Guns, Crime, and the Culture War


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MT GUNNY
November 9, 2008, 11:45 PM
I found this, Thought it might be interesting. Text has been limited to 20,000 the rest is at > http://www.heritage.org/Research/Crime/HL393.cfm



July 2, 1992
Guns, Crime, and the Culture War
by Warner, James H.
Heritage Lecture #393

(Archived document, may contain errors)


Guns, Crime, and the Culture War

By James IL Warner am going to speak to you tonight on the relationship between guns, crime, and the culture war. Before my remarks, however, it would be inappropriate in 1992 to say anything about American culture without noting that this is the Quincentennial of the event that made American culture possible, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Columbus became a bene- factor to all mankind when he brought civilization to the Now World. The enemies of American culture say that we should view Christopher Columbus from the per- spective of Native Americans. I just did. That was from the perspective of the millions of native Americans who were, but would not have been, bom because their ancestors would have been, but were not, human sacrifices. It is coincidental that I chose to speak on the subject of the culture war before recent events which have made it current. But it gives me an opportunity to do something that you might never see otherwise. The National Rifle Association frequently is criticized for its refusal to compro- mise. Well, tonight I am going to do the unthinkable and offer a compromise. First, some background. A large number of convicted felons come from single-parent house- holds. Many of them don't even know who their fathers are. The Vice President has been extremely rigid about this issue, but not me. I am going to compromise. The compromise is this -1 am not asking anyone to change her lifestyle. All I ask is that the next time the script writers for "Murphy Brown" want their character to have sex, that they makeher register the man first. That way, ff she gets pregnant, her child will know who the father is. That's reasonable, isn't it? And while we are at it, shouldn't there be a seven-day cooling off period? After all, as the gun control advocates say, ff this can save even one life it would be worth-it. Blaming External Factors. Seriously, the enemies of our culture refuse to recognize individ- ual responsibility for behavior. They prefer to shift the blame. They have a long list of external factors which they claim are causes of crime. Foremost among these is the one which I wish to talk about. They claim that easy access to firearms causes crime. I can prove that they are wrong. We have 700,000 sworn police officers in America. They carry firearms day and night, on duty and off. Taxpayers had to invest more than a billion dollars to arm and train these officers. We spent the money because we thought that these guns would suppress, not cause, crime. We have at least that many private citizens who are entitled to carry handguns concealed. Their firearms are not a problem either. We trust these people to carry guns without fear that their guns will cause crime. Doesn't that suggest that it must be the character of the person, rather than the gun itself, with which we need concern ourselves. The fact is, we all know that access to firearms does not cause crime, a proposition which I shall deal with at length later. The cause of crime is self evident. Crime is behavior and is con- trolled by the moral values of the individual. If one's moral values will not permit him to do something, he will not do it. If one's moral values do allow him to do something, no law will re- strain him ff he believes that he can get away with it.

James H. Warner is Assistant General Counsel of the National Rifle Association of America. He spoke on May 27, 1992, at a meeting of the Ibird Generation. ISSN 0272-1155. 0 1992 by The Heritage Foundation.


