Comedian Jim Carrey rolled into the gun-control debate with a "parody song" called "Cold Dead Hand," whose purpose is to portray Second Amendment defenders as callous monsters who don't mind sacrificing children to their gun-crazed ideology. As Carrey put it via Twitter, his song is "about you heartless m***erf*ckers unwilling to bend for the safety of our kids. Sorry if you’re offended by the word safety!" [Note: expanded from Twitter abbreviations and edited for profanity.]
Carrey was confronted online by conservatives, who pointed out that the actor's current paying gig is a new movie called Kick-Ass 2, in which he plays a heavily armed vigilante. (This movie, incidentally, also happens to contain a character who is called "The M***erf**ker.") Carrey also enjoys armed bodyguard protection, just like every other gun-control-happy Hollywood actor and big-shot politician. He proved strangely unwilling to denounce his new multi-million dollar movie, or make do without his armed bodyguards. He was last heard retreating from the field of intellectual battle with some unconvincing whimpers about how he just wanted to engage Second Amendment defenders in a dialogue. Pro tip, Mr. Carrey: when you begin a "dialogue" by slandering people who disagree with you as "heartless m***erf**kers" who don't mind seeing children die, you should expect some "kick-ass" treatment in response.
At roughly the same time, New York's mayor and full-time nanny, Michael Bloomberg, offered this simple explanation for how inalienable rights can suddenly become alienable, provided our betters think it's very important to make us do something, as related by the Washington Times:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.
“I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom,” Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC. He made the statement during discussion of his soda ban — just shot down by the courts — and insistence that his fight to control sugary drink portion sizes in the city would go forth.
“We think the judge was just clearly wrong on this,” he said, on NBC. “Our Department of Health has the legal ability to do this. … [They’re] not banning anything.”
Funny... I thought gun-rights advocates were just a bunch of paranoid hysterics for warning about a "slippery slope." But here's Michael Bloomberg, who just rolled out a $12 million interstate ad blitz to push for gun control laws, explaining exactly how the slippery slope works. There are "certain times" the State should infringe on your freedom - and there are, apparently, no times when it is absolutely forbidden to do so. Once a bit of infringement has been conceded, the right in question is no longer inalienable, and further alienation can proceed at the fastest pace the political class thinks it can get away with.
That's how Americans looking to protect the flawless treasures recognized in the Bill of Rights find themselves on the defensive, frantically trying to explain to overbearing tyrants like Bloomberg why they should be allowed to keep their rights. Here's why we need this type of gun, or this many bullets in a magazine, sir! Here's why we should be allowed to purchase soda in 32-ounce cups! Soon we'll be explaining why we need guns, magazines, or soda at all.
One we're on the defensive, it doesn't take much for the Jim Carreys of the world to pounce - hurling the most disgusting bad-faith slander at innocent people, and making them accessories to heinous crimes because they won't "bend" for whatever the Left wants to justify as "the safety of our kids." Rest assured that line of reasoning does not end with the Second Amendment. We've already got Mayor Bloomberg wondering why people won't bend for the health of our kids by letting him arbitrarily ban certain beverages.
Carrey and Bloomberg provide a useful lesson in the importance of having a Constitution that declares certain rights inalienable. The point of the exercise is to set firm boundaries for government power, which cannot be transcended by either impassioned politicians or herds of panicked voters. It is certainly possible to amend the Constitution to redraw these boundaries, but that isn't what these people are proposing. They want to short-circuit the Constitution without doing the hard, honest work of building a sustainable popular consensus for amendment. They know they can only get what they want by hectoring nervous voters in the wake of headline-grabbing tragedies. They can't come anywhere near the sort of solid, determined public support they would need for a Constitutional amendment.
The conversation Jim Carrey wants to have - the one where he hides behind his armed bodyguards, rakes in millions by shooting prop guns in motion pictures, and hurls vile insults at everyone who resists a level of personal vulnerability he would never accept - should never even begin, because what he wants to take away from the unwashed masses is not his to take. Likewise, a brilliant plan for social order that relies upon iron-fisted government control of political speech is a non-starter, even though the government already restricts speech by enforcing laws against the public display of obscene material.
Bloomberg is basically correct to say that government infringes on freedom sometimes. That's a fair description for virtually everything it does, and more people should have the intellectual honesty to see it that way. But there are some things government cannot do, no matter how much it wants to, or how much media support it can whistle up for its agenda. Some freedoms cannot be infringed. That is one of the core differences between the majestic republic America's founders created, and the ugly mob rule of pure "democracy." Jim Carrey's right to make a fool of himself for big bucks is precisely as inalienable as an ordinary citizen's right to defend himself with a firearm. He doesn't have to face a tribunal to explain why Kick-Ass 2 should exist, and we don't have to explain why we need effective weapons to defend our families.