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Saturday, March 31, 2018

On Liberals and the 2nd Amendment: Why Repeal What You Already Ignore?

Make no mistake about it, in the hands of the American left, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not safe. For that matter, virtually nothing wise or precious or sacred or holy or otherwise good is safe with those corrupted by a liberal worldview. Whether marriage, the family, the church, life in the womb, education, small businesses, fossil fuels, law enforcement, the military, the Constitution, and so on, time and again liberals have proven themselves to be on the wrong side of the truth.

What’s more, in the hands of today’s leftists, the Second Amendment—and anything else in the U.S. Constitution with which modern liberals are unhappy—is in jeopardy whether or not it is “repealed.” As most now well know, John Paul Stevens—a retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—recently gave his direct endorsement to the shockingly foolish—but increasingly popular among democrats—idea that the Second Amendment should be repealed.

Few should be should be surprised by Stevens’ position in this matter. With the way-too-close Heller decision a decade ago, he almost then got his wish. In 2008, liberals were a mere one vote short of effectively killing the Second Amendment. In a republic that properly respected and understood its Constitution, Heller wouldn’t have been necessary, and under the absurd circumstances that such a case should make it to the highest court in the land, the vote to uphold the Second Amendment wouldn’t be close.

As Charles Cooke put it,
Heller recognized what was obvious to the amendment’s drafters, to the people who debated it, and to the jurists of their era and beyond: That “right of the people” means “right of the people,” as it does everywhere else in both the Bill of Rights and in the common law that preceded it. A Second Amendment without the supposedly pernicious Heller “interpretation” wouldn’t be any impediment to regulation at all. It would be a dead letter. It would be an effective repeal. It would be the end of the right itself.
In their efforts to remake America into their image of a leftist utopia, rarely have liberals let the Constitution stand in their way. For decades now—whether as public executives, legislators, or judges—liberals have conveniently ignored the Constitution, or “interpreted” it beyond recognition.

For two centuries the “right” to healthcare, housing, a “living wage,” marriage, education, and the like, escaped the vast majority of Americans—including our politicians and jurists. In the late 19th century, President Grover Cleveland explained well the prevailing thought on government and a citizen’s “right” to public funds. While taking a stand against government aid involving a very deserving orphanage in New York City during a severe economic crisis, Cleveland—a Democrat—said,
I will not be a party to stealing money from one group of citizens to give to another group of citizens. No matter what the need or apparent justification, once the coffers of the federal government are opened to the public, there will be no shutting them again…
In 1887, after vetoing a bill that appropriated $10,000 to buy grain for several drought-stricken Texas counties, Cleveland declared,
Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
Nevertheless, in recent decades, as they increasingly made a god of government and sought to build a massive welfare state (through which votes could be purchased), democrats and those like-minded have fully embraced the notion of “paternal care on the part of the government.”

Today’s liberalism stands upon two duplicitous notions that both require a modern “interpretation” of our Constitution: 1.) the godless pagan principle of “Do What Thou Wilt,” and 2.) the presence of an “omnicompetent” Government that is all too eager to mother us. And as C.S. Lewis put it, “If we are to be mothered, mother must know best.”

Of course, and in spite of the claims of modern liberals, such a political philosophy does not bring justice, and it certainly does not promote liberty. On the contrary, as Lewis also noted, such a modern State exists “not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good—anyway, to do something to us or to make us something.” Something indeed. Lewis depressingly concludes that under such a regime, “There is nothing left of which we can say to them, ‘Mind your own business.’ Our whole lives are their business.”

One of the primary functions of the U.S. Constitution, as the Preamble expressly declares, is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” One of the chief means through which such Blessings are “secured” is by ensuring the right of the people to arm themselves. Of course, a government that increasingly makes our “whole lives…their business” is in direct conflict with the idea of securing “the Blessings of Liberty.” Thus, we get “interpretation” of a “living Constitution”—especially when it comes to things like guns.

