Seizing its chance, New York’s legislature has now, in a breathless rush of immoderate and ill-considered haste, passed one of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Similar measures are soon to be attempted at a national level.
Those in power should be mindful, just now, not to push too hard, too fast; there is a tremendous groundswell of resentment building. It is clearer every day that the very qualities that in bygone days would have distinguished good Americans from bad, and that hundreds of millions of Americans still cherish — beliefs in the importance of personal responsibility, self-reliance, public decency, limited government, piety, traditional folkways, civil society, fiscal responsibility, fidelity to America’s founding principles as enshrined in the Constitution, and the courage to defend our essential liberties at whatever cost (in other words, all the essential qualities that made America “1.0” a great and prosperous nation) — are now seen by our ruling class as varieties of “extremism” to be suppressed and reviled. Their attitude, as they savor the full flush of their power in the heady afterglow of the recent election, is no longer one of respectful disagreement, as parties to a philosophical debate among equals. It is at best the patronizing condescension of adults toward children; lately it more closely resembles the easy disdain of masters for their servants, or of conquerors for the vanquished.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill:
The American eagle sits on his perch, a large, strong bird with formidable beak and claws. There he sits motionless, while his keepers come day after day to prod him with a sharp pointed stick — now his neck, now under his wings, now his tail feathers. All the time the eagle keeps quite still. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that nothing is going on inside the breast of the eagle.