by Jeff Knox
On May 25, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a report titled “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011″ as a counterattack response to a U.S. human rights report that was critical of China.
The first thing on China’s list of U.S. human rights failures was our failure to adequately protect our citizens from crime and, specifically, the easy availability of firearms.
The report laments that, “The United States prioritizes the right to keep and bear arms over the protection of citizens’ lives and personal security and exercises lax firearm possession control, causing rampant gun ownership. The U.S. people hold between 35 percent and 50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, with every 100 people having 90 guns.”
The same idiotic complaint we have heard from propaganda groups like the Brady Bunch and the Violence Policy Center for decades as firearms ownership has climbed sharply, while crime has simultaneously gone down to record lows.
As a matter of fact, the firearms portion of the Chinese report could have been written by Brady staffers, as it pulled up one bogus cliché after another, generally supported only by some isolated statistic or anecdotal example.
The report went on to attack the U.S. over our failures regarding freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. To support these assertions, they used select tidbits from reports about the way various governments shut down the “Occupy” protests (without mentioning the intentional civil disruption and unsanitary conditions associated with those protests) and critical essays from rights advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation complaining about government interference with the Internet. Columnists warning about potential dangers in the Patriot Act and erosion of rights in the name of the “War on Terror” were presented as proof of the nations flagging commitment to individual rights of privacy and due process, as were examples of wrongful imprisonment, police abuses and our overall prison statistics.
It’s not that these accusations are totally false or of no concern. We have our issues, and we certainly don’t always live up to our principles.
But a lecture on human rights from the people who committed the Tiananmen Square atrocity and are even now waging a long-running genocide against women and the unborn is the ultimate in hypocrisy. The fact that virtually all of the criticisms of our failings in the areas of privacy, freedom of speech, due process and economic justice are a direct result of misguided political leaders following down the path of socialist/communist government control and micro-management adds irony to the hypocrisy.
Certainly there are corrections needed in the laws and enforcement policies of our nation, but they are corrections that would move us away from the communist ideal and toward personal responsibility and individual liberty – things that the Chinese government abhors.
What is left unsaid in the Chinese critique of U.S. policies is the fact that we the people have the authority and duty – morally and legally – to change things any time we find the government headed down the wrong path. While there are issues, we retain the right and power of free speech and assembly, a free press and the power of the vote. As a last resort, we also retain the right, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, to “throw off” an unjust government and “provide new Guards” for our future security.
I find it interesting that the first attack of the Communist Chinese against U.S. social policy targets the means by which we secure our other rights. Yes, the U.S. is awash in firearms of every conceivable design and capability, but the very numbers of those firearms belies the suggestion that it is the guns that cause the crimes. If this were true, we would have all killed each other long ago.
The fact is, that like cars or pharmaceuticals, firearms can be abused, misused and do great harm, but like cars and pharmaceuticals, they also serve the greater good. Only a tiny fraction of firearms are ever involved in criminal or accidental harm. The most common abuse being their use in suicides, which evidence strongly suggests would be carried out regardless of the availability of a firearm. Firearms are safely and responsibly possessed by over half the population and are used in defensive situations more than twice as often as they are used in offensive actions.
More importantly, the U.S. recognizes the right of the individual to be in control of their own security for self-defense and for the defense of families, communities, states and the nation.
To date, no gun-control scheme of any sort has ever been proven to deliver even minor reductions in crime, accidents or suicides in any nation. Even if restrictions were to reduce some aspect of crime, they could not be justified because they undermine both the individual right to self-defense and the collective right to political self-determination.
Some scoff at suggestions that hunters and target shooters could successfully challenge the power and technology of a modern army, and there is no doubt that a civil war would be an ugly and terrible thing, would even Chinese troops have dared to move against the protesters in Tiananmen Square if there were guns and ammunition in over half of Chinese homes?
It is telling that the Chinese report “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011″ should point an accusing finger toward numerous instances of the U.S. emulating Chinese political philosophy and practices (in minor ways) and also decry the core principle of liberty that guarantees against those policies and practices being advanced or expanded upon. The right to arms is a fundamental individual right that serves to protect not only the individual, but the nation as well. Tyranny cannot coexist with the individual right to arms.
Si vis pacem, para bellum: “If you seek peace, prepare for war.” This is true of citizens as well as nations – and the Chinese know it.