When I was in grade school, back in the nineteen fifties, most classrooms…not only in my school, one may presume, but all over the United States…had a large, hanging world map usually displayed in the front of the room.
Two colors stood out on these maps: red and green.The red represented the British Empire, and green that of the French. In both cases, these colors were most prevalent on that part of the map which represented Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa a Mythical Place
Africa – especially the sub-Saharan portion – was, for us, a mythical place; filled with lions and leopards; elephants and rhinos and giant herds of herbivores whose appearance at the nearest watering hole often meant lunch was served to and for the canine-toothed predators who knew the weaknesses and foibles of their non-carnivorous neighbors.. Continue reading →
One of the great mysteries of modern politics is how gun control came to be seen as a natural Left-wing cause. Following the horrific shootings in Aurora, Denver, the usual lineup of Left-liberal activists and commentators have pleaded, for the ten thousandth time, for America to get rid of its stupid constitutional guarantee of the right to bear arms and to clamp down on gun ownership. This is the default setting of virtually every observer who considers himself of the Left, particularly those outside of America, who love nothing more than to look down their long noses at the Wild West-style, gun-wielding, blood-spattered mess they believe modern America to be.
Gun control once a right wing cause
Which is all a bit weird, because for years – for two centuries, in fact – gun control was a largely Right-wing, reactionary campaign issue, not a Left-wing one. The fact that it has now been adopted by Leftists is very revealing indeed.
Before the 1980s, Right-wingers and racists were the most vocal in demanding that the states in America should strictly circumscribe gun ownership. Where the revolutionary government of 1791 made the second amendment to the US Constitution, which insisted on the right of the citizenry to bear arms as a safeguard against tyrannical government, successive legislators and campaigners who were freaked out by the prospect of former slaves getting hold of guns called for a rethink of this fundamental liberty.
Nat Turner rebellion the turning point
So after the Nat Turner rebellion of 1831, when a band of black rebels shot at white slave owners and freed their slaves, the state of Tennessee altered its constitution. Where once it had guaranteed that “the freemen of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense”, post-Nat Turner it said “the free white men of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense”.