Liberalism learns to love the jackboot
And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
Those who take a cyclical view of history often contend that democracy must eventually end in some form of Caesarism.
That always seemed reasonable enough, but I must admit I’ve always had a bit of trouble believing that today’s “liberals” or “progressives” would ever clamor for totalitarian state. The achievement of order by force is supposed to be a masculine fantasy driven by the insecurities neuroses of the authoritarian personality. By rights, if anyone is going to demand the iron fist and the jackboot, it ought to be me. The hippie Boomer mentality that has dominated American culture and politics for the last generation has always been so anti-authoritarian that it seemed unlikely to me that today’s “liberals” would ever openly support a police state. But then, maybe I’ve just absorbed too much of their projection. It actually makes perfect sense that the spoiled, weak-willed and fearful type would cry the loudest for discipline, direction and protection. Virile men want the reins, not the harness!
I’ve long perceived the underlying passive-aggressive character of so-called liberals who want to regulate the world into what Max Weber called an “iron cage” of bureaucracy for their own comfort and security. But their authoritarianism has always been couched in the soothing language of motherly love and peace and harmony. Lately, it seems those worms have finally turned.
In response to recent calls for gun control, I asked, “Who will control the guns?”
My point was that gun rights advocates always seem to get lost in tangential debates about self-defense or hunting or sport shooting, but the best argument in favor of having an armed citizenry is as a check against tyranny. If you’re worried about the abuse of power, you should be worried about who has all of the weapons.
The entire American conception of freedom — which was essentially a liberal project (for better or worse) — comes from men who seceded from and made war against one of the most powerful empires in the world. Men who are truly free must have access to the means to challenge oppressive or failed states, and speaking truth to pepper spray doesn’t always cut it. I’ll concede that at some level of escalation — say, nukes — this becomes absurd, but the kind of weapons currently available to average gun owners are hardly weapons of world-ending mass destruction.
They are enough, however, to make any attempt at true totalitarian oppression long, bloody, and expensive. Afghanistan is smaller than Texas, and those backward insurgents have been hurting superior military forces for…ever. Imagine fighting an insurgency in Texas and 49 other states. There are 300 million firearms in America…a rifle behind every blade of grass, as they say.
I’ve always thought this was a pretty basic idea of “liberty.” Power-grabbing presidents, courts and bureaucrats have hemmed in our freedoms to better suit their ambitions and ideologies over the years, but this is all the more reason to draw the line at this fundamental American right.
The response I received from gun control advocates caught me off guard.
I expected maudlin pleas on behalf of “the children” and a bunch of weepy Lennon-esque quotes about learning to live more peacefully. After any high profile shooting, I know I can count on feminists to re-write the same old essays and op-eds about “toxic masculinity” and the need to “reimagine” masculinity, and some will probably even use the same dusty references to Baby Boomer bad guys like John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. That’s the old default.
What surprised me was the tone of at least three or four different “liberals” (and I feel confident they would all describe themselves as such) who mocked the idea that Americans could ever stand up to their government.
Smugly, they argued that my “camo-clad” militia buddies and I would never stand a chance against the US Military, and these “evolved” progressives delighted openly in the fantasy of all of us Soldier of Fortune subscribers getting mowed down by Apache helicopters and the National Guard. A blogger for the Houston Press wrote matter-of-factly that, “people who decide to stand up to the government with a firearm usually end up as a stain.”
They all seemed positively tickled by our imminent slaughter and subjugation.
These so-called liberals argued that the government is already so powerful that any sense that an armed populace wields more political capital against a potentially oppressive state is mere delusion, so it would be better if we all simply surrendered our weapons. In a nutshell: “Give up your guns, because the state can already crush you whenever it wants.”
The American left used to be uncomfortable with power, but it’s getting the hang of it. Our Leader is once again the Person of the Year, and there’s a palpable sense that — due to changing demographics — the old American right has fallen and can’t get up. Progressives have lorded over the media and universities for years, but with this recent election, it seems likely that they’ll maintain political power as well.
Power is bad when it’s someone else’s power, but maybe not so bad if you believe that power is on your side.
Self-proclaimed liberals once feared and loathed Big Brother, but as things move forward, I think we’ll see more and more of them acting like Little Brothers, taunting their bullies…
My Big Brother’s gonna whup you! You’ll see!
In the Obama era, many of those who were once “outraged” have simply stopped paying attention. Few of the enraptured bother to criticize The Leader and many seem reasonably content with whatever he and his cronies sign into law. When asked about a recent extension to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008, which allows the federal government to spy on American citizens without a warrant, Washington University law professor Neil Richards actually said, “Other than the vague threat of an Orwellian dystopia, as a society we don’t really know why surveillance is bad.” Naomi Wolf did recently warn of a coming drone attack on America, but the average bumper sticker Democrat isn’t exactly taking to the streets to protest free-range surveillance drones. Those folks are more worried about, well, whether or not crazy kids and scary white rednecks can get AR-15s with high-capacity “clips.” They aren’t overly concerned about a police state, because after all, it’s supposed to be their police state.
It’s time to break the habit of referring to these people as “liberals.” True anti-authoritarian liberalism probably died with a Smith & Wesson at Owl Farm. Whatever their faults, classical liberals believed that the state should, for the most part, stay out of people’s business. Today, we call them libertarians. Modern — or “social” — liberals are simply socialists. Many want to avoid the stigma of the that word, but we shouldn’t flatter them by placing them in the company of anything having to do with “liberty.” The truth is that everything they want requires the state to get into people’s business. These police state progressives always want more regulation and state involvement, and more regulation will always demand more enforcement at every level.