To repeal a Constitutional Amendment is an arduous effort that would require serious legislative lifting. Thanks to Barack Obama, democrats today are in no shape to pursue repeal of anything, but thanks in large part to men and women like John Paul Stevens, they don’t have to.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, March 26, 2018

Yes—and Of Course—Children Prefer Liberalism

Conservatism is, in a sense, an acknowledgement of and a surrender to the truth. We conserve “what works,” those traditions, practices, and ideas that have long held the test of time—such as marriage being the union of one man and one woman, the idea that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat, all men are created equal, life in the womb is real and precious—because they are rooted in the Truth.

The most significant principle of conservatism is that our rights come, not from man or from government, but from God. All laws of men, all governments instituted by men, should be rooted in the Laws of the Law Giver. Any law, any government that does not do such is folly, and should be treated as such. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us,
A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.
Because what is tried and true can sometimes be viewed as stale and boring, and because being moral is often difficult, conservatism is frequently presented with challenges that liberalism is not. Because the moral demands of liberalism are light and few, life in this world is often much easier for a liberal. This is especially true in politics. For liberals—usually, but not always, democrats—governing becomes a matter of seeking what is popular and pleasing, not what is right.

Much of our childhood is spent doing the same. We are by our nature selfish (many of us say “sinful”), self-centered creatures. We want what we want, when we want it. As children, we want the toys, food, entertainment, and so on, that make us feel good, or at least what we think will make us feel good, because others have told us, or sold us, on such an idea.

At one time or another—especially when we were kids—we were all lured by one or more of the tenets of modern liberalism. Almost certainly, to some extent, each of us bought what liberalism was selling. Those of us who grew out of childhood learned many good and necessary lessons about not always getting what we want. We learned that the shiny, flashy, tasty, fun-looking things that so often lured us were frequently foolish, wasteful, unhealthy, and sometimes even deadly.

As I implied, we are born into our selfish way of thinking—one might say we are all born little liberals—and good, faithful parenting helps train us out of it. Tragically, far too many of us these days are getting no such training, and tens of millions of Americans are stuck in perpetual childhood. Thus, liberalism endures.

Liberals knew well what they were doing as they worked for decades at destroying the family. As generations of Americans have been raised in broken homes—often by broken people—it makes it easier to make them wards of the state. After all, if you don’t have parents who care much or provide much for you, why not look to Uncle Sam and his trillions?

One of the great lies of modern liberalism—perhaps THE great lie—is that the world owes us something, and it’s up to us to do whatever it takes to get it. If one has the “right” to do whatever one wishes in the sexual realm, why take responsibility for an unplanned pregnancy? And if we don’t have to worry about sex leading to children, why get married at all? And if we want to get married, why can’t we define what is marriage?

If one has the “right” to healthcare, why shouldn’t the government—or someone else—provide it? Along that line of thinking, why shouldn’t food, housing, clothing, education, transportation, and so on, be viewed as “rights,” and thus as things someone else owes me? Or, if one has the “right” to a “liveable wage,” why not force businesses and corporations to pay it so that all of these things can be afforded? And if students have a right to be safe in schools, why not take away everyone’s guns?

Because such a mindset is so familiar to them, it’s pretty easy to convince children—or those who think and reason like a child—that this is how the world should be. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many students—whether elementary, middle, high school, or college—are eager to take up liberal causes. And with most of the country being educated from a liberal worldview, the real surprise should be that any students at all—at least those in government schools—shun the causes of liberalism.

It’s not enough for conservatives to guard our own children against—and train them out of—such thinking. Because so many of today’s American children are exposed to nothing but a liberal worldview, we must instruct them to the contrary. More importantly, we must faithfully live out the truth and be an example to all of the world that, though the truth is often hard and unpopular, it is always worth it.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, March 18, 2018

To My—and All Other—Students: A Lesson on the Modern Left

As a teacher of public school (17 years), private school (7.5 years), and homeschool (11 years), I have a truly unique perspective on education. I’ve experienced k-12 education from just about every angle imaginable. I’ve taught at day schools and evening schools, and I’ve privately tutored many students. I’ve taught on sprawling 200+ acre campuses in buildings costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and I’ve taught in trailers that would barely keep out a strong gust of wind.

Likewise, I’ve experienced students from almost every background imaginable. I’ve taught students who were homeless and those whose parents who could afford $25,000+ tuition for a year of high school. I’ve taught students who’ve never traveled more than 100 miles from their northeast Georgia homes and those who traveled hundreds and even thousands of miles—from Mexico, Guatemala, China, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Nigeria, Egypt, and so on—to sit in my classroom. Safe to say, I’ve just about seen it all in k-12 education.

