A Philosopher Reflects on the Giffords Shooting

by | Jan 15, 2011 | POLITICS

The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, though a terrible tragedy, is not of historic significance. More significant is the efforts of the Left to blame this on the Right, particularly the Tea Party movement. The absurdity of these attempts is obvious, and many on the right have done a very good job of blasting them. […]

The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, though a terrible tragedy, is not of historic significance. More significant is the efforts of the Left to blame this on the Right, particularly the Tea Party movement.

The absurdity of these attempts is obvious, and many on the right have done a very good job of blasting them. I will add a few things that need to be said.

The rational procedure is one that is foreign to a Kantian age: inspecting the nature of the Tea Party movement. What are the ideas of the Tea Party, and how do they relate to this horrendous act?

Those ideas are no secret: constitutionalism, limited government, opposition to current levels of government spending and debt, respect for the Founding Fathers, and a love of liberty. These ideas are opposed to violence, murder, and (implicitly) the initiation of force.

You can throw in the desire, of some Tea Partiers, to abolish the Fed and return to the gold standard, even though that, unfortunately, is far from the majority opinion. That, too, is on the side of peace, rights, anti-coercion. The fact, if it is such, that the gunman also favored the gold standard is completely irrelevant. Maybe he liked chocolate—that doesn’t make chocolate-lovers in any way connected to this. And to be pro-gold is not even neutral, as is being pro-chocolate: being pro-gold is logically part of being pro- rights. But the shooter took away his victims’ fundamental right: their right to life.

Now consider violence in relation to the Left—the very people trying to use this tragedy to indict the Tea Partiers. I heard Bill Maher say on TV that this sort of violence is not found on the Left. Only two words are needed to refute Maher’s outrageous claim: “Bill Ayers.”

Bill Ayers is not insane (as is this shooter). Bill Ayers is not some unknown, pathetic loser (as is this shooter): Ayers is a friend of the President; he helped launch Obama’s campaign. Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground, is not only a bomber, he is an unrepentant bomber. Ayers was interviewed by the New York Times in 2001, in a story that (by coincidence) appeared on 9/11. The headline was: “No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen” and the opening paragraph of the article was:

“I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. “I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of- the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and- lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings. And he still has the ebullient, ingratiating manner, the apparently intense interest in other people, that made him a charismatic figure in the radical student movement.

Now look at what makes the Left be the Left—its ideology. Instead of constitutionalism and limited government, it advocates unrestricted government power—i.e., the wholesale initiation of physical force. Instead of reducing spending and debt, it favors ever more looting of the productive for the “sin” of being productive— i.e., the relentless expansion of physical force. Instead of revering the Founding Fathers, it lionizes such murderous figures as Che Guevera and sides with Palestinian terrorists against tiny Israel. Instead of a love of liberty, they have a love of government power, which means a love of commanding obedience at gunpoint.

Gun control? The Left actually opposes any effort to control the biggest gun of all: the government’s gun.

It’s quite simple: the Left is on the side of force, and under the reign of force, the game is won by those most willing to use it. Which is why socialism always and necessarily ends up with gulags and death camps. The Tea Party is on the side of freedom—the absence of initiated force.

In the conflict between force and freedom, which side could be blamed for an outbreak of deadly force? Which side actually uses private force to advance its aims—the Ayers-Guevera side or the Jefferson-Madison side?

No, the shooter of Giffords and murderer of a nine-year-old girl is not himself a Leftist, and neither side can be blamed for this atrocity. But the Left would be better advised to keep its mouth shut when political ideology becomes an issue regarding violence. The Left not only endorses government violence, not only finds bombers “ingratiating,” it admires, relishes, and fantasizes about violence. Violence—i.e., compulsion, guns, commands, and guns aimed at the mind—is what the Left is all about.

A climate of hate? The Left oozes hatred from every pore. Hatred for everything living qua living.

Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand, is an professor of philosophy at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the author of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation and is the creator of The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. Dr. Binswanger blogs at HBLetter.com (HBL)--an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues. A free trial is available at: HBLetter.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Related articles

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest