“The way we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no social redeeming values. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturer.”
On Thanksgiving, Joe Biden, the President of the United States, uttered these disgraceful words.
To echo Biden’s word choice, the fact that the President of the United States would say this is truly sick. These words are so deeply wrong and demonstrate such complete moral bankruptcy that it’s difficult to even explain why. But I will attempt to, anyways, because it would be unacceptable to let such an egregious statement go unrebutted.
First of all, it’s bizarre that Biden would call it “sick” that something is allowed to be purchased. The default state of existence is for all things to be allowed. The burden of proof always must rest on those who wish to ban something, not on those who wish for it to continue to be allowed. In other words, in order for something to be banned, there must be good reason for banning it. Regardless of whether or not you think semi-automatic weapons should be banned, it is not “sick” for them to be allowed; it is simply the default. Only the active commission of bad deeds can accurately be characterized as sick. Omitting an action, such as the action of banning semi-automatic weapons, cannot accurately be characterized as sick, no matter how strongly you feel the action should be done.
And then there is the fact that actually, semi-automatic weapons should not be banned, because doing so violates everyone’s rights. People have a right to do anything that they want, as long as that thing does not harm anyone else. Purchasing, owning, and possessing semi-automatic weapons does not harm anyone. Only shooting people with them does. Therefore, it is morally wrong to ban semi-automatic weapons. Biden is literally calling the failure to violate people’s rights “sick.”
Even more appalling than Biden’s claim that the failure to violate people’s fundamental rights is “sick” is his claim that respect for people’s fundamental rights has no value. It’s disturbing that this even needs to be stated, but individual liberty is valuable for its own sake. People’s ability to make their own choices and to do the things that they like is valuable for its own sake.
Some people like semi-automatic weapons. Therefore, it is inherently valuable for people to be allowed to purchase semi-automatic weapons, because this enables the people who like semi-automatic weapons to purchase something that they like. If semi-automatic weapons were banned, then people who like semi-automatic weapons would be deprived of something that they like. Their well-being and happiness would decrease. Their lives would be made worse.
Contrary to Biden’s claim, the rationale for allowing semi-automatic weapons to be purchased does not lie solely, or even primarily, in the profit made by the gun manufacturer. It lies in the benefit to the gun purchaser. When a person purchases something, both the buyer and the seller benefit from the transaction; otherwise the person wouldn’t have chosen to purchase the item in the first place. The rationale for allowing semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is the inherent benefit to people in being allowed to purchase something that they like.
A fundamental and obvious truth is that it is inherently beneficial for people to be able to do something that they like. And it is inherently harmful for people to be banned from doing something that they like. The fact that the President of the United States does not recognize this is disturbing beyond belief.
It is one thing to argue that the common good outweighs the benefits to individual people of being able to do what they like. But that is not what Biden is arguing. Biden is arguing that the ability of individual people to do what they like does not matter at all.
It is one thing to argue that the importance of safety outweighs the importance of individual rights, liberty, and freedom. But that is not what Biden is arguing. Biden is arguing that neither individual rights nor liberty nor freedom has any value at all.
It is one thing to argue that the harm done by shootings outweighs the harm done to individual people by banning them from doing the things that they want to do, and therefore that it is worth it to harm people in this way because doing so prevents even worse harm. But that is not what Biden is arguing. Biden is denying that harming individual people is at all bad. He is arguing that the happiness and well-being of individual people does not matter at all.
Individual rights. Liberty. Freedom. The ability to make choices. The ability to do the things that one likes. The ability to live in a way that matches up with one’s preferences. Happiness.
When you think about it, these are all different ways of phrasing the same thing. And Joe Biden, the President of the United States, is claiming that these things have “no social redeeming values. Zero. None” He is claiming that these things have “not a single, solitary rationale.” To be clear, Biden is not claiming that the value of these things is outweighed by the value of something else, or that these things ought to be sacrificed for the sake of something that is even more important. He is claiming that these things have no value whatsoever.
In reality, not only do these things have value, but they are the only things that do. Without them, there is no reason to live at all.
We now live in a nation whose president is unable to see any value whatsoever in the things that make life worth living. Now that is just sick.