The Slippery Slope is a Real Thing, and We’ve Seen It

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I was responding to a comment from one of my readers about the quarantine and how we accepted it at first because it seemed so reasonable. Well, most of us accepted it. I personally rejected the idea from the very beginning, and told my coworkers as much as soon as the idea surfaced in the public consciousness. I railed against the government when they started rolling out lock downs and mask mandates and all sorts of other infringements on our basic liberties. It was all the worst fears that a free people could face, almost like being at the beginning of a dystopian novel.

The truly scary part of all of this is that it happened exactly as those of us who hate big government said it would happen. It didn’t really come all at once with huge sweeping measures and military in the streets enforcing it. Changes came slowly, one at a time. They were small, seemingly reasonable restrictions that played on our fears about getting sick. One by one, these measures slowly took away the freedoms we enjoyed while we praised them for their care of the public.

First it was “two weeks to flatten the curve“, which they said was a necessary lockdown to slow the spread of the virus. When that didn’t work, it was “wait for the summer” because the virus is less effective in warmer climates. Summer came and instead of things getting better, the government doubled down with “wait for the vaccine” with the argument being that we can’t go back to normal until the public has developed an immunity to the disease. Now we have a vaccine, and we’re being told that “we might need to continue masks until 2022“. Step by step, the narrative has changed to keep the lockdowns going.

The funny thing about all of this is not just that we have blindly accepted all these measures despite the fact that many other countries, as well as US states, have ignored many of the ridiculous measures that states like California and New York have implemented and not seen nearly the problems those areas have. What should make you cringe is the fact that as we continue to accept these unreasonable restrictions on our freedoms, the argument about the “slippery slope” continues to fall on deaf ears in other parts of our public debate.

Like a frog in slowly heating water, we continue to accept limitations on our inherent rights as human beings. The pandemic lockdowns are an example of how the heat can slowly be turned up and we just don’t notice it. The same is true with another argument that has slowly been turned up over time: gun control. We don’t notice it today, but this same inch-by-inch encroachment on our ability to defend ourselves has been happening for more than a hundred years.

It first began back in the Old West with the prohibition for citizens to carry concealed weapons. People became afraid of the violence that was spreading as criminals started becoming more brash and daring, so they decided to try to disarm everyone. In many small towns, it was illegal to even carry a gun on your person and you were required to submit your firearm to the local authorities before you were allowed to enter.

Then came the National Firearm Act of 1934, which imposed broad restrictions on the types of firearms the average citizen was allowed to own. Specifically, weapons like the “tommy gun” became entirely illegal to purchase or own without a special permit from the government. While this seems like a reasonable measure, it significantly reduced the ability of the average citizen to resist not only criminal actors, but illegal government encroachment.

The NFA was amended several times over the years to add additional restrictions to firearm ownership for the general public. In 1968 it was updated to limit the ability for people to move guns across state lines and implemented a Federal Firearms License system. The Brady Act in 1993 implemented the background check system that we have today, which places a roadblock in front of your ability to purchase a firearm at all if there is anything in the federal system that flags you and depends on the questionable accuracy of the federal crime database to work. The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 placed arbitrary limitations on the style of weapon a person could by based solely on cosmetic appearance, as well as reducing that amount of ammo that a magazine could carry in an effort to “reduce the ability of criminals to kill large numbers of people”, but this belied the fact that a criminal could simply carry more magazines.

We have passed so many laws in our countries that to limit the ability of citizens to defend themselves because we want to believe we have control over events. Those of us who cry out against these restrictions point to the slippery slope as the defining reason why these things shouldn’t be implemented. There are now two explicit examples of how the slippery slope is a real thing that actually happens anytime we allow our government to start imposing restrictions on individual liberty in the name of public safety. What will it take for us to learn this lesson?

In truth, I personally am starting to believe that America will suffer the same fate as the Roman Empire, doomed to fall to our enemies as we succumb to the decadence that our success has allowed us to revel in. We have become soft, lazy people who don’t value what our forefathers struggled so hard to hand down to us. Our focus is on comfort rather than freedom; safety rather than self-determination. If we remain sheep to be herded, we can expect no other outcome than to be brought to the slaughter. History has proven that time and time again.

What do you think about the slippery slope? Is it a real thing, or a construct of people afraid of losing what they have? Have we seen real examples? If we ignore the past and continue down this road we’re on, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. We’ve been given the example of what not to do, and it is up to us to have the courage not to do it. What will you do to convince others to avoid the mistakes of our forefathers?

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