The week of April 15, 2013 was a week of contrasts. Monday was practically a high holy day for the American Left, the day known as Tax Day, when personal income tax forms have their formal deadline in the United States.
The Democrats planned for an exciting and successful week of passing unconstitutional programs, as gun control and immigration amnesty bills were to be the business of the day in the United States Senate.
But then reality set in, and two very different kinds of terror rocked the nation. First, a pair of Chechen muslim brothers set off horrific bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and then led law enforcement on a manhunt, finally killing the one on Thursday and capturing a second on Friday. Then the news was announced that someone was mailing poisoned letters to politicians, including the President and at least one Senator.
Even before these criminals were identified and captured, the bloom started to come off the rose of the Left’s approach on these issues. Real crimes, especially such horrific ones as poison in the mail and homemade explosives, are committed by real criminals, perhaps even backed by foreign nations or multinational organizations; they are not committed by decent, normal, law-abiding Americans – the people targeted by the proposed bills.
Gradually, the American people have finally begun to reflect on the last fifty years or so of our criminal justice system. They are finally reconsidering what they’ve been taught as the enlightened conventional wisdom all that time: “Be nicer to criminals so they don’t feel as marginalized; let them out of jail sooner, or don’t lock them up at all... Give criminals every benefit of the doubt, even disregarding their own confessions, in an effort to let them go free… And if non-citizens violate our porous borders, give them amnesty as a reward, and maybe even eliminate the borders entirely; it’s just some antiquated throwback to the caveman days of old.”
None of these positions ever made sense, of course, but they have been conventional wisdom for so long – taught in our textbooks, parroted by the news media, officially-approved talking points at cocktail parties – that many suspended their disbelief. Like the old fairy tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, a naïve population agreed to believe that the crime-control policies of the left must indeed be logical: “If everyone else sees the good sense of the prevailing position, then who am I to question such a majority?”
Questioning a Majority
One of the key Founding principles of this great nation is that the majority does NOT rule… at least, not easily, not automatically. That’s the whole idea of a Constitutional form of government. The Constitution is a set of shackles for the government; elections only determine who is to wear those shackles.
Once elected or appointed to public office, the oath of office locks them into obedience, limiting their options. They actually cannot necessarily do what the majority wants, just because the majority wants it, even if they win the vote!
If one party wins an election, that party can vote on a variety of positions allowed by the Constitution; if the other party wins, then that party can. But in no case can either party do what the Constitution forbids, not even if they win a unanimous position at the polls. The Constitution restrains them. The majority can choose only from among Constitutional options; the incredible difficulty of a Constitutional Amendment is needed even to authorize consideration of any other options.
So, cleverly, for much of the 20th century, the Left focused much effort on burying that simple fact of Constitutional governance. They promised the impossible in election campaigns and State of the Union addresses; they taught children and journalists that absolute Majority Rule is simultaneous with the American Way, which it simply never was.
In truth, Minority Rule is our system… thank Heaven.
The Founders brilliantly designed a nearly unbreachable wall against tyranny, by making our nation largely a country governed by minority rule – the rule of 55 dead men, the Framers of the Philadelphia Convention. They secured liberty by locking in the new government’s boundaries, and then dying of old age so they couldn’t take them back.
A dead lawmaker can’t be bribed, coerced, bamboozled or flattered into changing a good law for a bad one.
By making the most important laws permanent, permanently locked in place by dead Framers… and by making alteration of those laws so very difficult (75% of the states must agree for an amendment to be adopted!), the nation would be protected from the tyranny of the majority, from the whim of a foolish moment in popular culture, from the sweet speeches of some spellbinding orator.
The Founders set out to protect us from ourselves, from our own weaknesses, as the revolutionary generation faded away.
And it worked for over a century. But when the statists started to gain a foothold (call them progressives, liberals, leftists, socialists, whatever you like… they’re just statists), they knew exactly what they needed to do:
The statists spent the 20th century unteaching our nation’s history of the freedom philosophy. They spent it infiltrating the schools and the press, the entertainers and the businesses, the politicians and the nonprofits. They spent it telling us that Voting is an end in itself, that every subject is subjective, that every proposal is worth consideration; the Majority Rule will be sure to choose the right thing, so be part of it!
