Unscrupulous entities and opportunists deal in absolutes. For them, intention and effect do not matter, everything is viewed in terms of black and white instead of in shades of gray. Theirs is a worldview in which the desire to control one’s environment for personal power and security and forming temporary alliances only for the purpose of gaining greater personal advantage, takes precedence over seeking and fostering the good in everyone, cooperation and risking and sacrificing personal safety and reputation to benefit the whole.
Those who operate in absolutes cannot ever change their minds, admit wrong doing or their mistakes and then apologize because a person operating in absolutes cannot afford to be inconsistent for fear of losing credibility. Any change in allegiance must be framed and propagandized to appear as part of the plan all along.
When you deal in absolutes, it is all about appearances rather than what is actually taking place because the real world is never black and white even though he who thinks in absolutes, pretends it is.
Note that even progressives can deal in absolutes. It’s just that their motivations are vastly different than the motivation of the unscrupulous entities and opportunists of above.
Human rights, civil rights, freedom and autonomy, social justice and equity and the like are enduring values for progressives and like minded people. But unlike the unscrupulous entities of above, the absolute principles of progressives do not have detrimental and adverse effects on others or society as such.
Their absolutes are aimed at preserving life and diversity, respecting autonomy and agency, fostering understanding, compassion and agency.
They also understand that the universe is morally neutral, that often one value is pitted against another by the unscrupulous, and that sometimes the best that can be done is a moral compromise.
Why this long, seemingly unrelated, intro you ask? Because everytime Wayne LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association and vile douchebag liar of epic proportions opens his mouth, a ton of unfounded, ignorant excrement is spewed out and this here is no different:
“I urge our president to use caution when attacking clearly defined absolutes in favor of his principles. When absolutes are abandoned for principles, the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti“, LaPierre said of Obama’s Inaugural Address last month when the president said Americans should not “mistake absolutism for principle.”
LaPierre critsized the President because he believes that the statement was as an attack on the N.R.A. and gun owners who believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution provides an absolute right to bear arms.
First of all, it does not. The Constitution does not provide an absolute right to bear arms. The Second Amendment clearly states that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In other words and today’s language that means ‘in order to maintain a well regulated militia which is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’
If, therefore, absolute interpretation of the Second Amendment is the NRA’s contention, here it is. The Supreme Court, in its 2008 decision, has decided to place guns into the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry outside of the well regulated militia because they did not interpret the Second Amendment in absolute terms. If they had, they would not have ruled that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.
Second, the President, in his Address, was reminding people that the Constitution of this nation is based on a certain spirit, certain principles rooted in the Declaration of Independence instead of on absolutism (read: tyranny).
LaPierre, in all his ignorance and zeal, was mistaking the term absolutism – which means a form of government in which an autark or monarch wields unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people with universalism.
And finally, I would like to point out LaPierre’s usage of the term graffiti when addressing and criticizing the President because I do wonder how many white presidents who have either introduced new legislation or challenged aspects of the Constitution – not that Obama was even doing that – have been accused of spraying graffiti on the Constitution. It is no coincidence that La Pierre is using this particular image when referring and speaking to a black President.