Contributor Post Created with Sketch. No Political Solution For Evil

 

In her post below, Emily writes “The basic point is that the tragedy in Aurora is more a cultural event than a political one.” I wish she had been in the room at Gawker before one of their editors, Max Read, hit the “post” button on this one:

This is stupid. There is no such thing as “politicizing” tragedy. James Holmes did not materialize in a movie theater in Aurora … free of any relationship to law and authority and the structures of power in this country; nor did he exit those relationships and structures by murdering 12 people and injuring several dozen more. Before he entered the theater, he purchased guns, whether legally or illegally, under a framework of laws and regulations governed and negotiated by politics; in the parking lot outside, he was arrested by a police force whose salaries, equipment, tactics and rights were shaped and determined by politics. Holmes’ ability to seek, or to not seek, mental health care; the government’s ability, or inability, to lock up persons deemed unstable — these are things decided and directed by politics. You cannot “politicize” a tragedy because the tragedy is already political. When you talk about the tragedy you’re already talking about politics.

There’s an internal consistency to this logic — the state is everywhere, therefore everything is political — but it misses the bigger point: that there is nothing in the arsenal of public policy capable of making straight the crooked timber of humanity. Calling it a political issue doesn’t mean that there’s a political solution.

Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not you accept the tragic view of human existence: that abject evil is, was, and always will be an inherent part of the human condition. If you do, you realize that no amount of legislation, administrative intervention, or even law enforcement prowess is capable of preempting the nihilistic impulses of a madman who has the presence of mind to keep his designs for terror secret. 

Those of us who who hold that view do so with no satisfaction. We’d all like to see the sparks of evil prevented from turning into flames. But our recognition of the fallen nature of mankind prevents us from believing that goal can be met 100 percent of the time. By our own reckoning, we are realists. By the reckoning of those who disagree, we are pessimists. Alas, the record speaks in our favor.

There are 13 comments.

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  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not you accept the tragic view of human existence: that abject evil is, was, and always will be an inherent part of the human condition. If you do, you realize that no amount of legislation, administrative intervention, or even law enforcement prowess is capable of preempting the nihilistic impulses of a madman who has the presence of mind to keep his designs for terror secret.

    There’s the rub. As conservatives, we acknowledge the immutable fallibility of this world, but we are not fatalistic. To say evil cannot be generally purged from this world is not to say that specific incidents could not have been prevented.

    It’s right to acknowledge that not every murderer or madman will ever be stopped. It’s also right to wonder, in hindsight, how every one of them might have been stopped.

    • #1
    • July 23, 2012, at 11:32 AM PDT
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  2. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    But doing something, anything, is more comforting than acknowledging the reality of the situation.

    • #2
    • July 23, 2012, at 11:51 AM PDT
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  3. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Very well said indeed.

    • #3
    • July 24, 2012, at 1:30 AM PDT
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  4. Profile Photo Member

    My first ever political lesson came from my Dad. I might have been 10 at the time. He said, The difference between communism and capitalism is that communism (and now I would add, Liberalism) is based on the idea that man is good, while capitalism (and Conservatism) is based on the idea that man is bad. The Bible says that man is bad. Your analysis, Troy, is more nuanced, but for practical purposes the same, as that first lesson in political philosophy.

    • #4
    • July 24, 2012, at 1:31 AM PDT
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  5. Freesmith Inactive

    Who cares if some Democrats are pro-gun and NRA supporters? Who cares if some Democrats are pro-life and anti-abortion? Their party is not, their leaders are not, and in North Carolina in a few weeks their platform won’t be pro-gun or pro-life either.

    Politics isn’t impotent. It’s men who don’t hold their political opponents accountable for their rank hypocricies and their abject failures – which include not standing up for gun control or for causing the dire condition of America’s inner cities – those are the people I blame for conservatism’s sad state today.

    Democrats have no trouble holding Tea Party members, conservatives and Republicans accountable for every error we make and every setback that happens in this country whenever they can. (As the Brian Ross episode shows, the media will do it for the Democrats even when it has no evidence.) 

    It is defeatist for Republicans not to do the same to them, especially when Democrats are so craven and their policies have been total failures.