After all this, by the time the 20th century ended, elective office was considered more important that the limitations that were placed upon that office. The public was now convinced that it could do whatever it wanted on Election Day.
- Rob your neighbor through the tax code? It can’t be morally wrong if a majority votes for it.
- Bribe a race to mind their own business by offering them generous welfare? It’s not the slavery of a plantation if they chose it themselves, or it was chosen for them, at the polls.
- Order a school to teach false science to children? If an elected judge ordered it, it must be fine.
- Turn the scientific method on its head by teaching manmade global warming as gospel, while refusing the use of sensible profiling in crime control because the results might look bad for some protected demographic group? A majority voted for it, so it must be good.
- A candidate publicly promises to be a dictator if he wins? Just vote for him once and his choice is legitimized.
None of these choices are Constitutional, not one (yes, even the one great flaw: slavery… though a grandfathered exception at the time, the majority of Founders prayed that it would end in time).
These kinds of “majority rule” choices are disallowed by both the spirit and the letter of the law. But the statists found an end run around the law. They never campaigned to rob your neighbor through the tax code; they never promised to be dictators. But they slowly undermined the American people’s appreciation of freedom, to the point that majority rule overtook it as “the greatest good.” Now, once one side wins an election and advocates these positions, the simple response is “We won, you lost… fair and square” (even if it wasn’t), so the minority has to put up with it, because we’ve forgotten that our system as constructed was never about majority rule at all; it was about limited government.
The Conventional Wisdom Gives Way
The inherent problem with an untruth, however, is that eventually, as the saying goes, the truth will out. The American people has listened to the conventional wisdom for fifty years and seen its results.
Our wanton disregard for the clearly drawn lines of the Constitution has reached its ultimate conclusion, as a President diffidently states that anytime Congress overturns his proposal, he will just legislate on his own, as if the oath of office he took was just so much theater, as fictional as any stage show. His blatant statements to this effect are finally scaring even the independents, even some of his own party.
Somewhere deep within the American soul still remains at least a spark of the core American value that all politicians must be greatly restrained.
Our counterproductive efforts at crime control have produced an explosion of crime, as every conservative foretold. You don’t reduce crime by setting criminals free and tying the hands of law enforcement; you don’t reduce rapes and muggings and murders by letting rapists, muggers and killers out on the streets years earlier than we used to. Our revolving door criminal justice system costs a mint as we catch the same person again and again, try the same person again and again, even convict the same person again and again, but always letting him go in the end, to rob, rape, and kill again, far sooner than necessary. Repeat arrests, repeat prosecutions, repeat trials all cost the system needless billions, putting police and the public at risk, destroying our cities as the crime drives away all honest activity.
This too is finally percolating to the top of the American mind; Americans know that if government exists for anything, it must be to lock up the known criminals. Americans finally begin to recognize that if conventional wisdom says this criminal-friendly approach is good for the rest of us, then the conventional wisdom must be wrong.
So too have our counterproductive immigration approaches failed miserably. The conventional wisdom – shared by a vast majority of entertainers and politicians, cocktail party attendees and pundits – has long been that the United States should be a welcoming refugee camp for anyone from anywhere who enters here for any reason at all. We have seen our nation balkanized with millions who speak different languages, who share neither our culture nor our values, and any effort to encourage assimilation is attacked as heartless xenophobia by people so far to the left that they can’t even spell their insults.
But Americans are learning, as they see a second America growing within the first one… a more lawless America, sadder, weaker, and poorer… a growing land of limited opportunities and a foreign culture, one that seeks to supplant the original United States with nothing but some larger and more nihilistic version of the third world kleptocracies that they fled in the first place.
Americans are seeing that compassion for immigrants must not be blind, and that, in the final analysis, policies that endanger those who were already here, for the sake of those who choose to emigrate because they’re unwilling to improve their own home countries, might not really be the best policies for either land.
Americans are realizing, at long last, that the conventional wisdom – that we must have porous borders or we are bigots, that we must give up our culture for theirs or we must be xenophobes, that we must reward lawbreaking stowaways with scarce jobs, even though citizen unemployment is at unprecedented levels – is nothing but suicide.
The Events of the Week of April 15
On Monday morning, April 15, two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While the fatalities were few, the injuries were horrible, as nearly two hundred people were hit with shrapnel designed to do the most possible damage. Dozens were maimed, as the only way to save their lives was to amputate legs sliced by the nails and ball bearings of these homemade pressure cooker bombs.
As the week unfolded, we learned that the monstrous terrorists who built the bombs – setting one, so evilly, directly next to an 8-year-old boy – were Russian muslims from the outskirts of Chechnya. “Very religious muslims,” they called themselves, as they sang the praises of jihadist imams on youtube, as they denounced America on social media.
The Tsarnaev brothers were welcomed into the United States as refugees, given express immigration treatment that moved them ahead of other good people who had been patiently waiting in line for visas for years. The Tsarnaev brothers went to school on scholarships, received awards, lived in one of America’s great cities for years… but still they joined the jihad. There is no gratitude in the jihadist community; dozens of Americans will live their lives legless because these sick ingrates chose to kill the innocent in a city that had shown them nothing but kindness.
Two years ago, a foreign country had warned us about Tamerlane, the elder brother (all assume it was Russia, but no confirmation has come yet at this writing), and the FBI interviewed him, but saw nothing to fear and left him free. Dzhokhar, the younger brother, just received his citizenship six months before the killings – on September 11, 2012, of all days. Still they hated; still they seethed, still they killed.
The other interesting terror case of the week was a Wednesday arrest concerning letters mailed a week before and intercepted by the post office – one to the president, one to a senator, one to a judge. These letters, containing the poison ricin (famous for the Soviet Union’s use in the assassination of a dissident in the 70s, and since popular with terrorists as well), were allegedly tracked back to some minor politician in Mississippi (though there's still plenty of uncertainty about that one).
Nobody was hurt in that one; the letters were caught before they could do damage, if in fact the poison was as strong as intended. But the case nevertheless caught the public attention, much as the infinitely more severe Boston case did, and contributed to the ongoing transformation of the public mood on related issues. Neither event involved guns; perhaps the focus should be on the perpetrators rather than on their tools, after all?
The Left’s Approach to Crime
The same week, the Senate was set to debate new bills on controlling violence – “Preventing another Newtown!” they promised – and solving the problem of illegal immigration – “Don’t use those words! They’re just undocumented!” they shout to the rooftops.
The bills were more of the same.
On gun control, make it harder for law-abiding citizens to buy guns. Limit the size of a handgun’s magazine; restrict the number of people “allowed” to own a gun at all. Make sellers perform a time-consuming background check before selling a weapon, even at a traveling gun show.
Conservatives have shouted for years that such methods don’t work, as well as being unfair. The Constitution says, clearly, that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but even besides the fact that they aren’t allowed to do it, it still just doesn’t make sense!
The reason that gun rights are in the Constitution is that the possession of firearms in the hands of private citizens is a public good; everyone benefits from some of us being armed. The robber who knows a town is 50% armed won’t break into anyone’s house, because he doesn’t know which half of the homeowners might shoot an intruder. He seeks instead a community where the law forbids all residents from being armed. The same goes for a mugger in an alley, the rapist in a parking lot. If he knows that some percentage of his potential marks may shoot back, he’ll pick another neighborhood, or better yet, another profession.
The Senate gun control bill was designed not to go after that mugger, burglar or rapist. It was designed to go after the homeowner, the old man walking in his neighborhood, the young woman returning to her car. It was designed to make it harder for them to defend themselves; to make their environments infinitely less safe. Why?
What would possess a public servant to write bill after bill designed to crack down on the honest and empower the criminal? Why don’t Democrat bills ever try to crack down on the criminal and empower the law-abiding? Wouldn’t it be nice to see it happen, just once?
