By John Dunkelgrün
Every now and then societies succumb to a collective madness, often accompanied by a general suspension of disbelief. “Witches” were tortured, burnt at the stake, or killed in mind-numbing trials by water or fire. Tulips became a mania in Holland in the 17th century and the South Sea Company in Britain in the 18th.
In the 20th century, the worst madness that ever took hold of a country was National Socialism with the adoration of Adolf Hitler. Then came the anti-communist witch hunt in America that only ended when Joseph Welch challenged Senator Joe McCarthy with a loud “Have you no sense of decency?”. It was followed by murderous manias in Africa and Cambodia. Then the British fell for the lies of power-hungry politicians – aided by Russian propaganda – to leave the European Union, which is the greatest advance in security and prosperity the continent has ever seen. “Take back control!” became their rallying cry without specifying what control would be taken back.
Then came the unraveling of the morals of the Republican Party, whose guiding light now seems to be “Right or wrong, my Party.” It became s shoo-in for Donald Trump whose lies of a ‘stolen election’ and discrediting of anything he doesn’t like are swallowed by millions with religious fervor.
Mass killings in the United States have exploded because of the ubiquitous availability of very dangerous weapons. Kids not old enough to buy alcohol legitimately can buy military weapons not usable for anything else but the killing lots of people quickly. There is ample evidence that restricting the availability of firearms in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada resulted in dramatic drops in deaths by shooting. Ted Cruz knows it, Greg Abbott knows it, and Ron de Santis knows it. The entire leadership of the NRA knows it. But fear of a boycott by voters crazed by gun mania or of losing profits by even the slightest forms of gun control, keeps them spouting lies like a fire engine spouts water. Together they are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths every single year, about the same number of deaths per year as the entire Vietnam war, most probably of more than all of Putin’s war in Ukraine.
What will finally break this deadly mania? When will politicians and gun paddlers be confronted with their “Have you no sense of decency?” Senator Chris Murphy’s brave “What are we doing?” speech, passionate as it was, should have done it, but unfortunately did not. For now, greed and FOLVES, the fear of losing votes, continue to muzzle the voices of conscience.