On Saturday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul sent out a fundraising email that may set the bar at a new low for “serious” presidential contenders. The full text of the letter is available here, via Ezra Klein. Here's a taste:
Dear fellow Patriot,
Gun-grabbers around the globe believe they have it made.
On November 7, his administration gleefully voted at the UN for a renewed effort to pass the “Small Arms Treaty.”
You can bet the UN is working to FORCE the U.S. to implement every single one of these anti-gun policies:*** Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding Americans cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;
*** CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);
*** BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;
*** Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this is NOT a fight we can afford to lose.
Ever since its founding 65 years ago, the United Nations has been hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees.
And on it goes. This is the insane, dishonest paranoia that many of us expect of Rand Paul followers, but certainly not a dyed-in-the-wool politician on the upside of a career. Reading this tin-foil-hat bullshit about "gun-grabbers" at the UN and the "anti-American globalists" plotting "against our Constitution" — all of it to ask for money — recalls with supreme irony a chief criticism of the left from the right: that liberal policies are bribes of poor people by insidious statists. For Christ's sake, at least those bribes make sense; poor people do get the redistributed money. This email shows the unsophisticated malleability of what some expensive right-specializing consulting firm considers to be Rand Paul's base. This fear mongering is as cynical a manipulation as any in politics.
Fundraising emails are typically an ugly distillation of half-truths addressed to stupid people, but this is almost scandalous. In fact, in a functional Washington, Paul would be scandalized to have this email sent under his name. The UN treaty that the email refers to was written to regulate the international sale of conventional arms, basically an effort to stop the Russias of the world from selling the Kalashnikovs of the world to the war-torn African countries of the world.
The Obama administration only signed on when sovereign rights over gun laws were explicitly upheld, which was itself a substance-less political move designed to be cited in an article exactly like this against a charge like the one Rand Paul's fundraising firm wrote. It's futile to combat the logic of his email with the sound legal ground on which domestic gun rights rest. Half of the email's recipients probably have the text of the Second Amendment on their Facebook "About Me" sections, yet they grab pitchforks at any mention of an international treaties on arms regulation, and for that matter any mention of international bodies in general.
Think on this, Paulites: when was the last time you were forbidden from doing anything by dint of a UN treaty? Tap your chin, stroke your whiskers ... the answer to that is never. The Supreme Court ruled in Reid vs. Covert that the Constitution supersedes any international treaty, and the Second Amendment is part of the Constitution.
What's really funny is how poorly the United Nations is understood in these Black Helicopter quarters. I remember seeing "LEAVE THE UN | THEY'RE COMING FOR YOUR GUNS" stickers in gun shops fifteen years ago; meanwhile, we just watched modest gun legislation get mowed down like D-Day. The UN is such a notoriously impotent body, even when they send out their version of troops, they're basically not allowed to shoot at the Somali warlords until they're shot at first; they're hardly allowed to shoot at all. When they issue edicts, they go unnoticed as often as not, almost entirely relying on the voluntary compliance of the relevant states. The treaty in question was, of course, written as such.
If there is nothing else understood about the UN, the most important truth about it is that it is a Western, and primarily American, entity. It was started by our intelligentsia, it lives in New York (barely America in Paulworld) and it does what we say because we are its largest funders. The chance that the UN could triple the scope of its mandate and come for your guns is zero.
I think the chances of Rand Paul continuing his Cinderella story to the White House are about the same. There is no way that a base that is willing to put up with this, let alone thinks it, can support a winning national candidate. Rand Paul can manipulate his "useful idiots" to his wallet's content, but if he brings this reckless propaganda to the national stage, he needs to be cut down, just for polluting the discussion. He may be just another slimy politician, but he's not so mainstream that he can overcome this caliber of mendacity.