Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Strange Bedfellows

It's not often that the radical left and the libertarian right agree on an issue and agree for the same reasons, but gun control seems to be an issue that has united the two in opposition to the attempt to restrict gun ownership.

Libertarians believe that the second amendment to the Constitution was put there to allow the people to protect themselves from tyranny, whether foreign or domestic.

The radical left doesn't give a fig for the second amendment or for the Constitution, for that matter, but apparently many radicals see easy access to guns as a necessary means to facilitate violent revolution. In other words, just like libertarians on the right, radical lefties are afraid of a tyrannical government, or at least one that will weaken labor unions and stop paying for birth control.

An article by Arun Gupta at Truthout provides us with examples of the thinking of his leftist friends. Gupta states:
Pick an issue and the left is organizing around it - climate justice, labor, rape culture, immigrant rights. But why not gun control? Because, most leftists, myself included, agree with the principle Tony advocated, which is political violence - meaning collective self-defense - is a necessary though not sufficient means of securing freedom from a violent state.

[S]ome [Americans] support gun rights and some oppose it. Many leftists are in the former camp. To confirm this, I asked a couple thousand Facebook "friends" if they opposed gun control and their reasons why. The responses came pouring in:
"Is a state monopoly on arms in the best interests of the working class?"

"Gun laws, much like drug laws, are used to oppress the poor and people of color."

"We can't have a revolution without them."

"Governments already have too much of a monopoly on violence and we will one day have to bring this one down."

"I'll be damned [if] a cop can have a gun but I can't."

"Gun control laws ... are another step down the incline to a full-fledged police state."

"[I support] the right to bear arms - because I'm horrified that racist whites are heavily armed in areas of the country that oppose democratic rights."
Judging from these comments, many leftists agree with the right that the biggest threat to society is not mentally ill shooters like Adam Lanza. It's the state. The implication is that the solution to a society with too many guns is more guns.
Gupta himself is moving away from this position (at least, I think he is. His article is long and wordy and a bit unclear), but evidently, a lot of his friends are firmly committed to it.

It's a little scary to think that people who would aspire in real life be avatars of the character Bane in The Dark Knight Rises are arming themselves, just as it's scary to listen to libertarians like Glenn Beck argue that the second amendment entails that citizens should be able to own and carry whatever weaponry is available to the military.

It causes one to wonder whether the whole world is going nuts.