This spring, a horrifying mass shooting took place in Christchurch, New Zealand. The murderer took the lives of 50 New Zealanders in two separate mosques. Within a month, the New Zealand Parliament passed a law to ban semi-automatic weapons, with 119 members in favor to 1 opposed.
At the drop of the hat, freedom was seized in New Zealand. The leadership had succumbed to the emotional appeals of anti-gun activists. As a result, anyone who hasn’t turned in their weapons through the buyback program could face years in prison.
The action taken by the New Zealand Government is not unlike the proposals of the American left. In response to the passing of the legislation, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed her admiration of the fast action taken New Zealand. “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market.” She said on Twitter, “This is what leadership looks like.”
Conservatives have noted that many proposals that the left campaigns for come with the demand for immediate action. You may have seen the hashtags #ClimateJusticeNow, #GunControlNow, or #ImpeachmentNow. But “now” as the left insists, is a dangerous proposal. “Now” forgoes careful consideration and internal debate. “Now” wants federal bureaucracy to expand fast and tells our leaders to act before asking any questions. Mobs want their demands done “now” and shut down any of those who dare to object. Demanding something “now” is at its core, undemocratic.
The mob-like mentality that is far too common today on social media could not be farther from the principles that the Constitution was framed on. Our Founders wanted reason and debate to control the actions of all government. They did not want governance by mob rule and they framed the Constitution to prevent that.
James Madison, in Federalist 51 argued, “In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature…Whilst all authority in [government] will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.”
To put Madison’s 18th century language into modern words: diversity (of ideas) is our strength. The diverse amount of interests that are represented inside the United States make it so difficult to form a majority at the federal level that no major changes can easily occur. Therefore, the liberties guaranteed to the people through the Constitution would be at little risk for extinction. “If a majority be united by a common interest,” Madison argued, “the rights of the minority will be insecure.” The majority were united in New Zealand and the rights of the minority suffered a major blow.
But what about change? Is America forever stuck in 1787 by design? By no means. Our founders wanted society to thoroughly agree on the directions of change lest a mob-like majority forcibly impose their will on society. Their most thorough means of change, and arguably, the most tedious, is the constitutional amendment. To amend our most foundational document, a motion must pass both Houses of Congress with approval from two-thirds of its members and ratification of three-fourths of the states. That process, though tedious, ensures the unity of the highest standard.
The Founders valued compromise as much as anyone, even though they themselves had disagreements. Our Constitution is a set of compromises between Federalists and Anti-Federalists that has stood the test of time. But, at the core, the Founders all had the same mission which is outlined in the preamble: to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Liberty through democratic governance, not mob-rule, is the essential, founding idea of the United States.
Perhaps Justice Neil Gorsuch said it best. In a recent interview with CNN, Gorsuch remarked, “Is it supposed to be hard to make change? Of course it is. Do we want social consensus and the best ideas? Of course we do. It is a raucous republic and a battle of ideas is what our founders had in mind.”
Perhaps one day, Americans will once again appreciate honest discourse, true conversation, and return to an honest battleground of ideas.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.