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.