ONTD Political

by Garry Wills

(for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture. Ancient Romans justified the destruction of Carthage by noting that children were sacrificed to Moloch there. Milton represented Moloch as the first pagan god who joined Satan’s war on humankind:

First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)

Read again those lines, with recent images seared into our brains—“besmeared with blood” and “parents’ tears.” They give the real meaning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometimes this is done by mass killings (eight this year), sometimes by private offerings to the god (thousands this year).

The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.

Adoration of Moloch permeates the country, imposing a hushed silence as he works his will. One cannot question his rites, even as the blood is gushing through the idol’s teeth. The White House spokesman invokes the silence of traditional in religious ceremony. “It is not the time” to question Moloch. No time is right for showing disrespect for Moloch.

The fact that the gun is a reverenced god can be seen in its manifold and apparently resistless powers. How do we worship it? Let us count the ways:

1. It has the power to destroy the reasoning process. It forbids making logical connections. We are required to deny that there is any connection between the fact that we have the greatest number of guns in private hands and the greatest number of deaths from them. Denial on this scale always comes from or is protected by religious fundamentalism. Thus do we deny global warming, or evolution, or biblical errancy. Reason is helpless before such abject faith.

2. It has the power to turn all our politicians as a class into invertebrate and mute attendants at the shrine. None dare suggest that Moloch can in any way be reined in without being denounced by the pope of this religion, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, as trying to destroy Moloch, to take away all guns. They whimper and say they never entertained such heresy. Many flourish their guns while campaigning, or boast that they have themselves hunted “vermin.” Better that the children die or their lives be blasted than that a politician should risk an election against the dread sentence of NRA excommunication.

3. It has the power to distort our constitutional thinking. It says that the right to “bear arms,” a military term, gives anyone, anywhere in our country, the power to mow down civilians with military weapons. Even the Supreme Court has been cowed, reversing its own long history of recognizing that the Second Amendment applied to militias. Now the court feels bound to guarantee that any every madman can indulge his “religion” of slaughter. Moloch brooks no dissent, even from the highest court in the land.

Though LaPierre is the pope of this religion, its most successful Peter the Hermit, preaching the crusade for Moloch, was Charlton Heston, a symbol of the Americanism of loving guns. I have often thought that we should raise a statue of Heston at each of the many sites of multiple murders around our land. We would soon have armies of statues, whole droves of Heston acolytes standing sentry at the shrines of Moloch dotting the landscape. Molochism is the one religion that can never be separated from the state. The state itself bows down to Moloch, and protects the sacrifices made to him. So let us celebrate the falling bodies and rising statues as a demonstration of our fealty, our bondage, to the great god Gun.

December 15, 2012, 5:25 p.m.


This is probably one of the most frighteningly accurate analogies ever for gun culture in the US.
rex_dart 19th-Dec-2012 06:59 am (UTC)
None of my liberal friends think that gun control means banning guns, or should mean banning guns. In fact, I've never spoken to a person who thought that all guns should just be banned. I'm sure there are some liberals out there who think that, but the general liberal position out there isn't gun bans, but gun control, whereas your assessment of the conservative position is accurate - they want basically no gun control whatsoever because laws are ~pointless~.
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 07:04 am (UTC)
That's probably a difference in the company that we keep then. Most of the liberals that I personally know want guns completely out of the hands of other people. I've even seen people on this very community commenting along the lines of "Why does anyone need a gun?" and other variants - not at all bothering to make any sort of distinction regarding assault rifles versus a 9MM. There was a post in here where I was actually asked that.

It mainly hit its peak around the time of the last big shooting out in Colorado, though. I've been too out of it to check every single entry on *this* particular incident.

Edited at 2012-12-19 07:05 am (UTC)
rex_dart 19th-Dec-2012 07:11 am (UTC)
tbh I spend a lot of time pointing out that people don't need guns because conservatives spend so much time pointing out absolutely absurd reasons that they think DO need guns (such as "if I were in that shopping mall I would have pulled out my concealed carry sidearm and saved everyone from the assault rifle-wielding maniac BANG BANG BANG!"). The anti-gun-control crowd has the power, so they set the tone for the debate. It's hard to argue the liberal point that guns need to be intelligently regulated and gun owners need to be held more responsible for their firearms in various ways under the law when the start of the discussion is inevitably "if you regulate guns MY WHOLE FAMILY WILL DIE IN A HOME INVASION, COMMIE!"

