When conservative type folks wave the (literal or metaphorical) Gadsden Flag, they tend to believe that little snake to be exclusively their own. Don’t tread on ME and my behaviors which all normal right-thinking people clearly realize should not be restricted. Normal common sense people realize the little snake doesn’t go, shouldn’t go, slithering over to those weird freaks over there.
But in the political context of liberalism, everyone plays with the snake. Liberalism claims not to care if you are good; it merely claims to protect you from the tread. In liberalism, liberty is the norm. And all free acts are normal.
So conservatives are correct in a sense when they wish to only wave the flag over normal behavior. The problem though, in the context of liberalism, is that requires them to wave the flag over everyone’s behavior.
The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist. -Thomas Paine
I’m on record admitting to be a big ole stick in the mud when it comes to conspiracy theories, generally. I do enjoy reading about them, and I can appreciate the imaginative grandeur of it all in a sci-fi channel sort of way. But conspiracy theories of the political variety are more than likely just to sadden me these days. Supposing that there really are underground freedom fighters waging war against the Rothschild alien warlocks who secretly control the world from their European lairs and pizza shops, what would this mean? That the Deep State is much deeper than most understand. It’s so deep that even rough-and-tumble underground freedom fighters are fighting to perpetuate its very existence. Every alien warlock be vanquished and America return to those Gadsden flaggy days of 1776, and the Deep State will proudly wave its banner proclaiming, “Mission Accomplished!”
Ayn Rand was an apostle for wickedness. And yet, I learned quite a bit from Ayn Rand’s writings when I was much younger. Ayn Rand’s foundational beliefs – atheism, “ethical egoism,” liberalism, laissez-faire capitalism – were wicked. Any truths described by her were accidental to her foundational wickedness – by her own admission. Any truth learned from her could have – and should have – been learned from sources which were not foundationally wicked. To the extent that I “only found” these truths in Ayn Rand is to some extent to admit my own immaturity, ignorance, ill-preparedness, and unvirtuousness. In other words, the fact that I went looking for an unknown-to-me truth in a cesspool of wickedness just shows I was the last person in the world who should have been trusted to go straining out truths in a cesspool of wickedness.
Game and the alt-right – among a whole host of other sorts of things – are foundationally wicked. But their frank and forthright rhetoric in the key of Masculine is seductive to certain men. Seductive is exactly the right word. And thus, The Ayn Rand rule: if one needs to seek out the wicked in order to discover truth, then one has no business seeking out the wicked.
Or you can’t spell NARAL without NRA.
Liberals – whether of the “My Militia, My Choice!” variety or of the right-to-bear-baby-murdering-arms variety – fiercely oppose “commonsensical” restrictions upon their favorite behaviors out of concern that any restriction will lead down a slippery slope which ends at the bunny run of total restriction.
And to some extent, their fears are justified. When the American founders stated their belief that man was endowed with certain unalienable rights, they weren’t just whistling Dixie. Unalienable rights – they argue – cannot be proscribed without debasing some fundamental human dignity. Therefore to the individual liberal, if a particular behavior is proscribed this either means that fundamental human dignity is violated or the behavior in question is not of an unalienable right. And since unalienable rights just are inherent to the nature of man, then which behaviors are concomitants of those certain unalienable rights are clearly, perspicaciously, blindingly obvious, you fascist Literal Hitlers!
So restricting the “right” to abortion or the “right” to gun ownership – in the context of liberalism – is the same sort of thing: it’s an admission these behaviors are not fundamental to the dignity of man. And for people rather supportive of, say, baby murder thats an admission they are unwilling to make.
The problem is not that slippery slope phenomena do not exist. They do. The problem is that rights-talk liberalism forces everyone onto the slope. The more “fundamental” a right becomes – the more some right is argued to be essential to the human person – the steeper and steeper the slope progresses towards Peak Unalienable. And it’s all or nothing from there. The mildest change in the breeze of public opinion, and one goes from sitting pretty on the summit to, well, somewhere down there. And how quickly you, dear liberal, reach the bunny slope – how slippery your particularly steep slope is – is a reflection of how much (and how many of) other liberals are willing to give you a little nudge.
It makes me wonder: does accessible contraception function like a seat belt, which protects me but doesn’t make me drive crazily–or is it more like the overdraft protection on my checking account, which also protects me while occasionally enticing me to spend recklessly? what i decide is that something is seriously messed up about a country in which sex is as much a predictor of life derailment as drug use or poverty. – Amanda Robb, “Last Clinic Standing” Marie Claire 2006
Abortion – short hand for saying “a particular set of methods for murdering a child” – is not so much about “reproductive rights.” It’s also a whole heckuva lot about fornication rights. The stat bandied about that a majority of women procuring abortion are already mothers (in the sense that these mothers have children they decided not to kill) does not detract from my point.
We tell 5 year olds that lies only lead to subsequent lies to cover up the prior untruth. That abortion is murder should come easily to the lips of anti-abortionists. But just as easily to the lips should arise the statement that gravely sinful contraception is no answer to “the abortion issue.”
It seems, for the moment, some discussion of the heinousness of abortion is not outside the Overton Window. But it’s instructive to realize that window is framed by the pill.
Liberals tell themselves they would rather die than doff their hat to or kiss the ring of any single human authority.
Yet liberalism also promises a world populated with shiny, happy free and equal sovereigns. Liberalism “secures” individual freedom because, within the context of liberalism, the individual is sovereign over his own little kingdom of one. When groups of sovereigns form coalitions and promulgate solemn decrees that all other sovereigns must obey under pain of imprisonment, liberalism euphemizes all that human authority promulgation stuff as some human-less “rule of law.” And liberals sleep peacefully at night having told themselves such “rule of law” is a voluntary sort of obedience, ie. aint no doffing business going on here. But their own history shows all that voluntary talk – even given their own commitments – is just whistling Dixie. Which is to say that, as you parse through all the contradictions liberals make to tickle the itching ears of modern man, they are just characteristically lying to themselves.
So liberals may say they’ll never doff their hat to the king. But the existence of pride parades, Alanis Morissette albums, and the Westboro Baptist Church sort of proves liberals are so busy doffing their hats they have precious little time to do much of anything else.
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
It is often said that liberalism is an attack upon tradition. But this is not so – qua (small “t”) tradition. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Liberalism is very serious about its own traditions – consent of the governed, voting as love of country, liberty, equality, etc. When folks bemoan the passing of the good ole days when freedom of speech and religion “actually meant something” what they are bemoaning is a passing of the days when it was easier for liberals to lie to themselves about the “freedom” part of freedom of religion. Today’s modern freak show is a result of liberal traditionalists. Liberalism matures, and the Goblins take notice of the lukewarm.