Seeking to justify his 23 executive orders on guns–almost none of which would have stopped the massacre in Newtown, but that’s beside the point–President Obama said we must do something if in so doing even “one life” might be saved. In this he echoes the redoubtable governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, who, defending the onerous and unneeded use of speed cameras outside of Chicago elementary schools (which in reality are just another revenue grab), said, “If you save one life, you’ve saved the whole world.”
Liberals are good at appealing to emotion rather than logic, aren’t they? Think about it. If saving one life is the standard, imagine what an intrusive, do-gooder government might do with our liberties: outlaw alcohol, automobiles, cigarettes, fatty foods, walking across the street, heating our homes with natural gas, etc. All these things have the potential to kill us, and in fact do kill some of us.
But living as free human beings in society, we try to rationally assess the risks and make trade-offs. Yes, driving a car presents risks, and some people will die because cars are a legal form of transportation, but we have made the rational decision that having an efficient and relatively safe way to get around makes this a risk worth taking.
The “one life” standard, however, isn’t rational. It is an invitation to totalitarianism.