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A foolish consistency

Don't let it be said that the New York Times is always pro-federal government. The editors of the paper have finally discovered a state's rights crusade they can get behind, enthusiastically. Sounding like budding Timothy McVeighs, they now rant about people "laboring under the yoke of Congress." Only, this new crusade doesn't involve a state at all, which makes the argument somewhat strange.

The nation's capital city will soon suffer a brazen insult at the hands of the House of Representatives as a legislative majority prepares to vote for the decontrol of guns in the city - that's right, a majority of lawmakers, sworn to "insure domestic tranquillity" for the nation, would make D.C. stand for Dodge City. As far as election year pandering goes, the impending vote to legalize handguns and semiautomatic weapons on the streets - striking down the home-rule wishes of Washington's citizens - may answer the question of how low Congressional politicians will go in bowing to the gun lobby.
Of course, there's no real mystery here; the Times is simply virulently anti-gun rights. If Congress were acting to ban guns in the District of Columbia against the wishes of its citizens, then concerns about "home rule" would go out the window at Times headquarters. As, in fact, such concerns did when the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" was enacted; the legislature of, say, Montana was denied the right to decide for its citizens whether they would be able to own so-called assault weapons. The Times, of course, had no problem with that.

The Times has every right to oppose gun rights, no matter how idiotic, immoral, and unconstitutional the laws they support are. The issue here is their hypocrisy of cloaking opposition to the second amendment in the guise of defense of "home rule," when the essence of their position -- on virtually every issue in recent decades -- has been to centralize power in Congress at the expense of "home rule," to treat calls for such "home rule" as naked racism, regardless of the issue. Until now. It's true that DC, unlike the states, does not have an elected representative in Congress -- or at least not one who gets to vote -- and the Times seems to attach great significance to this point. But that's sort of a silly distinction; if 435 members of Congress decide to ignore your one non-voting representative, is that really somehow more tyrannical than 434 members of Congress ignoring Montana's one voting representative?

The Times' editors are hardly the only hypocrites on this score; as Andrew Sullivan has pointed out (ad nauseum), many Republican congressmen who are ostensibly pro-states rights suddenly discovered the wisdom of Washington when it came to the issue of gay marriage (though at least they had the decency to propose a constitutional amendment, instead of the Times' approach of ignoring Constitutional provisions like the second amendment). But that's hardly a defense of the Times' hypocrisy.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 21, 2004 1:39 PM.

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