Though it has been exactly 500 years since Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses, the practice of buying forgiveness is enjoying traffic like never before. Sure, Harvey Weinstein assaulted a few women, but that’s something a supposedly feminist priestess like Lisa Bloom can be paid to absolve.
It’s been said before, but it needs repeating: leftism can be bad religion. In the same breath that they dismiss attributing anything to God, apologists divvy out carbon indulgences to evangelists heralding the climate change apocalypse. The New York Times enshrines Brett Stevens as its fresh-from-blindness St. Paul. For sins ranging from running on the wrong ticket to working for the wrong administration, they offer public penances of humiliation hosting SNL or doing bits for the Emmys. But sins of sexual assault among its adherents can be justified by the sola fide of social justice.
Their cult has also effectively created its own strand of parochial schooling. Casting aside the traditional four-fold medieval exegesis, they reduce history and people with sexist, racist, classist or subversive labels and have no shortage of pundits and politicians to preach their SparksNotes version of the Civil War without context and the founding of America without science.
And lest it all be reductive revisionism, they’ve got jesters like John Oliver and Samantha Bee whose out-of-context depictions of their detractors prove as insightful as the drawing of phalli on sleeping schoolmates. Meanwhile, other late night hosts employ their own jamarat ritual wherein they rhetorically stone the NRA.
So when Weinstein says he wants to channel whatever anger to which he thinks he’s entitled to attacking the NRA, he embarks on an absolution-seeking crusade. Yes, he may fancy himself as a blacklisted Lillian Hellman right now when he has more in common with a jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Still, his search for something to make sense of his sin is natural.
Postmodernist critic Jean-François Lyotard hailed the end of grand narratives, but no one really bought it. Both the religious right and left kept groping for answers to the senseless. This good impulse becomes particularly understandable in light of the Las Vegas massacre, in which the only note the killer left was a blueprint of his own disregard for the sanctity of life.
But the left’s fervent search for meaning mistakenly brands their opponents in similarly religious terms. They fail to understand that most second amendment advocates don’t love guns to the point of veneration; they protect gun-ownership to protect those they love. Gun-control advocates profess behind their guards to inner-city mothers about the power of judge’s piece of paper to ward off a madman. Sure, we can discuss how many and what kind of guns we need to protect ourselves—once we drop invented terms like “assault weapon” and “semi-automatic” and quit confusing bump-stocks with grenade launchers. We can take a whack-a-mole approach to gun control, but we must be honest about the efficacy of government bans and never assume that bills can legislate morality or sanity. In the meantime, access to means of self-defense is not negotiable; suggesting the confiscation of firearms just means asking us to put our faith in law enforcement, who cannot be omnipresent and whom the left demonizes weekly .
As we learn more about the Las Vegas massacre, we can have discussions about reasonable restrictions with the same willingness some gun-rights advocates have already expressed. But let’s hope that we can do so without the forgone conclusions and branding of each other as irredeemably culpable for death’s entry into the world.
Perspectives expressed in op-eds are not those of The Daily Caller.