The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, June 17, 2016

Liberalism Exposed by Orlando

“It's just obvious”, Chicago School economist Milton Friedman told Peter Brimelow back in the 1990s, “you can't have free immigration and a welfare state.”

These words are not as well-known as his “there is no such thing as a free lunch” but they ought to be. It is perfectly consistent to be opposed to both open immigration and the welfare state. One can make a rational case for either against the other. To try and have both, however, as all Western ex-nations have sought to do for decades, is to invite every would-be free rider in the world to come to your country and leech off of you.

Friedman, who was a libertarian, would have chosen free immigration over a welfare state. I, a somewhat libertarian, High Tory patriot, would lean towards having neither, while regarding a modest welfare state – much more modest than we have today – as the lesser of the two evils. These are positions that can be intelligently defended. The progressive or left-liberal position that we must have both is not, which is perhaps the reason why progressives, rather than try to intelligently defend the indefensible, instead try to silence everyone else with emotional accusations of being cruel, hard-hearted, inhumane, bigoted, unfeeling and the like.

This is not the only example of progressive liberals simultaneously endorsing two things that are mutually exclusive. If someone were to say “it’s just obvious that you cannot have a culture that affirms and celebrates homosexuality while also being open to Islam” he would be just as right as Friedman was. Once again, a person can argue against both of these things simultaneously without self-contradiction. Or he might make a convincing case for the one that excludes the other. It is those who insist on having both who are writing a prescription for disaster. Once again it is progressive liberals who do this and who denounce anyone who opposes either of their pet causes as being bigoted and unenlightened.

If the folly in this had not already been obvious before, it was certainly exposed for all the world to see by the events in Orlando, Florida this past weekend. In what has been described as the worst such shooting in American history, a twenty-nine year old son of immigrants from Afghanistan, called 9-11 to announce his intentions and his allegiance to the Islamic State and then went into a gay club called the Pulse and shot the place up, killing about fifty people and wounding about fifty others.

Liberals, with the exception of those gay rights groups that have now endorsed the Donald Trump campaign, have learned absolutely nothing from this about the mutual exclusivity of the causes they espouse in the name of such banal drivel as “social justice” and “human rights”. If we do not include US President Barack Obama’s emotional meltdown and hate-filled tirade against Trump the liberal response to the shooting has basically been twofold.

First, quite predictably, they are blaming the incident on the accessibility of guns in the United States and what they call the American “gun culture” and calling for more restrictions on gun owners. That way, the next time someone declares his loyalty to ISIS and hatred of the United States, and in the name of Allah sets out on a one-man jihad, his efforts will be frustrated and defeated by the fact that he has to obey a law that prevents him from owning guns. Peter Hitchens has already said all that needs to be said about this kind of stupidity when in his reflections on Orlando he observed that America’s gun laws were a lot laxer fifty years ago before these kind of shooting incidents became common place, noting that such shootings also occur in countries with strict gun control like Britain, Germany and Finland while being much rarer in Switzerland. Hitchens argued that “an inquiry into the correlation between drug abuse and violence” would be “the most rational and effective response to the horrific news from Orlando” which suggestion contains far more good sense than all of those coming from the gun-hating lunatics on the left.

Secondly, and again predictably, they have been blaming conservative Christians for the incident. The same people who consider it to be a horrible and unfair generalization to blame the actions of this man on his own religion have no problem blaming it on another one altogether. This is what enlightenment looks like, folks, and it is indistinguishable from what we used to call being just plain crazy.

According to the looney-tune left, Christians are responsible for creating a “culture of homophobia” which drove this young Muslim into a murderous frenzy. He pledged his loyalty to a regime that kills homosexuals by throwing them from rooftops. Islam is the dominant religion in the ten countries in the world where homosexuality is a capital offence. Yet, liberals expect us to believe that the source of his murderous hatred is not his own religion but Christianity, a faith whose adherents are also routinely targeted by ISIS for death.

Who do they think they are fooling?

Liberals maintain that all religions are equal, an idea that can be held only in a mind that regards all religious beliefs as false and therefore takes seriously the beliefs of neither Christians nor Muslims. As Sir Roger Scruton recently explained it “the new ideology of non-discrimination” means “not sounding too certain about anything in case you make people who don’t share your beliefs feel uncomfortable.” Not believing anything himself, the liberal cannot accept that Christians might genuinely believe that God made mankind male and female and gave the sexes to each other in marriage so that we are not therefore free to change this institution to accommodate homosexuals in the way the liberal considers to be reasonable. No can he accept that Muslims might sincerely believe in anything that would prevent their full integration into Western society or lead to a violent clash with Western culture or a portion thereof. Faced with evidence that somebody does actually believe something, he seeks to silence that person and extirpate the belief for, as Sir Roger further explains “What we might have taken to be open-mindedness turns out to be no-mindedness: the absence of beliefs, and a negative reaction to all those who have them.”

Despite their promises of twenty years ago that their campaign for gay rights would not infringe upon anyone else’s rights and certainly not upon the freedom of religion of devout believers, the ink had hardly dried upon the legislation and court rulings that secured their victory in Canada, the United States, and throughout the Western world, before Christians were being dragged into court, fined thousands of dollars, and forced out of their businesses because they would not alter their Christian convictions to suit liberalism.

This is the behaviour of bullies, and bullies are natural cowards. It is not surprising therefore, that much depends upon whose beliefs have come into conflict with liberalism. Liberals are not about to risk the beheadings, bombings, and other messy possibilities that might result from offending believers whose faith has not been three-quarters diluted with liberalism already and includes concepts like jihad. Therefore, when someone does something in the name of Islam that offends them, they take it out on Christians. Which is why today, their response to Orlando looks less like genuine outrage over a horrible atrocity and more like the cynical use of the suffering of one of the groups for which they feign compassion at the hands of another to further kick a defeated foe while he is down.

That’s just how classy they are.


  1. I realize I'm picking at the smallest point in your essay rather than the overall topic, but it is one that has been heavy on my heart lately and I'd like your perspective.

    You say, "the liberal cannot accept that Christians might genuinely believe that God made mankind male and female and gave the sexes to each other in marriage so that we are not therefore free to change this institution to accommodate homosexuals in the way the liberal considers to be reasonable."

    I have a friend with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. For the non-biologically inclined that means they were born phenotypically female but genetically male. So they have an XY chromosomal make-up but are shaped like a woman. She has breasts, a vagina, no facial hail, etc. To complicate matters, she didn't even know until her late 20s.

    So, from a biblical perspective, who is she allowed to marry? She has been in a relationship with a man for almost two decades. Is she a homosexual? She literally is both male and female.

    I used to see this as a black and white issue, but people like her have made it clear to me that there is a lot more grey than I had believed.

    I've known I disagreed with you politically for the twenty-two years I've known you. This is one of the few topics where I used to agree with you. I have been forced to change my views when I was forced to accept that the lines were not clear. I believe God's word is infallible, but it is remarkably silent about the edge cases. I, and the left in general, choose to err on the side of compassion.

    1. Perhaps you are familiar with the saying “hard cases make bad law”? It means that we ought not to make the rules for the whole of society based upon exceptional circumstances.

      The case that you have mentioned, however, is not a particularly hard one. Someone whose body for some reason or another rejected its genetic XY coding for maleness in the fetal development stage and who did not learn about this until she was in her late 20s would, for most of history, have had no means of learning it. She would never have had cause to think of herself as other than female. In such an instance phenotype is the better indicator of sex than genotype.

      Note the contrasts with the well-known case of David Reimer. In his case his genes were the better indicator of sex and he knew by instinct that he was not the female he was being raised as. In his case he had been born with a male body that had been altered through sexual reassignment surgery shortly after birth due to a botched circumcision.

  2. I've seen that quotation by Friedman, but it raises the question in my mind of how he defines a welfare state. Friedman did not advocate abolishing social security, only reforming it. Would a state that did that not be a welfare state?

    1. I don't think many people are consistent in their usage of "welfare state" with regards to the point you have raised. Does any state in which some sort of public provision for the needy qualify as a welfare state? If that is the case welfare state is not a very descriptive term for it would cover almost every kind of government that has ever existed. If it is more limited, where do we draw the line as to what is a welfare state and what is not. Was the social safety net that conservatives like Otto von Bismarck in Prussia and the Disraelean One Nation Tories in Britain in the 19th century constructed a "welfare state" or did that only come into being with the more expansive and experiment response to the Depression in the 20th Century? I'm not entirely sure how to answer that myself. I seem to remember Friedman actually giving a definition of the welfare state, somewhere, that distinguished it from the mere existence of welfare. I don't remember exactly where I read that, but it might have been in "Capitalism and Freedom".

    2. Milton Friedman had some good things to say, but I don't care at all for his libertarianism.