|IN THE NATION|
|WHO WE ARE|
July/August, 1999 Volume XIII Number 7
Point of View
Stockpile now: Total eclipse of all values comingby Ann Coulter
Two teenaged boys decided to commit murder for the thrill of it -- “Just to see what it would be like.” Until committing their carefully-planned murder, they were like millions of other boys across America, except perhaps that they wanted for nothing. They were not the boys who shot up Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado a week ago. They were Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb who murdered 14-year-old Bobbie Franks in Chicago in 1924. Legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow (trained at University of Michigan law school) saved Leopold and Loeb from the hangman by arguing that they had been unduly influenced by a philosophy book -- Nietzsche and his superman myth.
In his famous closing argument, Darrow said, “Your Honor, it is hardly fair to hang a nineteen-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university.” (Darrow never received a degree from Michigan law school.)
If anything, Leopold and Loeb had not absorbed enough Nietzsche. When Nietzsche famously said, “God is dead,” he was not exulting nor was he stating a preference (though he was an atheist). He was making an observation and a dire prediction. With belief in God all but gone from the intellectual classes, Nietzsche prophesied that people would soon begin to replace a faith in God with faith in governments -- “barbaric nationalistic brotherhoods,” he called them. As a result, he said, bloody and catastrophic wars would dominate the 20th century. He wrote this in 1888.
Two hundred million people murdered by governments, or “barbaric nationalistic brotherhoods,” later -- and Nietzsche is looking pretty prescient.
In the 111 years since Nietzsche made his famous prediction, the world has witnessed Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and Pol Pot, to name a few world leaders, murdering their own people in the name of communism and fascism (a piker by comparison).
In January 1943, Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto staged the first armed resistance to one such barbaric nationalistic brotherhood. With only ten pistols they held off the Nazi exterminators for 3 months. Unable to take the Jews by force, the Nazis eventually had to burn the ghetto down, house by house.
Joseph Goebbels later wrote of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, “This just shows what you can expect from Jews if they lay hands on weapons.”
At least one of the great governments in the twentieth century cannot count its government murdered citizens in the millions. That was the government founded on a belief that God was not dead, and indeed on a belief in human freedom endowed by God. That was the government that was designed never to resemble the “military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe” because this government was not “afraid to trust the people with arms,” as James Madison wrote in Federalist 46.
That is also the government now led by a man who openly and repeatedly violates his oath to God -- usually, at least with Monica, on the Sabbath; the cigar incident took place on Easter Sunday. A man with behavior patterns that could only be sustained by an deep felt and abiding belief that God is, in fact, dead. (At least any other god than himself: Like Pol Pot, Clinton seems to think himself a saint.) And now he wants to take our guns away.
Interestingly, all the citizens murdered recently by the United States government have been murdered for alleged violations of the gun laws. (And it murder committed by government agents at Ruby Ridge and Waco.) But the government doesn’t like competition in murder. No one talked about new restrictions on the government’s firepower after it killed 85 people in Waco, Texas. Fifteen dead in Littleton, Colorado, (killed by a non-governmental force) and the government sees an urgent need to limit the ability of citizens to buy guns.
There are two recurring characteristics to the demand for new restrictions on guns after every sensational murder (committed by someone who was not working for the government at the time).
First, there is always the incomprehensible suggestion that this -- at last -- will change people’s minds about gun control. As Rosie O’Donnell said of the Littleton shootings, “Enough is enough.” It’s as if they’re expecting gun-lovers to respond with something like -- No, it is precisely because guns can be used to kill people that we love them. It’s nice that guns can kill deer and ducks and wild boar, but that’s incidental. The reason we have a constitutional right to be armed is not because the framers really loved duck-hunting. The reason we have a right to bear arms is to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. The Twentieth Century.
Second, the specific gun restrictions proposed after every shocking crime, invariably would have done nothing to prevent the shocking crime in the first place. For example, President Clinton’s three proposals in response to the Littleton shooting would require 1) background checks for those who buy explosives (the killers in Littleton had only one minor juvenile offense on their records); 2) raising the legal age for handgun purchases to 21 (the killers apparently did not purchase the guns themselves); and 3) a limit on handgun purchases to one per person per month (the young killers had been planning their attack for almost a year).
Moreover, I haven’t reviewed the Colorado criminal code lately, but I’m almost certain it was against the law for young Klebold and Harris to shoot up their classmates and try to blow up the school. It would be precisely as logical a response to the Littleton shooting to pass a new law that would expressly prohibit blowing up your high school on Tuesdays, as it is to pass even theoretically relevant gun laws -- which Clinton’s proposals aren’t.
Someone who is willing to violate the laws against murder isn’t the sort who will be thwarted by laws against buying more than one handgun per month.
People murder children for thrills because there is evil in the world. It’s not -- as I have seen variously claimed -- guns, divorce, bad parenting, bad counsellors, sexual abuse, “Goth” music, TV shows that “romanticize and glorify violence” (as the first lady suggested), computer games, or Nietzsche. Not that I’m broken up about Hollywood taking some of the blame this time rather than Ruger. Burberrys better watch out, too.
It’s not even, I’m loathe to report, President Clinton (as the State-run Serb television claimed, explaining that his policies showed that “America solves problems by force”). Being a satanic little creep may be a symptom of evil, but symptoms aren’t causes. Evil is the cause, and there’s more evil in a society in which the elites believe God is dead.
The real danger in a world in which God is dead isn’t from the random satanic little creeps. It is from the institutionalized mass murder of the kind only a government can pull off.
Consider that Nietzsche’s prediction for the 20th century was cheerful and rosy compared to what he had to say about the 21st. The twentieth century would at least have a residual moral capital of the 19th century to carry it along. By the 21st, Nietzsche said, even that would be gone. In the next century -- the one right around the corner -- he predicted “the total eclipse of all values.”
It should give pause that the guy who is constantly yapping about building a bridge to that century wants to take away our guns.
Point of view