And the immigration bill was even worse. A path to citizenship for the millions of illegals already here, letting them vault ahead of the millions of people all over the world who honored our request that they patiently wait for a visa before coming. A slap in the face to the millions of immigrants and immigrants’ descendents who waited abroad, studying English so that they’d be ready to assimilate when they finally received that precious permission.
Amnesty would be an insult to those of us who honor our history and respect our Founding Fathers, who conceived of this great nation as an idea, not just a place. Our Founders welcomed an accented German baron who so loved our nation that he taught us how to defeat the English in battle. A wealthy French noble who so loved our General Washington and our ideals that he risked his life in a futile effort to replicate them in his native France. A bastard pauper from the Caribbean with a flare for writing, courageous in battle, a genius with numbers. A Scottish sailor so fearless in command that he could shout to the enemy while his ship was sinking, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!”
This nation must welcome immigrants who share our values, immigrants who can assimilate quickly and become part of our great and growing system. But we must never intentionally diminish the importance of that assimilation. We must never reward people for entering our great country in deceit, under the cover of darkness. We must never encourage the forging of papers, the retention of their old ways, and the resistance to America’s language, culture, heritage and laws!
The Veil is Lifted
The events of the week of April 15 presented America with a contrast far clearer than any talking heads show or campaign debate. We saw the American Left trying once again to force its ludicrous approach on this country, even as their failed approach bore fruit on the streets of Boston.
We saw islamofascist ingrates bomb innocent people, and it reminded us of the prisons overflowing with illegal aliens who came to this paradise to deal drugs, to lead gangs, to rob and rape and kill. And we instinctively shouted at our televisions and radios that it was a mistake to let them in, that we need to be more selective about whom we welcome into this great nation.
Companies have HR departments to hire the best employees… colleges have admissions departments to admit the best students… sports teams hold televised drafts to choose the finest athletes… venture capital firms seek out entrepreneurs with the most potential… publishers hunt for the best authors. Shouldn’t a nation – especially a nation in debt, a nation suffering massive joblessness – seek only the best immigrants, the good and productive folks who will help our country prosper again?
We watched the police go door to door in Watertown, MA, knowing that every household was terrified that a mad killer was seeking a hiding place and might choose their home. What is the only thing that enables an 80-year-old homeowner to be equal to a 19-year-old terrorist? A gun. And that’s exactly what the American left – that very week – was trying to deny as many homeowners as possible.
Add a background check to the gun show… since the results won’t be instant, it will require that the dealer ship the gun to the buyer, adding $50 or $100 to the product’s cost, adding to the chance of its being stolen in shipping, diminishing the likelihood that the transaction will take place… diminishing the likelihood that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s chosen house will be able to defend itself from him or any other villain.
Add a limitation on rounds in the magazine… because “nobody needs” ten or twenty or thirty rounds to defend their home. But what did MA Gov. Deval Patrick admit? In the gunfight in which Tamerlane Tsarnaev died, some 200 rounds were fired, and one of the two targets still escaped. But the Senate Democrats wanted the homeowner limited to six rounds. Just six rounds for you and me to defend ourselves…. while they invite criminals in from other countries to attack us, and empty out the prisons to set convicted criminals free.
Yes, this was a critical week for the American spirit. Perhaps the tide is turning, as we see the results of leftist policies all over this land.
The left drives companies to foreign shores, while claiming to care about the unemployed. They force banks to make bad loans, while claiming to care about their depositors. They make impassioned pleas for peace in the middle east, while funding the Muslim Brotherhood so it can bomb Coptic Christian churches from Egypt to Nigeria. They claim to respect our ally Israel, while they funnel money, weapons and intelligence to the monsters whose only desire is to drive Israel into the sea.
There is much to be done. If America is to be saved, we must declare an end to the policies of the left, and eject them from positions of power once and for all. Perhaps the contrasts of this momentous week were part of that critical path to reform.
Copyright 2013 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade compliance lecturer. A proud Italian/Irish/German American, he is prouder still of the American heritage that we all share, in our philosophical descent from the Founding Fathers. A past president of the Ethnic American Council in the 1980s, and a Milwaukee County Republican Party Chairman in the mid-1990s, he has been a recovering politician for over fifteen years.
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