In response to my post Why are liberals so violent? I received a comment from John Schussler who said:
I’m fascinated by your characterization of liberals as inherently violent. In the link you point to you say:
“The Animal Liberation Front, and Earth Liberation Front are two of the top domestic terrorist organizations in the U.S. and are, obviously, liberal. Add in the Weather Underground, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Symbionese Liberation Army, and lots of other leftist terrorists going back to at least the 1960s and you realize that while they don’t have a monopoly on illegal violence they dominate to such an extent they might as well have a monopoly.
Why are liberals so violent?”
You pick the most extreme far left commie anarchist examples you could find and then generalize that liberals are violent? In the statistical distribution, you’ve picked some examples that are several standard deviations off the norm and decided to redefine that as the norm. That’s not a rational idea. Sorta like liberals pointing to the KKK and Stormfront and calling them the conservative norm. Why are you doing that?
In the comments I elaborated some but Schussler, with a fair amount of justification, said:
You’re not answering the central question: why are you picking statistical anomalies and generalizing them to the norm? The ELF, ALF, etc. are a tiny fraction of the “left.” Calling them the norm is absurd.
I didn’t actually say they were the norm. But I can see how that might be the interpretation. I decided to elaborate and try to more clearly explain why I see the modern liberal as inherently violent.
In the context of politics “liberal” has dramatically changed in the last 150 years. I did not intend to say classical liberalism was inherently violent. With broad civil liberties and emphasis on economic freedoms it is in fact inherently non-violent.
Modern liberalism is characterized by support for “social justice” and a mixed economy.
The modern liberal appears to have no hesitation to use government to take wealth from one group of people and give wealth to another group of people. This shows up in a extremely wide range of government policies from art, education, food, health care, housing, roads, Internet access, social services, and even cell phones.
The modern liberal sometimes claims support for “civil liberties” but are very selectively in the liberties they defend. They have no hesitation, and in fact appear extremely eager, to ban as many guns as quickly as they can. They appear to be eager to ban speech they declare “hate speech”. They demand people be limited in the both monetary and non-monetary support they give political candidates. This is a limit on free speech. They demand people of certain religions support activities those religions have strict doctrine against (Catholics with regard to birth control, and abortion). They demand government force Christian fundamentalist bakers make wedding cakes for homosexuals. They demand people not be allowed to purchase carbonated drinks larger than some particular size. They have made failure to recycle a crime. They have made it a crime for two people to agree on a fair wage if the wage is below a certain minimum and they have attempted to create an upper limit as well and in many respects have succeeded. They demand business licenses for nearly every activity that involves the exchange of money. They even shutdown children selling lemonade on the sidewalk in front of their homes because they did not have a business license. I don’t think I have ever heard a modern liberal politician demand there be less regulation, lower subsidies, or fewer restrictions on free speech or guns. More government intervention is always the solution.
The list of prohibited actions and mandatory behaviors is so extensive that the joke from the USSR, “that which is not prohibited is mandatory”, is easily seen as being applicable to us in the utopian view of the modern liberal. The modern liberal contributes to this environment far more than the modern conservative or, especially, libertarian (classical liberal).
Each law, each regulation, and each tax requires enforcement. One must either be profoundly ignorant of what enforcement means or accepting of it when they advocate for these restrictions on liberty. The person who demands the government punish people for failing to recycle or punish a child for selling lemonade is one who is willing to use the government to physically take money from them or drag them off to jail.
As George Washington said in a speech of January 7, 1790:
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.
Modern liberals are willing to use force, violence, even if it is by proxy, to make others conform as precisely as possible to their view of proper behavior. This is an inherent part of their political philosophy. This use of (government) violence to achieve their goals must be an inherent part of their nature or they would have reservations about such extensive use of government.
I believe the reason we see violence in the activities of liberal supported groups such as Occupy Wall Street, the Ferguson unrest, and Black Lives Matter because it is part of a continuum. At the low end of spectrum we have fines and regulations which are ultimately enforced via government force to take the money, physically stop a prohibited activity, or threaten forcible imprisonment for failure to engage in a mandatory behavior. In the middle part of the spectrum we have groups of people engaging in vandalism, blocking of streets, and looting. At the high end we have actual terrorist organizations such as ALF, Eco-terrorists, and The Weathermen.
I do not see a similar continuum in those who identify as conservative or libertarian.
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Thanks for that writeup. In your original post it was sounding a little nutty cuckoo, but this makes a lot more sense. Thanks for taking time time to explain it.
(It doesn’t leave me much to argue with…I tend to agree.)
Thank you for bringing the lack of clarity to my attention.
