The Tyrants of Australia and Canada

For decades now, I’ve marveled at the people who tear up as they sing: “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.” This implies, of course, that people in other advanced democracies cannot know they are free, an example of American Exceptionalism that is extremely strange unless you identify freedom with the right to stockpile military weapons in case you and your friends decide to overthrow the government.

Now comes an actual argument from our friends at Fox that pretty much says it right out loud, per David Edwards at Raw Story:

The hosts of Fox & Friends asserted on Sunday that mass shootings could be prevented by banning “gun free zones” instead of passing the type gun safety laws that have worked in Australia.

According to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, praised Donald Trump for blaming the Umpqua Community College shooting on campus gun bans….

“The other side of the that argument, of course, is — and what people always throw out there — is look at Australia,” co-host Clayton Morris noted. “They have no gun violence, they don’t have guns, citizens aren’t allowed to have guns.”

“They also have no freedom!” Carlson interrupted. “You can go to prison for expressing unpopular views and people do. And in Western Europe by the way. And in Canada. No one ever says that.”

The reason they don’t say that, Tucker, is that it’s a really stupid thing to say, and there are enough Americans who travel overseas and don’t see any signs of tyranny to shame most people out of even thinking about saying it. Carlson is apparently alluding to hate crimes laws which obviously don’t add much of anything to the vastly lower levels of incarceration (as opposed to the US) in other advanced democracies.

I know there are some conservatives who really do believe the “right” to be a neo-Nazi or to buy elections or to own as many weapons as one wants are the only rights that matter. But again, most Americans know better than that. And this is particularly true of our English-speaking cousins who did, after all, abolish slavery by imperial statute 32 years before the US did via a bloody civil war.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.