Mass hysteria and the anti-gun marches

See also: David Hogg, demagogue

Whip up fears, exploit panic, and assemble giant rallies where where mass hysteria powers a political movement to blame a chimera, and demand abrogation of existing rights: It's a classic recipe for demogoguery.  And the paradigmatic examples of demagogic politics in the modern era were the Nuremberg Rallies, held annually by the Nazi Party for a period of fifteen years in the 1920s and 1930s.

The rallies were mass events, attended by hundreds of thousands.  Children – the Hitler Youth – were prominently featured, along with stagecraft and pageantry.  The purpose of the rallies was to whip the masses into an emotional fervor while Hitler denounced the Jews.

It worked.  And something similar is happening in the recent spate of children's anti-gun marches, typified by the "March for Our Lives" just concluded in Washington, D.C.

The probability of getting struck by lightning is about the same as getting murdered by someone wielding a rifle.  But you wouldn't know that by listening to the demagogic (and obscene) little Parkland brats, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.  They're calling for a ban on America's most popular rifle, the AR-15.  Oddly enough, they don't seem too concerned about the 64,000 annual deaths from overdoses, the 6,000-12,000 annual AIDS deaths, or 37,000 deaths in car crashes.  The "March for Our Lives" is exposed as ridiculous, over-the-top hysteria when you logically look at the statistics of what is actually more likely to kill them.

But demagogic politics is not compatible with making sober public policy.  Demagogic politics is about appealing to emotion, not logic.  Once the masses have gotten whipped into an anti-gun hysteria, it won't simply be a matter of banning some guns deemed "assault weapons."  Just as every Jew became a communist enemy to be eliminated, every gun will be subject to being banned or confiscated, too.  Handguns will be next, because they are used in half of all homicides.  After that will be registration of all shotguns and bolt-actions, right down to the .22 rimfire.  The logical extension of the fanatical, intemperate anti-Jewish mob hysteria in Germany was not simply to stop communists, or even to stop communist Jews, but to make the Third Reich Judenrein.  And the logical outcome of the fanatical, intemperate anti-gun mob hysteria is not school safety or stopping mass shootings; it is to make the U.S. gun-free.

We know this because we've already seen it in Great Britain, where all semi-automatics and handguns have been incrementally confiscated, and even pellet guns must be registered and licensed.

If we look at mass homicides in the U.K. since 1970, we find that 390 people have been killed with bombs and only 34 with handguns and "assault rifles."  Yet they banned the guns.  Fancy that.

Banning guns requires the suspension of other civil liberties, too.  Just as Jews in the Third Reich were summarily stripped of property, private property in the form of guns and magazines will be confiscated.  Licensing and registering guns and requiring "mental health" evaluations will require warrantless searches of medical records.  Due process will be eliminated for gun-owners.  People's homes will be raided by cops based on anonymous tips, which the Supreme Court has ruled constitute "probable cause."  And just as the Gestapo encouraged German citizens to report hidden Jews to the authorities, New York State offers a $500 reward to turn in anyone suspected of having a banned "assault weapon."

In his expletive-laced rant, young Mr. Hogg stated, "Sadly ... our parents don't know how to use a f------ democracy, so we have to do it."  

But we do not live in a democracy.  If the budding little child Führer from Parkland knew anything, he'd know that.

Plato warned us 2,500 years ago that democracies decay into demagogic dictatorships.  Our nation's founders took that lesson to heart and created a republic of limited powers and constitutional rights, not a democracy.  John Adams wrote, "Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.  It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy....  Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty."

Our republican institutions are decaying into democratic demagoguery right before our very eyes.  Not long ago, it would have been unimaginable for hundreds of thousands of people to be in the streets demanding the abridgment of a constitutionally enumerated right.

But here we are.

A Jew in Nuremberg in 1930 didn't know exactly what was going to happen over the next fifteen years, but he was probably getting a sinking feeling that whatever it was, it wouldn't be very good.

I am getting a bad feeling that whatever happens to our republic and our Constitution in the next fifteen years won't be very good, either.

