James Taylor: Let’s sacrifice a little liberty for safety

posted at 11:01 am on January 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Oh, it’s fun to pick on celebrities who don’t know much about the issues on which they’re asked to pontificate — and at least James Taylor has the honesty to preface his answer to The Daily Caller’s Nicholas Ballasy with an admission of ignorance. In fact, he does so twice, when Nicholas asks him about Obama’s continuation of George Bush’s drone policy and on the “executive orders” Obama promised on gun control (actually executive actions, most or all of which don’t require actual EOs). At some point, it’s easy to feel a little sympathy for Taylor, who must be thinking that he’d rather follow Laura Ingraham’s advise to just “shut up and sing.”

Being a good sport, Taylor provides an answer — which won’t exactly endear him to anyone outside of Obama’s orbit:

Addressing the issue of gun control, singer-songwriter James Taylor told The Daily Caller that Americans ‘need to make some sacrifice[s] to our freedoms’ in order to keep children safe. Following his performance at President Obama’s second inauguration, TheDC asked Taylor if he agreed with Obama’s executive actions on gun control. ‘I think the nation is very divided on gun control,’ Taylor told TheDC, ‘but I think the majority of us feel strongly — even the majority of gun owners feel strongly — that we need to make some sacrifice[s] to our freedoms, if that’s the way to put it. We need to make some sacrifices to what we might want to have, in order to safeguard our children.’

Since Taylor admits to a rather significant level of ignorance on the topic, it’s not quite clear what he means on this. If he thinks that a majority of gun owners support sensible regulation regarding background checks and restrictions on fully-automatic weapons, well, he’s right. If he thinks that the majority of gun owners think no one should own a magazine with more than a ten-round capacity and that the government should ban semi-automatic rifles because they look scary while remaining functionally no different than legal types, he’s way off base. In fact, overall majorities — not just of gun owners — have recently been shown to oppose the “assault-weapons” ban.

Furthermore, most Americans aren’t going to buy the “sacrifice your freedoms for the public good” argument. Jeff Dunetz tells Taylor, “You first”:

OK JT, I will bite…which freedoms should we sacrifice? OOH I know–why doesn’t the government start to control which songs you are allowed to play? Here’s another idea, how about we not only sacrifice our first and second Amendment freedoms’ but other freedoms also? Honestly who needs that habeas corpus stuff in the constitution it’s not even English. Right James? This is America we should only recognize the rights that are written in English..none of that Latin stuff.

There is only one problem with sacrificing our “freedoms” James—we can’t. Or at least YOU can’t and neither can our government. You see, freedom isn’t the only thing that makes America special..it’s where those freedoms come from–not the government, but from God.

Humans are endowed by their Creator with the natural right to self-defense (in more than one context, too) — and not just self-defense, but effective self-defense. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. That’s why the Constitution didn’t say that people have the right to bear knives, or clubs, or maces. The founders recognized that free citizens should have the right to arm themselves as they see fit, with the highest-tech weaponry of the time — firearms. Free citizens who abuse that right, like any other, would forfeit their liberty, but the Constitution was built on the predicate that a free citizen would be a responsible citizen until proven otherwise, rather than the reverse. That assumption has worked well for more than 220 years, and does to this day, as the 60 million or more law-abiding households with firearms attests.

Anyway, perhaps we should give Taylor a little time to educate himself, and check back in later.


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