In a movement that purports to be inclusive, tolerant and progressive, liberalism is often anything but. Sadly, some of the left’s biggest obstacles don’t come from the far right, but uncompromising idealists who insist their rigid interpretation of political correctness must be followed to the letter.
In a self-aggrandizing article in the Guardian, Australian columnist Jason Wilson berates Australians for being ‘sanctimonious’ about their radical anti gun laws and cease their ‘moral grandstanding’ over America’s latest gun massacre. He writes:
Jumping on foreign tragedies as a means of talking up Australia’s enlightened political culture , always risks blinding oneself to our own affronts to human life and human dignity.
More immediately , it glosses over the fundamental reason that Australia was able to introduce strict gun control where the United States was not. It was not that the nation “grew up” – whatever that could possibly mean. It’s that there were fewer structural impediments to introducing the necessary laws at an opportune moment, a process which was almost entirely top-down.
John Howard was able to do what Barack Obama cannot because, while Australia’s workmanlike constitution prescribes few individual rights at all, the US supreme court recently interpreted the Second Amendment as protecting the individual right to gun ownership.
Australia passed extreme anti gun law measures after a horrific massacre on April 28, 1996. A gunman opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding 23 more in the worst mass murder in Australia’s history. There has not been a gun massacre since, yet Wilson is not happy about touting this achievement in the face of yet another massacre in America. And this is because…wait for it…cultural relativism! He writes:
A significant part of America has a different value system through which events like mass killings are interpreted. Guns represent safety for those who feel their values are under attack.
And lest we forget, Australia has its problems too, so is in no place to lecture anyone else about their problems:
It may be better for Australians to respond to mass shootings by checking their own complacency. In the NSW parliament and in the Australian Senate, there are people successfully chipping away at gun control laws. No political settlement is invincible.
We should also think about the other contributing factor in such events. The profile that has emerged of the Roseburg killer is strikingly similar to that of Port Arthur massacre shooter Martin Bryant. Again and again, in the US, such outrages are perpetrated by alienated, socially disconnected young men.
This straw-man argument presents a mind bending leap of logic only the most ardent of liberal crusaders could make. Since 2005, over 301,797 Americans have now died from gun related injuries. This year alone, there have been 294 mass shootings. In Australia there are less than 250 gun deaths a year and there have been no mass shootings since 1996.
One could argue America is a more tolerant country than Australia, with far gentler immigration laws, less overt racism, less sexism and a more dynamic economy. These statements are probably true, and Americans would be right to argue that their country is superior to Australia in certain regards, just as say, Iceland could confidently assert it is a more humane country than Saudi Arabia. However, if there is one aspect of Australian culture (or any other industrialized democracy for that matter) that is superior to America’s, it would be attitudes to gun control. But no, Wilson demands Australians cannot talk about their astonishing reduction in gun murders because they too have mental health issues.
For the love of God, please shut up.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.