Always Wrong. The enemies of American culture, the cultural warriors, reject this reasoning. In fact, they reject the rational process itself. If you don't believe this, ask yourself this question: Why is it that the American left is always wrong? They have been wrong for most of this cen- tury. They were wrong about Sacco and Vanzetti. They were wrong about the Rosenbergs. They were wrong about Alger Hiss. They were wrong about Stalin and Castro. They were wrong about Mao Tse-tung and Ho Chi Minh. They were wrong about nuclear winter and they are wrong today about global warming and the ozone hole. Why are they always wrong? Let me suggest that their problem is that they use subjective criteria to test reality. They use in- ternal reference points, and believe, therefore, that truth is determined by their desires. To illustrate this, talk to one of them about science. Explain how Archimedes's Principle proves that the seas will not rise with the melting of the polar ice caps. There will be no attempt to disprove Archimedes. Instead, you might be told that you are using the same argument as Sen- ator Jesse Helms, or some other conservative. It's bad science, and bad logic, to believe something because you dislike those who can prove that it is false. It is called the ad hominem fallacy. Or take the example of the feminist philosophy professor who says that all science is perme- ated with racism, sexism, ageism, and classism, and who wonders why no one points out the recurring themes of rape (I am not making this up) in the works of Sir Isaac Newton. She sug- gests, apparently with a straight face, that it would be more illuminating to refer to "Newton's Rape Manual" instead of "Newton's Laws of Mechanics." That goes beyond bad science, and ap- proaches the irrational. Still another example is the widespread belief that certain ideas are invalid because the authors of these ideas are dead, white, European males. To the rational mind this argument has interest- ing consequences:

Aristotle is a dead, white, European male. Therefore, all the ideas of Aristotle am invalid.

This type of reasoning is called an enthymeme. It was invented by Aristotle. So the conclusion is true if, and only if, it is false. Bitter Hatred. This is absurd, but there am now people on the left whose philosophy amounts to an endorsement of absurdity. They believe that rational thought and the rules of logic are the tools of European male domination and should be rejected. Because their belief system, such as it is, is irrational, the creeds that they profess are as numerous, and as different as the patterns in a kaleidoscope. However, for all their apparent diversity, they have one principle in common. Be- hind everything they say there is a bitter and implacable hatred of America, its culture, and its civilization. Why do they hate us? I read recently about a junior member of a university faculty who used the phrase "individual genius" in a paper. One of the more senior faculty members, who read the paper, circled the word "individual" and returned the paper with a margin note saying "...there are some people who think that use of this term shows bigotry." Individualism, and the independence of the indi- vidual, are abhorrent to them. That's why they hate America. That's why they hate our culture. American culture took English culture, on which it is based, and built upon it. The most signifi- cant influence on the new culture was the freedom of the frontier. People came to the New World seeking freedom from the heavy hand of authority. When they were not satisfied with the mea- sure of freedom they found, they moved west. In the West, on the frontier, there was no authority.
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On the frontier there was always the second chance. No one asked about another's back- ground. Disgrace or failure in an earlier life were not important. Because of the second chance, because they could always move on, people on the frontier were always thinking of what lay be- yond the next hill. This led them to see the potential in things. In the words of Robert Frost, they saw America "...such as she was, such as she would become." On the frontier adversity was a fact of life. Survival required one to square off and face adver- sity. On the frontier it was believed that one had a moral duty to bear up under adversity. On the frontier, culture became a melting pot. Make no mistake. The American culture draws from all cultures, but it is one, unified, single culture, whose highest value is individual freedom. On the frontier there was no authority to provide safety. Safety was an individual responsibil- ity. Once people learned that they were responsible for their own welfare, they saw objective evidence of the truth of the philosophical doctrines of John Locke and the English Whigs. Even- tually, everyone on the frontier adopted the views of the Whigs. Inalienable Right. John Locke said it is self-evident that everybody is born with an inalien- able right to life, liberty, and property. Now, if it is inalienable, that means you can't lose it. If you can't lose it, it means you have a right to protect it (do you see why they hate logic?). If you have a right to protect it, ii necessarily follows that you have a right to own the means to protect it. John Locke said that the individual has the same right as any government to defend sover- eignty. Because the firearm is useful in the defense of personal sovereignty, the enemies of our culture hate guns. Consistent with their error in every other aspect of life, they are wrong about guns. For example, they point to the "well-regulated militia" clause in the Second Amendment and say that say that the Second Amendment really protects the right to join the National Guard. They say that the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution because the states were afraid that they wouldn't be allowed to have militias. It is interesting to note that there is not a shred of historical evidence to support this proposition. The cultural warriors should not have been so quick to abandon classical education, for if they had spent just a little more time at it they would have learned how to diagram sentences. The phrase "well-regulated militia7' is found in a subordinate clause. The subject of the sentence is "the right of the people," and it is predicated by . ..... shall not be infringed." From the grammar, it is difficult to see how it could be construed as other than an individual right. However, I am going to compromise again, and concede, for the sake of argument, that one would have to be a member of a "well-regulated militia" in order to keep and bear arms. The question is, what is a "well-regulated militia"? The phrase was not chosen at random. Authors Stephen P. Halbrook, in That Every Man Be Armed, and David T. Hardy, in Origins and Development of the Second Amendment, point out that the concept of a "well-regulated militia" was more than 250 years old by the time James Madison put it in the Second Amendment. Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince, was a re- publican who had actually commanded a citizen militia. In The Art of War (1521), he explained why a "well-ordered militia!' was necessary for the security of a free state. He recited. three cri- teria which such a militia must meet, to serve its purpose:

