Posts © 2011-2012 by Gerald G. Day







Monday, March 19, 2018


March 18, 2018

     It isn’t pleasant to contemplate, and it sounds pretentious to declare it, but American culture is in decline.  The fact that Donald Trump was elected President, and the resulting inanity and chaos in his White House, might be considered proof enough, but there are any number of indicia. 
 
    They include the capture of government by those who don’t believe in it, elected in part by those who hate and fear it, and the fact that politics is for sale, aided by the notion that money is speech.  They include disbelief in scientific findings and denial of facts, most notably regarding climate change, displaying at least a blasé attitude toward impending disaster, at worst revealing a society committing suicide.  They include a health care system which delivers less at greater cost than in advanced countries, and rampant homelessness in a wealthy society with a robust economy.  They include crumbling infrastructure; inequality, financial and otherwise; racial and religious conflict; a loss of common purpose; and art in its various forms in a state of decadence.   One of the most serious is  the failure to control possession of firearms. 

     The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has underlined that unpleasant fact, an obvious and tragically dramatic sign of societal failure.  The proposals to turn schools in to fortresses and to arm teachers are admissions that society has failed, that government is paralyzed and cannot keep people safe.  The federal government cannot do so because, reflecting the culture, it refuses to recognize the problem; in effect, it plugs its ears. 

     In 1993, a study funded with grants from the CDC produced this conclusion: "Rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance."[23]  That and other studies upset gun-rights advocates, and Congress responded in 1996 by adopting the "Dickey Amendment," which provides that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."[24] 
 
    Although that does not, in terms, prohibit research, the CDC has been intimidated, by the NRA and by Congress’ refusal to fund such research, into abandoning it.  The Trump budget continues the ban: "None of the funds made available in this title [Health and Human Services] may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control."

     Advocates for gun possession assert that one must be armed to repel foreign invaders, "globalist forces," rapacious Mexican immigrants or whomever one fantasizes about.  Some claim they must be armed to resist their own government, the pathetic ineffectiveness of which is somehow transformed into menace.  Pop-up ads from the NRA tell us: "Fight Now or Lose Your Freedom."  To elaborate, here’s Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association:[25]

     "Once they get our guns, the rest is easy. Then they could dismantle the rest of our freedoms piece by piece, all the while moving closer to the European-type of socialism they believe our country should embrace."  Some things never change: there’s always a menace to the American Way, if not communism then socialism. 

     "Fortunately, after eight years of a rabidly anti-gun administration, we beat back the tide in 2016—but just barely. We shunned socialist Bernie Sanders and far-left Hillary Clinton, and put Donald Trump in the White House."  They do deserve each other, companions on the downward slope. "As a result, the socialist movement in the U.S. has shifted into overdrive. And this new acceleration is what threatens to greatly, and irreparably, harm our nation." 

     What do those socialists resent about the revival of real Americanism under Trump?  "They hate that he is working diligently to stop the flow of illegals from all over the world who are coming across our southern border."  As that suggests, white nationalism feeds the gun culture.  "They hate Trump’s tax cuts putting more of Americans’ money into their own pockets. They hate that Trump’s policies have spurred the economy so successfully, resulting in record-low unemployment and a record-high stock market."  At this point the defense of guns has moved from paranoia into fantasy.

     Resistance to control of guns is driven as well by an industry which profits from selling them.  Another aid to keeping guns available is that guns taken from criminals often are recycled, sold to dealers; even that opportunity to slightly reduce the number of firearms is ignored. (The Washington State Patrol is required by law to auction off such guns or  trade them to a firearms dealer, who sells them to the public. This applies not only to handguns and hunting rifles, but also to assault weapons).

     We are witnessing a flight into the past.  Fortifying schools is a return to the middle ages,  manning the castle walls against invaders.  Arming teachers is a return to the wild west, or a fantasy of it, where every man packed a gun, only now the schoolmarm will as well.  Stand-your-ground laws, which authorize deadly force almost at a whim, further the retreat into the past.

     The notion that uncontrolled individual action is the only course returns us to the state of nature — anarchy — with its war of all against all.  It is depressing that, in the twenty-first century, we should be reduced to explaining that civilization, organized society and functioning government are positive developments.


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23.
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199310073291506

24.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/104th-congress/house-bill/3610/text 

25.
https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2018/3/12/gun-rights-could-be- affected-by-socialist-ideals/