Tags: Liberalism | Infantilism?

Liberalism or Infantilism?

Tuesday, 22 May 2001 12:00 AM

Adults, especially citizens of a free country, see themselves as bearing the primary responsibility for protecting themselves, their families and others dependent on them. On the contrary, children — or subjects of an authoritarian regime — see themselves as fundamentally powerless. They therefore feel little responsibility for defending themselves, their families, and others dependent on them. This responsibility, and all the rights and powers that go with it, are assumed by adults in the case of children, and by the government in the case of those who infantilize themselves.

For example, take those who demonstrated after a racist shot up a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, wounding several, then killed a Filipino-American letter carrier. Did the demonstrators act as adults, emulating the Israelis by setting up patrols of armed parents and teachers to protect their own children?

No, this would require weighing the relative risks and benefits of guns and self-defense, as well as taking responsibility for their own lives. It would require evaluating the data of professor Gary Kleck, showing that guns are used much more often to foil crimes than to commit them. It would require reading the extensive studies of Dr. John Lott, revealing that where law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns, violent crime falls.

Instead, they thoughtlessly assumed that violence and guns are always bad. They then divested themselves of all responsibility and threw it onto Big Brother. They forgot the 26 dead children at Waco, and invited then-Attorney General Janet Reno to address them, defend their children, and propose new laws.

It was as if they viewed their children as wards of the state for whom they had only limited responsibility. And all the while they felt self-righteous, while accomplishing nothing. They contributed little time or effort, spent no money, risked nothing, engaged in no deep thought, but still felt good about themselves.

Like children, they believed that if they imagined something good, they had actually done something good. This childish confusion of good motives with good results is typical of modern liberalism. Bilingual education is "good" because its proponents mean well; that it does not enhance language skills is irrelevant. Welfare programs are "good" because their backers are "caring;" that some of the programs aggravate family breakup goes unnoticed. High taxes are "good" because they "help the poor;" that they force both parents to work and minimize time with kids is ignored. Also ignored is that high taxes transfer spending decisions to the government, downgrading citizens into kids with an allowance.

If defense of our own family is not our responsibility, defense of our nation is even more dubious. Do rogue states such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and North Korea possess missiles and nuclear, biologic, or chemical weapons, as many experts suspect? Does a Chinese general threaten to incinerate Los Angeles if we interfere with his efforts to seize Taiwan? Not to worry — the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty will protect us. How a piece of paper can protect against incoming missiles is unclear, especially because the treaty is with the U.S.S.R., a nation that no longer exists, and which violated the treaty when it did exist.

Small children believe that if they close their eyes, the bad guys can’t see them. Similarly, many liberals close their eyes to the evils of Communism and the threat of terrorists such as Saddam or Bin Laden, as if this somehow lessened the danger.

Small children believe that things can be bad. Kids sometimes shake their fingers at toys that disappoint them, saying, "Bad, bad!" Similarly, many liberals believe that guns are bad, so they attempt to disarm the law-abiding — while ignoring effective programs such as Project Exile that put armed criminals in prison. They believe that nuclear weapons are bad, so they attempt to disarm their country — while opposing a defense against the weapons of potential enemies.

Of course, no one really fears nuclear weapons in the hands of Britain or France. Democracies do not threaten one another, just as law-abiding citizens rarely use guns criminally. But recognizing this obvious truth would force liberals to face the fact that it is not evil objects but evil people who are to be feared. This in turn would force them to accept standards by which to judge people. Since they have abandoned such standards, discerning evil people becomes impossible. Thus objects are the only things left to blame.

Closely allied to infantilism is a childish self-righteousness. Those who believe their motives are "good" often feel that others can somehow sense this — as if they went around with haloes. They believe their hearts are "pure," so nobody will attack them — not muggers, not terrorists. Of course, this is a subtle form of blame-the-victim: If you don’t own a gun, you won’t be mugged. If we don’t build a missile defense, we won’t be attacked. Such thinking is emotional, not logical, and it is therefore hard to overcome by logical argument.

In addition, pacifism can be viewed as a luxury. Like a Mercedes, it can be enjoyed by a fortunate minority, while the majority must deal with a harsher reality. Those who live in upscale suburbs or gated communities often have no empathy for those (often minorities) who must live or work in high-crime areas. They feel no need for self-defense, so they cannot understand why others might. Lack of empathy for the poor and minorities is hardly a qualification for a liberal.

Gun-control zealots sleep more safely in their homes because others own guns. Burglars do not enter occupied dwellings for fear of being shot, because gun ownership is still common in this country. In nations where gun ownership is rare, more than half of burglaries occur when people are home, thus increasing the risk of death or injury. Even anti-gun zealots tacitly recognize this fact by never posting signs saying, "There are no guns in this home." If they really believed that weapons increase danger, such signs would be common.

Likewise, pacifists sleep more safely, dreaming peaceful dreams, because the service people they hold in contempt are on guard through the night, armed (one hopes) with modern weapons. Others fight and die in the mud, or patrol in the hot sun or cold rain, while they bask in the narcissistic comfort of pacifism. Children have a right to sleep peacefully, secure in the knowledge that others will protect them. Adults, especially citizens of a free nation, have no such luxury.

The worst effect of modern liberalism is not a host of laws and regulations designed to control every aspect of life. Laws can be repealed. The worst effect is not an increasingly intrusive government. Governments can be changed. The worst effect is the regression of citizens from self-sufficient adults into dependent, overgrown children who rely on a parentified government to take care of them, make important decisions for them, and defend their families. Real children grow up; infantilized adults rarely do.

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Adults, especially citizens of a free country, see themselves as bearing the primary responsibility for protecting themselves, their families and others dependent on them. On the contrary, children - or subjects of an authoritarian regime - see themselves as fundamentally...
Tuesday, 22 May 2001 12:00 AM
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