Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama vs. the Second Amendment

Barack Obama's speech about racism in America vied for blogospheric attention with today's oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller (the U.S. Supreme Court's first Second Amendment case since 1939).

Here are some key passages from Obama's speech:
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper....

This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
It's the politics of victimhood. It's the politics of socialism. It's the politics of class warfare. It's the politics of economic ignorance. Not a word about cultural influences or dependency on the state. Not a word about the growth of real income at all levels (not just at the top). Not a word about upward economic mobility, which is the norm in America. Not a word about the fact that economic progress depends upon that "dirty" profit motive.

Obama's speech may be "eloquent," in some sense. But it fully reveals him for the dangerous demagogue that he is: a latter-day FDR.

As for the Second Amendment, I predict a 5-4 decision in D.C. v. Heller that upholds an individual right to own a handgun for the purpose of self-defense, subject to "reasonable" regulation in the interest of safety. Some of the dissenters will maintain, illogically, that handguns should be prohibited in jurisdictions with high rates of crime (e.g., D.C.). As if criminals honor bans on handgun ownership. And so it goes, in the upside-down world of liberalism.