David Hogg picture a screen grab from Fox News.  File photo of massive crowd via Flickr

See also: David Hogg, demagogue

Whip up fears, exploit panic, and assemble giant rallies where where mass hysteria powers a political movement to blame a chimera, and demand abrogation of existing rights: It's a classic recipe for demogoguery.  And the paradigmatic examples of demagogic politics in the modern era were the Nuremberg Rallies, held annually by the Nazi Party for a period of fifteen years in the 1920s and 1930s.

The rallies were mass events, attended by hundreds of thousands.  Children – the Hitler Youth – were prominently featured, along with stagecraft and pageantry.  The purpose of the rallies was to whip the masses into an emotional fervor while Hitler denounced the Jews.

It worked.  And something similar is happening in the recent spate of children's anti-gun marches, typified by the "March for Our Lives" just concluded in Washington, D.C.

The probability of getting struck by lightning is about the same as getting murdered by someone wielding a rifle.  But you wouldn't know that by listening to the demagogic (and obscene) little Parkland brats, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.  They're calling for a ban on America's most popular rifle, the AR-15.  Oddly enough, they don't seem too concerned about the 64,000 annual deaths from overdoses, the 6,000-12,000 annual AIDS deaths, or 37,000 deaths in car crashes.  The "March for Our Lives" is exposed as ridiculous, over-the-top hysteria when you logically look at the statistics of what is actually more likely to kill them.

But demagogic politics is not compatible with making sober public policy.  Demagogic politics is about appealing to emotion, not logic.  Once the masses have gotten whipped into an anti-gun hysteria, it won't simply be a matter of banning some guns deemed "assault weapons."  Just as every Jew became a communist enemy to be eliminated, every gun will be subject to being banned or confiscated, too.  Handguns will be next, because they are used in half of all homicides.  After that will be registration of all shotguns and bolt-actions, right down to the .22 rimfire.  The logical extension of the fanatical, intemperate anti-Jewish mob hysteria in Germany was not simply to stop communists, or even to stop communist Jews, but to make the Third Reich Judenrein.  And the logical outcome of the fanatical, intemperate anti-gun mob hysteria is not school safety or stopping mass shootings; it is to make the U.S. gun-free.

We know this because we've already seen it in Great Britain, where all semi-automatics and handguns have been incrementally confiscated, and even pellet guns must be registered and licensed.

If we look at mass homicides in the U.K. since 1970, we find that 390 people have been killed with bombs and only 34 with handguns and "assault rifles."  Yet they banned the guns.  Fancy that.

Banning guns requires the suspension of other civil liberties, too.  Just as Jews in the Third Reich were summarily stripped of property, private property in the form of guns and magazines will be confiscated.  Licensing and registering guns and requiring "mental health" evaluations will require warrantless searches of medical records.  Due process will be eliminated for gun-owners.  People's homes will be raided by cops based on anonymous tips, which the Supreme Court has ruled constitute "probable cause."  And just as the Gestapo encouraged German citizens to report hidden Jews to the authorities, New York State offers a $500 reward to turn in anyone suspected of having a banned "assault weapon."

In his expletive-laced rant, young Mr. Hogg stated, "Sadly ... our parents don't know how to use a f------ democracy, so we have to do it."  

But we do not live in a democracy.  If the budding little child Führer from Parkland knew anything, he'd know that.

Plato warned us 2,500 years ago that democracies decay into demagogic dictatorships.  Our nation's founders took that lesson to heart and created a republic of limited powers and constitutional rights, not a democracy.  John Adams wrote, "Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.  It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy....  Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty."

Our republican institutions are decaying into democratic demagoguery right before our very eyes.  Not long ago, it would have been unimaginable for hundreds of thousands of people to be in the streets demanding the abridgment of a constitutionally enumerated right.

But here we are.

A Jew in Nuremberg in 1930 didn't know exactly what was going to happen over the next fifteen years, but he was probably getting a sinking feeling that whatever it was, it wouldn't be very good.

I am getting a bad feeling that whatever happens to our republic and our Constitution in the next fifteen years won't be very good, either.

David Hogg picture a screen grab from Fox News.  File photo of massive crowd via Flickr