self-appointed guardians

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In a piece addressed to the dear annoying Parkland kids, Robert Tracinski looks at US violent-crime rates and worldwide war deaths--both of which are near all-time lows--but then (deliberately) neglects to compare US gun deaths with gun deaths in the rest of the world. Is he afraid to tell his audience that we fare poorly when compared to other countries, and that stronger gun regulation would help prevent many of these tragedies?

Tracinski claims that "we can't stop every tragedy like the Parkland shooting" [so let's not try to stop any of them?], and deplores the young activists' efforts as "ignorant ranting," snarkily suggesting that they "show a little humility, kids:"

You're still learning, and you would be well served not to be content to repeat what you learn at school, but to go do your own reading and research and listen to people who disagree with you. It's not as traumatic an experience as you have been led to believe. When you can show that you understand what's good about the world we are giving you, and you have some idea of how it got to be that way--then we'll listen to your ideas for changing it.

As if that weren't insulting enough, he then targets the media by asserting that "The hyping of the Parkland kids is one giant appeal to emotion:"

The approach is to go to a school where a shooting happened and carefully select a small number of kids who are reasonably articulate and willing to go along with the full gun-control agenda. Ignore the ones who don't. Then give these kids the backing of well-funded and well-connected advocacy groups. Fly them around the country and book them on cable TV shows.

Which of those advocacy groups is as well-funded and well-connected as the NRA, you might wonder. Putting a human face on the incessant gun tragedies (enabled by the NRA and its weaponization of everyday life) is hardly a nefarious deed, yet he stumbles onward:

While the gun-banners are busy convincing themselves they've now got a winning issue for a "blue wave" in November, they don't realize that they are also mobilizing pro-Second-Amendment voters who feel a very different set of emotions when they are accused of being child-killers and are told they should be turned into criminals.

Tracinski's follow-up at The Federalist about putting reason over emotion is just as disingenuous, as similarly claims that "The hyping of the Parkland kids is one giant appeal to emotion." Interestingly, it is the emotionality of gun nuts that is the roadblock here, with their desire to protect guns instead of people. Absent the fear-filled tirades promoted by the NRA, as exemplified by Tracinski's screeds, establishing "well-regulated" militias would be immensely easier.

An interesting counterpart to Tracinski is Sohrab Ahmari, who complaints about unhappy liberalism while listing "all the material benefits their philosophy has produced:"

...massive reductions in global poverty rates; near universal education and literacy; unprecedented connectivity and mobility; myriad gadgets and scientific wonders; and on and on.

"Liberal democracy's self-appointed guardians are left feeling," he writes, "unhappy:"

Consider four recent developments, from four disparate places, which upend contemporary liberalism's expectations for the world as it should be:

In China, President Xi Jinping has purged rival power centers, cracked down against religious liberty [because] China's rulers-and, crucially, the country's rising middle classes-aren't prepared to take the leap into political freedom that is supposed to come with capitalist prosperity.

Saudi Arabia offers a second example:

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) is pursuing an ambitious program of liberalization. He has granted women the right to drive and to enter soccer stadiums, brought movie theaters back to the Kingdom, and pushed young Saudis off the petro-dole and into the private economy. At the same time, however, MBS has centralized power-with himself at the very center.

A third is Italy, "where last weekend's general election handed a sweeping victory to populist, anti-immigration and Euroskeptic parties:"

The Silvio Berlusconi-led center right, meanwhile, plays second fiddle to hard-right leaders, who take a much tougher stance on questions of immigration and integration.

The final example of Trump, he declares, "decisively rejects the vision of a borderless world underpinning the Democrats' immigration agenda." Capital must be free, but workers might need to be chained--as the unspoken implication of Ahmari might read were it more honest:

China and Saudi Arabia show that civilizations and cultures really are different, sometimes radically so, and in politically significant ways. In most of the world and across most of human history, moreover, the desire for stable authority is much more potent than the demand for individual freedom or representative government.

The Italian and American examples, meanwhile, are a reminder that even in liberalism's Western heartlands, people want order and meaningful communion.

He writes that "community makes possible a common life and a shared vision of the common good" [as long as those "other" commoners are kept out], and even admits that "liberalism has achieved remarkable things:"

Free societies are the only kind I would wish to live in, which is why I remain a practical liberal.

But preserving the highest achievements of liberal civilization calls for a humbler, more chastened liberalism. Yelling at the ingrates won't do.

Speaking of yelling at ingrates, however, we see the example of MAGA whackjobs threatening a California bookstore:

A male Trump supporter, wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, called the staffer "commie scum" and told her that "we're going to burn down your bookstore."

The staffer informed them that she had video of them threatening to burn down the store and told them to "please leave" the premises.

"This is America, f*ck you!" the man shouted at her.

Later in the video, the man can be seen telling people outside the store that, "Trump is going to get rid of all you pieces of sh*t."

He called the woman who worked at the book store an "anti-white racist piece of sh*t" and said that the only people who shopped at the store were "Antifa pieces of sh*t."

Here's the video:

Tracinski and Ahmari would likely blame the bookstore staffers for being unhappy about being threatened; I contend that the Right tends to be both more emotional and more unhappy--in far too many instances, unhappy enough to threaten violence. (No doubt the NRA would suggest "more guns" as a remedy...)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 11, 2018 2:01 PM.

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