As I’ve written before, leftists in the U.S. are accustomed to scoring political victories by shifting words and phrases, by twisting the language so that words communicate something other than what they were meant to communicate. By doing this, the left inches its way further and further into our lives, extending government into areas where the Founding Fathers never meant for government to be.
Their current obsession with human rights is a perfect example. And all the supposed “rights” they are now pushing — a right to education, contraception, public transportation, abortion, internet access — ultimately increase government’s reach into our lives, thereby reducing our liberties and our freedom. And what we need to understand is that this pursuit of human rights instead of natural rights is not just limited to leftists in the U.S. In fact, it is not as prevalent here as in other, “enlightened” countries.
Take China, for instance. There, where the natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is vanished by a one-child policy that forces women to abort every child after their first one, accusations are now being levied that the U.S. violates the human rights of its citizens by allowing private gun ownership. That’s right — China contends that private gun ownership is a violation of human rights.
Why? Because honoring the 2nd Amendment has resulted in “rampant gun ownership.” (It’s a circular argument, I know, but coming from Chinese officials, who are used to being the only ones with guns, and therefore accustomed to telling their own people when to jump and how high, it probably makes sense.)
Their implication is that “rampant gun ownership” contributes to rampant crime, thus the U.S. is guilty of “[prioritizing] the right to keep and bear arms over the protection of citizens’ lives and personal security.” This claim is wrong in at least two ways:
First, rampant gun ownership does not cause rampant crime. Anyone who has ever perused the annual FBI crime statistics (or read John Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime”) knows that where gun ownership is highest, crime is lowest — period.
Second, honoring the natural right to keep and bear arms is not prioritized “over the protection of citizens’ lives and personal security,” rather, it is done because it enables citizens to protect their lives and keep themselves secure — period.
To put it another way, an armed populace is capable of defending their lives and property. Which is one of the reasons George Washington wrote that “free people ought … to be armed.”
If we back away from this and look at it from a distance, where we can take in the bigger picture, one of the lessons for us to grasp from China’s report on the United States’ human rights record is that the proponents of human rights don’t like competition. They don’t like the fact that free people possess the ability to stay free via their arms. And another point to take from it, already made tacitly above, is that the human rights aren’t meant to compliment natural rights, but to replace them.
Now, notice how the left’s clever twisting of language, shifting of phrasing, and raw hunger for power all conveniently come together in this one phrase: gun control is a human right. This is exactly what the Chinese government is implying, and they are attempting to use our alleged violation of this man-made construct to shame the U.S. into conformity with other nations where natural rights are a relic and private gun ownership has long been abolished.
Five important words for the Chinese government, courtesy of the late Charlton Heston: “From my cold, dead hands.”