Spare Us the ‘Conversation’
George Neumayr
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The pols and pundits most insistent upon holding a gun-control “conversation” in the wake of mass shootings at schools did the most to turn them into nihilistic wastelands. From the puffed-chest phonies on CNN and MSNBC, we hear a lot about sinister “lobbies” that intimidate passive, cowardly pols. The insufferable Chris Cuomo, whose partisan arrogance is impossible to overstate, rips into this or that Republican for not “standing up” to the NRA. When has Cuomo ever stood up to the morally bankrupt teachers’ unions that turned America’s public schools into assembly lines of pathology?

Cuomo, full of cheap outrage, seized upon Trump’s blameless tweets about the shooting. He pronounced them “stupid.” It is not clear what Trump could possibly have said to satisfy Cuomo. Was he expecting Trump to call for the confiscation of all guns? The imposition of martial law?

The liberal elite’s hoped-for “conversation” about guns would never proceed like one. They are not looking for a dialogue but an occasion to diatribe without ever having to answer for their own role in the demise of civil society.

The rise of school shootings is due not to the absence of laws but to the absence of a civilized culture that taught students to follow them. Few lobbies have contributed more to that crisis than the liberal elite’s cherished one, the teachers’ unions. They overflow with self-interested hacks whose pensions fattened as schools disintegrated. Before these educrats laid waste to them, public schools didn’t need” gun-free zones” and little armies to protect them. Teachers took the shaping of minds and souls seriously. But all that discipline and rigor vanished under the ridicule of a ruling class that now treats the debased condition of schools so solemnly. How, they gasp, did a student from an “alternative school” (it is still not clear what that means) invade the school’s “gun-free zone” and wipe out 17 people?

Let the Kimmels and Colberts say what they want about those musty old schools, with their “silly” morning prayers, codes of discipline, and starchy moral lessons. At least those schools weren’t scene of mass shootings. The teachers in those days didn’t preach gun control but self-control. Now their successors preach the reverse and wake up to dead colleagues and pupils.

That liberal vision of gun control without self-control just means a multiplicity of laws an increasingly depraved citizenry won’t obey. The Florida shooter, after all, violated numerous laws. Adding a few more wouldn’t have stopped him.

Where does the multiplication of laws end? It can only end in the destruction of a free society in which the final solution to crime is to treat everyone, both the virtuous and the vicious, as a criminal. That is why the breezy word “conversation” in this context gives off such an Orwellian chill. What are we supposed to be chatting about? The transformation of our country into a totalitarian prison-state?

Were freedom the object of the conversation, it would not focus on the multiplication of restrictions but on the capacity of citizens to respect existing ones. In other words, the conversation would turn to the repair of civilizing institutions, starting with the most fundamental school of virtue, the family. But that is a conversation gun-control advocates will never hold, as they have played such a large role in corrupting those institutions.

They don’t want a free people. They want the prison-state, confident in the expectation that they will emerge as its wardens who can demand the confiscation of guns while standing behind their armed guards.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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