Most of the arguments I had this past weekend involved me asking people for statistics when they claimed that concealed carry (for example) saves lives and telling them that they had to counter my statistics pointing out that a gun in the home (for example) is more likely to kill a woman or child in the household than an armed aggressor. The argument RARELY reaches the point at which my own positions on firearm regulation (which have a lot in common with how Australia does it) even come up, because usually people are flipping their shit just having someone tell them that they are not Rambo and they are never going to get to righteously kill someone and be declared a hero for it.
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 07:17 am (UTC)
Oh yeah. Too many people think that Conceal Carry makes them a badass. I think it's because Conservatives have framed the gun control debate in such a manner where there are other liberals that pretty well go the other way.

Conceal Carry does not save lives at all.

There are instances where guns as home defense do have its usage. I actually do know of an instance where I used to live where a guy that I know of through family friends did have a home invasion happen. A couple of teens broke into his house, he shot one (non-fatal), and the other ones ran off. Unfortunately, if they were all armed, it would have ended differently.
rex_dart 19th-Dec-2012 07:29 am (UTC)
My problem is people always bring that up, but they never acknowledge that statistically, guns kept at home are responsible for way, way more accidental, unnecessary, and domestic violence-related deaths than they are lives saved (especially if you include intruders who were unarmed and didn't have intent to commit a violent crime). I would love to see legislation on how firearms have to be stored, because right now not only do people whose guns end up in the wrong hands not bear any legal responsibility for allowing it (whether passively or actively), it's like they don't even think there's anything wrong with allowing it. Like responsibility is just something that exists in the mind of the noble White Male All-American Gun Owner and not something that you can regulate and enforce and hold people to.
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 07:35 am (UTC)
I agree strongly with all of this.

There are infinitely more situations where guns are the result of children getting a hold of it (there was a situation around here not too long ago where a child got a hold of his parent's gun - stored in a drawer with the safety turned off - held it around one of his friends and it went off, killing the friend. Sadly, there is a lot of this.).

The proper storage of a gun is something else that should be legislated. At least a locked case and placing that locked case in something else that can be locked or SOMETHING.
rex_dart 19th-Dec-2012 07:39 am (UTC)
It's absolutely ridiculous that people talk about responsibility but if you say that guns should be properly locked up with the ammo stored separately, you're some kind of fascist. I don't even think most people who talk about responsible gun ownership know what they MEAN by the phrase.
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 07:43 am (UTC)
And you would think that properly locking a gun up would be common sense. It was something that I was always taught to do. Even my own gun has the safety turned on, has a trigger lock, is locked in a steel case that requires a combination - and about the only way to get it open is to go through it with an electric saw of some sort - and even that is in a locked dresser drawer. I feel like I could make it even more secure than that.

I've had people comment to me that this is too much.
pretty_angel 19th-Dec-2012 10:46 am (UTC)
I'd say this interlocks a lot with that hero mentality mentioned earlier. Like "always be ready to shoot the bad guy!" but when you have to fiddle around with locks and shit it doesn't fit this narrative of casually grabbing your gun from under your pillow and shoot the intruder or something. There is this conflict between responsible gun ownership and a more or less secret wish of being an action movie hero. On one hand guns should be stored away safely but on the other hand that makes them useless in the context of those heroic stories certain gun lovers tell each other in order to justify their love for guns. So in result they ignore safety issues in favour of this irrational dream of becoming a hero who saves the day.
skellington1 19th-Dec-2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Yup -- I've seen that exact hero-fantasy scenario used as a reply to pleas for safe storage.
skellington1 19th-Dec-2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
The argument RARELY reaches the point at which my own positions on firearm regulation... even come up

My experiences exactly. I talk about specifics, but only with people who are already agreed that something has to give -- not in arguments with people who want no regulation. It's hard to argue specifics when they're dead set against ANY regulation, and making a case based entirely on fear.
redstar826 19th-Dec-2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
I wonder if some of this is based on location? I've never heard 'ban guns' from people where I live, but I also live in a part of the country where hunting is pretty popular
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
I think it is. Where I am, people talk about banning guns outright. People use the example "Well, the English and the Japanese and other developed countries don't have guns - why should we?"
skellington1 19th-Dec-2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
Absolutely agreed. Neither I nor most liberals I talk to think guns should be outright banned. The idea that 'they're coming for our guns' is entirely fear-mongering by the right -- no one on the left is seriously trying to DO that!
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