Shooting Exposes Paternalism of the Left

One of the valuable lessons I’ve learned in my 50-plus years of living is not to respond to an emotional event on the spur of the moment, but to give reason and thought the opportunity to take hold and better inform one’s actions. Regrettably, that lesson was ignored by far too many people this weekend.

I was somewhat isolated from the news for a good part of Saturday morning and afternoon, so when I returned home, prepared for an afternoon of playoff football, I didn’t know about the massacre in Tucson, Arizona that gravely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), killed six, including a 9-year old girl and a federal judge, and injured 14 others.

As stunned as I was by this senseless act of violence, I was equally sickened by the shameless exploitation of this tragedy by the liberal elite and the sycophants who parrot them, for the purposes of smearing their political opponents.

Their grasping at straws would be pathetic if it wasn’t for the fact so many of them reside in the mainstream media, and therefore have the power and passion to flood the public arena with their scurrilous accusations.

As the recently censored Mark Twain once said, “The most outrageous lies that can be invented will find believers if a man only tells them with all his might.”

At best, if they truly believe the drivel they are spouting, they are horribly out of touch with their neighbors and fellow Americans, delusional, or some combination of the two.

At worst, if they’re simply doing it out of desperation as they see their ideas rejected, their narrative discredited, and their opportunity for power spiraling down the drain, they are unscrupulous.

Their reaction to this specific incident, however, should also be viewed in the context of how modern liberals view human beings.

To them, people are largely ignorant, impulsive and malleable, and not only require guidance from more enlightened souls – namely, themselves -- but must also be shielded from circumstances, people or points of view that the enlightened ones have deemed dangerous or unworthy. All of this, of course, is done for the benefit of the less fortunate.

This elitist perspective toward people is cloaked in benevolence but is in fact condescending and authoritarian in tone and practice. What they are saying, in effect, is that we are incapable of taking responsibility for ourselves, or being held accountable for our actions, and therefore they must take the reins.

The same mindset that declares a deranged shooter the “victim” of a toxic political climate believes that classic literature should be censored to protect us from insensitive language, talk radio ought to be regulated to ensure “fairness”, people of faith should be banned from the airwaves for “hate” speech, and illegal aliens ought to be called “undocumented workers” instead because the truth is too harsh.

You can almost hear your mother or father lecturing you, saying “It’s for your own good.”

I call it the infantilization of America.

Infants aren’t capable of reason or thought, but instead react based on instinct, feelings and desires. Infants are self-absorbed and unpredictable. Infants can’t fend for themselves. In short, infants can’t be trusted with liberty or self-governance.

As an example, in my book SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch, I write, “I see in liberals a condescending paternalism toward blacks as if we are incapable of surviving and thriving on our own.” The policies and politics they’ve foisted on black Americans for nearly half a century have done irreparable harm, especially to young black men, who have been emasculated and robbed of their self-sufficiency and dignity.

Moreover, like overindulgent parents, the liberal elite seek to shield us from pain or hardship, even of our own making. This is particularly dangerous because not only are we deprived of the lessons and character development that come from confronting and overcoming adversity, we are encouraged to be reckless and irresponsible because we know we’re going to be bailed out or excused for our behavior.

Liberty isn’t freedom from adversity, as author Mark Steyn points out:

Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks — drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high...It’s a liberty issue. I’d rather be free to choose, even if I make the wrong choices.

The infantilization of America is what gives liberals the authority to tell us how much money we should make, what car we should drive, what health care we should use, what we should or shouldn’t eat, and what moral beliefs are acceptable.

It’s also what sanctions them to blame others for the poor life decisions people make, rather than compelling them to stand on their own two feet and take personal responsibility for their actions.

The paternalism that undergirds liberal thinking has always been there, but the ongoing rebellion of liberty-loving Americans against their coercive utopianism, to use Dr. Mark Cooray’s term, has stripped away their compassionate veneer and revealed the true arrogance and ugliness underneath.

That is what we are witnessing in these shrill accusations they are hurling at Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement, and other political opponents. Somehow, it wasn’t a mentally disturbed young man, whose obsession with Rep. Giffords apparently preceded the emergence of any of the people or institutions they are attacking, that pulled the trigger that sunny Saturday in Tucson.

It was you and me.

As sure as liberty is our God-given right, however, Jared Loughner is the master of his thoughts and actions, however twisted they may be. Ownership of this evil act is his and his alone.

I trust the American people to discern the liberals’ true motives in transferring blame from the actor to the environment -- to suppress dissent and revive their flagging political fortunes.

Please continue to pray for the dead and wounded, and their families and loved ones. Don’t succumb to the temptation to wallow in the mud alongside the liberal elites and their minions. One day they will understand that we are not their children to be hushed into silence on command, although that might be a juvenile assumption on my part.