WASHINGTON, March 26, 2018: It was called the Children’s Crusade. According to legend, it was inspired by a youth known only as Nicholas. Living in the German Rhineland in A.D. 1212, Nicholas preached that the children of Christian Europe could liberate the Holy Land from the Islamic invaders.
Crusading tots of the Children’s Crusade
Nicholas believed that once this army of young Christians crossed the formidable obstacle of the snowy Alps and arrived in Italy, the sea would part for them. Then, the Children’s Crusade would march on to Christ’s birthplace and liberate it. But the ultimate result proved less than inspiring. Many a child died along the route or was captured and sold into slavery.
This story may only be apocryphal, but it makes a valid point. Children lack knowledge and understanding. More importantly, lacking in experience as well, they also lack wisdom, making for bad leaders.
The revolutionary tots of our current Children’s Crusade
Just this past weekend, on Saturday, youthful members of the “March for Our Lives” convened their own version of the Children’s Crusade in our nation’s capital. 17-year-old David Miles Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, appeared as the day’s highly anticipated speaker.
“Today is the beginning of spring, and tomorrow is the beginning of democracy. Now is the time to come together, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. Americans of the same flesh and blood that care about one thing, and one thing only, and that’s the future of this country and the children that are going to lead it.”
Hogg told a doting MSNBC reporter, “This isn’t the end of it, this is just the beginning. This is the beginning of a revolution. And this revolution is going to require every single American getting involved and becoming politically active.”
Wise adults Thomas Jefferson and Antonin Scalia
By “one thing,” Boss Hogg meant applying pressure on Congress to enact stricter gun control. But that outcome is highly unlikely, due to the 2008 landmark ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller. In that definitive case, the U.S. Supreme court held that the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects the individual’s right to possess a firearm. That holds true even if that possession is unconnected with service in a militia. More importantly, this applies as well to possessing firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, including home self-defense.
After careful deliberation, this decision was handed down not by children, but by the grownups of the America’s Supreme Court.
As the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority,
“The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right [to bear arms] and declares only that it shall not be infringed’… Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. This is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”
Rights endowed by our Creator
Did you notice the “pre-existence” part of Scalia’s argument? He contended, as did our nation’s Founders, that our “natural rights” existed prior to being codified in our nation’s charter of rights.
That is why Thomas Jefferson wrote that Americans “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These rights existed prior to those monumental words appearing in Genesis: “Let there be light.”
Among his numerous errors, Hogg clearly did not pay attention during his American History class. Otherwise, he would know that his right to speak freely was won in the American Revolution. Notably, a revolution touched off by “the shot heard ‘round the world.”
You don’t win revolutions with simplistic slogans and marches.
The arguments put forth by Jefferson and the late Justice Scalia are the products of centuries of thought and struggle. They are not present in the extravagant yet simple musings of the high school “protesters” of today’s Children’s Crusade.
“Extravagant hope,” wrote philosopher Erich Hoffer in his book “The True Believer, “… is likely to generate a most reckless daring. For the hopeful can draw strength from the most ridiculous sources of power – a slogan, a word, a button.”
The slogan for Saturday’s Children’s Crusade was “March for Our Lives.” The action word is “Revolution.” The silly buttons of this astroturf effort will soon follow.
Top image: David Hogg at a Florida gun control rally. CC BY-SA 2.0 File: David Hogg at the Rally to Support Firearm Safety Legislation in Fort Lauderdale.jpg
Photo: Barry Stock. The Children’s Crusade, by Gustave Doré.