What Frightens the Left Most? The Constitution

As we’ve long since learned, the Left always tells us what they fear most, by reacting to political developments or policy proposals like scalded vipers, hissing and spitting as they writhe around in agonized hysteria. Not for nothing is the word “catastrophic” one of their favorite descriptive adjectives, since it pretty much describes just about anything they don’t agree with and thus keeps them forever on the edge.

To rational people, their collection of tics, neuroses, and phobias may seem at first to lack a certain consistency, other than a tendency to go from zero to obscenities on Twitter in no time flat. They can easily be against gay marriage (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, et al.) before they were for it; against illegal immigration (Bill Clinton) before they were for it; and for the Russians (the entire Democratic Party) before they were against them.

Do they contradict themselves? Very well, then, they contradict themselves—after all, they contain multitudes. The only song they really know is Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

Their latest conniption fit has come over two apparently unrelated things. The first, of course, is guns and by extension the right to one’s own personal self-defense in a dangerous and (thanks to the second thing, about which more in a bit) rapidly destabilizing world. The American frontier of the late 18th century was similarly fraught, as the young country began both to deal with the mature, and often hostile nation-states of old Europe, and to push west, across 2,000 and more miles of unknown territory; the success of the American experiment was far from certain. Accordingly, the Framers bequeathed us the Bill of Rights, which although numbered as amendments are as much a part of the Constitution as the main document.

The Left—which is by turns both malevolent and cowardly, and therefore both tantalized by and fearful of firearms—has never made its hostility toward the Second Amendment a secret, but for decades it was able to keep it under wraps during the half-century or more between the effective closing of the borders to immigration in 1921 and the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, known as the Hart-Celler Act but today chiefly remembered as Ted Kennedy’s lasting gift to the American people.

That period saw the rise of urban ethnic gangsters (mostly Irish, Italians, and Jews, immigrants or children of immigrants, and thus “foreign” to largely Protestant America) and of the indigenous Midwestern bank robbers being chased around the prairies by the FBI, both groups long since tamed and romanticized. When, in 1939, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller that a certain kind of sawed-off shotgun could be banned, and cited the Second Amendment’s subordinate “militia” clause as its justification, few kicked about it, because by then gangland had been largely cornered and the country was at peace.

The Miller decision was effectively overturned in 2008 by the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which finally got around to adjudicating and establishing the individual right aspect of the amendment. Heller, not Miller, was correct, especially in light of the fact that sawed-off shotguns with barrels under 18-20 inches were, in fact, military weapons and thus applicable to militia use. Further, the law under which Miller was decided was the National Firearms Act, which was itself a direct reaction to the then-shocking 1929 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Al Capone’s Chicago. Today, that body count—six gangsters and an unlucky bystander—seems quaint.