ARTICLE

Mass Shootings And A Culture Without A Conscience

News Image By John Stonestreet/Breakpoint.org March 29, 2021
Share this article:

There have been two mass shootings in a little over a week, on opposites sides of the country by individuals who, from what we currently know, sit on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum. 

Though quickly-trotted-out narratives have proven either obviously flimsy or just flat wrong, Americans remain deeply entrenched in their corners and are seeing these issues through those lenses. 

All the while, yet another set of events reveals a country in moral crisis, with very little helpful guidance from media or from government officials.

Mass shootings continue to be, tragically, a regular feature of American life. Each new attack on innocent children, students, church members, employees, concertgoers, and shoppers hits before we've recovered from the last one. May we never become numb to the horror of these crimes.


After each shooting, the fury and passion to "do something" reaches a new level of volume and intensity. Certainly, those who wish to restrict guns are louder than ever, and the current political situation makes those restrictions at least a legal possibility.

Now, in full disclosure, I'm a Second Amendment guy. I own guns, and I support the right to bear arms, which is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Gun ownership has been a consistent feature of American life since its founding, a reflection of the country's DNA: self-government, self-protection, self-provision.

But I'm also enough of a student of history and worldview to know that rights always come with responsibilities. People incapable of enjoying freedoms will inevitably lose them. Those unable to govern themselves will have to be governed.

To be clear, this is not a statement of what ¬≠ought to happen; it's a statement of what always happens when a culture morally breaks down. The choice for any people, as Chuck Colson often said, is between the conscience and the constable. 

If a people will not be governed by conscience, they will be governed by the constable. The loss of conscience, which is always a failure of moral formation, will lead to the loss of freedom.

John Adams, the second President of the United States, famously said that the Constitution was meant for a "moral and religious people" and "is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." His observation applies as much to the Second Amendment as to any other.

The shocking lack of conscience on display in America is producing behaviors that can largely be grouped into one of two categories. First, historic levels of suicide, opioid use, and overdoses, as well as epidemic levels of loneliness and isolation (especially among the most vulnerable) are together known as "deaths from despair." 

Second, the various and consistent acts of mass violence, such as shootings and rioting, are among those things that could be labeled "acts of desperation."

With both deaths of despair and acts of desperation at epidemic levels, we are clearly not a people moral or religious enough to sustain the freedoms we've been blessed with.

After his visit to America, Alexis de Tocqueville famously described the role that religion and local community groups played in uniting and directing the nation. If de Tocqueville were writing today, almost 200 years later, he'd instead describe how we'd become a society of isolated individuals, and thus a place where addicts, the suicidal, the lonely, and too many disturbed young men are slipping through the cracks.


Political conservatives, hear me on this: Freedom is unsustainable without virtue. Demanding rights without acknowledging responsibilities is a failing strategy.

Political liberals, hear me on this: The problem isn't guns. Ban them without addressing the real problems of our society, and the next killer will choose some other weapon of mass destruction. The rest of us will be unarmed and unable to defend ourselves.

America has become, to borrow words from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's 1978 speech at Harvard, a place with "little defense against the abyss of human decadence...such as the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror." 

Even stricter laws, Solzhenitsyn went on to say, would be powerless to defend a people against such moral corrosion.

If the devolution of our collective conscience continues, the replacement of constitutional rights with constables might be inevitable. And even constables cannot truly govern, or protect, a people without a conscience.

Originally published at Breakpoint.org - reposted with permission.




Other News

July 22, 2021Big Tech Censorship Sets The Stage For The Rise Of The Antichrist

As technology continues to advance, every aspect of human life becomes reliant on and intertwined with digital payments and the Internet. ...

July 22, 2021What Will This New Wave Of Lockdowns Do To The Global Economy?

Needless to say, the restrictions and lockdowns that we witnessed in 2020 were absolutely devastating for the global economy, and many are...

July 22, 2021Are Attack Drones The Next Global Arms Race?

While drones are most certainly nothing new, how they will fight future wars is most certainly novel. Chief of these means is through the ...

July 22, 2021CUFI: Reports Of Declining Evangelical Support For Israel Are False

Speaking at Christian's United for Israel's 2021 summit in Dallas, Sandra Hagee Parker, chair of the CUFI Action Fund and daughter of CUFI...

July 21, 2021Thinking The Unthinkable - War With China May Be Inevitable

A clear and troubling consensus has emerged in the American national security community that the Taiwan Strait is the most likely place fo...

July 21, 2021Not Just Social Media - The Woke Mob Wants To Censor The Book Industry

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters is one of the most important books of our time. It is one of the first i...

July 21, 2021Arabs Warn Biden: The War On Terrorism Is Not Over

As the United States prepares to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31, 2021, a growing number of Arabs are worried that t...

Get Breaking News