Liberty Expose: Knife Control and Human Nature
The war on knives has begun. On Monday, London Mayor Sadiq Kahn proposed a knife ban in response to the knife-related homicides that have been on the rise in the British capital. The Labour politician tweeted on Monday: “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the fill force of the law.”
The violent crime rate in London has been climbing; this year it has surpassed the violent crime rate of New York City. Both cities are roughly similar in size, yet New York has typically had a higher violent crime rate. USA Today reports that there has been 50 homicides in London in 2018. This has led to stiff laws to combat the violence.
No one is permitted to carry a knife longer than three inches, unless done so with “good reason,” as defined by a court. And no, carrying a knife for self-defense is not considered a “good reason” by the government. Evidently the right to defend one’s life is not recognized by Mayor Kahn. Punishment for violating this could result in up to four years in prison and an “unlimited fine.” To accompany the new policies, the City of London launched an ad campaign with the slogan “London needs you alive: don’t carry a knife.” As if most knife-related violent deaths were self-inflicted.
This is an understanding of human nature that is Rousseauean to the core. Human nature can be perfected if alienated from the contaminations of reality, or if "broken free from its chains," as Rousseau might have put it. If one is to achieve a society without violence, that society must be cleansed from the instruments of violence – not the currents that motivate its perpetrators.
It is a revolutionary idea with a revolutionary flaw: at what point is the line drawn? At what point is the goal of the utopian society achieved? And when do we know human nature has been perfected for such a society? If the theory is that society should be stripped of objects capable of violence, then we are heading down a path that could grant governmental authority to label common items as weapons of war.
It is not that guns must be eliminated, or even knives designed for combat. Kitchen knives, tools used for cutting vegetables, are deemed too dangerous. One British police force tweeted a picture of their findings of weapons in a park, and assured citizens of the weapons’ destruction. Amongst these “weapons” were household scissors.
When it comes to violence, the ingenuity of mankind knows no limit. In a world where knives are banned and we are forced to cut our carrots with spatulas, will perpetuates of violence use rocks? Or how about bats, tire irons, and a long list of other common items that can have a duel-purpose. Will the government ban those as well in order to save us from ourselves?
We must dispel this corrupt worldview that human nature can be perfected. It is a notion pushed by ideological true believers or those whom are too cowardly to confront the realities of policy challenges. We cannot not lie to ourselves. Mankind must be addressed as it is, not as it should be. Look to the perpetuators of the violence, and not spread Orwellian blanket policies that makes the majority suffer because of the few.
This is also a conception of human nature that dismisses the possibility of free will. If one is born with command of their fate, which inevitably leads to decisions, and further to morality and culture: two things governments have little control over. If free will is a myth, and having a knife triggers a predatory trait, then the government has an excuse to rid people of that mechanism. The view is almost contradictory: mankind is free, yet everywhere is in chains, but we are also mere animals driven by a magnetic pull towards violence.
The road is too long a satirical to predict, but the destination is clear: liberty will continue to be slowly picked away until the sovereignty of the individual is completely forfeited to the government.