In my quarter-century of teaching mathematics, there’s almost nothing in education that I can say all teachers, students, administrators, parents, and politicians agree upon, save this: we want our schools to be safe. One of the great tragedies of our time has been the wanton slaughter of helpless students, faculty, and staff in what could—and should—be one of the safest places in the world. Sadly, as we are in the shadows of another horrific school slaughter, most of what we are hearing would do virtually nothing to make our schools safer.

As about 100 of the 1700+ students at my high school walked out in protest on March 14 (for a moment I thought it was merely an over-zealous Pi-Day party), I mentioned to a colleague that the whole episode was little more than a ploy to elect more democrats. I found out a short while later that others thought exactly the same.

As most of us watching well knew, several reports have revealed that the student walkouts across the U.S. last Wednesday were far from “organic.” Sadly, liberal organizations across the U.S. have seized on the wicked act that took place at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL in order to push the agenda of the modern left. Note that what we are currently witnessing with the left’s co-opting of American k-12 students is about much more than mere “gun control.”

As they push, prod, propagandize, and otherwise take advantage of youthful students across the U.S., taking guns out of the hands of law abiding Americans is only part of the end game for the American left. Make no mistake about it, young folks, though you are often hailed as our nation’s “greatest resource,” your safety is far from the primary concern when it comes to the American left.

If the left is so concerned with your safety, why for decades have they ignored or lied about science and sound morality and refused to stand up for the most innocent and defenseless among us? For all of your lives you have been deceived about the humanity of the unborn. Can you recall in your science classes where the humanity of the unborn has been a point of emphasis? If you took any form of sex education in a government school, did they tell you that once sperm fertilizes egg, the life of a human being is at stake?

When it comes to violence in our culture, abortion is something that must be honestly discussed. No one should be surprised that a nation which has killed over 50 million of its children in the womb is a violent nation in other ways as well. As Mother Teresa taught us,
I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child—a direct killing of the innocent child—murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?
If today’s left is so concerned with your safety, why have they waged a decades-long war on the oldest, most foundational institution in the history of humanity? As is the case with life in the womb, all of your lives you have been lied to about family and marriage. Tragically, many—if not most—of you are daily experiencing the dismal consequences of these lies. Because of divorce and out-of-wedlock births, through no fault of their own, tens of millions of American school children today are growing up in a home without a mother or a father. It was not supposed to be this way! You deserve better!

As has been pointed out ad-nauseam, children who grow up in broken homes are much more likely to suffer a whole host of negative outcomes. One of the most common traits of the worst murderers in the history of the United States is a broken home. What’s more, American students are FAR more likely to suffer—even to the point of death—from violence and abuse in a broken home than they are from gun violence anywhere. Again, one of the most dangerous places for a child in America is at home with his mother and her live-in boyfriend. Many of you know this all too well.

If modern liberals are so concerned with your safety, why do they continue to lie about the dangers of a hedonistic, promiscuous sexual lifestyle? One of the most shocking statistics of the modern era is that 110 million Americans—over one-third of our population—are now saddled with a sexually transmitted disease. Tragically, many of you know this first hand.

Sexual promiscuity is killing far more Americans than are guns, but you almost never hear such from those who operate from a liberal worldview. What’s more, recent studies have shown—as if we needed more studies to reveal what sound morality has always taught—that teenagers who engage in risky sexual behaviors—especially homosexuality—are much more likely to put their health and lives in danger (along with the health and lives of others) than are those who are choosing to follow the moral precepts of their Creator.

Finally, if liberals are so concerned for your safety, why do they continue to lie about the presence of guns and the frequency of gun violence? The data on guns and violence is clear: some of the safest places in America are littered with guns, while some of the most dangerous places in America have the lowest rates of gun ownership and our strictest gun-control laws.

In addition to these dangerous lies, in order to push their godless, big-government agenda, today’s left—led by Hollywood, the establishment media, the Democrat Party, and yes, most of modern academia—has misled you about the role of good government, the value and purpose of education, the importance of hard work, the state of the earth’s climate, and even what it means to be a male and a female. Thus, for the sake of your spiritual, mental, and physical health, for the rest of your life I encourage you to “walk out” on the modern left. Don’t cast your vote for them, don’t purchase their entertainment, don’t engage their news and information, don’t heed their teaching, and most of all, don’t live out their lies.

(See this piece at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, March 16, 2018

Virginia Lawmaker Gets It Right on Guns and Gun Violence

Nick Freitas, an Iraq war veteran and a Republican member of Virginia's House of Delegates lays down some facts, data, and logic on guns, gun-control legislation, and gun violence. Watch: 


FYI GOP: This is the kind of politician you need to be running for U.S. Congress.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Guns, Men, and Murder: The Data

I love guns. I’ve been around them all of my life, and I currently own several—for hunting and self-defense. One of my most memorable gifts growing up was a single-shot 410 shotgun (that I got for Christmas when I was 12). Before I was old enough to own a real gun, my friends and I were quite skilled in using all sorts of scrap wood, duct tape, nails, and so on to manufacture the most magnificent replicas. Back then, if I was not playing with some sort of ball, I was in some sort of battle.

Not all of my experiences with guns have been pleasant. One of the toughest moments in the life of my family happened when I was 17. At the time, my 13-year-old brother was hunting turkeys near our home. A tragic accident with a faulty double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun cost him his right arm.

Nevertheless, soon after he had healed from having his arm amputated, my brother was learning to shoot—even long guns and compound bows

My brother shooting a compound bow--with one arm.

—with one arm. (He also played high school baseball and football with one arm.) Now in his mid-forties, he still hunts (and fishes) to this day. In other words, even enduring a traumatic and tragic accident involving a gun as a young teenager, neither he—nor the rest of us close to him—ever let a fear or a hatred of guns creep into our psyche.

After another horrific shooting at a “gun-free” government school, those corrupted by a liberal worldview would have all of us share their fear and hatred (warning: language) of guns, or at least their hatred of guns in the hands of those who stand opposed to a liberal, big-government agenda.

Thus, instead of more good guys with guns, time and again liberals insist that the answer to stopping those bent on doing evil with powerful weapons is to take guns from the good guys. The infamous Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County, FL again made this foolish argument—tragically to “thunderous applause”—when debating the NRA’s Dana Loesch.

Responding to Loesch and pushing democrat talking points to a (mostly) like-minded audience, Israel told the Parkland crowd, “You just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say, ‘I want less weapons.’” Of course, “less weapons” means “less guns,” and “less guns” means elect more democrats so that we can have—among many other terrible outcomes—a bigger government with more “gun control” laws. As the data reveals, in the United States, fewer guns or more gun control laws do NOT equal less murder.

Last year it was widely reported that the vast majority of murders in the U.S. occur within a very small portion of the country. More than half of all murders in the U.S. occurred within just two percent of the counties. Over two-thirds (68 percent) of the murders in America occurred within only five percent of the counties. (There are 3,141 counties, or county equivalents, in the U.S.)

This table shows the worst three percent of counties, in which almost 60 percent of the murders occur. Almost all of these counties are in large urban areas, where democrats rule. Of course, large populations will typically have more murders. What we should consider in this debate is the murder rate in these counties.

Of the 10 worst counties for the number of murders, five of them are also among the worst when it comes to murder rate. Of the 30 counties with the highest murder rate, 19 of them are in the worst three percent for total number of murders. But whether one considers the sheer number of murders, or the murder rate, the other telling and significant piece of data in our debate is the presence of guns in these areas.

City-Data lists the top 101 counties when it comes to “lowest percentage of residents that keep firearms around their homes” and “highest percentage of residents that keep firearms around their homes.” As the table linked above also reveals, of the three percent of counties—95 total counties—with the highest number of murders, 43 of these counties are in the top 101 when it comes to lowest rates of gun ownership.

Only 19 of these counties are in the top 101 when it comes to highest rates of gun ownership. Of the 10 counties in the U.S. with the most murders, all are in the top 101 when it comes to lowest rates of gun ownership.

Additionally, as this table reveals, the overall murder rate for the top 101 of highest and lowest rates of gun ownership is virtually identical. The murder rate for the top 101 counties with the highest rates of gun ownership is 6.28 per 100,000. The murder rate for the top 101 counties with the lowest rates of gun ownership is 6.15 per 100,000. Also, of the 30 counties with the highest murder rate, nine of them are in the top 101 of lowest rates of gun ownership, while five of them are in the top 101 of highest rates of gun ownership.

At the state level—where data is more readily available—the numbers reveal the same: there’s no correlation between the presence of guns and the rate of murder. The average murder rate for the first 25 states (lowest half of gun ownership rates) is 5.0. The average murder rate ranking for the last 25 states (upper half of gun ownership rates) is 4.9. For the bottom 10 and top 10, the average is 4.2 and 4.3 respectively.

The average murder rate ranking for the first 25 states is 24.4. The average murder rate ranking for the last 25 states is 27.6. For the bottom 10 and top 10, the average is 22.8 and 23.7 respectively. Put simply, more guns does not mean more murder. And inversely, fewer guns does not mean fewer murders. Put another way, more laws against gun ownership has done almost nothing to reduce the rate of murder in America.

The only way to reduce murder is to recognize that it is an act of evil that must be dealt with from a proper political and spiritual perspective. Men murder because their hearts are dark. To stop them, we must meet force with force. To change men, we must get to their hearts. Sound legislation can work to protect us, but focusing on the weapon of murder and attempting to legislate away evil by targeting a tool is the height of folly.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Guns and Murder (by State)

(See the column: Guns, Men, and Murder: The Data. See these tables also: U.S. Counties and Murder and Guns and Murder (by County).)


The numbers below are from Wikipedia (murder rate) and from Business Insider (gun ownership rate). The states (and D.C.) are ranked by percentage of gun ownership. Murder rates and murder rate ranking averages are shown at the end of the table.

State
Gun %
Murder Rate
Murder Rate Rank
1. DE
5.2
6.7
43
2. RI
5.8
2.7
11
3. NY
10.3
3.1
15
4. NJ
11.3
4.1
22
5. NH
14.4
1.1
1
6. CT
16.6
3.3
17
7. OH
19.6
4.3
24
8. NE
19.8
3.3
18
9. CA
20.1
4.8
29
10. MD
20.7
8.6
48
11. MA
22.6
1.9
7
12. ME
22.6
1.7
4
13. DC
25.9
24.2
51
14. IL
26.2
5.8
36
15. OR
26.6
2.5
10
16. MO
27.1
8.3
47
17. PA
27.1
5.1
32
18. WA
27.7
2.9
14
19. NC
28.7
5.2
33
20. MI
28.8
5.8
37
21. VT
28.8
1.6
3
22. VA
29.3
4.6
27
23. OK
31.2
6.0
39
24. GA
31.6
6.0
38
25. UT
31.9
1.8
5
26. KS
32.2
4.4
25
27. AZ
32.3
4.5
26
28. FL
32.5
5.1
31
29. IA
33.8
2.3
8
30. IN
33.8
5.6
34
31. CO
34.3
3.2
16
32. WI
34.7
4.2
23
33. SD
35
3.7
20
34. TX
35.7
4.8
30
35. MN
36.7
2.4
9
36. NV
37.5
6.2
41
37. TN
39.4
6.2
42
38. KY
42.4
4.7
28
39. MS
42.8
8.7
49
40. SC
44.4
8.2
46
41. LA
44.5
10.3
50
42. HI
45.1
1.3
2
43. ND
47.9
2.8
13
44. AL
48.9
7.2
44
45. NM
49.9
5.6
35
46. MT
52.3
3.5
19
47. WY
53.8
2.7
12
48. WV
54.2
3.8
21
49. ID
56.9
1.9
6
50. AR
57.9
6.1
40
51. AK
61.7
8.0
45
  • The murder rate average of the first 10: 4.2
  • The murder rate average of the last 10: 4.3
  • The murder rate average of the first 25: 5.0
  • The murder rate average of the last 25: 4.9

  • The murder rate rank average of the first 10: 22.8
  • The murder rate rank average of the last 10: 23.7
  • The murder rate rank average of the first 25: 24.4
  • The murder rate rank average of the last 25: 27.6

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com