Mike McDaniel is one of the best and most knowledgeable thinkers and writers when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment. That’s why it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when he revisits one of his own posts to discuss reader objections. I’ll run you through what Mike has to say and then tell you why I agree with him. This is a long post, but I hope it’s engaging enough to sustain your interest all the way through, so that you’ll take the time to weigh in with your own opinions.
It all started with a post entitled “Why It’s So Hard To Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People,” which Mike published at The Truth About Guns (“TTAG”), one of the internet’s premier Second Amendment sites. Mike’s starting point is the same problem I had when discussing guns with liberal friends in the wake of Sandy Hook: Progressives cannot move beyond emotions and get to actual facts.
Mike, though, didn’t stop with my facile conclusion about how frustrating it is to talk about guns with Progressives. Instead, he looked beyond the emotional drivel and honed in on the core ideologies driving Progressive or, more accurately, statist thinking. These ideologies are
(1) the Progressive’s belief in the state’s ability to solve every problem and its corollary, which is that every individual other than the Progressive holding this thought is incapable of knowing what’s best for him;
(2) the Progressive’s refusal to acknowledge that there is a Higher Power or Being, reinforcing the belief in the all powerful state and further diminishing an individual’s standing; and
(3) the Progressive’s belief that the state is both infallible and unfalsifiable. This belief allows Progressives to argue that, if a specific law fails — say, that a law specific guns fails to stop or even slow gun crime — the answer is to pass the same law, only to make it more far-reaching and consequential.
Mike’s article garnered 355 comments. To Mike’s surprise, the point in his article that got the harshest criticism was his second argument, the one holding that rejecting a Higher Being is what allows Progressives to deny the right to armed-self defense. Here’s Mike’s argument in that regard:
The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves. In essence, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God. For some, this lack of belief is nothing more than being made uncomfortable by the idea that there is One greater than themselves, than their current maximum, cult-of-personality leader, than the state itself. For others, progressivism/statism takes on all of the characteristics of a religion; it become a matter of unquestionable faith. For such people, believing in God is essentially apostasy.
As it relates to the Second Amendment, these two factors make it not only possible, indeed, mandatory for the progressive/statist to deny the unalienable right to self-defense. If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. The individual exists only in service to the state, and the value of their life is measured by the individual’s adherence to the state’s goals and their usefulness to the elite ruling class. That being the case, there’s nothing particularly unique or precious about any individual, therefore an unalienable right to self-defense is nothing but an annoying impediment to the larger, more important goals of the state.
Indeed, God need not even be involved for the committed statist to deny the existence of any right of self-defense. Any unalienable right is an inherent limitation on the power of the state, and no such limitation can be acknowledged. Whether such rights are bestowed by God or invented as a result of human philosophy matters not. The power of the state cannot be diminished, and if the individual is allowed control over their own existence — if that control is bestowed by God which is far more powerful than the state — the power of the state becomes illegitimate and unquestionably hampered.