1) The "well-regulated militia!'must include the whole body of the people; 2) The members of the "well-regulated militia!' must own their own arms; and
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3) The "well-regulated militia7must not be controlled by the central government, and, in fact, should elect its own officers. James Harrington was an English Whig. In The Prerogative ofPopular Government (1656), he said that a "well-disciplined militia" was necessary to the the security of a ftee state. Like Machiavelli, he listed the same thm criteria which such militia must meet. Andrew Fletcher was a Scottish Whig who was sentenced to death by James H. He escaped to the court of William of Orange, and returned with William and Mary following the Glorious Rev- olution. In Discourse of Government With Respect to the Militias (1698), he, too, said that a "well-regulated militia" was necessary to the security of a f3ree state. T he "well-regulated militia!' of Andrew Fletcher was defined by the same three criteria. Roger Molesworth was an English Whig. In Franco-Gallia (1721), like Machiavelli, Harring- ton, and Fletcher, he said that a "well-regulated mflitia7' is necessary to the security of a free state. He gave the same three criteria. The leaders of the American Revolution were Whigs and republicans, in the tradition of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. George Washington and George Mason. formed the Fairfax militia in 1774. Among the attributes of the militia was that it was to be "well-regulated." Certainly none of you here believe that Father George was trying to support King George's government. In an earlier time, school children were required to memorize the speech of Patrick Henry in which he said "give me liberty or give me death." This speech was given before the Second Vir- ginia Convention in 1775. He was speaking in support of a resolution for the formation of a "well-regulated Militia." Clearly, this was not a call for the formation of a "National Guard7' to serve at the pleasure of the central government, because the central government was George M. Anyone who went to school before the curriculum came under the control of the cultural war- riors knows that Patrick Henry wanted the militia formed in order to resist George III. Shared Philosophy. James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, knew Patrick Henry, George Washington, and George Mason. Surely he had read many of the same books as they had read. They all shared the same political philosophy, for they were all republicans who believed in limited government. Madison used the same language, in the Second Amendment, as Niccolo Machiavelli, James Harrington, Andrew Fletcher, Roger Molesworth, George Washington, George Mason, and Patrick Henry, when he used the phrase "well-regulated militia." It strains credulity to believe that this could have been mere coincidence. Given the context, it is not possi- ble to conclude that Madison meant for this Amendment to protect anything other than a personal righL Proving this, however, is not good enough. The enemies of our culture have a fall back posi- tion. The Supreme Court has held that the government can infringe upon a Constitutional right if such infringement serves a "compelling state interest." Surely gun control would serve a compel- ling state interest ff it would reduce violent crime. However, it can be proven that gun control, at best, is irrelevant to violent crime. Canada has strict gun control laws. There are very lenient gun laws in Maine, New Hamp- shire, North Dakota, and Vermont. In each state handguns may be carried openly, and the authorities must issue a concealed carry license to any honest citizen in Maine, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. No permit is required in Vermont, where many adults carry handguns con- cealed. Each of these states closely resembles its neighboring Canadian province with respect to climate, population density, and topography. I used the homicide rates over a twenty-year span, from 1963 through 1982, because those were the years for which I had Canadian data. The full data are included in Appendix A. The dif-

