by Matthew Boose
In the wake of recent mass shootings in New York, Texas, and Oklahoma, Democrats are once again sending Americans up a blind alley. Their “solution” is to punish millions of law-abiding gun owners for the crimes of a few evil maniacs. Undeniably, there is a certain appeal to this response. Gun control is a facile “fix” to a complex problem.
Americans have owned guns since the founding, but it wasn’t until comparatively recently that mass shootings became a concern. Guns are not the problem. Our culture is. Broken cultures produce broken human beings. For every school shooter, there are thousands of other weak, confused, mentally disturbed men who are drifting away from society. They aren’t dating, aren’t working, and they spend most of their time in their bedrooms playing video games, smoking weed, watching pornography, and stewing in social media echo chambers.
None of this is healthy or normal, but we have been desensitized to dysfunction. It is considered offensive or stodgy even to suggest that things are not as they should be. We’re living in a male-dominated world, we are told over and over. Men are thriving. But it’s the women who are thriving. They are getting educated more than ever, making more money than ever, and they are finding the pickings of marriageable men with secure jobs (thanks, globalization) are slim. The result is fewer marriages, or marriages delayed, and fewer families.
Our infertile, androgynous blob-society has destroyed masculinity and femininity both, leaving the sexes repulsed by one another. Society ridicules masculinity and sets men up to fail with terrible advice: become docile and vulnerable, and be more like women. While men have softened, femininity is becoming a rare quality in women. The typical modern “boss bitch” talks and acts like a man, is fatter than her predecessors, and has a sense of entitlement and an inflated sense of what she has to offer.
The marriage market is a minefield, and it’s not hard to see why members of both sexes are approaching with caution. For men especially, marriage no longer offers the promise of security and respect that it once did. The traditional breadwinner role is culturally obsolete and, because of no-fault divorce laws, legally perilous.
Rarely are we asked to consider these matters. Isn’t that strange? The family is the core institution of human society. Why don’t we hear more about the fact that it is in shambles? We almost never hear about marriage and family in our politics, and if we do, it is in tones of derision. The Left, it goes without saying, does not consider the decline of family to be a real problem. All that matters to them is “choice,” the choice to have as much consequence-free sex as possible, the choice for a homosexual couple to adopt, the choice to maim one’s child with body-altering hormones (but not the choice to own a firearm, of course.)
For them, society has only improved by becoming more “inclusive,” and our main concern should be stamping out what remains of the abstract “isms” that continue to obstruct the “inclusive” world from coming to pass.
As for the Right, they mostly make reactionary noises about the liberal outrage du jour.
The only times we even hear morals discussed, anymore, are when these shootings sporadically occur. As Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) put it recently, mass shootings are a “mirror” to what has become of our culture. He’s right, but we spend too little time looking in that mirror.
It’s the height of folly that we spend so much time shouting about a handful of mass murders, and almost no time talking about the collapse of our society, about the dysfunction that Americans live with every single day. We seldom hear about shootings in inner cities, where the vast majority of gun violence actually occurs and where the average kid is raised by a single mother. Nor do our politicians seem to care about the opioid crisis, which is killing Americans in record numbers as deadly drugs pour into the country uninterrupted.
Anyone who suggests that there is something wrong with our culture can expect to be mocked as a repressed theocrat projecting his own vices. This was the response to recently resurfaced remarks from J. D. Vance suggesting a ban on pornography. It takes only a moment’s reflection to see that porn is harmful to the formation of healthy, lasting relationships between men and women. It is easier to access and more graphic than ever. For growing numbers of men, it has become a substitute for love and marriage, one that feeds on and fuels feelings of insecurity, bitterness, and rage. But Vance’s proposal was met with universal snickering from liberal trolls: “Show us your browser history.”
Laura Ingraham was likewise derided for talking about the connection between marijuana, which has become more potent in recent years even as PR from lobbyists has cleaned up its image, and mental illness. Like pigs rolling in mud, the Left can’t imagine that anyone lives or could want to live differently than they do, that a higher life, a life of duty and order, is both possible and desirable.
Our moral imaginations have been so blunted by years of “studies show” talk that we forget the basics. Your average school shooter spends months writing the script of his own little action movie that he wants to force society to watch. They are living out a fantasy of glory. The childish, sadistic theatrics of these spectacles bear the imprint of a childish and sadistic popular culture. It is absurd to suggest that the man who dresses up like a “Call of Duty” character to go kill children has not been influenced in some way by gratuitous violence in mass media.
Our vapid, narcissistic “me” culture worships the self, and then we wonder why a handful of deranged people with no audience go out and make a spectacle of carnage. We seem to have acquired a strange skittishness of the word “evil” when these shootings occur. We have found abortion too convenient to give up. Majorities of Americans, including religious Americans (with the exception of evangelical Christians and Mormons), are fine with it. We have an entire month dedicated to celebrating the “pride” of anal sex. It’s considered controversial and “hateful” to push back on those trying to groom children in schools and through entertainment media with twisted gender ideology.
We are becoming a nation of distracted lotus-eaters. The percentage of Americans left who truly love freedom like a jealous lover cannot be more than a vocal minority, as the COVID experience showed us. Our society is hollowed out. It has no purpose, nothing that gives people a sense of common destiny. What is left of a national identity is under constant assault. Our cities are filthy, disgusting hellholes. The homeless and mentally ill roam streets littered with needles and reeking of pot.
Gun violence is the penalty for our failure to uphold a moral, functioning society. It simply beggars belief that we could allow things to carry on like this and have nothing bad happen as a result. But that is exactly what the Left would have us think. The “solutions” they offer are band-aids for a dying civilization, a civilization that they destroyed. Fixing this mess we’re in would be hard. It’s much easier to blame law-abiding white Republicans and steal their guns.
Liberal midwits tell themselves, in self-satisfied tones, that the founders could not have envisioned modern firearms. This shortchanges the founders’ wisdom. We are learning what John Adams meant when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”
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Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose.