Rights and Anti-Rights

Having faced many setbacks in the gun control debate, the Left lately has turned against the very idea of self-defense. Without a robust right of self-defense—one respected by prosecutors, police, judges, and juries—the right to keep and bear arms is hollow. 

Because of highly politicized prosecutions, ranging from George Zimmerman to Kyle Rittenhouse, the right of self-defense remains in significant jeopardy. 

A Ray of Hope

Like many others, I was relieved by the Rittenhouse verdict. While condemned as an idiot or a vigilante, in reality this young man courageously stood up and faced an angry, violent mob. He was attacked for putting out fires and protecting businesses. Instead of receiving an award, he faced a second battle in the courts. 

This was a significant burden. His acquittal could only be a Pyrrhic victory. While the jury ultimately did the right thing, the defendant’s near-collapse at the end was exactly what one would expect from a normal, innocent, and highly traumatized person, who just learned that he won’t spend the rest of his life in prison. 

The goal of this prosecution was to appease the mob and discourage Americans from taking risks to defend themselves and their communities. Facing a ruinously expensive trial and a long prison sentence, many otherwise-brave people are being taught to stay home. In other words, a run-amok legal system adds another layer of risk beyond the inherent dangers of standing up to left-wing mobs and the duty of compliance with intuitive laws regarding self-defense.

Because the problem resides in the prosecutors, cops, and politicians hostile to ordinary middle-class Americans of initiative, Rittenhouse’s acquittal only amounts to a temporary setback for the system. 

A Nation of Citizens or a Market of Consumers?

Widespread passivity is antithetical not only to our Second Amendment rights, but also to the right of petition, right to assembly, right to free speech, and right to vote. All of these are designed to protect active engagement and civic republicanism. Such classical values are, as I noted elsewhere, the opposite of those required to thrive in a managerial system, where each of us is treated as a mere consumer of the government and other parts of the system. 

As with the backdoor attack on the Second Amendment, other rights face similar pressure. The exercise of free speech is in great jeopardy from the lynch mob atmosphere deployed against dissidents undertaken with the willing cooperation of Big Tech. One’s job is always in jeopardy from being doxxed. Unchastened by the Steele dossier debacle, the FBI is now targeting parents concerned about the anti-white race hatred and anti-American propaganda forced on their children in schools. 

The right of assembly is also threatened. Tech giants, like GoFundMe, have withdrawn their tools selectively from causes they do not like, including Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense fund, even while permitting real criminals to post bail funds. All of this is designed to make an uneven playing field, where those on the Right cannot organize and cannot speak. The prospect of job loss, FBI investigations, and harassment all combine to destroy rights de facto while preserving their simulated existence de jure. 

Returning to Rittenhouse, the Left’s corporate-sponsored mob violence threatens more than property rights and the security of our communities, but also the right to a jury trial itself. Intimidated jurors facing threats to their jobs and their safety cannot undertake their important work freely and impartially. Open threats against jurors and their communities are now routine, mostly uncensored by the Big Tech companies supposedly concerned for “safety.”

The jury here deserves real credit and praise for deciding what they did in the face of explicit and implicit threats directed against them. Lesser men and women would have buckled. I am reminded of the masked judges of Colombia in the Pablo Escobar era. These men, and their families, faced death and torture from the drug cartels simply for doing their jobs, but many of them continued their brave service. 

Such intimidation exists in every high-profile trial where politics and race are involved. It’s like To Kill a Mockingbird in reverse. The people in power do not spend a moment reflecting on how their hostility and double standards may be driving their opponents into more and more extreme politics fueled by distrust and injustice. 

The Era of Unlimited Politics

The formal structures of our society and Constitution are supposed to provide limits to our disagreements and protect us as individuals. But these limits cannot function in an atmosphere of runaway “wokeness,” “race justice,” “CRT,” “political correctness,” or whatever term is now current. If these ideologies are not checked, we face the backdoor destruction of every constitutional right. 

The Constitution has persisted not through the power of the government or because of its eloquence, but because it reflected and enlarged the will of the American people. But the American people are being replaced, and our young people are being reeducated. 

Under such conditions, the problem is not one of laws or politicians, but of culture and demographics. The Constitution will not persist or provide protection from a degraded, brainwashed, and hostile majority. Thus, the program of the Right has to be broad-based and comprehensive, as much educational as political, because the rot comes from many quarters, and it goes very deep. 

Rittenhouse’s acquittal is encouraging. But it is only a single victorious battle in a war where we are losing our Constitution, our natural rights, and a previously stable political culture. Taking too much encouragement from the Rittenhouse verdict would be a mistake in light of these conditions. The system remains broken and hostile. So long as our rights are opposed by the Left’s program of anti-rights, the war to restore normality and to protect ourselves and our birthright must continue.

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About Christopher Roach

Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

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