The Tragic Vision

Posted on Mon 01/07/2013 by


20080318_mclaughlin_4_staffBy Tom McLaughlin ~

20130103_revolutionary-war-minutemen_LEXINGTON_largeViolence. Avoid it whenever possible but be prepared to use it. Why? Because there will always be others to use it against us. That’s the conservative view. I’m a conservative too, and that’s our view of how humans interact. The human race can improve, but it will always be imperfect.

If you’re a secular conservative, you know there will always be sociopaths, and you should be prepared for encounters with them. If you’re a believer, you know there will always be evil this side of heaven, and we should be prepared when we meet it. Both the secular and the theist views are based on something we conservatives call “The Tragic Vision.” It’s the concept first coined by economist Thomas Sowell that there are no ultimate solutions to problems in the human condition, only trade-offs. This contrasts the liberal view that a utopia is attainable, that we can perfect both ourselves as individuals and the societal human condition as well – and government is the vehicle to attain that perfection. The conservative refrain is: “Human nature being what it is . . .” whereas the liberal refrain is: “If only . . .”

Which brings us to the newly-renewed gun control debate. Conservatives believe that “Human nature being what it is . . . we need armed guards in schools.” Conversely, liberals believe “If only . . . we could ban guns altogether our schools would be safe.” The conservative looks at what happened at that Connecticut school and thinks what Wayne Lapierre said: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” A liberal looks at Connecticut and thinks what John Lennon said: “Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
Liberal elitist David Gregory used his “Meet The Press” show to ridicule Wayne Lapierre’s NRA for it’s support of semiautomatic rifles and putting armed guards in schools. That’s fine for Gregory who put his own children into a private school with eleven armed guards. Last Sunday President Obama – who sends his kids to the same school – went on Gregory’s show threatening to restrict access to guns for the rest of us ordinary Americans. He said he’s fully behind Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill to renew and assault weapons ban.

President Obama, Senator Feinstein, and Attorney General Eric Holder all want to disarm Americans, and they’re exploiting the Connecticut school shooting to re-invigorate that long-time liberal dream. Knowing this, millions of ordinary Americans are frantically buying guns at an unprecedented rate. Obama’s election in 2008 and especially his reelection in 2012 have spurred gun sales, but the torrid anti-gun rhetoric since Newtown has really done it. bigtime. There’s a domestic arms race underway.

Not only are citizens arming themselves, but so are domestic government agencies- seemingly against a potential domestic uprising. I don’t know how else to account for it. Not only is the IRS hiring 16,000 new agents to enforce Obamacare, but according to an article in “Business Insider,” it’s buying shotguns for its investigators. It’s one thing for the IRS and Homeland Security Departments to buy ammo, but the Department of Education? The EPA? DHHS? What do they need thousands of rounds of hollow point bullets for? They’re all stocking up. It makes one wonder what the heck is going on.

Remember Senator Obama when he was campaigning for president in affluent Marin County back in 2008? He talked disdainfully about ordinary Americans bitterly clinging to their guns and religion. AG Eric Holder of the “Fast and Furious” assault weapon scandal said in the 1990s: “We have to be repetitive about this [in our schools]. We need to do this every day of the week, and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.” When pushing her first assault rifle ban around the same time, Senator Feinstein said she would favor confiscating weapons from Americans if she could only get the votes. It’s scary to contemplate what might happen if the Obama Administration tried anything like that in its second term. That’s what the British tried to do in Lexington back in 1775.

Anti-gun liberals like Feinstein are always careful to give a nod to hunters, as if Americans only want their guns to hunt deer, but they misunderstand. Most Americans I know want their guns for two other more compelling purposes than hunting: to protect themselves against criminals and to protect themselves against their own government, should that become necessary. Handguns usually suffice against criminals, but assault rifles would be needed against government.

It’s not just about deer hunting, Senator Feinstein. It’s about liberty and freedom.

Contributing Editor   is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.

Read more excellent articles from