Without the Second Amendment, we don’t have the First

Gun Rights

In the same spirit that on Easter I send out to my secular friends the message, “We regret to inform you that Christ is risen,” I feel constrained by the facts to report some good news here: Even the liberal justices of the Supreme Court still cling to certain scraps of the old America and its biblical heritage of human dignity and freedom. At least, for now. And that should give us some reason for hope.

As Reuters reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday revived the National Rifle Association’s lawsuit accusing a New York state official of coercing banks and insurers to avoid doing business with the gun rights group in a ruling that warned public officials against wielding their power to punish speech they dislike.

The justices, in a 9-0 decision authored by liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, threw out a lower court’s ruling that had dismissed the NRA’s 2018 lawsuit against Maria Vullo, a former superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services. At issue is whether Vullo wielded her regulatory power to coerce New York financial institutions into cutting ties with the NRA in violation of protections under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment against government restrictions on free speech.

The NRA accused Vullo of unlawfully retaliating against it for its constitutionally protected gun rights advocacy by targeting it with an “implicit censorship regime” following a 2018 mass shooting in which 17 people were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
“Ultimately, the critical takeaway is that the First Amendment prohibits government officials from wielding their power selectively to punish or suppress speech, directly or, as alleged here, through private intermediaries,” Sotomayor wrote.

As I wrote about this at the Stream:

New York was lawlessly using its enormous regulatory and financial power to bribe, bully, or otherwise strongarm banks, insurance companies, and other crucial vendors into cutting ties with the NRA. The Supreme Court rightly found that the state was violating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech … The Streamhas already reported on how “debanking” and other private-sector modes of invidious discrimination against conservatives and Christians are both rife and proliferating.

If the state of New York could get away with doing that to the NRA, they could do it to any pro-life group or church (and indeed, is doing just that, on a dozen fronts). We see here how the Administrative State, run by unaccountable appointees insulated from voters, does end-runs around the Constitution in order to turn a free republic into a top-down, micromanaged anthill.

That’s the kind of society sought by people who have renounced the Christian vision of the human person as free, responsible, dignified, and made in the image of God. That was the kind of person for whom our Constitution was made. If you don’t believe that such people even exist, but that instead we are merely trousered apes spat out by random mutation, then you won’t support our Constitution. That’s why leftists and other Darwinian materialists don’t. Aware of the disorder inside their own souls, and profoundly cynical about the value of human life itself, they gravitate toward dictatorship.

In my new book, “No Second Amendment, No First,” I explain how Worldview War III, which we now fight on multiple fronts, hinges on one crucial question: What is a man? (Or a woman, of course.) Is a human being a uniquely dignified creature? Is he higher than other animals? Does he have rights and dignities built into him by his creator, which he therefore may defend against both street criminals and criminal governments? Do we really believe that?

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On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, even liberals seem to think so, which is why they still issue court decisions like Sotomayor’s. Why else do they work themselves up into moralistic frenzy over claims of “inequality”? Why authorize biologically catastrophic, sterilizing gender “treatments” for kids and adolescents allegedly to help them conform to the promptings of their troubled psyches?

There is no Darwinian case for doing that, for rendering young fertile people unfit to reproduce themselves, biological dead-ends. Nor is there any evolutionary reason to stigmatize racism. Charles Darwin didn’t. (Read his private letters endorsing the gradual extinction of “lower races” by “the Anglo-Saxon race” in the name of human progress.) Indeed, the first several generations of Darwinists enthusiastically embraced eugenics.

Not all of them went as far as Darwinian zealot Adolf Hitler (who seemed to see himself as the Lenin to Darwin’s Marx), but most agreed with Oliver Wendell Holmes that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Margaret Sanger and her allies all through our elites rigorously followed the reductionist logic of Darwin’s argument that we are simply animals, no different in kind from other primates — not one of which seems to value diversity, equity, or inclusion. Alpha males herd the females into harems, and the weaklings leave no offspring. So, we owe such “human weeds” (Sanger’s phrase) nothing.

Then came 1945. Allied troops liberated the Nazi death camps and the West needed natural law to justify hanging war criminals who had violated no German statutes. For 30 years or so, everyone in the West had at least to claim to reject the brutal implications of biological materialism. The church-based civil rights movement emerged as the last great public moment of Christian witness. But progressives quickly jettisoned the theological baggage implied by Martin Luther King Jr.’s embrace of natural law, to claim the same moral high ground for feminism, gay “liberation,” and now transgenderism. That same natural law is now cited by liberals as a reason not to confirm originalist judges.

It’s not entirely accurate to call progressives “pagans,” for all their embrace of idols like Pachamama. They are more like the ultimate Marcionites, who sever themselves from the laws laid down by the creator, the better to cherry-pick the “spirit” of the gospel unfettered by authority, tradition, or even the letter of the Scriptures.

(It wasn’t just the Nazis who sought to revive Marcion’s selective Christianity. As Hans Urs von Balthasar showed in the 1930s, the Romantics and other cultural revolutionaries had been using this move to highjack Christian culture for more than a century.)

Christian claims about justice and compassion must be kept around, half-alive like some sickly cow, to be milked when it seems opportune.

Only the Christian instinct to treasure human dignity, mutated into a tumor and unhinged from biblical dictates or natural law, could produce today’s “woke” left, as Tom Holland shows in his sobering study “Dominion.” But such dignity has no foundation in “the science,” which progressives preen about “believing.” They accept that we are merely trousered apes but also imagine that we’re gods like Zeus, able to shape-shift and gender-bend to suit our erotic drives. Our liberties begin at the bedroom door … and also end there, as the same people who support “choice” for nine-month abortions and would dissolve all national borders want the hostess at Chili’s to demand our vaccine cards.

The wild incoherence of the left’s worldview doesn’t make our elites less dangerous, but more. They scoff at logical inconsistencies and legal double standards. They gladly release violent felons on our streets but imprison peaceful pro-life or election-integrity advocates. They can switch on a dime from speaking like civil libertarians to sounding like Maoist Red Guards. What we think are kill-shot arguments that demonstrate self-contradictions are greeted with sneers and subpoenas.

The half-materialist, half-gnostic grab-bag of flotsam in our enemies’ poorly formed intellects renders them deadly, which is all the more reason for us to fight to preserve our right to self-defense, the last backstop our founders wrote into the Bill of Rights against the threat of power unhindered by reason.

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