January 14, 2013
Ben Shapiro’s satisfying dismantling of Piers Morgan on CNN over the issue of gun control has been getting some of the plaudits it deserves. Morgan is, as Ben says, a bully of the first water, a man whose delight in mud slinging was too much even for the bottom-feeding British tabloid the Daily Mirror, which fired him for publishing fake photosof British soldiers supposedly abusing Iraqi prisoners. Morgan is one of those liberals whose unshakable self-infatuation compels him to treat disagreement as a sort of moral heresy. His contemptuous—and contemptible—treatment of his guests makes for intermittently entertaining, if also cringe-making, television. But as Ben demonstrates, Morgan’s habit of contempt renders him a pathetic, deeply unserious mountebank.
Others have celebrated Ben’s performance. Here I’d like to underscore two points.
One concerns Morgan’s attitude towards the Constitution. At one point in the interview, Ben handed Morgan a copy of the Constitution and invited him to ponder the language of the Second Amendment. A few minutes later, Morgan handed it back to him dismissively: Here’s “your little book.” The Constitution of the United States is “your little book”?
The other point concerns the point Ben made toward the end of the interview. One of the reasons the Founders framed the Second Amendment, he pointed out, was to arm citizens against the possibility of a tyrannous government. This occasioned astonishment in Piers Morgan, who seemed incredulous that anyone could believe that the government of the United States might turn against its own citizens.”You’ve made your point crystal clear,” sneered Morgan. “People aren’t stupid. They can make up their own mind.” It would be interesting to ask Mr. Nakoula Nakoula about that. Of course, we can’t ask him. He’s in jail. He’s the chap, remember, whose video about Mohammed Barack Obama didn’t like, the fellow who then got a midnight visit from brown-shirted men from the sheriff’s office and was summarily bundled off to the police station, then decanted into jail, and then was sentenced to a year in prison, allegedly for probation violations. Or we could ask the increasingly large number of people who are arrested for the non-crime ofphotographing the police. Or we could simply ask ourselves about the increasingly intrusive nanny state regulations that have intruded more and more on our individual liberty. Yes, Piers, people aren’t stupid. They can make up their own minds. That’s why, as the illiberal-liberal establishment embarks on another another orgy of “ban the guns” rhetoric, people are rushing out in unprecedented numbers to arm themselves. It’s not only to protect themselves against the thieves who might creep into their houses at night to steal the family silver; it’s also to protect themselves against the suit-wearing thieves who practice their trade by wielding the levers of state power.