Concealed Carry Laws Challenge "Pro-Choice" Philosophies
We've just recently passed the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The particular issue that figures most prominently in the dispute over the ethical implications of this controversy is "the right to choose." <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
So many people who tell us they're personally opposed to abortion - they wouldn't seek one themselves - nonetheless promote the right of others to decide for themselves.
They believe in a different-strokes-for-different-folks approach (which to me, for all practical purposes, is a live-and-let-die stance) on reproductive issues.
How does one account for this dichotomy of preference, unless one is libertarian about the advocacy of personal choice as a philosophical or moral position?
If that's the case, then one's "libertarian principle" is bound to be thoroughly tested by their position in the concealed carry debate.
In other words, are they pro-choice across the board or just advocates for certain issues? Are some people really just pro-abortion, but inclined against choice in other issues of public policy? Are they consistent in the proclamation of "choice"?
It might be interesting to do your own informal survey. Find out how many people who say they're "pro-choice" on abortion are also pro-choice on concealed carry, school-choice vouchers, public exercises of religious expression or any issue of civic polity.
The empirical issues regarding concealed carry permits are already largely settled. All anyone needs to do is interpret the data. It seems that more guns generally equal less crime. Yet here in Wisconsin, we are one of four states which still stubbornly cling to false assumptions, as evidenced by our state legislature's inability to override a gubernatorial veto for the second time.
If we don't believe this, there are plenty of examples we can observe to see what has happened when this was previously attempted elsewhere. Look at the statistics of other states where this concealed carry is settled law.
The warnings about "wild west shows" coming to downtown tend to be Chicken Little predictions that mirror the warnings about sailing off the edge of the earth in the early era of maritime navigation.
Yet this perspective is propounded with all the zeal displayed in Brother Love's traveling tent revivals.
Do law-abiding people shoot guns at one another? How many of the guns that are involved in crimes are registered weapons? How often do weapons deter crime rather than facilitate it?
It's also interesting that the right to bear arms can be directly traced to an amendment in the Bill of Rights. The right to an abortion takes a tenuous and convoluted journey through a dark labyrinth in claiming constitutionality.
It's like navigating a mine field. Judging from the vehement arguments, you might think it was the other way around.
How is it possible that I regard myself as pro-choice yet find myself in support of concealed carry permits and against abortion? Most so-called pro-choicers would tilt to the opposite end of the spectrum.
Along the way, they'll spout bumper-sticker slogans such as, "If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one." Using that same principle, I would say, "If you don't want children, don't conceive them."
Any view about "choice" is probably rooted in a specific understanding about the nature of liberty.
Many emphasize the right to choose, meaning quantitative autonomy and maximum personal license. My emphasis is on choosing the right things, connoting the exercise of maximum personal responsibility.
In such a philosophical milieu, there is little to fear in having other responsible citizens wanting to defend themselves.
In the same vein, there is little need for the unqualified right to legal abortion, because diligence is applied to make the right choices, minimizing unwanted pregnancies.
Rights take care of themselves when we give ourselves over to duty, obligation and responsibility. Our society today is infatuated with the notion of running the locomotive of unlimited autonomy right off the tracks.
John Adams once proclaimed, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other. ..." Volumes could be written in commentary about this concept alone.
Suffice it to say that, if people won't control themselves from within, no document even as grand as the Constitution can save them from the dissonant and chaotic society they forge.
If people want less government interference, then more prudence is required in the application of our own self-government.
Robert E. Meyer
Worldview Weekend Foundation
PO BOX 1690
Collierville, TN, 38027 USA