The shell casings had barely hit the floor in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when the left began to exploit the horror to further their gun control agenda. Attorney General Eric Holder weighed in with the statement that we need to take a “hard look” at the rights of American citizens, and Obama himself has already said that the government must act to ensure that these tragedies end.
Supporters of gun control gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, during a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., and to call on President Obama to pass strong gun control laws. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)
As usual, the left looks everywhere for the causes of tragedies like that in Newtown and elsewhere except at the moral and cultural decay caused by their own worldview. Perhaps it is in the growing dominance of that worldview and its assault on moral boundaries – far more than the availability of guns or the presence among us of troubled individuals – that we should seek the causes of acts that stun our moral senses. Could it be mere coincidence that the most violent places in America are the very cities where the left’s worldview has its strongest hold?
The quickness with which the left mounted their political soapbox in the Sandy Hook massacre reveals much about the cynicism and self-centeredness that lie at the core of the liberal worldview. Just as earlier leftists abandoned all moral boundaries and promised to use “any means necessary” to impose their radical agenda on society, their modern counterparts have vowed never to let a crisis go to waste in the furtherance of that agenda. And so the left was there with their political agenda even as parents and relatives lived through an unimaginable nightmare.
But, in tearing down the moral boundaries that stood in the way of their cynical quest for power, the left has made the classic mistake of removing walls without first considering what those walls were holding up.
Generations of young boys have hunted with their fathers and enjoyed target shooting with their friends, but the thought of shooting innocent people would never have been even a remote possibility, regardless of any personal difficulties those boys faced. There were boundaries the crossing of which was unthinkable. There were constraints.
In the 1960’s, however, leftists took a wrecking ball to those moral boundaries and enthroned the self as the center of the universe. Underneath the sweet, peaceful rhetoric the Woodstock generation laid the rejection of all moral boundaries and the enthronement of the self as the ultimate judge of right and wrong. “Make love, not war” might have been the nonviolent bait, but the hook was “if it feels good, do it.” As Whitaker Chamber discerned decades ago, the ultimate promise of the left was the ancient lie that “Ye shall be as gods.”
With the rejection of all moral limits and the enthronement of the self as the ultimate judge of right and wrong, the left could protest the violence of war while committing acts of violence on college campuses, promoting riots in our cities, and even bombing police stations. And today the left can preach tolerance on those same campuses while shouting down any speech with which they disagree. The sting of hypocrisy is blunted for those who recognize no standards beyond their own personal desires.
As the left’s worldview has gained ground in American culture, reverence for the sacredness of life has given way to the belief that life is a meaningless chemical accident; moral boundaries have given way to personal preferences; and a value for personal responsibility has given way to attitudes of blame and entitlement.
Of course, it would be simplistic and irresponsible to blame any specific act of violence solely on changes brought about by liberal culture, just as it is simplistic and irresponsible for the left to blame inanimate objects for the way those objects are used by human beings. But culture does play a role in setting boundaries for the choices made by individuals; and individuals, especially troubled individuals, may have enough trouble living within those boundaries even when they are clear. Obscure those boundaries with a self-centered worldview, and all hell breaks loose.
From the White House to the local beauty shop, the liberal narrative is going to be that it is time to scrap the Second Amendment in order to stop the violence. If the left is able to divert attention away from their role in undermining the moral foundations of our culture, they will exploit this tragedy to disarm law-abiding citizens and expand the grasp of government.
And we will find that we are no safer, but we are much less free.
Dr. Tim Daughtry is co-author of "Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game."