Liberty Weighed and Found Wanting

Some months ago, I went to a local shooting range with a guy I met online (it sounds worse than it was, though if you are going to meet someone online, meeting them armed and in the presence of other armed citizens strikes me as eminently sensible.)

He and I agreed on the importance of the 2nd Amendment, but on nothing else politically. A lifelong “moderate” he almost certainly voted Democrat the overwhelming majority of the time. In today’s political culture, Democrats are the party of gun control and bans of certain firearms because of their cosmetic appearance. We discussed this apparent conflict for a long time – in pleasant tones. He argued that the GOP was not particularly good on gun rights either (here I am reporting, not agreeing) and that claims that the Democrats are the party of gun control was just partisan nonsense. He then went on to cite all the good services the Democrats offer and the GOP opposes.

The guy was a nice man, decent and certainly an excellent shot with a pistol. If we ran in the same circles, I am sure we could be good friends.

He also represents what the hell is wrong with America.

For a baseball player to be the best player they can be, the rules of baseball must be consistent throughout the league. Players need to know that the strike zone is going to be the same in Coors Field as it is at Busch Stadium, that that you foul out on Wrigley Field the same way as you do at Comiskey Park.

A good ball player would rather lose following the rules than win breaking them. This is how the game of baseball is preserved.

Too many Americans are like bad ball players. They elevate the value of some service offered by the government above the constitutional framework that created our government in the first place. Too many of us tolerate enemies of constitutional government because those enemies are offering us goodies from their plunder.

In the abstract, our 2nd Amendment rights are the theoretical bulwark against tyranny. The founders believed that if would-be tyrants saw a credible threat from their citizens, their ambitions would be tempered. This is why intemperate would-be tyrants have been gunning for the 2nd Amendment for my entire life.

A union man, my friend has enjoyed a life made possible in part by laws that are at odds with constitutional liberty. He believes in the 2nd Amendment, but not enough to vote against whatever gravy train he perceives is flowing from the party he supports. He weighs constitutional liberty against government benefits and finds liberty wanting.

Like Esau, who traded his rights as the firstborn son to Jacob for a bowl of stew, the American electorate seems to be unaware of the incalculable value of our birthright of liberty and are content to trade it for government services, subsidies or some other such trinket.

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