Piers Morgan and the Assault on American Liberty - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Piers Morgan and the Assault on American Liberty

Live from New York! It’s King George the Third!!!!!!!!!

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CNN’s Piers Morgan, a British citizen, has been in the news lately for his views on gun control. He’s for it.

He’s not so big on the U.S. Constitution.

As he made clear in this exchange with Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro. At one point, Morgan picked up a booklet copy of the U.S. Constitution Shapiro had brought with him, saying:

Morgan: “…you come in and brandish your little book…”

Shapiro: “That’s the Constitution of the United States.”

Later in the show was this exchange as Shapiro made the point about tyrannical governments turning on their own citizens:

Morgan: Are you saying you really believe your own government is going to turn on you in a way that you require an AR-15 to challenge them (garbled)…

When Shapiro says governments have in fact turned on people, citing the French Revolution in the 19th century and the rise of Nazis and Fascists in Germany, Italy, and Spain in the 20th century, Morgan is incredulous.

Stop here.

Shapiro did a superb job in making his case — but he left out one very notable example of a government turning on its own people. 

That would be, of course, the British government. And the tyranny brought to American shores by Piers Morgan’s ancestors in the middle of the 18th century.

By the sheerest of chance — Morgan’s selection by CNN as a replacement for Larry King — America gets to see close-up the modern embodiment of just how America and the United States Constitution itself came to be.

Let’s go back in time, shall we? Not to France, Germany or Italy or Spain. But to America.

Let’s begin with an incident that took place on the night of March 5, 1770. An incident known in America as the Boston Massacre.

After endless provocations by the British government — more of which in a moment — angry Bostonians gathered at the government’s custom’s house, known in the day as the “King’s Chest” because it stored the revenue from custom’s taxes. The mob — led by among others an African-American runaway slave named Crispus Attucks — surrounded the lone British sentry and began to taunt him. Reinforcements arrived in the form of British troops. Insults were hurled by angry colonists who brandished clubs — but no guns. A soldier was knocked to the ground in the turmoil — and abruptly the command “fire” was heard.

In a blink, wrote Stanford University Professor John C. Miller in his 1943 book Origins of the American Revolution, “five Bostonians lay dead or dying” — one of them Crispus Attucks.

Faced with an armed attack — by guns in the hands of the government — Miller writes:

The streets echoed to the beat of drums and the cry of “To Arms! To Arms! To Arms! Turn out with your Guns!”

Deciding the best course was to back off, the British commander on the scene retreated until joined by an entire British regiment decidedly armed with guns. Between the retreat and the overwhelming show of British arms against an unarmed mob, the incident came to an end.

This may have been the first notable imprint on the American psyche of the need for guns to deal with a tyrannical government — but it wasn’t the last. Annually afterwards, the most prominent of Boston’s citizens would deliver “The Boston Massacre Oration” — and these speeches were in turn used to target the imposition of tyranny upon the King’s subjects in the colonies. John Hancock, who would later famously fix his unmistakably large signature on the Declaration of Independence, delivered the Massacre Oration in 1774. Hancock went out of his way to cite the government for tyranny, saying : 

“….I glory in publicly avowing my eternal enmity to tyranny.”

And there was no mistake: to fight government tyranny, the right to bear arms was a necessary and fundamental liberty.

A little over one year after Hancock’s 1774 Massacre Oration, the British army, in search of rebel stores of guns and ammunition, marched out from Boston to Lexington and Concord. Warned by spies that the government was coming to take their guns, the Americans were ready.

As British troops entered Lexington, marching in perfect formation in their scarlet red coats, musket bayonets glittering, British Major Pitcairn demanded in a yell:

“Disperse ye rebels, ye villains, disperse….Lay down your arms.”

Which is to say, the government was demanding of its citizens that they disarm themselves — or else.

To which the American Captain John Parker famously said to the armed men of Lexington as they stared out at the British:

“Don’t fire unless fired on, but if they mean to have war let it begin here.”

And so it did. Someone , a colonist perhaps, fired what would become immortalized as the “shot heard round the world.”

So to return to the 21st century and Piers Morgan’s demand of Ben Shapiro:

“Are you saying you really believe your own government is going to turn on you in a way that you require an AR-15 to challenge them …”

The correct answer is: Yes, Mr. Morgan. The Second Amendment is a specific result of the conduct of your government, the British government, in turning on your own citizens — which is what we Americans were that March night of 1770 and that April morning of 1775.

But there was something else going on during this time period than just the issue of guns and a tyrannical government. A something else that is evidenced, in fairness to Piers Morgan, not just by a British TV host for CNN — but is seen everywhere today by all manner of Americans.

Back in 1943, Stanford’s Professor Miller called it the problem of “The English Mind.” In fact, Miller found the problem so striking he devoted an entire chapter to the point.

What was the problem with the English Mind? Writes Miller:

One of the convictions most firmly planted in the minds of eighteenth-century Englishmen was the superiority of true-born Britons to the American colonists.