I do not think that we should ever forget that government is the only entity that always has the prerogative to use deadly force to enforce whichever regulation that happens to be the celebrated cause of the moment. Recognition of this fact is a big reason why liberty loving people fight against increased government growth and government being seen as the solution to every problem. Find yourself on the “incorrect” side of an opinion that has become a government regulation and you may also find yourself subjected to threat of deadly force. For example, don’t think for a minute that those who have publicly called for incarceration of climate change “deniers” would shed the smallest of tears for anyone shot by government officers because they resisted the infringement of their right to free speech should such a heinous regulation or law come to be. Should you be one who agrees that such enforcement by the government is acceptable for any action by a person that does not demonstrably affect another persons life, liberty or property; then you need to understand that you personally are an accessory to murder and tyranny. You just think you are innocent because you are on the correct and acceptable side. What will you do if the opinion pendulum swings the other way?
It is most interesting to note that the root of most of the politically volatile issues of the decades of the Sixties and Seventies revolved around the perception that government was too controlling in the collective mind of the politically liberal. The shoe now appears to be on the other foot but the same respect desired of liberals then, is not being granted to lovers of liberty now. When will both sides return to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights and recognize that liberty and freedom are never going to be as smooth and beautiful as the dreams of dictators?
Joe, I’m surprised that you left out ANTIFA on that list. We have to stop allowing the enemies of liberty to conflate the use of language, the root of the word liberal is liberty. While I may be considered a conservative in today’s lexicon I consider myself a classical liberal as the term was originally intended to define
Mr. Schussler get out your head exploding emojis
The KKK and Stormfront as being indicative of Conservatism? How historically ignorant do you have to be to make that statement? The battle between ANTIFA [what a joke that name is] and white supremacists is not one of ideology, but one of who gets to wield power; the same as the battle between Nazism and Communism was during WWII. The battle was not one between ideologies, as they are both similar, but who was going to wield power and be in control; and also as one was nationalistic and the other was globally orientated. Both sides of the Charlottesville debacle should have been locked in stadium and let them have it, as they both represent 2 ideologies that have been responsible for the greatest organized mass murder of human beings the world has ever seen.
I considered ANTIFA but decided they didn’t really have an objective which matched policies common to modern liberals–other than having someone other than Donald Trump as president. Eco-terrorists have the environmental issues in common. ALF have animal rights. While I am certain nearly all ANTIFA self identify as modern liberals they almost entirely told us what they were against rather than what they were for. I didn’t want to use them as an example and then have to defend their lack of a strong identification with modern liberal stated policies.
I would quibble that in recent years liberalism is more about being “against” those evil Republicans than actually “for” anything articulable.
Any form of totalitarian government; I don’t care what name you call it by, be it fascism, Marxism, communism, dictatorship is leftist in nature; as it demands that the individual conform to the governments approved thoughts and it will brook no dissent.
Absolutely right. There is nothing conservative about the Democrat founded KKK, or the National Socialist Larpers at Stormfront.
To test whether a political view is violent, you can simply say “No.”. If they feed you your teeth, then you have your proof.
That was actually the point of non-violence movements (although modern practitioners have forgotten the point.) By peacefully refusing compliance to an inherently violent policy, you force the policers to become violent without moral cause. The monster is unmasked, swallow your teeth and smile.
The alternative view is to say “I already know you are violent because I’m not stupid and you already told me what you are going to do, so I’m going to treat you as violent, and forget the pleasantries of swallowing my teeth.”
I always ask people when the subject of non-violence comes up; why were Gandhi and King successful? Just to get an idea of how people think and if they understand how the world really works. Leaving out the obvious fact that both cause were just and moral, I imagine that the world has had many people whose causes were just and moral, but we will never know about them because they opposed governments that were not, and they are now just another nameless faceless body in a mass grave along with millions of others.
Gandhi and King were successful because they opposed REPRESENTATIVE governments, and those governments were representative of at it’s most root basic, a moral and just people; that is why they were successful. The Palestinians could also be successful because Israel has a representative government of a moral and just people, but Islam will not allow them to take this route, Jewish hatred is just part and parcel of Islam so this wil never come to pass.
I got a similar reaction when I wrote a comment about the left wanting to take our guns in reply to a WSJ editorial. Some other commenter demanded examples. So I gave two (Feinstein being one of them). That was summarily dismissed with the claim that I had only given two examples, which didn’t prove anything.
The reality is that you can find hundreds of examples by wandering around Twitter. Alison Aires comes to mind, but she’s merely one of a very large number. A short answer would be “read the articles tagged ‘no one wants to take your guns’ on this blog”. As you pointed out, clearly every one of those people are willing to have violence used to achieve their goals. Some of them say so explicitly, some hide it, but it applies to all of them.
For that matter, consider the most recent example: the 150 or so “congressmen” co-sponsoring a bill to outlaw a large fraction of our firearms. They are all of them confessed (but unindicted) felons, and all of them (unadmitted) advocates of violence against law abiding citizens in the name of their favorite left wing delusion.