Wednesday, December 19, 2012
On Comments On Current Events, Part 2
Today we take a quick glance at some of the bluster coming from the nation's "liberty" enthusiasts following the incident in Connecticut. Again, from Facebook:
Ohhh, there's that word again. Freedom. It's one of those weasel words that people like George W. Bush like to brandish as an unquestionable cause or an irrefutable justification. It can mean pretty much anything and so, rhetorically, it's often meaningless.
It is likely meaningless in the practical sense, too.
Feeling free is another matter. Nobody likes to feel that their actions are directly restricted, especially against their will, especially by somebody else. Video game enthusiasts scream and gnash their teeth when politicians suggest outlawing game sales to certain age groups. I screamed and gnashed my teeth when the Obama administration successfully pushed for banning the sale of (most) flavored cigarettes. Gun owners scream and gnash their teeth when somebody so much as suggests a restriction on clip sizes.
The argued aim of our libertarian and second-amendment enthusiast friends is more freedom for more people, what they actually mean translates to some jargon like "as few negatively-experienced circumstantial restrictions on behavior for as many people as can be managed." Now that we have a better idea what they actually mean, I think another look at their argument is deserved.
The funny thing about this line of reasoning is that it only applies to social sanctions imposed by a governing body. If the government tells somebody that they can't or shouldn't do something, a wrong is being committed. A "freedom" is being quashed.
But when a person's "freedom" is restricted as the result of another individual exercising his own "freedom," it's apparently a different case altogether.
Giving an industrialist the "freedom" to dump as much chemical waste into the river of their choice restricts the "freedom" of the people living downriver to enjoy and use the river as they might otherwise see fit. Giving assholes like me the "freedom" to smoke in a restaurant restricts the "freedom" of the other patrons to enjoy a meal without breathing in the toxic fumes I'm coughing out. Giving Americans the "freedom" to easily purchase bullet-spraying automatic weapons restricts the "freedom" of unarmed Americans to enjoy an environment in which there's a minimal probability of bullets whizzing in their direction.
In these cases one rarely hears objections from those voices who cry foul when gun control is mentioned.
But do ask someone at the scene of one of our regular massacres how "free" they felt when the gunman of the day was unloading clips into the crowd.
But it doesn't have to be this way, we're told by some partisans. If more people, as many people as possible, are "choosing" to purchase and carry firearms, then there's much less a chance of gunfire breaking out. You must exercise your liberty to purchase and carry firearms to ensure that nobody's liberty is restricted by the use of firearms.
We want to be able to carry guns, so we strongly suggest that the rest of you carry guns, too.
That isn't just hypocritical. It's tyrannical.