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ference in the homicide rates per 100,000 population was 0.017, or less than 2 homicides per ten million, which can be considered as statistically insignificant. In other words, there is no statisti- cally significant difference between extremely restrictive gun laws (Canada), and gun laws which are either extremely lenient (Maine, New Hampshire, and North Dakota), or non-existent (Vermont). This study may be contrasted with a comparison of the homicide rates in ten states with lenient gun laws-Iowa, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Now Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont-with the homicide rate in the District of Columbia. The District has the strictest gun control laws in the country. The data compared are for the years 1987 through 1990. The ten states, with total population of approximately 14,660,000, had 1,499 homi- cides for the four years. In contrast, the District of Columbia, with a population of 622,000, had 1,500 homicides in the same period. That is, the states had a homicide rate of 2.6 per 100,000, and the District of Columbia had a rate of 60.3. These data are included in Appendix B. Moral Values. Clearly, high rates of homicide are not caused by lenient gun laws. Then what is it that causes such disparity between the homicide rates of certain jurisdictions? We have said earlier that it is self evident that moral values-culture-is the variable which explains this dif- ference. No statistical test will measure moral values. However, education transmits to the young the acquired learning of a society, including its cultural values. Educational attainment can be mea- sured, and the results taken as an analog for the transmission of cultural values. Accordingly, I compared the rankings of each state in the 1989 Educational Attainment Assess- ment Test for mathematics with the rankings of each state in its 1990 homicide rate, the highest score in each case being ranked as a "I". Using linear regression, the coefficient of correlation was a negative 0.82. This is an extremely high negative rate, and strongly indicates that the same factor which induces a high homicide rate may also contribute to low educational attainment. In other words, it is highly probable that the factor, in each case, is a failure in education. When the schools fail to teach mathematics, they also fail to teach cultural values. These data are in Appen- dix C. The values of the American culture are the moral values which make possible a civilized life in a state of fivedom. The failure, or the refusal, to impart those values to children deprives those children of this American birtbright. I am reminded of that verse in "America the Beautiflah"

Oh, beautiful, for patriot's dream, That sees beyond the years, Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears.

Our cities are not alabaster, neither do they gleam, undimmed by human tears. Many of our cit- ies are dystopias, wretched places where untold misery is produced by profound social pathology. This is illustrated by the plight of a mother who lives, with her children, in a public housing project in the District of Columbia. Recently she wrote to the Washington Post describ- ing the conditions in her project. Her children cannot play outside for fear of being murdered. Drug addicts inject drugs in their hallway and leave their debris. They urinate in the hallway and defecate in the stairwell. They even perform sexual acts outside her door. She is always afi-aid. She did not write from Beirut or Sarajevo, but from the District of Columbia.
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What is wrong? Is it presence of guns or the absence of culture? Guns do not get young girls pregnant. Guns do not create drug addiction. Guns did not create a welfare system which traps young women in dependency and keeps them in its thrall. Guns do not create music which glori- fies hatred. Guns do not teach young children that they are not part of America, and that they have no sham in its culture. Guns do not cause people to urinate in the halls nor to defecate in the stairwells of public housing projects. Guns did not create schools which do not teach. But each of these conditions can be traced back to the enemies of our culture, and each of these ills is, in some measure, archogenic (government created). Remember that the unifying principle of the enemies of our culture is hatred. What does the culture of hatre

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Art Eatman
November 10, 2008, 10:19 AM
Worthwhile discussion, but off-topic for THR. Good for APS, of course (Have you read the sticky at the top of the page?). Or at the FBMG website, http://fbmg.yuku.com/.

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