Paul  Weyrich

No bad idea is ever completely defeated in this country, perhaps in other nations as well. I have seen bad ideas surface again and again in this country. When the right is defeated the right tends to stay defeated. I recall advocating a national right-to-work law when I worked in the Senate in the late 1970s. The member of the leadership to whom I pitched the idea exclaimed, "Oh, no. We can't do that. It was defeated in 1958." I merely was suggesting that we try to get a vote on the issue. I knew we couldn't win at that time. I went on and said "So? There is hardly anyone here who was in the Senate then." I didn't work for this Senator so I felt that I could not go further but the point remains valid. No doubt if I tried to push the idea among conservatives in the Senate to this day someone would object because his father told him that the idea had been defeated in 1958 and therefore it could not be done.

Not so with the liberals. My first encounter with the demand for gun control came in 1968. It was shortly after Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. It seemed that every man and his brother was demanding gun control. Senator Gordon L. Allott, for whom I worked, told me "Just wait around. A few months from now almost no one will be talking about gun control. I've seen it all before [when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated]. This idea comes up here again and again although if you would ask the average man on the street, he almost would never demand gun control." The good Senator was correct. He has been gone for more than 25 years, yet the issue has surfaced again and again. Most recently it has occurred following the tragic killings at the Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University, known as "Virginia Tech." With conservatives when an idea is defeated it by and large remains defeated. Does any current Senator push the Bricker Amendment?

On the other hand liberals have no hesitancy in repeatedly pushing a bad idea after it has been defeated. We have a perfect illustration of this in the current Senate. When Ronald W. Reagan took office as President, more than 25 years ago, an issue surfaced known as the Law of the Sea Treaty. I had never heard of it and must admit when it was first mentioned I didn't pay much attention. But thanks to Howard Phillips, Phyllis Schlafly and others I began to realize that this Treaty, sometimes disparagingly called "LOST," approvingly called "UNCLOS," would give our sovereignty away. That alarmed me.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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