311). Aside from the militia, the intent was for citizens to possess weapons to offset tyranny.
At the heart of America’s education system and major media outlets is liberalism, more specifically, modern-liberalism.
What is this?
It is not modern because it is new, but, it is modern because Enlightenment and classical liberalism are different. It is modern because today’s liberalism is not the same “liberalism” of our Founders. Our Founders ideologies and philosophies, coming from the Enlightenment era, were rooted in the natural law and the Creator. Individualism of old was still premised on this. Today, it is not.
Father Felix Sarda y Salvany wrote a book entitled Liberalism is a Sin in 1886. It received the imprimatur of the Church and support of Pope Leo XIII. So, even in 1886 there were problems with liberalism’s effects, like absolute sovereignty of the individual from God. Since then, liberalism has evolved further. While liberalism of old was still rooted in the concept of natural rights flowing from a Creator, today rights flow only from government, or the individual’s conscience absent faith.
Modern-liberalism embraces the philosophies of individualism (as did liberalism of old), hedonism, immorality, relativism, egotism, consequentialism, nihilism, and atheism. At its base is an intolerance towards virtue and objective truth. Especially opposition towards Jesus Christ’s teachings through his apostolic church. Setting aside a discussion on Christianity, modern liberalism has shown antagonism towards God in general.
Effects of Modern-Liberalism
The 2012 Democratic Convention took a vote whether to include God in its convention, and the overall vote was “no.” Prayer was removed from class rooms; the Ten Commandments from courthouses; and even a Catholic University decided to remove statutes of saints to make the university more inclusive. This is what modern-liberalism does. It spreads an ideology devoid of foundational truths (including natural law) found in obedience to God. It is antagonistic to the idea of fostering virtue over personal feelings in schools. For modern-liberals, there is no truth other than the truth that all philosophies, religions, and beliefs are equal and deserve equal respect. An individual’s conscious becomes the arbiter of truth. So, no one has a right to tell that individual how to live his or her life.
Due to these –isms, a culture of death rather than a culture of life guides American thought. Contraception is a philosophy that children are a burden rather than gift. This seed (right to contraception) led to abortion and euthanasia driving the rights debate. Human life is now expendable. It does not have value if individuals choose it doesn’t have value. This is premised on the individual’s right to act on their passions (especially their sexual passions). So, self-control and virtue are easily dismissed.
Where do we go?
A free society cannot exist long when its citizens cling to modern-liberalism. The culture of death is a road paved with despair, anger, fear, and hatred. It leads further and further from the desire to protect the natural rights of all (unborn to old). The Las Vegas shooter was a nihilist; the Texas shooter an atheist.
A Common Sense Approach: Virtue
Inanimate objects do not cause murders, but individuals with depraved hearts and minds do. Kimmel is right when calling for common sense solutions. A common sense solution includes not only reasonable gun-control but forming a virtue-based society. Virtue taught in schools. Virtue, self-control, and even a turn to God, included in the media’s response to shootings. Some will say that changing the educational system is impossible. It isn’t when the people demand it of their elected representatives. Kimmel could advocate for adjusting the educational system to require teaching virtue and prayer. Media talking heads could spin self-control of passions. Self-control of passions and virtue is a common sense approach that should be included in advocacy for gun-control. Gun-control first needs self-control.
This article, Self-control then gun-control is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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About Dustin P.J. Murphy
Dustin is an attorney with the Federal Government and has a LL.M specialty in International & Operational Law. He holds a B.A. in philosophy and did M.A. work in philosophy.