This is, in conservative eyes, the precise problem demonstrated by the English mind of Mr. Morgan. But alas, this laughable sense of intellectual and moral superiority that Miller once described as part and parcel of the English mind in the 1770s is today a defining characteristic not simply of Piers Morgan but of modern American liberalism. Whether found in the phrase disdainfully describing the America that lies between New York and Los Angeles as “fly over country” or candidate Barack Obama’s description of those small-town Americans who find themselves jobless that:

“…it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

However it is exhibited, superiority, both morally and intellectually is assumed by liberals today as the Brits of the 1770s once did in relation to their colonists.

The latest target for all this — and in point of fact this target has been around for some time even if the attacks are now intensifying — is the U.S. Constitution.

Morgan’s scornful taunt to Ben Shapiro of the Constitution that “you come in and brandish your little book…” is decidedly not a stand-alone. Note this anti-Constitution tirade that aired just this past weekend on the CBS Sunday Morning show hosted by Charles Osgood.

As our friends at Newsbusters have recorded, the exchange between Osgood and a Georgetown University Law professor goes like this:

CHARLES OSGOOD, HOST: Is the U.S. Constitution truly worthy of the reverence in which most Americans hold it? A view on that from Lewis Michael Seidman, Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University.

LOUIS MICHAEL SEIDMAN, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: “I’ve got a simple idea: Let’s give up on the Constitution. I know, it sounds radical, but it’s really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie.

For example, most of our greatest Presidents — Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts — had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.

To be clear, I don’t think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago.

Unfortunately, the Constitution also contains some provisions that are not so inspiring. For example, one allows a presidential candidate who is rejected by a majority of the American people to assume office. Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn’t a natural-born citizen. So what?

Constitutional obedience has a pernicious impact on our political culture. Take the recent debate about gun control. None of my friends can believe it, but I happen to be skeptical of most forms of gun control.

I understand, though, that’s not everyone’s view, and I’m eager to talk with people who disagree. But what happens when the issue gets Constitutional-ized? Then we turn the question over to lawyers, and lawyers do with it what lawyers do. So instead of talking about whether gun control makes sense in our country, we talk about what people thought of it two centuries ago.

Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question of policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one’s commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.

This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today.

If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.”

Say again that ending phrase from a law professor: The Constitution is “an ancient and outdated document.”

Which is where we began.

What’s really going on here these days is a full-blown assault on your liberty. By, among others, the Obama administration, its allies in the liberal media like Mr. Morgan and CBS’s Charles Osgood and the law professor Mr. Seidman. Those who have an endless naïveté — or cunning — about the corruption of power.

These people — and there are many more — are, as Mark Levin accurately calls them, statists.

There is a reason they want to get rid of the Constitution in 2013. And at root it is exactly the same reason King George III wanted to take guns from the Americans at Lexington in 1775.

There is a reason the Obama administration is using the issue of contraceptives as a shield to their real desire of forcing the Catholic Church to violate their religious beliefs.

Or is using the shield of the NLRB to force the Senate to give up its right to advise and consent on presidential appointees.

There is a reason President Obama is complaining that his agenda is being blocked because of a particular fear. That fear? To Obama that fear supposedly held by Republicans in Congress of being “punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest…”

Which is to say, in this latter case, the President is complaining about the First Amendment. The Constitution. The First Amendment rights of Fox and Rush Limbaugh are getting in the way of his agenda. The Constitution being a document he has never held in high regard, as evidenced here long ago when a 2001 audio tape surfaced in which Obama was sharply critical of Warren Court because:

“To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you.”

While Piers Morgan and the rest of those possessing what might be called an “English mind” circa the 1770s may not get it, there is one more formerly liberal American who does.

No less than the famous American playwright David Mamet gets it. Channeling his inner Mark Levin with his writing here in the Daily Beast, Mamet excoriates the President by saying:

Karl Marx summed up Communism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This is a good, pithy saying, which, in practice, has succeeded in bringing, upon those under its sway, misery, poverty, rape, torture, slavery, and death.

For the saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia. The agency is called “The State,” and the motto, fleshed out, for the benefit of the easily confused must read “The State will take from each according to his ability: the State will give to each according to his needs.” “Needs and abilities” are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to “the State shall take, the State shall give.”……

The Constitution’s drafters did not require a wag to teach them that power corrupts: they had experienced it in the person of King George…. This (The Declaration of Independence) is a chillingly familiar set of grievances; and its recrudescence was foreseen by the Founders. They realized that King George was not an individual case, but the inevitable outcome of unfettered power; that any person or group with the power to tax, to form laws, and to enforce them by arms will default to dictatorship, absent the constant unflagging scrutiny of the governed, and their severe untempered insistence upon compliance with law.”

In his own way, Piers Morgan is a walking advertisement for the U.S. Constitution. So too Charles Osgood and law professor Seidman. His — their — determination in 2013 to strip Americans of their Constitutional rights is the usual thinly veiled disguise of corrupted power. Identical to the same desire of the British troops who showed up one fine April morning of 1775.

This argument isn’t about guns.

This argument isn’t about contraception. Or the NLRB.

This argument isn’t about Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.

This argument is about liberty. Freedom.

And whether it’s King George III and his redcoats in 1770 and 1775, or whether it’s Piers Morgan sitting on the set of CNN in 2013, the reason for the Constitution is to protect liberty.

To protect Americans from the corrupted power of the State and an assault on their liberty.

Americans have been here before. Piers — long before.

We remember why, too.

Photo: UPI

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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