It isn’t entirely true that, as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s often the case that power simply allows people the luxury of lowering façades and showing their true colors.
A good example is the recent behavior of many on the Left. Commentator Donald Kaul just wrote that he had no problem with guns being pried from their owners’ “cold, dead hands” and that Republican leaders should be dragged around a parking lot with a pick-up truck. A European college professor recommended the execution of “Climate Change Deniers” and the Pope. Closer to home, an American academic called for NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s “head on a stick” in some profanity laden tweets. And then there was voice of moderation Harry Belafonte; he didn’t ask for blood — only that Barack Obama arrest political opponents (prompting me to spoof a song in his honor).
Ah, it’s a long way from Woodstock and peace and love, isn’t it?
You might not expect such hostility, with Barack Obama’s reelection and the liberal dominance of our culture; you might think the leftists would be satisfied with their many legislative wins and be busy planning political strategy. Think again. As I wrote recently, with liberals’ victory in the culture war — and it is over — they’re now embarking upon something else: a pacification effort.
But aren’t these the folks who preach against violence, war, capital punishment, and all those other conservative bugaboos? Aren’t they the staunchest defenders of freedom of expression? Think again, again. Defined by relativism, liberals’ positions change faster than Superman in a phone booth. The aforementioned are their out-of-power values. Now you’re starting to see their in-power values.
This is nothing new. French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre had been an ardent death-penalty opponent, yet upon seizing power, he and his fellow leftists authored the Reign of Terror and executed thousands. It makes sense, too. When out of power, capital punishment can be used against you; it’s a handy way to win arguments when you’re in power, though.
Then there was the Red Terror in Spain, which helped push that nation toward bloody civil war. The violence started in 1931 already when leftist mobs burned churches, convents, and religious schools; in 1934, 70,000 communist-sympathizing miners in Asturias revolted and not only burned churches but also murdered priests and other inconvenient Spaniards. The persecution became more intense as the Left’s power grew, and ultimately the Red Terror would claim perhaps as many as 110,000 lives and 20 percent of the nation’s clergy, with death squads heavily staffed by members of the Soviet NKVD.
Of course, in more recent times we’ve seen the Occupy Wall Street violence and the riots in Greece and elsewhere. And now, as in Robespierre’s speech “The Terror Justified,” the mob’s leaders are wielding the pen to provide justifications for wielding the sword.
Kaul, for instance, introduced the call for gun owners’ and their supporters’ scalps by saying that the Newtown shooting had changed things, writing, “You looked at the small children around you differently, as fragile, precious gifts to be cherished and, above all, protected.” Funny, Donald, but that wasn’t necessary for me. All I needed to do was ponder the thousands of children a day whose murder you support — through abortion.
Kaul also said that the “thing missing from the debate so far is anger.” But don’t be so sure. Just consider the tweets of the academic who wanted LaPierre’s head on a stick, University of Rhode Island history professor Erik Loomis. He wrote: “You are god**** right we should politicize this tragedy. F*** the NRA. Dear Republicans, do you know the definition of family values? It's not having our kids F****** SHOT AT SCHOOL! F*** the NRA.” Just imagine, for a mere $40,000 a year your kids can imbibe this kind of intellectualism firsthand.
There is in reality little but anger on the Left; in fact, leftists are defined by emotion and the absence of intellectualism, despite their claims of a monopoly on the latter. This is why Kaul and others make appeals for gun control despite not knowing basic facts such as what an assault weapon actually is.
Another example of leftist emotionalism is Professor Richard Parncutt, who manages to do within one article the capital-punishment flip-flop that took Robespierre years. After writing that the death penalty is “barbaric, racist, expensive” and that “even mass murderers should not be executed,” he then calls for the execution of not only climate-change “deniers” but also the Pope. The Pope’s sin is opposition to contraception, which Parncutt says renders him guilty of the murder of millions via AIDS. He also mentions in his “objective argument,” as he puts it, that the “position of the church is presumably also racist: if those dying from AIDS were not predominately black, the church would presumably have changed its position on contraception long ago.”
But before Parncutt moves on to mind reading, he ought to master fact reading. And here’s a fact: Top Harvard AIDS researcher Dr. Edward C. Green said in 2009, “The Pope is correct” and that our best studies show a “consistent association … between greater availability and use of condoms and higher HIV-infection rates.”
The irony here is that the Left has created the very problems for which it wants to punish — and perhaps kill — others. Liberals complain about the consequences of sexual promiscuity, but who has inserted graphic sex education into schools, infused entertainment with intense sexual content, and overtly advocated libertinism? Liberals complain about gun crime, but who glorifies mindless, gratuitous violence through movies, shows, and video games in which real assault rifles spray more bullets than the NRA’s whole membership? Most of all, who has spread moral relativism’s “If it feels good, do it” message, which can justify any kind of behavior imaginable?
Such as killing political opponents.
In fairness, some of the Left’s violent commentary may be humor, albeit the tasteless variety. Kaul would likely make this claim, and head-on-a-stick Loomis chastised critics for not understanding “metaphor.” As for Parncutt, after making his very serious case for death, he wrote that he is “not directly suggesting that the threat of execution be carried out” (nod, wink) and is “simply presenting a logical argument.” He also has now apologized, saying that he completely retracts his statements and was just “thinking aloud”; although I personally didn’t detect much thinking.
But, frankly, these leftist “jokes” stopped being funny a long time ago, especially since leftist action always seems to align with them. We have seen this in the riots and violent protests throughout the world, and in attacks on conservatives. We have seen it when liberals vandalize political opponents’ property. We have seen it throughout history, from the Reign of Terror to the Red Terror to the Stalinist purges to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. We have seen it wherever and whenever those who think like the jokesters take control. It’s out-of-power vs. in-power liberal values.
Yes, leftists are always just kidding. That is, until they’re not.