A characteristically tiresome debate has erupted on one of my Lefty mailing lists about gun control. As usual on these lists, the majority opinion — which favors more legislation and other policy tweaks — is essentially undistinguishable from the liberal view. This tends to confirm my long-standing suspicion that most American Lefties are really just liberals who are quirky enough to enjoy the feel of chewy Marxist phraseology in their mouth.
One line of argument, developed at some length, is that because ‘the right’ is pro-gun we Lefties need to be anti-gun. Now it seems to me that this literally couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t mean Joe Biden literally: I mean literally literally. There’s nothing you can say that would be more wrong. 2+2=5 would be less wrong.
It’s massively obtuse to imagine that ‘the right’ is the problem: that if ‘the right’ could be somehow neutralized or weakened, then it’s simple physics: the center of gravity would shift ‘left’. So for people who think in this (literally!) one-dimensional way(*), ‘the right’ is what us old Maoists used to call the ‘main enemy’.
But this is silly. ‘The right’ is a sideshow. The problem is not ‘the right’, it’s the elite consensus; or to put it in the usual obfuscatory American terms, the problem is what the so-called ‘right’ (e.g. gun nuts) and the so-called ‘left’ (e.g. Hillary Clinton) agree on. And if there is a ‘main enemy’, it’s the so-called American center, a deeply imperialist, chauvinistic, technocratic, repressive, and violent formation — and one which, unlike ‘the Right’, actually holds state power.
(*) You might call it the Seesaw Theory Of History: a gaggle of Trotskyites on one end, and a gaggle of heavily-armed Teabaggers on the other. Which gaggle outweighs which? Presumably if you could relieve the Teabaggers of their shootin’ irons, it would lighten their end.