There is a loud and strong constituency in this country that sees "science" as an essential threat to liberty, and that sees the president mandating science as being the first step down the slippery slope to the day when he declares himself Barack I, Emperor of the Sun And Moon. I am not joking here. Glenn Beck's batty fantasia, Agenda 21, has been on The New York Times Fiction list for a month now, and I guarantee you that at least 80 percent of the people who bought it think it's on the wrong list. Which brings me to the most important thing about the initiative that will be undertaken by the president today. It is genuinely dangerous.
He took a tentative step toward recognizing that danger at his press conference the other day, when he talked about how effective the NRA and its satellite propagandists are at ginning up an atmosphere of fear and dread over even the baguest hint of a whisper of a threat concerning gun control legislation. At least he said it out loud, which is a start. The dangerous terror is not the threat the NRA holds over the electoral futures of various congresscritters -- which is largely illusory anyway -- but, rather, the wilderness of scarecrows that it erects in the minds of the people at whom it aims its horror stories. It is simply perilous to the nation continually to inflate every tentative step towards regulating the "militia" well as a global threat to human freedom, or as a precursor to tyranny. Not everyone listens to Alex Jones purely for entertainment. Not everyone reads Glenn Beck purely for the unintentional comedy. There is a serious constituency for this brand of traditional American unreason, and it is strong, and it is armed, and the NRA, as witness to its most recent, revolting advertisement, is not averse to playing to that constituency, which never has been sold on this president in the first place. The president has stepped into an ammunition bunker fully aware that his political opposition is running around the joint with blowtorches. -Charles Pierce on the bravery of the president today.
Yes, that's a big quote, but damn if he isn't absolutely correct. And at a time like this, the NRA continues to question why armed security is good enough for the president and his family but not yours.