    Here’s some advice you’ll recognize, Captain Aubrey:

    “Never mind the maneuvers – Just go straight at them!” (Lord Nelson)

    • #5
    • July 24, 2012, at 1:38 AM PDT
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  6. Man With the Axe Member

    Like most other political “solutions” to problems, gun control has its costs and unintended consequences along with certain more obvious benefits. Liberals are by nature, it seems to me, able only to see the last of these. It is not clear whether the costs outweigh the benefits until those costs are at least identified and considered. This liberals refuse to do, even when directly confronted by them.

    • #6
    • July 24, 2012, at 2:46 AM PDT
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  7. Jordan Inactive

    Troy, it seems the poster of that little gem commits an equivocation on the term “political/politicize.”

    Max Read cannot mean the same thing when he talks about the political structure of society, which is sort of an Aristotelian “political animal” term, and politicizing an event, i.e. co-opting an event for a political faction’s agenda. So he is not internally consistency with his logic. Max Read seems to confuse “political society” with “political faction” in his reasoning. I suppose this mistake is a hallmark of the left.

    This distinction is congruent with the point about the fallen nature of man. Policy solutions are simply not proper to solve man’s sinful condition; that work is accomplished elsewhere.

    • #7
    • July 24, 2012, at 3:46 AM PDT
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  8. RHJ King Inactive

    By Max Read’s standards, my recent visitation of the toilet was “already political”, as this person is himself saturated with political observance, and everything I walked by on my way to that room in the home, particularly the commode itself, is a product of government regulation, and therefore political. I will have to remember in the future to aim for the right side of the bowl.

    • #8
    • July 24, 2012, at 7:54 AM PDT
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  9. Ward Inactive
    Freesmith: Here’s some advice you’ll recognize, Captain Aubrey:

    “Never mind the maneuvers – Just go straight at them!” (Lord Nelson) · 20 hours ago

    Yep, love it. May we not be forced to choose the lesser of two weevils.

    • #9
    • July 24, 2012, at 9:50 AM PDT
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  10. rosegarden sj dad Inactive

    Troy makes a gr8 point in calling out the hidden assumptions in Max Read’s post. But let me put it another way, without even invoking charged concepts like Evil. What Read implicitly says it:

    * human behavior if changeable, mutable, plastic. 

    * the state is not only the best mechanism for directing that plasticity, but in fact is already responsible for the way people behave. 

    This mindset leaves us in the strange tautological world of the liberal mindset in which the State is responsible for everything hence anything which happens outside the State’s agenda must be addressed by More State.

    This is not an argument so much as a weird Behaviorist Religion. Its logic ends, as it began, of course with eugenics.

    • #10
    • July 24, 2012, at 12:25 PM PDT
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  11. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    He sure doesn’t explain how politics would have prevented the event.

    • #11
    • July 24, 2012, at 12:27 PM PDT
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  12. Freesmith Inactive

    Thank you, Reverend.

    Back here on Earth there’s an election going on, one that some people have called the most crucial in their lifetimes. Political issues, therefore, have a special importance.

    One of the two political parties contesting this election is in favor of gun control. They sincerely believe that our society’s lack of regulations concerning gun ownership is responsible for the death of innocent men, women and children every day in America. They want there to be stricter gun laws on the books.

    The other political party says it is against new gun controls and votes against them.

    However, the pro-gun control party, the Democrats, refuses to introduce the legislation that they say they want and that they say will save lives. They say one thing, but don’t act. They bravely call for “debate” and “discussion” and “conversation,” but because they are afraid of losing elections, the Democrats exhibit cravenness, power corruption and cowardice.

    Democrat politicians thus disgrace their own supporters and their own ideals. Republicans should proclaim, loudly and clearly, that these cowardly Democrats, who value political office over human life, are morally unfit to hold the very offices they cling to.

    • #12
    • July 24, 2012, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  13. Ward Inactive

    When the Democrats first won the House and Senate someone from the NRA was inteview and said he was not displeased since a number of Dems who’d won seats were NRA members and supporters. A great example of how politics fails no matter which side of the gun debate you are on. Troy is exactly right to channel Isiah Berlin’s crooked timber …or Kant’s I suppose but the really sick thing is that the Utopians will go to any length to promote their ideal once they’ve determined whats best for the rest of us.

    • #13
    • July 24, 2012, at 12:47 PM PDT
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