Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who are the Real Advocates of Non-Violence?

A running theme on this blog for several years [1] [2], particularly during the recent elections and rise of the Tea Party movement, has been the nature of the left's attempts to smear their opposition as "hate mongers", "extremists", or racists.  Another related theme has been attempts by the left to restrict freedom of speech, for instance, by equating their opponents' rhetoric to hate speech, using the FCC to regulate popular talk radio stations, or restricting certain unfavored constituencies from speaking out.  Consequently, it was only natural, when I heard that a psychopath had opened fire in a crowd, tragically killing six people and wounding a democratic congresswoman, that I instantly predicted the left would seize the opportunity to trot out these arguments and use them to justify the usual litany of liberal usurpation's of individual rights, including restrictions on speech and gun ownership.    

The right has justifiably reacted with outrage as the liberal MSM jumped on this narrative without bothering to check the facts or recognize that the shooter was simply a psychopath who worshipped skulls, attributed his actions to the devil, and, in fact, was described by friends as a "left wing pothead." He appears to be the type of person that in the past, as George Will points out, we would have "executed, not explained."  Keep in mind, this is the same liberal MSM who hypocritically admonished us not to jump to conclusions after a Muslim, who collaborated with a radical mosque leader, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" before gunning down 13 people at Ft. Hood in 2009!

What the conservative pundits don't realize is that in pushing this unwarranted narrative, the left is not "playing politics" or lashing out in a "momentary fit of anger" over the recent elections, as I heard one commentator declare. To the left, standing on principle, particularly on moral principle, is an act of "extremism" tantamount to insanity. This philosophical orientation is what underlies their hatred of the Tea Party movement, a movement which seeks to ground its platform in the founding principles of the United States, the principles of individual freedom and limited government. This orientation is what underlies the liberals' persistent call for compromise and their denigration of so-called "partisan ideologues," i.e., anyone who opposes their socialist programs or stands firm on principle.  Under this view, to affiliate with a movement that proudly asserts the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is to be a "right wing nut job."  Consequently, the left does literally regard the right to be nothing more than a psychopathic mob of deranged fanatics and would be killers.

Let's put aside this unspeakable tragedy and ask a more fundamental question.  Which side in this debate actually advocates the initiation of force or violence against innocent people?

The nascent Tea Party movement was spawned in reaction to a massive upsurge in federal government power as the previous Republican administration and the subsequent Democratic congress and president, in the wake of a depression created by their own policies, spent hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail out banks and large corporations, spent hundreds of billion more on stimulus and clunkers, rammed through a monstrous government takeover of medicine despite popular opposition, and threatened a massive energy tax in the name of climate change, just to name a few. The Tea Party movement rests on a platform which calls for limiting government power by restricting the power of the president and the congress to the powers enumerated by the Constitution.  The Tea Party seeks a reaffirmation of the principle that the proper function of government is to secure the rights of the individual to person and property.

On the other hand, the left calls for a massive increase in federal power.  It yearns for a full government takeover of the medical profession, a global government bureaucracy to police and enforce environmentalist regulations, increased taxation and regulation of individuals and business, and government imposed limits on dissenting speech.  And how does the left propose to enforce these taxes, regulations and outright confiscations?  The only way a government can - by the threat of force against it's own citizenry. 

Ironically, it is the left which seeks to use government force against innocent individuals, and it is the Tea Party movement which seeks to check, restrict, and roll back that power. 

The political pundits, on both sides, seem bewildered at the intensity of the political debate currently going on in America, and to some extent, around the world.  They are taken aback by the ferocity of the debates which they characterize as "divisive", "over the top" or "extreme".  The rancorous town hall meetings, the tea party protests, the "vitriol" on the network talk shows, are all symptoms of this strange phenomenon which concerns and confuses them.

Well, guess what?  If someone threatens to take everything you value, your income, your savings, your property, and your ability to independently and freely choose with whom you associate, who you trade, or what you say, there are going to be repercussions.  This is not some petty debate over inconsequential political minutia.        

Of course, to the pragmatist socialist, every debate is over minutia.  To them, there are no general principles, no such thing as rights.  These naive claims by the Tea Party, they would say, are overheated rhetoric, the racist rantings of deranged fly over state fanatics conditioned by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News into fomenting a "culture of hate." They, the ruling elite, know what is best for these unruly cretins. They can define the common good. They know how much of your earnings belong to you and how the balance should be redistributed, how much you should save, how much you should charge for your service, what the temperature of earth should be, which industries should receive preferential treatment and subsidies, how much money to create, how much to charge for loans, where you should smoke, what you can put into your body, where you can build a home, how much you can spend to support a candidate, and even when and where you can build a lemonade stand  They have it covered.

The Tea Party rightly sees that America's founding principles are under attack.  The government is taxing, spending, and regulating us into oblivion. Socialism, or its close cousin fascism, necessitates tyranny as it requires the government to initiate force against individuals to enforce price controls and/or seize property.  As America moves further down this statist road, the amount of violence perpetrated by the state against individuals is only a question of degree.  The knowledge of what is truly at stake is what energizes the Tea Party movement.  It is this knowledge which makes the Tea Party adherents, and any advocate of individual liberty, the true defenders of non-violence.   

10 comments:

garret seinen said...

Well thought out Doug. And the facebook link worked perfectly for me BTW - nice, convenient touch.
gs

Michael said...

here is one example of a leftist response:

These are one-shot statements from individuals, most of whom no one has ever heard of. How many people do you think heard those statements? Contrast that with Right Wing Hate Radio, with an audience in the [i]tens of millions[/i]. There simply is no analog on the Left. You're acting like there is some kind of "they all do it" symmetry between the Left and the Right, and it just doesn't exist. You can always find something intemperate that one person says one time. What you can't find from the left is the demonization of half the country like we hear EVERY F'ING DAY from the Right. Just today I heard Limbaugh calling Democrats "conspirators" who were wrecking the future of his listeners children and grandchildren. His whole act is about demonization of Democrats. Not Left Wing Extremists, just plain old average Democrats. That's the problem.

Doug Reich said...

Michael,

What strikes me is the view implied by this commenter that there should be a "symmetry." If Limbaugh really called "Democrats 'conspirators' who were wrecking the future of his listeners children and grandchildren" I would applaud him, because He is right!

Programs, pushed by the left, that confiscate the wealth of the productive by government force and redistribute them for the unearned benefit of others, policies which stifle and strangle the productive, confiscatory taxation, are all acts of government force which are indeed wrecking this country for us and our children.

To state such a fact is not "hate" but simply truth telling. Why? Because he can prove why through reference to logic, facts, and history. It is telling, and underscores the theme of my post, that this commenter would equate such a claim to "hate", to some form of incitement to violence.

In a great post by Jeff Perren ( http://pc.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-eliminate-right-wing-rhetoric.html) he writes:

"If the Left wants to eliminate at a stroke the vast majority of heated, hated right-wing rhetoric there's a very simple way to do that: give up.

Get out of the way. Stop advocating the violation of individual rights every day in every way. Stop trying to get legislation passed that steals private property for the purpose of funding your favorite social engineering goals. Stop extolling the alleged virtue of interpreting the U.S. Constitution in ways that further Progressive goals. End your advocacy of coercion through government.

Your cause is not noble, your methods are not virtuous, your philosophy is not just. Your ideas are more than mistaken; they're immoral, impractical, and unconstitutional. Change your philosophy and change your behavior and 'the Right' will have no longer have an incentive to fight back against your support for squishy tyranny.

Until then, you can expect the rhetoric to continue. A vocal segment of the American people will simply no longer sit back passively and watch their freedom get corroded away, one bad edict at a time.

Until then, the intellectual revolution to restore it will continue undiminished."

Amen.

Doug Reich said...

Garret,

Thanks for you comments and support as always!

Scott said...

Great post like always

Jon said...

Excellent, excellent post. I always look forward to new ones Doug -- they are much appreciated.

Michael said...

thinking more about this topic doug i think the underlying message is that of determinism.

If one is constantly exposed to violence (or to “violent” words), one will be somehow programmed to commit violence, if not now, then at some time in the future. This idea views all men as ticking time-bombs who must be disarmed, even if it means removing their tongues.If one is constantly exposed to pacific rhetoric, one will always be disposed to peaceful demonstrations of agreement or opposition.

The same argument is used by the anti-pornography lobby. No one can prove that showing pictures of naked women is direct incitement to rape. And so the claim is that these pictures somehow “dehumanise” all women and make it more likely that they will be raped.

garret seinen said...

Doug, that post by Jeff Perren is very much 'on the money'.

I know that i seldom write anything with the idea that I'll change the mind of a committed statist. My intention is to not let them have a free pass. If anything, a well placed comment serves to remind other readers that a socialist view is not the only view.

As to 'tolerance for the left, when they show a willingness to fund their agenda from their own pockets I'll show a lot more tolerance. I have a hard time respecting the guy with his hand on my wallet.

Perplexio said...

By the same rationale that Sarah Palin's target maps and "dangerous" political rhetoric inspired Jared Loughner's actions this past weekend, I've decided to stop listening to my favorite band in an effort to prevent further damage from the snowstorms that have been plaguing the East Coast this winter.

HaynesBE said...

"Let's put aside this unspeakable tragedy and ask a more fundamental question. Which side in this debate actually advocates the initiation of force or violence against innocent people? "

Well put. Thanks.
Going to try the FB linking.