Imagine that a married couple has a violence problem, and it is only getting worse over time.
The husband is constantly making ill-use of his fists, while the wife has a like tendency to make ill-use of her frying pan, to the detriment of her husband’s skull.
Now, let us appeal to the two great social physicians of our time: the Republican, and the Democrat.
The “conservative” cure is this: give each spouse a baseball bat. Make sure the bats are the same size and readily available for each. Equality through armament. In this way, the couple will be able to intimidate each other in a semi-stable peace, although it will be an ugly, nervous, hateful sort of peace.
If this peace fails—and the conservative physician knows that it will—then a gladiatorial battle will ensue. It will not much matter who wins, because they will each have been exercising their right to self-defense.
I always detect something sinister when this physician gets to his last part—where peace fails and lethal force takes over. The morbid-yet-giddy satisfaction he seems to find in this final solution, defeating violence with death, is the last thing I would expect from a man who claims to be against bloodshed. This solution seems instead to be the anti-cure to cruelty; a justification for killing rather than the solution to it.
Therefore, as with any bleak diagnosis, we should seek a second opinion.
We go then to the liberal doctor. He explains that the matter is simple: a heavy dose of the miracle drug called “legislation.”
This soft-hearted surgeon is a true believer in the power of law. Ban all the pots and pans from that nasty woman, so that she can no longer beat her husband over the head with them. Enact severe penalties for any man that misuses his fists. Propose the law and pass it soon. There is no time like the present to act in haste.
He is apparently not aware of the fact that people wishing to do violence, even if prevented from expressing it physically, will express it in another more sinister and subtle fashion.
We now have two unappealing opinions from our two respected physicians. I think first we should ask if these two respected physicians are actually respectable. It would seem that they are, for they are the only physicians in existence; or at least they are the only ones allowed to appear on television.
And yet they both offer asinine and unsatisfactory solutions which seem to avoid the problem entirely, or even exacerbate it.
It would seem that they know little about humanity in general. If they know little about humanity in general, then they certainly know nothing about human problems in particular. The conservative, when examining the disease of violence, seems at best indifferent to it, and at worst downright sadistically encouraging it.
Page 2 of 3 - The liberal, faced with the same problem, seems to be a peddler of that snake oil which is the state; he says he is agnostic, but he seems to have an almost superstitious faith in his serum of legislation.
This loose parable is my understanding of the gun debate. The analogy is not perfect; no analogy is.
Society is no marriage contract, and the state is no counselor.
But wherever else the analogy fails, it parallels our American tendency to ignore the social disease and then become obsessed with the treatment of superficial symptoms. We would try to cure the lost teeth and bleeding gums of scurvy by drinking Listerine because the actual cure, a healthier diet, would require discipline and change.
Our two silly physicians, the Republican and the Democrat, embody this habit of putting Band-Aids on their boils. The two parties are the same—they only seem to be opposites because they want to ignore the disease in different ways, putting the Band-Aids in different places.
Their policies are the result of various idiocies which have crept into the gun debate and become doctrine. The purpose of my indirect analogy was to illustrate this rampant political bologna.
Obviously it is not the business of either political party to fix marital problems. Not only is it not their business, but it is not within their ability. Such things are prior to the state. Social relationships are the foundation of society, and if the foundation is crumbling it is useless to look further up the social structure for a solution.
So it is with American violence. Our particularly inhuman forms of brutality—the murder of children, for example, whether shot or aborted—is symptomatic of a disease that exists deep within the foundations of our social fabric. We have to leave the higher structures of petty political action if we really care to cure it.
If we dug down to the foundation we would find something barely recognizable after so many decades of neglect. We would find the timeless rock which is called “the family.” Surrounding that cornerstone of human civilization, necessary for the family and giving it further stability, we would find the powerful mortar called “community.”
Last, and intermingled throughout this once impregnable base, we would find a collection of dead roots.
These are the roots of “culture” which, drawing life from the core of the family and strengthened by the mortar of community, once gave our nation beauty, personality, and spirit.
The cornerstone—the family—is discolored and decaying. The mortar of community is crumbling. The roots of culture are exposed and dead. Human relationships, things once sacred, are now inferior to petty “rights,” wealth-worship, commercialism, and relentless individualism.
Page 3 of 3 - You can ban guns completely, or arm every last man, woman, and child. So long as you ignore the disease, you are just deciding whether or not America gets buried with a rifle in the casket.
The opinions in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the The McPherson Sentinel or GateHouse Media. If you have any related questions or suggestions that you would like to see explored here, simply email me at email@example.com.